Books For Earth Day

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With Earth Day approaching, we’re thinking more and more about the importance of protecting our incredible and beautiful planet here at Story Planet. We know that stories have the power to educate and connect us, and so we believe that reading and sharing stories that help teach us the value and importance of protecting our Earth are now more important than ever. We recommend the following list of books to help any young people in your lives (and you too!) learn more about the environment, and how crucial it is to have respect and care for our special Earth. We hope you love them!

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer by Claire A. Nivola
Ages 4 – 8

Sylvia Earle first lost her heart to the ocean as a young girl when she discovered the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico in her backyard. As an adult, she dives even deeper. Whether she’s designing submersibles, swimming with the whales, or taking deep-water walks, Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls “the blue heart of the planet.” With stunningly detailed pictures of the wonders of the sea, Life in the Ocean tells the story of Sylvia’s growing passion and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. This picture book biography also includes an informative author’s note that will motivate young environmentalists.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty
Ages 5+

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.
Summary from Amazon.ca

The Promise and Laura Carlin
Ages 5+

A picture book of great beauty and hope about the power we have to transform our world. On a mean street in a mean city, a thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But she finds she can’t have it without promising something in return – to “plant them all”. When it turns out the bag is full of acorns, the young thief embarks on a journey that changes her own life and the lives of others for generations to come. Inspired by the belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship, The Promise is the story of a magical discovery that will touch the heart and imagination of every reader, young and old. With poignant simplicity, honesty and lyricism, Nicola Davies evokes a powerful vision of a world where people and nature live in harmony. And Laura Carlin’s delicate illustrations capture a young girl’s journey from a harsh, urban reality to the beauty and vitality of a changed world.
Summary from Amazon.ca

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul
Ages 5+

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred. The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change. Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Kenya’s Art by Linda Trice, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell
Ages 5 – 8

Kenya’s class is on spring vacation and their teacher asked them to write a report about how they spent their time. But vacation is almost over and Kenya hasn’t done anything worth noting. A late visit to a museum’s recycling exhibit and a walk through her neighborhood with her daddy inspire Kenya to use her old, broken toys and other items to make art with her family. Now she’s prepared to teach her whole class how to Recycle! Reuse! Make Art!
Summary from Amazon.ca

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French
Ages 8 – 12

Clandestine e-mail exchanges, secret trips, fake press releases, and a tree-house standoff are among the clever stunts and pranks the kid heroes pull in this exciting ecological adventure.

“Sibley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerk,” reads Julian Carter-Li in an angry e-mail message meant for his greedy, high-powered uncle. The fateful message sets him on the course to stop an environmental crime! His uncle’s company plans to cut down some of the oldest California redwood trees, and it’s up to Julian and a ragtag group of friends to figure out a way to stop them. This thrilling, thoughtful debut novel shows the power of determined individuals, no matter what their age, to stand up to wrongdoing.
Summary from Amazon.ca

The Last Wild by Piers Torday
Ages 8 – 12

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?
Summary from Amazon.ca

Under the Weather: Stories About Climate Change edited by Tony Bradman
Ages 10 – 13

From the effects of rising sea levels to changes in animal behaviour and human lifestyles, these powerful stories portray the issues surrounding climate change in personal terms and so bring them vividly to life. Offering warnings and inspiration in equal measure, the stories cover a wide range of localities from Siberia and Canada to Australia, UK, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Writers include award-winning Linda Newbery as well as exciting newcomers like Australia’s George Ivanoff. Whether read from cover to cover or dipped into for one or two stories, this book will enlighten and inspire everyone to consider how climate change will affect us all.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Ages 10 – 14

This Newbery Honor-winning, hilarious Floridian adventure involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, pint-sized owls, and more. A New York Times bestseller!

Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?
Summary from Amazon.ca

Breathe by Sarah Cossan
Ages 14+

Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in a glass dome full of manufactured air. If you want to live, you pay to breathe. But what if you can’t pay? And what if you think everything could be different? Alina’s a revolutionary who believes the Resistance can save the environment, can break free, and she’s on her first mission. Quinn’s a Premium who’s never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who’s never worried about anything but having enough air. When all three cross paths and walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Ages 15+

Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Ages 16+

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.
Summary from Amazon.ca

Books on Social Justice & Diversity

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At Story Planet, we believe that books can open our eyes and our hearts to new perspectives and experiences. We also believe that hearing the stories that often go untold are so important for building more open and accepting communities. The following books all focus on issues of diversity and social justice, and we think that these books are more important than ever to add to our reading lists. We hope you enjoy them!

Secret Side of Empty by Maria E Andreu
Ages 7+

As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant.

With senior year of high school kicking into full swing, M.T. sees her hopes for a “normal” future unraveling. And it will take discovering a sense of trust in herself and others for M.T. to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience to tell a story that is timely, relevant, and universally poignant.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
Ages 8 – 12

In this Newbery Honor novel, New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them.

Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. When they arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with her, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

This moving, funny novel won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award Finalist.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling
Ages 9 – 12

Young Sylvia Mendez never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle. Young Aki Munemitsu never expected to be sent away from her home and her life as she knew it. The two girls definitely never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected on a Southern California farm in a way that changed the country forever. Who are Sylvia and Aki? And why did their family stories matter then and still matter today? This book reveals the remarkable, never-before-told story—based on true events—of Mendez vs. Westminster School District, the California court case that desegregated schools for Latino children and set the stage for Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education at the national level.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird
Ages 9 – 12

curfew. Israeli tanks control the city in response to a Palestinian suicide bombing. Karim longs to play football with his mates – being stuck inside with his teenage brother and fearful parents is driving him crazy. When the curfew ends, he and his friend discover an unused patch of ground that’s the perfect site for a football pitch. Nearby, an old car hidden intact under bulldozed buildings makes a brilliant den. But in this city there’s constant danger, even for schoolboys. And when Israeli soldiers find Karim outside during the next curfew it seems impossible that he will survive . . .

A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird is an exciting, enlightening and important story that brings to life the reality of events reported daily in the news, and will help young readers understand more about one of the worst conflicts affecting our world today.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
Ages 9 – 13

When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.

Stella lives in the segregated South—in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz
Ages 10 – 17

Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. From 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, the book features an array of diverse figures, including Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica). This progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history and belongs on the shelf of every school, library, and home.

Together, these stories show the immense range of what women have done and can do. May we all have the courage to be rad!
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Grease Town by Ann Towell
Ages 10+

A heartbreaking history of prejudice, family ties, and the loss of innocence.When twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan decides to run away to join his Uncle Amos and older brother, Lem, he finds an alien and exciting world in Oil Springs, the first Canadian oil boomtown of the 19th century.

The Enniskillen swamp is slick with oil, and it takes enterprising folk to plumb its depths. The adventurers who work there are a tough lot of individuals. In this hard world, Titus becomes friends with a young black boy, the child of slaves who came to Canada on the Underground Railroad. When tragedy strikes in the form of a race riot, Titus’s loyalties are tested as he struggles to deal with the terrible fallout.

Though the characters are fictitious, the novel is based on a race riot that occurred in Oil Springs, Ontario, on March 20, 1863. Grease Town is historical fiction at its finest.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Ages 10+

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show her how special she really is. Erin Entrada Kelly deftly brings Apple’s conflicted emotions to the page in her debut novel about family, friendship, popularity, and going your own way. “A must-read for those kids cringing at their own identities.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Dephine Mainoui
Ages 10+

Nujood Ali’s childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband’s hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis
Ages 10+

The first book in Deborah Ellis’s riveting Breadwinner series is an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. Parvana’s father ― a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed ― works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day, he is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.

As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Ages 12+

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Another Brooklyn: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
Ages 12+

The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years.
Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

A Big Dose of Lucky by Marthe Jocelyn
Ages 12 – 16

Malou has just turned sixteen—hardly old enough to be out in the world on her own—and all she knows for sure is that she’s of mixed race and that she was left at an orphanage as a newborn. When the orphanage burns to the ground, she finds out that she may have been born in a small town in Ontario’s cottage country. Much to her surprise, Parry Sound turns out to have quite a few young brown faces, but Malou can’t believe they might be related to her. After she finds work as a cleaner in the local hospital, an Aboriginal boy named Jimmy helps her find answers to her questions about her parents. The answers are as stunning—and life-changing—as anything Malou could have imagined back at the orphanage.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Way to Go by Tom Ryan
Ages 12 – 18

Danny thinks he must be the only seventeen-year-old guy in Cape Breton—in Nova Scotia, maybe—who doesn’t have his life figured out. His buddy Kierce has a rule for every occasion, and his best friend Jay has bad grades, no plans and no worries. Danny’s dad nags him about his post-high-school plans, his friends bug him about girls and a run-in with the cops means he has to get a summer job. Worst of all, he’s keeping a secret that could ruin everything.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
Ages 13 – 18

Based on a true story.

A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, his friend’s grandmother, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls ― words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive. Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to achnowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty’s generosity in sharing her story. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Meyers
Ages 13+

New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers tackles the social contract from a teen’s perspective in his novel All the Right Stuff. In one of his most thought-provoking novels to date, Myers weaves together political philosophy, basketball, and making soup in Harlem, with the depth that defines his writing career.

After his father is shot and killed, Paul Dupree finds a summer job at a Harlem soup kitchen. Elijah, the soup man, questions Paul about tough life choices, even though Paul would rather be playing basketball. Over the summer, Paul begins to understand the importance of taking control of your life.
– Summary from Amazon.ca

He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
Ages 14+

Sparks will fly in this hip-hop-hot teen novel that mixes social protest and star-crossed romance, from Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning author Kwame Alexander! He Said, She Said is perfect for fans of Walter Dean Myers and Rachel Vail alike. This paperback edition includes a Q&A with author Kwame Alexander.

He says: Omar “T-Diddy” Smalls has got it made—a full football ride to UMiami, hero-worship status at school, and pick of any girl at West Charleston High. She says: Football, shmootball. Here’s what Claudia Clarke cares about: Harvard, the poor, the disenfranchised, the hungry, the staggering teen pregnancy rate, investigative journalism . . . the list goes on. She does not have a minute to waste on Mr. T-Diddy Smalls and his harem of bimbos.

He Said, She Said is a fun and fresh novel from Kwame Alexander that throws these two high school seniors together when they unexpectedly end up leading the biggest social protest this side of the Mississippi—with a lot of help from Facebook and Twitter. The stakes are high, the romance is hot, and when these worlds collide, watch out!
– Summary from Amazon.ca

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.

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!