Category Archives: Writing Prompt

December 8, 2015

Too Much Homework?

Posted by at 1:38 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Do You Get Too Much Homework?

Kids today spend a lot of time doing homelike, like, A LOT, up to 2 hours a night sometimes! Even Kindergarteners and 1st graders get homework! What’s the deal?

According to the Center for Public Education, teachers assign homework because they believe that homework builds character, work habits, and study skills. Parents and teachers are also afraid that without homework, kids will spend all their time “watching television, instant-messaging, or playing video games.”

But too much homework can actually be harmful. The 2013 American Psychological Association survey found that 45 percent of U.S. schoolchildren were stressed-out by homework. The Center for Public Education says that for middle schoolers, the perfect amount of homework per night is 1 hour. More than that and it could start getting too stressful to really help you academically.

Some parents and school districts are starting to realize that maybe kids are doing too much. An elementary school in Gaithersburg, Md. banned homework in favor of 30 minutes of nightly reading. And some parents of younger kids are asking teachers if they can opt-out of homework altogether.

What do YOU think about homework? Tell us how much time you spend every night on homework and if you think it helps you to be a better student. Be honest!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

December 7, 2015

Best Gifts to Give and Get

Posted by at 1:51 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

10 Best Gifts to Give and Get!

Happy Holidays! You’re making a list and checking it twice. You’re pretty sure you’ve been less naughty and more nice. So you should be in good shape. But wait – what’s even on your list? And what will you be giving?  In case you need some ideas, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 10 Best Gifts to Give and Get for 2015. Drum roll please . . .

1. A pet! Always a big request, but animal rights groups advise against giving a live animal on Christmas Day. Giving a leash, or a good book on caring for the animal is a better idea for the actual day. Then you and your family can take the time to choose the right pet for you, and you can learn about the responsibility that goes into it! (There’s also Zoomer Zuppies, the Interactive Puppy which has been pretty popular.)

mini hoverboard

Two-Wheels Mini Hover Smart Self Balancing Scooters for Kids

2. Mini Hoverboard. These self-balancing motorboards seem like they’re straight from the future! They respond to your body’s slightest motions to move, but they don’t come cheap. ($400! Beware of the cheaper ones. Air Runner hoverboards were just recalled in Britain for safety concerns.) And you will definitely need a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads when you ride it.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: Never charge your hoverboard overnight or when you are not there because it could catch fire. And always give your hoverboard time to cool off after charging. Make sure your hoverboard is from a reputable brand and has a warranty. And read the safety instructions very carefully!!

3. Anything Star Wars. With the movie coming out on December 18, LEGO bricks, t-shirts, action figures, stuffed animals, and light sabers will all be popular. The Force is strong this season.


4. Shopkins. Already on Season 3, these tiny creatures have taken over. From the actual figures to the Ice Cream Truck and Supermarket Playset, you’re gonna need a bigger toy box. And they won’t break the bank. Look for Ultra Rare ones like Sugar Lump, Kooky Cookie, and Mandy Candy.

pie face

Hasbro Pie Face game

5.NERF Gun. OK, you are absolutely not allowed to shoot it AT PEOPLE, but for target practice, you can’t beat a NERF gun. Set up some cans and see how many you can knock down with the squishy “bullets.”

6.Spin Master QUICK CUPS Game. Super fun, quick, family board game. Draw a card, stack your colored cups to match the card, and ring the buzzer first.

7. Any Smartphone. Hey, a kid can dream, right?

8. Pie Face Game. (I am totally giving this one!) A hilarious board game where you could potentially, at any moment, get hit with a pie in the face.

LEGO Dimensions

© 2015 The LEGO Group; © DC Comics. THE LEGO MOVIE © WBEI. © New Line; © Universal Studios and U-Drive Joint Venture.

9. LEGO Dimensions Video Game (rated E10+). For Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Playstation 3 and 4. Following in the footsteps of Skylanders . . . it’s heeeere! Build the LEGO Gateway and then play the game starring Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle. Expansion packs include Emmet, Cragger, and many other LEGO characters.

10. Cookies! Who doesn’t love to get holiday cookies or make holiday cookies? Make your favorites, or be creative, and watch your friends’ and family’s faces light up as they gush over how awesome a baker you are. Package them in cute holiday bags or boxes, and cover them with Hershey’s Kisses for maximum gift-giving effect. And Rice Krispie Treats totally count.

What are YOUR best gifts to give and receive?  Let us know your faves in the Comments below. Happy holidays!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

November 24, 2015

10 Problems Only Harry Potter Fans Understand

Posted by at 1:24 am in Harry Potter, Writing Prompt | Permalink
10 harry potter problems

Illustration by Mary GrandPre

You know who you are. You fell in love at the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and you never looked back. But there are some things that people who have not read Harry Potter just don’t understand about you . . .

  1. You wish Hogwarts were real and you desperately want to get your Hogwarts letter.
  2. You try seriously hard to do magic and are frustrated when your “wand” (a.k.a. stick) does not work.
  3. Dobby, Fred Weasley, Professor Lupin, Snape, and Tonks.
  4. Trying to explain Quidditch to your non-Harry Potter friends so you can play it at recess.
  5. The movie did not include your favorite line or scene from the book.
  6. You scream while watching the movies, “That didn’t happen in the book!”
  7. When someone says, “JK” (for just kidding), you think, “Rowling.”
  8. You are desperately waiting for J.K. Rowling to write another children’s book.
  9. If it’s not Harry-related, you kind of don’t want to talk about it.
  10. Nothing else you read is ever as good as Harry Potter.

Can YOU relate to any of these? Leave a Comment to tell us your problems that only other Harry Potter fans understand!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

November 9, 2015

7 Meanest Children's Book Villains

Posted by at 1:11 am in Reads, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Are the villains in children’s books too mean? To help you answer that question, I’ve compiled a list of the top seven most evil children’s book villains. Some of these characters are so deliciously evil, it’s no wonder that they have all made it from books to the big screen.

#7: Jadis, The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

jadis-the-white-witch Her character is supposed to be a tall Amazonian woman with pretty features and great strength, but for all that beauty, inside lives a very dark and ice-cold heart. She turns people and animals to stone and then uses them for home décor. Who does that? Also, did you know that the fur collar she wears is actually Aslan’s mane? Yeah, that’s mean! Continue reading

October 26, 2015

Book-Inspired Halloween Candy

Posted by at 1:51 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Book-Inspired Halloween Candy

Halloween is coming! At the STACKS, it’s a perfect opportunity to combine our two favorite things in the world into . . . book-inspired candy!

In case you missed it, this past summer we did something similar with book-inpsired ice cream flavors. You guys had some really clever ideas (Warrior Cat Mice Cream, anyone?), so now, check out our list of book-inspired candy below!

Percy’s Peppermint Pattie
The oh-so-amazing combination of yummy, yummy chocolate and minty creme gets a new twist with a bolt of unexpected flavor: ambrosia! Just be sure not to eat too many. You don’t want to be too sluggish to outrun any Minotaurs or vengeful evil demigods!

Harry Butterfinger
The crispy, peanut buttery center of this candy bar is more than just simply delicious—it contains a spell! Each bar gives you a temporary magical power . . . but you’ll never know which one until you eat it. Will you shrink to the size of an ant? Become invisible? Shape-shift into a cat? Who knows!

Kane Crunch
Delightful, fit-for-the-gods milk chocolate is packed with a blend of nuts, toffee, and crispy rice in this candy bar that is imprinted with magical hieroglyphics. If you (like me) aren’t really able to read hieroglyphics, they’re just really awesome decoration, but if you, say, happen to be descended from Egyptian gods, you’ll be able to enjoy the secret messages each bar contains.

Land of Lollies
Each of these sparkly, unusually flavored lollipops tastes like a different fairy tale. Will it taste like Goldilocks’ just-right porridge? The breadcrumb trail that Hansel and Gretel left behind? The sea in which the Little Mermaid lived? Unwrap one to find out!

The 39 Clues Candy Corn
It tastes just like regular candy corn. However, each package contains—you guessed it!—a clue that will bring you one step closer to becoming the most powerful person on earth.

What book-inspired candy do YOU want to invent? Share your ideas in the Comments below!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

October 19, 2015

Oliver, the Halloween Cat

Posted by at 1:34 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Oliver, the Halloween Cat

Is this cat wearing a Halloween costume or is he a witch cat all year long? What spells and potions do you think he is imagining under that sparkly witch’s hat?

Halloween Cat

Flickr photo courtesy of Natalle Barletta

Here is my caption:

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. . . or maybe I’ll just take a nap.”

Leave your caption for Oliver the Halloween cat in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

October 13, 2015

Maisie Dog Create a Caption

Create a caption for this adorable dog, Maisie!

Hi, there! This puppy seems like she is going on her own outdoor adventure! What would you say she is thinking in that cute, furry head?

Maisie Dog

Here’s my caption: “Watch out, world! I’m off my leash and ready to take over this dog park!”

Write YOUR caption in the Comments below!

Megan, STACKS Intern