Children can create their own kid-power story — a story that shows that they can solve problems and make a difference in the world. When I wrote Shy Shelly a few years ago, I wanted to help kids be courageous. At their young age, I know that they can already help people and speak up on what is right. As a kid, there were times that I hesitated to make brave choices against bullying or peer pressure, and that's why through kid-power stories, I hope to give children a voice.
During the Shy Shelly Book Tour in Cebu last Feb 19-21, 2017, I was able to visit four cities (Cebu City, Mandaue, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu) and share with over 400 children the struggles I faced as an elementary student — the real story that led me to write the Shy Shelly series. And then, through a workshop called How to Create Kid-Power Stories, I was able to teach the kids to turn their problems into their own kid-power story. I had an amazing time listening to the kid-power stories authored by the children themselves!
One of the stories I heard was from Nica, a fifth-grader from River of Praise in Talisay, Cebu. After our workshop, she shared that she wants to create a hero who can stop bullies. In tears she said, this hero would end all the teasing in school. You could see that the story meant so much to her. It was something she wished would happen in real life. We temporarily named her hero Super Nica.
At Marie Ernestine School in Lapu-Lapu City, Fourth-grader Sonny Boy volunteered to be a story creator. He came up with a hero who is failing in Math and who desperately wants to get an A+. His hero studies hard but his friend Sanz, wants to cheat from him! The hero becomes afraid that Sanz would tell everyone not to be friends with him anymore if he doesn't allow him to copy his test answers. To give the story a powerful ending, Sonny Boy enlisted the help of two other classmates, Zoe and Nina, to become his co-creators. They huddled to think about what Sonny Boy's hero should do. In the end, this storytelling trio made their hero stand up to Stand by saying, "Sanz, I will not let you cheat, even if you're my friend, and that's it!" It was a simple and honest ending. With Sonny Boy's permission, we named his hero Sonny Boy too.
Story after story, I witnessed the young creators wanting children to overcome pain and problems. A fourth-grader from Mandaue Christian School created a hero whose wish was to stop his parents from moving to separate planets, Venus and Mars. The hero would do everything in his power to show that Earth was their real home.
A sixth-grader from Talisay, Cebu also shared about a hero who gets lost in a mall during a time of violence in the streets, while another student created a kid missionary hero who shares the Gospel despite persecution.
The young story-creators I met in Cebu were courageous kids, and I know that their stories spoke to their school mates. Kid-power stories remind children that they aren't alone in their struggles, and empower them to do what is good, noble and pure. There are gazillion kid-power stories waiting to be unleashed and I hope to help more children tell their heroic stories in the next Shy Shelly tour!