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"Reaching" by Jackie Cutrona, 13 (Bedford, MA) Published in Stone Soup October 2020

A note from William

Honor for Abhi Sukhdial: Here is the link to an interview with Abhi, the winning novelist in our first long-form fiction contest (the 2021 contest is still being judged, with the award announcement coming soon). The interview is in a publication from the prestigious Duke University, in North Carolina.

Abhi started out with Stone Soup writing for our blog. The writing advice he gives in the interview is spot on. I’d like, in particular, to highlight his advice that you do not need to work in chronological order—that if you have an inspiration for the ending, then write the ending. Ultimately, your success in writing fiction of any length is to be engaged with your work, and to stay engaged until it is finished. But you can’t finish if you don’t start!

You can support Abhi’s writing ambitions by buying his book! It is available directly from us at Stone Soup and also from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Annual Drive: We will be sending out letters within a week or two initiating our Annual Drive. This year, Stone Soup substantively increased the range and scope of its programs with the writing prompts, weekly contests, writing workshops, a book club, and more. We know that these programs have been a lifeline for many of our young readers and contributors during this difficult time, and we need your help to continue them, so please respond to our Annual Drive when it is launched. Thank you.

Amazon Smile: The most effortless way to support Stone Soup is to sign up for Amazon Smile. If you go to Smile.amazon.com, you can register so that your purchases will each contribute something to Children’s Art Foundation—Stone Soup Inc. If all of you were to do this going into the holiday season, each of those tiny donations would add up to something profound. The “Stone Soup” story itself is about each of us contributing something small to a community project, achieving together what we may not be able to achieve on our own. Using Amazon Smile takes a small change in behavior at first, but it is fully integrated into your normal Amazon account, so you lose nothing while helping us.

What a brilliant photograph! What a strong image by Jackie Cutrona! A magnificent transformation of a sculpture into an evocative photograph. Pay attention to the play of light and dark. While we normally think of light as the way to focus on what is important—think of the spotlight in traditional theater—in this photograph it is the shadow that highlights the face. Note that little vertical slash of sunlight in the middle of the image. In pulling that into her image, I think Jackie Cutrona really strengthened her vision.

William’s Weekend Project: The project of this weekend is to photograph a sculpture—or an inanimate object like a chair, table, bowl, or car. The industrially produced objects that are everywhere in our life were, at one point, designed by an artist! Use your camera to explore what you are looking at, paying attention to the way the light illuminates the object. Move your camera around. Take lots of pictures; I think you will find that small shifts in perspective may make a big difference in how your photograph works. If you are taking pictures indoors, play around with artificial light to find inspiration. As always, if you like what you make, please go to our website and submit it so Emma, our editor, can consider it for the magazine.

Sabrina Guo: Today I would like to report on some of the work of Sabrina Guo, now a high school student but for many years a regular contributor to Stone Soup. As I have mentioned before, Sabrina has risen to the COVID-19 challenge. She has raised over $80,000, some of that from our Stone Soup family. She has created on ongoing nonprofit that is still involved in getting protective gear to people who need it but has also expanded to, for example, sending art and letters of thanks and encouragement to people who are in special need. I am sharing a recent video about her work below.

Until next week,


Highlights from the past week online

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

Take a virtual trip to Switzerland by reading Vivaan’s latest travelogue on the blog. Read Vivaan’s account to learn more about the country, including its tradition of yodeling.

Blogger Eunice discusses all of her mixed emotions about going back to school during the pandemic. Are you back in school? Leave a comment on Eunice’s post to say how you feel about your school experience this year.

Flash Contest Winners

We received so many wonderful entries to this month's Flash Contest, answering the following prompt:

Write a Poem That Can Be Read Up or Down.

Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions listed below. You can read the winning entries for this contest (and previous ones) at the Stone Soup website.

“Home” by Arishka Jha, 12, Redwood City, CA
“Perspective” by Lily Jones & Sawyer Hanley, both 10, Eugene, OR
“A diary of a young musician” by Alice Ruan, 8, Beaverton, OR
“Fall Fiesta” by Adele Stamenov, 11, Bethel Park, PA
“War, Love, and Peace by Chloe Zhang, 9, Portland, OR

Honorable Mentions
“Save the Earth” by Prisha Aswal8, Portland, OR
“Wild Fire” by Cathy Jiang, 11, Portland, OR
“The Light” by Grace Mancini, 12, Glenside, PA
“Fire and Water Collide” by Sophie Yu, 12, Houston, TX
“My Toys” by Jessie Zhang, 8, Portland, OR

Contest, partnership & project news

More readers for the podcast needed! We’re still looking for a few more young readers to record stories and poems from the archives for our podcast that will be released soon. Email sarah@stonesoup.com for more information.

ReachingFrom Stone Soup
October 2020

The Book With No Words

By Michaela Frey, 12 (Herndon, VA)
Photographed by Jackie Cutrona, 13 (Bedford, MA)


One word today, thought Meri.


*          *          *

Yesterday was three words.

For Meri, speaking was like a honeybee sting.

The bee has one chance to sting, then it dies. A word = a sting.

Meri talked plenty in her head, but talking out loud was dangerous.

Silence was better.

. . . /MORE

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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