December 13, 2013
Our new obsession: Roominate!
Roominate was created by Alice and Bettina (in the photo at left), two super-cool young engineers who realized that there aren’t enough girls in science. They wanted to create something that would be fun and also introduce girls to science, and that’s when the idea for Roominate was born. Roominate is a wired dollhouse building kit. You can design your own dollhouse and furniture, decorate it any way you like, fill it with your favorite dolls, and—the best part—add electronic elements.
Roominate comes with an electric motor that can be used to do just about anything. Here at the STACKS we had a lot of fun trying out different options: a fan, a windmill, and even a (very silly!) spinning Christmas tree.
The building units of Roominate are really easy to put together, so we built all kinds of furniture and even created our own little doll to hang out and read Harry Potter. We loved giving our Roominate room a seasonal makeover (which included our spinning Christmas tree). Watch our how-to video.
We’re so excited to have such a fun toy to play with, and even more excited that it’s entertaining AND educational. Roominate girls have been building some really amazing stuff: from replicas of their own bedrooms to the Golden Gate Bridge! They’re proving that science is so totally not just for the boys.
What would YOU build with Roominate? Share your ideas in the Comments below—we just might try them out!
– En-Szu, STACKS Staffer
December 12, 2013
This makes me want to send a Hogwarts letter to everyone I know!
A set of 20 Harry Potter stamps is now available at post offices all across the U.S. Think of all the things you could do with them!
- Decorate your locker or notebooks.
- Paste them onto wooden sticks and make Harry Potter paper dolls. Then reenact all your favorite scenes.
- Add them to the Harry Potter shrine currently set up in your room.
- Send Hogwarts letters to your friends! (“We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”)
- Send YOURSELF a Hogwarts letter (because you know you want one, and wouldn’t it be a secret thrill to actually get one via Muggle post with a Harry Potter stamp on it??)
- Or you could just send, you know, holiday cards.
Tell us in the Comments which one is your favorite, if it’s even possible to have a favorite, and what you would do with your Harry Potter postage stamps.
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
December 12, 2013
Hand Woven Ring
Here is an idea for a make-your-own holiday gift that is quick and cute! Using your own finger as a loom, you can learn the basics of weaving to make beautiful rings that are literally HAND woven! Use different yarns in beautiful colors to show all your friends how much you love them.
Plastic or round-tipped sewing needle
Weaving 101: Warp + Weft = Weave
All woven materials have warp threads and weft threads. The warp is the part the base layer that you lay out first. The weft is the part that is sent through the warp to create a weave.
Directions: Continue reading
December 11, 2013
The Third Door by Emily Rodda (Sequel to The Golden Door and The Silver Door)
Twice before, Rye has risked his life to venture outside the walled city of Weld. He left determined to find his lost brothers and destroy the enemy sending brutal flying beasts called skimmers to attack Weld. But while Rye and his traveling companion, Sonia, managed to find Rye’s brothers, they couldn’t find the source of the skimmers. Weld is still under the gravest threat.
Now one Door out of the city remains: the wooden Door, an ancient entrance that has intrigued Rye since the start of his quest. Rye knows the wooden Door is his final chance. One way or another, Rye’s mission to save Weld will end here. But nothing can prepare him for the shocking discovery that lies behind the third Door.
When Rye and his companions step through the third and final Door, they immediately sense something is wrong. Darkness surrounds the door, and Rye can’t shake away his uneasiness. Where in the world are they?
As they explore the mysterious Fell End and beyond, nothing is as it seems. There are traitors everywhere, and Rye doesn’t know whom to trust with the secrets he uncovers. When he becomes separated from his brothers and Sonia, Rye struggles to remember who he is and what his mission is.
They are running out of time. The evil Shadow Lord is breeding skimmers to attack during the day, not just the night, and people around the world will never be safe. Will the third time be the charm for Rye and Sonia to save Weld? Read and find out!
Read a sample chapter here and tell us what you think about this action-filled book, teeming with adventures, magic, and mythical creatures! Then comment away!
—Elysse, STACKS Writer
December 10, 2013
GET MORE OUT OF MINECRAFT!!
Have you just discovered the magical world of Minecraft? Or are you an expert who’s been at it for months? Either way, this is the book for you.
Minecraft: Essential Handbook is the only official guide available, and it includes tips and secrets that will help players whether they’re beginners or experts. For instance, do you know how to look at an Endermen without getting attacked? Or how to build a roller coaster cart system? You can find the answers in this book . . . and so much more—including exclusive interviews with Notch, the creator of Minecraft, and Jeb, Minecraft’s lead developer.
Check out the pages below (or click here for the pdf). Each has an essential tip to help you excel at Minecraft. Continue reading
December 10, 2013
Personality Quiz: What time period should you have been born in?
Have you ever thought that you might have been born in the wrong era? Take our Time Period Personality Quiz today to find out your true time period personality.
- You want to go on vacation to . . . A) the pyramids of Egypt. Exploring tombs and cozying up to mummies is just your style. B) backpack across Europe. C) Italy. Explore the Colosseum, lean on the Tower of Pisa, gaze at the Sistine Chapel, and float along the waterways of Venice. D) road trip across the United States. E) Are you kidding? Just park the video game truck in my backyard for a week, and I’m good to go!
- If you could have a wig you’d have . . . A) a jeweled headpiece. B) a metal helmet. C) a long braid like Rapunzel. D) perfect shoulder-length curls. E) a green Mohawk.
- What’s your clothing style? A) The less the better; you’re always sweating. B) Relaxed & comfy. C) Dressy & formal. D) Preppy & all-American. E) Edgy & fashion-forward.
- You’d rather do a school report on . . . A) King Tutankhamen. B) Vlad Dracula. C) Michelangelo. D) Ben Franklin. E) Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple Computers.
- You and your friends are into . . . A) mystery, books, and discovering hidden secrets. B) sports, hiking, and being outdoors. C) shopping, dance, art, and music. D) helping people and contributing to good causes. E) robotics and tech-y stuff.
- Which quote appeals most to you? A) “Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King.” B) “Use strength in the service of justice, but tempered by humanity and mercy.” C) “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” D) “Give me liberty or give me death!” E) “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
- Pick a movie! A) The Mummy (rated PG-13) B) The Princess Bride (rated PG) C) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (rated G) D) Pocahontas (rated G) E) Star Wars (rated PG)
- You’d like to travel by . . . A) majestic river cruise. B) There’s no place your feet can’t get you! C) sailboat. D) horseback. E) spaceship.
- Your last meal on earth would be . . . A) falafel, chickpeas, something flavorful. B) steak and boiled potatoes. C) pizza with all the toppings you want! D) turkey and stuffing, a nice Thanksgiving feast. E) freeze-dried ice cream that never melts.
- At a costume party you would dress as. . . . A) Cleopatra. B) a knight or princess. C) Leonardo da Vinci. D) George Washington. E) a three-headed alien.
Leave your answers in the Comments and come back next week to find out your results.
–Ratha, STACKS Writer
December 9, 2013
Create a Caption: Arima’s Christmas
Look how cute Arima is wearing that little velvet Santa hat and bandana! It looks like he is anxiously awaiting his family members to celebrate the holiday together!
Here’s my caption: “Oh, I hope I get a new squeaky toy this year! And a ball! And a comfy new doggy bed! Wait . . . what is that?! I think I smell a milk-bone in my Christmas stocking!”
What do you think? Write YOUR caption for this Christmas cutie in the comments!
–Amanda, STACKS Intern
December 6, 2013
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
If you don’t know about the great South African president Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at age 95, you should read about him. He is my personal hero and a hero to many people around the world. Even President Obama loved him. “I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life,” President Obama said on Thursday. “I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set.”
In 1964, when Mandela complained publicly about the system of racial prejudice (called apartheid) in South Africa, he was accused of trying to overthrow the government. He spent the next 27 years in prison. In 1990, he was released from prison, and in 1994, he became the country’s first black president ending apartheid forever.
Thank you, Nelson Mandela, for helping South Africa to rise, and for inspiring every person in the world to rise with you.
–Sonja, STACKS Staffer
Image credit Kadir Nelson from the book Nelson Mandela
December 6, 2013
Meet the real Edith from Despicable Me.
While the minions may be the most adorable members of the Despicable Me cast, our favorite human character is definitely Edith—the silly, clever, hat-wearing, and utterly lovable middle sister—so we were more than excited to interview Dana Gaier, who plays Edith’s voice in both Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. Even though Dana says she’s just a “regular teenager,” we’d argue that she’s pretty special! We caught up with the actress and asked her about everything from her similarities to Edith to her celebrity crush. (I bet more than a few of you would agree with her answer!) Continue reading
December 4, 2013
STACKS Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The STACKS Book Club is back with a magical new book. This month, we’re reading J.K. Rowling’s classic tale of witchcraft and wizardry, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Whether you’re reading Harry for the first time or the hundredth time, this book about a boy who discovers he’s a wizard is one you just can’t put down!
So grab a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, read the official discussion questions below, and then head to the Comments below to start chatting!
- What would your reaction be if Hagrid arrived at your house and said that you were a wizard?
- Would you be scared to run into the magical wall at Platform 9 ¾?
- What house would the Sorting Hat place you in? When the Sorting Hat was on your head, what would it say to you before you were sorted?
- If you joined your house Quidditch team, what position would you like to play?
- What spell would you want to learn first at Hogwarts?
- What would be your favorite class to take?
Post your answers in the Comments below and also ask your own questions to the STACKS Book Club!
–Brian, STACKS Staffer