Story Planet Book Wish List

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At Story Planet, we believe that books can shape us and open us up to new and amazing experiences. Some of our best memories are of the books we read growing up, or the books we read to our own children, and we wanted to share some of those with you. Whether you’re looking for a great gift or just want to know what that next library book should be, the following books are some of our most deeply loved and cherished. We hope you love them as much as we do!

If you purchase any of the books through the links below, Story Planet will receive a small commission from Amazon. Any funds Story Planet receives will go towards running workshops and creating amazing programming for children and youth in under-resourced communities all over the GTA. Your purchase can help kids gain access to arts-based programming and keep Story Planet’s mission alive.

Ages 0 – 5
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Why we recommend it: I love reading this book to my niece as t has an empowered female character, and it teaches that things are not always what they seem.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Williams
Why we recommend it: Hilarious story where the pigeon convinces the reader why he should get to stay up past bedtime.

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Why we recommend it: Rhythm, hilarity, dancing cows. This is a favorite read aloud for kids under 5.

A Truck Goes Rattley-Bumpa by Jonathan London
Why we recommend it: We must have read “Tuck Go Bumpa” 5,000 times before my son turned 3 and I never got tired of it.

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
Why we recommend it: I cannot remember how many times I forced my poor parents to read this book to me. I LOVED it. If you have a young person in your life who adores animals, this book is for them.

Ages 5 – 8
A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch
Why we recommend it: This book is filled with beautiful illustrations and is by one of my all-time favourite childhood authors, Robert Munsch. I remember even being a little scared by this story, but the main character is a fantastic heroine who uses her wits to save the day!

The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg by Bill Pete
Why we recommend it: Because it’s a heartfelt story woven together with bouncing rhymes and beautiful pencil crayon illustrations.

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Why we recommend it: Three adorable tales of friendship, two amphibians living in the forest.

Once Upon a Time The End by Geoffrey Kloske and Barry Blitt
Why we recommend it: A hilarious send up of fairy tales and rhymes, as read by a tired parent trying to cut bedtime short.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Why we recommend it: This book features a fantastic heroine who has a great imagination and sense of curiosity – and she’s a scientist!

Ages 8 – 12
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom
Why we recommend it: I loved the idea of all these kids being on an adventure with no adults, sailing and visiting an island and causing trouble with another group of kids (Amazons).

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Why we recommend it: My mother always gave me books for Christmas while I was growing up, and this was one of my favourites. I loved the main character, who was an ordinary girl just like me, but in extraordinary circumstances. It’s set in India, so it also introduced me to a country and culture I knew little about.

Well Wished by Franny Billingsley
Why we recommend it: Magical and beautiful and gripping story of what happens after Nuria makes a wish in the darkly mysterious and unpredictable wishing well in her town.

One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Why we recommend it: This amazing story, told in first person from Ivan’s (a silverback who lives in a “zoo”) innocent and curious perspective, was the first novel my 10 year old son read, and then reread. A truly wonderful story.

Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Why we recommend it: Raina Telgemeier’s wonderful graphic novels capture the humour and “drama” of everything from being a sibling to getting braces. She writes with a warmth and connectivity that truly resonates with both boys and girls.

Ages 12+
A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan
Why we recommend it: Because it’s about magic!

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Peters
Why we recommend it: Oh boy, if you want a story that will make you cry, this is the one! A powerful story about learning to love yourself. I read this at age 12 and have never forgotten it.

The Silverwing Series by Kenneth Oppel
Why we recommend it: This was one of my favourite series growing up! The world Kenneth Oppel creates is so rich and real, and his storytelling kept me riveted from beginning to end.

Ms. Marvel by Willow Wilson
Why we recommend it: This is a really great piece of work that pushes boundaries and allows for fresh new perspectives on superheros. In this comic, Ms Marvel is a young Muslim American girl named Kamala Khan and she explores what it means to be a superhero in her own life. It’s really inspiring and innovative, and it deals with a lot of important issues for today’s context.

Flight by Kazu Kibuishi
Why we recommend it: A collection of short stories from up and coming Cartoonists and Illustrators, filled with beautiful and diverse artistic styles.

Christopher Harris

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there existed an imaginative and creative world named Story Planet. Orbited by the love and dedication of its inhabitants, Story Planet has been home to some of the most amazing creatures.

We would like to introduce the incredibly sweet-tempered, kind and caring, Christopher Harris. Chris, our Research and Outreach Coordinator, is the captain of Story Planet’s Exploration Team. A team of valiant explorers who have undertaken the vital task of reaching out to schools in Toronto in search of groups of young Earthlings who would love our creative help getting their stories out into the universe. The connections that the Exploration Team are building are the foundation of all Story Planet does and Chris and his team make sure that these connections are thoughtful, respectful and responsive from the very first contact. We here at Story Planet cannot be more grateful for his astronomic contributions and his overall generous and caring disposition that makes our little planet shine bigger and brighter.

We asked Chris to answer a few questions about himself to help paint a brighter picture for those who have not met him yet. Check out his responses below!

Introducing Chris

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1. Favourite planet to live:

The only place I’ve ever wanted to live is Earth, specifically Northeastern North America. I am proud to be a cog in the Super Computer churning out the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.

2. Favourite book or the last great one you read:

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – it remains the only book I’ve ever been able to read more than once .

Last great book I read – Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis. Also, East of Eden, which I read years ago, has a portentous beauty that blinds me with its magnificence monthly.

3. Favourite writers:

David Mitchell, Philip Pullman and Warren Ellis are my favourites – I can’t not read anything they’ve ever wrote; Haruki Murakami and I have a tempestuous relationship and he always leaves me with odd feelings largely revolving around jazz or cats.

4. Favourite thing to do on Earth:

I love cooking, baking, eating, drinking, reading and talking; often times all at once, making me mediocre at them all.

5. Favourite Earth food:

New York Pizza. This is the only correct answer. Ice Cream, in certain circumstances, gets part-marks.

6. Favourite moment/memory from your experience here:

My first day volunteering I fell in love with SP. I was nervous, but everyone, including the students, made me feel welcomed and encouraged my creativity. It was, and continues to be, one of my happy places.

 

 

Story Planet Touches Down at the Word on the Street Festival

Story Planet will be setting up a booth at Toronto’s Word on the Street festival on Sunday, September 25th, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll have all kinds of fun activities and merchandise set up for passers by to help them get excited about Story Planet… and that’s why we need you! We are looking for volunteers to help set up our booth, run activities (like button-making!), sell some Story Planet merchandise, and help passers-by get up to speed about Story Planet. We’ll also need help running our Storymaking Workshops under the canopy of Word On The Street’s Learning Tent!

Since it will be a long day of imaginative goodness, we’re looking to rotate volunteers in 2-hour shifts. Let us know when you’re available throughout the day if you’re interested in helping out!

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Can’t volunteer? Join the fun!

Even if you can’t join us on for our workshops or inside the booth, Word On The Street Festival is open to everyone from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will feature all sorts of readings, activities, and writers from Earth and beyond!

Join our Team!

We’ve got lots of exciting opportunities opening up here at Story Planet. Whether you’d like to join our new Research and Outreach Team and help us find opportunities to work with budding writers, help our social media captain get the word out, or join us when we stop by SickKids Hospital on Wednesday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 21, we’d love to hear from you! We’ve listed some of the ways you can get involved down below, but if you’d rather do something else, check back soon! We’ll be blasting lots of updates and opportunities in the coming months!

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Join our Social Media Team!
Story Planet is looking for a volunteer Social Media Support System to work in tandem with our Social Media Expert, Cindy, to create and upload content for our social media sites. This includes writing blog spots for our website, helping to manage our Instagram and Twitter accounts, and updating our Facebook page about current projects and events. Prior experience working with different social media platforms and the ability to engage different audiences an asset. If this sounds like you or someone you know, then email us as soon as possible!

WHEN: ASAP
WHERE: From the comfort of your own headquarters

Story Planet Book Designer
Our alien team is looking for an artist to help us redesign the layout of Story Planet’s books. We are looking for an individual with prior experience with book design and layout to rework the books published at the end of our famous Storymaker Workshops. Times are flexible. Please email us if interested!

WHEN: ASAP
WHERE: TBA 

Our New Story Planet Research and Outreach Team
We’re looking to recruit some earthlings to join our new Research and Outreach Team. Now that we are no longer operating from our physical hub on Bloor, we will need a group of talented assistants to help us locate and research schools, communities and artists/writers around the city. In our attempts to diversify our audience and the people that we work with, the team will help us get a sense of what Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) will most benefit from our programs. Additionally, we are also looking for graphic designers and artists to help us create Story Planet brochures and to do some outreach for us throughout June and July. Email us at volunteer@storyplanet.ca if this opportunity interests you!

WHEN: Ongoing starting June
WHERE: TBA

And as a reminder…
We are requesting that all people interested in volunteering with our Storymakers Workshops, starting in September, to please bring in the original copy of your police record clearance to our head office at Story Planet. This is a strict requirement from the Toronto District School Board in order for our volunteers to enter classrooms. You can drop off your original copy with Michelle any Monday throughout the month of June. Please email any other times you can come in. Please note: without an original copy, you will unable to join us in our incredible workshops. Thank you!

Story Planet at SickKids and a New Way to Get Involved with Story Planet

We’re so looking forward to our visit at SickKids Hospital on Tuesday, June 21. Thanks to the funding we recently received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we’ll be going there to spread the love and thrill of storytelling to blooming storytellers and artists. But we want to do so much more..!

Our New Story Planet Research and Outreach Team
We’re looking to recruit some earthlings to join our new Research and Outreach Team. Now that we are no longer operating from our physical hub on Bloor, we will need a group of talented assistants to help us locate and research schools, communities and artists/writers around the city. In our attempts to diversify our audience and the people that we work with, the team will help us get a sense of what Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) will most benefit from our programs. Additionally, we are also looking for graphic designers and artists to help us create Story Planet brochures and to do some outreach for us throughout June and July. Email us at volunteer@storyplanet.ca if this opportunity interests you!

Volunteering Opportunities with Story Planet and a Book Giveaway

We’d like to send a big thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and everyone else who’s been helping out with our upcoming transition to mobile. Your support means the world to us!

But while we may be closing our physical space soon, we’ve still got lots of opportunities for volunteers to help with workshops. If you’d like to help, click here or email volunteer@storyplanet.ca to get your application started. But please note that the Toronto District School Board requires all of our volunteers to submit an original copy of their vulnerable sector screening (police check) at a cost of $15.

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Book Giveaway

Do you have a connection to a church in your community? We’re giving away 14 copies of In the Days of Sand and Stars by Marlee Pinsker and a few other biblical stories to one lucky individual and their church or classroom. Email us at volunteer@storyplanet.ca to arrange a specific time for pick-up.

Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Our Upcoming Fire Sale, and a Volunteering Opportunity

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Intergalactic Space Party! We had a lot of fun celebrating the next phase of Story Planet with our friends, volunteers and community members.

We are also extremely grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting Story Planet for the next 3 years. It is because of their continued funding and the support of our community that we can continue doing what we love and provide innovative and enriching programming to the citizens of Earth. Thank you!

Big Sale!
If you weren’t able to come out to our Intergalactic Space Party to shop our sale, you’ll have another chance on May 14. Come by any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and shop for chairs, tables, books, and more. Many items are priced at around $5 but many will be available for pay-what-you-can donation. Don’t miss this unbelievable sale!

Volunteer During an App Testing Workshop
During the week of May 17, Story Planet will be jetting off to schools around Toronto to test out exciting and new apps with students in grades 2 and 3. If you are free that week during the day, please email us at volunteer@storyplanet.ca to let us know as soon as possible so we can arrange when you might be able to help run some workshops. Specific school, dates, and times will be announced soon.

An Important Update about our Intergalactic Space Party!

DSC_0243The party date is fast approaching, and has changed! Mark your calendars, this party will take place on Friday, April 29th, 2016 from 7pm – 11pm.

We would also like to add that as much as we would love to read minds, and know your favourite drinks, we may not supply everything you desire.  We will have a very limited supply of wine and beer in exchange for a small donation.  We encourage you to BYOB, in other words, bring your own booze!

Also, bring your loonies and toonies for our very special Story Planet Live Auction at 8:30pm Bid on hidden Story Planet Gems, ranging from an anonymous book to a broken space clock (because time is a flat circle). We will also have a raffle featuring Nokia Phones, cookbooks, AND MORE! It is sure to be a blast!

Story Planet is Going Mobile

Friends of Story Planet, we have exciting news! Our cosmic prayers have been answered and Story Planet has received a much needed grant! However, as of Saturday, April 30th we are closing our physical space and going mobile. From June on we’ll be taking our Storymaker workshops to schools all over the GTA. Stay tuned for more developments. In the meantime, check out how you can get involved with our move!

Help Us Clean Our Space!

cleanupWe’re looking for volunteers to help us organize, package, and deliver items from Story Planet on Wednesday, April 20th and Thursday, April 21st. If you can’t come in to help us physically clean and organize our space, we are also looking for people who have access to a vehicle who can transport our treasures to other charities and communities. Times are flexible. Contact volunteer@storyplanet.ca for more information and to arrange a time to come in. Also, if you know of any organizations who could benefit from art supplies and other space matter, please let us know.

Shop Our Space Debris Sale!
Story Planet is hosting a one-of-a-kind space debris sale from April 20-30! We’ve got desks and chairs used by some of the most creative minds to have ever graced our world, cabinets to hold all those colouring books you purchased from our Adult Colouring and Wine Night, and more! Pictures and details coming soon. Email Liz at liz@storyplanet.ca for specific inquiries.

Come to Our Intergalactic Space Party!
We’re hosting the space party of the millennium in our space on Thursday, April 28 from 7-11 to celebrate all our wonderful friends, volunteers, and people of our beloved community and thank you for all you have done to support us in our space. From all the mentors in the Lift Off After School Program, to the hustling life forms that frequented our Story Planet Intergalactic Cafe, you are the reason why our mission is able to keep on going. Weather permitting, we plan to open up our space deck to enjoy a beautiful night under the stars for our brightest stars…YOU!

More details to follow. All are welcomed!

Our Upcoming ’80s-Themed Adult Colouring and Wine Night and a Call Out for Volunteers during Authorfest

Crafty space explorers! There are still a few spaces available for the ’80s Night edition of our Adult Colouring and Wine this Thursday. Follow this link to get your tickets before they sell out!

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Authorfest
Volunteers! Over the next three days, we’re hosting 10 Storymaker Workshops at schools around Toronto. With the guidance of a facilitator, we will work with kids to brainstorm and write original stories, all while an artist brings their creations to life on paper. Here is the list of all locations and times of our Storymaker Workshops. Email us to sign up for one, two, or all!

 

Tuesday, April 12th: Perth Avenue Junior Public School from 9:45am-10:45am and 10:45am-11:45am

 

Wednesday, April 13th: Keele Street Junior Public School from 9:45am-10:45am and 10:45am-11:45am ; Fern Avenue Junior and Senior Public School from 12:45pm-1:45pm and 1:45pm-2:45pm

 

Thursday, April 14th: Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School from 9:45am-10:45am and 10:45am-11:45am ; Brock Public School from 12:45pm-1:45pm and 1:45pm-2:45pm