March 2, 2016
Best Book Series
I don’t have just one book to recommend. I have several series for kids aged 8-12.
The first: the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, beginning with So You Want to Be a Wizard (for ages 10 and up). This series is about Nita and Kit, two friends who found copies of a book entitled So You Want to Be a Wizard and were brought together. They must learn to use their wizardry while battling to postpone the universe’s death.
The second: the Unwanteds series (for ages 8 and up) by Lisa McMann. These books tell the story of the land of Quill, where creativity is a crime, and those caught committing it are sentenced to death. But the sentence isn’t exactly what is seems.
The third: the Michael Vey series (for ages 12 and up) by Richard Paul Evans. A prototype imaging machine malfunctioned, and of the 59 people born in that hospital during its test period, only 17 survived. These children acquired electrical powers. A madman makes it his goal to use them to take over the world, and gets all of them except Michael Vey.
The fourth: the Blackwell Pages series (for ages 8 and up) by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr. This trilogy is about the descendants of the Norse gods and their battle to prevent the world from ending. It begins with Loki’s Wolves.
Julie, Scholastic Kids Council
March 1, 2016
Why Do Feet Stink?
There’s nothing worse than kicking off your shoes after a long day and grossing out your friends with a set of horrible smelling feet. It happens to everyone from time to time. First let’s find out WHY your feet smell. Then we’ll tell you what you can do about it.
The main cause of stinky feet is foot sweat. Although sweat is odorless, when the inside of your shoe becomes hot and moist, it creates the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that live on your feet (called Brevibacterium) to grow and multiply. This particular bacterium is the same kind that is found in extra-smelly cheeses like Limburger and Muenster.
Now that you know why your feet smell like stinky cheese, here are 3 things you can do about it.
- Hot, closed-toe shoes are like a bacteria sauna. Wearing comfortable, well-ventilated shoes will give your feet a chance to air out.
- Before you put your shoes on, always put on a pair of clean socks. If you like the no-sock look, try wearing ankle socks that aren’t visible above your shoe.
- For extra protection, sprinkle some baking soda or baby powder in your socks and shoes to help absorb the odor.
With a little knowledge and prep work, you will never worry about taking your shoes off again. PS. Pass this article along to anyone you think could use a little help with his or her stinky feet.
“Tingling tip toes” Flickr photo by Alex Holzknecht
February 29, 2016
image courtesy of Nintendo
Most Powerful Pokémon
What is the most powerful Pokémon? That’s a question that’s been debated by Pokefans for years. The answer, of course, is that any Pokémon can be powerful with the right training and in the hand of an experienced player. But there are some Pokémon that are extremely powerful right from the get go.
The most powerful Pokémon are the Legendary Pokémon. The Legendary Pokémon are rare (of the over 600 species of Pokémon, only 47 are Legendary) and very powerful with high base stats. And while it may never be possible to say which is the most powerful, here are a few that would vie for the honor any day.
If you want to talk about powerful, it doesn’t get much more awesome than the creator of the universe. Yup, Arceus is said to have created the entire world of Pokémon. He also has the highest base stat total. His signature move is “Judgment” allowing him to change his type depending on the plate he’s holding.
The extraterestrial Deoxys is a fan favorite based on the fact that he can make copies of himself and is the only Pokémon that can freely switch between four different forms: Normal, Attack, Defense, and Speed.
Mew and Mewtwo
Two of the most powerful Pokémon actually share the same DNA. Because Mewtwo is a genetically enhanced Mew clone, they both share many of the same attributes. They are both psychic type Pokémon with high stats and special skills. Mew can turn into any Pokémon at will using “Transform” and Mewtwo uses telekinesis for his special powers.
Special Award: Pikachu
Okay, so maybe Pikachu isn’t Legendary. And he doesn’t have the highest stats. But somehow the little yellow guy always comes out on top. That has to count for something, right?
So which Pokémon is the most powerful? Well that’s up to how you use them. Tell us YOUR favorites in the Comments.
February 25, 2016
Five Ways for Girls to Add Style to Your Outfit
Want to spice up your wardrobe? Here are some very easy fashion tips to turn you into a standout style diva.
If you’re not going to the Academy Awards, let’s start with a basic blue jean and a white tee shirt. Then, pick one or two of these ideas to add to your outfit. Note: You probably shouldn’t add too many of them or you’ll end up looking like a music video from the 80s! Gasp!
Turquoise and gold jewelry always looks great with a white tee shirt. Slip on a turquoise ring or some dangling earrings. Or, go for a long necklace with a large pendant.
The easiest way to work bright colors into your ensemble is by stepping into a colored shoe. Sandals or ballet flats in red, green, or blue will really kick your jeans up a notch.
A perfect way to add dimension to your outfit is to throw on another layer. For the spring and summer months, try a striped cardigan or a scarf. If it’s chilly out, throw on a fuzzy sweater over your tee.
Roll with it!
If you’re bored of your jeans, roll them up and pair them with a trendy sweatshirt and some cool sneakers – try finding sneakers with a cool pattern to add some flair.
Top it off!
Dress up your jeans and tee with a stylish hairdo. An unexpected place to find pretty hair clips is the grocery store. Put on a classic headband or be daring and try a headband/pony tail combination.
What’s your fashion style? How do you add style to YOUR outfits? Tell us your fashion tips in the Comments.
February 24, 2016
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I really like stories with interesting characters who go through a real journey, especially ones that have to find courage to face a challenge. I enjoy books with action and adventure like Harry Potter. I also like stories with strong and smart girl characters like Divergent and Fairest (for ages 12 and up). But I also enjoy reading stories that have been told for a long time.
For as long as I can remember, I have grown up hearing about A Christmas Carol. I always loved the story but I never understood its true meaning until I read the book.
A Christmas Carol is about a grumpy, old man named Scrooge, who is cold to the bone and doesn’t care about anyone or anything besides money. He is a cheapskate who doesn’t even pay for electricity in his own home. But the thing Scrooge hates the most is the Christmas spirit. He doesn’t give money to the poor or take the invitation from his nephew to a nice Christmas party. Instead he chooses to work, get money, scare off some Christmas carolers, and lecture his poor apprentice about the unfairness of having to pay him on Christmas Day for not doing any work.
His mood changes, though, when he sees the ghost of his dead friend, Marley. Marley tells Scrooge of three ghosts that will come to help him change his ways. Scrooge is then taken on three journeys by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. As Scrooge goes through each journey, you see him change and become more sentimental and loving. You see him change from a miserable person to a person who learns and becomes better. By going through this experience with the ghosts, Scrooge is given a second chance to change his future.
I would recommend this book because it has a great moral. It teaches us all important lessons and allows us to see the world in a different light. Another reason I would recommend this book is that Dickens has a very poetic and beautiful way of writing. It can be very playful in one moment, and be very serious or heartfelt in the next. The way he writes hooks me in and entices me to read more. If you enjoy heart-touching stories with an amazing moral, I would definitely suggest A Christmas Carol.
Cynthia, Scholastic Kids Council
February 23, 2016
How to Solve Logical Reasoning Puzzles
Okay, here’s a logical reasoning puzzle. See if you can figure it out on your own. If you can’t, don’t worry. It’s pretty complicated. So grab a pencil and paper, and good luck!
(1) Five kids are sitting in a line. (2) Of the two kids at each end, one is a Giants fan, and the other one is a Patriots fan. (3) A Cowboys fan is sitting to the right of a 49ers fan. (4) A Broncos fan is to the left of the Patriots fan and the 49ers fan is sitting between the Giants fan and Cowboys fan. What order are the kids sitting in?
Here’s how to use process of elimination to solve it: Continue reading
February 21, 2016
Ollie: An Easy Snowboarding Trick You Can Learn in One Day
The scenario: Your friends are going on a big snowboarding trip and you are totally stoked to tag along. There’s only one problem. Your snowboarding skills are non-existent. Well, don’t worry! There are some easy tricks you can learn in a day. Here is one not-so-scary move that will impress any snow bunny or sweet dude. While learning this trick, you should enlist an experienced snowboarder to help you and always wear protective gear.
The Ollie is the easiest of all tricks and essential for any freestyle-rider. This trick is performed without the help of the rider’s hands, a ramp, or a jump. Here’s how to do it: While riding down the mountain, you want to crouch down like you’re about to jump, and then in one seamless motion, shift your weight over your back leg and lift your front foot. Then, “pop” off your back foot with a slight bouncing motion lifting your legs up, allowing the board to hop up or “snap.” Once you’ve got air, you want to pull your knees up towards your chest as far as you can while trying to keep the board parallel to the snow. Right before you land, shift your weight back over the center of the board and prepare to hit the ground. Bend your knees as you touch the snow to cushion your landing.
Congrats! You’ve read about your first trick. Now, it’s time to go out and do it. And don’t worry if you don’t want to do any tricks. Being a drifter (someone who “drifts” across the hill with no actual tricks), is fine too. Own it and order everyone hot chocolates as they come off the mountain!
February 19, 2016
Interesting Facts About SpongeBob
Most people think they know everything there is to know about SpongeBob SquarePants. He lives in a pineapple under the sea; he works at the Krusty Krab flipping Krabby Patties; his best friend is a not-so-bright starfish named Patrick, etc. Well, there’s much more to know about the star of Nickelodeon’s longest-running cartoon series. For instance . . .
- SpongeBob’s name was almost “SpongeBoy.” It’s true. During production of the first episode, it was discovered that “SpongeBoy” was already taken and trademarked by a mop company. So the writers went back to the drawing board, changed the “y” to a “b”, and the name SpongeBob was born!
- The guy who created SpongeBob used to be a marine biologist. His name is Steven Hillenburg, and he made his living studying marine life (including sea sponges)! You’d think with all that undersea knowledge, he would know that sponges don’t really talk.
- It’s easy to learn to laugh like SpongeBob. The actor, Tom Kenny, who plays the famous sponge, explains how to do it. Just make an “Aaaaaaaahhhh!” sound (like a dolphin) and move your hand up and down on your throat. Try it! Annoying, huh?
- Although SpongeBob’s fellow KrustyKrab employee is named Squidward, he is actually not a squid, but an octopus. He’s kind of a freak though, because octopi have 8 legs, and Squidward only has 6.
SpongeBob image courtesy of Nickelodeon
February 18, 2016
4 Reasons Why Sugar Is Bad for You
I know you’re sick of hearing it, but yes, too much sugar is bad for you. Why, you ask? Good question. Well…
It Can Cause Tooth Decay.
You take really good care of your teeth, right? You brush; you floss, and your smile is flawless. But if you’re drinking sugary sodas, you could be destroying all that hard work. Sugary drinks contain an acid that weakens enamel (the hard coating that protects your teeth), leaving your choppers vulnerable to cavities.
You Could Gain Weight.
You already know that eating too many calories and not exercising enough can cause your body to produce fat. But did you know that sugar alone can cause weight gain? It can. Sugar is high in calories and not very filling, which means it’s easy to overeat sugary foods. Limit your sugar, and you could avoid those extra pounds.
It Is Hiding Where You Least Expect It.
Many products at the store have corn syrup (a form of sugar) added to them to make them taste better. Peanut butter, ketchup, even canned soups! So even if you think you’re eating healthy, check the label! You may be getting more sugar than you think.
You Could Crash and Burn!
Have you ever eaten a bucketful of Halloween candy? First, you had a burst of energy, but pretty soon you crashed hard and felt sick and sluggish. That’s because sugar is a carbohydrate (the stuff that gives your body energy). When carbohydrates are eaten in moderation, your body knows how to handle them. But if you eat too much, your body freaks out and crashes and you feel terrible.
Cut down on sugar and keep your body healthy. You’re stuck with it for the rest of your life!
February 17, 2016
Take a Sneak Peek at the New Raina Telgemeier Graphic Novel!
Raina Telgemeier announced her next book titled Ghosts coming out in September, 2016.
Eleven-year-old Catrina and her family are moving to the small coastal town of Bahía de la Luna because her younger sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but she tries not to complain because she knows Maya will benefit from the clean, cool air that blows in from the sea. As the girls settle in, they learn there’s something a little spooky about their new town . . .
Sounds good, right? Take a sneak peek inside Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier!