Browsing articles in "Kids’ Panel"

Emily Reads ‘Meg and Mog – Mog’s Missing’ by Helen Nicoll

Sep 7, 2016   //   by Emily   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Emily Reads ‘Meg and Mog – Mog’s Missing’ by Helen Nicoll

Emily reads ‘Meg and Mog – Mog’s Missing’ by Helen Nicoll.


The BFG: Griffin’s Movie Review

Aug 31, 2016   //   by Griffin   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  1 Comment

Guess what!? In June I was one of the first people in Canada to see the highly anticipated movie The BFG!

The BFG is the story of an orphan named Sophie who, one night, sees a giant. The giant takes her from her bed in a frenzy to keep his secret. After much bickering they befriend each other and the “Big Friendly Giant” tells Sophie of his troubles. There are bigger, meaner giants and he is the “runt”. He has a mission to return goodness to Giant Country, eventually getting the Queen of England and Ronald Reagan get involved. Yeah.

The funniest thing in the movie was the fact that the giants sometimes made up their own words (none of which I remember). A movie about giants might be scary, and this was from time to time, but most of the time it was all gumdrops and unicorns. My favourite character was the BFG because he was very funny and sweet. The BFG was a dream catcher. He caught dreams. That’s right. Dreams! The BFG did not know English very well and sometimes made up words of his own, which was very cute. I chose this movie for my review because I got to go to a preview for the first time in my life and I wasn’t going to turn it down! I liked this movie because I thought it was really interesting and kid-friendly. Make sure you get to see The BFG!


Why Isabel Says FitBit is Legit

Aug 24, 2016   //   by Isabel   //   Age 16-19, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Why Isabel Says FitBit is Legit

So, my latest fascination has been with FitBit and all the wonders that come with it. I bought my first FitBit towards the end of May and was honestly overjoyed with the knowledge it gave me and the way it worked. Now, I’m not an overly athletic person, so one would think: why would I need a FitBit? However, I certainly have noticed that since the beauty graced my wrist, I have been making an effort to in fact be more active and reach my goal of 10,000 steps.

One of the fun things about FitBit is it tracks your information and logs it to your online account and allows you to connect and challenge your friends (and well, who doesn’t love a good competition that strives to make you more active?).

There are many different styles of FitBit to choose from, ranging from ones intended for the not so athletic person to the highly athletic person. To make sure that you get the best tracker for your lifestyle, FitBit has developed a quiz you can take to place you with the tracker that best suits your needs. I think this is super cool because the company wants you to get the tracker that you will personally get the most use out of and not confuse you with unnecessary items.

Some features I really enjoy about my FitBit (which is the Charge HR), is the sleep tracking capabilities. I admit it is kind of weird having a watch that knows how well you’ve slept, but it does come in handy when I’m trying to figure out why I’m so tired after sleeping all night. Another feature I enjoy about my tracker is that this one tells time, (because not all of them do). It’s super nice to have a tracker and watch all in one and not have to wear a watch and a tracker. But that might just be me. If you want to go for as many bracelets on your arm as possible, then you go for it and you do you.

Another thing I also really enjoy about FitBit is the understanding and kind people they have working in customer support.   I learned this through personal experience after my original FitBit tracker broke, and they were kind enough to replace it for me free of charge. They were also really fast with their replies to my emails. So I was super pleased and impressed with the thoughtfulness and care that were put into fixing my problem and making me go from being sad and upset to overjoyed in less than a day.

Speaking from the perspective of the teenage girl that I am, I love wearing my FitBit and being asked about it, because it makes me feel sporty even when I’m not really as sporty as I used to be. So if you’re looking for a simple way to motivate yourself to get active, I highly recommend using a FitBit and challenging your friends and family to out step you.


Mac Builds a Case for Lego Dimensions

Aug 17, 2016   //   by Mac   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Mac Builds a Case for Lego Dimensions

Check this out:

Lego Dimensions is a fun video game for kids ages 10 and up. It can be used on Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4. It’s where 3 heroes, (Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle) go to different dimensions to try to stop the evil Lord Vortex with the help of a little robot friend named X-PO. There are levels where you can go to one of the worlds and have fun trying to coexist with the characters you find. My favourite dimensions are: Portal, Dr. Who, and Midway Arcade. These are only some of the 15 dimensions.

You can get to those worlds by buying different packs. There are 3 types of packs: fun packs, level packs, and team packs. Fun packs include 1 character and 1 vehicle or gadget. Level packs include 1 character, 1 vehicle, and 1 gadget. Team packs include 2 characters, and 2 vehicles or gadgets.

Why it’s cool:

It is enjoyable. And, it is fun because when you get a pack, you can build what it is with the virtual instructions, and if you can upgrade it in different sections, you can build it in various ways. At the beginning, you make the Lego Gateway on the Lego Toy Pad, and then you place each character on it when instructed by the game.

The positives are it is fun, easy, and you get to build Lego creations while playing a video game. The negatives are the packs are expensive and some video game parts might be a little frustrating at times. If you are younger, you might have a little trouble building with the Lego pieces.

Is this entertaining, educational, or both?

It is entertaining because you get to build with Lego pieces and it is a fun video game. Mostly, it doesn’t teach you anything, but it shows you things about old shows and movies that you might not have known before. So, it might be a little educational.

I would recommend buying the starter pack and playing the game, and if you like it, then you could start to buy other packs. And, if you really like it, just wait until the next release of packs in September.

I give this game 4 1/3 stars out of 5.


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.


Angus Finds Adventure in The Jungle Book!

Jul 20, 2016   //   by Angus   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Angus Finds Adventure in The Jungle Book!

Check this out:

My grandad took me to a movie, it was The Jungle Book. It is about a little boy, Mogli, who grew up in and lives in the jungle.

When Mogli was little, a lion killed his dad when he was out hunting and Mogli was left alone in the jungle. The good animals took him and looked after him. And now he lives by himself in the jungle.

Why it’s cool:

Mogli is amazing, he jumps from tree to tree and swings far on vines. The animals love him.

But the bad part is when the tiger who hates humans decides he wants Mogli out of the jungle.

Is this entertaining, educational, or both?

It is fun! I liked this movie a lot. I would rate it 9/10. I love animals and they were funny. I heard it’s a book, I want to read that book.


Emily Builds a Worm House

Jul 13, 2016   //   by Emily   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Emily Builds a Worm House

Emily got a great idea from her Chirp Magazine this month.


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!



Isabel Shares Her New-Found #Hope

Jun 29, 2016   //   by Isabel   //   Age 16-19, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Isabel Shares Her New-Found #Hope

Hashtag Hope is an internet outreach program focused on spreading the idea that there is still hope in this life and that you are important and loved. Hashtag Hope is all about sharing the stories of the people on their team so that others know that they aren’t the only ones who feel like this. Hashtag Hope is there for support. Their message is “it’s ok to not be ok” and that speaks to me personally in so many ways.

Hashtag Hope is on many different platforms of social media. They have an Instagram account where they post heartfelt pictures as well as uplifting messages, and on their Twitter the tweets are inspiring and caring. Their blog is all of the above wrapped up into one.

I first heard of Hashtag Hope in 2014 when I was up in Muskoka Woods for a youth retreat. One night I was handed a little business card-like thing that said “you are not a wasted life.” Since I got that card, I look at it every day and it reminds me that I was made for a reason. I am in love with Hashtag Hope because it works. It gives me, and many others like me, hope. This organization was built by hurting people and was made to help others like them. It’s truly amazing to me how some people care so much about others’ well-being that they are willing to open up to strangers and share their story.

“‘I think about killing myself almost every day and sometimes more…. And you see these people walking by??’ I paused and watched the madness of foot traffic on the street. ‘I know that many of these people do as well. And that is why I started Hashtag Hope.’” –Nicholas Pegg creator of Hashtag Hope.

I guess that’s one of the reasons why I find Hashtag Hope so inspiring – just thinking of all of the bravery it took to start it is incredible. It takes a lot of courage to speak about your own life – I’m not sure I could do it.

“Using topics about darkness to talk about light” is what Hashtag Hope does. The truth is that’s what all of us should be doing. We should be trying harder to eliminate the stigma that surrounds the topics of self-harm as well as depression. We should all learn how to confront and deal with these things so that we can be a bigger help to those in need. That’s one of the reasons why Hashtag Hope is such a great thing to me – because maybe its part of the first step to helping people in need.



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