June 24, 2015
Tombquest author Michael Northrop talks about his books!
Q: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Michael Northrop: None of the characters are based entirely on real people—and I don’t know anyone who’s been brought back from the dead!—but they all have some bits and pieces and traits and tics from real people. As a writer, pieces of yourself make their way into all of your characters. I like to think that I have some of Alex’s determination, and some of Ren’s serious work ethic.
I’ve also visited many of the places mentioned in the books, so I was able to bring real history and a real sense of place into the books. As a New Yorker, I’ve spent many hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and in the subway system!) and I was also able to visit London and the British Museum, where Book 2 takes place. It did rain while I was there . . . just not blood rain.
Q: If you had to trade places with one of your characters for a day, who would it be?
Michael Northrop: That’s an easy one—I’d trade places with Alex and spend the day having a blast (of wind) with the scarab!
Q: In real life, would any of your characters be friends of yours?
Michael Northrop: I like all of the main characters! Luke might be too cool for me, but if we found ourselves together we could definitely talk sports for an afternoon and probably catch a game. And Alex and Ren are a tight little BFF unit—they don’t necessarily need a third wheel following them around and trying to write down everything they say as research for the fourth book. So I’d probably end up hanging out with Todtman and practicing my horrible German.
Michael Northrop, Author
June 17, 2015
A special message from Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door
At first, it doesn’t look like Hannah and Emme are going to be friends. When Emme moves in next door to Hannah, there’s a big problem. Emme has moved right into the house that Hannah’s best friend just moved out of (and out of the country, too). And not only that, but the two fifth graders both have names that are spelled the same backward and forward, they have the same birthday, and they both hate pizza and love peanut butter. Hannah is not happy about this identity theft. But after a rocky start, Hannah and Emme realize that their friendship is meant to be, and they will stick together through bullying, fund-raising fiascoes, sick pets, and new babies.
I loved writing Best Friend Next Door. It made me think about my best friend growing up on Centennial Avenue. Her name was (and still is!) Stephie. She actually lived three doors down, but those two houses in between didn’t mean anything to us. We wore a path through the other backyards to each other’s homes. We swam in her pool in the summer and sledded down the roof of my sloped garage in the winter. (We got in trouble for this one.) We made a tin-can phone and tin-can stilts, and set up an obstacle course for my dog, Rascal, in my backyard. To honor Stephie’s and my friendship, I put Hannah’s and Emme’s houses on Centennial Avenue, though in a fictional town.
There is nothing like a best friend, and even better, a best friend you can visit at all hours, even in your pajamas.
Would you like to live next to your best friend? Do you know anyone who has a palindrome name?
– Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door
June 10, 2015
Tui Sutherland Q&A
Tui Sutherland is the author of the Wings of Fire series. In honor of the Summer Reading Challenge, she has offered to answer some questions about her books and characters!
Q: Are any of your characters based on real people? Did any of things that happen to them in your books happen to you or people you know? Continue reading
April 15, 2015
More Proof That J. K. Rowling ROCKS!
Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling appeared on the Today Show this week. There is good news and bad news. The bad news for Harry Potter fans is that she said she is definitely not working on another Harry Potter book. “Harry Potter 8, as in what happened next to Harry, Ron and Hermione — I don’t think that’s going to happen.” Oh well . . .
But the good news is pretty amazing! J. K. Rowling has started a charity called Lumos. (Awesome name, right?) According to the Lumos website, the goal is to eliminate all orphanages and replace them with “community based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs.”
As you probably know, Lumos is the spell to make light, so this name has a special meaning. This charity will help bring the problem of orphanages to light, and hopefully inspire people to change that system. And it will also be a light of hope to the children living in them and can hopefully make their lives much better.
In the Today Show interview, J. K. Rowling said, “I definitely will write for children again, ’cause I love writing for kids. So that will definitely happen, and that will sit comfortably alongside this work [Lumos]. And maybe I’ll get to read that new work to some of these children.”
Did you even need more proof that J. K. Rowling is a goddess? Well, there it is! Do you love her even more now? Leave your reactions in the Comments!
Sonja, STACKS Staffer
October 29, 2014
With Halloween nigh, it’s only fitting to serve up a treat . . . a Q & A with the terrifyingly spooktacular R. L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series! Read to find out which Goosebumps character R. L. Stine is most like, his inspiration for Slappy, and more!
Q: How did you come up with Slappy’s character and the rhyme that brings him to life? Continue reading
September 10, 2014
The BFG: The Movie!
Calling all Roald Dahl lovers! We have some fantastic news! (“Who is Roald Dahl?” you ask? You know Roald Dahl’s funny fantasy books like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, just to name a few. He is so awesome that his birthday, September 13, is now known as Roald Dahl Day.)
Dahl’s fabulous book The BFG is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg, the super-famous guy who directed The Adventures of Tintin and E.T. (rated PG). The BFG movie is scheduled to be in theaters in 2016. If it’s anything like the book, it will be funny, fantastical, and phenomenal!
The BFG goes like this: In Sophie’s world, most of the giants who come around only want to find children to eat for breakfast. But the Big, Friendly Giant is different. He would never eat “uckyslush human beans.” He only eats “snozzcumbers.” When he carries Sophie off one night, she becomes his friend, not his next meal. Sophie is a tough cookie, so she decides to stop the other kid-munching giants, and the BFG is going to help her.
Let’s hear your casting ideas. Ruby Barnhill will play Sophie. What about the BFG? Which actors do you think would fit the roles of the other giants in the story? Post your predictions in the Comments below. I can’t wait to see if the on-screen BFG looks anything like the giants I imagined from the book.
Marisa, STACKS Intern
August 27, 2014
Meet Goosebumps author R. L. Stine
Are you a fan of the spooky and silly? Then you’re going to love the new movie Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (rated PG). It’s based on the book series of the same name, written by Goosebumps author R. L. Stine. The movie stars Bella Thorne (from Shake It Up), Calum Worthy (from Austin & Ally), Madison Pettis, Roshon Fegan, and Ryan Ochoa. Ryan plays Max, a boy who’s finally gotten his crush Cammy (played by Bella) to go with him on a date. What could possibly go wrong? Well, when evil ghosts, ghouls, and other sinister creatures get involved, a LOT does. It’s up to Max and his ghostly friends Tara (played by Madison) and Nicky (played by Roshon) to set things right in time for Max’s big date on Halloween!
Read what R. L. Stine has to say . . . Continue reading
August 12, 2014
Top 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
What’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
“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.”
If 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.