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Whitney the Workshopper: Story Planet

June 6, 2012

Story Planet is one of the coolest, cutest literacy organizations I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They are a group of dedicated workers pushing to make reading and writing a priority for young kids and youth in Toronto. I’ve been pretty obsessed with Story Planet and I’ve admired the work they do from afar. Until one glorious day, they asked me (you sure you don’t mean another Whitney French?) to run a creative writing workshop. For them!

I’ve certainly gushed over how the people must demand literacy before, and I’ve blogged about how crucial alternative grassroots initiatives are engaging young people with literacy. Dave Eggers and the 826 phenomenon is finally catching on in Toronto and Story Planet follows the similar social enterprise model that other 826 programs do. Needless to say, this workshop was totally up my alley. For three days I worked with a grade twelve Writer’s Craft class at Bloor Collegiate on character development.

The youth were really into it. And I’m not just saying that. They were a swell group of writers. I certainly learned a lot about workshop prep, commanding a room, sharing feedback and classroom ‘management’. Story Planet staff made the experience exceptionally pleasant. Each student created their own character, a short character ‘impression’. Once it was edited, the character was accompanied by an illustration by talented Eric Kim, who I met before when he led a self-publishing workshop at A Different Booklist.

I think I’m getting pretty good at this workshopping stuff.

And as a bonus…here’s a video (an old video) of some of the wicked stuff that Story Planet does. See why I obsessed over them?

Over and out!


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