Author Archives: scholastickids

September 16, 2015

The Marvels

Posted by at 1:08 am in Reads | Permalink

The Marvels by Brian SelznickThe Marvelous New Book by Brian Selznick

If you loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, then prepare yourself for another amazing book by Brian Selznick: The Marvels. Brian Selznick visited Scholastic today to tell us about the book and I learned some interesting facts.

The Marvels includes elements of theater, London, and a real house that has been turned into a museum. He actually lived in London for a few months while he was researching this book. It took him an ENTIRE YEAR to draw all the pictures once he got home from London!

Watch the amazing stop-motion video trailer that Selznick made himself.


I don’t want to give away too much about the story, but there is a tragedy in it based on a true story, and Selznick literally, actually started to cry today when he was talking about it!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer


September 4, 2015

SPONSORED POST Hotel Transylvania 2

Posted by at 1:18 am in Celebrities, SPONSORED | Permalink

Hotel Transylvania 2This Blog Post is Sponsored by Sony Pictures Animation.

Are you ready to go BACK to HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA?

Or maybe you’re checking in for the first time? No matter; the good news is that Dracula’s formerly monsters-only hotel policy has finally relaxed. He’s opening his doors to human guests, and considering his grandson isn’t exactly a pureblood vampire, it’s about time!

Hotel Transylvania 2

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Coming to theaters on September 25, Hotel Transylvania 2 (rated PG) has Dracula worried about his grandson Dennis’s half-human, half-vampire roots. When Drac’s old-school dad, Vlad, discovers that a change in policy allows for human guests and that his great-grandson isn’t 100% vampire, things get batty!

“There are four generations living under one roof, which obviously will be intense, no matter what the family is,” says actor Andy Samberg, who voices Johnny in the new movie. As Mavis’s human husband and father to Dennis, good ol’ Johnny isn’t only battling your standard in-law gripes.

“Johnny’s not just up against Drac, but now Vlad who is even more old-school in the tradition of being a vampire,” says Samberg. Obviously, Mavis is branching outside of that by marrying a human. So it’s complicated, but it’s also wonderful, and it’s them all getting to know each other and learning to understand each other.”

Actress and singer, Selena Gomez, is the voice of Johnny’s more-than-a-century-old wife, Mavis, in Hotel Transylvania 2. She agrees with her co-star on the fun in packing everyone into the hotel in the new film.

“Dracula brings everyone together,” says Gomez. “I think that’s sweet and endearing because he wants to include everyone.”


Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

What can we learn from this, and from Hotel Transylvania 2, about celebrating our similarities and differences—monster or not? That lesson isn’t lost on Gomez. In fact, it’s somewhat close to home for her.

“Extended family in Hotel Transylvania 2—whether they’re Frankenstein or the Wolf gang —everybody kind of comes together under one roof,” Gomez says. “That’s a cultural thing, in my opinion, because that’s exactly how my dad’s side of the family is. It’s not a good thing [to them] when you move out of the house. It’s almost like [they] want them to stay there forever, and you just pass it along, and I think that’s Drac’s idea. His intention is really good, but that’s something everyone can relate to.”

Check out the loads of fun that all goes down under one roof in the Hotel Transylvania 2 trailer, play the Monster Jumble game, and see the movie in theaters on September 25.  

September 2, 2015

James Patterson Author Interview

Posted by at 1:48 am in Authors | Permalink

iFunnyJames Patterson Talks About His Life as an Author!

Q: How many books have you written?
Patterson: I lost count. A little over 100. I write a lot of kids’ books. I write a lot of things that are different — that’s what keeps me excited. The kids’ books range from Maximum Ride, about kids who can fly to I Funny, about a kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian but he can never be a stand-up comedian because he’s in a wheelchair.

Q: Which ones would you like to see as movies on screen?
Patterson: All of them! Maximum Ride is very visual, these flying kids. I hope that will get made. We are shooting Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life at the end of the summer. It’s a cool story about how kids get lost in the education process. This kid in it is bright, brilliant as an artist, but there’s no way for him to express himself in school so he’s looked at as a dummy.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?
No, I don’t. I’m always working on more than one thing. I have a big imagination and I’ll just go to another project. I have a folder this thick of ideas for novels. Writing stories comes very easily to me.

Q: What first inspired you to write?
I was working my way through school at a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I had a lot of free time so I started reading like crazy and then I started scribbling stories. Somebody once told me, you’re lucky if you find something you like to do and it’s a miracle if someone will pay you to do it. I love doing it. I love writing stories. As a kid, I grew up in the woods. I used to wander around the woods and make up stories in my head. I think that talent was there, I just wasn’t aware of it.

Q: You often write with co-authors. Why?
It allows me to combine strength with strength. I’m a very good storyteller; I’m a little lazy as a stylist. So it allows me to work with a better stylist. Collaboration is OK!

Are you a fan of James Patterson’s books? Tell us which is your favorite in the Comments!


August 31, 2015

Song-Inspired Drabble Challenge

Posted by at 1:57 am in Music, Writing Prompt | Permalink

HippolyteHippolyte posted this awesome-tastic challenge for you on the Fan Fiction Message Board!

Heeeeeeeeey all!

So! This is a thing I saw in a STACKS Message Board a LONG time ago and though I’ve never participated myself, I figured it’s high time someone brings a new writing challenge. Here’s the deal:

You are to write a drabble inspired by the first song that comes up on shuffle. Grab your phones/ipods/mp3s/playlists or anything you have with music stored in it and a shuffle option, and enable said option. Your task is to write a short story (fan fiction or original) inspired by the song, for as long as the song is playing. Once the song is over, you stop writing and completely leave it be.


  • You may skip songs in case you can’t get inspired, but don’t be too picky or you’ll just be shuffling forever.
  • You must skip any songs that are inappropriate either because of language or content. Any song that receives a rating beyond PG 13 according to your judgment should better be avoided. We trust your judgment.
  • In case you feel that a song with questionable content is still appropriate enough for this board, please mention all warnings that apply. Your story has to be 100% appropriate for all people on this boards. (As Moderator Katie says, don’t write something you wouldn’t say to a 7/8-year-old.)
  • Your drabble can be a fan fiction or an original one. No preferences, but in case of fan fiction, make sure that the fandom you’re writing for is appropriate for younger kids on STACKS (PG 13 at most).
    • “Completely leave it be” is just that. Don’t correct anything. Don’t play the song again. Don’t touch it; it’s already a masterpiece.
    • Stories are expected to be short. Just brainstorm something and leave it in its raw beauty for the world to see.
    • Of course, you’re never obliged to post what you just wrote if you don’t want to. We’re only doing this for fun.

I hope everyone has fun! I also hope you’re not weak enough to decline the challenge. Mwahaha!

So leave your song title and artist in the Comments, and then go to the Fan Fiction Message Board to share your whole story.

August 25, 2015

Epic Character Questions Quiz

Posted by at 1:00 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Who is the most epic character?Epic Character Questions Quiz

PurpleFashionista86 posted these questions on the Harry Potter Message Board but they could also apply to any characters in any book series.

  1. Who is your favorite character?
  2. Which character would you go on a date with?
  3. If you were away, what character would take care of your pet for you?
  4. What character would you like to live with?
  5. What character would be your best friend?
  6. If you could take a character camping who would it be?
  7. If you had the choice to go anywhere with a character, what place would you go, and whom would you go with? 
  8. If you could be a character, which one would it be? 
  9. Which character would you want in your dorm?

Leave YOUR answers in the Comments!

August 21, 2015

Goosebumps Movie Preview

Goosebumps logoGoosebumps Movie Comes to Theaters October 16!

I love the Goosebumps series so much because it’s just the right amount of scary and surprising! So it was a dream-come-true when I was invited to an early screening of the Goosebumps movie (rated PG).

Let me tell you, the movie does not disappoint! It is so cool to see all the monsters from R. L. Stine’s stories come together in one action-packed movie. Jack Black does a wonderful job playing R. L. Stine, and the whole cast really brings the Goosebumps series to life on the big screen! The movie features all my favorite Goosebumps monsters and shows Stine’s huge imagination and creativity to the fullest. I was hanging on the edge of my seat and wishing it would never end!

Goosebumps Movie

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

At one point in the movie, the R. L. Stine character says, “A good story has three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist!” I think that quote sums up the movie for me because it includes all of my favorite classic Goosebumps moments while also ending with a shocking twist! Sorry, no spoilers! You have to wait until October 16 when the movie comes to theaters.

Goosebumps movie

photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

If you were writing your own Goosebumps story, which monsters would you include? Would you keep all the classic characters or make up your own? And what fun twist would you throw in to take readers on your exciting and spooky journey?

Let us know the details of your Goosebumps story in the Comments below, and remember not to be too graphic or scary for kids younger than you!

Megan, STACKS Intern

August 20, 2015

Back-to-School Tips

Posted by at 1:08 am in Kid Power | Permalink

Back to SchoolQuick Tips for Back-to-School

AmusedBrain4 has some back-to-school tips for freshmen on the Reading Buzz Board, but they can really help for any grade, so take a look and see what you think.

Ahhhh, so school is just around the corner. I thought I would give some quick tips for those who are starting their first year of high school . . .

  1. Don’t sign up for more than 2 Honors classes your first year. You might regret taking too many.
  2. It’s okay to make new friends.
  3. Don’t stress yourself out over school work. I know it can get overwhelming but you don’t want to look back on your first year and remember hating it.
  4. If you have been studying for hours IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK. Go out with some friends, and eat lots of ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better!
  5. If you get a bad grade on something remember that someone else probably did worse.
  6. Make sure you eat lunch! (Even if you only have 20 minutes, grab a yogurt or some fruit.)
  7. Have at least one fun class like band or art or something you love.
  8. After-school clubs are worth it. It can be scary joining stuff but trust me, you won’t regret it.
  9. Try new things. Join the school play, or marching band, or something you’ve never thought of trying. Freshman year is a year for you to figure out what you want to do.
  10. Lastly, don’t let one bad teacher ruin your year. It’s just one class, and it won’t ruin your grades.

Do you think these tips will help you this school year? Whatever grade you are starting this year, tell us your tips in the Comments! Happy new school year!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer


August 19, 2015

El Deafo

Posted by at 1:30 am in Reads | Permalink

el deafoNew El Deafo Book Trailer!

Have you seen STACKS Writer En-Szu’s awesome video for El Deafo by Cece Bell? If you love hilarious graphic novels about unusual superheroes, watch this video!

el deafo book trailer

Tell us what you think in the Comments! Are you already a fan of El Deafo?

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

August 13, 2015

August STACKS Star

Posted by at 1:38 am in Kid Power | Permalink

August Stacks Star

Meet MerryAngel32!

This month’s STACKS Star is MerryAngel32! She loves to read horror books like Goosebumps and if she could be any fruit in the world, she would be an apple because it’s crunchy, sweet, has small seeds and is so “easy-peasy” to cut. One thing she would love to give every child across the world is access to a free library so that everyone can read books! Read more about MerryAngel32 in our STACKS Blast newsletter!

Now, I have two super-serious questions to ask you:

1. Would YOU like a chance to become the next star?
2. How well do you know Harry Potter?

This month’s questions are all about Harry Potter and I want to see how many of you know, like, really, really know the books, characters, and movies. If you know all the answers to the questions, then you might become the next STACKS Star! I will be picking a random user who answers these questions correctly:

  1. When is Harry Potter’s birthday? (Hint: It just passed.)
  2. Where is Harry’s first bedroom located in the Dursley’s home?
  3. How many siblings does Ron Weasley have?
  4. What do Hermione Granger’s parents do for a living?
  5. Who is the real Half-Blood Prince?
  6. Besides English, what other language does Harry speak?
  7. Who is the youngest Quidditch player of all time at Hogwarts?
  8. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, who are the last two competitors standing inside the maze?
  9. What does Hagrid do to Dudley after he sees him eating Harry’s birthday cake on Harry’s 11th birthday?
  10. What is Voldemort’s real name?

Good luck everyone and leave your answers to these HP questions in the Comments! Don’t forget to update your profile and avatar to make it look your best in case you are the next STACKS Star!

Sandy, STACKS Staffer