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Astro Doll (mixed media) by Ruth, 8 (Ethiopia & Kenya), published in the September 2021 Issue of Stone Soup

A note from Laura

Dear friends,

It’s hard to believe this is my first official newsletter. Some of you may know me from the Book Club for Writers. I am also an enthusiastic Stone Soup parent. My primary role at Stone Soup is the director of the Refugee Project. I want to write to you from that perspective today.

The Refugee Project was launched in 2018 with the aim of providing a platform for refugee children to use their voices to tell their own stories. To do that, we have partnered with several organizations that work with young people, both in refugee camps and living in countries far from their homes, where they have been relocated to build a new life. Through these partnerships, we have collected over three-hundred pieces of artwork and writing by young refugees.

Some of these are featured in the September issue of Stone Soup. Two particularly intriguing pieces are Astro Doll and Astro Doll Queen, created by students at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, with the support of the My Start Project. The term “Astro Doll” was made up by these young artists to capture the alien, or otherworldly, quality of the dolls. These artists were inspired by the idea of their own legal status as refugees—refugees are not granted citizenship in the countries where they are forced to reside and are instead labeled as having “alien status.”

The Future of the Refugee Project
In the next phase of the Refugee Project, as we continue to collect creative works by refugee youth for display on the website, we are also working to expand and deepen our collaboration with the organizations that have already contributed writing and artwork to the Refugee Project. Our central goal for these ongoing collaborations is to facilitate further engagement between you, our Stone Soup audience, and the artists and creative works displayed through the Refugee Project.

This means many exciting prospective projects, including teaching creative writing to young people in refugee camps and then, through these efforts, facilitating collaborative learning—things like pen pal partnerships and other ways of exchanging and engaging with one another’s writing and artwork.

To make this vision a reality, we need your help. Our fundraising drive for this project will last through the end of September. Our deepest thanks to those of you who have already donated to support this work! Click here to donate now.

To explore our growing collection of creative work by refugee youth in its entirety, check out our newly created Refugee Project web portal.

Book Club
Join Book Club today to discuss Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk and to have a say in our October book choice!

We are thrilled to share that we will be joined by Lucy Worsley, a prominent British author and historian to discuss her fantastic book The Austen Girls. Sign up for the December Book Club today to meet Ms. Worsley and discuss this fresh and fun story about some never-before-told trials and tribulations in the life of Jane Austen!

Weekend Project
For your weekend project, I encourage you to explore, in writing or artwork, the idea of “other worlds.” You can explore this theme through many lenses. You might seek, through your creative efforts, to create a sense of place that feels foreign, unfamiliar, or alternate to your own world. Or you might go even deeper and explore, in your writing or artwork, the concept of alienation. How might you represent being unsettled? How might you challenge a sense of rootedness and belonging in your characters or artistic subjects?

As always, we encourage you to submit the work you produce to Stone Soup for consideration either in the magazine or on the blog.

Until next time,

Former Contributor Sabrina Guo Garners Recognition from President Biden

Write and publish a multimedia E-book with Dr. Jiang Pu!

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"!

Selfie Contest 2021: 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.

Highlights from the past week online

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

Young Blogger Daniel, 10, reviewed Robert Louis Stevenson’s iconic novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

ParwanaAmiriFrom Stone Soup
September 2021

It Needs Courage!

By Parwani Amiri, 16 (Herat Province, Afghanistan [Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece])

It needs courage to build a school !
It needs courage to touch children’s hearts !
It needs courage to welcome homelessness !
It needs courage to stand with us in one line !
It needs courage to open an educational house !
It needs courage to trade hope for hopelessness !
It needs courage to give pens to those who have never touched a pen before !
It needs courage to paint the black-and-white world of the wounded !
It needs courage to advocate from silence !
It needs courage to give shelter to others !
It needs courage to stay a human !
It needs courage !
It needs courage
It’s easy to destroy !
It’s easy to break hearts !
It’s easy to shout at the silenced !
It’s easy to close your eyes on truths !
It’s easy to hurt those who have been hurt many times !

It’s easy to sit aside !
It’s easy to show your power against weakness !
It’s easy !

But we will never give up !
We will build again, stronger than before !
We will help again, more committed than before !
We will bring happiness and stay happy, happier than before !
We will make islands free

Read more from the September 2021 Issue, plus more poetry by Parwani.

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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