Monthly Archives: September 2013

September 30, 2013

Benefits of Computers for Kids?

Posted by at 1:35 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

twinktoesBenefits of Computers for Kids?

There are definitely pros and cons to spending a lot of your time on the computer. I’m sure a lot of you have had adults tell you that you spend too much time on the computer. Twinktoes87 left this post on the STACKS Buzz Board responding to that argument, and it made me think.

It is true that you can waste a lot of time doing mindless things on the computer, but I love Twinktoes‘ response about ways that being on STACKS can actually make you a better person.

Something these boards did was introduce me to people around the world, living in different countries, of different religions, different social backgrounds, and that’s great because where I come from the population is 88.3% white as of 2012, so I’ve literally never come across anyone more diverse than a few exchange students or the occasional out of state newcomer. Do you know how big of a thing that is for me? Imagine for a second if you never discovered the internet, never met new people, and never cultured yourself any more thoroughly. I bet I’ve talked to more diverse people than my grandparents have, and I’m guessing as generations go on, everyone will accept every minority and people who are different than them.

My mom is wrong in the fact that the internet makes you dumber. I’ve only gotten more intelligent from being on here. This place is meant not only to just say hey to people and talk, but to learn and have discussions and debates about things, and to WRITE! This place is one of two reasons why I’m so into writing nowadays.

Who can argue with that? Has being on the STACKS made you a smarter, better person? List YOUR pros and cons in the Comments.

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

September 27, 2013

Deadtime Stories

Posted by at 3:05 pm in Movies & TV | Permalink

Deadtime Stories

There are only 34 days until Halloween, and we are getting ready to celebrate! To start your Halloween season right, we have an EXCLUSIVE video clip from the new Nickelodeon show Deadtime Stories (rated TV-PG) premiering on Oct 3.

In this episode, there’s some kind of Halloween celebration going on at the apple orchard . . .only the witches and ghouls look frighteningly real, and the “Grand Opening” celebration leaves Katie and Andy alone in a town full of appleheads.

Watch the video, but only if you like scary stuff!

Also, check back next week for an interview with the star of the show, Jennifer Stone!
–Sonja, STACKS Staffer

September 27, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Posted by at 1:14 am in Movies & TV | Permalink

cloudy2_blog_130Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2!

And the forecast is . . . Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs! Part Two. Many of you have read the picture book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Maybe you’ve seen the movie version Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (rated PG). Well, get ready to return to Chewandswallow with the sequel, Cloudy 2 (rated PG),  ordered up and being delivered to theaters this weekend.cloudy3

Sony Pictures had a screening of clips with the directors, Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn. Between them, they’ve worked on Shrek (rated PG), Madagascar (rated PG), Surf’s Up (rated PG), and Open Season (rated PG), and they’re hoping for another big comic hit with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

In the movie, inventor Flint Lockwood has to return to Chewandswallow to stop his machine (which turns water into food) because it’s gone completely crazy-banana-pants. Bizarre “foodimals” have taken over the island, and are headed to destroy Lady Liberty (kind of like our Statue of Liberty). There are “TACO-diles,” “SHRIMP-anzees,” and “mosqui-TOAST.”

The food looks pretty entertaining. Kris Pearn talked about how he experimented with real foods while making the movie, and played around to create these creatures. The directors led a group of us in creating our own “foodimals.” I guess playing with your food can pay off, huh?cloudy1

Doesn’t it make you want to cook something? What is the most original thing you’ve ever made with your food?! Let us know in the Comments below.

Bon appetit!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

September 26, 2013

Kayla Stockert Answers Your Questions!

Posted by at 1:34 am in Music | Permalink

Kayla130Kayla Stockert Answers Your Questions!

A few weeks ago, the beautiful and talented 16-year-old songwriter Kayla Stockert checked in to give us some songwriting tips. Many of you left questions for Kayla in the Comments, and here are Kayla’s replies!

DancingLavender38 asks: I am a struggling singer, and I’ve got a big voice, I just don’t know what to do with it.
Kayla: The best advice is to take singing lessons. Learn all the techniques. Even people who professional singers now (like Lady Gaga) still take singing lessons and get coached. I take them and it continues to make my voice stronger. It’s kind of like exercising to keep in shape. Good luck!

Dane says: You look nice.
Kayla: Thank you, Dane!

Victoria says: Amazing!
Kayla: Thank you so much, Victoria! :)

Allie asks: Hi Kayla. You came to my camp but I wanted to ask you what advice you can give about being good at singing and songwriting?
Hey, Allie! I would say that if you really love to sing, just keep practicing every day, and be sure to schedule voice lessons to learn the proper techniques for singing. I still take them, and so do most recording artists. As for songwriting, maybe if you have a feeling one day about something or somebody, write it down right away so you don’t forget. I even sometimes use the voice memo on my phone if I don’t have a pen and I’m thinking of catchy lyrics or a melody. You can ask a friend to help you and you guys can share opinions. Songwriting is hard at first, but like anything else in life, practice makes perfect! Good Luck!

TurquoiseDolphin396 asks: I want to know how to write a good song but I have trouble. Could I have some advice?
Kayla: Hi :) I am going to give you the same advice I gave to Allie in the last question. Songwriting is hard at first, but practice makes perfect! Good luck!

Anonymous asks: When did you know that you wanted to be a singer and follow and achieve your dream?
I have always liked to sing since I was a baby. I started singing at a local street fair when I was 9 and haven’t stopped performing since. I realized very early that I wanted be a singer. I practice every day and have gained so much experience that gets me one step closer to my dream. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

Samantha asks: What if your experiences aren’t like everyone else’s? Can you still make a song?
Hi, Samantha! Absolutely. Most songs you hear are about love or heartbreaks, but sometimes you hear songs that don’t have to do with any of those things. If you have an idea/experience for a song, put together the words. You can always go back and change the lyrics. There are always going to be people who identify with your song.

Kyle asked: Who do you think writes the best songs?
 Hi, Kyle! I personally love Taylor Swift as a songwriter. Her lyrics are relatable, and I love the music that goes along with it.

Makayla asks: Are you nervous to perform?
Hi, Makayla! I have moments when I get nervous or anxious about performing. For some strange reason, I get more nervous when my family asks me to sing. I think it’s completely normal to have nerves. Once I’m up there singing, the nerves seem to disappear.

Chloee asks: What makes an award-winning song an award-winning song, and how do I write one?
Well, think of your favorite song. What do you like about it? The music or the lyrics can all be factors on what makes it popular and successful. Although award shows in general are subjective, in my opinion, a song that is relatable to people and catchy should be award-winning. Keep listening to other songs, practicing your songs, and constantly ask for opinions. Good Luck!

This is amazing advice! Thank you, Kayla for joining us on the STACKS! We love you!

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

September 25, 2013

STACKS Book Club: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Meeting 2

Posted by at 12:00 pm in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Reads | Permalink

StacksBookClubSTACKS Book Club: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

So many laughs! So many doodles! What a great ending to Jeff Kinney’s hilarious book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel. Did you enjoy the ending as much as I did? The second half of this book was filled with so much excitement, I can’t wait to discuss it with all of you.

If you missed the first discussion, you can see what we discussed in Meeting 1. And now, here are the official discussion questions for this week’s STACKS Book Club meeting.diarywk7_thirdwheel

  • What do you think of Greg’s crazy attempts at finding a date to the dance? My favorite was wearing his dad’s leather jacket to school. Which was your favorite?
  • How funny was Greg’s failed attempt at babysitting? Would you trust Greg to watch your little brother or sister?
  • What did you think when Abigail agreed to go to the dance with both Greg and Rowley?
  • Remember when Rowley thought he had chickenpox? What an awful way to start a night! Have you had a funnier story from a school dance?
  • What did you think of the gang’s wacky dinner at Corney’s?
  • Wasn’t the school dance such a bizarre time? What was your favorite part of the Valentine’s Day dance?

Feel free to answer any or all the questions in the Comments below, or pose your own questions to the STACKS Book Club. Also, if you love Diary of a Wimpy Kid, check out this amazing video with the author, Jeff Kinney! And if you are looking for more books like this, try our Wimpy Kid Readalikes.

image from kids.scholastic.comBrian, STACKS Writer (a.k.a. BlackBird268)

September 25, 2013

The Wolf Princess

Posted by at 1:02 am in Reads | Permalink

The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable (for ages 10 and up)

Sent away by her penny-pinching guardian, orphaned Sophie Smith attends a drab, old boarding school in London. Sophie wishes there were more adventure in life, like in fairy tales, so she is thrilled to be going on a trip to St. Petersburg with her roommates for her school holidays.

However, they never make it to St. Petersburg. The three girls are abandoned and are thrown off the train in the middle of a blizzard! They are rescued by Ivan, who works for the beautiful and enthralling Princess Anna Volkonskaya. She enchants them with tales of lost diamonds and murder and wolves that are almost too crazy to believe!WolfPrincessjpg

Strangely, Sophie feels a connection to the place, even though she is sure she has never been to Russia before. Then, even though the wolves are supposed to be long gone, Sophie thinks she sees something prowling the edges of the forest. Is she imagining things in the magical Volkonsky palace?

You cannot help but be pulled into this fantastical tale, a modern re-telling of Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia’s life. (Think the Disney movie Anastasia!)

Read a sample chapter and share your thoughts in the Comments below!

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

September 24, 2013

Locker Style Personality Quiz

Posted by at 1:50 am in Personality Quiz | Permalink

Locker Style Personality Quiz

The school locker. With the door closed it looks just like every other locker in school, but once you open it, your personality comes shining forth from within! What does the inside of your locker say about you? Take our Personality Quiz to find out.

  1. Hanging in your locker is: A) your class schedule so you can stay organized. B) an artsy collage right now, but you change it up based on your mood. C) everything – posters, sticky notes from friends, maybe even some old gym clothes you forgot about – pwew! D) your coat.
  2. After school, with homework you: A) do it right away in class order. B) sprawl out on the floor and do your favorite subject first. C) have to do it after soccer/lacrosse/basketball. D) type it up on your computer in between Minecraft sessions.
  3. Your backpack for the first day of school is: A) Awesome! It’s decked out with 5 compartments, water bottle holders, secret zipper areas, and is super durable. Take that – homework! B) An original. You decorated it yourself with iron-ons, bubble paint, and glitter glue! C) Doubles as a gym bag, because you have practice after school. D) Heavy. You’ve got a lot of electronic devices in there!
  4. Your favorite class is: A) Reading and Math. B) Art. C) Gym. D) Computers.
  5. Your room is decorated with: A) tasteful colors, books and toys are organized as they should be! B) styles ripped from magazines, and a mix of fun and funky colors. C) sports trophies, a basketball hoop over the door. D) Your computer, cool gadgets, and other devices.
  6. Your handwriting is: A) perfectly neat, of course. B) fun! You dot your “i’s” with hearts and make double exclamation marks into smiley faces. C) uh . . .you never really noticed. D) handwriting? You type everything on your computer.
  7. Your friends come to your locker: A) to borrow a pencil or grippie. They know you always have extra school supplies! B) to see what you’re wearing. C) to meet for sports after school. D) because you texted them!
  8. How do you pack your lunch? A) You plan a chart at the beginning of the week. B) You throw in whatever looks good. C) You usually buy it. D) Mom packs it . . . with your approval.
  9. You can’t find your field trip permission slip so you check: A) The front pocket of your binder. It should be right where you put it. B) Your art folder. It might be stuck behind your new drawing. C) Your gym bag, under your sweaty socks. D) Your phone. You scanned it in, and can print out a new one on the school’s wi-fi.
  10. Your fashion style is: A) Preppy and put-together. B) Fun & funky. C) As long as it’s comfortable, you’ll wear it! D) Fashion? You don’t care much about that, and you don’t care what people think, either!

Click here to find out your results!

–Ratha, STACKS Staffer

September 23, 2013

Best Friend Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:58 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Best Friend Writing Prompt

BFF beginnings? Maybe it was on the first day of kindergarten . . . or at soccer. Maybe it was at summer camp . . . or maybe you’ve known each other since you were crawling around (pooping!) in diapers. Today’s Writing Prompt invites you to share that special moment when you first met your BFF. Do you have a funny story, or place where you first met? Maybe it seems like he or she has always been a part of your life, but you must have met somewhere!


Tell all in the Comments below!

—Ratha, STACKS Writer

September 22, 2013

Starring Jules in Drama-Rama

Posted by at 1:05 pm in Reads | Permalink

Jules 2 Cover_STACKS_130x130Starring Jules in Drama-Rama

Dear Everyone,
I love brand new things, like neon shoelaces fresh out of the package or a mint condition bottle of toothpaste. (Mint condition–that’s funny!) But there is nothing quite as brand new as a brand new, fresh out of the school supply store, school year. A new school year is crisp like an apple. A new school year gives me the same exact feeling I get when Ms. Leon stands up in front of the class and says, “I have an announcement.” Right then and there anything is possible–my little brother Big Henry might get rid of his lisp, my dog Ugly Otis might open up his droolly mouth and speak English–who knows! Maybe I’ll even get the part in that new sitcom I’m auditioning for (more about that bit of drama in my brand new book).

All I do know is at the beginning of things, there’s nothing to worry about yet–like how I might find a way to sing on a counter-top in front of a camera, or how I can get my new best friend Elinor to LOVE New York City as much as I do, or how I can get my ex-best-friend Charlotte to stop being a know-it-all. There’s plenty of time for all of that worry later. For now, no drama-rama–it’s that moment before an announcement…
Happy New School Year!

September 20, 2013

Emblem3 Interview

Posted by at 1:42 am in Music | Permalink

emblem3Drew Chadwick from Emblem3

Wesley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg, and Drew Chadwick are the new band, Emblem3. They auditioned for X Factor, where they wowed Simon Cowell with their original performance of “Sunset Blvd.” but they failed to make the finals. That didn’t stop them since they amassed 15 million YouTube views and fans all over the world. Their first album, Nothing to Lose, was just released in September. Read on to hear from Drew Chadwick about his life in a popular band. Continue reading