Our new mailing address!

If you receive our e-newsletter*, you will know that we recently moved to a new office. We now have a NEW ADDRESS!

We do love opening mail! So please send all your poems, stories, book reviews and artwork to:

Pile of Letters (artwork copyright Greg Mitchell 2008)Alphabet Soup Magazine
PO Box 3099

(And, YES, Broadway Nedlands is the correct suburb. Don’t shorten it to Nedlands or your mail will be delayed.)

Don’t panic if you’ve just posted something to our old post office address in Willetton—mail to our old address will be forwarded on to the new address for a month or so.

We’re still selecting kids’ writing for our last issue of the year, so send us your best work! And we’ll keep an eye on the new post office box …

~ Rebecca
Editor, Alphabet Soup Magazine

* If you don’t receive our e-newsletter but you’d like to, ask a parent (or teacher) to send us an email with ‘subscribe e-news’ in the subject line. Our e-newsletters are sent about 5 times a year and include news, interesting links to writing or illustrating sites, writing prompts for your journal, and other writing-related bits and pieces.

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.


Three Quick Questions: Frané Lessac (#2)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today we are lucky to hear from Frané Lessac, illustrator and author. Her books include Simpson and His Donkey, Ned Kelly and The Green Sash and many more!

Simpson and His Donkey, illustrated by Frane LessacNed Kelly and the green Sash, illustrated by Frane Lessac

On her website, Frané says “Travelling continues to be a major source of inspiration for my work as I render my impression of a country and its way of life in oil and gouache paintings.”

1. Where do you like to draw/paint/sketch?

I love to paint in my garden studio. I planted bright flowers in primary colours outside the big windows. My walls are covered with art painted by friends and favourite children’s book illustrators. It’s also full of objects that I’ve collected from my travels around the world.

Best of all, my cat and dog come in and join me when I work.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

I’m a picture book person and enjoyed, Flood by Jackie French and beautifully illustrated by Bruce Whatley. It features a lone cattle dog during the recent Queensland floods.

Flood (cover)

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have illustrators’ block?

Paint as you like, and live happy.

Find out more about Frané Lessac and her books—visit her website and her blog and check out more of her artwork here.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Frané Lessac” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … check back tomorrow, when author Wendy Orr answers our Three Quick Questions!)


October is Birthday Month!

balloonsWe’re very excited about October because October is our Birthday Month. And this year we’re turning THREE.

So, three is our favourite number for a month. We have a three-themed writing competition, we’ll be giving away three writers’ journals later in the month (over three days) and from 3rd October we’ll have a stream of writers and illustrators stopping by the blog all month to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS.

All our writers and illustrators will be answering the same three questions:

1. Where do you like to write/draw?

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writers’ block?

Our first visitor will be Oliver Phommavanh—comedian and author of Thai-riffic! and Con-nerd.

See you back here on Monday!


The spring issue is just around the corner …

We’re putting the finishing touches to issue 12—our spring issue. It will be winging its way to your letterboxes in a few weeks.

Remember, you don’t have to subscribe to the magazine to send us your work or to enter our writing competitions.

"Wombat Books"

For those of you who DO subscribe, all our subscribers are entered into a prize draw every season. The winner of the issue 12 Subscribers’ Draw will receive a $200 book pack from Wombat Books—you can see some of their books above. (Books in the winner’s pack might vary.)

See you in spring!

Rebecca Newman, Editor

competitions, info, teachers' resources

Design a cover comp (tips!)

As you know, Alphabet soup runs an annual cover-design competition. The 2011 competition is now open and entries close 16 September 2011. Here are the covers done by our 2009 and 2010 winners, K Larson and A Hatton:

"Issue 5 cover (winner of 2009 design-a-cover comp)""Alphabet Soup magazine issue 9 cover"

Aren’t they brilliant? Yes! And now we need a cover for our summer 2011 issue.

We know you are busting to get to it, so here are some tips for all you budding artists.


Using any materials you like, design a cover for Alphabet Soup magazine.

Important – your artwork must be on one side of a sheet of white A4 paper. Make sure the paper is portrait orientation. Do NOT include the Alphabet Soup logo.

You may eneter as many times as you like, but each entry must have a competition entry form with the declaration signed by you and a parent. (Entry forms can be printed from the website, or contact us to have one sent to you.)

The winner’s artwork will be used on the cover of the summer 2011 issue of Alphabet Soup magazine (out in November 2011), and the winner will receive one copy of the summer 2011 issue and art supplies worth $20.

The theme for the cover is: MEDIEVAL.

Artwork can be realistic, or abstract, or collage, or cartoon-like, or any style you choose. It must be your own work and it must be original (no tracing pictures!). Remember that the magazine’s readers are aged 6 to 12.

If you’d like some more info on Medieval life, ask your parents if you can check out these sites:

Remember that our covers don’t usually have a lot of unused white space. If you draw one item in the middle of the page and nothing else, it would be tricky for us to turn it into a cover for the magazine!

There will be one winner chosen. By entering the competition, you agree to us using your artwork on the cover of the summer 2011 issue of Alphabet Soup magazine. We cannot return entries.

Download an entry form from the Alphabet Soup website.



competitions, info, poetry, teachers' resources

Winter 2011 Alphabet Soup — out now!

Issue 11 cover, Alphabet Soup magazineThe eleventh issue of Alphabet Soup magazine (yay! yay!) was posted yesterday. If you are a subscriber, keep an eye on your letterbox.

Here’s what you’ll find inside the winter issue:

  • Q&A with author, Wendy Orr
  • Meet a beekeeper
  • Writing tips for kids from The Book Chook
  • Stories by Michele Purcell and Emma Cameron
  • Poetry by Edel Wignell, Jackie Hosking and Lorraine Marwood
  • Stories, poems and book reviews by kids
  • Crossword
  • Our winter writing competition
  • Our annual design-a-cover competition

and more!

Later today we’ll be posting the Q&A with Wendy Orr and on Monday we’ll be posting the winning stories from our recent story-writing competition. So stay tuned!

Subscribe to Alphabet Soup magazine


Issue 10 activities: mad scientists!

"Issue 10 cover Alphabet Soup"We’ve updated the ‘Activities’ page! (You’ll find the page on the menu across the top of the blog, under the header picture).



1. PLAY with chemistry online. Check out ChemiCroc—a cool website for primary school kids, with online activities.

2. Check out the International Year of Chemistry 2011: Australia website. There are some chemistry-related word searches and activities.

3. HANDS-ON CHEMISTRY: Visit the CSIRO website to see how you can make your own bath bombs. (Give as gifts, or drop one in your own bath and watch it FIZZ!)

4. TRY a YUMMY EXPERIMENT: experiment with reactions—visit the Science Wizard’s website to find out how to make your own sherbet. Yum! (You’ll find citric acid in the grocery store,  near tartaric acid.)

5. READ some chemistry-themed books! We like George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Can you think of any others? Click here to tell us your favourites, and we’ll add them to the list!


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.)


"Music for the Royal Fireworks cover"This is a suite—originally for wind-band and later re-scored for orchestra—composed by George Frederic Handel in 1749. The music was commissioned by King George ll of Great Britain to celebrate the end of the War Of Austrian Succession and the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

The music was first publicly performed in rehearsal on 21st April 1749 in Vauxhall Gardens, London. Over twelve thousand people attended the rehearsal, causing a three hour traffic jam of carriages, after the central arch  on the newly built London Bridge collapsed.

During the actual concert on the 27th April, the musicians were housed in a purpose-built theatre which caught fire after the collapse of a bas-relief scultpure of King George during the fireworks!


In 2003, researchers in Italy began transforming the low-frequency seismic rumblings of volcanoes into musical scores in an effort to predict when the volcanoes would erupt. Researchers created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna in Sicily and created melodies from Tungurahua in Ecuador. By correlating music with precise volcanic activity, researchers hope to learn the signature tune of an imminent eruption.

3. CARL PHILIPP EMMANUEL BACH (1714-88) compared the music of his father’s generation with “overly-spiced cooking”.

Erik Satie likened the chromaticism of Wagner’s music to sauerkraut!

Sergei Prokofiev compared the cloyingly sweet berries he sampled on a visit to the country with Chopin’s “effete” nocturnes.


Love Potion Number 9 is a classic popular song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was originally performed by The Clovers that year. The well-known version was recorded by The Searchers in 1963.

5. THE ENGLISH COMPOSER EDWARD ELGAR is said to have believed that the tune of the first of his “Pomp and Circumstance” marches would “knock ‘em flat”. As an amateur chemist, he proved that literally …

"Pomp and Circumstance cover"His friend, the conductor and composer William Henry Reed, tells how Elgar delighted in making a ‘phosphoric concoction’ which would explode spontaneously when dry—possibly Armstrong’s mixture, red phosphorus and potassium chlorate, used in toy cap guns. One day, Reed says, Elgar made a batch of the stuff but then musical inspiration struck. He put the mixture into a metal basin and dumped it in the water butt before returning to the house.

‘Just as he was getting on famously,’ wrote Reed, ‘writing in horn and trumpet parts, and mapping out wood-wind, a sudden and unexpected crash, as of all the percussion in all the orchestras on earth, shook the room … The water-butt had blown up: the hoops were rent: the staves flew in all directions; and the liberated water went down the drive in a solid wall. Silence reigned for a few seconds. Then all the dogs in Herefordshire gave tongue.’


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).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 7 (winter 2010).

info, teachers' resources

Indigenous Literacy Day, 1 September 2010

Indigenous Literacy Day aims to help raise funds to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. On 1 September our editor will be in Perth city checking out ILD events organised by Fremantle Press.

"Issue 8 cover Alphabet Soup magazine"On 1 September 2010 Alphabet Soup magazine will donate 10% of all orders received on that day (subscription and single issue orders) to the Indigenous Literacy Project.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a subscription, make sure you place an order on Wednesday! You can subscribe and order single copies of the magazine via our website. (Actually, if you order any day this week and add a note marking it ‘ILD order’, we’ll count it with the orders for 1 Sept!)

A 1-year subscription (4 issues) is only $29.80.