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A note from Jane

Do you keep a journal?

When I read Talia E. Moyo’s lyrical “Where I’m From,” featured in this week’s newsletter, I wonder if she is someone who keeps a regular journal. I feel as though she has crafted some of the kinds of everyday details one might write in a diary into a beautiful form of narrative poem. She asks and answers profound questions of identity using a myriad of carefully chosen and beautifully arranged details of her life. Each paragraph paints a vivid picture of all the places and people she is “from.” I encourage all of you to read and listen to Talia’s own reading of her work via the links below, and use it as inspiration to write a poetical personal narrative. Try to use tiny details and well-chosen words to reflect on where and what you are from. Alternatively, make this the weekend you decide to start a journal, and start building up a resource to draw on for future writing (or just to enjoy reading in the future, when you have forgotten the details of a wet Tuesday in October 2020!).

I am a very irregular journal writer, and for me it’s always a case of all or nothing. I’ll go at it with huge enthusiasm for a while, then just as quickly stop writing anything in it for months on end. Sometimes, writing at least three pages of stream of consciousness is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. Even if I think I have nothing to say, I’ll just write that down until something else comes out. Often, it’s a dream I was barely aware I’d had, a memory of the days or years before, or a hidden worry that might have spoiled my morning if I hadn’t got it out onto the page before the new day really began. Other times, I’ll write about the view from the window or the smell of my coffee or the sounds my kitten makes when she wakes me nuzzling and purring. When I look back, as long as I can read my handwriting I find that it gives a little snapshot of the seasons and time passing—as well as a sometimes surprising record of some very peculiar dreams!

To encourage all of you in your journaling and note-taking, we have produced a gorgeous new range of writers’ notebooks and artists’ sketchbooks, all available for pre-order now in our online store. We are so excited to share them with you! Each one has the matte finish and soft feel of the print edition of Stone Soup, and all of them feature a different artwork or photograph by a Stone Soup artist on the cover, either on the front or as a wraparound image.

There are six different A5 notebooks for writers, with ruled lines on white interior paper (cover choices right and below); two more in the same size, with plain, unlined interior paper in creme, for either writing or drawing (cover choices below); and three larger (8" x 10") sketchbooks for artists, with plain white paper (covers above). All of them are 160 pages long, and designed to inspire creativity at all ages!

Please consider choosing your favorites and giving them as gifts this holiday season. Every one you purchase supports Stone Soup. To show our appreciation for any pre-orders, you’ll receive 10% off on all of the new designs until the end of this month.

Until next time,

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

In his poem “Together,” Ethan, 10, emphasizes the ways that we have learned to remain connected during this challenging year.

Sita, 11, reviewed The Blue Wings by Jef Aerts on the blog this week. She calls the book “a one-of-a-kind moving read.”

Alina Ji, 13, made a breathtaking collage honoring the doctor who first alerted authorities about the virus and who died treating people.

Have you heard of the book The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas? Grace, 13, writes about why she found the book about revenge so compelling.

Chloe, 9, did not expect to enjoy The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder as much as she did. Read her review to learn why the book is her favorite of the Little House on the Prairie series.

Talia E. Moyo
Talia E. Moyo, 10
Hopewell, NJ

From Stone Soup
October 2020

Where I'm From

By Talia E. Moyo, 10 (Hopewell, NJ)


I’m from the hot deserts of Africa, with Sekuru’s delectable, rich mushroom stew, and Mama’s avocado pudding, and the African adventures with waterfalls and dancing in the night with fireflies as night lights. And the red dusty villages of Cameroon, with rains that come almost once every month. And Sekuru’s little straw hut-like chapel, where stories and the Bible are read.

The big continent of Europe is where I’m from, with silly, little, annoying, cute, frustrating cousins who follow me everywhere I go. And aunties, who make delicious cake pops and table grill and German sausages and treats and grow mouth-watering fruits that drip down my shirt, and cook everything possible everywhere they go.

I’m from Hopewell, New Jersey, with its green luscious forests, and with Lotta, our dog, following my every single step. And seeing her perform a routine of sit, lie down, paw and guess which hand your treat is under. And the soft sandy beaches of the New Jersey shore and their warm grains of sand cushioning my feet under cool water with shells of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Click here to read more—and hear a recording of the author reading her work aloud!

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.

Stone Soup's Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.


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