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Olivia B. is only 12 years old, but she has already gotten the attention of a presidential candidate. Last month, she wrote a letter to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about the importance of a good education for children with learning disabilities. Olivia’s letter went viral after Secretary Clinton posted it on Twitter. Olivia even got to go to Clinton’s birthday party and take a selfie with her. Continue reading →
Taylor Swift Donates 25,000 Books to New York City Schools
Scholastic and Taylor Swift are excited to announce a donation of 25,000 new books from the Scholastic Possible Fund to 25 New York City schools that need more books for their students! These 25 schools will each receive 1,000 new children’s books.
As a long-time literacy advocate, Taylor hosted a webcast for classrooms during which she shared how books, reading, and writing have influenced her and opened her world. Since it first aired in October 2014, the webcast has been viewed by more than 4.5 million students from around the country! Watch it here.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Children all over the world dream of the future, what they will do, and what jobs they will have. Now, these dreams can become a reality at KidZania (kid-ZAH-nee-ya). Opened last August in Manila, the interactive kid-sized city combines role-playing activities and real-life experiences to simulate the real world for children ages four to fourteen. Continue reading →
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on the set where your favorite book-turned-movie was filmed? I recently got the chance to visit the forest whereThe Hunger Games movie (rated PG-13) was filmed. I got to see the very place where Jennifer Lawrence acted as Katniss Everdeen and ran from the fireballs in the Arena. I acted out the scene where Josh Hutcherson portrayed Peeta Mellark, who was using camouflage to hide from the other tributes. It wasn’t on a set in Hollywood or New York City, but instead, in DuPont State Recreational Forest in North Carolina. Continue reading →
Thomas Edison as State Inventor? by Gabriel Ferris
Students Rory Danieluk, Dylan Kalina, Zoe Kitson, and Emma Smith with their teacher Sarah Lindbloom and State Senator Shirley Turner (center) at the New Jersey State House. New Jersey may soon follow Massachusetts’ lead in naming an Official State Inventor. Four students from Stony Brook Elementary School in Hopewell, New Jersey, are behind a bill that would name Thomas Alva Edison as their State Inventor.
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Smith
The odyssey started last year with a class assignment from Sarah Lindbloom, the students’ fourth-grade teacher. Lindbloom asked, “If you were to create a state symbol, what would it be?” Rory Danieluk, Dylan Kalina, Zoe Kitson, and Emma Smith chose Edison.
Emma, now a fifth-grader, said, “We all simply agreed on Thomas Edison.” Her group, she added, “really didn’t think of anyone else.” But they did have a backup plan. If their teacher denied Edison as a symbol, the girls “would have chosen a state animal.”
Dylan said that Edison deserved to be the state inventor “because he has done incredible things for our state.” Born in 1847, Edison helped change the world by developing the first electric light bulb and movie camera, among many other inventions.
KIDS CAN BE HEARD
Lindbloom thought that the girls’ proposal was so impressive, she encouraged them to send it to New Jersey State Senator Shirley Turner. Zoe, like her classmates, was thrilled when Turner responded. “It was exciting because I didn’t expect a reply,” Zoe said.
Turner, for her part, was delighted to see students get involved in government at a young age. “I believe that the students’ participation in our legislative process will have a lasting impact on them,” she said.
Rory agreed. She thinks that kids can be heard by government officials on an ongoing basis, “if they have provided a fair argument.”
Time will tell if the students’ argument was strong enough. The fate of the bill (S2771) is still pending. Hurdles include approval by both the state legislature and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Supporters of the bill are optimistic that it will pass and increase New Jersey tourism, as well as appreciation for an amazing inventor.
What does it mean to be a superstar? For many people, it’s about being great at one thing, whether it’s sports, music, or something else. When this reporter interviewed Frank Lampard at Yankee Stadium recently, a different definition emerged. Lampard excels at both sports and writing. Not only does he score goals for New York City FC (a professional soccer team), he also writes children’s books.
Lampard has written three books for a series called Frankie’s Magic Soccer Ball (Scholastic), with more titles on the way. Before a match between New York City FC and the San Jose Earthquakes at Yankee Stadium, the superstar took time to share his story.
Lampard began his soccer career in his native England, where the sport is called football. A midfielder for Chelsea Football Club for 13 years, he has scored more goals than anyone in the team’s history. Whether winning or losing, Lampard said, “good sportsmanship and respecting your opponent” are essential.
Last summer, Lampard moved to the United States to play for New York City FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. He loves the city, saying, “I enjoy how friendly everybody is.” Having long watched MLS games, he often dreamed of coming to the U.S. and “was quite inspired when David Beckham came here and did so well.”
WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS
But a star athletic career was not enough for Lampard. So he turned to writing children’s books. “I wanted to do something constructive, fun, and different from football,” he said. In the popular series that Lampard created, a magic soccer ball helps Frankie, the main character, and his friends journey back in time. They play soccer matches against ancient Romans, pirates, and even cowboys. Can you imagine playing soccer at the Roman Colosseum?
The series combines sports, history, and friendship—plus a talking dog. Thirteen books have been published in England, where the series is called Frankie’s Magic Football. As for the secret to Lampard’s own success, this reporter found no magic. “To be successful in anything,” Lampard said, “the idea is the same for everything you do—hard work and practice.”