September 30, 2016

The Best Female Superheroes

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

HippolyteEver since there have been novels, movies, and comic books, there have been superheroes — from Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey to Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or the comic book character, Superman, as written by Jerry Siegel. However, what do you notice from those examples? They are all male.

Well, here are my favorite female superheroes of all time.

She Ra, The Princess of Power
She Ra makes my list at number five because she is one of the very first female superheroes I was introduced to as a child. While fighting alongside her companion, He-Man, she possessed superhuman strength, amazing speed and agility, a healing touch, the ability to speak with animals telepathically, and a super awesome outfit as well.

Susan Richards, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman
If are familiar with Marvel Comics, then you know Susan Storm Richards, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman. This superhero ranks number four on the list because who wouldn’t want the ability to become invisible every once in a while?

Matilda Wormwood
As the main character in Roald Dahl’s book, Matilda, Matilda Wormwood comes in at number two not only due to her psychokinetic powers, but also because of her extreme intelligence. This 5-year-old not only knows how to read at a college level, but her powers help those in the path of the evil Miss Trunchbull.

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is one of the first female superheroes to take the comic book industry by storm. Created by DC Comics in 1944, Wonder Woman was initially depicted as fighting the Axis military forces in WWII. Wonder Woman has the following powers: super strength and hearing, lightning-fast speed, flight, superior combat skills, animal empathy, regeneration, resistance to magic, immunity to illusions, hypnosis and mind control, and the ability to discern truth. With her cunning ability to fight the forces of evil and save the world from harm, Wonder Woman has risen to take her spot as the number one greatest female superhero of all time.

Who makes your list of favorite superheroines?

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

September 29, 2016

Book Swap Party

Posted by at 1:52 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

Peep says Hi.Want to start a new tradition with your friends? How about a book swap party? For those always on the hunt for the next great read, a book swap is the way to go.

Here’s how it works:

  • Invite a group of 1-5 friends.
  • Provide book-based snacks like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hot chocolate or a bowl of Bertie Bott’s jelly beans.
  • Everyone brings at least one great read to swap – it can be new, used, dog-eared, whatever, as long as all the pages are there. Feel free to bring more than one title because the ultimate goal is to match every swapper up with a fabulous book.

Get creative with how to match up friends with books. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have each swapper create a short “personality quiz” (like this one) to see who’s best suited to the book.
  • Try a “Yankee Swap.” Draw numbers out of a bag. Person 1 gets first pick, but Person 2 can choose from the pile OR grab Person 1′s pick – and so on.
  • Make connections with other books your guests have already read and loved. Here are some pairings to get you started:
Harry Potter If you liked sinking into all seven Harry Potter books, try The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. The Dark is Rising
The Calder Game If you liked going to England with The Calder Game by Blue Balliett, try The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Inkdeath If you liked the characters with amazing abilities in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, try Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke.
Try
The Lightning Thief
A Series of Unfortunate Events If you liked the quirky twists in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, try The 39 Clues series. The 39 Clues

Cap off your book swap festivities with crafty fun like bookmark-making. (You supply the thick paper, stickers, and glitter glue.) Or pop in a book-based movie like The Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, pop some corn and settle in.

Are you planning a book swap? Be sure to Comment and let us know how it goes.

— Amy

September 28, 2016

Whatever After Readalikes

Posted by at 1:18 am in Reads, Whatever After | Permalink

Whatever After booksOh, to live in a fairy tale! Talking animals, magic spells, exciting adventures . . . it would be so awesome. Well, it would be awesome if you managed to stay out of trouble, that is — and trouble is exactly what Abby and her kid brother Jonah end up in after stumbling through a magic mirror and into the worlds of their favorite fairy tales. After accidentally turning the stories upside down, they have to use their wits and bravery to turn them right-side up again. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, you probably already love this fantastic series. Once you’ve finished the latest book, chances are you’ll be looking for more fun fairy tale adventures–and that’s why we’ve put together this list of our favorite Whatever After readalikes!

Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel
It can be hard to live in the shadow of a famous parent. It’s even harder if that parent is famous for being a villain, and has been banished to live on an isolated island with other villains—and you’re stuck there, too! That’s the life Mal, daughter of Maleficient, and her friends (all children of Disney villains) have on the Isle of the Lost, where the only thing to do is learn how to be evil. But when a small break in the protective dome appears and activates Maleficent’s scepter, the kids are in a race against each other to find it first and use it for their own reasons…

Princess Academy
14-year-old Miri has lived a humble existence in the humble mining village of Mount Eskel, where it is expected that she will work in the quarry just like her family when she is old enough. But an unexpected prophecy by the king’s priests that the next princess will come from Mount Eskel turns Miri’s world on its head! Sent to a special academy with all the other eligible girls from the village, Miri must learn how to behave like a princess. But will living a life she’s only dreamed of be worth it?

The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Even though Emily Windsnap and her mom live on a houseboat, Emily’s never learned how to swim…and she finds out why during a swimming lesson at school: her legs turn into a fishtail! Thanks to her newfound ability, she discovers an underwater mer-city close by and learns more about who she is and her mysterious past. Determined to reunite with her merman father whom she’s never met, Emily embarks on a journey to find him — and learns several shocking things along the way!

The Wide-Awake Princess
Thanks to a spell from a fairy named Moonbeam, Princess Annie can’t be affected by magic. So when her older sister Gwendolyn — also known as Sleeping Beauty — falls asleep, Annie is the only person at the castle left awake. It’s up to Annie now to find Gwen’s true love to kiss her awake, and she sets off across the land in search of eligible princes to break the spell. Along the way she meets all manner of fairy tale characters…and maybe even finds a love of her own.

Ella Enchanted
When Ella is born, a well-meaning fairy gives her a “gift” that turns out to be more of a curse: Ella must obey any order that is given to her, even if it puts her in danger! She’s determined to break the curse, but not before she goes on a wild adventure involving evil stepsisters, ogres, giants, and a very charming prince. This funny book presents the story of Cinderella like you’ve never heard it before, and is sure to become one of your favorites!

Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
On their twelfth birthday, twins Alex and Conner are given a book of fairy tales from their grandmother. It contains all the stories she used to read to them when they were younger. Suddenly, the book comes to life and plunges the twins into the magical Land of Stories — a land where all the fairy tale characters they read about are alive. The only way home is by following instructions in a mysterious journal to complete the Wishing Spell, which requires collecting eight special items from the Land of Stories. But it’s no easy task, and along the way Alex and Conner discover that they have a very special tie to this magical, wonderful land.

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends
What if you decided not to follow your pre-written destiny? Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, is supposed to follow in her mother’s footsteps. At Ever After High, the special boarding school for the children of fairy tale characters, each student is required to sign the Storybook of Legends on Legacy Day to fulfill their destinies as princesses, princes, and villains. Raven isn’t too sure she wants to be evil . . . but refusing to follow her fate might prove disastrous not just for her, but everyone else in the Snow White story!

What do you think, fairy tale lovers? Have you read any of these books? Do you have any other recommendations for fans of Whatever After? Share in the Comments below!

En-Szu

September 27, 2016

Books For Animal Lovers

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!Are you devoted to your dog? Do you ham it up with your hamster? Hang out with spiders? Well, if you are looking for books for animal lovers, check out a few of my faves . . .

Marley Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan
When John and Jenny decide to adopt a cute Labrador puppy (Marley), they have no idea what they are in for. He’s like a walking hurricane with paws — eating expensive jewelry, jumping everyone who walks through the door, flinging drool everywhere, and even getting kicked out of doggie obedience class. But their lives will never be the same, and they find out Marley is a very loyal and loving dog. I couldn’t put this book down; it had me ROTFL at one point, then ready to grab a Kleenex at the next. I really think any dog lover or pet lover will LOVE this one.

Cricket-in-times-squareA Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
When Chester the Cricket finds himself in New York City’s Times Square (after a wayward jaunt into someone’s picnic basket from his home in Connecticut), he is totally lost until he finds Mario, the human boy who sets him up at his family’s newsstand.He befriends Tucker the Cat and Harry the Mouse, and he finds that big city life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He lives in a matchbox bed with Kleenex sheets and has some pretty cool adventures. But the friendships he makes and life lessons he learns I could totally relate to —  even though he is a cricket. This one definitely is one of my faves.

WarriorsThe Warriors (Book #1: Into the Wild) by Erin Hunter
This book is like house cat meets ancient tribal wildcat, or as I like to call it . . . Lord of the Rings with cats! This epic saga runs through several books and series (The New Prophecy, The Power of Three, and more), but for starting out, I recommend Into the Wild, which is the very first book. Rusty, a house cat, gets the chance to join Thunder Clan, one of the ancient warrior cat clans, but he gets in the middle of a turf war with other rival clans. He has to prove his bravery, uncover a traitor, and rise to become a hero. If you are a fan of animal fantasy adventure stories, check this out. You’ll never see your cat the same way again.

Charlottes_webCharlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Okay, this book is a total classic, so I just had to put it on the list. It’s like a soap opera for barnyard animals. After Wilbur the piglet is deemed the runt of his litter, he is sentenced to live a lonely life in the cellar of the barn. He meets spider Charlotte, and they become fast friends. When Wilbur discovers he is going to be slaughtered and eaten, Charlotte finds a way to save his life. I don’t want to reveal anymore, but there are more twists and turns after this, leading up to a heart-wrenching ending. Have a box of tissues handy.

All of these get my vote for two paws up! Tell us your favorite animal stories in the Comments!

— Ratha

September 26, 2016

Random Weirdness Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:36 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

WritingpromptThis is totally true. In my lifetime, I have swum in an underground cave. I have eaten fried crickets. I have walked through a park filled with hundreds and hundreds of stray cats. And I have watched a movie with the Queen of England. (Well, she was in the balcony and I was down below with the secret service agents, but we were in the same theater!)

Now we want to hear from you. Tell us about the weird and wonderful things you have done in your lifetime! The only rules are:

  • No inappropriate stuff.
  • No personal information about who you are or where you live.
  • Have fun!

Please leave a Comment sharing your wonderful weirdness with the world!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

September 23, 2016

Star Wars Rebels Would You Rather

STAR WARS REBELSStar Wars Rebels on Disney XD takes place 14 years after the movie Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (where Anakin becomes Darth Vader) and 5 years before Episode IV: A New Hope (where we meet Luke). So basically, in between the old movies and the new movies.

It introduces a whole new cast of characters, plus we get to see some old favorites. The main character is Ezra, a 14-year old orphan/con-artist/pickpocket with surprising abilities to use the Force. He becomes an unlikely member of the Ghost ship crew where he is trained by Jedi Kanan, and helps in missions against the Empire. Along the way we get to see Yoda, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, C3-PO, Ashoka, and more of our old faves in action.

Use the Force for good rather than evil to complete our Star Wars Rebels Would You Rather.

Would you rather:

1. Go undercover as an Imperial cadet (and pretend to be evil) OR train as Darth Vader’s apprentice (and truly be evil)?

2. Blaster OR lightsaber?

3. Lose your droid OR your ship to Lando Calrissian?

4. Make your own lightsaber (like Ezra’s out of Kyber crystal) OR inherit Yoda’s?

5. C1-10P OR R2-D2?

6. Battle Ashoka Tano OR the Seventh Sister?

7. Mind Control skills OR lightsaber skills?

8. Always be a bad guy OR be a once-good-guy-turned-into-a-bad-guy? (like The Grand Inquisitor)

9. In Season 3 see a young Han Solo and Chewy on a mission OR see Ezra join the Dark Side?

Season 3 starts September 24th, so you won’t have to wait long to get your fix, but in the meantime, let us know your answers in he Comments below. And may The Force be with you.

-Ratha

September 22, 2016

Writing Prompt: Almost. . .

Posted by at 1:12 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writingprompt_almost

Imagine of just one small thing were different about your favorite book. It would change the entire plot, right? So, I’d like to propose a game. Take the title of a book, then change one small thing, even just one letter, and give me the new plot. Example:

Hurry Potter

Hurrypotter
Harry Potter has to run really fast all the time for no reason.

Give me your best/most ridiculous book titles and plots!

— Jack

September 21, 2016

Wings of Fire Readalikes

Posted by at 1:56 am in Reads | Permalink

WingsofFireIf you fell in love with the wonderful world of Wings of Fire, you’re probably looking for other great fantasy titles full of magic, adventure, and—yes—dragons. Fear not! We’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of the best Wings of Fire readalikes that will transport you to exciting new worlds (some of which may be in your very own back yard).

Warriors
Rusty is a housecat who yearns for adventure, and he’s in luck. Right beyond the backyard of his home lies the world of the feral cats, who are divided into different gangs in the midst of an epic battle for power. Apprenticed by the ThunderClan, Rusty is given the new name Firepaw and trains to become a warrior . . . and he may just be the one to save the clans from destruction from the evil ShadowClan.

Foxcraft
Young fox Isla lives outside the land of humans—known to foxes as “the furless”—with her fox family. One day she returns to her den to find it on fire, surrounded by foxes she’s never seen before and with her family nowhere to be found. On the run, she must enter the world of the furless to survive . . . and learn the ancient magic of Foxcraft.

Dragon Rider
With his colony under threat by humans, young dragon Firedrake flees and embarks on a journey to find the Rim of Heaven in the Himalayas, a mythical place where dragons are safe and can live in peace. Along with his dragon rider, an orphan boy named Ben, Firedrake sets off on the dangerous quest full of fantastic creatures— one very evil one intent on ending Firedrake’s journey for good!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Minli lives in the valley of Fruitless Mountain, where she and her parents must work hard all day just to barely survive. It’s a difficult life, but Minli’s father tells her many magical stories to make their days less miserable. It is through his stories that Minli learns about the Old Man on the Moon, who has the power to tell her how they can change their fortune—and with encouragement from a talking goldfish, she sets off on a journey to find the Old Man. Along the way she meets and befriends many magical characters, including a dragon who can’t fly . . . and learns a thing or two about bravery and the true meaning of fortune.

Magesterium: The Iron Trial
Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has been warned by his father to stay away from magic and the Magesterium, a school for magically inclined children. The problem is, Callum is descended from mages: he’s got magical abilities whether he likes it or not. When he tries to fail the Iron Trial, the entrance exam to the Magesterium, he fails at failing and is admitted. Now forced to attend the mysterious and frightening school, he is apprenticed under the great mage Master Rufus. He’s in for one wild ride of friendships, foes, and, yes—lots of magic.

Fablehaven
When Kendra and her brother Seth are sent to stay with their grandparents at the Fablehaven estate while their parents are on a vacation. Little do they know, Fablehaven is actually a protected home for magical creatures—and their grandfather is the caretaker. There are many fascinating creatures to meet and adventures to be had, but there are also very strict rules to follow. And when Kendra and Seth break one, they are in a world of trouble unlike anything they could ever expect!

The Menagerie
The author of Wings of Fire, Tui T. Sutherland, joined forces with her sister Kari Sutherland to write this incredible series. Logan, new in the town of Xanadu, Wyoming, is shocked to find a baby griffin under his bed one night—and even more surprised to learn that the baby griffin actually escaped from the top-secret Menagerie, a special zoo for magical creatures. The Menagerie is run by his classmate Zoe and her family, and with Logan’s help, they start tracking down other escaped griffins. But the Menagerie is due for an inspection soon, and if anything is amiss it will be shut down for good. Will Logan and Zoe find the remaining griffins in time?

Are you a Wings of Fire fan? Have you read any of these books? What other books would you recommend for fans of the series? Sound off in the Comments below!

En-Szu

September 20, 2016

Create a Caption: Frog

Posted by at 1:33 am in Create a Caption, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Q: What did the bathtub say to the toilet?
A: You look flushed.

Q: What did one hat say to the other hat?
A: You stay here. I’m gonna go on a head!

Q: What did the frogs say to the ducks?

You tell me!

Ducksnfrogs-001

Leave a comment telling me what you think should go in the speech bubble for when the toys on my desk have a (hilarious) conversation.

– Carly

September 19, 2016

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Posted by at 1:00 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!Ahoy, matey! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. To celebrate, check out some of these pirate-themed books:

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Pirate’s Plot by Ellen Miles
  • The Pirate’s Son by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Nick of Time: An Adventure Through Time by Ted Bell
  • Stowaway by Kristiana Gregory
  • Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt
  • Peter Raven Under Fire by Michael Molloy

So tally ho, make ye enemies walk the plank, and don’t forget to talk like a pirate!

—Carly