What do you think? Are you excited for the next Wimpy Kid book/movie? Tell us what you think in the Comments.
Last week’s Trivia Quiz asked you to find out who was the inspiration for the character Allie Finkle in Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls. Well, the answer is in this video, where Meg Cabot reveals the story behind the story.
Do YOU keep a diary? Think about it. The things you write now could become the inspiration for a popular book series when you are older!
Welcome to Trivia Tuesday! One of the really awesome things about working at Scholastic is that I get to meet a lot of authors, and ask them questions about their books. (I know, I’m so lucky!!) The first time I met Meg Cabot, the author of Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, one of the questions I asked her was:
Your job today is to find out the answer! This is a pretty tough question, but the answer is somewhere on this site — from the lips of author Meg Cabot herself. So here’s a hint . . .
Hi everyone! It seems like ten years ago that I interviewed Margaret Peterson Haddix for THE STACKS. You all helped me prepare for the interview by giving me some awesome questions! Sadly, I couldn’t ask them all. It was really tough to choose only one of your questions, but the final question I chose was submitted by marytonga, who asked:
Margaret was really impressed with that question and I think she had fun answering it.
She is super, super nice and fun, but the best part is that, after the interview, she autographed 2 copies of Into the Gauntlet so that we could give them away to lucky STACKS readers! Want a chance to win? Enter the Into the Gauntlet Sweepstakes! Good luck!
Today is the day that Ga’Hoole fans have been waiting for! Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (rated PG) is hitting theaters today, and we have an exclusive interview with Kathryn Lasky, the author of the Ga’Hoole series, to talk about what it was like making her books into a movie.
Hi guys! I have AMAZING news!! Margaret Peterson Haddix will be coming to Scholastic on August 31 for The 39 Clues webcast, and I will have a chance to interview her for THE STACKS!!!!!!!! Do I have the best job ever, or what? Yes, I do, but stay with me here, because I need your help.
If you have read Margaret Peterson Haddix’s books, then you understand why I’m so excited. They are AWESOME! If you haven’t read them yet, you should definitely check them out. They are un-put-down-able action-filled page-turners. Read our reviews of Running Out of Time, and Found to see what I mean.
Aah August. Hot summer days, back to school sales. . . and my cousin’s birthday. Pretty much the usual. EXCEPT this August 3, 2010, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie (rated PG) comes out on DVD. Now that doesn’t happen every year, does it? And how are we going to celebrate? With fun new interviews of course!
We spoke with Jeff Kinney, author of the books, and Zachary Gordon, the actor who plays Greg. First we asked Jeff:
Summer memories are the best memories. Something about all the free time and nice weather just seems to make hilarious and memorable things happen. I had the chance to meet two very funny authors recently. We talked about their books, summer reading, and I asked them for their most memorable summer experiences.
Jon Scieszka, the author of the Time Warp trio series, The Stinky Cheese Man, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, describes a memorable summer experience involving a cat, a pecan nut bar, and 5 brothers barfing in the car! If you have read his autobiographical book, Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka, then you already know this story, but it's still funny to hear him tell it! (If you haven't read Knucklehead, it's HILARIOUS! You should check it out.)
Christopher Paul Curtis, author of Bud, Not Buddy, Elijah of Buxton, and The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, had me cracking up (you can actually hear me laughing in the video) when he described how collecting beetles for his beetle aquarium landed him with 4 broken fingers. Yeah, it sounds painful and I shouldn't laugh, but getting your lips stuck to a frozen car mirror sounds painful too and you know you laughed at THAT scene in The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963!
Now it's your turn. Can you top either of these summer stories? What is YOUR favorite summer memory so far? Let us know in the Comments.
While reading Matthew Skelton's The Story of Cirrus Flux, I was struck by a funny thought – it's a good thing that there's only one James Patterson, isn't it? I mean, I love the Maximum Ride series as much as the next guy, but all of those books are so. . . what's the word. . . hyper. It's one big set piece or chase scene after another. You never get a chance to catch your breath.
Sometimes you want a book that's a little slower, one that takes its time and doesn't rush the set-up. As Alfred Hitchcock once said, "There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it." But you don't want it to get too slow. It should still have action, fun characters, and a big climax at the end as a payoff for all that buildup. If you're in that kind of mood, The Story of Cirrus Flux is for you. Because as fun as James Patterson is, sometimes you want a filet mignon instead of popcorn.
Set in 18th-century London, in the same kind of historical-magical-realism world that Philip Pullman brought to life in The Golden Compass, Cirrus Flux follows the main character, a young orphan named Cirrus, on a quest to keep a piece of powerful magic out of the hands of some greedy, creepy ne'er-do-wells. I can't honestly say that the story takes a twist or a turn that you haven't seen before, but I can assure you that you'll love the vibrant, familiar-but-exotic setting, the quick-witted characters, and the thoughtful writing. The scene where Cirrus first encounters a hot air balloon powered by a flaming bird, and struggles to describe what he's seeing – as though you or I were trying to describe a UFO – is worth the price of admission alone, and a testament to what a pleasure it is to read Matthew Skelton's writing. This is an old-school adventure of the highest caliber.
As luck would have it, I got to actually ask the author himself some of my burning questions!
Q: Where did you get the ideas for Cirrus Flux?
Matthew Skelton: Cirrus Flux started in an unlikely place: a book on clouds. I discovered that the weather changed abruptly during the summer of 1783. All across Europe, the sun was barely visible and the moon, at night, shone blood red. This lasted for several months. No one could explain what was happening and some people feared that the end of the world was coming. I was hooked. My imagination took off…
Q: Which one of your characters is your favorite?
Matthew Skelton: I admire Pandora the most, because she’s gutsy, generous, and kind-hearted. She’s also the real hero of the book. I’m more like Cirrus myself (somewhat timid and cautious). If I had a choice, though, I’d like to meet Mr Hardy and Alerion – and travel with them to the other side of the world.
Q: Is any part of the book based on real people or facts, or is the story all completely imagined?
Matthew Skelton: Most of the gruesome parts of the book are based on fact. There really was a man like Mr Leechcraft, for example, who conducted experiments on children. The 'Hanging Boy' performance follows his instructions quite closely. Even Mr Sidereal’s chair is modeled on one used by the showman 'Merlin' during the eighteenth century. The eighteenth century was a difficult time to be a child. Infants were frequently abandoned at the Foundling Hospital because their parents were too poor to be able to care for them. Like Cirrus's father, they left heartbreaking tokens with their babies so that they might not be forgotten. So there is a lot of fact mixed up with the imaginary.
Q: Can you describe your research and writing process?
Matthew Skelton: I spend most of my time with my head in the clouds. I'm a professional daydreamer. I keep asking myself, "What if? What if? What if…?" That's the fun part. Getting words down on paper is much more difficult. I'm never satisfied with what I do and I'm constantly fighting the temptation to rip up everything and start again.
Q: Do you have any tips for young writers?
Matthew Skelton: Don't rip up everything and throw it away. The best things often happen by accident: such as Bottle Top's name and Pandora's use of the word 'moon-sail'. You never know what will happen next.
Q: What was the last kids' book you really enjoyed?
Matthew Skelton: The last book that really had me gasping and
laughing and waving my hands around in joy was Kenneth Oppel's
Skybreaker – the most fun I've had as a reader since I was twelve
OK, I'll have to check Skybreaker out! Have you read that one or The Story of Cirrus Flux? Let me know what you think!
— Jack, STACKS Staffer
You know I love writing scary stories. But I don’t like it when the scary stories happen to ME!
In April, my wife Jane and I went to London for a short vacation that turned out to be longer than we planned. Yes, the Iceland volcano erupted, the airports all closed, and we were stranded in London for days.
And, of course, in my mind I began imagining story plots:
- What if the volcano spewed its ashes for a year or two? What would people do—just forget their homes and start new lives in a new place?
- What if a kid goes away to camp, there’s a huge blast of black air from a volcano—he is stranded in another dimension, and cannot find his home or see his family ever again?
You can see how my mind works. From real to fantasy. But it would make a great story, don’t you think? Write what you think happens next in the Comments.
— R. L. Stine, Goosebumps Author