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Teenage activist Yoav Landsberg-Lewis, fashion maven Violet Keeler-Fox, YouTube prodigy Kameiro Rush and kid cook Kai J. Moorthy were among the young Canadians The Globe and Mail consulted for our 2018 back-to-school section.


Do it myself

How to be prepared for fun: At 8, Kameiro Rush is a YouTube superstar, who, alongside his younger sister Cali, plays with a variety of toys and costumes on their channel FamousTubeKIDS. As he gets ready to start Grade 4, he unboxes his must-have items: crayons, binders and notebooks, a Lego backpack, a Raptors hat and a fidget spinner.

How to keep it clean: Adolescents are just learning the ropes of adult hygiene: Showers instead of baths, using deodorant and other personal grooming habits are important. Ask a grown-up you trust to take you deodorant shopping and lean on their years of experience to find the healthy habits that are right for you. Here’s some advice to get you started.

How to reconnect: Are you worried you’ve been spending too much time on your phone all summer? If so, it’s a good idea to focus on the quality of your on-screen time instead of the quantity, says Kara Brisson-Boivin, director of research at MediaSmarts, an Ottawa-based digital and media literacy centre. Consider getting your family to hold you accountable for bad smartphone habits, or adopting a digital curfew for everyone to put their devices away. And importantly, look for things to do that don’t require a phone. Take the dog for a walk or go to the movies with friends, Brisson-Boivin suggests.

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How to get smart: In writing her book Ara the Star Engineer, Google program manager Komal Singh wanted to get children, girls especially, excited about coding, computers and problem-solving. We asked 10-year-old Beatrix Mastai to interview her at the futuristic Google campus in Kitchener-Waterloo.

How to make a difference: It’s never too young to get involved in activism. Jed Sears, 14, got involved in Toronto political campaigns when he was 11 and helped his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance make junior high more inclusive for LGBTQ students. Lia Pappas-Kemps, the 14-year-old star of CBC’s modernized Anne of Green Gables series, is a champion of women’s rights at school and online. And Yoav Landsberg-Lewis, 13, fights sexism, racism and homophobia in Toronto as UniKittie, one of Toronto’s youngest drag queens. These are their stories.

Jed Sears, 14, Lia Pappas-Kemps, 14, and Yoav Landsberg-Lewis, 13, are three young people trying to make a difference.

Eat well

Chazz Choi eats his bento box in Calgary.

Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Lunch hour gives busy students a chance to rest, refuel and catch up with one another – and to do all three, it’s best to be prepared. We asked four young home cooks in Calgary to share their favourite foods on the go. Here’s what they taught us how to make:

  • For the vegetarians: Genevieve Osberg’s buddha bowl
  • For cilantro lovers: Kai J. Moorthy’s cilantro omelette
  • For Japanese flavour: Chazz Choi’s onigiri
  • For pizzas in a package: Willem Van Rosendaal’s stromboli

Live well

Maya Coniker, 16, designed her bathroom with a springtime theme in mind. 'My friends love the tiles and the gold faucet and shower system especially,' she says. 'They also comment on how it looks finished with the art and accessories.'

Vanessa Francis

Home is a student’s refuge from the stresses of school, so it’s important to live in style and comfort. Though their parents are making the big decisions about home furnishing, big brands are increasingly tailoring their goods to teens. “The person paying is the parent, that’s obviously true,” says Shimmy Silver, manager of Kid’s Interior Design Store in Concord, Ont. “Having said that, all the research shows, if the teenager is with the parent, you treat the group as a whole and talk to both sides.”

Here are some ideas from stylish teens about how they’ve transformed their homes. Sixteen-year-old Maya Coniker, whose mother writes the popular blog Decor Happy, redesigned her bathroom around “a spring type of theme including flowers and birds.” She was pleased with the end result, “The fun, positive colours incorporated into the space makes a great area for my age group,” she says.

In her Montreal bedroom, 13-year-old Juliette Arsenault made the space her own with a DIY touch, a mix of vintage and modern pieces – and lots of gold. “I knew the colours I wanted,” she says. "Turquoise, blush, black, white and gold. I used to be obsessed with gold.” The space has evolved a lot as Juliette has grown older. "I like designing.”

Juliette Arsenault in her Montreal bedroom.

Dress well

Madeleine (Mado) MacInnis and Violet Keeler-Fox explore the racks on their search for back-to-school clothes.

Jenna Marie Wakani/The Globe and Mail

A shopping odyssey: The back-to-school fashion planning started in June for Toronto’s Violet Keeler-Fox, 11, and Madeleine (Mado) MacInnis, 10. “I like to look like a put-together person,” Violet says. "I don’t like blending in with all the other mainstream kids, at all.” When the girls went shopping in July, Globe style writer Nathalie Atkinson tagged along, as they and their mothers journeyed from the secondhand shops of Roncesvalles to the chain stores of the Dufferin Mall.

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Finding your style: Nevée Caravello, 13, has been back-to-school shopping with her grandmother since she was four. “I don’t necessarily look to celebrities for ideas,” she says. “I watch what my friends or peers wear, and if I like it I would look for it or something like it at the store.” Here, she tells The Globe what she’s excited about this year.

Breaking the mould: If your school uniform makes you feel drab, feel fab instead with some accessories. Odessa Paloma Parker looks at the hats that can let your creativity shine, from quirky baseball hats to chic berets.

Facing the world: With your teenage years come acne, blemishes and other challenges to good skin care. Here, Gayle MacDonald breaks down the basics: Face wash, makeup remover, moisturizer, foundation, bronzers, cream blushes and sunscreen.

Illustration by Benjamin MacDonald

Plan for next summer

When in Rome, do in the Romans, as Jasper Jordan, right, learned when he attended gladiator school in Rome this summer.

Clare Vander Meersch

Where to go: Going back to school and catching up with your friends may give you great ideas about how to spend your next vacation. You’ve probably spent your summers with campfires and canoes, but have you tried swords and shields? For his summer vacation, 11-year-old Jasper Jordan learned to fight like an ancient Roman at a gladiator school in Rome. “It was better than getting a solo win in Fortnite,” he writes.

What to bring: Amy Valm breaks down the gear you’ll need for a successful summer outing, from backpacks and luggage to video games on the go.

Social survival: Is travelling with your family an adventure or a nightmare? Our kid correspondents have some advice to make sure it’s the latter: Cameron Greenwood Davis on dealing with your parents, and Ava Bisby on dealing with siblings.

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Cameron Greenwood Davis, left, with his brother on vacation.

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