September 4, 2015

SPONSORED POST Hotel Transylvania 2

Posted by at 1:18 am in Celebrities, SPONSORED | Permalink

Hotel Transylvania 2This Blog Post is Sponsored by Sony Pictures Animation.

Are you ready to go BACK to HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA?

Or maybe you’re checking in for the first time? No matter; the good news is that Dracula’s formerly monsters-only hotel policy has finally relaxed. He’s opening his doors to human guests, and considering his grandson isn’t exactly a pureblood vampire, it’s about time!

Hotel Transylvania 2

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Coming to theaters on September 25, Hotel Transylvania 2 (rated PG) has Dracula worried about his grandson Dennis’s half-human, half-vampire roots. When Drac’s old-school dad, Vlad, discovers that a change in policy allows for human guests and that his great-grandson isn’t 100% vampire, things get batty!

“There are four generations living under one roof, which obviously will be intense, no matter what the family is,” says actor Andy Samberg, who voices Johnny in the new movie. As Mavis’s human husband and father to Dennis, good ol’ Johnny isn’t only battling your standard in-law gripes.

“Johnny’s not just up against Drac, but now Vlad who is even more old-school in the tradition of being a vampire,” says Samberg. Obviously, Mavis is branching outside of that by marrying a human. So it’s complicated, but it’s also wonderful, and it’s them all getting to know each other and learning to understand each other.”

Actress and singer, Selena Gomez, is the voice of Johnny’s more-than-a-century-old wife, Mavis, in Hotel Transylvania 2. She agrees with her co-star on the fun in packing everyone into the hotel in the new film.

“Dracula brings everyone together,” says Gomez. “I think that’s sweet and endearing because he wants to include everyone.”

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

What can we learn from this, and from Hotel Transylvania 2, about celebrating our similarities and differences—monster or not? That lesson isn’t lost on Gomez. In fact, it’s somewhat close to home for her.

“Extended family in Hotel Transylvania 2—whether they’re Frankenstein or the Wolf gang —everybody kind of comes together under one roof,” Gomez says. “That’s a cultural thing, in my opinion, because that’s exactly how my dad’s side of the family is. It’s not a good thing [to them] when you move out of the house. It’s almost like [they] want them to stay there forever, and you just pass it along, and I think that’s Drac’s idea. His intention is really good, but that’s something everyone can relate to.”

Check out the loads of fun that all goes down under one roof in the Hotel Transylvania 2 trailer, and see the movie in theaters on September 25.  

September 2, 2015

James Patterson Author Interview

Posted by at 1:48 am in Authors | Permalink

iFunnyJames Patterson Talks About His Life as an Author!

Q: How many books have you written?
Patterson: I lost count. A little over 100. I write a lot of kids’ books. I write a lot of things that are different — that’s what keeps me excited. The kids’ books range from Maximum Ride, about kids who can fly to I Funny, about a kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian but he can never be a stand-up comedian because he’s in a wheelchair.

Q: Which ones would you like to see as movies on screen?
Patterson: All of them! Maximum Ride is very visual, these flying kids. I hope that will get made. We are shooting Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life at the end of the summer. It’s a cool story about how kids get lost in the education process. This kid in it is bright, brilliant as an artist, but there’s no way for him to express himself in school so he’s looked at as a dummy.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Patterson: 
No, I don’t. I’m always working on more than one thing. I have a big imagination and I’ll just go to another project. I have a folder this thick of ideas for novels. Writing stories comes very easily to me.

Q: What first inspired you to write?
Patterson: 
I was working my way through school at a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I had a lot of free time so I started reading like crazy and then I started scribbling stories. Somebody once told me, you’re lucky if you find something you like to do and it’s a miracle if someone will pay you to do it. I love doing it. I love writing stories. As a kid, I grew up in the woods. I used to wander around the woods and make up stories in my head. I think that talent was there, I just wasn’t aware of it.

Q: You often write with co-authors. Why?
Patterson: 
It allows me to combine strength with strength. I’m a very good storyteller; I’m a little lazy as a stylist. So it allows me to work with a better stylist. Collaboration is OK!

Are you a fan of James Patterson’s books? Tell us which is your favorite in the Comments!

 

September 1, 2015

Harry Potter Name Generator

Posted by at 1:06 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

Harry Potter StampThe Hogwarts Express Leaves Today!

If you received your Hogwarts letter this year, you are probably just now getting ready to board the Hogwarts Express to start your wizarding education. Congratulations! To help you get ready for your new life at Hogwarts, I created this Harry Potter name generator so you can invent yourself as a character in the wizarding world.

I tried not to include any actual character name combos. So you can be Ginny Wizangamot, but you can’t be Ginny Weasley. (But oh my goodness, how awesome would it be to actually BE Ginny Weasley???) For first name, you have the option to choose either a boy’s name or a girl’s name that starts with the first letter of your Muggle name. There’s nothing that says you have to choose the boy’s name of you’re a boy or the girl’s name if you’re a girl, but you have the choice. I tried not to choose any evil character names, but for some letters, it was impossible. (Sorry Yaxley Umbridge! I’m sure you’re very nice in real life.)

First name choices:  Continue reading

August 31, 2015

SPONSORED POST: Money Confident Kids Contest

Posted by at 4:02 pm in SPONSORED | Permalink

T-Rowe-Price_130x130_Stacks.v2This blog post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price.

Are you a money confident kid? Here’s a chance to win one of six different prizes including $1,500 and a library of books for your classroom! All you need to do is interview your parent or guardian and write a short essay about the experience. Go to scholastic.com/mck/entryform.pdf for all the details and to download the entry form.

Questions? Post below!

August 31, 2015

Song-Inspired Drabble Challenge

Posted by at 1:57 am in Music, Writing Prompt | Permalink

HippolyteHippolyte posted this awesome-tastic challenge for you on the Fan Fiction Message Board!

Heeeeeeeeey all!

So! This is a thing I saw in a STACKS Message Board a LONG time ago and though I’ve never participated myself, I figured it’s high time someone brings a new writing challenge. Here’s the deal:

You are to write a drabble inspired by the first song that comes up on shuffle. Grab your phones/ipods/mp3s/playlists or anything you have with music stored in it and a shuffle option, and enable said option. Your task is to write a short story (fan fiction or original) inspired by the song, for as long as the song is playing. Once the song is over, you stop writing and completely leave it be.

Rules:

  • You may skip songs in case you can’t get inspired, but don’t be too picky or you’ll just be shuffling forever.
  • You must skip any songs that are inappropriate either because of language or content. Any song that receives a rating beyond PG 13 according to your judgment should better be avoided. We trust your judgment.
  • In case you feel that a song with questionable content is still appropriate enough for this board, please mention all warnings that apply. Your story has to be 100% appropriate for all people on this boards. (As Moderator Katie says, don’t write something you wouldn’t say to a 7/8-year-old.)
  • Your drabble can be a fan fiction or an original one. No preferences, but in case of fan fiction, make sure that the fandom you’re writing for is appropriate for younger kids on STACKS (PG 13 at most).
    • “Completely leave it be” is just that. Don’t correct anything. Don’t play the song again. Don’t touch it; it’s already a masterpiece.
    • Stories are expected to be short. Just brainstorm something and leave it in its raw beauty for the world to see.
    • Of course, you’re never obliged to post what you just wrote if you don’t want to. We’re only doing this for fun.

I hope everyone has fun! I also hope you’re not weak enough to decline the challenge. Mwahaha!

So leave your song title and artist in the Comments, and then go to the Fan Fiction Message Board to share your whole story.

August 26, 2015

Bad Kitty Readalikes

Posted by at 1:45 am in Reads | Permalink

Bad Kitty Gets A BathIf you like the Bad Kitty chapter books by Nick Bruel, try these other funny books about mischief and mayhem for ages 7-9.

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist Book #1: Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton
Mad scientist Franny is having trouble making friends at her new school, so she begins to experiment with fitting in. The result of her experiment is not so great though. You could even call it . . . monstrous.

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Danny Dragonbreath and his iguana best friend, Wendell, attend the Herpitax-PhibbiasSchool for Reptiles and Amphibians, and deal with bullies, bad grades, nerves of steel, and of course, fire breath. See also the other books in the Dragonbreath series.

Great Critter Capers: The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davis
After years of begging their parents for pet hamsters, Anna and Tom’s beloved pets mysteriously die! Anna and Tom begin a humorous murder investigation throughout their neighborhood. See also the other books in the Great Critter Caper series.

Geronimo Stilton Book #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Search for buried treasure, uncover a great pyramid of cheese, and uncover haunted cats with famed mouse reporter Geronimo Stilton and his sister Thea. See also the other books in the Geronimo Stilton series.

Babymouse Book #1: Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Meet the wildly imaginative Babymouse as she rocks out, camps out, and breaks hearts. See also the other books in the Babymouse series.

Stink Book #1: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody’s little terror of a brother now has his own series full strange antics, from getting free candy to super stinky sneakers. See also the other books in the Stink series.

Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
At the annual gathering of the MEOW society, cats of all kinds gather to tell cat stories. Find out the stories of Chico, the smallest cat in the world, a Pirate Cat, and Georgio the chef cat.

Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
It is the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, a yearly storytelling extravaganza where dogs from all over the world gather to share funny diary entries from their ancestors.

Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami
In this adorable manga, Yohei and his family learn how difficult it is to keep their mischievous kitten a secret from their landlords. See also the other books in the Chi’s Sweet Home series.

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
Binky prepares for his first trip into space, but begins to worry how his humans would protect themselves if he left for good. See also the other books in the Binky Adventure series.

Golden Hamster Saga Book # 1: I Freddy by Dietlof Reiche
Intelligent golden hamster Freddy aspires to escape captivity and to become an independent and civilized creature.

Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper
After a stack of fashion magazines falls on Kiki Kitty’s head while she is blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, Kiki turns into Fashion Kitty, a feline superhero who saves other kitties from fashion disaster.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
A pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who tries to convince the farmer that Wilbur is no ordinary animal.

Amanda, STACKS Writer

August 25, 2015

Epic Character Questions Quiz

Posted by at 1:00 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writing PromptEpic Character Questions Quiz

PurpleFashionista86 posted these questions on the Harry Potter Message Board but they could also apply to any characters in any book series.

  1. Who is your favorite character?
  2. Which character would you go on a date with?
  3. If you were away, what character would take care of your pet for you?
  4. What character would you like to live with?
  5. What character would be your best friend?
  6. If you could take a character camping who would it be?
  7. If you had the choice to go anywhere with a character, what place would you go, and whom would you go with? 
  8. If you could be a character, which one would it be? 
  9. Which character would you want in your dorm?

Leave YOUR answers in the Comments!

August 24, 2015

Back-to-School Poetry Generator

Posted by at 1:38 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Back to SchoolWrite A Back-to-School Poem With Our Back-to-School Poetry Generator!

It’s that time again. Back. To. School. To get you in the back-to-school zone, for today’s Writing Prompt, your “homework” is to take the 25 words below and generate your own poem. The poems you guys came up with for the Spring Poetry Generator totally gave us spring fever!

You can add articles (little words like “a”, and “the”), verbs, or anything that will help it flow, but try to include as many of these 25 words as you can in your poem. Any style of poem works – rhyming, non-rhyming, couplet, haiku, free-form, or even random. It’s up to you!

  • school
  • rule
  • friends
  • books
  • looks
  • lunch
  • gross
  • desk
  • heart
  • bus
  • homework
  • homeroom
  • teacher
  • locker
  • soccer
  • race
  • leap
  • joy
  • playground
  • awaken
  • 7 am
  • weekend
  • bell
  • beautiful
  • pencil sharpener

Leave your poem in the Comments. We can’t wait to take a lesson . . . from YOU!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

August 21, 2015

Goosebumps Movie Preview

Goosebumps logoGoosebumps Movie Comes to Theaters October 16!

I love the Goosebumps series so much because it’s just the right amount of scary and surprising! So it was a dream-come-true when I was invited to an early screening of the Goosebumps movie (rated PG).

Let me tell you, the movie does not disappoint! It is so cool to see all the monsters from R. L. Stine’s stories come together in one action-packed movie. Jack Black does a wonderful job playing R. L. Stine, and the whole cast really brings the Goosebumps series to life on the big screen! The movie features all my favorite Goosebumps monsters and shows Stine’s huge imagination and creativity to the fullest. I was hanging on the edge of my seat and wishing it would never end!

Goosebumps Movie

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

At one point in the movie, the R. L. Stine character says, “A good story has three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist!” I think that quote sums up the movie for me because it includes all of my favorite classic Goosebumps moments while also ending with a shocking twist! Sorry, no spoilers! You have to wait until October 16 when the movie comes to theaters.

Goosebumps movie

photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

If you were writing your own Goosebumps story, which monsters would you include? Would you keep all the classic characters or make up your own? And what fun twist would you throw in to take readers on your exciting and spooky journey?

Let us know the details of your Goosebumps story in the Comments below, and remember not to be too graphic or scary for kids younger than you!

Megan, STACKS Intern

August 20, 2015

Back-to-School Tips

Posted by at 1:08 am in Kid Power | Permalink

Back to SchoolQuick Tips for Back-to-School

AmusedBrain4 has some back-to-school tips for freshmen on the Reading Buzz Board, but they can really help for any grade, so take a look and see what you think.

Ahhhh, so school is just around the corner. I thought I would give some quick tips for those who are starting their first year of high school . . .

  1. Don’t sign up for more than 2 Honors classes your first year. You might regret taking too many.
  2. It’s okay to make new friends.
  3. Don’t stress yourself out over school work. I know it can get overwhelming but you don’t want to look back on your first year and remember hating it.
  4. If you have been studying for hours IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK. Go out with some friends, and eat lots of ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better!
  5. If you get a bad grade on something remember that someone else probably did worse.
  6. Make sure you eat lunch! (Even if you only have 20 minutes, grab a yogurt or some fruit.)
  7. Have at least one fun class like band or art or something you love.
  8. After-school clubs are worth it. It can be scary joining stuff but trust me, you won’t regret it.
  9. Try new things. Join the school play, or marching band, or something you’ve never thought of trying. Freshman year is a year for you to figure out what you want to do.
  10. Lastly, don’t let one bad teacher ruin your year. It’s just one class, and it won’t ruin your grades.

Do you think these tips will help you this school year? Whatever grade you are starting this year, tell us your tips in the Comments! Happy new school year!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer