by Denise Gary
Photographs © Denise Gary

Kids Need to Read recently introduced author and illustrator Steven Riley (Little Ty Cooney National Wonders series) to the kindergarten through fourth grade students of Children First Academy in Tempe, Arizona as part of the Kids-N-Peace literacy program. Let me just say straight up, Steven is extraordinarily entertaining and his school presentations are among the best we have ever seen. If you have never experienced a Steven Riley presentation, do not miss the pictures below and in the photo gallery, as words cannot adequately describe his hilarious antics!

Steven knows what appeals to kids in art, writing, and silly slapstick humor, and uses that knowledge to humorously and seemingly effortlessly take children through the process of creating stories.

It is impossible to describe the joy of watching him bring smiles and laughter to the children he entertains through his hilarious storytelling performances.

The kids only know one thing—they are having fun!

Adults are equally amused by the innate comedic talents of this skilled performer.

Steven takes the students through several goofy skits designed to teach them how to create stories.

By the end of it all, the kids have the knowledge and inspiration they need to put together their own imaginative stories.

Kids Need to Read gave every student one of Steven Riley’s books to keep and treasure, each signed by the author/illustrator.

After Steven’s presentations, we received this comment from Children First Academy counselor Todd Kemmerer:

Thanks again for a great experience for the kids. They were all so excited the rest of the day. Some of the teachers reported the kids wanted to write a book right here in school.

Kids Need to Read sincerely thanks Steven Riley for sharing his magical ability to inspire children to read and write with the Kids-N-Peace program and the students of Children First Academy. There are many more photos of Steven’s amusing shenanigans and the children’s reactions in the photo gallery: Steven Riley: Slapstick Story Creation

Information: Kids-N-Peace Program

The Kids-N-Peace program is designed to support literacy education, as well as help students cope with bullying, learn peaceful conflict resolution techniques, and develop effective leadership skills. The Peace Packs Book Collection is the backbone of Kids-N-Peace, which also features related activities and live presentations to fulfill the goals of the program. According to, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying, and one out of ten students ultimately drops out due to repeated bullying. The issues of bullying, school violence, and lack of peaceful leadership skills are pervasive menaces to children and experience has taught that self-empowerment through education is the key to breaking the cycle of violence.

Kids-N-Peace Funding Partners

East Quogue Elementary School Students
Elephants Remember
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona
Fry’s Fund
John F. Long Foundation
Mesa Host Lions Club
Sundt Foundation
Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund


2 Responses to “Steven Riley: Slapstick Story Creation”

  1. Cindy Talley on January 6th, 2014 10:40 am

    Steve Riley is truly an amazing performer and person. I haven’t seen one of his school performances, but he works in our youth group and I see every week how good he is with the students and how he can act silly and funny and get them to laugh and have fun! Thanks Steve for all you do for the kids in the schools and at youth group!

  2. Teresa on January 6th, 2014 11:27 am

    How wonderful to see kids so excited about learning! I hope he will be doing this with other schools. He has a great talent for inspiring kids to write and get excited about books.
    Thanks Denise for capturing the fun!

Leave a Reply