Kwil Kids is a labour of frizzy-fuzzy, green-nosed love. It is a proactive and purposeful passion project that has always put joy and freedom at the forefront of expansive lifelong learning. This project has always been Kalen’s "ikigai" or "reason for being.” (While some bought houses and holidays, Kalen bought pencils, postage stamps and green Kwil noses. He also spent a lot of time and money at The Kwil Cafe—his favourite place to read, write, nibble, and gnaw.
Kwil has created and connected with children and creative inner children for over 30 years in the most poetic, passionate, and purposeful ways. He is a giggly, googly-eyed poet and pen pal who has lifted literacy, creativity and social-emotional learning off the page into the minds, hearts, and mailboxes of those insired by the earnest pursuit of wisdom, wonder, wellness—with occasional wit and trademark warmth. As with parents and siblings teaching babies and toddlers to talk and walk, there is so much joy-filled power, purpose and potential in the responsive and energizing engagement of family, friends, and loved ones.
Kwil’s steadfast love is doing—not professing or power pointing. It is happy, heartfelt creativity and connection that keep pencils moving, pages turning, and imaginations yearning. Kwil does this WITH Kwil Kids and Kwilsters alike! More than ever before, Kwil Kids are not likely to do as we SAY. They do as we DO. It takes a Kwil-village (aka Kwilville) to create a community fueled by Knowledge, Wonder, Imagination, Learning (and Love, says Kwil).
Comes to Life!"
It is rare to find an educator who so masterfully combines a passion for literacy and a deep understanding of human development that when carefully woven together not only enhances children’s lives but changes them.
When I first met Mr. Kalen Marquis (fondly known as ‘Mean Ole Mr. M’), I knew that he was more than a Teacher-Librarian and Counselor. At the same time I met Kalen, I was introduced to his mascot Kwil and several of his imaginary companions. As fate should have it, this encounter proved to be the beginning of a special and highly prized relationship that would deepen over time given our mutual passion and commitment to the well-being of those we serve.
My intuition was correct: Kalen’s brilliant brainchild, Kwil, indeed inspires children through his gifted use of words and rhyme that are laced with love and kindness. What transpired over the following months and years extended far beyond my initial expectations. I have seen how children’s imaginations have been ignited through Kwil and how students’ reading and writing have become more purposeful and authentic as they engage with Kwil through regular correspondence. The culture in our library has been transformed! No longer is it simply a warehouse of books but a place where literacy comes to life.
While the idea of having children write to an imaginary character is a relatively simple concept, Kwil provides a unique opportunity for students to communicate and to share thoughts and feelings in an authentic and meaningful way. Kwil provides a personalized opportunity for students to write, dream, draw and imagine – all by engaging with an imaginary character in an imaginary world that is grounded in “wisdom, wonder and wellness”.
I am excited to learn that Kwil Kids is looking to reach beyond the walls of our school and other communities where Kwil has been resident. Imagine the possibilities for Kwil Kids given 21st century technology tools!
Bowen Island, BC
Educator Extraordinaire! (says Kwil)
LEEF is a lover of Literature, Language, Lyrics, Legends & Lore (Lover of L⁵). Renai is a Radical Researcher & Gregarious Golden Girl.
LEEF lives in the old abandoned LPL (Lorelia Public Library). Once a struggling reader, he now reads nonstop with great ease and joy as an unabashed Lover of Literature, Language, Lyrics, Legends and Lore. Leef Lonneberg is a fan of fiction—the exquisitely subjective stories of all people, places and times in all their richness and nuance.
LEEF makes reading and writing passionate and purposeful along with his BFF, RENAI. She is a Radical Researcher & Gregarious Golden Girl who loves nonfiction and online databases, libraries, learning commons, galleries and museums. Much more objective and linear by nature, Renai is always looking for ‘the facts.’ She is truly awesome and amazing in her own right but she is also known here as LEEF's BFF and "Boolean Bud." ("Why 'leef' laboriously through all those pages when you can soar with a search engine?" she quips).
Still youthfully inquisitive and insistent upon moving beyond mere skills and knowledge to the timeless wisdom, wonder and wellness of all people, times and places, LEEF and RENAI are dedicated to imagination, invention and ongoing innovation that mind-fully honours the past, embraces the present, and unlocks the future via "wor(l)ds of wisdom and wonder." Laughingly, they refer to this as their own Lit Lovin' brand of freedom, friendship and fun-- their heartfelt wish for everyone!
LEEF and RENAI are eager to hear from you. Find the (not so) secret shrub-enshrouded entrance to The Old LPL. It's exclusively for lovers of literature, language, lyrics, legends and lore! You may be required to say LEEF's full name five times fast! Is this you? Or someone you know? Remember: "You have the power to bring books to life--your life!" AND "Fresh books are just as important as fresh vegetables!" Get yours today!
"I love talking with you because I can forget about all the bad things. You always help people on the playground and field. I want to be just like you when I grow up and make people smile. When other people smile, I smile."
"I enjoyed the class meeting and seeing how you work your magic--always inviting participation and always allowing an out. You made it fun, engaging, safe, and an opportunity to learn. Thanks for sharing and having such a positive impact on our school community."
"Thank you for an incredible year. You are amazing to watch in action and bring such a passion to your job. Your ability to connect with children is a gift."
“Thank you for always putting a smile on everyone’s face.”