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

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?

Winter Writing Comp winners! (2012)

Congratulations to the three winners from our 2012 winter story-writing competition.

UNDER 7s WINNER—Finn Canham

The Great Escape

One day there was a fluffy rabbit called Caramel. He saw the most fattest and juiciest orange carrot!

He came up with a plan. The plan was that he dug 1 metre down. Then he put his plan into action. But there was a rock, if he went around it he would lose his path so he dug up but there was a rock. He had to go backwards and dig up.

He ran over to the orange carrot and he realised it was so big that he couldn’t carry it home so he ate half of it. Then it was the size of two orange carrots. That was good because the rest of his family was two other rabbits. Caramel was the only baby they had.

He carried it back down the burrow and went home. Then they enjoyed their lunch, it was orange carrot soup.


The Desk

I am waiting in anticipation for the classroom door to open. It’s the start of 2012 and I’m starting Grade 4. My ex-best friends are hanging out with Belinda. Since we had a fight in Grade 2, they have been ignoring me. My new teacher comes into the classroom.

“Sorry class, I left the key to the classroom in the staff room!”

Yes, Mr Brown’s class. He is the funniest teacher in the whole school. I’m crossing my fingers that I have a great desk. Back in Grade 2, I scribbled in my desk but my teacher caught me. I closed my desk and gave my most innocent smile. When I opened it, the scribble had disappeared! Believe me, it’s creepy!

The best bit is hunting for your desk at the start of the year. My teachers always place our nametags on the desk to let us know where we are sitting. I open my orange desk and guess what I saw? That’s right, I saw the scribble I made in Year 2. How queer. The teachers must have misplaced the desk when they were cleaned at the end of last year! I sigh thinking of the times I had in Year 2. Sitting at my old desk has made me nostalgic. If only I was wiser back then. If only I could send my young self a message to wise up. I sigh again and wrote myself a note:

Dear Bonnie,

You might not believe this, but I am actually you 2 years older. I remember having trouble with friends in Year 2; so, if you have any trouble, feel free to ask me for advice!

Signed: Bonnie from Grade 4.

I shut my desk thinking how silly I am trying to write to my 7-year-old self. After I have prepared my stationery for the day, I open my desk to retrieve my book to read and I am flabbergasted by what I see. The letter that I wrote to my old self has disappeared and in replacement is a reply with my 7-year-old writing, big and messy.

Dear Bonnie,

I made a mistake. Now my friends don’t like me anymore. I was trying to have fun and when Emma was about to sit down, I took her chair away. She fell and started crying. Help me think of a way to make up for that joke.

Love Bonnie.

Hmm … I have to help young Bonnie think something to repair our friendship again.

Dear Bonnie,

Write a sorry letter to them or make a sorry card. Otherwise they might hate you for not saying sorry.

Love Bonnie.

After news session in class, I go back to my desk and find another note:

Dear Bonnie,

Thanks for all your help. Cassie, Emma and I are best friends again.

Love Bonnie.

Emma and Cassie run towards me and give me a big bear hug. They hold my hands and for the first time in a long time, I feel popular.

UNDER 12s WINNER: Ellie Rose Fisher


The sun’s strong, amber fingers found their way through the skylight, onto the cheek of the sleeping girl. Elizabeth Fleckfeather stirred and opened her sea green eyes. She could hear the sea churning and birds singing their songs to the morning, see her room—a jumble of books, socks and swimming awards—feel the warmth of the sun on her cheek and smell salt and books by her bedside.

Elizabeth sprang out of bed and to her dressing table. She scraped her hair into a scruffy bun, pulled on her moss green swimming costume and woke her dog, Rosie, from her wickerwork basket. The girl and her dog sprinted downstairs to the back door, where she unlatched the handle and pushed.

A wave of fresh, salty sea air came through the door and greeted the girl. Elizabeth thought she would never tire of that smell, salty and fresh of the sea. She skipped down the gravel path, flanked by silver birch and olive trees, her dog running silently at her heels.

She came to the dunes, took the rabbit track she wanted and found herself on a rocky cliff top. She went down the rivulets the rain had made in the rock; all the way down to the beach. There the sun sparkled on the water as if it were made of crystal and the sand of crushed diamonds. Elizabeth dived into the ocean. The sea was so very cold and the girl shivered in delight as it penetrated her skin—it was a lovely sensation and one she would never, ever tire of.

Elizabeth swam deeper and deeper into the sea, nearer and nearer to the old shipwreck. She’d heard tales of the old shipwreck—that it was haunted, the sailors’ bones were still down there, that it had the power to suck you under the water. Elizabeth had always disregarded these tales and dived near the old wreck every day. This day was no exception.

The wreck was slimy with seaweed and algae and was covered with lichen and moss. Shells like coils of toothpaste and white paint flecked the ship, which was crumbling apart at the planks. Small crabs and other creatures scuttled in and out of the port holes—glass now gone from age and sea water.

Elizabeth dived into the wreck, under the deck, swimming through curtains of tiny, bright orange fish and dodging several long wavy black eels—deeper than she had ever been before.

Below deck it was gloomy and she could only see a few centimetres ahead of her, so it was not very surprising what happened next.

Elizabeth was just about to leave the murky depths, when it happened. There came an ominous whooshing sound from the corner, where a large hole rotted. Elizabeth looked over her shoulder and the sight that met her eyes made her scream. Water filled her mouth and she was sucked into the hole—out of this world.

Well done Finn, Celine and Ellie Rose! These three talented writers have received a certificate and a $20 book voucher.

If you’d like to enter our spring writing competition (or the 2012 design-a-cover competition), check out the competitions page on our website. Good luck!


competitions, info

Winter 2012 writing competition

Entries close 12 JULY 2012

Boy writing. Artwork copyright Greg MitchellWrite a story no longer than 500 words (shorter is fine). Your story should include the word ‘orange’.

You can enter as many times as you like, but each entry must include a separate competition entry form. This may be printed from the website (see competition rules), photocopied, or contact us to have one emailed or posted to you.

Your entry can be handwritten or typed. Make a copy of your entry as we cannot return entries.

A $20 book voucher is awarded to the winner in three age categories: Under 7s, Under 9s, and Under 12s.

competitions, National Year of Reading

Autumn 2012 writing competition

Entries close 12 APRIL 2012

Imagine your favourite folktale or fairytale has been rewritten as a newspaper article. Create the perfect headline for that article! (We only need a headline. You do not need to write the article.)

You can enter as many times as you like, but each entry must include a separate competition entry form. This may be printed from the website (see competition rules), photocopied, or contact us to have one emailed or posted to you.

Your entry can be handwritten or typed. Make a copy of your entry as we cannot return entries.

A $20 book voucher is awarded to the winner in three age categories: Under 7s, Under 9s, and Under 12s.


Activities (Issue 14)

For each issue of the magazine (going back to issue 7), we will add activities and a themed listening list to the ACTIVITIES tab—you’ll find the tab at the top of the blog.

The theme for this issue is PAPER. Enjoy!


Alphabet Soup issue 14 cover


for Issue 14—PAPER

1. DECORATE a greeting card using mosaics in paper.

You will need:
Coloured paper and/or unwanted magazine and newspaper pages
White runny glue
A blank card (or fold a piece of paper or card in half to create your own)

What to do:
Cut the coloured paper, magazine pages and newspaper pages into little pieces. Sort them into piles of similar colours.
Draw a simple picture on your blank card. Then glue on the little pieces of paper to ‘colour in’ the picture. Overlapping pieces is OK. Or you might like to leave a tiny white border around each piece you glue on, like tiles on a mosaic.

When all the coloured paper is glued on, paint a thin layer of glue over the pieces, to seal it. Set it aside to dry.

Now you have a home-made card for the next friend or family member with a birthday!

2. MAKE PAPER DOLL CHAINS (or gingerbread men chains).

Make paper doll chains (or gingerbread men chains): You could use your paper doll chains to decorate a card or wrapped present, or you could swap chains with a friend.  If you’ve never made paper doll chains before, check out this website for some instructions.

3. PLAY Rock Paper Scissors

This is a very old game and a fun way of deciding something like who will have the first turn on the trampoline today. You need two people to play. The players sit opposite each other and hold their hands closed (make a fist). Together they count ‘one, two, three’ and then each extends a hand in front of the other player, showing a rock, paper, or scissors shape.

Rock—hand remains as a fist
Paper—hand is held flat with the fingers all together
Scissors— thumb, ring finger and pinky fold under and the pointer and middle finger stretch out like scissors cutting

If the players both have the same shape, it’s a tie, and you’ll have to go again! But if they have different shapes, here are the rules:

Rock can beat scissors. (Rock makes scissors blunt)
Paper can beat rock. (It can wrap it up)
Scissors can beat paper. (It can cut it)


You probably already know about Noughts and Crosses. But there are HEAPS of other games you can play with only a pencil and paper. Check out this website for instructions—the next time you’re waiting for your sister to finish hockey training or your brother to finish band practise, grab a pencil (and another player) and the time will fly!

5. WRITE a letter to someone far away.
Then post it. Everyone loves to get a letter in the mail, and they might even write back to you.

6. ENTER our Autumn writing competition.

All you have to do is come up with a fabulous newspaper headline! Find all the details on how to enter here.


Our listening list is compiled by Danielle Joynt, from Cantaris. Danielle has also included comments for some of these pieces. (Tip: Ask about CDs at your public library—libraries often have a good collection of CDs for loan if you prefer not to buy.)


The Lost Art Of Letter Writing is a four-movement concerto for violin and orchestra written by the Australian composer Brett Dean.

Each movement in the concerto begins with an excerpt from a 19th-century letter, with a violin evoking the mood of each letter as it plays the alternate roles of writer and recipient.
Authors of the letters include composers Jonahes Brahms and Hugo Wolf, artist Vincent Van Gogh and outlaw Ned Kelly. Hear a really short extract of the music here. You can also download a sample page of the score from the same website.


Origami is the name of a ballet written by the Australian composer David Chisolm. It was choreographed by Philip Adams and first performed by the dance group BalletLab and the musicians of the Silo String Quartet in Melbourne in 2006. You can view a short excerpt of the performance (and hear the music!) on BalletLab’s website.
The structure of the music is built as if opening one giant fold, like a reverse origami, flattening out the memory of the paper, not to erase it, but to create a place from whence it is possible to begin again.


Duo Diorama is the name of  the music duo comprising Chinese violinist MingHuan Xu and her husband, Canadian pianist Winston Choi.
They have named themselves after the Diorama, as it captures their artistic ideals. You can listen to them play on their website.
In the 19th-century Paris, the Diorama was a popular theatre entertainment.
It comprised marvelous landscape scenes—with one depicting a mythic event—painted on to linen and brought to life using dramatic effects.
These included Diorama lighting—sunlight redirected by a series of mirrors. Such was the skill of the virtuoso light artists, that the diorama’s scenes would appear to take on dimensions and motion—to come alive.

Activities and listening list for issue 13 (summer 2011) unavailable

See the activities and themed listening list for issue 12 (spring 2011)

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 11 (winter 2011)

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 10 (autumn 2011)

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 9 (summer 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 8 (spring 2010).


competitions, teachers' resources

Summer writing competition – win a $20 book voucher!

Entries close 21 JANUARY 2012

Write a poem no longer than 12 lines. Your poem should contain the word ‘dragon.’

Include a competition entry form. This may be printed from the website (see competition rules), photocopied, or contact us to have one emailed or posted to you.

Your entry can be handwritten or typed. Make a copy of your entry as we cannot return entries.

A $20 book voucher is awarded to the winner in three age categories: Under 7s, Under 9s, and Under 12s.

Happy writing!

Christmas, info

Summer issue coming soon!

The summer issue of Alphabet Soup is only a few weeks away. We can’t wait to show you the cover by the winner of our design-a-cover competition! As you know, the theme for the summer issue is Medieval. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find inside:

  • Q&A with Norman Jorgensen, author of The Last Viking
  • WA fencer Ben Peden
  • Poems, stories and book recommendations
  • Writing tips from the Book Chook.

… and lots more!

Magazine covers
Subscribers receive four copies per year

Christmas subscriptions: Light to post and perfect for kids who love books and creative writing! Let us know if you’re ordering a subscription as a gift.  You can request that the first copy be posted to you (so you can wrap it to put under the tree) or we can post it to the recipient with your message attached on 20 December 2011. Simply add your message in the ‘message to seller’ box if ordering via our website. Or email our editor with your instructions/message.

Plus, subscribers with an Australian delivery address go into a draw every issue to win a $200 book pack. The book pack for our summer 2011 draw is provided by Scholastic Australia! (Note: books in pack may differ from those pictured.)

Books from Scholastic Australia
Subscribe and go into a draw for a $200 book pack!

Keep reading and writing!

Rebecca (Editor)


3rd birthday giveaway – Day 3

Because we’re turning three we’ve been giving away notebooks and pens to celebrate—one writer’s notebook and pen to giveaway each day for three days (today is the last day but check out Monday’s and Tuesday’s posts because you still have until Friday to enter.).

Here’s today’s notebook and pen giveaway. One spiral bound notebook and a blue pen.

Notebook giveaway Day 3
A spiral-bound notebook with elastic attached to hold it closed. Plus blue pen.

If you’d like to enter today’s notebook-and-pen-giveaway, there is one step.

1) Leave a comment at this post letting us know the best children’s book you have read this year. (Or that your child/student has read if you are a parent/teacher entering on a child’s behalf.)

Note: this is a random draw and we will put all the entrants’ names in a hat and draw out the winner.

Some fine print:
We are only able to post the prize to Australian addresses. You are welcome to enter if you live overseas but you will need to nominate a lucky friend or relative in Australia to receive the prize.
Competition opens at 3am on Wednesday 19 October 2011 and ends on Friday 21 October at  11.59pm. (Times as per Perth, Western Australia)
We will announce the winner on the blog on Saturday 22 October. We will ask that the winner emails us an address where we can post the prize. If we do not hear back from the winner by 28 October, we will award the notebook to the runner-up of the competition.
Notebooks and pens were purchased by Alphabet Soup’s editor. We have no affiliation with the brands or stockists and have received no incentives from these companies. (Our editor just went out and bought notebooks with inviting-looking covers.)
No correspondence will be entered into regarding the winner. Our decision is final.