Everyone has a favorite character in a favorite book or series. I really, really love Stacey McGill from The Baby-sitters Club. She’s from New York City, like me, and she’s sophisticated, cool, and really smart! But Stacey, while my character of choice, is not my favorite Baby-sitters Club dresser. Not that what someone wears is what defines her coolness—like I said, I love Stacey for her fun attitude and cleverness! But over the course of 131 book covers, these girls showed some serious style and it’s totally worth another look at what our other favorite girls from Stoneybrook were wearing. Here are my five favorite Baby-sitters Club book cover outfit moments: Continue reading
2014 Newbery Medal Winner
The Newbery Medal is awarded every year by a committee of librarians to recognize “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Past winners have included The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Holes by Louis Sachar. Last year’s winner was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
This year’s winner was just announced today, and the 2014 Newbery Medal goes to . . .
You might recognize the author’s name because she also wrote Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Magician’s Elephant, and a bunch of books for younger kids, too.
Have you read Flora and Ulysses yet? Do YOU think it was the best American children’s book published in 2013? If you were on the committee voting for the 2014 Newbery Medal, which book would YOU have chosen? (Remember, only books published in 2013 by writers in America are eligible.) Let us know in the Comments.
Dear STACKS Readers,
Over the years, I have written about the brave owls of Ga’Hoole, the noble wolves of the Beyond, and now . . . horses! Why horses? Well, when I was growing up, I loved horse stories, but I longed for a story told from a horse’s perspective. I wanted to know: What does it feel like to gallop? What does it sound like to pound across a plain with your herd?
There were no humans in Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Wolves of the Beyond. That allowed me to focus on the animals and build worlds that explored the species’ complex societies, free from any human influence.
However, the history of horses is inextricably linked to human history, which presented a unique challenge. Unlike owls or wolves, horses have been “domesticated” for centuries. Oh yes, there are “wild” mustangs in the western U.S., but they are the descendants of the first horses that came to America, and they only became wild after they escaped from captivity. These horses had to learn how to forage or gallop without shoes. Thinking about this, I became fascinated by the idea of a herd that broke away from its human masters. How would the horses survive? How long would it take for their “wild” instincts to emerge? Before I knew it, I had begun the Horses of the Dawn series.
The first book, Escape, is the story of the first horses that came to North America with the Conquistadores. Specifically, it’s the story of one filly named Estrella, who, along with six other horses, is tossed overboard from a ship bound for the New World.
The horses swim to shore, and for the first time, they have to make decisions for themselves. There are no humans, no whips, no spurs to tell them what to do. Estrella becomes the unlikely leader of the herd, though that is only the beginning of her adventure. Essentially, Escape is a story of self-discovery and homecoming, as one young horse finds the strength to lead the herd to freedom, to claim their destiny as the Horses of the Dawn.
Read Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy it!
Bernie is a budding artist who is spending her summer working at her family’s home-run Monument Company. Her dad carves headstones for graves. Bernie doesn’t have many friends – there isn’t much room to play in a backyard full of granite – but she is preoccupied with discovering the truth about a new mystery man named Mr. Stein who is working for her father.
Abbot Stein appeared out of nowhere one day with a granite carving of a woman so life-like it took Bernie’s breath away. Her father hired Mr. Stein on the spot to do engravings for the headstones. Bernie can’t figure out how Mr. Stein captures the essence of the deceased with only a chisel and a hammer, but she is determined to find out. So she spies on him.
Through her spying, Bernie finds out something fishy about Mr. Stein. He is carving portraits of people right before they die! This could only mean one of two things: 1) Mr. Stein is foretelling death, or 2) he is causing death in Stratwood! How else could he know the people were going to die?
Is someone Bernie cares about going to be the next victim? Read this spooky tale for ages 8-12 to find out! Chapter 1 Sneak Peek
—Elysse, STACKS Writer
It is Billy’s dream to be like his father, a famous botanist in the American colonies who specializes in studying strange and unusual plant life. His garden has plants and visitors from around the world, including famous men like Ben Franklin. Billy always hoped his father would invite him to go on one of his expeditions in the wilderness, so he is thrilled when his father invites him to go on an unusual expedition: to find the lost kingdom of Prince Madoc.
Legend says that the Welsh Prince Madoc sailed to the New World and started a kingdom in Ohio centuries before Columbus. Billy’s father is a member of a secret society of patriots that wants to find the mythical Welsh-speakers and gain them as allies in the French and Indian War.
A crew of philosophers (and one stowaway girl) board a flying airship for their search. But the journey to the American frontier is full of dangers. Along the way, they encounter spies, traitors, French soldiers, and mythical wild beasts. How will they fare on their treacherous journey? Read the first chapter and let us know what you think in the Comments.
—Elysse, STACKS Writer
I know it’s super-cold out right now, but spring is right around the corner, and I can’t wait! Not just because I’m tired of bundling up so that I look like a polar bear every day, but because spring is a time for fresh starts: new adventures, new ideas, new goals, and…new books! Yay for new books! Here are some titles I’m really excited to read in 2014. Continue reading
“And as it got closer to Japan’s coast, it got bigger. It grew and grew, until it was a monstrous wall of water, dozens of feet high, hundreds of miles long. It destroyed everything in its path.”
Since his father died in a car crash, Ben is a different person. He alienates his friends and teammates; he no longer takes pleasure from his favorite game – basketball. Ben doesn’t make time for his five-year-old brother Harry either, and his mother is concerned. She decides to take the boys to his father’s hometown, Shogahama, Japan. His great-Uncle Ojisan tries to take their minds off of Ben’s dad’s death, but Ben’s grief is too strong.
One day during his visit, there is a massive earthquake. From California, Ben is used to earthquakes, but this one is stronger than any other he has experienced before. Then, the unthinkable happens: a tsunami comes rushing towards them and he becomes separated from everyone. Stuck in a village where he does not know the language, will he ever be reunited with his family?
–Elysse, STACKS Writer
Last year, we asked STACKS readers to vote for the title of an upcoming Whatever After book. Author Sarah Mlynowski appreciated your help so much that you get to pick the title of the sixth book in the series, too! That’s right, YOU get to decide the title of the next Whatever After book!
For those of you not familiar with the series, in each book Abby and her younger brother visit a different fairy tale and accidentally mess up the stories. They have to fix everything so the characters can have their happy endings.
Book 6 takes Abby to the story of Beauty and the Beast. Which do you think would be the best title for the story?
- Sitting Pretty
- Beauty Queen
UPDATE: This poll is now closed. The winner is Beauty Queen! Thanks for voting! Visit scholastic.com/whateverafter to learn more about the books and to play the dress up game.
You know when you find an amazing book, and you never want it to end? How do you find another book to read after that? Our answer: Readalikes to the rescue! We hope our Readalikes will rescue you from the what-to-read-next question, and help you find lots of new amazing books.
In A Series of Unfortunate Events Book #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, a greedy relative will stop at nothing to ensure he gets the inheritance left to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. However, he doesn’t realize that their cleverness outmatches his!
There are 13 books in A Series of Unfortunate Events, plus a movie starring Jim Carrey, but once you’ve finished all those, what to read next? Look for these other exciting books for ages 9-12 about smart, brave kids going on adventures and solving mysteries.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Four children are selected for a secret undercover mission while attending the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. See also the other books in the Mysterious Benedict Society series.
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
When foster child Alcatraz turns 13, he starts a crazy adventure against evil librarians, and reveals a secret talent, and a call to save the world from destruction. See also the other books in the Alcatraz series.
Larklight by Philip Reeve
Someone is out to destroy the solar system, and Arthur and his sister Myrtle are determined to foil their plans.
Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E Basye
After dying in a freak marshmallow bear explosion, Milton and his sister Marlo are sent to Heck, a reform school for the no-longer-living – and they can’t wait to escape. See also the other books in the Circles of Heck series.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
It’s fairies vs. a 12-year-old evil genius mastermind who is trying to steal their gold. But he has no idea what he is up against! See also the other books in the Artemis Fowl series.
Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart
After feeling like he never fit in, Twig learns that he was adopted by his Woodtroll family. He sets out on an adventure outside of Deepwoods to find where he belongs. See also the other books in The Edge Chronicles.
Trolls by Polly Horvath
Eccentric Aunt Sally comes from Canada to babysit the Anderson children while their parents are on a trip to Paris. Every night, her bedtime story adds another piece to a very suspicious family history.
Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng
Orphan Molly Moon discovers she has the ability to hypnotize just about anyone to believe just about anything – so she uses her newfound powers to become famous.
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Two orphan brothers have a magical adventure after they flee their aunt and join a criminal ring of street children.
Whales on Stilts by M. T. Anderson
Killer tarantulas, an army of whales, screaming ventriloquists are just some of the crazy characters featured in these stories. Take a walk on the wild side with these crazy detective stories. See also the other books in the Thrilling Tales series.
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Three sisters are running from the evil Dr. DeWilde, searching for a way to keep him from taking control of the entire land.
Hope you like our Readalikes!
–Emily, Scholastic Booktalker
At the end of November I asked you to share which books you were reading so we could all see which titles were most popular. Then I made a word cloud so we could all see—I think there were a lot of ties! It seems Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are still leading the pack.
Let’s keep this going. Tell me in the Comments the titles of the books you’re reading right now, and I’ll make another word cloud at the end of next month. Can’t wait to see what title reigns supreme next time!
–En-Szu, STACKS Staffer