Category Archives: Reads

November 7, 2016

War Books for Veterans Day

Posted by at 1:25 am in Reads | Permalink

militaryanimalsNovember 11 is Veterans Day, a day to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. If you like books about war, these books will help you learn more about the brave soldiers who fought for the United States of America.

Military Animals With Dog Tags By Laurie Calkhoven for Ages 7–10
Everyone knows that soldiers entered battlefields on horseback, but did you know that some warriors rode elephants into combat? You may have heard of bomb-sniffing dogs, but what about bomb-sniffing honeybees? In this book you will learn about animals that have aided the military in the air, on land, and by sea. Discover how dolphins, bears, pigs, penguins, and even glowworms became heroes in times of war. When technology couldn’t help, these amazing animals could!

Brave Like My Brother By Marc Tyler Nobleman for Ages 7-10
When Charlie’s brother, Joe, is called up to fight in World War II, he promises to write Charlie lots of letters. It won’t make up for not being there to help Charlie out with the neighborhood bullies, but it’s all Joe can do.
Life is tough for a soldier, and Joe tells Charlie all about it, from training in endless rain and mud to the stray dog the soldiers adopt. When Joe is sent on a secret mission with the one soldier he can’t stand, Matt, he will have to face risks that place their mission — and their lives — in grave danger.
Charlie knew his brother was strong, but through Joe’s letters he learns what Joe really is: a true hero. Joe’s letters give Charlie the strength to stand up for himself and be brave, just like his brother.

The Holocaust: The Origins, Events, and Remarkable Tales of Survival By Philip Steele for Ages 8-12
During World War II, six million Jewish men, women, and children lost their lives under the Nazis, in one of the darkest events of modern history. This thought-provoking book explores the reasons behind what led to the Holocaust, examines what life was like in concentration camps, and retells incredible stories of heroism.

The Enemy Above: A Novel of World War II By Michael P. Spradlin for Ages 8-12
Anton has nowhere to run. Colonel Karl Van Duesen of the Gestapo has made it his mission to round up every Jew in the Ukrainian countryside, and he’s getting close. A web of underground caves seems like the perfect hiding place for Anton and the rest of his community. If they are discovered, they will be sent off to work camps . . . or worse.
But when a surprise invasion catches them off guard, and his grandmother is captured, Anton makes a radical decision. He won’t hide. He will follow the Gestapo and rescue his grandmother. He will stop being the hunted . . . and start doing some hunting of his own.

Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific: The Incredible Story of U.S. Submarines in WWII By Deborah Hopkinson for Ages 8-12 
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US entered World War II in December 1941 with only 44 Naval submarines — many of them dating from the 1920s. With the Pacific battleship fleet decimated after Pearl Harbor, it was up to the feisty and heroic sailors aboard the US submarines to stop the Japanese invasion across the Pacific.

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark By Deborah Hopkinson for Ages 8–12
When the Nazis invaded Denmark the morning of Tuesday, April 9, 1940, the government of Denmark surrendered quietly, and the Danes were ordered to go about their daily lives as if nothing had changed. But everything had changed. Deborah Hopkinson traces the stories of the heroic men and women who would not stand by as their country was occupied. Instead, they fought back. Some were spies, passing tactical information to the British; some were saboteurs, who aimed to impede Nazi operations in Denmark; and 95% of the Jewish population of Denmark were survivors, rescued by their fellow countrymen, who had the courage and conscience that drove them to act. 

Warriors: The Greatest Fighters in History By Sean Callery for Ages 8–12
This stunning book about the greatest warriors of all time is packed with facts, infographics, expert text, and photography from museums and private collections. Explore collections of weapons, armor, uniforms, medals, everyday equipment, and much more. Find out what these objects can show us about battle tactics, key moments in history, and life as a soldier.

Dogs of War By Sheila Keenan, Illustrated by Nathan Fox for Ages 8-12
This graphic novel tells the stories of the canine military heroes of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. The three fictional stories were inspired by historic battles and real military practice. Each story tells the heroic adventures of a soldier and his service dog, bringing to life the faithful dogs who braved bombs, barrages, and battles to save the lives of soldiers.
Based on the real-life roles of military dogs that served as Red Cross rescuers, messengers, scouts, search-and-rescue teams, sentries, and mascots, Dogs of War captures the adventure and the devastation brought on by war.

Duke By Kirby Larson for Ages 8-12
With World War II raging and his father fighting overseas in Europe, 11-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his country, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke. Hoping to help end the war and bring his dad home faster, Hobie decides to donate Duke to Dogs for Defense, an organization that urges Americans to “loan” their pets to the military to act as sentries, mine sniffers, and patrol dogs. Hobie immediately regrets his decision and tries everything he can to get Duke back, even jeopardizing his friendship with the new boy at school. But when his father is taken prisoner by the Germans, Hobie realizes he must let Duke go and be brave. Will Hobie ever see Duke, or his father, again?

Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting By Jim Murphy for Ages 8-12
On July 29th 1914, the world’s peace was shattered as the Austria-Hungary Empire began shelling the troops of the country to its south. What followed was like a row of falling dominoes as one European country after another rushed into World War I. Soon most of Europe was fighting in this calamitous war that could have been avoided. But who could have guessed that on December 25 the troops would openly defy their commanding officers by stopping the fighting and having a spontaneous celebration of Christmas with their enemies? In what is described as a Christmas Miracle, this beautiful narrative will remind everyone how brotherhood and love for one another reaches far beyond war and politics.

Dog Tags #1: Semper Fido By C. Alexander London for Ages 10-14
When Gus Dempsey joins the US Marine Corps, he knows that he will make a great dog handler. He’s always been good with dogs. In fact, he’s often better with dogs than he is with people. But Loki is not the dog that Gus was expecting. Fun-loving and playful, Loki acts more like a pet than the well-trained, bomb-sniffing Marine that he’s supposed to be. When Gus and Loki deploy to Afghanistan, though, they have no choice but to learn to work together. Because in war, getting along is a matter of life and death.

Profiles #5: The Vietnam War By Daniel Polansky for Ages 10-14
Kids will learn biographical information (background, family, education, accomplishments) about: Ho Chi Minh (Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Vietnam), John F. Kennedy (U.S. President 1961-1963), Lyndon B. Johnson (U.S. President (1963-1969), Ngo Dinh Diem (President of South Vietnam), Henry Kissinger (U.S. National Security Advisor), and William Westmoreland (U.S. Army General). This book will help illuminate one of the most controversial wars in American history.

Scholastic Discover More: World War II By Sean Callery for Ages 10-14
Nicknamed the Deadliest Conflict in History, World war II claimed at least 50 million lives. It was the backdrop to atrocities like the Holocaust and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. This book charts the course of the war, from the rise of Nazism to Hitler’s suicide in April 1945. Firsthand accounts show how individuals experienced the war, be they military or civilian, adult or child. In addition to photographs, there are detailed cutaway artworks that reveal the inner workings of vehicles that defined the war: the German U-boat, Sherman tank, and Liberator bomber.

Tides of War #1: Blood in the Water By C. Alexander London for Ages 10-14
Navy SEALs are trained to operate in sea, land, and air, they work under cover of night to carry out the US military’s most sensitive and difficult missions. Cory McNab wanted to be a Navy SEAL, but he washed out of the program. Now he is a member of the Navy’s Marine Mammals Program, where he is partnered with a search-and-recovery dolphin named Kaj. Together, Cory and Kaj are the Navy’s best hope when a US spy submarine is lost in enemy waters. With the help of Kaj’s bio-sonar, they should be able to locate the submarine before its secrets fall into the wrong hands. But the mission gets complicated when a team of Navy SEALs runs into trouble. Can Cory succeed where his heroes have failed…or is he in too deep?

Vietnam #1: I Pledge Allegiance By Chris Lynch for Ages 10-14
Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of them is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too—each with a different branch of the US military. Morris joins the US Navy, and he makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends from the USS Boston. But the Boston itself isn’t safe from attack. And although Morris means to keep his friends safe, he may have his hands full just watching out for himself.

World War II Book 1: The Right Fight By Chris Lynch for Ages 10-14
There are few things Roman loves as much as baseball, but his country is at the top of the list. So when the United States is swept up into World War II, he turns his back on baseball and joins the US Army. As it turns out, he is far more talented with a tank than he ever was with a baseball. And he is eager to drive his tank right into the field of battle, where the Army is up against the fearsome Nazis of the Afrika Korps. The North African terrain is like nothing Roman has ever known, and desert warfare proves brutal. As Roman drives his team deeper into disputed territory, one thing becomes very clear: Life in wartime is a whole new ball game.

November 1, 2016

Trivia: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Posted by at 1:13 am in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Reads, Trivia | Permalink

Diaryofawimpykid_130Book #11 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down comes out on November 1, 2016, so I’d like to throw some vintage Diary of a Wimpy Kid trivia at you! Do you remember these facts from the first book?

  1. What did Uncle Charlie get Greg for Christmas?
  2. What game do Greg and Rowley play with Greg’s Big Wheel?
  3. How does Greg improvise a weightlifting set?
  4. What does Fregley say when he needs to go to the bathroom?
  5. What does Barry Palmer owe Bryan Little?

Good luck! Props if you know these off the top of your head, and if you don’t, you can thank me later for making you go back to that hilarious book. Here are the answers. Continue reading

October 27, 2016

Book Review: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Posted by at 1:10 am in Reads | Permalink

Found_130 Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I just FOUND the best fantasy series! It’s called Missing, and it’s by Margaret Peterson Haddix, the author of the Shadow Children series, Running Out of Time, and one of the authors of The 39 Clues series. I don’t want to give away the entire story, but if you like time travel, history, mystery, and action, then you’ll love this book.

At the start of Found, Angela DuPre, an airline worker, finds 36 abandoned children on a plane. The weird thing is, there are no adults, no pilots, and no one knows how the plane got there in the first place. Weird . . .

Meet Jonah and Chip 13 years later — they’re two of the surviving kids from plane. Both were adopted into wonderful families, and both strangely end up in the same town. Is this a coincidence or pre-determined fate? One may think it’s just some bizarre occurrence, but when Jonah and Chip both start receiving the same strange, unmarked letters, they begin seeing things that are unexplainable to the human eye. And then both end up at an adoption convention, along with the other 34 children from the mysterious flight! At this point, questions will be raised not only by Jonah and Chip, but the readers as well.

Found will leave you asking: what would happen if I were to go back in time and change one little event, or if I were to affect the actions of a prominent figure? How would that change the future? Would how we live today be any different if one person’s life were changed in any way?

— Carly M.

October 26, 2016

Halloween Books from Scholastic

Posted by at 1:06 am in Reads | Permalink

Get ready for Halloween with these new scary books from Scholastic!

Creepella von Cracklefur: A Suitcase Full of Ghosts By Geronimo Stilton for Ages 7–10
Creepella is about to interview the famouse Hector Spector, who has come to Mysterious Valley with his Galloping Ghost Circus. But before she can, she has a mystery on her paws—someone is playing tricks and making messes all over Cacklefur Castle! Can she put a stop to these ghastly gags?

Ghosts By Raina Telgemeier for Ages 8-12
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake — and her own.

The Gathering (Shadow House, Book 1) By Dan Poblocki for Ages 8–12
You don’t just read this ghost story. You step into it. Some houses are more than just haunted . . . they’re hungry. Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don’t know this at first. They each think they’ve been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there’s nothing innocent about Shadow House. Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing–and nobody–can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear. And the way out? That’s disappeared, too. . . . Enter Shadow House . . . if you dare.

Goosebumps Most Wanted #10: Lizard of Oz By R.L. Stine for Ages 8–12
The infamous Most Wanted Goosebumps characters are out on the loose and after you!
Kate Orton loves animals, especially unusual ones. So when she sees a pop-up ad on her computer for an amazing lizard from Australia, she has to have it. The ad says the lizard is actually a kind of chameleon-it can change its color to blend in with its surroundings. But what makes this lizard really strange is that it’s a copycat-the ad says it can even change its shape.
Kate’s parents don’t believe all the claims in the ad, but they tell her to go ahead and order it. They tell her not to be disappointed if it’s just a plain old lizard. After anxiously checking the mail every day for two weeks, the package finally arrives from Australia. Kate can’t wait to open it. But when she does-there’s no lizard inside. Instead, she finds an egg with a warning:
You MUST let the egg hatch by itself. Do NOT hurry it and do NOT open the egg early-no matter how much noise it makes.

Goosebumps Most Wanted Special Edition #4:The Haunter By R.L. Stine for Ages 8–12
Sammy Baker, twelve, is a quiet kid who wishes he wasn’t so shy and timid. He is frightened but eager to prove he can be brave. On Halloween night, he follows his friends to the Barlow House, an abandoned mansion on the edge of the woods. It’s rumored a whole family died in the house many years before, and everyone knows there are ghosts there.
Just past midnight, he feels a cold tingle at the back of his neck. The cold seeps down, a heavy chill he has never felt before. Soon, his whole head feels like a block of ice. He’s about to scream — but the cold feeling vanishes. He realizes the others are watching him — because he’s panting so frantically.
Sammy doesn’t realize that his body has been invaded by a ghost known as The Haunter. The Haunter takes over Sammy’s brain and gives him instructions that he has to obey. But The Haunter’s commands become more and more dangerous. And then life-threatening. And to his horror, Sammy realizes The Haunter’s goal — to turn Sammy into a ghost, too!

October 20, 2016

Secret Passageways

Posted by at 1:53 am in Reads | Permalink

I grew up in an old house, full of history and antiques and tiny staircases. And, I was convinced, full of secrets, too. I just knew that if I searched hard enough, I’d uncover a hidden passageway to the shed out back — or, cooler yet, a secret underground path to the beach a few blocks away.

I long ago gave up my search, but luckily, hidden passageways and secret rooms feature in a lot of amazing books, so I can live vicariously through the characters who disappear, find treasure, or even step into different realms. Plus, reading all those books has taught me the best lessons I’ll need, should I ever discover a secret passageway of my own.

For example, I know what to listen for when I start knocking on walls in my search for a hidden trapdoor, and how to carefully run my fingers up and down any cracks in the wall, looking for the latch. That’s because I’ve read The Ghost at Dawn’s House (The Baby-sitters Club #9). I also know not to give my trust too freely to anyone I should meet if and when I finally find that secret passageway – because I’ve read Coraline.

Secret passages and hidden doors are everywhere in literature, including places like Hogsmeade (where a trapdoor in the cellar of Honeydukes lets Harry Potter and friends connect to a secret passage that leads them to Hogwarts), the city of Venice (which Amy and Dan Cahill discover in The 39 Clues Book 2: One False Note), and even hidden in plain sight behind a fireplace (like in The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless by Ahmet Zappa). You just have to know how to find them!

So do any of you have hidden passageways or secret rooms in your houses? Would you want to find them if you did? Leave a Comment and let me know!

— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer

October 19, 2016

Not-So-Scary Halloween Books

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

Halloween is an exciting time of year: fun costumes! Pumpkin carving! Yummy candy! Parties all month long! I know I spend at least half a year planning what I’ll dress up as on October 31st. But Halloween can also be a really frightening time of year, and spooky and scary isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe you’re not really into creepy ghost stories and gory movies—that’s totally okay! (Guess what? Me, neither.) Just because you don’t like getting your pants scared off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too. To celebrate the Halloween season, I’ve put together a list of books for a non-scary Halloween. These mysterious stories will take you on fantastic, wild adventures to get you in the Halloween spirit, but you’ll still be able to sleep at night (well, maybe with a night light).

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Young Jack is only just beginning to learn of his mysterious magical abilities when he and his little sister, Lucy, are kidnapped from their small village by berserkers. What follows next is a thrilling (and hilarious) adventure featuring man-eating spiders, dragons, troll bears, and Vikings—and a universe of creatures, powers, and myths that will forever change Jack’s life.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Baudelaire children—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—have had a run of very bad luck. Not only did their parents perish in the fire that claimed their house, they are sent to live with the horrible Count Olaf. It will take a lot of clever skill and determination for the Baudelaires to foil Olaf’s sinister plans to steal their inheritance, and a lot of teamwork, but they might just make it out of this chapter of their lives OK…for now!

The Witches by Roald Dahl
Thanks to his grandmother’s stories, a seven-year-old boy knows all about witches—REAL witches, not just the ones of stories! He knows how to tell if a human is really a witch in disguise, and knows that what witches hate more than anything else in the world is children. When he accidentally uncovers a truly terrible plot to rid England of all its children, it’s up to the boy to come up with a plan to stop the witches…though an unfortunate transformation is going to make it a lot harder than he thought!

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
Neighbors Digory and Polly are having a pretty wild summer. After accidentally stumbling into an alternate world (thanks to Digory’s Uncle Andrew and some magic rings), they find themselves in even further trouble when they awaken an evil queen with a sinister desire to take over the earth! This first book of the Chronicles of Narnia series will pull you in right away, introducing you to the incredible universe of Narnia and all its fantastic creatures.

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson
Five teenagers, used as models for holographic “guides” in the Disney World theme park, find themselves transported back to the park every night thanks to a bizarre technological glitch. They are tasked with battling an evil force called the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains intent on destroying the world. If you love fantasy, mystery, and all things Disney, this is definitely a must-read!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
When sixteen people are named as the heirs to the fortune of Samuel W. Westing, an eccentric millionaire who loved puzzles, they are divided into teams of two and tasked with solving a series of clues. The pair who solve the mystery first will inherit the entire fortune…but the heirs may be hiding some dark mysteries of their own!

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Serafina is a pro at staying hidden: she lives on the vast Biltmore Estate with her father, the estate’s maintenance man, completely unknown to the estate owners Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt. She knows all the secret corridors and passageways of the mansion, which she explores every night. So when children start disappearing from the estate, Serafina is the only one who knows which clues to follow…but is she willing to risk being discovered to save them? With mystery, suspense, and—yes!—magic, this book is sure to suck you in right away and whisk you off on a most fantastic journey.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Young orphan Hugo relies on being quick and staying undetected to survive in a busy Paris train station. He picks pockets, lives in the walls, and keeps the clocks running. But his world is about to change—and become a lot more visible—when he collides with the mysterious man who runs a toy booth in the station. A series of clues, including a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father, lead Hugo on a journey of discovery that will reveal not only more about the new people in his life, but his own past as well.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Eleven-year-old classmates Petra and Calder are fairly new friends, but they have so much in common—they love art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and even the same blue candy! So when a famous Vermeer painting is stolen on its way to Chicago, and the art thief leaves a series of clues in the public paper, the two decide to solve the mystery on their own…and with the clock ticking down and clues becoming more complicated by the day, it’s a race against time for the new dynamic duo!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Responding to a most peculiar ad in the newspaper, dozens of children sign up to take a series of competitive tasks to prove their gifted abilities—but only four make the cut. These four children are selected to join a super-secret society and tasked with a dangerous, mysterious mission: to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. There’s something very sinister afoot at the Institute, and only these four can stop it! Criminal masterminds, plans for world domination, and ultra-smart kids…what could possibly go wrong?

What do you think? Have you read any of the books on this list? Do you have any recommendations for not-so-scary Halloween books? Share your thoughts and picks in the Comments!

Have a very Happy Halloween!

En-Szu

October 12, 2016

Best Scary Books for Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

I’m the type of girl who’s usually first in line at the movie theater for the latest scary flick. I like to be spooked — ghosts are a particular favorite of mine, but I’ll make do with aliens, or even monsters.

Naturally, it’s no surprise that my bookshelves are lined with some super scary titles that I’ve read again and again — because the best scary stories are the ones that get scarier each time you read them!

So here are my top five favorite scary books for kids:

Thedollhousemurders5. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
Prepare yourselves, readers, for the scariest dollhouse you’ve ever encountered. After reading this tale about a girl whose dollhouse holds terrifying secrets, I spent many a dark night consumed with dread over whether my dolls would start whispering confessions to me. Sadly, or luckily, they never did.

Allthelovelybadones4. All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
I myself wasn’t a troublemaker as a kid, which I suppose is why I found it fascinating to read about characters like Travis and Corey, siblings who have been kicked out of summer camp for being pranksters. They spend the summer at their grandmother’s inn, and what starts off as just another prank — staging fake ghost sightings and charging tourists for them — quickly turns all-too-real when they realize the inn actually is haunted! Some truly frightening moments make this book suitable for slightly older readers.

Skeletonman3. Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac (ages 12 and up)
Not to be confused with the new book Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman (another scary tale that combines video with reading!), Skeleton Man is tense, creepy, and unexpected. It weaves together some Native American history with modern-day references (it was written in 2001), and even though it’s seriously scary, it’s refreshing to read about a gutsy young girl who sets out to solve the mystery of her missing parents.

Waittillhellencomes2. Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
What can I say — Mary Downing Hahn is a master at telling scary stories! I actually hadn’t read this title until a friend of mine recently reminisced about it, sealing the deal for me when she mentioned it was truly, seriously scary. And it is — all graveyards and hauntings, converted churches and legends . . . and I couldn’t put it down. This one is not for the faint of heart!

Graveyardbook

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ages 12 and up)
Sometimes the best reason to read a scary book is to learn that not all “scary” things are dangerous — or all that frightening. This 2009 Newbery Medal winner starts off with a terrifying scene, but ultimately, the ghosts of the graveyard prove themselves more humane than some of the actual humans in the book. Scary, sure, but also funny, captivating, and tender.

What are some of YOUR favorite scary reads?

— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer

October 5, 2016

Book Review: Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Posted by at 1:25 am in Reads | Permalink

Deep_and_dark_and_dangerous_130To get into the Halloween mood of October, one of the books I chose to read is Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn. Hahn’s book is definitely eerie. However, did it earn five stars? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

I don’t know about any of you, but cabins and camp sites have always freaked me out a little. They’re usually in the middle of nowhere with only a small town as the nearest outlet and are often surrounded by wooded areas. Every time I’ve been to a camp site or cabin, telling ghost stories is generally on the night’s agenda. So if you like ghost stories and mysteries, then you’ll like Deep and Dark and Dangerous.

Set in a small and quaint town in the northeast United States, Ali travels with her aunt and younger cousin to their long-deserted family cabin. Ali often wonders why her mother rarely mentions the cabin and why the family has not been back in so long. But against her mother’s orders, Ali decides to go, mainly just to get away from her controlling mom.

The cabin and lake seem pleasant at first and Ali is having a great time playing with her younger cousin, until a new girl, Sissy, shows up at the beach one day and claims Ali’s cousin for herself. Despite Ali’s happiness that her cousin has a new friend, Ali finds Sissy extremely cruel and disrespectful, not to mention strange as she just seems to appear out of nowhere.

The plot takes a strange and eerie turn as we find out more about Ali, her family, and Sissy. Once you’re finished reading story, you’ll definitely want to stay away from cabins and nearby lakes for a little while.

I give it 4.2 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M.

October 3, 2016

Start on Page 56

Posted by at 1:29 am in Reads, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writing PromptYou may be familiar with this game but if not, here is how it works:

  1. Grab the book closest to you. Now!
  2. Go to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Write that sentence as your comment, and say what book it’s from.

The most important thing is that you DO NOT go looking for your favorite book or the coolest one you have — just grab the closest one!

Here’s my contribution:
“I was painting one of the new dwarfs that one of Mum’s friends had bought me.”
From Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

So leave a Comment and let’s see what you come up with!

— Karen

September 30, 2016

The Best Female Superheroes

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

Ever since there have been novels, movies, and comic books, there have been superheroes — from Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey to Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or the comic book character, Superman, as written by Jerry Siegel. However, what do you notice from those examples? They are all male.

Well, here are my favorite female superheroes of all time.

She Ra, The Princess of Power
She Ra makes my list at number five because she is one of the very first female superheroes I was introduced to as a child. While fighting alongside her companion, He-Man, she possessed superhuman strength, amazing speed and agility, a healing touch, the ability to speak with animals telepathically, and a super awesome outfit as well.

Susan Richards, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman
If are familiar with Marvel Comics, then you know Susan Storm Richards, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman. This superhero ranks number four on the list because who wouldn’t want the ability to become invisible every once in a while?

Matilda Wormwood
As the main character in Roald Dahl’s book, Matilda, Matilda Wormwood comes in at number two not only due to her psychokinetic powers, but also because of her extreme intelligence. This 5-year-old not only knows how to read at a college level, but her powers help those in the path of the evil Miss Trunchbull.

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is one of the first female superheroes to take the comic book industry by storm. Created by DC Comics in 1944, Wonder Woman was initially depicted as fighting the Axis military forces in WWII. Wonder Woman has the following powers: super strength and hearing, lightning-fast speed, flight, superior combat skills, animal empathy, regeneration, resistance to magic, immunity to illusions, hypnosis and mind control, and the ability to discern truth. With her cunning ability to fight the forces of evil and save the world from harm, Wonder Woman has risen to take her spot as the number one greatest female superhero of all time.

Who makes your list of favorite superheroines?

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer