Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 23, 2014

Horses of the Dawn by Kathryn Lasky

Posted by at 1:26 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

jkt_9780545397162.inddA Special Message from Author Kathryn Lasky

Dear STACKS Readers,

Over the years, I have written about the brave owls of Ga’Hoole, the noble wolves of the Beyond, and now . . . horses! Why horses? Well, when I was growing up, I loved horse stories, but I longed for a story told from a horse’s perspective. I wanted to know: What does it feel like to gallop? What does it sound like to pound across a plain with your herd?

There were no humans in Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Wolves of the Beyond. That allowed me to focus on the animals and build worlds that explored the species’ complex societies, free from any human influence.

However, the history of horses is inextricably linked to human history, which presented a unique challenge. Unlike owls or wolves, horses have been “domesticated” for centuries. Oh yes, there are “wild” mustangs in the western U.S., but they are the descendants of the first horses that came to America, and they only became wild after they escaped from captivity. These horses had to learn how to forage or gallop without shoes. Thinking about this, I became fascinated by the idea of a herd that broke away from its human masters. How would the horses survive? How long would it take for their “wild” instincts to emerge? Before I knew it, I had begun the Horses of the Dawn series.

The first book, Escape, is the story of the first horses that came to North America with the Conquistadores. Specifically, it’s the story of one filly named Estrella, who, along with six other horses, is tossed overboard from a ship bound for the New World.

The horses swim to shore, and for the first time, they have to make decisions for themselves. There are no humans, no whips, no spurs to tell them what to do. Estrella becomes the unlikely leader of the herd, though that is only the beginning of her adventure. Essentially, Escape is a story of self-discovery and homecoming, as one young horse finds the strength to lead the herd to freedom, to claim their destiny as the Horses of the Dawn.

Read Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy it!

Kathryn Lasky

January 22, 2014

Grave Images Book Review

Posted by at 1:46 am in Reads | Permalink

Grave Images (for ages 8-12) by Jenny Goebel 

Bernie is a budding artist who is spending her summer working at her family’s home-run Monument Company. Her dad carves headstones for graves. Bernie doesn’t have many friends – there isn’t much room to play in a backyard full of granite – but she is preoccupied with discovering the truth about a new mystery man named Mr. Stein who is working for her father.graveimages

Abbot Stein appeared out of nowhere one day with a granite carving of a woman so life-like it took Bernie’s breath away. Her father hired Mr. Stein on the spot to do engravings for the headstones. Bernie can’t figure out how Mr. Stein captures the essence of the deceased with only a chisel and a hammer, but she is determined to find out. So she spies on him.

Through her spying, Bernie finds out something fishy about Mr. Stein. He is carving portraits of people right before they die! This could only mean one of two things: 1) Mr. Stein is foretelling death, or 2) he is causing death in Stratwood! How else could he know the people were going to die?

Is someone Bernie cares about going to be the next victim? Read this spooky tale for ages 8-12 to find out! Chapter 1 Sneak Peek

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

January 21, 2014

SPONSORED POST Club Penguin Online Safety

Posted by at 1:29 am in Games, News | Permalink[1]Online Safety Starts With You

This blog post is sponsored by Club Penguin.

The internet is packed with games, cool people, and more, but are you surfing safely? When you go online, let’s say, to visit INK SPLOT 26 (!), are you being a smart, thoughtful “digital citizen?”

There’s a world of information to explore on the web. Whenever you plant yourself in front of a computer in your classroom, in your kitchen, or when you switch on your tablet in your living room, you’ve suddenly got games, new music, news articles, and chats RIGHT at your fingertips.

CRAZY, right? The digital world is sometimes a lot to handle. So what does it mean to be safe online? Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when you’re plugged in:

• Be COOL: Never write mean or hurtful things online.
• Be HEARD: Tell a trusted adult if something bothers you online.
• Be SAFE: Protect your personal information. Never share passwords or private details.

Remember, online safety starts with YOU, so it’s up to you to surf safely! Let us know what you think it means to be a smart digital citizen. Share your ideas in the Comments below.

This blog post is sponsored by Club Penguin.

January 20, 2014

TV Obsession Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:46 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writing Prompt: I’ve seen every episode of . . .

Ok, this is it: your chance to come clean!! What TV show or cartoon are you obsessed with, and can make the claim that you have absolutely-without-a-doubt-and-not-afraid-to-admit-it seen every episode of?

I’m guessing there are some obsessed Good Luck Charlie fans, Jessie fans, fans of Victorious, Ninjago, SpongeBob (Wait, aren’t there, like, a million episodes though?), Adventure Time, and Austin & Ally. Or maybe when you were younger, you watched every single episode of Thomas the Train or Dora the Explorer. (It’s ok to admit it; we’ve all been there!)

So let us know YOUR answer to today’s Writing Prompt:

I’ve seen every episode of . . .

We’ll eagerly “tune in” to the Comments below to see what you guys said!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

January 17, 2014

Dove Cameron in Cloud 9

Posted by at 12:00 pm in Movies & TV | Permalink

Dove Cameron in Cloud 9The Disney Channel Original Movie Cloud 9 premieres Friday, January 17 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT.

The story of Cloud 9 follows Kayla (played by Dove Cameron), a prima donna snowboarder who was just unceremoniously dropped from her team and forced to train with Will (played by Luke Benward), LUKE BENWARD in Cloud 9a former snowboarding champion who’s struggling after a career-ending wipe-out. A video capturing it went viral, branding him an “epic fail” on the Internet.

Now, as Kayla trains with Will to redeem her stature, he creates a regimen that will test her commitment to continue in the snowboarding competition circuit. Meanwhile, Kayla must somehow inspire Will to overcome his biggest obstacle — self-doubt. Together, the two learn that nothing is impossible.

You may recognize Luke Benward (a. k. a. Will) because he played Teddy’s boyfriend, Beau, on Good Luck Charlie. And you know Dove Cameron (Kayla) from Liv & Maddie.

I got the chance to meet Dove when she stopped by Scholastic this week to talk about her favorite books. She is super-sweet and so pretty! Watch the video.

What do you think? Will you be watching Cloud 9? Leave a Comment. And to read about a real-live Winter Olympian, meet 18-year-old Torin Yater-Wallace.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

Photos courtesy DISNEY CHANNEL/Fred Hayes

January 17, 2014

Cody Simpson Interview!

Posted by at 1:43 am in Music | Permalink

Cody-Simpson-Surfers-Paradise-2013-1200x1200Interview with Cody Simpson

It’s the dead of winter in New York and SO. COLD. Brrrr! Best cure for wintertime blues? Sunny music! That’s why I’ve been playing Cody Simpson’s “Pretty Brown Eyes” on repeat for the past week. As you know, we are major Cody Simpson fans. The Australian singer really brings on the beachy vibes with his latest album, Surfers Paradise, and even if it’s totally frozen outside, just one listen is sure to warm you right up. Read on to find out Cody’s thoughts about homeschooling, travelling the world, and, of course, surfing! Check it out. Continue reading

January 16, 2014

Reading Resolutions

Posted by at 1:18 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Happy New Year to all my fellow reading-obsessed STACKers!

At the beginning of a new year, everyone talks about making resolutions. I love making resolutions and I love reading books, so this poster of reading resolutions just represents me perfectly.

How about you? Do you have any reading resolutions for 2014? Leave them in the Comments!

BookishResolutionsPS. In case you don’t know, “TBR” stands for To Be Read — you know, that pile of books you are waiting to read next. I have a very, very large TBR pile!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

January 15, 2014

The Lost Kingdom Book Review

Posted by at 1:45 am in Reads | Permalink

The Lost Kingdom (for ages 9-12) by Matthew J. Kirby

It is Billy’s dream to be like his father, a famous botanist in the American colonies who specializes in studying strange and unusual plant life. His garden has plants and visitors from around the world, including famous men like Ben Franklin. Billy always hoped his father would invite him to go on one of his expeditions in the wilderness, so he is thrilled when his father invites him to go on an unusual expedition: to find the lost kingdom of Prince Madoc.lostkingdom

Legend says that the Welsh Prince Madoc sailed to the New World and started a kingdom in Ohio centuries before Columbus. Billy’s father is a member of a secret society of patriots that wants to find the mythical Welsh-speakers and gain them as allies in the French and Indian War.

A crew of philosophers (and one stowaway girl) board a flying airship for their search. But the journey to the American frontier is full of dangers. Along the way, they encounter spies, traitors, French soldiers, and mythical wild beasts. How will they fare on their treacherous journey? Read the first chapter and let us know what you think in the Comments.

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

January 15, 2014

Dav Pilkey & Jeff Kinney Webcast Today

Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey Create a “Story Smashup” Live On Stage in an Exclusive Scholastic Webcast Today

WHEN: Today at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
WHO: Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series.

CU_attackoftalkingtoiletsWHERE: Scholastic Headquarters in NYC, but we will be live-chatting about the event on the Reading Buzz Message Board. And you can watch the webcast video here.

AND download the contest entry form to create your own brilliant, one-of-a-kind, three-panel ending to Kinney and Pilkey’s original story! One Grand Prize Winner will have his or her entry framed alongside Kinney and Pilkey’s first six panels, autographed by each author. Ten Runners-Up will receive their very own illustrated storytelling extravaganza book collection. So, yeah, you will want to enter that!

Mail your entry by February 14 to:
The Mini-Story Cliff-Hanger Contest
P.O. Box 714
New York, NY, 10013-0714

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students in grades 2 through 8 in a U.S. school who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to enter, except those who have family members employed by Scholastic Inc. Every entry MUST include student name, teacher name, grade/age, school name, address and phone number and mailed to: Mash-Up Mini-Story Cliffhanger Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY, 10013-0714. One (1) Grand Prize Winner (approx. retail value: $300) and ten (10) Runners Up (approximate retail value: $75) will be selected based on clarity of thought, execution and creativity. Winners will be notified on or about March 13, 2014. Void where prohibited.

Hope to see you in the chat!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

January 14, 2014

Spring Books Preview!

Posted by at 1:52 am in Reads | Permalink

Take a look at some new books coming in 2014!

I know it’s super-cold out right now, but spring is right around the corner, and I can’t wait! Not just because I’m tired of bundling up so that I look like a polar bear every day, but because spring is a time for fresh starts: new adventures, new ideas, new goals, and…new books! Yay for new books! Here are some titles I’m really excited to read in 2014. Continue reading