Peter Scowen

The incredible Peter has volunteered in almost every program we offer and everywhere he goes kids adore him!

 Peter Scowen.Featured Explorer.Photo 1

Peter, a talented journalist, has been volunteering with us since last Spring when he helped host a workshop on tabloid fiction writing at St. Mary’s Secondary School.  Since then, Peter has been putting all of his skills to good use by volunteering at everything from our After-School Program and Youth Publishing Project to our Essay Bootcamp.  He has showed us he is equal parts patient homework tutor, magician, and essay hero.  But, as Peter said, “the highlight to me [of volunteering at Story Planet] has always been the after-school program.  I really enjoy that all of the kids are so great…I think I love most when they get so engaged in creating their stories.  It’s really great when you can see them riff on all the things [something] could be.”  The feeling is definitely mutual – although no one can remember how the kids decided on Sonny as his nickname, we know they love working with Peter and have written him into many of their adventure stories.

We can’t thank Peter enough for being part of Story Planet’s story!

And now five questions for Peter:

1. Favourite planet to live (other than Earth): “Mars, I like robots.”

2. Favourite book or the last great one you read:  “I just read Inferno by Dan Brown, it’s not high literature but it’s a great read.”

3. Favourite artist/s:  “My mother.  She was a great artist.”

4. Favourite thing to do on Earth:  “Eat.”

5. Favourite Earth food:  “Hamburgers.  No question.  With pizza a close second.”

Thank you for all you do, Peter!


Thanks so much to Midoco for sponsoring Story Planet’s Featured Explorer.

Check out Midoco Art & Office Supplies for your one-stop-shop for creative expression.  Established in 1977, they now have two destination outlets in the Annex and the Beaches


Story Planet Kids Write: Watch Out for the Nature Monster!

Our after-school students created maps of their heroes’ quests, and David filled his with many traps and foes. After his hero defeated the Nature Monster with multi-coloured roses growing out of his head, it was onto the Iron Golem. Unlike traditional Iron Golems this one has been turned rainbow-coloured because a unicorn barfed on him (the barfing unicorn is still hovering nearby). We suspect that this has made the Iron Golem an even deadlier foe.

Davids Obstacle Map


Story Planet Kids Write: Girls with Snow Muscles

What makes a hero a hero? Here at Story Planet, we’ve been tackling this perplexing question head-on, and our kids have been coming up with amazing stories as a result. Mithulaa’s hero is a snow woman named Charlie. Charlie is very strong because “she never stops growing.” From there, Mithulaa’s story works its way up to a cliff-hanger of Dickensian proportions.


Adventures in Essay Writing

On June 1st, dozens of high school students came from all over the city to join us at U of T for some one-on-one help from some extraordinary volunteers.

Together, volunteers and students tackled the most challenging of school assignments:  The Essay!  From thesis statements to conclusions, students worked alongside their volunteers, receiving the guidance and support that many needed to get the job done.

Essayists and volunteers celebrated essay victory with a BBQ and campus-wide movie-themed scavenger hunt in the afternoon.  A big thanks to Innis College and the Centre for Community Partnerships at U of T and to everyone who came out!


Writing Advice from Story Planet Kids

When asked to create a map of obstacles for his newly invented hero, grade one student, Pragadheesh, created a challenging course that his hero would have to navigate, which included a big snake, a giant cube, and an eyeball monster.

When explaining how his hero would make his way through this treacherous setting he mentioned “there is also a very easy short cut, but that doesn’t make a very good story.”

Writers, take a note from Pragadheesh – Shortcuts may keep your heroes safe, but they won’t keep your readers satisfied.

Obstacle Map

Acting out stories!

What happens when a bunch of creative kids tell a story in only actions and sound effects?  A whole lot of space lasers and adventure all interpreted by a volunteer scribe.  Check out an excerpt from one of these weird and wonderful ‘performed tales’:

Patrick was drinking hot chocolate when suddenly his cup turned into a nose!  He saw himself in the mirror and he got scared, so he went to space and was breathing through an oxygen mask.  Patrick felt a loose tooth and wiggled it.  He tied a string to the tooth and tied the string to a spaceship – he hugged his teddy bear – and then the spaceship flew off to the moon and crashed, bringing the tooth with it!

Crazy kids


Mad Libs Story Battle Update!

Things are in full force here as we prep the launch of our first BIG fundraiser.

Exciting news! Our judges are…the fabulous Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene), the lovely Sharon Hampson (Sharon, Lois and Bram), the fantastic author, Anthony De Sa (Barnacle Love), Canadian funny man, Ron James and the crazy creator, JJ Johnson (This is Daniel Cook and Dino Dan).

Purchase your tickets HERE!

Alpha Workshops: Bringing Stories to Life Through Collaboration

Every Friday at Story Planet, a new class of fearless writers embark on a collaborative storytelling  journey.  

Alpha Blog

Our two-hour Alpha workshops are an exercise in communication and spontaneity. Students are invited to open their minds and brainstorm together as they craft one story. The collaboration doesn’t end here—once the story has been realized, talented illustrators such as Eric Kim and Callen Schaub help bring the tale to life by illustrating the kids’ ideas. The final destination of each student’s journey depends on their own unique voice, as endings are written individually. Every writer’s tale (complete with illustrations) is bound into a book to take home.


Recently, we’ve seen quite a few groups of creative intergalactic travelers take part in our Alpha workshops. St. Anthony’s grade 6 class wrote the story of Iron Bob, a thick-skinned fish with a bully on his tail. St. Anthony’s grade 5 writers took us to the world of Ying Yang, a land of light and dark, (and rather useful robot farts). Ogden Junior’s 4’s and 5’s introduced us to Bunny Boy, a bunny who dons a classy suit, even while he’s on the run from a nasty gang of cats. Brock Public’s grade seven class wrote about Buklao, the cloud-fighting clown with a catch phrase to match: “Sorry to rain on your parade”.  The stories continue every week, here at the Story Planet. Stay tuned for more great work from our Alphas!

Jackie Kriekle

Jackie is an unstoppable volunteer coordinating force!

Since joining us in October, Jackie has welcomed almost 100 new volunteers as our volunteer Volunteer Coordinator. She has a knack for helping volunteers find their place at Story Planet and has helped us get organized as our charity grows.

Jackie has tackled many a project during her time here, including creating a brand new volunteer database from nothing but intergalactic scraps and a dream for a more organized tomorrow.

March is Jackie’s last month with us as our volunteer Volunteer Coordinator and we already miss her terribly.  During her time at Story Planet, she has made everything a little better and a lot more fun.

Jackie 1

Alright Jackie, it is time for the lightning round – tell us your five favourites!

1. Favourite planet to live (other than Earth):

“Saturn – I like the rings.”

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

The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal

3. Favourite artist/s:

“I’m not good at favourites, but Giorgio de Chirico”

4. Favourite thing to do on Earth:

“Being silly with my nephews.”

5. Best Earth food:

“The smell of melted cheese, because I can’t eat it…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!”

Thanks so much and good luck Jackie, we’ll miss you!

Thanks so much to Midoco for sponsoring Story Planet’s Featured Explorer.

Check out Midoco Art & Office Supplies for your one-stop-shop for creative expression.  Established in 1977, they now have two destination outlets in the Annex and the Beaches