Posted in competitions, info

What’s ahead

Ferris Wheel © 2013 Rebecca NewmanWe’re still on school holidays here in WA (we seemed to start our holidays later than the rest of you this time around) and we still have one more week to go! One of the best things about school holidays for me (apart from not having to make school lunches) is being able to read lots more books. I usually try to fit in a bit of extra writing, too. When my brain isn’t so busy it’s often easier to come up with new ideas …

If you’re on holidays and you need some motivation to get your pen (or keyboard) out, don’t forget to check out our Comps for Kids page for a list of current competitions open to primary-school aged kids.

And don’t forget! Entries for Alphabet Soup’s story-writing comp close on 1 May 2013 (you can email your entry, so there’s still time to get writing about your Mum’s secret super power. Check out all the details here.).

Make sure you visit us again on Wednesday — we’ll have James Foley visiting to talk about his work as a writer and illustrator.

And for the rest of 2013 we’ll be sharing lots of our favourite classic poems (my friend calls them ‘oldies but goodies’) — along with all the usual book reviews, author and illustrator interviews and YOUR fabulous stories, poems, book reviews and artwork.

Did you read any books over the holidays? What would you recommend? Do you have a favourite poem? Let us know in the comments!

~ Rebecca

Posted in info

Alphabet Soup magazine closes

issue 1

It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Alphabet Soup magazine. The first issue of the magazine was published in 2008 and for over four years we were proud to bring you a magazine that showcased children’s own writing and artwork alongside that of adults, and promoted the fabulous work of Australia’s talented children’s authors and illustrators.issue 2

Subscribers who have remaining issues under their current subscriptions will soon receive a letter explaining the payment of refunds for those issues. We have added a FAQ tab at the top of the blog with further information about the magazine’s closure. If you have further questions, please contact us.

issue 3Our heartfelt thanks go to our subscribers, past contributors (authors, illustrators and columnists), our young writers and artists, and everyone who has supported us and celebrated with us over the past four years. We will continue with Soup Blog (and also Facebook and Twitter)—so do please continue to visit for news about upcoming book events, author and illustrator interviews, book reviews and children’s writing and artwork.

~ Rebecca Newman, Editor

"issue 4 cover"

issue 5

issue 6

issue 7

"Issue 8 cover (spring 2010)"

"Alphabet Soup magazine issue 9 cover"

"Issue 10 cover Alphabet Soup"

Issue 11 cover, Alphabet Soup magazine

issue 12

Alphabet Soup Issue 13 cover

Alphabet Soup issue 14 cover

Alphabet Soup issue 15 cover

Alphabet Soup issue 16 (cover)

issue 17 (cover)

Autumn 2013 Alphabet Soup (cover)

Autumn 2013 writing comp for kids


Entries close 12 April 2013 1 May 2013 (deadline extended)

Write a story about your mum’s secret superpower. It might be an imaginary superpower, like flying. Perhaps her secret superpower is that she can grow the biggest tomatoes, can kick a football further than anyone in the world or always knows the time without looking at a clock. What’s YOUR mum’s secret superpower? Word limit: 500 words. (It’s OK if your story is shorter than this but don’t go over the word limit!)

Download an entry form from the magazine’s website (and you can read the terms and conditions there, too).

[update: Please note that this competition is still running, even though the print magazine has closed]

Posted in info

Autumn 2013 Issue – out now!

Autumn 2013 Alphabet Soup (cover)

The autumn 2013 issue will start arriving in mailboxes today. Inside:

  • Q&A with author Tania McCartney
  • Meet John, who talks about going to school in 1941
  • Stories and poems and book recommendations
  • The Book Chook with tips for writing fabulous story-endings
  • Word puzzles
  • Stories, poems, artwork and book reviews by kids
  • Autumn writing competition

… and more!

For details about how to subscribe (or to buy single copies), visit the magazine’s website.

Happy reading!

Posted in info

Happy International Book Giving Day 2013!

International Book Giving Day

Today (14 February 2013) is International Book Giving Day. And you thought it was Valentine’s Day, didn’t you?

Since today was a SPECIAL day for book giving, I donated a book to my daughter’s classroom this morning. (I also bought a book to give away to another young friend but I’m leaving it for her secretly, so I can’t talk about it here. Don’t tell her, OK?)

Today’s giving-away book was from the magazine’s review pile. We’ll be posting a review up soon! It was Stories for 6 Year Olds—a collection of short stories by fabulous writers, and illustrated by Tom Jellet. (There is a series published by Random House Australia. So, you can also read Stories for 5 Year Olds, Stories for 7 Year Olds, and Stories for 8 year Olds. If you click on the titles I just listed, you can read a free sample on the publisher’s website. Excellent! *)

Here is the book on my kitchen table, just before it was released into the wild:

Stories for 6 year olds (Cover)

You can take part in International Book Giving Day, too! Check out the International Book Giving Day site for lots of info about the day, or quietly give a book (new or second hand) to someone who could do with a good read.  Maybe you could just recommend a school library book for your friend to borrow if you don’t have a book to give away.

Tell us the titles of books you give! Unless you give it secretly. Sometimes it’s more fun to do it secretly …

* Oh, and don’t forget you can still read Stories for 6 Year Olds if you are 7. Or Stories for 5 Year Olds if you are 8. Just because you had a few extra birthdays doesn’t mean the stories stop being fabulous! Look at me, I’m waaaaaaay older than 6 now, but I still enjoyed reading all the books in the series. (If you’re still too embarrassed to read a book with the ‘wrong’ number on the cover, find a young friend that age and read it to them. Then you both get to read it. Everyone wins!)

~Rebecca, Alphabet Soup‘s editor

Posted in info, teachers' resources

Free back issues (just ask!)






Magazine covers

UPDATE (20 January 2014). APOLOGIES – following the closure of Alphabet Soup’s print magazine, this offer is no longer available. 

We’re giving away free back issues!


Alphabet Soup magazine is run as a small business—and our only income is from the sale of subscriptions and single copies. We’d love to continue to keep the magazine free of advertisements, but advertising would certainly help us financially.

So—can you help us to keep the magazine ad-free?

If you love Alphabet Soup, please spread the word for us. (Most of our subscribers say they first heard about the magazine from another subscriber.) To help you spread the word, from 4 January until the 4 February 2013, we will give away a back issue to the first 200 people who request it. You don’t even need to pay for the postage. We just ask that you show it to your favourite book-loving teacher, friend or family member!


Just  email our editor and remember to include your postal address.

Fine print:

  • Due to the cost of postage, we can only post free back issues to Australian addresses.
  • The back issue we send will be selected at random from the back issues we have in stock. (You won’t be able to request a particular back issue, and it may not be one of the back issues pictured above.)
  • The offer of a free back issue is only available to the first 200 people who request it.**
  • The offer of a free back issue is only available until 4 February 2013 or until 200 copies have been requested, whichever comes first.
  • We will not use your postal address for any reason other than to post you a free back issue. We will not pass your details on to any other party, except where required by law.
  • We will post out back issues every few days. Thanks for being patient!

**Please note: There is no expiry date for requests from Australian schools.

Thank you. (And Happy New Year to all our readers, writers and artists … and subscribers!)

~ Rebecca
Alphabet Soup magazine

Posted in Christmas, info

Last-minute Christmas orders!

Magazine covers

From today until 21st December 2012 all orders to Australian addresses will be sent via Express Post at no extra charge.

Prices: Single copies are only $8.20, a 1-year subscription (4 issues) costs $29.80 and a 2-year subscription (8 issues) costs $50.00. All prices include postage and handling.

Order online with a credit card on the magazine’s website.

Your shipping will be upgraded to Express Post at our office automatically, you do not need to enter a code when you order.

issue 17 (cover)
Have you read the current issue?
Posted in info

2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award – The Winners!


And you know what that means … it’s time to announce the winners of the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award!



Polar Bear by Daniel Hayes

The judge’s comments: This painting captures the drama of a long, dark arctic winter. Imagine this lonely polar bear waiting months and months for the sun to rise again! Despite being immersed in the freezing gloom, the artist has given the bear and her iceberg a magical inner glow.

Daniel wins $50 from the Book Chook, an art appraisal with James Foley, and a copy of James Foley’s book In the Lion.



It’s night time, thought Jake. I hate night time. Jake was lying on his bed, looking out the dark window. He was 11 years old and had brown hair and eyes.


Jake heard some spray and saw the window cover in water drops.

‘What was that?’ he asked himself. He jumped out of his covers and sneaked towards the window. It wasn’t rain because it was only a quick burst of misty water. Jake opened the window and stuck his head out. He saw a large cloud of mist swirling around his neighbourhood.

Strange … Jake thought. It must be a dream … I’ll pinch myself. Jake pinched himself hard and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was in his bed and it was morning, yet the window was still covered in misty water.

Jake hopped out of bed and hobbled down the stairs. His breakfast was already waiting for him at the table.

‘I’m not hungry right now,’ Jake said to himself. ‘Something’s not right.’ Jake dressed himself and stumbled out the door. He jogged to the nearby beach and saw that most of the beach parasols had been washed into the ocean, plus mounds of seaweed were piling on the shore.

I knew something was wrong, Jake thought to himself. The beach has been wrecked.

Jake jogged home to tell his parents, but something captured his eyes. His parents’ car was gone! He panicked. Where were his parents? Surely they wouldn’t be gone at this time of the morning. The front lawn of Jake’s house was wet and ruined.

Jake heard a windy sound from behind him. He turned around and saw a massive cloud of misty water! The mist was swirling around at high speed, ripping out plants and pulling pots and cars. One of the cars Jake saw was his parents’ car!

‘No!’ Jake yelled. Jake ran as fast as his legs could carry him, but he was too slow …

The judge’s comments: This story carefully builds suspense, and Jake’s feeling of foreboding pulls the reader through the story. Abandonment is an age-old theme in storytelling and this story leaves us guessing what is to come. We sense that Jake is capable but his fear is real.

Simon wins $50 from the Book Chook, a manuscript appraisal with Dee White, and a copy of the e-book Ten Top Writing Tips for Kids—What to Write About.



Smart and clever,
Cunning and quick,
The raccoon darts,
Weaves and dips
Between the buildings,
In the night,
Guided by
The silver moonlight.
The sun is rising,
Night is away
Hurry my friend
Before the brand new day.

The judge’s comments: Line breaks and well-chosen words reflect the movement of the raccoon at night. The poet conveys a lot of action in this brief poem.

Rose wins $50 courtesy of the Book Chook, a poetry appraisal/mentorship with Lorraine Marwood, and a copy of A Ute Picnic.


Second Place (Artwork)—Caspian by Benjamin Woo, 6, Malaysia.

Second Place (Story)—UFO by Harry Cordingley, 10, WA.

Second Place (Poem)—The Sun, Ellie Rose Fisher, 11, WA.

Benjamin, Harry and Ellie Rose each receive a runner-up medal.

If you’d like to submit writing and/or artwork for Alphabet Soup‘s 2013 issues, check out our submission guidelines.

Posted in authors, info

What to Write About (Dee White)

Dee White (photo)Yesterday we announced the Alphabet Soup Creativity Award—for outstanding work published in Alphabet Soup magazine in 2012. Today we welcome Dee White to share some ideas for what to write about, and to tell us about the prize she has donated for the winner in the Most Outstanding Story category.

Over to Dee!

A House Can Tell A Story

There are so many potential stories hidden inside your home.

You just have to use your imagination and look for them.

  1. What if you opened a drawer and found a secret letter hidden there?
  2. What if something in your house came to life and started chasing you or wanted to be your friend?
  3. What if your house could talk and told you a story about the people who used to live there before you did?
  4. What if your house got blown away like Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz and you ended up somewhere completely different?
  5. What if there was a treasure chest hidden in your garden?
  6. What if there was a secret compartment in the wall of your bedroom and it led to another world?

One of my favourite things to do when I can’t think what to write about is to look around a room in my house and pick an object. It could be a wall, a door, a light switch, anything.

Next I imagine what it would be like to be that object sitting there day after day. I think about what that object can see and do and how it might feel. Then I write a piece about it.

It’s fun to do this with a writing friend and see if they can guess which object in the room you are writing about.

This excerpt is from Dee’s new e-book, 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids: What to Write About.

Dee is donating a free copy of this book and one hour’s mentoring (a manuscript appraisal) to the winner of the Most Outstanding Story category of the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award.

Here’s how it works.

The winner will send a 500-word piece of writing to Dee. If it’s part of a longer story they’ll need to also send in a plot summary or information about what happens in the rest of the story. Dee will give tips on how to improve the piece of writing and the winner’s skills in general. She’ll also answer questions they might have about the piece or writing in general.


10 Top Writing Tips for kids
10 Top Writing Tips For Kids by Dee White

Dee has written this series to encourage and inspire kids who love to write. 10 Top Writing Tips for Kids: What to Write About was released in November 2012.

Other books in the series coming in 2013 are:

  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Heroes and Villains
  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Want to Be a Writer?
  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Make Your Writing Sparkle

More about the 10 Top Writing Tips books can be found at


Letters to Leonardo (cover)
Letters to Leonardo (Dee’s Young Adult book)


Dee White has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist, but wanted to be an author from the time she was seven. Her first book for young adults, Letters to Leonardo, took more than ten years to research and write. Dee’s other titles include Hope for Hanna, A Duel of Words and Harry’s Goldfield  Adventure.

Hope for Hanna (cover)Harry's Goldfield Adventure

A duel of words (cover)Dee is passionate about encouraging young readers and writers, and her blogs Writing Classes for Kids and DeeScribe Writing are full of career and writing tips for students and new and emerging writers.

She runs writing workshops for primary and secondary students across Australia with sessions focusing on story ideas, plotting and character development. She also runs them online at Writing Classes for Kids.

She is honoured to be providing the prize for the inaugural Alphabet Soup Creativity Award, and hopes that it will help encourage young writers.

For more information on the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award, visit the Award page (there’s a tab at the top of this blog).

Excerpt from 10 Top Writing Tips for Kids: What to Write About © Dee White 2012.