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The Shooting Star a boy, girl and dog
"Tiny only barks at you if he doesn't know you"

Illustrator Chelsey Scheffe, 13 for The Shooting Star by Samantha Cecil, 10.
Published September/October 2004.

A note from William Rubel

Print is back!

Yes, home delivery is back. We started printing Stone Soup again last January and are now pleased to be able to tell you that we are restarting subscription-based delivery of beautifully printed Stone Soup issues to your mailbox!*

What is different between now and before? One difference is that we now publish eleven times per year. As a print subscriber you will receive a copy of Stone Soup in your mailbox every month between September and June. In July, you will receive the summer double issue.

What else is different? For those of you who haven’t looked at the PDFs or purchased a print copy, you’ll find that the new Stone Soup is more colorful than before and has a dynamic, updated design. And the content is more varied—we accept a wider range of media in our art submissions (photography included), and we publish more standalone art. There are special thematic issues, such as poetry, food, science writing, historical fiction, and more. The issues also vary in length a little—some of our special issues, such as science writing or food, are a few pages longer than the others.

For the new Stone Soup we turned to the highly respected London-based designer Joe Ewart. Joe is known in London museum and art circles as the go-to designer for catalogues and monographs (art books devoted to a single artist). We asked him to give us a look that will graphically put our young contributors’ writing and art on a par with the literary and artistic work of adults—that is what Stone Soup is all about, after all—and he did!

Sneak preview! Look at these gorgeous covers and inside pages from issues between January and September.


What is the difference between a print subscription and a digital subscription? We publish the best writing (fiction, poetry, and some short nonfiction) and art that is sent to us, around thirty pages per issue. If you buy a print-only subscription, you will receive the physical magazine in your mailbox. In addition, we now publish book reviews every week on our website, and every week we also publish blog posts by Stone Soup writers on the wide range of topics that our contributors and subscribers care about—from sewing to sport, family life to environmental issues. So, when you subscribe to the digital Stone Soup you get the current issues of the magazine in digital form, plus about 20 years’ worth of back issues, plus the book reviews and blog posts already mentioned. You also receive access to activities linked to the writing and art stored online, as well as music, interviews with authors, and more.

Our new order page has all the details, with packages that allow you to choose print, digital, or a bundle with both. Stone Soup is the perfect gift for any creative child between the ages of 7 and 13. Please join us for another year of new issues, and help us spread the word that not only are we are still here after 45 years, we are back in print!

Until next week

*Subscriptions including home delivery of print issues are currently only available in the U.S. and Canada. Individual print issues can be delivered from the Stone Soup online store to other regions of the world.

This week's story and art from the archives

Thirteen-year-old Chelsey Scheffe’s bold, colorful illustrations complement 10-year-old Samantha Cecil’s powerful story about the challenges and tribulations of school popularity in “The Shooting Star.” Read on to discover if the school nerd Darren’s wish upon a star, to become popular at school, comes true—and how matters unfold...

We hope you enjoy the art and writing we bring to you from our archives every Saturday! You can peruse the illustrations and read the first few paragraphs in the newsletter, and then click through to our site using the 'more' link at the bottom of the story section to read the rest. Remember, subscribers have full, unlimited access to the whole archive on the Stone Soup website. Non subscribers can read a limited number of stories, poems and posts.

Don't miss the latest content from our book reviewers and young bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

This week, the Stone Soup editors have been busy adding material that might be interesting or inspirational for those of you thinking of entering the Secret Kids Contest that we announced a few weeks ago. The top prize for the contest is a book deal with a publisher, which we think is a great incentive to start polishing up your best long-form work. Be ready to submit before January 1, 2019!

The contest is accepting work from kids as young as 5, and up to age 18, in four age groups (meaning there are four prizes to be awarded). This week, we have been looking into juvenilia produced by writers from the past who later became famous adult writers—writers like Jane Austen, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and the Brontës. We have also put up the text of Daisy Ashford’s The Young Visiters, a classic work of child fiction initially published in the early decades of the twentieth century. Enjoy, be inspired, and don’t miss this opportunity to reach an even wider audience with your own long-form fiction.

The Shooting Star boy by the window
He closed his eyes and whispered, "I wish I was popular at school"

From Stone Soup
September/October 2004

The Shooting Star 

By Samantha Cecil, 10
Illustrated by Chelsey Scheffe, 13


Darren Milar sighed as he walked into the schoolyard. All around him kids were laughing, running, and playing. The sound of tetherball chains as they clinked against their metal poles rang out as Darren passed. When kids started school again, they were sometimes nervous, excited, or a little sad. But that was nothing compared to what Darren felt.

Ever since kindergarten, Darren had been the outcast. The nerd, if you had to put it that way. Other kids had had loads of friends, and turned against him. Darren had only one friend, Ian, and Ian was just as nerdy as Darren, without the glasses and braces. The start of school meant Darren was back to rude notes on his locker, people laughing at him in the corridors, and Ian telling him to ignore them. But he couldn’t ignore them, and already Darren knew, the second he walked into the schoolyard, that he was off to the start of another terrible year.

And so it was, another terrible first day back. In the corridors, even kids younger than him, sixth-graders, laughed at him. As usual, in classes, teachers told him that he had extraordinary talent, while people sniggered and pointed behind the teacher’s back. Ian is never laughed at, thought Darren, looking around at Ian. He was sitting, working in his math book. How does he do it? thought Darren desperately.

*          *          *

Later that night in bed, Darren lay propped up on pillows, looking at the stars. He had heard that there would be shooting stars tonight. He was thinking of a wish, and it wasn’t hard. He closed his eyes and whispered, “I wish I was popular at school.”But when he opened his eyes, nothing had happened. His wish hadn’t come true.

*          *          *

The next day at school Darren had totally forgotten about his wish. He and Ian were talking when suddenly, a hush fell over the blacktop. That was not normal, even the tetherball chains weren’t clinking. Darren and Ian stopped talking and looked up. Standing in front of them was the prettiest girl Darren had ever seen.She had long red hair that reached nearly to her waist, and eyes as green as jade. A few freckles were scattered across her nose. She could have been a model if she hadn’t had the ugliest scowl on her face, if her faded jeans weren’t torn at the knees, and if her Good Charlotte shirt was still black, instead of a smoky gray. Darren was paralyzed. He didn’t know whether she was an angel or a devil. .../more

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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