Thursday, October 11, 2012. It’s noon at the STACKS office. STACKS Staffer Karen is proudly wearing her Hufflepuff pin, and we have cupcakes because this is a party! Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling will be speaking live from Scotland, and I am hoping, hoping, hoping that she will talk about what book she is writing next.
He’s big, he’s red, and he’s oh, so loveable! It’s Clifford, of course. Clifford the Big Red Dog is just as much a part of our childhoods as balloons and ice cream sundaes. Whether you grew up reading the books or watching the TV show, it’s hard not to smile when you think about Clifford. This year, Clifford’s celebrating a very BIG milestone, his 50th birthday! 50 years ago Norman Bridwell painted a picture of a little girl and her big red dog. Little did he know at the time that it would spawn one of the most beloved children’s literary characters of all time!
While Clifford’s birthday is in February, he’s kicking off a birthday party this week that lasts all school-year long! And you know what Clifford wants more than anything for his birthday? A birthday card from YOU! Send Clifford a birthday card and share your personal birthday greetings!
We want to hear from you! Tell us your fondest memories of Clifford in the Comments below!
—Amabel, Scholastic Media
Today's post is written by Donna Freitas, author of Gold Medal Summer.
In Gold Medal Summer, Joey Jordan's best events are Beam and Floor. In order to fulfill her dream of winning gold, Joey has to find routines on both events that play to her strengths, not just what her coach values, and that means valuing artistry over tumbling, at times.
Writing from the dog's point of view was not that strange for me. Growing up, my family would often speak from the point of view of our dogs—"Benny, what do you think of dinner?" "Dinner?! I would love some dinner, thank you." This habit persists with my own pets, Kerry and Peter the dogs, and Oscar the cat.
Even though it felt natural to think from a dog's point of view, once I started outlining what would become Dogs of the Drowned City, I wanted to really get into the head of my main character, Shep the German shepherd.
Have you ever wondered how people become artists? How they decide their paths? Who helps them; who hurts them? Award-winning children's book illustrator Allen Say knew from a very young age that when he was drawing, he was happy.
Growing up in Japan during World War II wasn't easy. To make matters worse, Allen's parents divorced, and no one in his family wanted him to be an artist. But all that Allen wanted was to be an artist. He spent as much time as he could drawing things he saw, things he imagined, and drawing other people's drawings.
When Allen was just about 13, he read a curious story in the newspaper. A boy, only 3 years older than Allen, had walked 350 miles to Tokyo to ask for a cartoonist job at a local newspaper. Noro Shinpei, the most famous cartoonist in Japan (and Allen's favorite), was so impressed that he made the young man his student. After reading that article, all Allen could think of was whether Shinpei would take him on as a student. Allen had to find out. Shinpei's answer could decide Allen's future as an artist – the only future he had ever wanted.
Read this autobiography to find out Allen Say's path to becoming the world-famous artist he is today.
–Emily, Scholastic Booktalker
Famous authors live the most interesting lives. When they aren't writing award-winning novels, they become involved in the most exciting adventures and have such interesting stories to tell. Sometimes these personal adventures even make appearances in the authors' books! For today's Trivia Tuesday, I bring you a quiz about the lives of my favorite authors.
- What character was J.K. Rowling asked to play in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie?
A) Molly Weasley
B) Minerva McGonagall
C) Lily Potter
- Percy Jackson author, Rick Riordan, once went to college to study what musical instrument?
- What special day was Meg Cabot married on?
A) April Fools Day
B) St. Patrick's Day
C) Fourth of July
- How many books did Gordan Korman have published before he graduated high school?
- Dav Pilkey chose to set the Captain Underpants series in Piqua, Ohio because this town hosts what event each year?
A) Underwear Festival
B) Toilet Bowl Appreciation Day
C) Comic Book Writing Day
- R.L. Stine says he began writing at what age?
- What type of make-up does Baby-sitters Club author, Ann M. Martin, hate to wear because it feels weird and smells funny?
A) Eye shadow
- Before she wrote The Hunger Games (for ages 12 and up), Suzanne Collins wrote scripts for
Post your answers in the Comments below and check back next Tuesday for the answers!
Author Rick Riordan returns to his Heroes of Olympus series with Book Two: The Son of Neptune. It gets a rave review from Scholastic News Kid Reporter Zach Dalzell, who says, “Riordan made sure this book is different from his other novels . . . Read the book! You won’t be sorry you did!”
If that’s not enough to convince you, another Kid Reporter, Cassandra Hsiao, actually spoke to Rick Riordan about the new book, his life as an author, and hints of what’s coming in the third Kane Chronicles book!
KR: What is something that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Riordan: Something readers might be surprised to find out is that when I was young I stopped writing for a while and took up the guitar and for a while I thought I was going to be a rock star. But that didn’t work out so well. So I went back to teaching, and I’m glad I did because that led me to write The Lightning Thief eventually.
Q from SilverSnake: Which character do you think is most like you? Which character is most unlike you?
R.L. Stine: I like to think I’m like all my crazy characters—Slappy the dummy, who’s so rude and awful; Dr. Maniac; The Ooze; The Menace, the evil villain from HorrorLand. But in real life, I’m more like Evan, the poor kid who lets the Monster Blood loose and doesn’t have a clue how to defeat it.
Q from Raggweed: Since Goosebumps creeps me out, how can you not be scared, and keep making them? They freak even my older relatives out, so are you afraid of your own creations too?
R.L. Stine: Scary stuff NEVER scares me. Horror always makes me laugh instead. When I go to a scary movie, I don’t get scared—I just laugh. Same for writing Goosebumps books.
Q from Mysterygirl123: If you could be a monster for a day, what monster would you choose? Why? R.L. Stine: I would be a giant jellyfish from Deep Trouble because I like to swim a lot.
Q from ArtAthena13: What would you say to a kid who wants to be an author?
R.L. Stine: Write something every day. Keep a journal or a diary. And make sure you read a LOT!
Q from cnahk: Do you ever want to write something less scary?
R.L. Stine: I love writing funny books, too. That’s why I wrote the Rotten School book series. I also try to put a lot of funny stuff in Goosebumps.
Q from Niki: Who’s your favorite character? Why?
R.L. Stine: Slappy the evil dummy. I like writing all the insults and rude things he says to people.
Q from AstronomyAble3: Who is your inspiration and icon?
R.L. Stine: Many writers have inspired me. I think the sci-fi author Ray Bradbury was a big influence. Also, Rod Serling, who wrote The Twilight Zone.
Q from Lexi: Are you a prankster with scaring people?
R.L. Stine: No. Maybe I scared my little brother a few times when we were kids. But I’m not really into pranks and jokes. Too busy writing!
Q from CheerfulHeart15: What’s your favorite book of Goosebumps that you wrote? Were you good at telling ghost stories when you were young?
R.L. Stine: My favorite Goosebumps book is The Haunted Mask. I was too shy to tell ghost stories when I was a kid. I was a very quiet kid.
Q from OreoPie09: How do you come up with such creepy stuff and do you believe in ghosts?
R.L. Stine: I don’t know where the ideas come from. I’ve never seen a ghost—but I keep looking!
Q from Megan: Would you ever consider doing like a Nancy Drew type of book series for girls?
Q from Georgia: When you do your next book why not call it Zombieland?!
Q from NinjaCobra1: Why don’t you make a Goosebumps book about a boy who likes scary movies, and finds out that all the monsters are coming to life?
Nice ideas. Thanks for the suggestions.
R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps HorrorLand and the new Hall of Horrors book series, is ready to answer your burning questions. Submit your questions in the Comments below and we’ll choose 10 of the most creative and terrifyingly ghoulish questions to pass on to R.L. Stine.
Check back here on October 26 to read the answers and see if your question was chosen.
— Amabel, Scholastic Media