June 29, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:53 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Hi!Random Acts of Kindness

So far this has happened to my friend TWO times . . . She was in line at the drive-thru Starbucks, and the person in the car in front of her paid for her order! Isn’t that crazy? So by the time she got to the window to pay, it was already paid for!

Sometimes I wonder about these random acts of kindness. If we all did something at least once . . .  one time a day . . . could we change the world one small step at a time? Or at least make it a little happier?

I love this quote by the Chinese poet Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

What do you guys think? There are at least a million ways to be kind! Let’s get a list going of acts of kindness that you can do anywhere to brighten someone’s day. Like . . .

  • including someone new into your conversation
  • giving away a few of your old toys you’ve outgrown to your neighbor’s baby
  • holding the door instead of barging ahead
  • saying “Hello” to someone in school you’ve never spoken to before

What else can you guys think of? We can’t wait to see your small acts of kindness. We’ll tally the count in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

June 25, 2015

Teen Beach 2 New Stars

Posted by at 1:46 pm in Celebrities | Permalink

Teen Beach 2Meet 3 of the new cast members from Teen Beach 2!

Teen Beach 2 is airing this Friday, people, at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel! Are you ready? The Wet Side Story gang will be traveling forward in time to Brady and Mack’s world. That means we will get to meet all their modern-day friends and schoolmates including 3 new characters: Alyssa (played by Piper Curda), Devon (played by Raymond Cham, Jr), and Spencer (played by Ross Butler).

TEEN BEACH 2 stars Piper Curda, raymond Cham Jr, and Ross Butler

Photo credit: Disney Channel/Bob D’Amico

Piper, Raymond, and Ross were visiting New York with the cast of Teen Beach 2, and they stopped over for a visit at Scholastic! Here is the whole cast celebrating in New York’s Central Park. Read on for more about my super-fun visit with Piper, Raymond, and Ross.

Teen Beach 2 Cast in New York

Photo credit: DISNEY CHANNEL/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua

They started off on a serious note recommending their favorite books in this video.

Then, things got very contentious when I asked them the Teen Beach 2 Would You Rather questions. Watch this video to see them argue it out! And make sure you watch to the end because they have a sweet message for all Teen Beach fans.

So fun, right? It was really great to meet them, and I can’t wait to see Teen Beach 2 on Friday! Leave a Comment and tell us what you think!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

 

June 25, 2015

Gregg Sulkin Answers YOUR Questions

Gregg SulkinGregg Sulkin from the new DVD movie Frog Kingdom (rated PG) is here to answer YOUR questions!

Q: Can you describe your character in Frog Kingdom? Do you have anything in common with him?Frog Kingdom
Gregg: I play Inspector Noggin but the movie is about a self-contained world, which is actually just a pond where all the frogs live. It’s a monarchical society with a king and queen and a princess. Every year, they hold the frog Olympic Games and this year, the king has decided to give away his daughter in marriage to the winner of the games. So Princess Froglegs runs away. She disguises herself to compete in the games and win to prove “she don’t need no man.” LOL. Inspector Noggin is one of the king’s advisors and a bit of a know-it-all Sherlock Holmes type. The King sends him off to find the princess and bring her back.
I couldn’t really relate because I like to listen and learn from people who are more knowledgeable than myself, whereas my character definitely doesn’t.

Q: What is your favorite scene in the cartoon Frog Kingdom?
Gregg: Probably Princess Frogleg’s scene at the games.

Q: How did you decide that you wanted to be in the Frog Kingdom?
Gregg: Mychal Simka and I had worked together before and I liked the idea of the film. Mychal wanted me on board, so I was happy to join.

Q: What’s your favorite book and why?
Gregg: Wow. Tough question – I read so many scripts I don’t have time to read books as much as I would like!

Q: Is it fun acting in shows and movies?
Gregg: It’s the best. I’m very lucky and I am very aware of that.

Q: What was it like to be a werewolf in Wizards of Waverly Place?
Gregg: It was awesome. The channel treated me very well and gave me a great platform to build from. I’ve developed as an actor and thankfully my fan base has grown massively too.

Q: What is your favorite food?
Gregg: Chocolate or cookies. I have a sweet tooth.

June 24, 2015

Michael Northrop Tombquest Q & A

Posted by at 4:36 pm in Authors | Permalink

Michael NorthropTombquest author Michael Northrop talks about his books!

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Michael Northrop: 
None of the characters are based entirely on real people—and I don’t know anyone who’s been brought back from the dead!—but they all have some bits and pieces and traits and tics from real people. As a writer, pieces of yourself make their way into all of your characters. I like to think that I have some of Alex’s determination, and some of Ren’s serious work ethic.Tombquest by Michael Northrop

I’ve also visited many of the places mentioned in the books, so I was able to bring real history and a real sense of place into the books. As a New Yorker, I’ve spent many hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and in the subway system!) and I was also able to visit London and the British Museum, where Book 2 takes place. It did rain while I was there . . . just not blood rain.

Q: If you had to trade places with one of your characters for a day, who would it be?
Michael Northrop:
 That’s an easy one—I’d trade places with Alex and spend the day having a blast (of wind) with the scarab!

Q: In real life, would any of your characters be friends of yours? 
Michael Northrop: I like all of the main characters! Luke might be too cool for me, but if we found ourselves together we could definitely talk sports for an afternoon and probably catch a game. And Alex and Ren are a tight little BFF unit—they don’t necessarily need a third wheel following them around and trying to write down everything they say as research for the fourth book. So I’d probably end up hanging out with Todtman and practicing my horrible German.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Michael Northrop, Author

June 23, 2015

Very Deep 20-Question Quiz

Peep says Hi.Hi! Now that school is out, you have time to think about very deep, important topics that your brain just couldn’t focus on while you had so much homework to finish! Well, this quiz is your chance to go deep into your own heart and soul and tell us about the real you. We want to know . . .

  1. What is your favorite season and why?
  2. Do you prefer new beginnings or old traditions?
  3. What is your favorite place and why?
  4. What is your favorite food?
  5. In general, do you enjoy school?
  6. What is one thing that is very important to you?
  7. Do you think outside the box?
  8. What is your favorite subject in school?
  9. What genres of books do you like to read and why?
  10. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  11. Do you like happy endings, sad endings, or open (hopeful) endings?
  12. Do you prefer peace or excitement?
  13. Do you enjoy a lot of suspense in books?
  14. Name a few of your favorite books.
  15. Name someone you admire and why.
  16. What are you excited for in the upcoming year?
  17. What is something in your life that is bothering you at the moment?
  18. What is something about other people that is bothering you at the moment?
  19. Name a couple of books that have affected you in some way.
  20. When making an important decision, do you mostly consider the past, the present, or your hopes for the future?

Leave your answers in the Comments — to just 1 question or as many questions as you want to answer!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

June 22, 2015

Summer Would You Rather

Posted by at 1:36 am in Summer, Would You Rather | Permalink

CatGymnastics Profile AvatarWould You Rather: Summer

Today’s Summer Would You Rather questions come from CatGymnastics173 on the STACK Back Message Board.

1. Would you rather have a summer with tons of snow OR a winter with a massive heat wave?

2. Would you rather drink hot chocolate in summer OR eat ice cream in winter?

3. Would you rather have your own custom beach umbrella that you designed online for a lot of money OR buy a very cheap beach umbrella with only a few colors?

4. Would you rather go to summer school but have more breaks off during the year OR not go to summer school and get no breaks at all (except for holidays)?

5. Would you rather study all summer (with no free time) and have nice, breezy weather OR not study at all and have it be so hot that you need a cooler every second?

6. Would you rather read 300 books by the end of the summer and get extra credit in school and an awesome prize OR read only 10 books by the end of the summer, have to redo a grade, and get a rock as a prize?

7. Would you rather have a big summer party for one day but have to go back to school for the rest of the summer OR have to study every day but never have homework and have many breaks during the year?

8. Would you rather have tons of fun free time all year without school and homework, but lose all your friends OR go to school every single day of the year with large piles of homework but keep all your friends?

9. Would you rather sew your own bathing suit for 2 weeks in the heat (no breaks) and have it be totally worth it OR buy a bathing suit at the store and never ever get to go to the beach again?

10. Would you rather go to the beach every single day with it very cool out OR go to the amusement park every day with the weather being roasting hot?

Hope you like it!

June 19, 2015

Teen Beach 2 Would You Rather

Posted by at 1:01 am in Celebrities, Would You Rather | Permalink

Teen Beach 2This Summer’s Biggest Wave: Teen Beach 2!

When I heard they were making a Teen Beach 2, I. Could. Not. Believe. It. But what could they possibly do to top the first movie?

For those of you who don’t know, Teen Beach Movie stars Ross Lynch (You heard me right!) and Maia Mitchell as teen surfer sweethearts Brady and Mackenzie. They get sucked into a tidal wave-time warp, and end up in a classic 1960s beach movie where everyone spontaneously breaks into song and dance. It’s hard to tell what’s real and not. And it is delicious!

Teen Beach 2

Photo cedit: Disney Channel/Francisco Roman

Teen Beach 2 premieres on June 26th at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel. This time, the tides have turned, and Tanner and Lela from the first movie find themselves in Brady and Mackenzie’s world. Imagine teens from the early 1960s coming to 2015! They discover all our modern day inventions . . . like selfies and chicken nuggets.

To get you stoked for TB2, grab your surfboard, and let us know Would You Rather . . .

  1. For one week, live in the past (1950s-1960s) OR the future (year 3000)?
  2. Be a surfer OR a biker?
  3. Ride a giant wave surfing OR jump between two cliffs on a motorcycle?
  4. Have Brady’s hair OR that cool “ting” thing when Tanner smiles?
  5. Spontaneously break into singing OR dancing?
  6. Wear hot pink high heels OR flip flops?
  7. Have beach sand in your hair OR motorcycle oil?
  8. Be a character in Teen Beach 2 OR a character in Austin & Ally?
  9. Dress in 1950s fashions forever OR dress in 2015 fashions forever?

Let us know what YOU’D rather in the Comments below, and if you’re psyched for the movie! Also, check out this very special, EXCLUSIVE video with the new stars of TB2 to find out how they answer these Would You Rather questions!

-Ratha, Stacks Writer

June 17, 2015

Best Friend Next Door

Posted by at 1:29 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

Best Friend Next DoorA special message from Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door

At first, it doesn’t look like Hannah and Emme are going to be friends. When Emme moves in next door to Hannah, there’s a big problem. Emme has moved right into the house that Hannah’s best friend just moved out of (and out of the country, too). And not only that, but the two fifth graders both have names that are spelled the same backward and forward, they have the same birthday, and they both hate pizza and love peanut butter. Hannah is not happy about this identity theft. But after a rocky start, Hannah and Emme realize that their friendship is meant to be, and they will stick together through bullying, fund-raising fiascoes, sick pets, and new babies.

I loved writing Best Friend Next Door. It made me think about my best friend growing up on Centennial Avenue. Her name was (and still is!) Stephie. She actually lived three doors down, but those two houses in between didn’t mean anything to us. We wore a path through the other backyards to each other’s homes. We swam in her pool in the summer and sledded down the roof of my sloped garage in the winter. (We got in trouble for this one.) We made a tin-can phone and tin-can stilts, and set up an obstacle course for my dog, Rascal, in my backyard. To honor Stephie’s and my friendship, I put Hannah’s and Emme’s houses on Centennial Avenue, though in a fictional town.

There is nothing like a best friend, and even better, a best friend you can visit at all hours, even in your pajamas.

Would you like to live next to your best friend? Do you know anyone who has a palindrome name?

– Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door

June 16, 2015

What Type of Gamer Are You?

Posted by at 1:40 am in Games, Personality Quiz | Permalink

Game on!Gaming Personality Quiz

Want to know what kind of STACKS gamer you are? Take our quiz and find out.

1. Your favorite thing to do in the summer when you are bored is . . . 
a. Pick up a branch, turn it into a sword, and find an adventure!
b. Grab a pencil, and relax while completing a few challenging puzzles like word games or Sudoku.
c. Doodle in last semester’s old notebook pages while listening to music.
d. Grab a basketball and shoot a few hoops with friends.

2. My favorite game console is . . . 
a. Xbox One or PS4.
b. Nintendo 3DS XL.
c. I don’t have a favorite.
d. Wii.

3. You’re in the middle of playing your favorite game when your mom makes you stop to have dinner with the family. Your thoughts are . . . 
a. “Aw man! I don’t want to stop but I guess I can use a break to plot out my next few moves and come up with a strategy.”
b. “I don’t mind taking a break. This game isn’t going anywhere so I’ll just finish it when I get back.”
c. *Growling noise* “Wow, was that my stomach? You never realize how much time goes by when you’re having fun.”
d. “Finally! I’m starving!”

4. If you could become a magical creature, which one would you choose?
a. A fierce, fire-breathing dragon who protects a mountain of gold.
b. A wise unicorn who is humble and gentle.
c. An elf who can build anything.
d. A mermaid who is a natural born swimmer, swift and agile.

5. Which element do you relate to the most?
a. Fire.
b. Wind.
c. Water.
d. Earth.

6. When playing a RPG (role-playing game) game you have never played before . . . 
a. you play it until you master it so you can beat all your friends.
b. you first look for secrets online to see how you can complete the game faster.
c. you create your character to make it look like an awesome hero, and then worry about the actual game later.
d. you don’t know what’s going on but you are  going to smash all the buttons and hope it gets you somewhere.

7. Which character do you relate to the most?
a. Harry Potter.
b. Sherlock Holmes.
c. Captain Underpants.
d. Abby from Whatever After.

If you picked . . .  Continue reading