Kids Become Story Creators at the Shy Shelly Cebu Tour

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. 

Here's Nica from River of Praise School, sharing who her child hero is.

Here's Nica from River of Praise School, sharing who her child hero is.

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. 

Here's Sonny Boy, the first story creator volunteer.

Here's Sonny Boy, the first story creator volunteer.

L-R: Nina, Sonny Boy and Zoe from Marie Ernestine School

L-R: Nina, Sonny Boy and Zoe from Marie Ernestine School

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!

 

Help Shy Shelly Survive a Christmas Party!

There’s nothing worse for a shy kid than being putting on the spot at a Christmas Party. You cringe at the thought of being introduced to everyone in your big family or even cringier—being forced to perform in front of them! All you want to do is hide inside the comfort room.

Like many kids who struggle with shyness, Shelly would probably draw up creative escape plans to avoid awkward situations in a large party. Our shy heroine prefers to stay in her room, make paper stars and play with her turtle Huey Louie. Now I wonder what would happen if Shelly finds herself at a Christmas party where she doesn’t know half of her clan. What if she’s forced to play games? What if she gets called to perform in front of the family? Oh I think Shelly would run to the comfort room. But I’m also sure that something inside her will tell her that she’s missing out on something great.

Shelly needs a bit of encouragement. Can you help her survive the Trudy family’s Christmas Party?

Play the quiz now!

Happy Art: Collectible-cute Kokoru with Ash Españo

"Happy Birthday to you…” It was time for my friend to blow the candle on her dainty cupcake. She received no ordinary cupcake. Everyone in our Bible study small group oohed and aahed around it—strips of color-corrugated paper were rolled and glued together to form a darling cupcake— a labor of love and a work of creative genius.  It was the kind of art that made your eyes twinkle and your heart flutter. 

Everyone in our group requested for our own paper craft  made by our friend Ash Españo. Because Kokoru is collectible-cute! You just gotta have it in your hands! And so I’d like to share the art of my friend Ash. Hopefully, it also inspires you to take on a #papercraft project. 

Ash started making kokoru when her supervisor asked her to make something for the manager's birthday. While hanging out in a bookstore, which is Ash's Friday hobby, she discovered a kokoru stand with a display of Japanese kokoru dolls. She ended up making a sweet spread of Kokoru cupcakes for her manager.

Ash started making kokoru when her supervisor asked her to make something for the manager's birthday. While hanging out in a bookstore, which is Ash's Friday hobby, she discovered a kokoru stand with a display of Japanese kokoru dolls. She ended up making a sweet spread of Kokoru cupcakes for her manager.

Starting with Chinese dolls, Ash now experiments with different designs! Here's Sadness from Inside Out!

Starting with Chinese dolls, Ash now experiments with different designs! Here's Sadness from Inside Out!

Little Mermaid is one of the easiest Kokorus to make, says Ash.

Little Mermaid is one of the easiest Kokorus to make, says Ash.

Our fave classic Disney-duo Mickey & Minnie!

Our fave classic Disney-duo Mickey & Minnie!

The paper craft power of Pooh and Sailormoon

The paper craft power of Pooh and Sailormoon

"As early as 6 years old, kids can start making Kokoru," says Ash who has been teaching her niece and her boss's daughter how to make Kokoru. "Kids can start with minions first."

"As early as 6 years old, kids can start making Kokoru," says Ash who has been teaching her niece and her boss's daughter how to make Kokoru. "Kids can start with minions first."

Ash also made me my very own kokoru!

Ash also made me my very own kokoru!

Yup. She made me a Shy Shelly kokoru! 

Yup. She made me a Shy Shelly kokoru! 

Ash says Shy Shelly was the hardest design to do because she had to convey shyness in the character's expression. I think she did a super job!

Ash says Shy Shelly was the hardest design to do because she had to convey shyness in the character's expression. I think she did a super job!

Of course there was a Huey Louie kokoru!

Of course there was a Huey Louie kokoru!

Here's Ash with her kokoru collection. 

Here's Ash with her kokoru collection. 

Get started with your happy art project today!

Learn how to make an Angel with Kokoru! Fun, simple, and easy! Visit our website at: http://www.covenantdigital.com/

Happy Art: How to Make Paper Stars

Confession. I am no paper star expert. When I wrote Shy Shelly, I imagined a character who kept her wishes in a jar full of paper stars. I've always been fascinated with paper stars. When I was a kid reporter for the show 5 and Up, I would often see the producers tear off the perforated part from the continuous paper where scripts were printed on. They would turn the torn-off strips into paper stars! Since I wrote the character of Shelly, I've been learning how to make this delightful but tricky-to-make origami. From one of the art pages of  Shy Shelly, here's how to make paper stars.

Illustrated by Elbert Or for The Secret Story of Shy Shelly

Illustrated by Elbert Or for The Secret Story of Shy Shelly

An attempt. I'm trying to fill this little jar with tiny paper stars. Some of the stars are misshapen hehe. If your stars look distorted too, #nevergiveup.

An attempt. I'm trying to fill this little jar with tiny paper stars. Some of the stars are misshapen hehe. If your stars look distorted too, #nevergiveup.

As an extra, I'd like to share a story on how Shelly got started on her paper star collection. Maybe you can start your own collection too!

The Story Behind Shelly's Jar of Paper Stars: An excerpt from Shy Shelly Book 1

There were not a lot of stories about Shelly. No one talked about her. No one knew her. Hardly a word could be heard from her. Shelly could not say no. Shelly could not say hello. All she could do was look down below.

At the park, she played alone. At birthday parties, she sat alone. At home, she was always alone. Well not always, she thought. She had Huey Louie, her turtle of five years.

But on the night before her first day of class in a new section, Shelly wrote on a strip of paper:

I WISH TO HAVE A REAL FRIEND.

Folding and molding a star out of the strip of hope, she dropped it into a jar of paper stars which has held her dreams together.

Sinking into her bed, she didn't fear the night. To the twinkling skies and to Huey Louie, she said goodnight.

BE PAPER STAR CRAZY! My cousin and colorist extraordinaire Ice Cruz made some paper stars dance in this stop-motion video. Check check check it out! 

I made SOME of the paper stars here. MOST were made by my friends Faith, Stef and Trixie. 

Will Shelly Break the Bully?: A Shy Shelly Book 2 Preview

Huddling for meetings under a hidden staircase, rescuing each other from embarrassing days, shielding each other from school tormentors. This was the Secret Squad. Former victims of bullies, now Shelly’s line of defense. This was Shelly’s group of friends. But one word Shelly would always say, to this strong and opinionated company, was the word “Okay.” Out of fear, she struggled to speak her mind loud and clear.

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