Category Archives: About Us

February 13, 2009

The FIVE: Favorite Things About Valentine’s Day!

Posted by at 7:45 am in About Us | Permalink

Valentine_130
There's a lot to like about Valentine's Day, whether you're single or coupled, young or old. I'm celebrating my top five favorite things — grab some chocolate hearts and join me!

5. Clifford the Big Red Dog
February 14th is Clifford's birthday, and that alone makes Valentine's Day much more fun. This year, you can send Clifford e-Valentines to your friends and loved ones, and for each one you send, Scholastic will donate $1 to the Clifford BE BIG Fund (the BE BIG Fund supports local volunteer programs)! 

4. Classroom Valentines
The sweetest part of the holiday is getting messages from your friends and family (and the occasional secret admirer) telling you that you're loved. I used to receive awesome Valentine's cards from my classmates featuring everything from Scooby-Doo characters to New Kids on the Block members. They're an easy way to express your personality, and they definitely brighten up a friend's day.

3. The extra credit
In high school, some teachers would give us extra credit just for showing up in something red on Valentine's Day. They tried to keep it secret but word would always spread, so by the time 8th period rolled around, students had borrowed other students' red sweaters and scarves just to lock in those extra credit points. And that, my friends, is how I got an A in calculus.

2. The candy
This one's a no-brainer. From candy hearts to chocolate roses and everything in between, Valentine's Day rivals Halloween and Easter as the biggest candy-giving day of the year. I even like how drugstores turn their Christmas-themed aisles into bright red and pink monstrosities the day after New Year's. Embrace the sugar, because it only comes once a year!

1. The books
Okay, the real reason I did this post was to talk about a new book I just read, and I ended up getting carried away with the holiday! Sabrina James' Be Mine was released in January, and it's the perfect Valentine's Day read. In it, main character Jennifer is plotting a way to win her high school's most romantic couple contest — even though she has no one willing to enter it with her! With her arch-enemy Claudia a shoo-in to be nominated, Jennifer enlists help from her best friend, Violet, in finding the coolest guy in school to pose as her boyfriend. But Cupid ends up taking aim in the most unexpected ways . . . and Jennifer learns what's important when it comes to the holiday. A fun and inspiring read for sure!

What are your favorite — or least favorite! — things about Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments!

— Morgan, Scholastic staffer

February 8, 2009

OMG So Cute!

Posted by at 7:42 am in About Us | Permalink

Winter_130
If you live anywhere vaguely north, you've seen your fair share of snow this winter. For all those snow-lovers out there that means plenty of snowmen, snow-angels, skiing, and sledding. Or, if you're more like me, it means hiding under piles of blankets trying to stay warm. And whether your local groundhog predicted another six weeks of winter wonderland or a swift sunny season, when the snow brings videos of adorable tiger cubs, even I can't be angry that it's not spring yet.

— Carly H., STACKS Staffer

January 25, 2009

Show Time! TV Shows That Should Make a Comeback

Posted by at 8:49 am in About Us | Permalink

Tv_130
Don't you just hate it when they cancel your favorite TV show? A show that has been a staple in your life for at least a couple of years? And every year you wait impatiently for its premiere day, marking it on your calendar months in advance, watching trailer after trailer of the upcoming season and possibly even sneaking a peek at the spoilers? And then, all of a sudden, the show comes to end; you hear the dreaded phrase "series finale," and think, "No! They can't do this! So what if the show has already been on for five plus years; what will I watch now?"

Well, this has certainly happened to me a couple of times, which is why I bring you: TV shows that should make a comeback.

Friends _12346160
Friends
(Sitcom/Comedy): This hilarious show was on the air for ten years (possibly older than some of you), so it was obviously a huge success. But my guess is that the cast probably wanted to pursue new projects, both on screen and off, thus ending the show. However, did they realize they'd be leaving the public's Thursday night with a void of nothing to watch? I for one can say that I miss Chandler's sarcastic wisecracks, Monica's cleaning obsession, Rachel's comedic "realness," Ross' clumsy demeanor, Joey's goofball mentality, and Phoebe's innocent bluntness.

Seinfeld _8056162
Seinfeld
(Sitcom/Comedy): Frequently deemed one of the funniest shows to ever be on television, this show about "nothing'’ certainly gained praise quickly for it quirky characters and comedic performances. My favorite thing about this show are the real-life situations — I often find myself saying, "This is just like that one episode of Seinfeld."

MTV's Fanatic (Reality): Though this show doesn't make it into my top five or even ten favorite shows of all time, I always thought the premise of the show was sincere yet stimulating. The overall gist of MTV's Fanatic was to allow the ultimate fan to meet their all-time idol. The best part of the show was when the ultimate fan first saw their idol in person and either: cried, screamed, panicked, freaked out, jumped around, or practically tackled their idol.

Boston Public ._SS500_
Boston Public
(Comedy/Drama): Only on the air for four years, Boston Public presented the story of ten faculty members at a high school in Boston, Massachusetts. The series followed them as they'd take on dealing with trouble-makers and having a personal life, all the while trying to maintain their sanity. This show forced suburban homes to see what it was really like to be a teacher in a rough part of town, bringing attention to the problems facing inner-city schools.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer .L Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Action/Drama/Fantasy): Oh, how I miss this show. It provided me my weekly viewing of action, drama, and fantasy with a touch of comedy all rolled up into one hour. As mentioned in my entry on the Five Best Female Superheroes, Buffy Summers is a self-sufficient, take charge, mature, and butt-kicking superhero who not only never lets her down, but always manages to look good while fighting the forces of evil in Sunnydale.

Gilmore Girls 11701158
Gilmore Girls
(Drama/Comedy/Family): Out of all the television shows on my list, this would be by far the one show that I'd love to have back on the air the most. For me, it's the characters that made Gilmore Girls a one of kind show: there was the mother and daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, with their fast-talking natures and crazy food consumption habits. There were also the haughty yet amusing Richard and Emily Gilmore, the highly-driven yet over-stressed Paris Gellar, and the quirky townspeople of Stars Hollow. In addition to the unique characters, the writing took the show above and beyond its competitors, as obscure pop culture references were frequently thrown into the fast-paced dialogue, always leaving the viewer learning more about literature, history, music, and the arts.

So, how about you? Any of your favorite shows get the axe? Which ones would you like to see back on the air?

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

January 22, 2009

THE FIVE: Best Places to Read

Posted by at 7:30 pm in About Us | Permalink

THE FIVE: Best Places to ReadI was recently thinking about my favorite places to read a good book, so I thought I'd share them with you:

5. Anywhere with good light makes a great place to read, so I always enjoy having the free time in the summer to sit underneath a large tree and read in the sun.

4. I love reading on the subway. I always have at least an hour a day to read on the subway, and I find a good book makes the ride go by quickly. I usually read nonfiction books on the subway because if I get caught up in a good story I sometimes miss my stop.

3. I've always found the floor to be a great reading place. As a kid, I used to lie down next to the dog and read for hours on end, propped up on my elbows. If the book was good enough, I'd read until my arms fell asleep and I had to shift positions.

2. The library at my school had a room with an armchair surrounded by bookshelves. The chair was positioned next to a window that could be opened when it was sunny and warm, letting in a nice cool breeze. I loved reading a good book in the chair, but usually I'd fall asleep after a few chapters.

1. The absolute best place to read books from a long series is in an armchair with a warm blanket next to a large window in the middle of a driving rainstorm. I used to have a corduroy armchair, and I'd read while storms from the Oregon coast beat against my house.

Do you have any places that you go to read? Where do you like to curl up with a book? Are there any types of books you like to read in a certain place?

— Rob, STACKS Staffer

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from The Splot

Posted by at 6:06 am in About Us | Permalink

Splotter_resolutions
Welcome to 2009! Well, almost.

Here at The Splot, we're following in that age-old tradition of making new year's resolutions. Here's how some of us are planning to improve ourselves as soon as the clock strikes midnight. Or, well, maybe starting the next day. Or next week . . . But we'll get around to it — we swear!

Morgan:

  1. Learn to love animated movies. I don’t like talking animals, but I know I’m missing out on some quality films by being stubborn. So in 2009, I vow to watch more animation — and already, I can’t wait for the upcoming Coraline!
  2. Run! I have a secret goal to run a marathon some day. But to do that, I need to practice.
  3. Visit a new country. Every year, I try to go someplace new — in 2008, it was Ecuador! — and I think in 2009, it will be Greece.

Carly H.:

Take a yoga class.

Karen:

  1. Don't wait until the last minute to buy Christmas presents. (Of course, I say that now, but I'm sure I'll forget about this one by the spring.)
  2. Be more organized. (Seriously, you should see my closet. It's like a WALL-E world in there.)
  3. Keep my Zac Efron shrine neat and tidy. (No, seriously.)

Carly M.:

  1. No more losing my voice for more than four days at a time! I can only be a mute for so long!
  2. Just say no to my friends when they try to set me up with one of their guy friends.
  3. Study, study, study! And when I'm not studying, I should be thinking about studying! (I'm taking the GREs — Graduate Record Examination. It’s all those fun subjects everyone loves: vocabulary, arithmetic, grammar, geometry, etc., etc! NOT!)

Nancy:

  1. Learn to write with my left hand and left foot. I’ll save my right foot for next year.
  2. Become much more tolerant of a couple of my strongest adversaries in life: onions and laundry.
  3. Improve my handwriting (since I’ve been nonstop typing for 10 years, it’s gotten pretty bad). 

Rob:

  1. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro — I'll be training to climb Kilimanjaro for most of the year and, with any luck, in August I'll get all the way up.
  2. Learn the banjo — I've wanted to learn the banjo for about a year. This year, I'd like to spend the time to get really good at it.

Jessica:

  1. Reacquaint myself with my yoga mat. I used to be a Vinyasa diva, but now I’m miles away from touching my toes.
  2. I want to try something new each week — new food, new way to work, new vocabulary word — whatever.
  3. I purchase way too many books and then horde them like a little child. I need to make better use of my local library and give away books that I’ve read to people who will love them too.

Brandi:

  • Decide once and for all on my top three PASSWORDS to use for 2009 and start my social networking off right!
  • Avoid all Styrofoam cups, as they are not biodegradable and that is lame!
  • Text my parents more to let them know where I am.
  • Update my avatar with all those new background choices!
  • Tell all my friends about THE STACKS!
  • Spend less time >:-( and more time LOL!

What about you? What are YOUR new year's resolutions?

With wishes for a wonderful 2009,
The Ink Splot 26 team

December 26, 2008

THE FIVE: Sonja’s Top Books of 2008

Posted by at 6:33 am in About Us, Gordon Korman, Reads | Permalink

Sonja’s Top Books of 2008

I tried to make a top five list of my favorite books of 2008, but it ended up being my top six because there isn’t one book that I could drop from this list. They are all SO GOOD I couldn’t limit myself to just five. So here they are in the order that I read them during the year:

Swindle1. Swindle by Gordon Korman

When I interviewed Gordon Korman last year before Swindle came out, he told me a little about it, and he made it sound so good I just had to read it. I was not disappointed. Swindle is the perfect combination of action and adventure, but it is also funny and true-to-life at the same time. Read the first chapter!

 

Inkdeath_cornelia_funke2. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

If you’ve read the Ink-world trilogy, then you know how excited I was for the third book to come out. If you haven’t yet read Inkheart and Inkspell, then please turn your computer off right now and start reading. Trust me. I have to admit, though, the beginning of Inkdeath didn’t grab me right away. It was so depressing and hopeless with Dustfinger gone. But once I got into it, I got REALLY into it, and — SPOILER ALERT! — even though I was rooting for Farid, I still loved the ending.

Theo_osiris 3. Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R. L. LaFevers

I am a huge Theodosia fan. Along with Lyra Belacqua and Hermione, she is one of my favorite girl characters of all time. So when I saw that R. L. LaFevers was signing copies of the sequel to Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, I got right in line! Want to know what she wrote in my book? “For Sonja, Beware of mummies on the loose!”

 

Hunger_games 4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ages 12 and up)

THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! READ IT! ‘Nuff said. Okay, I’ll say a little more. It’s about a group of teenagers who are forced to participate in a reality TV show where they have fight each other to the death. Warning: you will not be able to put this book down for anything once you start it!

 

Trouble 5. Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt (Ages 12 and up)

I think Gary D. Schmidt should win the Newbery Medal. I can’t believe he hasn’t won it yet. His last book,The Wednesday Wars, was really funny but had some serious undertones. This book, Trouble, is all seriousness. In the beginning of the book you find out that the main character’s brother was hit by a car and killed. The person driving the car was a student in their high school, but there is much, much more to the story, including racism, bullying, and a deep secret that doesn’t come out until the end of the book.

Masterpiece 6. Masterpiece by Elise Broach
This book is just cute, sweet fun. It’s about a boy and a beetle who get involved in a plot to catch an art thief. I know it sounds a little corny, but this book is actually pretty suspenseful once the thief shows up and they have to stop him. If you liked Chasing Vermeer, I would definitely recommend Masterpiece.

So there you have my favorite books of 2008. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know what books you think I should read next!

— Sonja, Scholastic.com Editor

December 22, 2008

About Ink Splot 26: Comments

Posted by at 11:00 pm in About Us | Permalink

THE YOU. . .
We are here for you. Leave a comment. Tell us your news and views and we’ll connect back.

RULES:
Before you get started, here are some RULES you should know about:

  • No last names, schools, or cities
  • Age/grade is ok, but no actual birth dates
  • No being mean/rude or cursing
  • Don’t post your e-mail address or links to other websites
  • No attachments or pictures are allowed
  • Please limit your comments to responses to blog posts. Don’t leave a comment about the site in general. If you wanna do that, just visit the Stack Back message board — we created a whole board just for you to provide feedback on THE STACKS!


THE WHAT. . .
Find out WHAT is in your all-access Splot pass!

THE WHO . . .
Ink Splot 26 bloggers are an extremely diverse bunch. We are Scholastic staff who devour kids books and who, by the power of the pen, make blogging our business! Check out the Ink Splot 26 Blogger Bios.

December 22, 2008

About Ink Splot 26: Blogger Bios

Posted by at 10:58 pm in About Us | Permalink

THE WHO . . .

Staff Bloggers

Ink Splot 26 bloggers are an extremely diverse bunch. We are Scholastic staff who devour kids’ books and who, by the power of the pen, make blogging our business!

Find out more about our regular staff bloggers:


Guest Bloggers

If you see a blog entry posted by SPONSOR, that means it’s an advertisement for that company’s product, or movie, or website, or whatever.

But we also invite special guests like authors, book experts, kid reporters and publishing insiders to contribute their wisdom to Ink Splot 26. Here are just a few of the people who have joined us so far:

Ann M. Martin, Author
Billy, Scholastic VP
Craig Hatkoff, Author
Derrick Barnes, Author
The Game On! Team
Gerri, Ink Splot 26 Celeb Beat Reporter
Jacqueline M., Kid Reporter
Jeremy Gilley, Peace One Day Founder
Jude Watson, Author
Julia, Clifford BE BIG Team
Meg Cabot, Author
Nancy Krulik, Author
Patrick Carman, Author
Peter Lerangis, Author
Tui T. Sutherland, Author
Whitney, The 39 Clues Team

You never know who else will pop in, so keep reading!

 


THE WHAT. . .
Want the 411 on the 26? Get to the bottom of WHAT we’re all about!

THE YOU . . .
Find out how YOU are involved!

December 22, 2008

About Ink Splot 26

Posted by at 10:56 pm in About Us | Permalink

Want the 411 on the 26? You’re in the right place!

Ink Splot 26 is your daily blog for info on the hottest titles, authors, and industry events around. Get the latest on books before they hit the big screen, and hear from celebs about their favorite reads! Soak up exclusives, gasp at spoilers, test your trivia, stream some video, and surf our Top Five Listings. And if you’ve got an opinion — we wanna hear it!

THE WHAT . . .

Welcome to YOUR all-access pass to the biggest breaking book news in town. At Ink Splot 26, we blog every day to keep you in the know:

SPECIAL EVENTS COVERAGE: We’re talking webcasts, live blog reporting, release parties, book signings, celebrity scoop, and more!

SNEAK PEEKS: Read book excerpts BEFORE they go to press, get inside info on favorite authors’ next publications, and be the first of your friends in the know.

MEDIA MADNESS: Get the goods on your favorite bands, movies, websites, and games!

TOP NOTCH TRIVIA: Did you know? Can you believe? Exert your expertise!

AUTHOR SPLOTlight: Find out what it’s like to be on a book tour, get tips for aspiring writers, and find out what skeletons are hiding in their own closets!

THE FIVE LISTINGS: Dave has his Top Ten Lists. On The Splot, it’s the Top Five! We cut to the chase and count ‘em down!

GRAB BAG: Secrets from inside Scholastic, kid reporter scoopage, and more!

 


THE YOU . . .
Find out how YOU are involved!

THE WHO . . .
Ink Splot 26 bloggers are an extremely diverse bunch. We are Scholastic staff who devour kids books and who, by the power of the pen, make blogging our business! Check out the Ink Splot 26 Blogger Bios.

December 20, 2008

Holidays at The Splot — Cookie Crazy!

Posted by at 9:48 am in About Us | Permalink

Cookie_plate
Since moving into my apartment over a year ago, I've only used my stove once — unless you count the times I've thrown cinnamon sticks and apple cider in a pot and heated that up, which I do not. Yet somehow, I've managed to rack up a HUGE gas bill from using my oven all the time. I guess it's my natural sweet tooth; even though the prospect of cooking an actual dinner gives me the heebie jeebies, I really enjoy baking. So, of course, I used the holiday season as an excuse to invite fellow STACKS Staffers and some other friends over to my place for cookie decorating!

Take a look at the results — you might be surprised by what we ended up with . . .

Annmartinreading

— Karen, STACKS Staffer