“Valkry and the Haunted House of Secrets” by Ms Beretta’s Grade 4 Class

Artwork by Chris Green

Our Character:

  • Is a 50 year old zombie named Valkry
  • He goes undercover as a boy named Ollo
  • He bullies people and is really annoying because he talks too much and says whatever comes to his mind
  • He has many superpowers: invisibility, teleportation, telepathy, x-ray vision, super speed (can run 1000 miles per hour), super strength, and can shoot lasers from his eyes
  • He has a big, annoying german shepherd
  • He is also a taekwondo master
  • He doesn’t like to learn anything
  • He likes to save people
  • His family lives in another country
  • He lives in a country called Cansada
  • He has friends but doesn’t like playing with them
  • He wears a black ninja suit, has 2 inch long nails, is 4 feet tall, and has long black hair and blue eyes
  • He has a team
  • He is afraid of spiders

Our Setting:

  • Takes place on Halloween 1000 years in the future in a place called Tombstown
  • It’s snowing and kind of cold outside
  • It’s nighttime
  • There are 3 foot tall trees with lots of leaves on them, but at night they grow into big trees
  • There are big trees that turn into werewolves at night, and you can hear them howling!
  • There is a big green snake and a little baby yellow snake slithering through these trees
  • Otherworldly creatures live there: human sized robots, laughing witches, and one zombie
  • There is a super tall haunted house that no one has ever lived in, but there might be a vampire inside and a scream can be heard coming from the house
  • There are really cool electric cars flying around everywhere
  • There is a stormy wind blowing
  • There’s a castle down a pathway, and it’s a really safe place that you can go to if you’re scared
  • In Tombstown, there is a time travelling hat that is purple and covered in super cool buttons

Valkry and the Haunted House of Secrets

Once upon a time, there was a zombie named Valkry. A scientist gave him a costume so he could disguise himself as a little boy so that no one would get scared of him and kill him. He also had trouble making friends since he was a zombie, which was another reason why he disguised himself as a boy. He wore the costume to turn into a normal boy, but on Halloween night, he was able to go out without a disguise.

Valkry lived in an invisible house in a graveyard in Tombstown, Cansada. Tombstown had a big problem – it was always nighttime except on January 1st. It had been night time for 1,000 years!

There was a vampire that lived in a haunted house in Tombstown. In the house there was also a baby. They had a secret cellar under the house that controlled the Earth’s rotation so that it was always night time! The vampire was also making a potion to make all the people in the world evil.

In the cellar, there was a magical purple witch’s hat with buttons that could fly you up to 4,000 years into the past.

Valkry was walking through the werewolf trees when he saw two paths. One led to the haunted house and one led to a magical safe castle.

Valkry went to the haunted house because he wanted to get the special hat so that he could go back in time to prevent Tombstown from being plunged into eternal nighttime. When he went into the house, he found another zombie named Valentina, who he could be friends with.

The vampire was guarding the time-travelling hat so that Valkry could not reverse his night time curse. Valkry knew the vampire well, because they used to be best friends, before the vampire turned evil.

Valkry opened the door to the cellar and saw a machine that controlled the earth’s rotation! Then he heard a creepy voice behind him say, “Stop right there!”

Then…

 

 

“The Four Heroes in Haunted City” by Ms Cohan’s Grade 4 Class

Artwork by Josh Rosen

Our Character:

  • Sally The Night Cat, a girl werecat
  • She has black cat ears, the head and tail of cat with a human body
  • She’s funny and loves making jokes
  • She’s nocturnal (sleeps during the day and is awake at night!)
  • Has butterfly wings and can fly
  • Long straight blonde hair
  • She carries a bow and arrow
  • She has a device that can make people big or small
  • She is very scared all the time
  • She runs away from big monsters when she sees them
  • Loves the monkey bars
  • She is hungry and wants to find food in Haunted City

Our Setting:

  • Is a little bit spooky but not too spooky
  • Outdoors at nighttime, and is pretty dark
  • There are owls with big eyes on little buildings
  • There are witches here, and they make really stinky potions
  • Around the buildings are trees with red bark and mostly fallen-off leaves
  • There are leaves are on the ground
  • There is a ghost train with ghosts inside it
  • When you pull the horn on the train it makes a spooky train sound like this: “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
  • There are about 20 funny little geese walking around outside and inside the buildings
  • There are shadows that have the voices of kids
  • It smells like pie outside
  • There is an empty building
  • There is also the smell of horrible breath outside (like someone who hasn’t brushed their teeth in years)
  • Along the building are pipes dripping water
  • There’s a fang on the ground
  • There are written messages on the walls

The Four Heroes in Haunted City

Once there was a girl named Sally, who lived in Haunted City. She used to live with her parents until they both had heart attacks and died while at the train station. They were at the train station because a big red tree had fallen and crushed their family home.

Sally was a normal girl, but a few days after her parents died, something turned her into a werecat.

She was now Sally the Night Cat! She had butterfly wings to fly with and could turn into a real cat, but didn’t realize she had these powers.

There were monsters and witches in Haunted City, and Sally wanted to save the day. But there was a problem, she was too scared to face them! She wanted to learn about them at Monster School, but she was made fun of for wanting to go.

There was also a boy named Bloodly Boy who had also lost his parents in a tragic accident at the train station. He wanted to fight monsters too, but he was also scared of them!

Bloodly Boy and Sally the Night Cat went outside to take a walk by the pond, where the frogs and jellyfish lived, to make themselves feel better.

They ran into a tiger named Anthony, who lived in the jungle. He had been forced into the city from his home. Anthony was with a good vampire, named Mary, who had lost her fang.

The four of them teamed up and went to the library to look for books on how to defeat monsters. In the library, they encountered a book monster that could disguise itself as a book. There was also a special book that could give them special powers that could turn them into dragons.

The next book they found told Sally all about her Night Cat powers and how to use them. She was starting to feel less afraid of monsters, but the book monster suddenly appeared and stole the book…

 

“Dusty Donna & Jojo Potato’s Crazy Journey” by Ms Kelly’s Grade 4 Class


Artwork by Josh Rosen

Our Characters:
Dusty Donna

  • The main character is a jazz singer named Dusty Donna
  • She doesn’t like to clean up and is covered in dust
  • She was expelled from school for being too dirty
  • She has long black hair and is always wearing rags
  • She’s 17 years old
  • She spins around and covers her audiences in dirt, so they throw old fruit at her

Jojo Potato

  • He wears a mouse shirt and has potato chip hair that grows back after he eats it
  • He loves Donna and yells “Potato” at the stage when she is singing
  • Can regrow himself in the earth if he is hurt

Soda man

  • one side blue, one side white

Our Setting:

  • A really big boat in the middle of the ocean being grabbed by an octopus monster
  • There is a desert with monsters in it that smell like rotten eggs and are ugly and mean
  • The monsters are protecting gold treasure by the volcano
  • The smoky volcano is overflowing with lava, and inside it is the chief monster who leads the Monster Army and guards the gold treasure
  • Near the volcano are deceptively stinky blue and gold flowers with flames and spikes that HEAL PEOPLE!
  • The monster army is coming together to ATTACK!

Dusty Donna & Jojo Potato’s Crazy Journey

One day Dusty Donna was invited to sing on a fancy yacht. When she started singing, the audience realized why she was called ‘Dusty’ Donna. She spun around, covering them in dirt! The audience got mad and threw rotten fruit at her. She was on this ship because she had been expelled from school, after 17 years without a bath!

Jojo Potato, Dusty Donna’s friend, was hiding backstage with all his magical potato friends. Jojo Potato was wearing his favorite shirt with a mouse on it. He had potato chip hair that he snacked on sometimes, but it always grew back!

As Dusty Donna was singing, a giant octopus attacked the ship because it came too close to its octopus babies. Jojo Potato fed the octopus his most delicious potato chip which made the octopus dance with joy. It danced so hard that it poked some holes in the ship with the spikes in its tentacles. The yacht started to sink!

Jojo Potato wanted to get everyone to safety, so along with his friends, he created a potato boat to get everyone to the desert island.

Dusty Donna and Jojo Potato arrived at the island and saw a giant volcano with lava coming out! They also noticed big, ugly, mean monsters that smelled like rotten eggs. It looked like the monsters were protecting something next to the volcano.

Dusty Donna figured out that they were protecting treasure that she thought would make her clean. She had been dirty for so long that even a normal shower would not do the job! Her dream was to sing her beautiful jazz music without the audience throwing fruit at her. She headed toward the volcano to get the treasure.

Meanwhile, Soda Man, who lived underneath the volcano, threw two cans of soda into the mouth of the volcano. This caused it to erupt in a giant wave of soda! Inside of the volcano lived unicorns, mermaids, and a lochness monster. A giant explosion of soda carried them all out of the volcano, and they began fighting the monsters guarding the treasure!

Dusty Donna and Jojo Potato were also trying to get the treasure, but they were caught between all the magical creatures and the giant monsters…

 

“Maurice’s Defeat Day” by Ms Wasserman’s Grade 2 Class


Artwork by Chris Green

Our Character:

  • Is a fairy princess named Maurice Bloomiz
  • She is a member of the royal fairy family, and they all have wings – one is a butterfly wing and one is a bat wing
  • She is 9 years old
  • She is skinny and flat and only 3 inches tall
  • She is a treasure hunter, likes to makes art about kindness and respecting people, and is silly
  • She wears a crown, glass shoes, and a pink dress that has three pink stars on it
  • She also has a dress that is gold with flowers on it for special occasions
  • She lives in a pink castle
  • She has straight yellow and pink hair that is past her shoulders, and sharp nails
  • She also has a nice house that is beside a lake
  • Maurice has a wand with magical powers – she can point to things and change them into whatever she wants
  • She wears black eyeliner, likes makeup and basketball, and is good at math
  • She has a friend who is also a fairy princess and is 6 years old, and they have flying races with each other
  • Her dad is a prince who wears a handsome vest, and his name is Shining Armour
  • She has two younger siblings: a baby brother named Jean who is very strong and can lift big fat rocks, and a baby sister who likes to steal her eyeliner and does a bad job of putting it on
  • Her mom is the queen fairy, Cadenza, who has blue hair and is pregnant with twins

Our Setting:

  • A beautiful place where there are books in trees
  • There are little ants who live there as well
  • There is a storage cupboard where there are tools and ladders
  • There are clouds high up in the sky where you need ladders to climb up to them
  • There is an underground house that has a kitchen and washroom
  • There are sharks who have books in their tummy
  • There is also a tree house where you can play board games and play with other people
  • Near the tree house there are two gardens with fruits and vegetables
  • The books have hands, legs, and wings and can fly
  • In  the tree house there is a little bird’s nest with an orange mom bird

Maurice’s Defeat Day

The royal fairies, Maurice, her baby sister, baby brother, and their parents, the prince and the queen, wanted to protect their magical books from the giant sharks who were trying to eat them all.

This was happening in the fairy world called Castle. In this place there was a bookstore called Work Shop. The queen’s name was Cadenza and the prince was called Shining Armour.

While the fairies were fighting the sharks, a volcano exploded and the whole planet started turning into lava and a lava dragon flew out of the volcano. The dinosaurs were defeated by the lava. Maurice began to feel worried because she feared her family might be destroyed by the sharks and the dragon. Maurice’s family began to feel angry and sad because they wanted to protect the magical books.

Then, it started to rain, so the sharks were able to swim on land! The sharks were swimming so fast, they made a huge wave so that they could charge right at the fairies! The mom and dad fairy flew to the lava dragon to battle him, while Maurice and her baby brother and sister tried to use the sharks to defeat the lava…

 

Update: Story Planet’s New Headquarters!

Update: November 8, 2017

We’ve been painting!!

Thanks to the amazing Farha and Logan for getting the place launch ready. We’ll need a few hands to help with some more painting and some carpeting!

Email me liz(at)storyplanet.ca if you like to help make our space beautiful!

Our new space at Parliament Library will be creative workshop, meeting and office space. It will enable us to run consistent, impactful programming for children in the neighbourhood (both James Town and Regent Park), as well as allow schools from all over the GTA to come on a field trip to us.

The space will be designed for maximum creativity and will feature all kinds of art from kids, artists and writers. We will embrace our galactic theme so children entering the space truly feel like they are going to a new, imaginative place where their ideas matter.

We know from the library that there are many families and children who are in need of creative and writing support. Toronto Public Library is the perfect partner because they are a trusted space, with the perfect companion to writing support…books! They are as excited as we are about the impact we can have on the community and how we can support each others’ programs and co-create new ones. 

We will be offering after-school programs twice a week, weekly field trips, Teen Writing Group, as well as camps, and that’s just to start!

Story Planet at Word on the Street!

It was a blazing hot day, but we had a total blast making crafts with awesome kids all day!

Major kudos goes out to our incredible team of volunteers who made the festival such a fun and creative experience for everyone!

We can’t wait for Word on the Street 2018 – see you there!


Summer Musings

Bed in Summer

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
If you have a favourite poem, send it to us and we’ll post for others to enjoy!
liz@storyplanet.ca

Alien Has Landed at Topcliff!

Story Planet had an amazing week working with students to uncover the stories of a mysterious landing. The students learned all about comic books and told their stories in true cartoon style! More to come…

Books For Earth Day

Copy of StoryPlanet_Diversity

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