Author Archives: Sonja C.

December 15, 2015

Christmas Kitten Create a Caption

Posted by at 1:45 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Create a Caption: Holiday Kitten

What do you think this playful Christmas kitten is saying all cozy in its Christmas stocking?

Christmas Kitten

“Merry Christmas” Flickr photo by Bill and Vicki T

I think it is saying, “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care . . . until I jumped in and made Christmas way cuter!”

Leave YOUR captions in the Comments. Happy Holidays!

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 11, 2015

American Word for Muggle

Posted by at 1:24 am in Harry Potter, Movies & TV | Permalink

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemWhat? Americans Don’t Say Muggle?!

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. 2015 Warner Bros Entertainment inc.

You know that the new wizarding movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them written by J.K. Rowling is coming out in November, 2016. (Watch the trailer here!) The movie will be set in New York in 1926, and here is a surprising fact I learned about the word Muggle: American wizards don’t use the word “Muggle” to describe non-magical people!

If you are a wizard from America, then you already know this, and I’m sorry to be boring you, but for the rest of us, this might come as a surprise: American wizards call us “No-Maj” like an abbreviation of “no magic.”

What?? All this time I’ve been referring to myself as a Muggle while all the American wizards were calling me No-Maj!

What do you think of the American word for Muggle? Tell us in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 9, 2015

Books to Read in 2016

Posted by at 1:53 am in Reads | Permalink

Books_to_Read 2016Your 2016 Books Hotlist

Here is a list of the newest book releases that you might want to add to your 2016 wishlist!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
Greg is as hilarious as ever in Book #10 of the Wimpy Kid series.

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Perfect Pet Sitter by Rachel Renee Russell
Nikki and her friends Brandon, Chloe, and Zoey are teamed up on an important mission in Book #10 of the Dork Diaries series.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
If you are a Percy Jackson fan wondering what to read next, Rick Riordan has just solved your problem!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
If you haven’t read the Harry Potter series yet, let this be your year! It will change your life!

Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio
Palacio says she will never write a sequel to Wonder, but this book tells the back stories of Julian, Christopher, and Charlotte.

Descendants Junior Novel
If you were obsessed with Disney’s Descendants, look no further for your next read.

Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot by Dav Pilkey
Read an excerpt here!

Crenshaw by Katharine Applegate
Jackson’s imaginary friend Crenshaw helps him deal with the tough stuff his family is going through. If you loved Newbery Medal-winning The One and Only Ivan, try this new book by the same author.

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection
This ultimate updated collection includes the Essential Handbook, Redstone Handbook, Combat Handbook, and Construction Handbook.

What books are on your wishlist this year?

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 8, 2015

Too Much Homework?

Posted by at 1:38 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Do You Get Too Much Homework?

Kids today spend a lot of time doing homelike, like, A LOT, up to 2 hours a night sometimes! Even Kindergarteners and 1st graders get homework! What’s the deal?

According to the Center for Public Education, teachers assign homework because they believe that homework builds character, work habits, and study skills. Parents and teachers are also afraid that without homework, kids will spend all their time “watching television, instant-messaging, or playing video games.”

But too much homework can actually be harmful. The 2013 American Psychological Association survey found that 45 percent of U.S. schoolchildren were stressed-out by homework. The Center for Public Education says that for middle schoolers, the perfect amount of homework per night is 1 hour. More than that and it could start getting too stressful to really help you academically.

Some parents and school districts are starting to realize that maybe kids are doing too much. An elementary school in Gaithersburg, Md. banned homework in favor of 30 minutes of nightly reading. And some parents of younger kids are asking teachers if they can opt-out of homework altogether.

What do YOU think about homework? Tell us how much time you spend every night on homework and if you think it helps you to be a better student. Be honest!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 4, 2015

Make It Pop Interview and Would You Rather

Make It Pop Interview and Would You Rather

Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop is super-POPular right now. The show features three friends Sun-Hi (pop diva), Jodi (fashionista), and Corki (super-smart) who form a band in boarding school. They balance school and friendships . . . and spontaneously break out into song and dance numbers! The next episode titled “The Gift” airs Saturday, December 5th at 9:00 p.m. It is holiday season at MacKendrick Prep! When a blizzard traps everyone inside the school, Sun Hi, Jodi, and Corki learn the true meaning of the holidays. Meanwhile, the teens meet a mysterious new student.

I met the cast of Make It Pop and they are soooo sweet! Megan Lee, age 20, plays Sun Hi. Louriza Tronco, age 18, plays Jodi. Erika Tham, age 18, plays Corki. Dale Whibley, age 18, plays Caleb. Here are their answers to my questions . . .

Continue reading

November 30, 2015

December Sweepstakes

Posted by at 1:18 am in News | Permalink

sweepstakes_1Attention, all Klutz fans! The December STACKS Blast Giveaway is a good one! This month, you can enter for a chance to win a Klutz prize pack including 3 Klutz activity books.

But, here’s the thing. You can ONLY enter if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter. So first, you sign up for the newsletter. Then you must wait until December 15 when Hooray! the STACKS Blast will arrive in your e-mail inbox. Hurry up and open it! Inside, you’ll see a special section for the STACKS Giveaway. That’s where you enter. OK? Don’t forget to sign up for the STACKS Blast Newsletter and enter the sweepstakes. Good luck!

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

November 24, 2015

10 Problems Only Harry Potter Fans Understand

Posted by at 1:24 am in Harry Potter, Writing Prompt | Permalink
10 harry potter problems

Illustration by Mary GrandPre

You know who you are. You fell in love at the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and you never looked back. But there are some things that people who have not read Harry Potter just don’t understand about you . . .

  1. You wish Hogwarts were real and you desperately want to get your Hogwarts letter.
  2. You try seriously hard to do magic and are frustrated when your “wand” (a.k.a. stick) does not work.
  3. Dobby, Fred Weasley, Professor Lupin, Snape, and Tonks.
  4. Trying to explain Quidditch to your non-Harry Potter friends so you can play it at recess.
  5. The movie did not include your favorite line or scene from the book.
  6. You scream while watching the movies, “That didn’t happen in the book!”
  7. When someone says, “JK” (for just kidding), you think, “Rowling.”
  8. You are desperately waiting for J.K. Rowling to write another children’s book.
  9. If it’s not Harry-related, you kind of don’t want to talk about it.
  10. Nothing else you read is ever as good as Harry Potter.

Can YOU relate to any of these? Leave a Comment to tell us your problems that only other Harry Potter fans understand!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

November 13, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Characters

Posted by at 1:54 am in Movies & TV | Permalink

Meet the Characters in the New Star Wars Movie!

Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi (rated PG), episode VII The Force Awakens (rated PG-13) will also feature Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, but of course they are much older now.

star wars Luke, Leia, and Han

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

LeiaHanSolo

There are also 3 important new characters. Here is what little I know about them so far. . .

Finn is a runaway stormtrooper whose TIE Fighter crashes on Jakku, a remote desert planet. He also has a lightsaber in this picture. Where did that come from? Has he been trained as a Sith or a Jedi?Finn

Rey is a scavenger living on Jakku. She was abandoned there by her parents when she was 5 years old, so she’s, you know, pretty tough and independent. It looks like she and Finn become friends somehow.Rey

And Kylo Ren is the dark knight who wants to continue the evil reign of terror that Darth Vader left. He looks really mean, guys, and his lightsaber is homemade. He doesn’t look as scary as freaky, red-eyed Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace, but he does look like a pretty evil villain.

KyloRenTFA-702x1024

Strangely, we don’t have a picture of how Luke Skywalker will look in the new movie. Why? What are they hiding from us? Did he become a hermit like Ben Kenobi? Or has he gone to the dark side?? (That sound you hear is me screaming, “NOOOOO!!!!”)

We won’t know for sure until December 18 when the movie comes out.

Are you a Star Wars fan? What do you think of the new movie posters? Let us know in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Photos courtesy of LucasFilm