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Autobiography (iPhone 6s) By Amity Doyle, 11 (Katonah, NY) & published in the September 2021 Issue of Stone Soup

A note from Caleb

We were so excited to see all of your faces last weekend—new and returning—for our first round of fall session classes! If you haven’t yet signed up and fear you’ve missed your chance, don’t be discouraged; we are still taking new students in all four of our classes (writing workshop with William, writing workshop with Conner, filmmaking with Isidore, and Book Club with Laura), though Isidore’s class will close after the fifth session. And if you’re worried about catching up for missed time, this won’t be a problem as each class in the session is a standalone lesson—plus, you’ll receive a video of each class you missed at a reduced price!

Also, beginning today, and retroactively through the spring/summer session 2021, we will be releasing full videos of the readings from both William and Conner’s writing workshops, in which you can see yourselves reading your delightful writing aloud, and relive William and Conner’s exultant feedback. These videos will be available on our weekly Writing Workshop write-ups published on the blog as well as our YouTube channel.

Tristan Huis The Other Realm
As Emma did last week, I’d encourage you all to watch William’s lovely video celebrating the September 1 publication of Tristan’s novel The Other Realm. In other exciting news, we’ve launched a brand new book page featuring precocious Stone Soup contributor Lena Aloise’s interview of Tristan, which you can watch above. Keep visiting the page for other news—reviews, awards, events—regarding Tristan and The Other Realm. If after watching Tristan’s interview you find yourself hungry for more, there is a longer, more exclusive look inside Tristan’s experience writing The Other Realm on our author interview section on the blog. While you’re there, you might rediscover some of our other fantastic interviews with authors such as Abhi Sukhdial, Ariana Kralicek, and Lena Aloise.

Write and Publish a Multimedia E-book!
Dr. Jiang Pu, a member of the Stone Soup family, is offering a series of ten classes on publishing a multimedia e-book on Asian/Pacific Islander American heroes in conjunction with published authors Oliver Chin and David Siller! Students will have their multimedia e-books published in the world’s first student-made AAPI online library and present at SCCL Young Author Talk Forum and lunar new year event! This is a class for highly motivated young writers who want to practice research skills, media literacy and critical thinking, multimedia creative design, and more.

As we all have different learning capabilities as well as varying schedules, Dr. Pu has split the class into three different start times: every Wednesday at 4 pm PDT starting September 29 for children grades 4–7, every Friday at 4 pm PDT starting October 1 for children grades 4–7, and every Monday at 4:15 pm PDT starting October 4 for children grades 8–11.

Stone Soup subscribers get $100 off with coupon "Soup100"!

Refugee Project Fundraiser
Thank you to all who have contributed thus far! The fundraiser will continue to run until September 30th. Tell your friends!

Weekend Project
When I was first perusing the September issue of Stone Soup, I was immediately drawn to the title “Autobiography” located inside the art section. Why was a word like that—a word typically reserved for the written arts—describing a piece of visual art? And then I clicked on it. Now my question, though still fundamentally the same, had switched from “Why use this word to describe a work of art?” to “Why use this word to describe this work of art?” I could say that the photograph creates a juxtaposition between what is real and what is reflection, the subject’s “real” foot being more three-dimensional and distinguished than its counterpart. I could say that the dynamic curvature suggestive of dance that exists in the “real" foot is lost in its reflection, a blurrier, straighter image filtered through the barrier of the floor, which in this case takes on the appearance of water, perhaps a symbol for the subconscious. And I could try and cobble these observations together into a cohesive thesis, stating that this photograph questions the nature of the form of autobiography—what is gained, what is lost through its filter? And while I could not give a concrete answer, I could suggest that the relationship between autobiography and the subconscious is that when we sit down to write about ourselves, we can never be objective. Lines are blurred, curves are straightened by our own biased perception. But since I am not the brilliant artist behind this photograph, none of this I can say for sure. However, what I can say for certain is that the title of this photograph elevates it from a beautiful picture to a masterpiece.

While Sim Ling Thee’s poem “Words of Snow” doesn’t offer the same insight on titles and the nature of autobiography, I found myself drawn to it the same way I was to Amity’s photograph. What I love most about this poem is its rendering of white space, the delightful suggestiveness of the colon. Is the poem the poem, or is it the space left after the colon, the time spent lingering in the mind of the reader as they can’t help but fill the space with their own imagination? This is a concept frequently explored within the realm of visual art, perhaps most notably in the works of Kazimir Malevich and, later, Mark Rothko. But Sim Ling, in just seven lines, takes something more typically reserved for the visual arts and applies it, effortlessly, to the written word. So, with their respective pieces both Amity and Sim Ling have borrowed from art forms outside of their own in order to elevate their art.

Therefore, this weekend I’d like you to either borrow elements of visual art within any of its forms (dance, theater, painting, etc.), or elements of writing within any of its forms (autobiography, fiction, screenwriting, etc.), and meld them into one cohesive form as Amity and Sim Ling did. Then, once you’ve completed this project, I want you to think of a title that does more than describe your art. The title should enhance the experience of your art and complicate its meaning.

As always, if you are happy with what you create and think that our editor, Emma Wood, might like it for Stone Soup, then please submit it to us via Submittable!

Until next time,

Refugee Project

Dear friends and supporters of Stone Soup,

Since the launch of the Refugee Project, we have partnered with seven organizations providing on-the-ground support to children living in refugee camps, as well as those resettled in host countries. Through these partnerships, we have collected over 300 pieces of artwork and writing by refugee youth. These creative works are currently on display in our newly created web portal for the project, which you can explore here.

As we have said many times before, the media so often portrays refugee youth as the subject of a narrative. The Stone Soup Refugee Project provides a platform for these young people to tell their own stories, in their own voices.

To make this vision a reality, we need your help. We have set ourselves a target goal of $10,000 to pilot the program.

These funds will go toward the development of workshops delivered to young people in refugee camps, the facilitation of creative exchanges between young people, and the work of collecting and publishing more material on the Refugee Project website. In addition, funds will be used to support our Refugee Project contributing organizations and the young people they serve in the ways in which they deem valuable, such as the purchase of supplies and possible scholarship funds.

—Laura Moran, Refugee Project Director

Selfie Contest

Since Stone Soup’s last selfie contest in 2017, the selfie has taken on a new form: the masked selfie. That’s why we’re enlisting you to participate in our 2021 Selfie Contest: With and Without Masks. As has always been the case, we want these selfies to tell us a story. Think about how masks can both aid and make more difficult the expression of thoughts and feelings. How can you show us who you are behind the mask, and how can you build off of that image once the mask disappears, or vice versa? Get creative! Try something you’ve never thought to try before! Surprise us, and—most importantly—surprise yourself! You may submit up to four selfies: two with a mask and two without.

Deadline: October 3, 2021

To submit to this contest, please visit our Submittable page.

Congratulations to our most recent Flash Contest winners!

Our September Flash Contest was based on Creativity Prompt #168 (provided by Molly Torinus, Stone Soup contributor), which asked participants to write about themselves with one small twist: the story had to take place inside a parallel universe where they led a different life. The prompt was interpreted in myriad ways, with many branching into the realm of science fiction, others into fantasy, and some choosing to remain within the world of the mundane. We were dazzled by participants’ creativity, our minds taken on journeys to a car ride with a yapping dad, a dystopian future where fires reigned supreme, a skillfully disguised magic store, and much, much more! As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month!

Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions, listed below. You can read the winning entries for this contest (and previous ones) on our blog.

“The Concert” by Lucas Hinds, 13 (Lenoir City, TN)
“Recognition” by Serena Lin, 10 (Scarsdale, NY)
“Are you Ready?” by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA)
“Phoenix” by Eliya Wee, 11 (Menlo Park, CA)
“The Magic Store” by Chloe Yang, 12 (Cranbury, NJ)

Honorable Mentions
“A Day with My Drox” by Tahra Araujo, 9 (Brooklyn, NY)
“The Puzzle” by Anushka Dhar, 12 (Hillsborough, NJ)
“Normal Universe/Parallel Universe” by Nova Macknik-Conde, 9 (Brooklyn, NY)
“Mechanical Master” by Rishab Suresh, 13 (Sanford, FL)
“Duplicates” by Emily Tang, 12 (Winterville, NC)

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at on our blog!

Super reviewer April Yu is at it again with her review of Tiny Pretty Things, a 2015 novel by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton that was recently made into a Netflix series.

Sue Park, 12, a blogger from South Korea, wrote a heartfelt personal narrative, “How Nationality Affects the Eyes,” which spoke candidly of her experience locating prejudice within herself.

Elliott, 10, wrote a review of Roald Dahl's classic novel Fantastic Mr Fox.

SimLingTheeFrom Stone Soup
September 2021

Words of Snow

By Sim Ling Thee, 13 (Singapore)

a poet once wrote a poem
a friend read it
and exclaimed in outrage
this is just a blank page
the poet beamed
a blank page with words of snow:

Read more of the September issue, including more of Sim Ling's poems here

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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