October 21, 2016

SPONSORED POST Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Posted by at 1:44 pm in Movies & TV | Permalink

Fantastic BeastsThis Blog Post Is Sponsored by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The wizarding world of J.K. Rowling lives on in the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (rated PG-13), in theaters November 18, 2016.

In this new adventure, wizard New Scamander brings a suitcase full of magical creatures to 1920s New York City. When some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it could spell trouble for both wizards and No-Majs (the American word for Muggles).

Get ready to have your imagination ignited by all the fantastic beasts in the movie! You’ll meet a Thunderbird, whose powerful wings can generate storms, especially when faced with danger. The tiny Bowtruckle has a leafy, stem-like body for camouflage. The silvery Demiguise can see the future and even become invisible!

Check out the Magizoology 101 Personality Quiz to find out which fantastic beast from the wizarding world you have the most in common with. You can also check out the movie trailer.

Of course, there are fantastic beasts in our world, too—let’s celebrate these animals together! Tell us what’s most fantastic about your pet or your favorite animal in the Comments.

October 21, 2016

Goosebumps Movie Would You Rather

Goosebumps logoThe Goosebumps Movie (rated PG), based on the Goosebumps books series by R.L. Stine is becoming somewhat of a Halloween classic, especially now that the DVD is out. Full of silliness, spooky characters, and just a great story line, it features teenagers Zack and Hannah. Zack has just moved to a new town with his mom, and meets the girl next door, Hannah. Little does he know she is R.L. Stine’s daughter, and before you know it, they have unleashed the monsters from his books. We dare you to try our Goosebumps Movie Would You Rather.

Would You Rather . . .

1. Be attacked by garden gnomes OR the abominable snowman?

2. Have horror stories come true OR really bad nightmares?

3. Be chased by Slappy the Evil Dummy OR a car full of evil clowns?

4. Be locked in a house OR stuck in a book?

5. Have R.L. Stine for a dad OR J.K. Rowling for a mom?

6. Be trapped in a deserted supermarket OR a deserted ice rink?

7. Have a graveyard ghoul suck out your soul OR a slimy pink Blob swallow you whole?

Gather your courage, and let us know what YOU would rather in the Comments below! And let us know if you’re a fan of The Goosebumps Movie!


October 20, 2016

Secret Passageways

Posted by at 1:53 am in Reads | Permalink

Hi!I grew up in an old house, full of history and antiques and tiny staircases. And, I was convinced, full of secrets, too. I just knew that if I searched hard enough, I’d uncover a hidden passageway to the shed out back — or, cooler yet, a secret underground path to the beach a few blocks away.

I long ago gave up my search, but luckily, hidden passageways and secret rooms feature in a lot of amazing books, so I can live vicariously through the characters who disappear, find treasure, or even step into different realms. Plus, reading all those books has taught me the best lessons I’ll need, should I ever discover a secret passageway of my own.

For example, I know what to listen for when I start knocking on walls in my search for a hidden trapdoor, and how to carefully run my fingers up and down any cracks in the wall, looking for the latch. That’s because I’ve read The Ghost at Dawn’s House (The Baby-sitters Club #9). I also know not to give my trust too freely to anyone I should meet if and when I finally find that secret passageway – because I’ve read Coraline.

Secret passages and hidden doors are everywhere in literature, including places like Hogsmeade (where a trapdoor in the cellar of Honeydukes lets Harry Potter and friends connect to a secret passage that leads them to Hogwarts), the city of Venice (which Amy and Dan Cahill discover in The 39 Clues Book 2: One False Note), and even hidden in plain sight behind a fireplace (like in The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless by Ahmet Zappa). You just have to know how to find them!

So do any of you have hidden passageways or secret rooms in your houses? Would you want to find them if you did? Leave a Comment and let me know!

— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer

October 19, 2016

Not-So-Scary Halloween Books

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

Happy HalloweenHalloween is an exciting time of year: fun costumes! Pumpkin carving! Yummy candy! Parties all month long! I know I spend at least half a year planning what I’ll dress up as on October 31st. But Halloween can also be a really frightening time of year, and spooky and scary isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe you’re not really into creepy ghost stories and gory movies—that’s totally okay! (Guess what? Me, neither.) Just because you don’t like getting your pants scared off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too. To celebrate the Halloween season, I’ve put together a list of books for a non-scary Halloween. These mysterious stories will take you on fantastic, wild adventures to get you in the Halloween spirit, but you’ll still be able to sleep at night (well, maybe with a night light).

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Young Jack is only just beginning to learn of his mysterious magical abilities when he and his little sister, Lucy, are kidnapped from their small village by berserkers. What follows next is a thrilling (and hilarious) adventure featuring man-eating spiders, dragons, troll bears, and Vikings—and a universe of creatures, powers, and myths that will forever change Jack’s life.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Baudelaire children—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—have had a run of very bad luck. Not only did their parents perish in the fire that claimed their house, they are sent to live with the horrible Count Olaf. It will take a lot of clever skill and determination for the Baudelaires to foil Olaf’s sinister plans to steal their inheritance, and a lot of teamwork, but they might just make it out of this chapter of their lives OK…for now!

The Witches by Roald Dahl
Thanks to his grandmother’s stories, a seven-year-old boy knows all about witches—REAL witches, not just the ones of stories! He knows how to tell if a human is really a witch in disguise, and knows that what witches hate more than anything else in the world is children. When he accidentally uncovers a truly terrible plot to rid England of all its children, it’s up to the boy to come up with a plan to stop the witches…though an unfortunate transformation is going to make it a lot harder than he thought!

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
Neighbors Digory and Polly are having a pretty wild summer. After accidentally stumbling into an alternate world (thanks to Digory’s Uncle Andrew and some magic rings), they find themselves in even further trouble when they awaken an evil queen with a sinister desire to take over the earth! This first book of the Chronicles of Narnia series will pull you in right away, introducing you to the incredible universe of Narnia and all its fantastic creatures.

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson
Five teenagers, used as models for holographic “guides” in the Disney World theme park, find themselves transported back to the park every night thanks to a bizarre technological glitch. They are tasked with battling an evil force called the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains intent on destroying the world. If you love fantasy, mystery, and all things Disney, this is definitely a must-read!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
When sixteen people are named as the heirs to the fortune of Samuel W. Westing, an eccentric millionaire who loved puzzles, they are divided into teams of two and tasked with solving a series of clues. The pair who solve the mystery first will inherit the entire fortune…but the heirs may be hiding some dark mysteries of their own!

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Serafina is a pro at staying hidden: she lives on the vast Biltmore Estate with her father, the estate’s maintenance man, completely unknown to the estate owners Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt. She knows all the secret corridors and passageways of the mansion, which she explores every night. So when children start disappearing from the estate, Serafina is the only one who knows which clues to follow…but is she willing to risk being discovered to save them? With mystery, suspense, and—yes!—magic, this book is sure to suck you in right away and whisk you off on a most fantastic journey.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Young orphan Hugo relies on being quick and staying undetected to survive in a busy Paris train station. He picks pockets, lives in the walls, and keeps the clocks running. But his world is about to change—and become a lot more visible—when he collides with the mysterious man who runs a toy booth in the station. A series of clues, including a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father, lead Hugo on a journey of discovery that will reveal not only more about the new people in his life, but his own past as well.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Eleven-year-old classmates Petra and Calder are fairly new friends, but they have so much in common—they love art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and even the same blue candy! So when a famous Vermeer painting is stolen on its way to Chicago, and the art thief leaves a series of clues in the public paper, the two decide to solve the mystery on their own…and with the clock ticking down and clues becoming more complicated by the day, it’s a race against time for the new dynamic duo!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Responding to a most peculiar ad in the newspaper, dozens of children sign up to take a series of competitive tasks to prove their gifted abilities—but only four make the cut. These four children are selected to join a super-secret society and tasked with a dangerous, mysterious mission: to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. There’s something very sinister afoot at the Institute, and only these four can stop it! Criminal masterminds, plans for world domination, and ultra-smart kids…what could possibly go wrong?

What do you think? Have you read any of the books on this list? Do you have any recommendations for not-so-scary Halloween books? Share your thoughts and picks in the Comments!

Have a very Happy Halloween!


October 18, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins Scholastic Student Vote

Posted by at 12:17 pm in News | Permalink
Scholastic News logoKids across the U.S. have cast their votes for president.

Most voters will make their picks for president on November 8, but our readers have already made their choice. Hillary Clinton won this year’s Scholastic Student Vote.

The Democratic candidate for president received 52 percent of the student votes, while her main challenger, Republican Donald Trump, received 35 percent. The remaining 13 percent was split among dozens of write-in candidates.

The person with the third most votes was Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, who received about 2 percent. Not far behind were Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination (the act of being formally chosen as a candidate for a job or position), and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. About 153,000 students nationwide, from kindergarten through grade 12, voted online or by mail-in paper ballot.

Since 1940, the results of the student vote have usually mirrored the outcome of the presidential election. In fact, Scholastic readers have been wrong only twice. In 1948, kids picked Thomas E. Dewey over President Harry S. Truman. And in 1960, more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than for the eventual president, John F. Kennedy.

Will the student voters be right again? Find out on November 8!

Student Vote Results Map

Student Vote Results by State

Note: The Scholastic Student Vote is not based on a scientifically designed sample of the student population. It is an educational activity meant to give students an opportunity to express their opinions about the 2016 presidential election.

Alabama 32% 51% 17%
Alaska 36% 35% 29%
Arizona 56% 33% 11%
Arkansas 36% 50% 14%
California 71% 19% 10%
Colorado 59% 28% 14%
Connecticut 55% 32% 13%
Delaware 51% 27% 22%
Florida 48% 39% 13%
Georgia 48% 37% 15%
Hawaii 48% 25% 27%
Idaho 41% 38% 22%
Illinois 58% 31% 11%
Indiana 45% 43% 11%
Iowa 41% 42% 17%
Kansas 39% 40% 21%
Kentucky 39% 45% 15%
Louisiana 37% 52% 12%
Maine 44% 40% 15%
Maryland 66% 21% 13%
Massachusetts 65% 24% 11%
Michigan 49% 36% 15%
Minnesota 54% 33% 13%
Mississippi 41% 52% 7%
Missouri 35% 52% 13%
Montana 29% 56% 15%
Nebraska 38% 51% 10%
Nevada 59% 28% 13%
New Hampshire 50% 31% 18%
New Jersey 54% 37% 9%
New Mexico 57% 25% 18%
New York 56% 35% 9%
North Carolina 49% 40% 11%
North Dakota 25% 63% 12%
Ohio 43% 42% 15%
Oklahoma 44% 49% 7%
Oregon 58% 26% 16%
Pennsylvania 48% 41% 10%
Rhode Island 52% 29% 19%
South Carolina 47% 43% 9%
South Dakota 42% 46% 12%
Tennessee 42% 45% 13%
Texas 49% 40% 11%
Utah 44% 27% 29%
Vermont 50% 23% 26%
Virginia 50% 37% 13%
Washington 60% 25% 15%
Washington, D.C. 34% 29% 37%
West Virginia 25% 65% 10%
Wisconsin 46% 40% 14%
Wyoming 22% 49% 29%
October 14, 2016

Fantastic Beasts Fan Event

Posted by at 1:15 pm in Harry Potter, Movies & TV | Permalink

Eddie Redmayne as Newt ScamanderI have seen the first 10 minutes of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  movie (rated PG-13), and it is EPIC! I was at a worldwide fan event for the new movie in New York City with a whole theater full of Harry Potter fans. Other fans around the world participated, and I can tell you there were wands waving, screams of excitement when a surprise guest appeared (Hint: Her name begins with J.), and even some hyperventilating in the New York theater during this event.fantastic beasts fan event

Watch the highlight video!

For reals, guys! I was there! Am I a lucky no-maj, or what? Leave a Comment and tell us how excited you are for this movie!


October 13, 2016

Create a Caption: Oh Brother!

Posted by at 1:30 am in Create a Caption, Writing Prompt | Permalink

CreateacaptionFor those of you who have brothers or have friends with brothers, don’t brothers act like they are invincible? I don’t know about you, but ever since I was little, growing up with my older brother, he’s always been the take-charge type. Forget about what I wanted to do because it was either his way or the highway.

Even to this day, twenty-some years later, he still thinks like he’s some sort of almighty sibling, and I have the picture below to prove it!


Since my brother thinks he’s so superior (HAHA) standing atop those rocks, fill in what you think he’s saying.

— Carly M.

October 12, 2016

Best Scary Books for Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!I’m the type of girl who’s usually first in line at the movie theater for the latest scary flick. I like to be spooked — ghosts are a particular favorite of mine, but I’ll make do with aliens, or even monsters.

Naturally, it’s no surprise that my bookshelves are lined with some super scary titles that I’ve read again and again — because the best scary stories are the ones that get scarier each time you read them!

So here are my top five favorite scary books for kids:

Thedollhousemurders5. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
Prepare yourselves, readers, for the scariest dollhouse you’ve ever encountered. After reading this tale about a girl whose dollhouse holds terrifying secrets, I spent many a dark night consumed with dread over whether my dolls would start whispering confessions to me. Sadly, or luckily, they never did.

Allthelovelybadones4. All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
I myself wasn’t a troublemaker as a kid, which I suppose is why I found it fascinating to read about characters like Travis and Corey, siblings who have been kicked out of summer camp for being pranksters. They spend the summer at their grandmother’s inn, and what starts off as just another prank — staging fake ghost sightings and charging tourists for them — quickly turns all-too-real when they realize the inn actually is haunted! Some truly frightening moments make this book suitable for slightly older readers.

Skeletonman3. Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac (ages 12 and up)
Not to be confused with the new book Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman (another scary tale that combines video with reading!), Skeleton Man is tense, creepy, and unexpected. It weaves together some Native American history with modern-day references (it was written in 2001), and even though it’s seriously scary, it’s refreshing to read about a gutsy young girl who sets out to solve the mystery of her missing parents.

Waittillhellencomes2. Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
What can I say — Mary Downing Hahn is a master at telling scary stories! I actually hadn’t read this title until a friend of mine recently reminisced about it, sealing the deal for me when she mentioned it was truly, seriously scary. And it is — all graveyards and hauntings, converted churches and legends . . . and I couldn’t put it down. This one is not for the faint of heart!


1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ages 12 and up)
Sometimes the best reason to read a scary book is to learn that not all “scary” things are dangerous — or all that frightening. This 2009 Newbery Medal winner starts off with a terrifying scene, but ultimately, the ghosts of the graveyard prove themselves more humane than some of the actual humans in the book. Scary, sure, but also funny, captivating, and tender.

What are some of YOUR favorite scary reads?

— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer

October 11, 2016

Monstober Would You Rather


The Disney Channel gets spooky this month with a ton of new Halloween themed shows, movies, and fan favorites. We thought we’d unleash this monstrous news on you with some Would You Rather “Monstober” style.

Would You Rather …

1. Turn into a werewolf in school and go crazy OR have one of your toys turn into a doll-zombie and follow you everywhere?

Best Friends Whenever tackles this very difficult werewolf scenario in “Night of the Were-Diesel.” Syd accidentally gets wolf serum on herself and turns into a werewolf! Now Shelby has to stop her before she destroys the school’s Halloween carnival. (Monday October 17th, repeats all month)

2. Be at a camp where the campers keep mysteriously disappearing OR be chased by a weird chef with a meat cleaver?

Bunk’d “Camp Kiki-Slasher” has the campers disappearing one by one. And the promo features the weird chef with the meat cleaver. Yikes! (Friday October 7th, repeats all month)

3. Do rhythmic gymnastics OR ice hockey?

Check out the new original movie The Swap featuring a gymnast and an ice hockey star. When they text-argue about whose life and sport is easier, a weird glitch makes them switch bodies! With a gymnastic championship and hockey team tryouts on the line, they have to figure out how to get back in their own bodies before the switch becomes permanent. (Oct. 7th, on Demand)

4. Monsters Inc. OR Monsters U?

Both are awesome, but tune in to Monsters U on Oct. 9th!

5. Be a Ghostbuster and catch ghosts OR a Ghost Patrol and catch animal-spirit ghosts?

Catch the one-hour animated special Ghost Patrol where Gabi, Spence, and Spooky the Dog are their town’s supernatural pest control. They’ve never seen a real ghost, but that might all change when they are called to investigate the old Geist Manor… (Oct. 9th)

6. Run a mysterious lodge in the country OR a trendy hotel in the city?

The new series from Disney Channel UK/England called The Lodge looks pretty awesome. After her mother dies, a girl returns to the lodge her mother was raised in years ago and takes part in running it. But she finds everything is not as it seems to be. Looks musical, tech-y, trendy, and FUN! (Oct.17th)

7. Be the child of a Disney hero OR Disney villain?

Fan favorite movie Descendants features the children of Disney movie princesses and villains at boarding school. Also look for the animated shorts called Descendants; Wicked World. There is a new one “Slumber Party.” (Oct. 21st)

8. Have your soul trapped in a haunted cabinet OR get turned into a monster?

Check out R.L. Stine’s movie Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls where a travelling Hall of Horrors, run by the crazy Dr. Hysteria, is turning teenagers into monsters and trapping their souls in a cabinet backstage. (Oct. 29th)

Other highlights from Monstober include movies Halloweentown, My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Twitches, Toy Story 3. Plus Halloween episodes of Liv and Maddie, and Bizaardvark. Also look for Halloween makeup tutorials, DIY projects, and Disney star makeovers “Monstrosity Makeovers.”

Let us know your answers to the “Would You Rather” questions in the Comments below!


October 10, 2016

Creepy Graveyards and Halloween Stories

Posted by at 1:45 am in Polls | Permalink

Happy HalloweenTales From the Graveyard . . .

The Spooky Cemetery: Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Maine
During the War of 1812, the U.S. captured the ship HMS Boxer from England. The captain of Boxer, named Samuel Blyth, died during the attack. So did the U.S. Commander who led the attack against him, William Burrows. The two enemies were buried side by side in the Eastern Cemetery of Portland, Maine in 1813. But some things even death cannot finish. It is said that their spirits still do not get along. Their ghosts rise from their graves each night and yell at each other. Maybe they’re arguing about who is the better commander. But we’ll most likely never know because they disappear into the night …whenever the living appear.

The Spooky Curse: The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb
Ever since the Ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922 in Egypt, stories say that those who dared to enter his tomb would be terribly cursed with bad luck, illness, or even death. The English Lord Carnarvon, who funded King Tut’s excavation, died in Cairo, Egypt five months after the tomb was discovered. Rumors say that on the night he died, Carnarvon’s dog in England let out a howl and died herself. Many other members of the archaeological team also perished. Whether or not the deaths were related to scientific reasons like bacteria, mosquito infections, natural causes … or King Tut’s curse remain to be proven.

The Spooky Voodoo Queen: Marie Laveau
A 200-year-old cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana houses the tomb of the mysterious “Voodoo Priestess” Marie Laveau, who lived from 1794-1881. It was said her mystical powers mixed Catholic Saints with African Spirits and could heal or cause harm. She became one of the most powerful, influential, and feared women in Louisiana. Some people now believe that Laveau’s ghost will grant them a wish if they draw an X on her tomb, turn around three times, knock on the tomb, and yell out their wish. If the wish comes true, they have to return to the tomb, circle their X, and leave Laveau an offering. If you visit her grave today, you’ll notice many offerings, candles, flowers, and Voodoo dolls, all in thanks for Laveau’s supernatural blessings. She is buried at St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans, which is believed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in America.

The Haunted Burial: Rufina Cambaceres
The Cementario de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was meant to house the rich and famous, such as the young girl named Rufina Cambaceres. In 1902, Rufina was buried alive after she was mistakenly pronounced dead! Once her body was found trying to escape her tomb, her father redesigned her tomb to resemble his daughter trying to escape it. It’s now believed that Rufina haunts the place and goes around digging up other graves in order to make sure that no one is buried alive.

After reading these spooky, and possibly true stories, tell us . . . are you afraid of graveyards?