Author Archives: En-Szu

August 20, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure, Part 3

Posted by at 3:20 pm in Personality Quiz, Reads | Permalink

Adventure Books BashWelcome back to Choose Your Own Adventure! In a choose-your-own-adventure story, you read a chapter and then you get a few choices of what the character should do next. For the STACKS Adventure Books Bash, we’re celebrating adventure with a choose-your-own-adventure story written by me! Have you read Part 1 and Part 2 yet? Pay attention to your answer choices because when the story is done, your answers will reveal the adventure hero you are most like. Are you ready???

Part 3

You know it’s going to be dark soon, and also time for dinner, but you are mesmerized by your new discovery. Curiosity gets the best of you, and you reach out and pull on the knob.

Nothing budges.

You try twisting and pushing, but nothing happens. The door is totally stuck. Frustrated, you plop down on the grass and watch the last rays of the sun as it slides behind the horizon.

After a while, you start to feel chilly and kind of hungry, so you decide to go home. As you stand up, though, the ground beneath you starts to tremble. As the trembling intensifies, you hear a loud rattling noise. You look over and see that the door is shaking and bright light is seeping out from the edges.

Scared, you start crawling backwards. The sky, which was completely clear only a moment ago, is full of dark clouds. With a loud CRACK, rain begins pouring from the sky. The wind picks up and intensifies until you feel like you’re being battered by rain on all sides.

You start running towards a large tree in the middle of the field, thinking you can hide in it, when suddenly a bolt of lightning slices through the air and strikes the tree, exploding it. Screaming, you start running back towards the woods and your house. The ground is getting muddy and you are slipping and sliding, so it’s taking you a long time to cover the last twenty yards. Before you can process what’s happening, another bolt of lightning strikes a small shrub only a few yards to your left.  You keep running and lightning strikes another patch of grass to your right. You’re about a foot away from the door, which is still shaking violently like someone—or something—is trying to escape.

You . . .

A) knock and see if anyone answers.

B) keep running for a place to hide!

C) try to remember everything you learned in wilderness safety class. You remember something about lying face down on the ground. That might not be the most accurate memory, but it’ll do—so you do it.

D) know that metal conducts electricity in a thunderstorm so you do NOT touch that metal doorknob.

E) pull on the knob! You need to get indoors and you need to get indoors NOW!

What would YOU do? Share your answer in the Comments below! Click here for your personality quiz results and links to new installments of the story.

See ya next time,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

August 16, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure, Part 2

Posted by at 1:49 am in Personality Quiz, Reads | Permalink

Adventure Books BashWelcome back to Choose Your Own Adventure! In a choose-your-own-adventure story, you read a chapter and then you get a few choices of what the character should do next. For the STACKS Adventure Books Bash, we’re celebrating adventure with a choose-your-own-adventure story written by me! Have you read Part 1 yet? Pay attention to your answer choices because when the story is done, your answers will reveal the adventure hero you are most like. Are you ready???

Part 2

“Alfie!” you say. You don’t want to be left alone, and he’s acting weird. “Come back!” He looks back a few times and barks, but soon his fluffy, yellow tail is out of sight. You sigh and think, “So much for loyalty.”

You start walking deeper into the field. You’re still mad at Kyle and don’t want to go home just yet. You’re distractedly wondering why Alfie was behaving so strangely when you trip and nearly fall on your face.

At first you think you tripped over a large rock or piece of garbage. After all, the grass is pretty unruly and tall, and sometimes rowdy teenagers leave trash here. But when you look back, you see something glinting in the light of the setting sun — a shiny, metal doorknob covered in strange symbols.

Curious, you lean in closer and can see that it is attached to a wooden door in the ground. The door isn’t very big and it looks old, but the knob looks very new.

You . . .

a) call a friend and tell him/her to come take a look before deciding what to do next.

b) think it looks pretty cool and you want to look at it later, but for now it’s more important to find gross bugs to stick in your brother’s bed.

c) wonder out loud, “Is it safe?” Probably not. Who knows what’s down there! Go about your business and ignore it. It’s probably just a musty, old cellar anyway.

d) take a picture of the doorknob with your phone. Then go home to do some research on the meaning of the symbols.

e) don’t waste any time and open that door! There could be all kinds of cool stuff in there.

What would YOU do? Share your answer in the Comments below! Click here for your personality quiz results and links to new installments of the story.

See ya next time,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

August 15, 2014

Kelli Berglund in How to Build a Better Boy

Posted by at 1:11 am in Celebrities | Permalink

Kelli Berglund in How to Build a Better BoyHow to Build a Better Boy

Get ready for a new Disney Channel movie starring Kelli Berglund, China Anne McClain, and Marshal Williams. How to Build a Better Boy premieres at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 15. In the movie, best friends Mae and Gabby are super-smart tech whizzes but not very popular in school. When mean-girl Neveah (played by Ashley Argota) teases Mae about not having a date to the Homecoming Dance, the friends use a computer to program the perfect boy. What could possibly go wrong? Umm. . . lots.

First let’s meet the boy, played by Marshall Williams. Check out this video.

KELLI BERGLUND, MARSHALL WILLIAMS

Photo credit Disney Channel/Rick Rowell

Now, let’s hear from Kelli.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing that’s happened to you?
Kelli: One time I was filming a scene, and I slipped and I fell right on my face. Billy [who plays her brother Chase on Lab Rats] and I tripped over each other and we just landed face-down in opposite directions. It was really funny! It was on camera, but we just got up and laughed it off.

Q: Can you tell me one thing that you think would help to make the world a better place?
Kelli: I think everyone should stop being so judgmental of everybody. I think if we started loving more–I honestly think that would definitely help make the world a better place.

Q: What’s the best book you ever read (besides this one)?
Kelli: The Maze Runner (for ages 12 and up) and they are actually turning it into a movie, which I am really excited about. It was so good. It’s kind of similar to The Hunger Games (for ages 12 and up) but the storyline is completely different. It involves a lot of action and character development. I actually auditioned to be in the movie! And I was like, “I read the book and I’m prepared,” but I ended up not booking it. But it was cool just to audition for it.

Watch Kelli talking about The Maze Runner in this brand new video.

Are you excited for Kelli’s new movie? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don’t forget to read our earlier interview with Kelli and her Lab Rats castmates, as well as our interview with Kelli’s new costar, China Anne McClain!

Interview by Sue Schneider
Images courtesy of Disney XD

August 13, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure, Part I

Posted by at 1:59 am in Personality Quiz, Reads | Permalink

Adventure Books BashIn a choose-your-own-adventure story, you read a chapter and then you get a few choices of what the character should do next. For the STACKS Adventure Books Bash, let’s celebrate adventure with a choose-your-own-adventure story written by me! Pay attention to your answer choices because when the story is done, your answers will reveal the adventure hero you are most like. WHAAAAT?

Part 1

Your brother Kyle is driving you nuts. He tapes cling wrap to your toilet seat in the morning, hides the television remote, and cries so much when he sees you on your skateboard that Mom makes you let him try it—and he breaks it. You storm out the back door with your golden retriever, Alfie, hot on your heels. You head into the woods that border your back yard. It is a pretty warm evening, and Alfie is panting so loudly you’re sure he can be heard from the house. He looks happy to be out exploring instead of lying around, though, so you don’t send him back home. Besides, you’re happy to have a companion. Even though you’re mad, you don’t really feel like being alone. You make your way further into the woods until you reach the field on the other side.

It’s a great place to blow off steam. The world seems to stretch on forever from here, and the sunset casts everything in a brilliant orange glow.

Suddenly, Alfie stops at the edge of the trees.

“C’mon, boy!” you say. Alfie looks torn. He takes a few tentative steps forward before retreating and barking a few times.

“Shh!” you say. “C’mon, Alfie!” But Alfie just barks again and walks in circles a few times before barking some more. He looks nervous. He stares at you quizzically, tongue hanging out and slobbering everywhere. After a few moments, he turns around and starts trotting back towards the house.

You . . .

A) pull a treat out of your pocket to persuade Alfie to stay.

B) are spooked, so you just start running home.

C) realize that Aflie’s usually a pretty reasonable dog. If he’s acting up, there’s something wrong. You follow him back into the woods. You can hang out there instead.

D) decide to search for whatever it is that’s making him act strange. Is there a wild animal nearby?

E) continue on without Alfie. Whatever! 

What would YOU do? Vote for your answer choice in the Comments below! Click here for your personality quiz results and links to new installments of the story.

See ya around,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

August 8, 2014

Austin North Interview

Posted by at 1:34 am in Celebrities | Permalink

Austin NorthInterview with Austin North from I Didn’t Do It!

Who loves Olivia Holt’s new show, I Didn’t Do It? We most certainly do! We were so happy we could catch up with her co-star Austin North, who plays her twin brother Logan, and ask him about his favorite food, whether he’s a country or city person, and more. Check it out!

Q: Is this your first TV show?

A: This is my first series regular, and being on the Disney Channel is awesome! We just wrapped season one. It was the most incredible experience.

Q: What’s the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten?

A: Probably filet mignon from Ruth’s Steak House.

Austin North

Image credit Disney Channel

Q: What was your favorite TV show growing up?

A: SpongeBob SquarePants.

Q: Are you a city or country person?

A: A city person. I love traveling to different cities and experiencing different cultures. I’m originally from Ohio. It was kind of the country. I rode ATVs outside of my house and in the woods.

Q: What was the hardest word for you pronounce when you were a kid?

A: Gator-watermelon. It’s a tongue twister. (Laughs)

Austin seems really great. Are you a fan of I Didn’t Do It? Be sure to check out our interview with his co-star Olivia Holt and share your thoughts in the Comments below!

See ya around,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

Interview by Sue Schneider

July 30, 2014

July Books of the Month

Posted by at 1:45 am in Books of the Month, Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!It’s time for Books of the Month!

WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! It’s BOOKS OF THE MONTH TIME!!! I know you can’t see me from across the Internet, but I’m doing my little books-of-the-month dance right now. (There’s a lot of wiggling involved.) You guys, I love Books of the Month. I can’t wait to find out your cool new book recommendations!

You STACKS regulars can probably do this in your sleep, but for those of you new to the ~*mAgiC*~ that is Books of the Month, here’s the deal: at the end of June I asked you all what books you were reading. Then I made a word cloud to show which titles are most popular. As he has been for some time now, Percy Jackson leads the pack in popularity, but some other titles have been steadily rising in rank over the months. (Percy had better watch his back! Dork Diaries is sneaking up there!) See for yourself:July books of the month

Summertime Books of the Month posts are the best because summertime means UNLIMITED TIME FOR READING, which is just the greatest thing in the whole wide world. And you get to read in awesome places, like in your backyard or on your roof top or on the beach. Summer reading rocks! Even better, you can read in our super-crazy-cool event at tomorrow’s Harry Potter Readathon!!!

Let’s keep this going. What books are you reading now? What books do you absolutely, positively love and think everyone in the whole wide world should read? Leave the title (or titles!) in the Comments below. I can’t wait to see what new books you recommend!

See ya,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

July 28, 2014

Harry Potter Theme Parks

Posted by at 1:00 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

Harry Potter StampDiagon Alley in Florida, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan

It’s been a crazy month for Muggle fans of Harry Potter! As you may know, Universal Studios recently officially opened Diagon Alley in Florida, and Universal Studios Japan just unveiled its own Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Diagon Alley in Florida is essentially a replica of the film sets from the Harry Potter movies, complete with all the shops and spots like the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and more. Guests can get their fill of Nosebleed Nougats, butterbeer ice cream, and other Diagon Alley specialties. The main attraction, of course, is the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. The other attraction is . . . THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS!

The Hogwarts Express is actually a shuttle between 2 different theme parks inside of Universal Studios. You need a “Park-to-Park” ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express which costs $136. For $96, you can see either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade (but not both).

This Diagon Alley is the first of its kind in the (Muggle) world, but the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open outside of the U.S. is now in Osaka, Japan. It opened on July 14th and it is almost identical to the original one in Florida. Tom Felton (who played Draco Malfoy in the movies) and Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood in the movies) greeted fans on opening night and led lucky visitors into the new park the following morning!

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment shop

Universal Studios Japan

Another Wizarding World is set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood in California in 2016.

So much Harry Potter coming to life! It’s so exciting . . . and also kind of overwhelming. What do YOU think? Would you go to Diagon Alley? What other parts of Harry Potter’s world would you like to see made real for us Muggles? (Well, to be honest, Harry Potter has always felt very real to me!) Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

July 25, 2014

Leo Howard Interview

Posted by at 1:55 am in Celebrities | Permalink

Leo HowardIf you love Leo Howard from Kickin’ It, keep reading.

If any television actor has undergone an on-screen transformation, it’s Kickin’ It‘s Leo Howard. Remember what he was like when the show first started? But even if Leo–and his character Jack–has changed a bit on the outside, he’s still the super-chill guy we interviewed a little while back. So it was great to catch up with him again and see what he’s been reading, what his favorite school subject is, and more! Check it out. Continue reading

July 16, 2014

Fantasy Who Would Win?

Posted by at 1:19 am in Percy Jackson, Reads, Who Would Win | Permalink

Fantasy Books FestivalWho would win in a fight between your favorite fantasy characters?

I know what MY favorite thing about fantasy books is: fantasy books often have the most exciting, epic, earth-shattering battles. In worlds where anything is possible, magical creatures, logic-defying supernatural abilities, and even nature itself can turn any old argument into a knock-down, drag-out fight to save the universe. It’s so exciting!

Fight scenes in fantasy books always leave me wondering what I would do if I had the abilities or strengths that the characters have. Would I try to save the world, too? Or would I go on silly adventures instead? Probably a little bit of both!

Today’s Fantasy Books Festival post is all about special abilities. Everyone loves a good collision of fantasy universes, so do a little imagining yourself: who would win in a fight between these fictional characters?

Who are your winners? Why? What are your suggestions for fantasy face-offs? Share in the Comments below!

Till next time,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

July 11, 2014

Shane Harper Interview

Posted by at 1:11 am in Celebrities | Permalink

Shane Harper Good Luck CharlieInterview with Good Luck Charlie‘s Shane Harper!

We asked. You responded. We listened! Last week, I asked you to vote on which celebrity interview you wanted to read this week. The clear winner? Good Luck Charlie‘s Shane Harper. Go, Shane!

If you are like me, you’re super-sad that Good Luck Charlie is now over (even though you can still catch episodes on the Disney Channel), but we’re happy we could catch up with Shane, who played Spencer Walsh on the show. We talked books, favorite school subjects, and–of course–music! Check it out. Continue reading