Browsing articles in "Age 9-15"

Maryam Has Found Superwoman

Aug 10, 2016   //   by Maryam   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Maryam Has Found Superwoman

Superwoman is Lilly Singh – a YouTube personality with 9 million subscribers! She’s the coolest, funniest person on YouTube right now (at least, I think so). She is Indian and Canadian, and she lives right here in Toronto. She started making videos in October 2010. Her videos are about many things, but many of them are about her parents and how they behave or react to things. She pretends to be both her parents in the videos. To play her mom, she wears a shalwar-kameez (Indian outfit) with a scarf wrapped around her head, and to play her dad, she wears a wig and paints on a beard and hair on his chest. They have the funniest expressions and accents.

Check out this video I really like. It is about how her parents use technology.

In real life, Lilly’s parents are very different. They are cool and awesome for letting Lilly make these videos.

She also does videos about listing things like, types of siblings, types of laughs and things people say to vegetarians, and so much more. She also does a lot of collabs with celebrities like Selena Gomez, the Rock, and other YouTube personalities. She also has a website:

I am not sure exactly how many videos she has made so far, but I know it’s a lot! I have watched many of them, but can’t watch many more yet because they are not age-appropriate. But I guess that’s okay, because the more I grow, the more videos I will be able to watch. I think Lilly is very inspirational, and she is not afraid to be herself. I like that she has an awesome sense of humour, because I love to laugh, especially when she talks about things that I can relate to sometimes.

Lilly has a lot of followers on social media and in most of her videos, she wears Snapbacks – she has over 200 of them! She also has her own liquid lipstick called Bawse (cool way of saying “boss”). It is a beautiful shade of red.


X-Men: Apocalypse – Seth’s Review

Aug 3, 2016   //   by Seth   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on X-Men: Apocalypse – Seth’s Review

Alas, here we are, the final of the trio of superhero slugfests with 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse. This movie marks the 4th x-men movie to be directed by Bryan Singer (the guy who did all the good ones), as well as the 9th entry into the x-men universe (including Deadpool and the two solo wolverine films). While critic reviews have been mixed for this movie, I thoroughly believe this is in fact the best of the three big superhero movies.

For starters, the film opens in ancient Egypt, giving us our first look at Apocalypse (the titular bad guy). From there, the film progresses, giving us origins for classic X-Men such as cyclops or Night-Crawler. By now, director Bryan Singer knows how to direct an X-Men film, and he sure delivers here. The plot is carried out at a steady pace, sure while half the movie is simply rounding up mutants for the all out battle, I was never truly bored. The film’s almost 2 and half hour running time flew by. The film also manages to fit in quite a bit of fun humour that really works to help lighten the mood in this often dark and intense movie. There are also some very important character moments that really reach at your emotions. One scene in particular involving Magneto (enough said) was truly shocking and possibly one of the best character moments for magneto (Erik Lensherr, played by Michael Fassbender) and for superhero movies in general.

Speaking of scenes, fan favourite Quicksilver (Evan Peters) from X-Men: Days of Future Past returns with another speed sequence through the mansion of Charles Xavier. The visual effects used are top notch and the scene is just hilarious, I had a smile on my face the whole time. The other visual effects are good too, action is flashy and fun, Nightcrawler’s teleportation makes its signature “Poof!”, and the prosthetics used help bring their characters to life.

Moving on to characters, unlike this year’s Captain America: Civil War, the film has a hard task balancing it’s huge cast; fan favourites such as Professor X (James Mcavoy) and Magneto (the aforementioned Michael Fassbender) are given plenty of screen time whereas others such as Angel or Psylocke are quietly shoved to the sidelines. In the way of stellar character development, don’t hold your breath, there is little in the way of any development for the cast- save for one. Magneto is perhaps the unspoken primary focus of this movie, he is trying to live a normal life, until he is recruited by Apocalypse. He goes through what is perhaps his character’s best arc in any X-Men film. What helps is Michael Fassbender’s incredible performance once again as Magneto.

The other actors have decent performances as well. While the films has an all-star cast, there is nothing to special here (aside from Magneto, of course). Nicholas Hoult is great as Beast, and the re-cast, younger versions of classic X-Men such as Storm, and Jean Gray are all fine as well. Jennifer Lawrence seems to be getting a little tired of the X-Men franchise, with a decent but seemingly bored performance. With all that being said James Mcavoy does wonders as Charles Xavier once again. Close to the end he does a fantastic performance with some great scenes.

Aside from that, the rest is a pretty run of the mill superhero film. Once again the X-men continue to fight for their acceptance, stuff blows up, the visual effects are for the most part good, and the costumes are cool and are reminiscent of the comics.

For me, X-Men: Apocalypse was the best of the three big superhero films. While the story is slightly generic, some twists and important moments towards the end help redeem it. This film is flashy and fun, the actors deliver fantastic performances, and is another great X-Men movie to add to the franchise.


Graphic Novels: Griffin’s Review

Jul 6, 2016   //   by Griffin   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Graphic Novels: Griffin’s Review
Cover of the graphic novel version of Rick Riordon’s The Throne of Fire

The graphic novel version of Rick Riordon’s The Throne of Fire is on Griffin’s reading list.

Welcome, good readers, to the wonderful world of graphic novels!! Graphic novels are a mix between comic books and regular novels: there are panels and speech bubbles but they also tell a whole story, sometimes in series! A favourite among many young readers, and sometimes referred to as “big, thick, expensive comic books,” graphic novels are probably my favourite form of literature.

There are such things as non-fiction graphic novels, looking at topics in science and even history. Two fiction graphic novels that I’m working on reading right now are the Adventure Time Comic Book (only recently released) and a graphic novel version of Rick Riordon’s The Throne of Fire.

Graphic novels can be entertaining or educational. There can be science, history, biography, adventure or comedy. Graphic novels are good because unlike regular novels, they have tons of pictures, but they also have complex story lines and are lengthier than a simple comic magazine like Archie, for example.

My favourite graphic novel is called The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley, because it’s actually an autobiography of his childhood. This book is special because it tells readers about the author-illustrator and his experience writing, illustrating and publishing his first comic book. It was kind of inspiring!

Thanks for reading!



Aidan reviews Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Jun 22, 2016   //   by Aidan   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Aidan reviews Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I recently watched the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I was happily impressed by the movie as a whole. The movie takes place after the events of Man of Steel (Superman’s Last movie) and follows Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) in their struggles fighting each other and Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg). In the movie, Superman’s ethics are called into question and Batman believes he should stop Superman by killing him. Lex Luther is continuously trying to frame and kill Superman.

I found Jesse Eisenberg’s (Lex Luther), acting very good. He had to convey various emotions ranging from joyful laughter to frustration, sometimes in the same line. Many didn’t like Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luther because he wasn’t like the stereotypical professional and serious Lex Luther. However, Eisenberg’s Lex Luther was more chaotic and hyperactive and added more personality, which improved the film as a whole. Usually I have trouble figuring out who-is-who in movies. The way the characters were developed in this movie, it was easy to tell who-was-who throughout the movie.

I was surprised how artistic the cinematography was throughout the movie. It was a bold move that not many people enjoyed. I, on the other hand, really like the darker tones and very shadowed areas. It worked well depicting the characters’ emotions and actions throughout the movie. A hard part about combining two separate series of movies is explaining what is going on. Movies often have long parts of exposition; this was not a problem for this movie. There was exposition, but it was very well spread throughout the movie. Lately movies are using many jump cuts to create intense fighting, however, there were two amazing long shots of fighting. They impressed me with how much was going on in one continuous shot.

My sole complaint about this movie is Doomsday. In the movie, Lex Luther keeps working on the alien ship and leaves us in suspense for half of the movie. When we finally get to see what he was working on, it’s just a monster named Doomsday. It was unoriginal and felt very forced, especially because it created an issue for the main characters to work together. This completely removed their feud which felt very sudden. Doomsday also looked exactly like a Lord of the Rings Troll.

Overall, this is definitely one of my favourite movies this year, and I highly recommended it.



Maryam’s Day at Disneyland

Jun 15, 2016   //   by Maryam   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Maryam’s Day at Disneyland
Figuring out the clues to our Disneyland surprise!

Figuring out the clues to our Disneyland surprise!

Just before March Break, my Mom and Dad surprised us with a trip to Disneyland in California. We had to figure out some jigsaw puzzle clues to find out our big surprise and it was BIG!

I was sooooo excited, I started packing right away. We loved the whole trip, especially because we had family to visit there. We saved the best for last. My aunt even got us Minnie Mouse T-shirts to wear. My Dad made sure that he bought the tickets on-line – they were VERY expensive, but hey, it’s Disneyland!

My Mom and I spent time researching on-line to find useful websites. One was called Is It Packed. This website shows how crowded a popular place like Disneyland can be on different days. They have four categories, ‘Ghost Town,’ ‘Hey, It’s Alright,’ ‘Yup, it’s Packed,’ and ‘Forget About It.’ We found that weekdays are better, so we went on a Wednesday which was a ‘Hey, It’s Alright’ day – but believe it or not, it was still VERY crowded.

Entrance to the Disneyland castle.

Entrance to the Disneyland castle.

We also found another website called Undercover Tourist . This website gave us some good tips – most of which we used. And finally, this website gave us some good ideas on what to do and when to do it. Some other touring plans also told us when to stop to eat and gave suggestions about where to eat also.

The fun started in the parking lot where we parked our car. The lots are named after Disney characters. We parked in the ‘Woody’ lot from Toy Story. They had Disney buses ready to take us to the park. We got to the park early and because we had bought tickets, we just had to wait in the line to get in, and not the line to buy tickets. Once we got inside, all we wanted to do was take pictures of EVERYTHING!

Everywhere you looked, there was something cool to see. Then Pluto passed by and right after him there were about 50 people lined up to take pictures. We waited in line for a little bit, but then decided to follow our touring plan.

The first ride we went on was Peter Pan’s Flight. The line didn’t seem too long, but we were wrong. We waited for almost an hour for our turn and we were expecting something awesome, but the ride was only a minute long and it was just a whole bunch of lights… and it was over. We were so disappointed.

Outside the Post Office at Disneyland.

Outside the Post Office at Disneyland.

We went to another ride, but the line was even longer and all of us were too hot and frustrated to wait again. So we grabbed lunch at a Star Wars Burger place and got to watch a live Star Wars show that actually allowed kids to wear robes and use light sabers to train. I am not into Star Wars that much, and my brother was too scared to go. He just couldn’t believe that Darth Vader was right in front of him.

After lunch, we went on the Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Cup ride. The wait was much less and we had a lot of fun spinning as fast as we could. Then we lined up for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Mom’s pick, because she loves the movie Finding Nemo). The line was even longer, and it was really, really, hot. But this ride was worth the wait because we got to ride in a real submarine and it actually went under the water. We got to see all of the characters… it was VERY cool!

Next we tried to go to Splash Mountain. This ride takes you on a boat all the way up a mountain and then drops down like a roller coaster and you splash into the water. I really wanted to go on this ride, but the wait was three hours. THREE HOURS! There was something called the Fast Pass available that lets you do other things and join the line when there is only a one-hour wait, but there was a half an hour-long line to get the Fast Pass.

Maryam in Miinnie ears

Ta-Da! Minnie Ears!

My parents asked us if we wanted to come back for another day, but we all agreed that we would rather spend time doing other things, like visit the library and the beach, etc. So we decided not to waste any more time waiting in line, and went to see the different places like Mickey’s Toon Town and the Castle. We tried to catch a show, but we missed it because we stopped to get our faces painted. The face painters were very quick and good at their job. The face painting line took so long, we also missed the big parade at 4pm.

We wanted to wait for the next parade, but it wasn’t till 8pm and we were too tired and hot to wait anymore. My parents would have waited if we wanted to, but my brother and I decided we wanted to go home.

We did some shopping… and THAT was fun. I picked some souvenirs for my friends and teacher and got some Minnie ears for myself. That was the best part of the trip for me. We meant to go to Downtown Disney later at night to watch the fireworks, but when we got home, we fell asleep.

The next time we go, we will choose a day when the ‘Is It Packed’ calendar says it’s a ‘Ghost Town.’ That way, we can ride the rides without the extra long waits.


Seth Sleuths-Out a Good One: Sherlock (BBC TV Series) Review

Jun 8, 2016   //   by Seth   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Seth Sleuths-Out a Good One: Sherlock (BBC TV Series) Review

“… The game is afoot!” cried Sherlock Holmes. Thus is true of the television series adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous novels. Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss have created an engaging, excellently written crime drama.

This adaptation is not only faithful to classic Sherlock mysteries; it also brings something new to the table, placing Sherlock Holmes in a modern time period. This allows for some new and novel ideas as they help bring Sherlock to the 21st century.

For starters, the drama is excellently written and fantastically paced (as stated before), each hour and a half episode consists of various small incidents, all of which seem random, however the genius twist is that all of the events are linked into one grand mystery. This creates engaging episodes that consist of action-packed set pieces, character drama, and intellectual puzzle-solving. This is in part thanks to the brilliant editing, for short glimpses of time we are allowed to peer into Sherlock’s mind, with words and such popping up to simulate rapid thoughts. This helps the viewer to better understand Sherlock’s complex thoughts.

Each scene is important in it’s own way – simple gestures that seem insignificant may prove to be groundbreaking later on. The show will make you feel various emotions, from suspense to heart pounding action; it makes for a balanced episode.

I would also be crazy not to mention the characters; Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Homes), and Martin Freeman (Dr. John Watson), both bring their characters to life. Benedict Cumberbatch flawlessly portrays a bizarre genius, with all of Holmes’ quirks and character traits. The great script allows Cumberbatch to take full advantage of his character’s traits creating an unrivaled protagonist. Martin Freeman is also great at creating a more “human” sidekick that is far more relatable. He helps carry the story by giving a more emotional performance than his co-star. However, the rest of the cast is also fantastic, bringing their characters to life through vivid performances. The antagonists in particular boast the same intellectual prowess as our protagonist creating an interesting conflict.

Finally, the musical score is also fantastic, composed by David Arnold and Michael Price; the music helps portray suspense, action, and much more. The central theme is very catchy and fun; it will get stuck in your head.

Sherlock is a thoroughly engaging crime drama with excellent writing and pacing, fantastic characters, and a great musical score. This is a must-watch for any TV or mystery fan.


Jolie checks out The Wizard of Oz at Young People’s Theatre

Jun 1, 2016   //   by Jolie   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Jolie checks out The Wizard of Oz at Young People’s Theatre

Check this out:

The Wizard of Oz play

The Wizard of Oz at Young People’s Theatre

(Image credit: Young People’s Theatre –

A few weeks ago, my friend invited me to The Wizard of Oz play at Young People’s Theatre. It was my first time seeing it!!

If you have seen the movie or read the book you know the basic idea. But in the play, some things are different, like there are more funny things, more music and different costumes.

For Toto, there was a puppeteer controlling a dog puppet with strings and rods for certain parts of the show and then for the other parts, the puppeteer acted like Toto himself. He did a really good job of playing a dog and also making the puppet seem real. I have a pet Cairn Terrier and the puppet reminded me of him very much.

I loved the music and the fact that the most of the songs were performed live by 3 people. I really liked the Scarecrow character because the actor was very funny. I also liked the Wicked Witch’s acting; she was really good at acting her part.

I have never read the book or seen the original movie, but I would be interested in doing so and comparing how the play was different.

I suggest that kids take the time to see a live play, even if it is not The Wizard of Oz. Live plays are amazing to watch – especially if you are close to the stage.

Is it entertaining, educational or a little of both?

It is very entertaining. The play would appeal to all ages.


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: Griffin’s Review

May 11, 2016   //   by Griffin   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: Griffin’s Review
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - book cover

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read.

It is the story of a china rabbit named Edward Tulane (go figure), who is one day accidentally dropped into the ocean by his devoted owner Abelene. After many days in the ocean, he is fished out by a fisherman named Lawrence who takes care of him along with his wife Nellie until being sent to a dumpster by their niece Lolly.

Once again he is lost and found by a hobo (the book’s words not mine), named Bull. After 7 whole years with Bull and his dog Lucy, Edward is kicked off a train (literally!), and found by a crazy old lady who uses him as a scarecrow.

By now, he does not want to be loved and just wants to die – it’s hard being passed around all the time! He is stolen by a young boy named Bryce. Bryce gives Edward to his little sister Sarah-Ruth, a young girl who is extremely sick. She sadly dies and Bryce is forced to live in the streets. On his first night on the street with Bryce however, Edward is broken.

Bryce, of course, can’t pay to fix Edward so he has to let him go, leaving him with a china doll expert. What happens next is a wonderful surprise that makes Edward’s journey worthwhile.

I liked this book because it is by one of my very favourite authors. It is such a beautiful story and I recommend it for readers about 10 and up. It is also good for adults!

Thanks for reading!



Mac is Nuts About Peanuts

Apr 27, 2016   //   by Mac   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Mac is Nuts About Peanuts
The Big Book of Peanuts: All the Daily Strips From the 1960s - front cover

There are so many strips to read in The Big Book of Peanuts: All the Daily Strips From the 1960s that you can read it for a very long time. It’s awesome.

Check this out:

The Big Book of Peanuts: All the Daily Strips From the 1960s is really just a lot of comic strips showing a small group of kids that keep making different jokes. The main characters in Peanuts are: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Schroder, Sally, and Woodstock. It is entertaining to see them live their lives in funny ways for the readers.

Why it’s cool:

The Peanuts book is cool because you have Peanuts strips from 10 years in one book. For special days during the year, you can see what happened. I like to see how so few characters can make so many different jokes, and when I actually get a joke from one of the strips, I have a laugh. Another thing I like is that there are so many strips to read, so you can read it for a very long time. Though some strips are better than others, all together, it’s very awesome.

Is this entertaining, educational, or both?

It is entertaining, but not educational, because every strip has its own little joke to it, but it is not educational because there is no learning in it, although there is one comic strip where I learned that the Bible contains 3,566,480 letters and 773,893 words (Page 511).


Jolie checks out Mystery Diners on Food Network

Apr 20, 2016   //   by Jolie   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Jolie checks out Mystery Diners on Food Network

Check this out:

Mystery Diners on the Food Network.

Mystery Diners is an awesome 30 minute reality television show on the Food Network. The show is about a man named Charles Stiles and his team of Mystery Diners who help restaurant owners with problems they are having in their restaurants that involve dishonest or bad employees.

In the episodes, a restaurant owner is having problems with one or more employees. In most cases, the employees are stealing or acting inappropriately when the owner is away. However, because this bad behaviour only happens when the owner is not around, they call in Mystery Diners to help!

The group of Mystery Diners includes private investigators and undercover operatives who help restaurant owners by placing hidden cameras in their restaurants so that they can find out what’s really going on when the owner is not around. Charles leads the team and monitors the hidden cameras with the owner. They also use undercover Mystery Diners to act as waitresses-in-training, cooks-in-training or customers. These undercover operatives help to identify the real problems while Charles and the owner watch everything on the hidden cameras.

At the end people who have been stealing or acting inappropriately are usually fired and sometimes they go to jail!

I like this show because you get to see how people are behaving without them knowing you are watching. Also, I like it because the people acting badly are always caught and the owners get their restaurant back on track! Be warned that sometimes they can use bad words, but they are always ‘bleeped’ out.

Although Mystery Diners may not be right for all people, older kids will love it.

Is it entertaining, educational or a little of both?

It’s mostly entertaining, but it does show you what can happen if you aren’t good later in life!


The Kids' Panel

Meet our kids' panel: a savvy group of kids with a strong point of view about the media and the culture they consume. Culturally diverse, a range of age and interests, they'll provide you with an insight into kids' media ... what works, what doesn't and why. Check back often for new reviews. We think you'll be inspired! @storyartscentre