Local youth’s artwork published in national magazine

Wardlaw-Hartridge School has her work prominently displayed in children’s publication

BY DAN NEWMAN Staff Writer

Most people looking to have their artwork displayed prominently have to wait many years just to be noticed or recognized. For Edison resident Athena Gerasoulis, the wait was much shorter.

The 10-year-old fifth-grader at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School recently had some of her artwork published in the November/ December issue of Stone Soup, a magazine that has been written and illustrated by young people bimonthly since 1973 and accepts less than 1 percent of the work it receives for publication.

Besides having had a caring nanny when she was younger, Athena also has a mother who saw a talent in her young daughter and wanted to foster it.

“When Athena was a toddler, she had a nanny that was also an amateur painter,” said her mother, Zhang Xiaolan, “so she always has been involved with artwork and poetry, and I wanted to find a place that was interested in the work of young children,” Xiaolan explained. “We subscribed to Stone Soup, and she read three or four issues and she really liked it.”

So, Xiaolan decided to mail her daughter’s work to the magazine. The magazine staff said they really liked Athena’s work and that they’d contact her at some point in the very near future.

“She was making so much progress at that point, and I was really hopeful that she would get a chance to have her work shown,” Xiaolan said.

Eventually, Athena received the notification that any young, aspiring writer or artist would want.

“I had to wait a few weeks, but then Stone Soup emailed my mom and told her that they wanted me to do some artwork for one of their future issues,” Athena said. “I was really excited about it, and I told a lot of kids at school.”

The story she did the artwork for is titled “Twenty-Six” and was written by Adrienne Hohensee, of West Linn, Ore. Athena said the people at Stone Soup sent her the story so that she was able to do the accompanying illustrations. The magazine contains about 10 to 15 written pieces in each edition and has a circulation of about 15,000.

“I’m really excited that a lot of people can see my work,” Athena said. “I was one of the youngest people to be able to have my work in the magazine, and hopefully I can write for them someday, too.”

Athena Gerasoulis Athena Gerasoulis Xiaolan said her daughter is also interested in tennis and playing the piano but that her true loves are writing and creating artwork.

“She loves to write and do art as well,” Xiaolan said. “Stone Soup was impressed with her work, and I’m glad they let her be in the magazine.”