In the spirit of the season, we at Story Planet want to share something special with our community.
We’re proud to present three magical stories by young authors from our workshops!
In the spirit of the season, we at Story Planet want to share something special with our community.
We’re proud to present three magical stories by young authors from our workshops!
Written and illustrated by Nila
Once upon a time, there was a little cloudlet named Fluffy, she was 7 years old.
She was with her family in Blue Wail Sky.
It was the Stormy Fire night, where the stormworks were shooting into the sky.
The next day, she ate breakfast and went to play with her friends. So she was playing on the swing, but everyone left, and she was the only one playing. She didn’t notice that.
After she was done playing, she got out the swing and called her friend to play on the seesaw. But her friends were not there because they all left. So then Fluffy realized that everyone left and she also was walking to her home after realizing.
While walking home, there was a mystery cloud that said, “Would you like this lollipop?” Fluffy was very attracted to the lollipop because it’s her favorite. But then she remembered that her parents said not to get candies from strangers because it will lead to danger.
So then, even though the candy attracted her, she said, “No, thank you,” and continued walking home.
Then she saw a girl that was in the same school, and the stranger asked the girl if she wanted the lollipop and she was about to take it! So Fluffy ran towards her very fast,
held her hand tightly, then pulled the girl with her towards Fluffy’s home. Then Fluffy told the girl not to take anything from strangers and told her to go home.
Then she lived happily ever after.
Note: Always be careful whether it is a stranger or a danger!
Written and illustrated by Rwayda
One sunny day, I was sitting in class and trying to focus because I was creating an ocean spell that I had prepared for a contest the next week. There was going to be a lot of competition since the most famous magicians from all over the country would be watching.
Everyone in my school was practicing all kinds of spells. Some made spells that could be used in day-to-day life, like a cleaning spell, or a spell that can make clones, so that someone can be at two places at once. Others tried to make more complicated spells, like creating something that can change something’s looks depending on its environment — for example, changing a rock into a bear. Although my spell wasn’t that impressive, it would be really beautiful to look at, and useful to use.
The reason everyone was excited about the competition was because the prize for the top spells would be the chance to become one of the great magicians’ disciples — something that only happened once every five years. We were allowed to tell each other what our spells did, but we weren’t supposed to disclose our full spells until the day of the competition (to prevent plagiarism). For some odd reason, I saw Felix, the fox shifter, in the laboratory today. I was a bit surprised, but I decided to ignore it. He was the only one not preparing for the contest, and, since he was notorious for his tricks, I knew he was planning something. I just didn’t know what.
A few weeks later at the contest…
I was really nervous because I didn’t want to mess up in front of everyone, but my friend, Rosy, comforted me so I started to feel better. Most of the people before me failed or messed up at some point, so I was pretty nervous. It was going to be my turn next, so I started getting ready to go on stage. That’s when I realised my spell book was missing. Before I could even react, I heard the host of the competition call out, “Next up: Felix. Please get on stage.”
I didn’t know what to think. I mean, he didn’t even prepare anything so how —
Before I could finish what I was thinking, I heard him spit out the words from my spell.
When he finished, nothing happened and the place went silent. After that he was immediately disqualified and, well, you might be wondering why. The reason for that was because the spell he had just read wasn’t actually a spell. In fact, it sounded more like a joke. It had offended the judges by being a waste of time. I didn’t want anyone to steal my spell. So, without telling anyone, I had written it backwards the day before the competition, so that when I went on stage, all I would have to do was read it backwards.
After Felix got kicked out, he glared at me, but couldn’t say anything because he knew that plagiarizing would get him banned from ever participating in any magic competition. I felt a bit bad, but he deserved that after trying to steal my work. After all of that, I was finally able to go on stage and I passed with flying colours.
Written by Muhammad
In a place in between the forest and the farm, Noah lived in a tree. His body was like a chicken. He could fly and lay eggs but dreamed of being human.
One day, Noah was walking down a path and ran into a magician named Kiki, and they began to talk. Noah was kind and helpful to him, and the magician was so pleased that he asked if he wanted to ask for a wish. Noah was happy because he might finally get to live his dream of being human, so he told the magician.
Kiki was pleased to grant Noah his wish but asked Noah to go up the nearby Hera Mountain to get gold and silver rocks and bring them to him. Noah started flying to reach the top of the mountain to get the rocks. Even though Noah was a chicken, he was strong and he could lift the rocks, but he had to walk down the mountain because the rocks were so heavy.
While Noah was coming down the mountain, one giant monster came out of the forest to steal his rocks. Still, Noah was bright, and he flew around the beast, making him dizzy until the giant fell down. Noah was able to continue his journey to bring the two rocks back to the magician.
Kiki was happy to see Noah arrive with both the gold and the silver rocks. He had passed the test, and the magician told him: “You’re kind, strong, and clever, and I’m going to make your dream come true and grant your wish.”
He lifted his wand, and a magical beam touched Noah, turning him and all the eggs he had once laid into humans.
Noah said goodbye to Kiki, and with the help of his children, they built a house in the city and lived happily ever after.
By Angelina, Grade 5 | Submitted on November 20, 2021
Trigger Warning (TW): homelessness, child abuse
Today, my dad, mom, sister and I all went to pick up my sister’s new desk and for a Downtown tour. We went past many clothing stores and restaurants. We saw mostly Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants. I also saw other homeless adults. We ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant at 12:10. We had delicious Congee!
After we finished our lunch, we went to drive past the CN Tower. My sister kept on complaining about why she can’t go up the CN Tower. We told her that going up the CN Tower was expensive. We could probably go next month. But not this month.
On our way back home, I saw something really terrible that made me have a funny, weird feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t what I ate though. Here is what I saw. I saw a homeless child in a pile of old clothes and blankets. There was an old man with a boom in his hand. I didn’t hear what they were saying but I saw that the old man was making the child feel unsafe, uncomfortable and disturbed. The child threw a rock at the old man, and this is what made me have butterflies in the stomach. The old man started to slap the child with the broom. This happened when we were approaching Dundas. On Spadina Ave. I wanted to help, but there was nothing I could do about it yet. I’m only 9. That made me think about the other children out in the streets, homeless, and being bullied by other people. My mother told me a bit about what that man’s life might have been like.
Still, when I grow up, I would want to help the kids with that life. I hope that the world will grow friendlier and more people will help homeless people. Let’s do something about this. Be kind and respectful to people around you. Let’s work together to make this planet a famous and wonderful world!
|To learn more about child homelessness and child abuse:|
1. Homeless Hub (https://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/population-specific/youth)
2. Youth Without Shelter (https://yws.on.ca/who-we-are/youth-homelessness/)
3. Child Abuse (https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/ca-me.html)
4. Child Maltreatment (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/prevention-resource-centre/children/child-maltreatment-canada.html)
For youth seeking support (self-guided tools, crisis support, or community resource database):
Kids Help Phone (https://kidshelpphone.ca/)
Your art and stories deserve a spotlight! Display them in our virtual Story Gallery for all to see! Note: All work must be submitted by a parent or guardian.
Click here to submit your work and get it featured!
Get inspired and take a look here at our vibrant collection of artworks and stories by young folks from our workshops.
Linh, an enormous congratulations on the recent publication of your first chapbook, Visiting Gales, with illustrations by Christie Wong. Some of us from Story Planet were honoured to attend your online launch party, and witnessed the beautiful collection of gentle creativity from many people looking to evoke the mood of the chapbook. We’re all incredibly grateful to witness your embarkation of a career as a writer.
Visiting Gales is a collection of two short stories that ask, through memory and fiction, what composes childhood, growth, and independence. Young characters weave within their relationships to find answers to their evolving selves and environments, where changes are shaped by commonplace occurrences alongside miraculous unknowns.
How were these stories and this chapbook dreamt into being?
The two stories for this chapbook, “The Robins” and “Down Feathers”, were born in my creative writing class at U of T four years ago.
At the time, I was only writing creative nonfiction — not because I preferred it but because I hadn’t yet figured out my fiction voice and was still scared to admit I wanted to write stories for a living. So when the time came for us to write our final project for this class, I thought, “I’ll just stick to nonfiction.”
That’s where “The Robins” was born. It was inspired by a robin’s nest in the eaves-through of my family’s home many years ago. That summer, we saw the birds teaching their babies how to fly, and when the little ones flew away, I thought the parents’ mourning cries were the saddest thing I ever heard. It really stuck with me, so I decided to write about that. I changed all the names and POV, called it fiction, and handed it in.
Fortunately, my creative writing professor was too sharp. She read it, and said, “I know this isn’t fiction. I can tell in the writing voice.” No matter how hard I argued, she refused to let me turn in anything short of a real fictional story.
So I tabled “The Robins”. It would go through many rounds of edits and rewrites in the following years and finally return to its roots as a personal reflection on childhood and growth. I asked my trusted editor, Jasmine Gui, to review it before I submitted it to The Soap Box Press.
Instead, for class that year, I wrote “Down Feathers” on the subway to school, specifically between Runnymede and Spadina stations on the TTC in Toronto.
All I had to go off was the first line that just came to me: “Lyra was seven when her wings grew in.” And a line from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. The line was an offhand comment in his story, mentioned briefly, about a “Portuguese man who couldn’t sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him”.
So those two lines informed that entire story. I had no plan. I just wrote. It came out remarkably easily, almost fully formed, and honestly, I loved it. I knew from the start it was special, and “Down Feathers” will always hold a special place in my heart, because it opened the door to my fiction writing again, which is so much of what I write now.
Then last August, I was browsing several websites in search of a home for some of my stories. I found out The Soap Box Press was publishing chapbooks and became excited at the prospect of putting together a bigger project with more creative control.
When this idea came to mind, I approached Christie, sent her five short stories that I had floating around, and asked for her thoughts on what stood out, whether she’d be interested in illustrating, and which stories she thought would work well together. We chose these two for their similar themes and submitted!
Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with Christie?
Christie and I have only recently met in person, after our chapbook was released! We were introduced by Jasmine Gui, founder and editor of Project 40 Collective in 2019. My personal essay, “Cracks in the Wall”, was published in LooseLeaf Magazine Volume 7, and Jasmine thought that Christie would be a good person to illustrate it. Little did she know of the creative chaos she would unleash! Or maybe she did. Jasmine is a genius.
Since then, Christie and I have worked together on a number of projects, from workshops to illustrated pieces. We have a beautiful working relationship built on profound trust. She is a creative amplifier, and I always feel excited and energetic coming off a call with her. Our skills complement each other well. It’s fabulous to have that artistic push from someone so talented.
These stories evoke a lot of emotions about growing up, finding your place in the world and redefining what that world can look like, as an individual and within a family. What was your inspiration for this?
The idea of growing up has always been something I’ve struggled with, probably because I read too many fantasy adventures as a child and desperately wanted my own. I spent a long time resisting that I might not get to fight dark lords with secret magic powers. When I inevitably grew older, I began reflecting on what the idea of “growing up” actually means. I don’t have an answer, but these stories are my explorations of the feelings involved in that question, of which there are many complex ones!
As an English major, I studied children’s literature in my undergrad and wrote my thesis on portal fantasies as a way of understanding maturity and responsibility. This is further informed by my experience as an immigrant. This intersection of childhood and home are central to much of my work presently and going forward.
As you touched upon, as children, we often have this sense of “growing up” as being a big discovery or fantasy in life, when in reality the realization otherwise can be challenging. What would you hope your writing could leave for others, both young and old, to deal with this notion of growing up?
Personally, the message I want to weave into my stories is one that’s helped me reframe my own relationship to fantasy. While I initially wanted to escape as a child, I later became more interested in the return to our world and how fiction allows us to see everyday occurrences in a new light. After all, magic does exist. We see it all the time in small gestures and grand phenomena; it just might look a little different than in the stories. That doesn’t mean it has any less power or ability to effect meaningful change. I wrote about this realization many years ago on my blog.
In “Down Feathers” specifically, it was important for me to show adults of all sorts who, like Lyra, keep their wings throughout their lives. I don’t want to see adulthood as the loss of any wonder or magic. We do have the ability to preserve that beauty, though of course, doing so is a privilege for many.
That said, I still hope readers interpret my work in any way that speaks to them, especially in ways I can’t predict.
What was the process of working with The Soap Box Press to release the chapbook?
It was so smooth! I loved how much creative freedom we got. All the art, from cover to illustrations, are Christie’s. None of my words were changed without my consent. We got a say in every step, including the layout. I feel a lot of ownership over the project, never once like it’d been taken from my hands.
Tali Voron, the founder and publisher, has supported us wholeheartedly in our unconventional and ambitious release of this book, including our stacked launch and workshop that followed. She’s a skilled facilitator and organizer, always ready to jump in and say yes to our wild ideas.
Alongside yourself and Christie talking about your creative processes, your launch party featured people across the creative spectrum, including a dancer, painter, meditation guides, and musicians. What inspired you to set it up this way?
Honestly, Christie was a huge driving force of this event. Her wide-ranging and incredible creative connections made it so easy to gather everyone we wanted to join us in performing. We knew we wanted to share the celebration and feature other artists. At the same time, we wanted a community-like feel. It ended up being the perfect night with an amazing turnout.
Personally, I love seeing my words take on different artistic forms that I’m not skilled in, which is why working with Christie is so great. She sees things I don’t, in a whole new medium. To see my stories interpreted through dance, music, and meditation, was mind-blowing and heartwarming. It wouldn’t have been nearly so special without Alena, Anda, Rosie, Jess, Vicky, Justine, Jazmin, and Julia. We got to celebrate them all!
At Story Planet we work with students who may be at the beginning of a lifelong love or career in writing and illustration. What would your advice be for anyone starting to write, and how to improve and practice the craft?
It sounds trite, but reading and writing are the only ways to excel at this craft. There’s no shortcut! More specifically though, the practice of freewriting is essential. I’ve been intentionally honing my ability to sit down in front of a blank page and write whatever comes to mind for nine years now, without getting stumped by a need for perfection or inspiration. So much of writing is doing it badly and doing it over again; I’m on draft number four of my book right now, and the first one was awful! It’s not about talent. I wish I’d known that as a child. You are a writer if you write. That is enough.
Pursuing a career in the arts, especially for racialized youth without industry knowledge or connections, can be a tumultuous path, but it is possible and incredibly rewarding. I love the work I get to do. It’s definitely challenging, but I’ve tried to prioritize creative projects in my life (mostly because I don’t know how to live any other way), even when working minimum wage jobs for years out of school. Maybe fame and fortune will follow, but that’s definitely not how it starts and not what I’m counting on. I’m still very much in the grunt work stages yet loving it.
What’s next for yourself and your life as a writer?
I am off to the University of Cambridge to pursue graduate school! My one-year program is called Arts, Creativity, and Education, and I’ll be focusing on the role of play and storytelling in decentering whiteness in learning spaces. My last degree tied in well with my creative practices and writing, so I’m very excited for what this adventure holds.
I also have some super exciting writing news on the horizon that I can’t yet share publicly. It involves my debut novel, which is a middle-grade portal fantasy featuring an 11-year-old Vietnamese-Torontonian protagonist! I can’t wait to talk about it more, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, I have two creative non-fiction stories to be released later this year! “Death and a Wind Farm” will be published in the next issue of Living Hyphen magazine, and “The Christmas Lamp” will be published in The Soap Box Press’s anthology, “The Hyphenated Generation”.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. We’re so fortunate to be able to work with you at Story Planet and can’t wait to celebrate Visiting Gales even more, and all your future projects!
One day William, Benjamin, and Mia got lost in a forest and found a magic cave and inside were many books. They picked one up and they wished they could go where the story was and then they accidentally went inside the book.
The book was about a very large forest and the friends need to go on a mission to find a magic harp. When one person plays the harp, whatever the other person thinks begins to happen.
A human with a very, very small heart, four times smaller than a regular heart, put the harp inside a hole which had a tunnel. Where it was deepest is where the harp was. But there was a booby trap that had freezing rays and fire guns.
Inside the cave there was a riddle on a piece of wood that led the kids to the hole.
When they got there they read the riddle again and it said, “The hole is full of traps. Go with your bravery, never stop with your heart.”
The bad guy followed them, but he stepped on the freezing rays and, ‘bzzz’, got frozen. The friends bent down so they didn’t get frozen too, and passed the fire guns, but Mia and Benjamin got hit by the fire gun and were toasted!
Willam grabbed the harp, and Mia and Benjamin began to sing together while Willam played.
“I wish, I wish I was back home uh, uh, uh uh uh…”
They all got home and the bad guy came home too and his mom waited for twelve hours for him to be unfrozen. The bad guy never set booby traps again!
One morning, Bob Sam Junior woke up and ate a cake for breakfast (which they made themselves). They then went back to sleep, woke up, made a cake, ate the cake, and went to bed again. They did this three times before getting up for the day. So it was a pretty typical start of the day for Bob.
It was 8 a.m. by the time Bob Sam Junior finally left their house, and they had to open their bakery for 9 a.m.. Bob Sam Junior went to open their bakery for the day, letting the other chefs in. Bob Sam Junior then started working on their computer, while the other chefs began to prepare the day’s food.
By the time Bob finished their computer work, it was time for lunch. They called up their friend Panda to ask if Panda could sneak Bob food from the Golden Panda Buffet (which was located right next door). Panda put together a takeout container of salad, and snuck it out to Bob Sam Junior. But Bob Sam Junior was STILL hungry, even with all the cakes they’d eaten that morning. They wanted to sneak into the restaurant to eat EVEN MORE of that delicious Golden Panda Buffet food!
Bob started to sneak into the Golden Panda Buffet. But just as they took their first step, they accidentally stepped on the foot of Panda King—the owner of the Golden Panda Buffet, and Bob Sam’s younger brother!
Bob Sam Junior heard the sound of the gummy volcanoes erupting. They looked outside and saw a volcano bursting out of the ground! So Bob Sam Junior immediately knew they had to get to their secret bunker to stay safe.
Bob Sam Junior’s bunker was made out of sponge cake, so any gummy lava would just bounce off the sides. But what Bob Sam Junior didn’t know was that Panda King had made a hole in the side of their bunker. The bunker had been sabotaged! The gummy lava started leaking into the bunker! And Bob Sam Junior fell into the hole!
Bob Sam Junior started quickly baking a cake as they were falling, and threw the cake into the gummy lava. The cake fell into the lava, and the gummy lava started retreating. The lava didn’t like the cake!
Some of the lava touched Bob Sam Junior and Bob Sam Junior became enraged. They started furiously rage baking, making cakes fueled by the power of their rage!
Their rage cakes were perfect and started pushing the lava back. When the cakes and lava combined, they made EXPLOSIVE LAVA CAKE! The cake exploded, sending Bob Sam Junior and the lava flying back. But as the lava pulled back, it revealed something that had been hidden inside of the gummy lava…Bob Sam Junior’s parents!
Bob Sam Junior’s parents stepped out of the lava.
“Mom?” Bob said. “And Dad?!”
Bob’s parents said, “Thank you for saving us from the lava. There’s something we need to tell you. Bob, your name is actually not Bob, it’s Kronos! And you have powers you might not have known about!”
They also took out a costume for Bob Sam to wear, now that they knew the truth.
Bob Sam Junior ate one of the remaining pieces of cake to gain jumping powers. Bob Sam Junior ate another cake to get fighting and healing powers. Then another piece of cake to gain flight, invisibility and speed powers. And their rage baking abilities grew even stronger.
Bob Sam Junior, using their new powers, started baking lava cakes and brought them to life. These animated cakes started saying, “Eat me! Eat me!”
And Bob Sam Junior planned to use them to help people and fight bad guys. Bob Sam Junior also made some really good cakes to hand out to nice people (and Bob Sam Junior also used the animated cakes to finally get into the Golden Panda Buffet).
Bob Sam Junior has two lives now: one as the famous baker Bob Sam Junior and another as the hero Kronos! Bob Sam Junior flew around the world with their parents to help people and compete in baking competitions. They traveled all around the world—even to Canada!
Joy and Rain were two best friends who lived in Cloud City. They were both nine and first met at the zoo. Joy lived on a farm and Rain lived near the Blue Bridge. Joy was very nice. Rain was very nice, but a little mean. They both had rainbow hair.
It was a bright sunny day with three rain-bows in the sky and Rain and Joy were hanging out at the zoo. They went to look at the animals and to get some treats. The first thing they saw was the jelly elephant. Joy and Rain knew they had to be careful or else it would fall apart because it was made of jelly.
Rain went to look at a very cool animal. He didn’t tell Joy so she was lost without him.
Joy was so sad that she left the zoo only to walk back in and look for Rain everywhere. While Joy was lost, Rain realized that he was lost too. Since there were no clouds, Rain made the sky all cloudy so Joy could find him. When Joy saw where all the clouds were coming from, she knew where Rain was.
When Joy found Rain she was so happy to find him she exploded candy everywhere. But then, all of a sudden, they didn’t want to be together again. They waited a little and then hugged. They went to get lunch. Rain got spicy noodles and Joy got cotton candy. Then they went home because they didn’t want to get lost again. They hung out at Joy’s house. Once they were home, Rain decided that the clouds should go away. Rain said he was sorry because he could not bring all three rainbows back into the sky. Joy told him it was fine and she brought the rainbows back.
One day Rain had some bad news. He had to move away because his street was too crowded. Also all the robots, the mummies, and the ghosts from other streets kept coming to bother him. But he had a surprise for Joy: spicy noodles! He knew she had never had them. Their friends Candy and
Thunder came to the dinner party. Then Joy told Thunder that Rain was going to move away, but Thunder already knew. Joy was scared to try the spicy noodles. She took only one noodle and her eyes were all red and candy came out of her ears.
In Cloud City everything was destroyed and the clouds turned red. Since Rain had cloud power, Rain made the sky cloudy and covered the sun with his clouds. Then they made a fence to protect everyone from the sun. People got super cold because there was no sun, so they gave the fence two features: it could turn the city a little cold or a little warm.
On top of the gate there was a big shield covering the whole city. The burning sun could not go through it. On top of the shield there was a candy buster. In case the shield breaks, people can throw candy at the sun.
Joy wanted to help, so she took her rainbow powers and covered the houses with rainbows to keep them safe. But people started thinking about leaving the city, so Joy used her secret candy canyon, which could help warm areas if she used the glitter from her pocket. As the city got colder, Joy used the candy canyon and the glitter did its magic. The Gem Tower was forever changed and destroyed because Joy forgot to cover it with a rainbow and the burning sun was able to burn it.
The fence they made to protect the city was like a glass wall and nothing you did could break it. But one day it broke. The city was about to have on another fire, but the plants from Joy’s farm had grown so tall they protected the city and it never ever burned again.
Also, some people from Cloud City left and never returned.
It was hard to come to terms with the end of Cloud City.
Stay tuned for Part 2…