Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 17, 2013

This Day in History: December 17

Posted by at 10:44 am in Trivia | Permalink

December 17

On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers became the first to build and successfully fly an engine-driven airplane. Piloted by Orville Wright, the flight lasted less than one minute, but it was enough to get them into the history books. Crazy to think that only 66 years after this first flight, humankind was able to send a person to the moon. Wonder what we’ll be able to do 66 years from now!

And. . . .as you probably know, tomorrow is National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day. So you’d better run to the hardware store and buy a plunger before they’re all sold out. You don’t want to be the only one without a plunger on your head at school, right? Talk about embarrassing.

December 17, 2013

Time Period Personality Quiz Results

Posted by at 1:51 am in Personality Quiz | Permalink

Personality Quiz: What time period do you belong in?

Last week, we asked you a bunch of questions to find out which time period you should have been born in. Count up your answers and get ready to travel through time to your true destiny! Behold the results of your Time Period Personality Quiz.

You should have been born in Ancient Egypt! Starting around 3000 BCE, you would have lived in the land of pharaohs and pyramids. You could float down the Nile River and carve your stories in hieroglyphics. When you’re feeling hungry, you could go fishing or snack on dates and honey. You might have rubbed shoulders with King Tut or Cleopatra. If you were wealthy, when you died, your body would be mummified. A good career for you might be an archaeologist or professor of Classical Studies!

You should have been born in Medieval times. This time in history spanned from the 5th – 15th centuries CE across Europe. Some people call it the Middle Ages. It was a time of chaos, but also chivalry. Barbarians attacked; rulers were overthrown, and knights developed their code of honor. A system of feudalism developed where peasants farmed the land for the rich lords. You might wear your armor to a royal jousting tournament, and then relax with a fancy dinner of exotic pigeon or peacock, or more everyday fare like meat and potatoes. You’d eat with your hands, and then throw the scraps to the floor for the dogs. Yum!

You should have been born during the Renaissance. During the 14th – 16th centuries, it was an amazing time for art and culture. You might have gone to church at an enormous European cathedral. You might have seen Michelangelo painting the roof of the Sistine Chapel, or Leonardo Da Vinci working on his famous “Mona Lisa” painting. Or you might have read sonnets while floating down the waterways of Venice. Perhaps you were even lucky enough to attend an opera, and then feast on a light dinner of pasta, fruit, and goat cheese. Perhaps one day you will make your way to Italy to see where it all began. Ciao!

You should have been born during American colonial times. In July of 1776, the 13 American colonies declared independence from England. Obviously, England was not too happy with that, so the Revolutionary War began! You might have watched the founding fathers sign the Declaration of Independence or create the U.S. Constitution. You may have bumped into the first famous Americans like George Washington, or Benjamin Franklin, or Alexander Hamilton. Hopefully you don’t mind itchy white wigs though – that was the style!

Your time is in the future! You would fit right in a futuristic society. Your day might consist of checking your iDevice for your schedule, and jumping into your flying spacecar for a day of fun or work. You and your BFF might zoom around the galaxy, or play laser tag jumping from building to building. When you get hungry, you could press a button from your automatic food machine and – presto – spaghetti and meatballs appear. So enjoy this time, and know your FUTURE is bright!

What do you think? What time period would YOU love to live in? Tell us in the Comments.

–Ratha, STACKS Writer

December 16, 2013

Harry Potter in Real Life!

Posted by at 4:35 pm in Harry Potter | Permalink

harry potter irl 1“Do you know where Platform 9 3/4 is?”

Here at the STACKS we love all things Harry Potter-related. (Check out our Harry Potter Book Club, and get a load of these awesome stamps.) So when we heard about “Harry Potter in Real Life,” we flipped.

Improv Everywhere—a super-cool group that gets ordinary people to pull massive, hilarious pranks—dressed up an 11-year-old actor as Harry Potter on his way to Hogwarts and let him loose in New York City’s Penn Station. He wandered around, suitcases, ticket, and caged Hedwig in tow, asking passengers and transit workers for directions to Platform 9¾. Some people were confused, but mostly people laughed and smiled and tried to help the Boy Who Lived as best they could. Strangers tried to help Harry to check his luggage, get Hedwig something to eat, and somehow find his way to Hogwarts.

harry potter irl 2After unsuccessfully trying to run through platform 9, learning he was unable to pay for things using wizard currency, and taking (many!) photos with fans, Harry gave up on his quest and went home. While it’s sad that our hero never did locate the Hogwarts Express, he nonetheless provided a very memorable afternoon for the people at Penn Station!

What do you think of this prank? What would YOU have said if Harry Potter approached you in a train station and asked you for directions? We’d love to know—share in the Comments below! Wanna talk more Harry Potter? Hop on over to our Harry Potter Message Boards to chat with other fans!

– En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

Photo credit: Arin Sang-urai

December 13, 2013

Roominate Building Toy for Girls

Posted by at 10:51 am in Games | Permalink

Alice&Bettina130Our 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.

roominateRoominate 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).

Roominate 067

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

Harry Potter Postage Stamps

Posted by at 12:04 pm in Harry Potter | Permalink

harry-potter-stamps130This 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.
image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

December 12, 2013

Hand Woven Ring

Posted by at 1:48 am in Kid Power | Permalink

MakeshopRingHand 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

Posted by at 1:30 am in Reads | Permalink

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 thirddoorsince 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


Posted by at 12:05 pm in Games, Reads | Permalink

Minecraft Handbook!

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 Minecraft handbook 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. Also try the Minecraft Name Generator, and the Minecraft Would You Rather Quiz. Continue reading

December 10, 2013

Time Period Personality Quiz

Posted by at 1:06 am in Personality Quiz | Permalink

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 click here to find out your results.

–Ratha, STACKS Writer