August 17, 2014
The Lowdown on the Secret Kingdom Series (for ages 7-10)
Have you read the Secret Kingdom series? If you haven’t heard about these magical books, here’s everything you need to know to get started:
The girls in charge: Ellie, Summer, and Jasmine! These three best friends find an enchanted box that whisks them away to a place called the Secret Kingdom, where they go on amazing adventures and have to save the day from . . .
the villain, better known as Queen Malice. She lives on a grey thundercloud, so you can imagine how mean she is! She is constantly trying to take over the Secret Kingdom and she makes everyone who lives there simply miserable, especially her brother . . .
the good guy. King Merry is just a happy royal with a knack for inventing magical things. He wants the best for all his loving citizens, but unfortunately, he’s often forgetful and gets confused easily.
Luckily, Ellie, Summer, and Jasmine don’t have to save the Secret Kingdom alone – they have Trixi the Pixie to cast spells and help them defeat Queen Malice!
To read an exclusive excerpt from their first adventure in the Secret Kingdom, click here.
If you love it as much as we think you will, you’ll be happy to know there are LOTS more books in the series! Look for Book 2: Unicorn Valley, and help Ellie, Summer, and Jasmine save the Secret Kingdom yet again!
August 14, 2014
100% Kid-Approved Book Recommendations
As you probably know, STACKers love to read, so today we are featuring a book recommended by one of YOU! DolphinRed228 recommends The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney (for ages 7-10). Have you read this book? Have you read the other books in the Humphrey series? What did you think?
Read on for DolphinRed’s review. . .
Hi. I am writing to tell you about the book The World According to Humphrey. The book is about a hamster that a teacher adopted. The hamster is very smart and he talks, but not to the characters that are in the story. When he talks, they just hear squeak-squeak-squeak, or something like that. The book is really cool because the hamster talks about his life. There is a lock on his cage, but what the other characters don’t know is that it really doesn’t lock. He meets a lot of friends on the way and some of them are pretty funny. I think you should read this book because it is really funny, and it’s just a really good book.
Do you agree with DolphinRed228? Leave a Comment or go to the Reading Buzz Message Board to join the discussion about this book.
August 12, 2014
Top 5 things I learned while writing Surrounded by Sharks (for ages 12 and up)
By Michael Northrop
I’ve always been fascinated by sharks and have been a devoted viewer of Shark Week since it first aired in 1987, but even I was surprised by some of the things I discovered when I waded into the research for my latest book.
- Sharks are nature’s true smelling machines. Unlike bloodhounds and the owners of the world’s other notable noses, sharks don’t breathe through their nostrils. They use them for only one thing: finding food (and, okay, the occasional mate).
- Sharks’ senses are all sharp, but the one they use up close is a sort of underwater spider-sense. They can detect even the tiniest electrical charges in the water, as small as five one-billionths of a volt. If a fish swims by, the shark can sense its bioelectric field, each flick of its tail and beat of its heart.
- In the book, Davey stays afloat with the help of a discarded water cooler bottle. About ten million tons of plastic make their way into the ocean each year. And, fictional flotation devices aside, they serve absolutely no purpose other than pollution.
- The cool stripes that give tiger sharks their name fade out as they reach adulthood. As with humans, it’s the young ones that have all the style!
- While sharks get all the attention, riptides are the real killers at the beach. Over the past ten years, rip currents have killed an estimated one hundred people annually in the US alone. That’s more than floods, tornadoes, lightning, or hurricanes. Sharks are responsible for about one fatality every two years, fewer than fireworks, roller coasters, or falling vending machines.
August 6, 2014
What’s the Big Deal About Summer Reading?
You have probably heard over and over again how important it is to keep reading during the summer while you’re not in school. If you haven’t heard this before, well then let me be the first person to tell you summer reading is important, people! You SHOULD read over the summer while you’re not in school!
We asked 2 very special Scholastic authors why this is true. Gordon Korman is the author of the Swindle series, a few books in The 39 Clues series, and, like, a million other books. He published his first book when he was 14 years old! David Shannon is the author of picture books such as Alice the Fairy, A Bad Case of Stripes, and No, David!
Q: What is the top reason kids should read over the summer?
Gordon Korman: I think reading is kind of a self-feeding cycle — the more you read, the more you WANT to read. But when I write, my goal is primarily to entertain my readers. So my top reason kids should read over the summer is for fun.
David Shannon: To keep from becoming a slug! Reading keeps your imagination running in a way that TV and video games can’t. It works out your brain but relaxes your body, and those are both good things. There’s more down time in the summer, too, and you can read whatever you want.
So there you have it. Have fun and don’t be a slug! READ! When you do, you can log your minutes and be eligible for prizes in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Leave a Comment to tell us why YOU love summer reading, and whether or not you agree with these authors’ advice.
August 1, 2014
Find out what these stars are reading this summer.
We are always curious/nosy to know what people are reading. You never know where your next favorite book will come from. So we asked a few stars of Disney shows to tell us what they are reading this summer. Here’s what they said . . .
Francesca Capaldi from Dog With a Blog is reading Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan.
Calum Worthy from Austin and Ally is reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Really?
Maddy Whitby from Radio Disney’s Morgan & Maddy in the Morning is re-reading the Harry Potter series.
Leave a Comment and let us know what YOU are reading this summer!
Photos courtesy Disney Channel
July 30, 2014
2 word puzzles for Harry Potter fans
Harry Potter Week continues, leading up to the big day: July 31. It is the birthday of the Boy Who Lived . . . and also (not coincidentally) the day of the STACKS live readathon. Are you coming? It will be a great chance to chat with other book-lovers and celebrate Harry’s birthday together. You might not know this, but there are a LOT of Harry Potter fans on the STACKS! For example . . .
CatGymnastics173 created this acrostic puzzle. You have to figure out what the letters stand for and complete the sentence. Your only clue is that they are all from the 4th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
- D P F is the P to the P B.
- B C disguises himself as A (M E) M.
- H fights a H H.
- There are F T C.
- V comes back to P.
Your next puzzle is a Harry Potter Word Scramble brought to you by HappyUnicorn108.
- K.J. wolRnig
Leave your guesses in the Comments and if you liked these puzzles, go friend CatGymnastics173 and HappyUnicorn108!
AND, please come to the live readathon! It won’t be the same without you!
July 28, 2014
Celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday with us all week long!
Hey, everyone! Welcome to the happiest week of the year (except maybe Christmas or the first week of school): Harry Potter Week! To celebrate Harry’s birthday, we will be featuring Harry Potter on the blog all week long . . . AND having a live readathon/ virtual birthday party on Thursday, July 31. Please come if you can and bring a friend. You’re TOTALLY invited!
Let’s start the week with this Writing Prompt from Skyelark Moon on the Harry Potter Message Boards who is obviously a fan of the Harry Potter series, as you can tell from this question . . .
**Spoilers from ALL the books follow!**
- The Philosopher’s Stone (a.k.a. The Sorcerer’s Stone): I have always loved the scene in Diagon Ally especially when Harry is in Ollivanders. Something about it is so . . . magical.
- The Chamber of Secrets: The moment when Harry and Ron are figuring out the secret to the Chamber of Secrets has always been one of my favorite parts. I love mysteries, so this was a great part to me.
- The Prisoner of Azkaban: I love the chapter “Cat, Rat, and Dog.” The Marauders are some of my favorite characters, and seeing them interact with each other is fantastic.
- The Goblet of Fire: I have always liked the section in between the first and second tasks: namely the scene where Harry opens the egg in the water.
- The Order of the Phoenix: The Room of Requirement is one of my favorite places in Hogwarts, so naturally all of the Dumbledore’s Army parts are my favorite.
- The Half-Blood Prince: I really like the part when Harry first uses the Half-Blood Prince’s book to brew the Draught of Living Death.
- The Deathly Hallows: I love the ending of The Deathly Hallows, especially when they seem to be figuring out where all the Horcruxes are. As I mentioned previously, I really love mysteries, so this part was great, in my opinion.
Skyelark Moon, who really wants to read Harry Potter right now, but she can’t.
Leave your answers in the Comments and mark your calendars for the readathon on Thursday!
Harry Potter illustration by Mary GrandPré
July 23, 2014
Have you read these Scholastic fantasy books?
The July Fantasy Books Festival continues! Today, we will be highlighting some of the newest Scholastic fantasy books. As you know, Scholastic has published LOTS of amazing fantasy book series such as Harry Potter, the Ink trilogy, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, and, like, a thousand others. Here are just 3 of the fantasy books we are excited about right now:
Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy
The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting with the help of a prophecy — and five dragonets are collected to fulfill it.
Read Chapter 1
Watch the video
Enter the thrilling world of Wormwood, a village surrounded by danger and built on lies. Only young Vega Jane has the courage to probe Wormwood’s dark secrets . . . and face the consequences of what comes to light.
Read Chapter 1
Watch the video
Spirit Animals: Wild Born
In the world of Erdas, four children are about to discover if they have a spirit animal bond, a rare link between human and beast that gives great powers to both. Separated by vast distances, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan each see a flash of light . . . and then the animals emerge.
Read Chapter 1
Watch the video
So fun, right? Please come to the live readathon on July 31 and tell us what fantasy books you are excited about right now.
July 21, 2014
Random Would You Rather
Here is a Random Would You Rather from the fabuloso STACKer EarlyFairy3. Leave your answers in the Comments!
- Would you rather kiss a snail OR a frog?
- Would you rather be a successful movie star OR a well-known smart person?
- Would you rather go to the supermarket OR to the mall?
- Would you rather watch the sunset OR the sunrise?
- Would you rather do well in math OR in music?
- Would you rather be a dog OR a cat?
\ Thx, EarlyFairy3
July 18, 2014
Superheroes come in all sizes in the movie Antboy (rated PG).
Ordinary, overlooked, 12-year-old Pelle (played by Oscar Dietz) is transformed into an extraordinary superhero after he is bitten by a super-ant and inherits its abilities. Overnight, the boy whom nobody noticed becomes a local hero dubbed “Antboy.” With the help of his sidekick, Wilhelm, climbing walls, flipping cars, stopping robbers, and saving babies all become part of his new dream life. But all this changes when super-villain “The Flea” kidnaps a pretty girl from Pelle’s school. Antboy, Wilhelm, and the missing girl’s sister Ida must fight this treacherous evil, rescue the damsel in distress, save the town from a super-villain, and be home in time for dinner.
Here is the Antboy himself, Oscar Dietz, to tell you what it was like making this movie. Continue reading