Category Archives: Authors

August 12, 2014

Surrounded by Sharks

Posted by at 4:12 pm in Authors, Reads, Summer | Permalink

Surrounded by SharksTop 5 things I learned while writing Surrounded by Sharks (for ages 12 and up)

By Michael Northrop

I’ve always been fascinated by sharks and have been a devoted viewer of Shark Week since it first aired in 1987, but even I was surprised by some of the things I discovered when I waded into the research for my latest book.

  1. Sharks are nature’s true smelling machines. Unlike bloodhounds and the owners of the world’s other notable noses, sharks don’t breathe through their nostrils. They use them for only one thing: finding food (and, okay, the occasional mate).
  2. Sharks’ senses are all sharp, but the one they use up close is a sort of underwater spider-sense. They can detect even the tiniest electrical charges in the water, as small as five one-billionths of a volt. If a fish swims by, the shark can sense its bioelectric field, each flick of its tail and beat of its heart.
  3. In the book, Davey stays afloat with the help of a discarded water cooler bottle. About ten million tons of plastic make their way into the ocean each year. And, fictional flotation devices aside, they serve absolutely no purpose other than pollution.
  4. The cool stripes that give tiger sharks their name fade out as they reach adulthood. As with humans, it’s the young ones that have all the style!
  5. While sharks get all the attention, riptides are the real killers at the beach. Over the past ten years, rip currents have killed an estimated one hundred people annually in the US alone. That’s more than floods, tornadoes, lightning, or hurricanes. Sharks are responsible for about one fatality every two years, fewer than fireworks, roller coasters, or falling vending machines.
August 6, 2014

Authors Talk Summer Reading

Posted by at 2:14 pm in Authors, Gordon Korman, Summer | Permalink

Scholastic Summer Reading ChallengeWhat’s the Big Deal About Summer Reading?

You have probably heard over and over again how important it is to keep reading during the summer while you’re not in school. If you haven’t heard this before, well then let me be the first person to tell you summer reading is important, people! You SHOULD read over the summer while you’re not in school!

We asked 2 very special Scholastic authors why this is true. Gordon Korman is the author of the Swindle series, a few books in The 39 Clues series, and, like, a million other books. He published his first book when he was 14 years old! David Shannon is the author of picture books such as Alice the Fairy, A Bad Case of Stripes, and No, David!

Q: What is the top reason kids should read over the summer?

Gordon Korman: I think reading is kind of a self-feeding cycle — the more you read, the more you WANT to read. But when I write, my goal is primarily to entertain my readers. So my top reason kids should read over the summer is for fun.

David Shannon: To keep from becoming a slug! Reading keeps your imagination running in a way that TV and video games can’t. It works out your brain but relaxes your body, and those are both good things. There’s more down time in the summer, too, and you can read whatever you want.

So there you have it. Have fun and don’t be a slug! READ! When you do, you can log your minutes and be eligible for prizes in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Leave a Comment to tell us why YOU love summer reading, and whether or not you agree with these authors’ advice.

April 16, 2014

New Story from Rick Riordan

Posted by at 1:42 am in Authors, Percy Jackson, Reads | Permalink

Rick Riordan photo“The Staff of Serapis”

You might remember last year, Rick Riordan published “The Son of Sobek” as an extra crossover story in the The Serpent’s Shadow. The story featured both Percy Jackson and Carter Kane together in the same story. It’s crazy when characters jump out of their own series and into other characters’ series, right? Well, Riordan has done it again. He announced on his blog last week that the new U.S. paperback edition of The Mark of Athena in stores now features a story with Annabeth Chase and Sadie Kane! It has the awesome title “The Staff of Serapis.”

The Staff of Serapis book coverIf you don’t want to buy The Mark of Athena paperback, the story will be available in e-formats, with the cover above, on May 20. Or you could, you know, rush to the library and see if they have the new paperback edition with the story at the end. Tell the librarian it MUST be the 2014 paperback edition!

What do you think? Did you like “The Son of Sobek” enough to want a second story? Do you think Riordan should write an entire series combining all his characters?? Leave a Comment.

January 30, 2014

J. K. Rowling Exclusive Sneak Peek!

Posted by at 10:27 am in Authors, Harry Potter | Permalink

Sneak PeekCheck it out, Harry Potter fans!

We’ve linked up with our friends at Pottermore and can give you a sneak peek (or would it be sneak listen?) at 3 brand new clips of J. K. Rowling talking about one of her most colorful characters from the Harry Potter series.

In honor of his birthday on January 26, we bring you 3 exclusive audio clips about Professor Gilderoy Lockhart!

  1. Listen to J. K. Rowling talk about which house Gilderoy Lockhart was sorted into. Play
  2. Listen to J. K. Rowling discuss Gilderoy Lockhart’s ambitious mother. Play
  3. Listen to J. K. Rowling reveal the secret behind Gilderoy Lockhart’s hair-care range. Play

Enjoy!

January 23, 2014

Horses of the Dawn by Kathryn Lasky

Posted by at 1:26 am in Authors, Reads, Sneak Peek | Permalink

jkt_9780545397162.inddA Special Message from Author Kathryn Lasky

Dear STACKS Readers,

Over the years, I have written about the brave owls of Ga’Hoole, the noble wolves of the Beyond, and now . . . horses! Why horses? Well, when I was growing up, I loved horse stories, but I longed for a story told from a horse’s perspective. I wanted to know: What does it feel like to gallop? What does it sound like to pound across a plain with your herd?

There were no humans in Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Wolves of the Beyond. That allowed me to focus on the animals and build worlds that explored the species’ complex societies, free from any human influence.

However, the history of horses is inextricably linked to human history, which presented a unique challenge. Unlike owls or wolves, horses have been “domesticated” for centuries. Oh yes, there are “wild” mustangs in the western U.S., but they are the descendants of the first horses that came to America, and they only became wild after they escaped from captivity. These horses had to learn how to forage or gallop without shoes. Thinking about this, I became fascinated by the idea of a herd that broke away from its human masters. How would the horses survive? How long would it take for their “wild” instincts to emerge? Before I knew it, I had begun the Horses of the Dawn series.

The first book, Escape, is the story of the first horses that came to North America with the Conquistadores. Specifically, it’s the story of one filly named Estrella, who, along with six other horses, is tossed overboard from a ship bound for the New World.

The horses swim to shore, and for the first time, they have to make decisions for themselves. There are no humans, no whips, no spurs to tell them what to do. Estrella becomes the unlikely leader of the herd, though that is only the beginning of her adventure. Essentially, Escape is a story of self-discovery and homecoming, as one young horse finds the strength to lead the herd to freedom, to claim their destiny as the Horses of the Dawn.

Read Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy it!

Kathryn Lasky

January 15, 2014

Dav Pilkey & Jeff Kinney Webcast Today

extraJeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey Create a “Story Smashup” Live On Stage in an Exclusive Scholastic Webcast Today

WHEN: Today at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
WHO: Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series.

CU_attackoftalkingtoiletsWHERE: Scholastic Headquarters in NYC, but we will be live-chatting about the event on the Reading Buzz Message Board. And you can watch the webcast video here.

AND download the contest entry form to create your own brilliant, one-of-a-kind, three-panel ending to Kinney and Pilkey’s original story! One Grand Prize Winner will have his or her entry framed alongside Kinney and Pilkey’s first six panels, autographed by each author. Ten Runners-Up will receive their very own illustrated storytelling extravaganza book collection. So, yeah, you will want to enter that!

Mail your entry by February 14 to:
The Mini-Story Cliff-Hanger Contest
P.O. Box 714
New York, NY, 10013-0714

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students in grades 2 through 8 in a U.S. school who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to enter, except those who have family members employed by Scholastic Inc. Every entry MUST include student name, teacher name, grade/age, school name, address and phone number and mailed to: Mash-Up Mini-Story Cliffhanger Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY, 10013-0714. One (1) Grand Prize Winner (approx. retail value: $300) and ten (10) Runners Up (approximate retail value: $75) will be selected based on clarity of thought, execution and creativity. Winners will be notified on or about March 13, 2014. Void where prohibited.

Hope to see you in the chat!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

January 6, 2014

Captain Underpants Meets Wimpy Kid Webcast!

extraJeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey Create a “Story Smashup” Live On Stage in an Exclusive Scholastic Webcast

Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series joined forces for a “Story CU_attackoftalkingtoiletsSmashup” webcast event at Scholastic.

Superstar artist-authors Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey worked together to create an original story with art and pictures based on suggestions from an audience of kids. In the webcast, you can also watch Kinney and Pilkey’s hilarious attempts to draw each other’s characters and to see if they can draw their own characters, Greg Heffley and Captain Underpants, blindfolded! Watch the webcast video.

And . . . There’s more! You can enter a contest based on Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey’s story starter. Download the contest entry form and create your own brilliant, one-of-a-kind, three-panel ending to Kinney and Pilkey’s original story! One Grand Prize Winner will have his or her entry framed alongside Kinney and Pilkey’s first six panels, autographed by each author. Ten Runners-Up will receive their very own illustrated storytelling extravaganza book collection. So, yeah, you will want to enter that!

Mail your entry by February 14 to:
The Mini-Story Cliff-Hanger Contest
P.O. Box 714
New York, NY, 10013-0714

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All students in grades 2 through 8 in a U.S. school who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to enter, except those who have family members employed by Scholastic Inc. Every entry MUST include student name, teacher name, grade/age, school name, address and phone number and mailed to: Mash-Up Mini-Story Cliffhanger Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY, 10013-0714. One (1) Grand Prize Winner (approx. retail value: $300) and ten (10) Runners Up (approximate retail value: $75) will be selected based on clarity of thought, execution and creativity. Winners will be notified on or about March 13, 2014. Void where prohibited.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

October 30, 2013

R. L. Stine Web Chat

Posted by at 2:00 pm in Authors, Goosebumps, Live Chats | Permalink

Rlstine

R. L. Stine Web Chat!

R. L. Stine is hosting a web chat on Wednesday October 30, 2013 from 2-3 p.m. ET. It’s happening right now!

STACKS Staffer Brian and I are posting live updates from the chat on the Reading Buzz Board so you can join us there for our live Goosebumps Halloween R. L. Stine celebration! Hop over to the Buzz Board now! What are you waiting for? Click on the blue link!

If you miss it, you can go to the Reading Buzz Board any time to read the transcript.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

August 14, 2013

Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author, Kathryn Lasky

Gahoole130A Message from Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author, Kathryn Lasky

Dear STACKS Readers,

It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to my latest Guardians of Ga’Hoole book, The Rise of a Legend, the story of Ezylryb, the legendary whiskered screech of the Great Ga’Hoole tree. This prequel reveals how this owl from the ice-choked Northern Kingdoms rose through the ranks to become the commander of the Glauxspeed Division and why he gave it all up and flew to the Great Ga’Hoole Tree where he became the greatest scholar in its history as well as a mentor to the great owl Soren.

Why, for my first owl book in five years, did I choose to write about Ezylryb? It all began with a boy named Evan who sent me an email. “So what do you plan on doing after finishing the wolves series?” he asked. Would I ever go back to owls? “You told us about Ezylryb as a grown up, but why not go into detail about his childhood and years as a commander? You have endless possibilities.”

Why had I never thought of this! Evan was right. I felt a thrill in my gizzard. There were endless possibilities. The story of Ezylryb’s youth was so dramatic. Before he was known as Ezylryb, he was called Lyze of Kiel. Lyze never wanted to fight, but the death of his beloved sister drove him to pick up his battle claws. He became a great strategist. He knew weapons and he knew how to bring together animals as different as Kielian snakes and snow leopards and turn them into crack fighting teams and espionage units. In The Rise of a Legend, you will meet other characters from the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books, such as Octavia the blind snake and the Great Snowy owl Moss. You’ll see them when they were young, sometimes foolish, and often scared. You’ll see them grow, gather courage and begin to question why and if there must always be war.

I had so much fun revisiting Ga’Hoole and the hero owls there, and hope you enjoy reading The Rise of a Legend as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Read an excerpt and visit the new Ga’Hoole Website to play the brand new Rise of a Legend Game.

Happy Reading!

—Kathryn Lasky, Guardians of Ga’Hoole Author