Article as originally published in Youthink Magazine June 2006 “Summer Issue”, Volume 8, N. 10, p6. Originally written and submitted for Writing 12 that I took in grade 11.

Stories Through Innocent Eyes (original edit)

Excited chatter fills the air. The smiles and giggles are ubiquitous. The partners are at ease and happy as if they were to be with one another. Perhaps it may not be surprising to know that these primary-aged kids and grade 11 and 12 Tupper Writing 12 students are their partners. Together, they will create a story, a collaboration of truly symbiotic partnerships as the children supply the eyes of innocence, inquisitiveness and creativity while the older students supply technical details, encouragement and guidance. For five half-hour sessions the partners sit down with one goal in mind: to create an awesome storybook for kids

Working with kids from Dickens Annex Elementary has transformed the Writing 12 students. They have all found their maternal or paternal instincts, whatever their backgrounds or stereotypical teenager labels and assumptions they may possess. The unwavering innocence of the child overtakes even the most “macho” guys. As if it was almost on instinct, the older students have stepped into a role of guidance, leadership, and maturity, thereby becoming positive role models.

As they drift amongst the cloud of little and big kids, they have created magical bonds between primary-aged students and senior high school students. They are at ease with each other and the obvious age difference appears to be irrelevant. The younger kids are thrilled with the concept of creating their own story and working with the big, old “mean n’ scary” teenagers. Meanwhile, the older students are completely captivated with the adorableness of the little ones. The innocence of the younger children takes the older students back into the world of carefree curiosity that they have left, seemingly so long ago before the reality of the world had barged in.

Finally, after much hard work, the kids, along with their “big kid” partners, show off their handiwork with pride to their peers as they step beyond the realms of once upon a time, topics venturing from aliens to Halloween to cats to the Olympics. The pages fly, written words appear on the pages and colourful pictures dance within the pages as the two proud, newly crowned authors/illustrators read their story aloud to a small group of wide-eyed kids. The blur of excited chatter to collected ideas and focused cooperative working has created a storybook. In spite of any irrelevant imperfections, with the help of a child’s innocent eyes, the storybook isn’t merely a storybook but is now a true, unique literary treasure.


There are minor edits and a title change between the original edit and the published version