Category Archives: About Us

December 15, 2009

STACKS Scavenger Hunt Answers

Posted by at 6:29 am in About Us, Trivia | Permalink

Trivia_tuesday Last week I posted this Scavenger Hunt to see how well you know the STACKS.

The first person to comment with all the correct answers was AndysLibrary. Nice job! How did you do? Were you able to find all the answers?

  1. This Ink Splot 26 blogger likes the book The Giver by Lois Lowry.
    Answer: Carly M. You can see all her favorite books in her blogger bio.
  2. College Pizza Delivery is a game about a pizza parlor located on what street?
    Answer: Main Street. Play the game now.
  3. Which beloved illustrator created "A Pancake Love Story" with input from a live audience?
    Answer: Jim Benton. Watch the video. It is pretty funny!
  4. What is the first name of the moderator for the Allie Finkle message boards?
    Answer: Elise. She's awesome! Go say hello to her on Message Boards.
  5. Fill in the blank: You, your friends, your _____!
    Answer: Reads! You’ll find this written all over the STACKS website.
  6. Which profile widget will help you be a better wordsmith?
    Answer: Word of the Day. Log in and add this Profile Widget to your Stack.
  7. What is the name of the new Goosebumps app that lets you monster-fy your photo?
    Answer: Goosebumps PhotoShock. Check out our gruesome pics on Ink Splot 26.
  8. Which lycanthropic actor was interviewed recently for Ink Splot 26?
    Answer: Taylor Lautner. Read the entire New Moon interview.
  9. How many different neckwear option are there for your STACKS avatar?
    Answer: Nine. Log in to your Profile to give your avatar some new accessories.
  10. SUPER CHALLENGE: What book was I referring to when I said, “There are all kinds of stories: some of them with clearly defined outcomes; and others that, in my opinion, are meant to be enjoyed for what they are, with no requisite moral lesson.”?
    Answer: Tales from Outer Suburbia. You can read my review here.

Thanks for playing. Hope you had fun! You guys are STACKS superstars!!

— Nick, STACKS Staffer

December 14, 2009

Bonus Writing Prompt Week!

Posted by at 4:15 pm in About Us, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writingprompt_bonus We love reading all your comments to Ink Splot 26, but your responses to the Writing Prompts are always especially awesome. Your creativity, intelligence and hilarity never fails to impress us STACKS staffers. So in that spirit, we declare this week Bonus Writing Prompt Week!

To kick off, please take our new STACKS survey. The questions may seem a bit random, but your answers really will help make the STACKS better.

Then starting tomorrow, we will add a bonus writing prompt to the bottom of the daily blog post. So, if you love to write, (or if you just love answering random questions!) be sure to read the blog every day this week to catch the bonus writing prompt! 

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 8, 2009

STACKS Scavenger Hunt

Posted by at 9:53 am in About Us, Trivia | Permalink

Trivia_tuesday How well do you know the STACKS?

Let's find out, shall we? All answers can be found somewhere on the STACKS website.

The first person to comment with the correct answers wins a big round of applause from all the STACKS staffers!

  1. This Ink Splot 26 blogger likes the book The Giver by Lois Lowry. (Hint: Did you know we have blogger bios? Find out all about us!)
  2. College Pizza Delivery is a game about a pizza parlor located on what street? (Hint: Head on over to Puzzle Games to order your pizza.)
  3. Which beloved illustrator created "A Pancake Love Story" with input from a live audience? (Hint: You can find the answer in our Video Hub. We think this video is pretty funny stuff!)
  4. What is the first name of the moderator for the Allie Finkle message boards? (Hint: You’ll have to check out the chatter on the Message Boards.)
  5. Fill in the blank: You, your friends, your _____! (Hint: You’ll find this written all over the STACKS website!)
  6. Which profile widget will help you be a better wordsmith? (Hint: Log in to check out all the Profile Widgets and add some to your Stack.)
  7. What is the name of the new Goosebumps app that lets you monster-fy your photo? (Hint: The answer you seek can be found in two places, the Video Hub and a Halloween post on Ink Splot 26.)
  8. Which lycanthropic actor was interviewed recently for Ink Splot 26? (Hint: He’s in a very very popular movie based on a book by Stephenie Meyer. Look for the answer in Ink Splot 26 Book to Big Screen category.)
  9. How many different neckwear option are there for your STACKS avatar? (Hint: Log in to your Profile to create your avatar.)
  10. SUPER CHALLENGE: What book was I referring to when I said, “There are all kinds of stories: some of them with clearly defined outcomes; and others that, in my opinion, are meant to be enjoyed for what they are, with no requisite moral lesson.”? (Hint: You can find all my blog posts from my bio page.)

Good luck!

— Nick, STACKS Staffer

November 26, 2009

Favorite Thanksgiving Foods

Posted by at 10:34 am in About Us | Permalink

Pie Consume, inhale, gobble, wolf, chomp, devour, gorge, dine, munch. . . the list of words to describe eating goes on and on. And Thanksgiving is here, so get ready to salivate because I’m about to reveal my favorite Thanksgiving foods.

(Warning: Do not read this on an empty stomach.)

Food #1: Honey Butter Rolls
I can just smell the aroma now; that buttery scent sifting through the kitchen initiates the urge to start the feast otherwise known as the “Yum Yum” fest at my house.

Food #2: Herb-Infused Turkey
Ever since moving to New York, I haven’t been able to make it home for Thanksgiving as much as I’d like to, which I must say completely stinks. Besides not being able to see my family, I also miss my mom’s famous Thanksgiving Day turkey. Rather than just throwing some salt and pepper on the turkey and sticking it in the oven for four hours, my mom’s method combines innovation and culinary excellence. She infuses her own mix of juices and herbs into the turkey with this really cool turkey injector. This result is a delectable moist and juicy turkey. Plus she leaves the skin on, which is irresistible!

Food #3: Fruit Compote
While most people have the traditional cranberry sauce with their dinners, my family puts our own twist on the conventional dish. In addition to fresh cranberries, our side dish also includes baked apricots, roasted pecans, and caramelized pears. I’m guessing one tablespoon is probably around five hundred calories, but oh well.

Food #4: Dessert!
Honestly, does it really matter what kind of dessert it is? Though my family isn’t a huge fan of pie, we certainly make up for it with chocolate chip cookies, an apple crisp, boxes of chocolates, and homemade biscotti.

After all those delicious foods, I’m really surprised we can even get out of our chairs without toppling over! And what’s even more shocking is the fact that the next day, we eat leftovers!

Needless to say, Thanksgiving rocks! Have a happy holiday.

Carly M., STACKS Staffer

October 31, 2009

Halloween Greetings from Your Fiends at THE STACKS!

Posted by at 9:22 am in About Us, Goosebumps | Permalink

130 Happy Halloween from the Ink Splot 26 bloggers! To celebrate we thought we would show you our faces, Goosebumps PhotoShock style! If you missed our behind-the-scenes look at the making of Goosebumps PhotoShock, let me fill you in. Goosebumps PhotoShock is an app for the iPhoneTM and iPod touch® that lets you take a regular, boring old photo and Goosebumps-ify it! Trade out those teeth for fangs, your brown eyes for some creepy, yellow ones, dose yourself with some slime, and . . .Voila!

Carly H., STACKS Staffer:

IMG3_0054 (4)

Karen, STACKS Staffer:

IMG2_0075 (4)

Morgan, Scholastic Staffer:

GB15

Nick, STACKS Staffer

 PhotoshockedNick

Ratha, STACKS Writer:

IMG4_0132 (3)

Sonja, STACKS Staffer:

IMG4_0132 (2)

September 16, 2009

Reading Meme: Ink Splot 26 Reads!

Posted by at 9:51 am in About Us | Permalink

Book Blogger Meme on Ink Splot 26 - Get to know the Ink Splot 26 Bloggers!
Hey Splotters! We have something different for you today. It’s called a Meme. If you’ve never done this before, you should try it – it’s really fun. A Meme is when you write a bunch of questions and send them to all your friends to see how your answers compare. Since this week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, a bunch of book blogger friends are doing this Meme about (what else?) reading. (Also in honor of BBAW, check out this video of our own Karen talking about Ink Splot 26. Isn’t she bee-you-tee-ful?)

Image

Read on to find out how Karen and your other favorite Ink Splot 26 bloggers weigh in on different reading topics. . .

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Karen: Not usually, although this summer I did spend some time in front of my air conditioner with a book and a pint of ice cream.

Morgan: I tend to read while I’m eating dinner (to make up for all the years my parents made me put down my books during dinner!), so yes.

Ratha: YES! Pretzels with a small bowl of melted chocolate chips for dipping in. YUM.

BookgreaterthanchocolateSonja: I eat dark chocolate while doing just about everything, but I rarely snack while reading. Wow! A good book can even make me forget about chocolate!

Do you mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Carly H: OMG! NO! THAT IS HORRIBLE!

Morgan: I marked school books in college, for sure. But books I read for fun? I never mark them up, but I don’t object to people who do!

Sonja: I NEVER write in my books! It almost even bothers me when authors sign them.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Carly M: Magnetic bookmark

Karen: A small Post-It note. Boring, but effective.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Morgan: Fiction all the way. I can’t remember the last non-fiction title I read!

Ratha: Both! I go through phases. If I’m reading a lot of fluff, then my next book has to have some substance so my brain doesn’t get mushy. And I’m reading a sad or heavy non-fiction book, then my next book has to be a fun read. I like to change it up!

Hard copy, paperback, e-books or audiobooks?

Carly H: Hard copy or paperback (or e-book if someone wants to buy me a Kindle but for now I don’t have one.)

Ratha: Hmmm. I prefer the weight of hard copies (it’s also easier to prop them open to eat snacks) but paperbacks are easier for reading on the go. I’m not trendy enough for e-books or audio books yet.

Sonja: No preference, although I do love a good audiobook.

Are you a person who HAS to finish chapters, or can you put a book down at any point?

Carly H: I’m a person who HAS to finish the whole book. I’ll stay up all night if it’s that good.

Ratha: I definitely HAVE to finish chapters. My personal sense of completion would be off without it. However . . . I did draw out the last Harry Potter book over a period of weeks so I could make it last longer. I like to savor a good book!

Sonja: I pretty much have to finish the chapter, which gets me stuck when the chapter ends with a cliffhanger and then I have to read the next chapter to find out what happens. Before I know it, it’s midnight, and well, there are only a few more chapters left. I might as well keep reading and finish the whole book!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Karen: I know I should probably set a good example and say, “Yes, I always look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary as soon as I read them!” But I totally don’t. Just being honest.

Ratha: No, is that bad? I usually try to infer what it means by how it’s used in a sentence. If I really don’t get it and I’m near the computer I’ll dictionary.com it. But I rarely do that!

Sonja: I don’t even stop reading for meals. No way am I going to stop to look up a word!

What are you currently reading?

Karen: Just finished the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid installment this morning. About to start on The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Morgan: I am re-reading Wuthering Heights (no, NOT because it has a new Twilight-esque cover. . . but because I disliked it the first time and a friend convinced me to give it another chance!)

IMG00133What is the last book you bought or checked out from the Library?

Carly H: Bought Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (for ages 12 and up) as a (22nd) birthday present for my brother.

Ratha: The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley. I checked it out from the library and then had to buy it to keep on my shelf!

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

Carly M: Can read more than one book – one fun and one serious.

Ratha: Definitely one book at a time. I like to get invested in a good book and stay the course. Although if I’m reading a heavy book, I’ll read my gossip magazines at the same time. Or if I’m reading a fluffy book, I’ll read the newspaper. It’s all about balance!

Sonja: I read lots at a time. I wish I could just stick to one but every time I see a new book, it calls to me and I have to start reading that one too! It’s a problem.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Karen: I rarely get to do this, but I love to dedicate an entire Sunday afternoon to devouring one good read. When the weather’s nice, there’s no better way to end a weekend than sitting in Central Park with a great children’s book.

Morgan: On the rare day that I sleep in late – say, a Sunday – I’ll hang out in bed for hours, catching up on my reading. Heaven!

Ratha: On my commute into the city if I’m on a job, or late at night in my cozy jammies.

Sonja: Any time, anywhere! I always have a book with me.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alone books?

Carly H: Series, assuming all of the books are good. But, a lot of times I feel like authors have enough content for one great book. Then, when that book becomes really successful they write more books even though the story is over, and then the rest of the books in the series are just pale imitations of the first.

Karen: It’s hard to say. Series are great because you can return to a beloved world over and over again, but some of my favorite books are stand-alones. Please, don’t make me choose!

Morgan: I’ve been a love of series since my first Baby-sitter’s Club book, and that love has stood the test of time.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Carly H: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for ages 12 and up)

Karen: YES! Buffalo Brenda by Jill Pinkwater and Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern. They’re both relatively unknown, and I think they deserve to be as popular as Harry Potter!

    Buffalobrenda

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Carly H: Sort of by genre, sort of by how they look prettiest on the shelf. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to re-sort them by color.

Carly M: Yeah I don’t. . . I just throw them up on my bookshelf.

Morgan: What is this “organize” term you speak of? I have four large bookshelves that have no real rhyme or reason to them, except that I do try to keep authors together, though not in any particular order.

Do you always finish the books that you start, or can you give up midway through?

Carly M: Depends on the book; if I get bored with it or can’t get into the book, then I can put it down.

Karen: I hardly ever give up on a book midway through. But that’s because I never pick up a book that hasn’t already been highly recommended or reviewed. Hey, I’m not being snobby, but I’ve got limited time in my life and a lot of books to get through! No time-wasters here!

Morgan: There are exactly three books in my life that I have never been able to finish. I only recently forgave myself for that.

Ratha: I usually finish all the books I start. I HAVE to know what happens in the end. If it’s boring though, I’ll cheat and skim through it to find out what happens in the end.

Sonja: I will give any book a chance, but if I don’t like it, I move on to the next book right away. I don’t waste a single minute with a book I don’t like! This makes it hard to pack for vacation because I have to bring LOTS of different reading options.

OK. Now that you have read our responses to the Meme, it’s your turn. Jump in with YOUR answers in the comments!

— C, C, K, M, R and S

Celebrate Books graphic courtesy of Amy Riley and Monica Miller, BBAW website

August 24, 2009

The FIVE: Best Things about Summer in the City

Posted by at 7:16 am in About Us | Permalink

THE FIVEI'm convinced that I'm solar-powered. If it's cloudy out, I'm in a bad mood. If it's
sunny out, I feel like I could run a marathon, do a 4-hour stand-up comedy show
for a crowd of thousands, and write a novel. And wail at guitar. All at once.
So it's a good thing summer is here, because a few more weeks of bad weather
and I probably would have alienated my friends and family for good. But that's
just one of . . .

THE FIVE REASONS SUMMER IN NEW YORK CITY IS SO GREAT!

  1. The weather. ‘Nuff said I think.
  2. The sunsets. Alright, so it's a little mushy, maybe, but picture this:
    you're playing Frisbee in the park. Your parents are cooking up some food on the
    grill, and that mouth-watering smoky smell is kinda hanging in the air. The sun
    is going down, and just as it's getting too dark to play, your parents call you
    over for tasty chow. You sit back on the grass, fresh burger in hand, and watch
    the sky turn purple and orange. Isn't that the definition of summer bliss?
  3. The
    concerts.
    I don't know if you've seen the lineup of FREE summer concerts in
    New York, but it includes such favorites of yours and mine as Green Day, The
    Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Black Eyed Peas,
    All-American Rejects, Natasha Bedingfield, et al. What other city can boast
    that? I love my hometown of Chicago to death, but we never had anything like the
    free shows that Today and Good Morning America put on. Of course, you've gotta
    convince your parents to get up around 5 AM to see them . . . or you could always watch the concerts on TV if you can't make it to the live show in New York!
  4. The
    fashion.
    Now I gotta admit — I'm no fashion connoisseur. I wore nothing but
    sweatpants until I was 12, still own (and wear!) t-shirts I had when I was in
    8th grade, and wear white flip-flops, much to the dismay of pretty
    much everyone I know. (I think they look cool . . .) But living in New York has
    definitely made me step up my fashion game. Just by being around all these
    amazingly well-dressed people, their classiness and taste tends to rub off on you. If
    you feel stumped about wardrobe assembly, take a trip to NYC in the summer —
    when people dont have to hide their outfits in bulky overcoats — and take some
    notes.
  5. The mood. Maybe I'm not the only one who's
    solar-powered, ’cause it seems like everyone is happier between May and September.
    New York is notoriously grumpy, but in the summer everyone walks around with . . . well, not a smile on their faces, but something close to that. There's just
    less stress, less worry. It's like everyone wakes up in the morning and thinks, "Relax,
    baby! It's the summer!" Chicago is definitely like that too, though, and so is
    D.C. Hmm . . .

OK, so maybe it's not the best things about summer in NYC
— maybe it's just the best things about summer, period! Whatever, who
cares. I'm gonna hit the park! Later, Splotters!

— Jack, STACKS Staffer

May 1, 2009

Scholastic New York Headquarters

Posted by at 6:10 am in About Us | Permalink

Scholastic_130 If you're a regular reader of Ink Splot 26, you know that the Scholastic headquarters are in NYC — whether it's because you read about Miranda Cosgrove or Keke Palmer visiting the Scholastic Store, watched the Allie Finkle Super Sleepover webcast or the 39 Clues webcast (both of which were broadcast from our auditorium), saw the Presidential Portraits or the Harry Potter Read-a-thon that took place in our lobby, or caught a glimpse of our cafeteria at the Inkdeath release event. But I'm betting most of you have never been here. And our friends at On Our Minds (a Scholastic blog for adults) guessed the same about their readers. So they did something about it – they filmed two mini-video tours of the office, which they're letting us share with you!

The tour goes by quick — and believe me, when I say quick, I mean quick! So keep your eyes peeled for (1) the outside of the building, (2) the lobby, (3) the Scholastic Store, (4) the lobby (again), (5) the escalators, (6) reception, (7) The Red Bar (our coffee shop), (8) the library, (9) reception (again), (10) the Resource Room, (11) offices, (12) the elevators, and finally (13) the Greenhouse (our cafeteria) and its very pretty view.


I told you it was fast!

If you want a (just a little bit slower) tour, On Our Minds also filmed a video to highlight all of the big spaces that we use to have meetings, assemblies, and parties. And this time, I don't need to call out what you're looking at because there's a famous big, red dog doing it for me.


I hope you enjoyed the video tours. If there's anything you want to see more of, let us know in the comments and maybe Ink Splot 26 will have to arrange a video tour of our own!

— Carly H., STACKS Staffer

April 29, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Posted by at 8:30 am in About Us | Permalink

Recently, I chopped a foot off of my body. Well, kind of. I actually cut 12 inches of my hair. Same difference, right? For the past two years, I've been growing out my hair. Yes, I'm lazy — but my real reason was to get it long enough that I could donate it Recently, I chopped a foot off of my body. Well, kind of. I actually cut 12 inches of my hair. Same difference, right? :-)

Before_after1

For the past two years, I’ve been growing out my hair. Yes, I’m lazy — but my real reason was to get it long enough that I could donate it to Wigs for Kids.

As you can probably guess, Wigs for Kids makes wigs for kids. (Nah, really?) They need at least 12 inches of un-dyed, un-permed hair from each donor, and it takes 20-30 donations to make each wig. The wigs are all shaped to a mold of the child’s head, and the hair is cut and styled to the kid’s liking.

It’s a lot of work for the people at Wigs for Kids, but all you need to do is grow out your hair. Voila! An easy way to do something good — by basically doing nothing!

In fact, this is the second time I’ve donated my hair. Last time, I grew it out even longer:

Before_after2  

Another bonus of such an extreme haircut is that sometimes people don’t recognize me right away. Very good for my second job as an undercover spy. Whoops, now I guess you know my secret . . .

For more info on hair donation, check out the websites for Wigs for Kids and another similar organization, Locks of Love.

— Karen, STACKS Staffer

February 28, 2009

Trends I Caught Too Late

Posted by at 1:54 pm in About Us | Permalink

Trends130
I count myself among the masses of Harry Potter fans, having stood in line for hours for my copy of Deathly Hallows, and even taking a turn reading during the 10th anniversary webcast.

But I have a confession: I was not on board the Harry Potter train from the beginning.
It wasn't until I was stuck somewhere alone one day that I finally picked up an old copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that was lying around, to kill some time. Of course, it was amazing, and I was an active fan from them on in, but a little part of me is still bothered by the fact that I was too late.

The cool thing about being “in” on a trend from the very beginning is that you get to experience ALL the excitement, at every stage. In some ways, the early fans are responsible for the book's (or movie's, or band's) later success. With Harry, I only got to experience the tail end of it all.

Looking back, it becomes clear that I have been late on several other trends too. For example: I only JUST played my first Nintendo Wii game a few months ago (and now, I'm totally hooked). I didn't read Twilight until all the hoopla surrounding the release of Breaking Dawn had receded (after which, I promptly read all four books and saw the movie). And my new favorite tween show? It isn't even “new” at all, but I'm addicted to Wizards of Waverly Place.

Fortunately, there's one trend I'm proud to say I caught early, and I'm super satisfied that I did. I read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, for ages 12 and up, upon its release, which means I can now participate in all the excitement for its sequel, Catching Fire! (And yes, I geeked out when the cover image of Book 2 was released see it here.

So what are some trends you've caught too late? What about the ones you caught just in time? Leave a comment!

Morgan, Scholastic Staffer