Category Archives: About Us

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from The Splot

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

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!


  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.


  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!)


  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). 


  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.


  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.


  • 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, 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.

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!

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!


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 14, 2008

Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice — The Series

Posted by at 8:00 am in About Us, Reads | Permalink

Hi everyone,

Since I'm just joining The STACKS, I thought I'd start out by telling you about my favorite series (next to Harry Potter, but that goes without saying). A couple of years ago, I was in a bookstore looking for something to read when I saw a small blue book with a cloaked figure hidden in the shadows. The title was Ranger's Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. When it comes to books, I love series and I love fantasy. I took a chance on the book and absolutely loved it. Now, five books into the series, I am absolutely hooked.

Rangersapprentince1 Since I don't want to spoil the series, I'll just briefly describe the intro to Book 1 before letting you know exactly why this has become my favorite series. When we first meet Will, the main character, he is an orphan living at Castle Redmont. As a child, he was taken in by the Baron of Castle Redmont and was raised with several other orphaned children. The story really begins as the castle wards are chosen for apprenticeships.  Rejected by the Battle School, Will is instead chosen by the silent and mysterious Ranger Halt. The first books in the series are about Will's apprenticeship and the adventures that come his way.

I love the pacing in these stories. Even though a lot of time is spent on Will's training, there are fascinating descriptions of the world he lives in and plenty of action to move the story along. Each book is more interesting and exciting than the last (when the fifth came out, I read it in one night only to be so frustrated by the cliffhanger at the end that I'm asking a friend of mine to ship me a copy of Book 6 from Australia, where Books 6, 7, and 8 are already released).

Rangersapprentince2 Here in the US, the first five books are available. Their titles are:

The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge
The Icebound Land
The Battle for Skandia
The Sorcerer of the North

If you are into action, are a sucker for spies or action, and love fantasy series, I highly recommend the Ranger's Apprentice series.

— Rob, STACKS Staffer

November 14, 2008

THE FIVE: Coolest Fictional Families

Posted by at 6:58 am in About Us, Reads | Permalink

Recently, I found myself thinking about some of my favorite fictional
families — those moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and close friends
of the main characters who influence the tone and plot of a book
despite limited time on the pages. Some of them even end up in their
own spin-off series (I'm looking at you, Karen Brewer!).

I have a pretty amazing set of relatives, but even so, there are
five fictional families in particular that always stuck out to me for
being so loving, wacky, and welcoming. In no particular order, I
present to you the five coolest fictional families:

Continue reading

October 10, 2008

THE FIVE: Nightmare Book Settings

Posted by at 11:19 am in About Us, Reads | Permalink

Sometimes I think it would be so cool if I could live inside a book. Life would be perfect and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. But actually, I can think of a few books that I definitely would not want to live in. Imagine what a nightmare it would be to wake up inside one of these books:

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In Collins’ book for ages 12 and up, it’s the America of the future and 16-year-old Katniss has to compete in a fight to the death with 23 other kids on live TV. That’s 23 other kids all trying to kill you on live TV! You win this twisted reality game show by being the only person who doesn’t die. It’s a great book, but I’ll stay here in the peaceful present, thanks.

4. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
When a meteor hits the moon, at first, it’s only annoying because it’s all Miranda’s teachers talk about. But soon it starts to cause major catastrophes on earth like volcanoes, tsunamis, and drought — changing Miranda’s life forever. The scariest thing about this book is that it feels totally real. Like, I want to start stockpiling food and water in case of emergency.

3. All the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling
I know Hogwarts seems really cool and I would love to be friends with Ron, Harry, and Hermione, but to be totally honest, I would never want to live there. Too much scary stuff happens. Seriously, imagine having classes every day with those teachers: Snape, Umbridge, Mad-Eye Moody. Or going to the bathroom in your school and finding a giant troll who wants to kill you. And Voldemort? Forget it! That dude scares me silly! I love the books, but I also love my safe Muggle world.

2. Running Out of Time by Margaret Haddix Peterson
OK. Imagine you are living your normal life thinking it is 1840, but then your mother tells you that it is really the 1990s and you live in a historical theme park where people pay to watch how you live without cars and electricity. What?? And not only that, but Mom wants you to sneak out and find a doctor because people are getting sick and dying in this village without modern medicine. If you can’t find help all your family and friends will die of this disease. Oh, and if the theme park owners catch you, they will kill you because they don’t want anyone to ruin their “experiment.”

1. The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss
When I was in 7th grade, one day for no reason at all, my friends just stopped talking to me — forever. It was awful. I eventually made new friends and forgot about those losers, but for a while it was a living nightmare going to school every day. This book describes that exact situation, and believe me I do not want to re-live that experience again!

What about you? Any book setting that YOU think it would be a nightmare to inhabit?

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

September 26, 2008

Book Characters I’d Most Want to Meet

Posted by at 8:10 am in About Us, Reads | Permalink

I finally got around to watching the 2005 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve long been a fan of the older movie version (from 1971, starring Gene Wilder and called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, for some reason). After watching the older movie, I’ve always been a little afraid of Willy Wonka. I don’t know about you, but I found Gene Wilder’s depiction of the candy inventor to be pretty darn creepy. In particular, I was traumatized by the weird boat scene where Willy Wonka is chanting, “Yes! The danger must be growing, / For the rowers keep on rowing, / And they’re certainly not showing / Any signs that they are slowing . . .” Um, FREAKY!

However, the new Willy Wonka, as played by Johnny Depp, struck me as very strange but completely harmless — someone in need of a friend, even. Instead of being disturbed by the thought of coming into contact with the man, I now would jump at the opportunity to get a golden ticket (especially given my deep love for food).

In honor of my new affection for Willy Wonka, here is my list of the five book characters I’d most want to meet in person:

Continue reading

August 2, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Editor

Posted by at 10:53 am in About Us, Authors | Permalink

Selznick_kibuishiAs the editor of the Books & Authors website for Teachers on, I have a really fun job. I get to read all the books I could ever want — for free — before they are even published! (BTW Inkdeath is amazing. You are going to love it!) But the best part of my job is when I get to meet authors and talk to them about their books, which I did a few weeks ago at the American Library Association Conference in California. Here is how my day went:

  • 8AM Wake up and get dressed
  • 9AM Eat breakfast in the hotel
  • 10AM Set up video equipment to tape the interviews with the
  • 12 Interview Kazu Kibuishi. He was really sweet and talked about his graphic novel series Amulet. He even showed us his notebook where he sketches all his ideas before they make it into the final book.
  • 1PM Interview Holly Black. She is so cool. She talked about The Spiderwick Chronicles and her new teen graphic novel series The Good Neighbors (for ages 12 and up) which is also about faeries, but the darker more evil side of faeries.

Continue reading