October 14, 2016

Fantastic Beasts Fan Event

Posted by at 1:15 pm in Harry Potter, Movies & TV | Permalink

Eddie Redmayne as Newt ScamanderI have seen the first 10 minutes of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  movie (rated PG-13), and it is EPIC! I was at a worldwide fan event for the new movie in New York City with a whole theater full of Harry Potter fans. Other fans around the world participated, and I can tell you there were wands waving, screams of excitement when a surprise guest appeared (Hint: Her name begins with J.), and even some hyperventilating in the New York theater during this event.fantastic beasts fan event

Watch the highlight video!

For reals, guys! I was there! Am I a lucky no-maj, or what? Leave a Comment and tell us how excited you are for this movie!


October 13, 2016

Create a Caption: Oh Brother!

Posted by at 1:30 am in Create a Caption, Writing Prompt | Permalink

CreateacaptionFor those of you who have brothers or have friends with brothers, don’t brothers act like they are invincible? I don’t know about you, but ever since I was little, growing up with my older brother, he’s always been the take-charge type. Forget about what I wanted to do because it was either his way or the highway.

Even to this day, twenty-some years later, he still thinks like he’s some sort of almighty sibling, and I have the picture below to prove it!


Since my brother thinks he’s so superior (HAHA) standing atop those rocks, fill in what you think he’s saying.

— Carly M.

October 12, 2016

Best Scary Books for Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!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!


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 11, 2016

Monstober Would You Rather


The Disney Channel gets spooky this month with a ton of new Halloween themed shows, movies, and fan favorites. We thought we’d unleash this monstrous news on you with some Would You Rather “Monstober” style.

Would You Rather …

1. Turn into a werewolf in school and go crazy OR have one of your toys turn into a doll-zombie and follow you everywhere?

Best Friends Whenever tackles this very difficult werewolf scenario in “Night of the Were-Diesel.” Syd accidentally gets wolf serum on herself and turns into a werewolf! Now Shelby has to stop her before she destroys the school’s Halloween carnival. (Monday October 17th, repeats all month)

2. Be at a camp where the campers keep mysteriously disappearing OR be chased by a weird chef with a meat cleaver?

Bunk’d “Camp Kiki-Slasher” has the campers disappearing one by one. And the promo features the weird chef with the meat cleaver. Yikes! (Friday October 7th, repeats all month)

3. Do rhythmic gymnastics OR ice hockey?

Check out the new original movie The Swap featuring a gymnast and an ice hockey star. When they text-argue about whose life and sport is easier, a weird glitch makes them switch bodies! With a gymnastic championship and hockey team tryouts on the line, they have to figure out how to get back in their own bodies before the switch becomes permanent. (Oct. 7th, on Demand)

4. Monsters Inc. OR Monsters U?

Both are awesome, but tune in to Monsters U on Oct. 9th!

5. Be a Ghostbuster and catch ghosts OR a Ghost Patrol and catch animal-spirit ghosts?

Catch the one-hour animated special Ghost Patrol where Gabi, Spence, and Spooky the Dog are their town’s supernatural pest control. They’ve never seen a real ghost, but that might all change when they are called to investigate the old Geist Manor… (Oct. 9th)

6. Run a mysterious lodge in the country OR a trendy hotel in the city?

The new series from Disney Channel UK/England called The Lodge looks pretty awesome. After her mother dies, a girl returns to the lodge her mother was raised in years ago and takes part in running it. But she finds everything is not as it seems to be. Looks musical, tech-y, trendy, and FUN! (Oct.17th)

7. Be the child of a Disney hero OR Disney villain?

Fan favorite movie Descendants features the children of Disney movie princesses and villains at boarding school. Also look for the animated shorts called Descendants; Wicked World. There is a new one “Slumber Party.” (Oct. 21st)

8. Have your soul trapped in a haunted cabinet OR get turned into a monster?

Check out R.L. Stine’s movie Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls where a travelling Hall of Horrors, run by the crazy Dr. Hysteria, is turning teenagers into monsters and trapping their souls in a cabinet backstage. (Oct. 29th)

Other highlights from Monstober include movies Halloweentown, My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Twitches, Toy Story 3. Plus Halloween episodes of Liv and Maddie, and Bizaardvark. Also look for Halloween makeup tutorials, DIY projects, and Disney star makeovers “Monstrosity Makeovers.”

Let us know your answers to the “Would You Rather” questions in the Comments below!


October 10, 2016

Creepy Graveyards and Halloween Stories

Posted by at 1:45 am in Polls | Permalink

Happy HalloweenTales From the Graveyard . . .

The Spooky Cemetery: Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Maine
During the War of 1812, the U.S. captured the ship HMS Boxer from England. The captain of Boxer, named Samuel Blyth, died during the attack. So did the U.S. Commander who led the attack against him, William Burrows. The two enemies were buried side by side in the Eastern Cemetery of Portland, Maine in 1813. But some things even death cannot finish. It is said that their spirits still do not get along. Their ghosts rise from their graves each night and yell at each other. Maybe they’re arguing about who is the better commander. But we’ll most likely never know because they disappear into the night …whenever the living appear.

The Spooky Curse: The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb
Ever since the Ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922 in Egypt, stories say that those who dared to enter his tomb would be terribly cursed with bad luck, illness, or even death. The English Lord Carnarvon, who funded King Tut’s excavation, died in Cairo, Egypt five months after the tomb was discovered. Rumors say that on the night he died, Carnarvon’s dog in England let out a howl and died herself. Many other members of the archaeological team also perished. Whether or not the deaths were related to scientific reasons like bacteria, mosquito infections, natural causes … or King Tut’s curse remain to be proven.

The Spooky Voodoo Queen: Marie Laveau
A 200-year-old cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana houses the tomb of the mysterious “Voodoo Priestess” Marie Laveau, who lived from 1794-1881. It was said her mystical powers mixed Catholic Saints with African Spirits and could heal or cause harm. She became one of the most powerful, influential, and feared women in Louisiana. Some people now believe that Laveau’s ghost will grant them a wish if they draw an X on her tomb, turn around three times, knock on the tomb, and yell out their wish. If the wish comes true, they have to return to the tomb, circle their X, and leave Laveau an offering. If you visit her grave today, you’ll notice many offerings, candles, flowers, and Voodoo dolls, all in thanks for Laveau’s supernatural blessings. She is buried at St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans, which is believed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in America.

The Haunted Burial: Rufina Cambaceres
The Cementario de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was meant to house the rich and famous, such as the young girl named Rufina Cambaceres. In 1902, Rufina was buried alive after she was mistakenly pronounced dead! Once her body was found trying to escape her tomb, her father redesigned her tomb to resemble his daughter trying to escape it. It’s now believed that Rufina haunts the place and goes around digging up other graves in order to make sure that no one is buried alive.

After reading these spooky, and possibly true stories, tell us . . . are you afraid of graveyards?


October 9, 2016

Halloween Activities

Posted by at 1:01 am in News | Permalink

halloweenHalloween Activities on the STACKS!

The spookiest day of the year is coming on October 31. Here are a few Halloween activities and links to get you ready. If you need costume ideas, we got ‘em; scary books, we got ‘em. We even have a personality quiz to find out what monster you are most like!

This just in . . . these Halloween Would You Rather questions from PurpleWizard50:

Would you rather . . . .

  1. Dress up as a pink princess OR a yellow bumblebee?
  2. Get one small yummy candy bar OR a giant bar of yucky candy?
  3. Turn into a werewolf OR a vampire?
  4. Eat 2000 candy bars in a minute OR eat 30 old pieces of licorice in one minute?
  5. Meet a mummy OR Frankenstein?

If you have ideas for blog posts, go to the STACK Back Message Board and submit them! Have a safe and fun Halloween!

October 7, 2016

Top 10 Professor McGonagall Quotes

Posted by at 10:30 am in Harry Potter, Writing Prompt | Permalink

professor-mcgonagallHappy Birthday, Professor McGonagall!

Happy Birthday on October 8 to one of our favorite teachers of all time – Minerva McGonagall!

Born half-blood to a Muggle father and witch mother, she attended Hogwarts from 1947-1954. She was engaged to be married but ran away to work for the Ministry of Magic. Years later, she married another man – her old boss at The Ministry of Magic, but he was tragically bitten by a deadly Venomous Tentacula. She then threw herself into her work as Hogwarts Transfiguration Professor, advisor and close friend to Dumbledore, and head of Gryffindor. To celebrate, we’re rolling out our Top 10 Professor McGonagall Quotes as written by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series.

  1. “He’ll be famous—a legend—I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future—there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!” (Sorcerer’s Stone)
  2. “Potter, this is Oliver Wood. Wood – I’ve found you a Seeker.” (Sorcerer’s Stone)
  3. “Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Potter.” (Sorcerer’s Stone)
  4. ‘We’ll leave it to you, then, Gilderoy, Tonight will be an excellent time to do it. We’ll make sure everyone’s out of your way. You’ll be able to tackle the monster all by yourself. A free reign at last. (Chamber of Secrets)
  5. “Sybill Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class.” (Prisoner of Azkaban)
  6. “You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don’t let you off homework today. I assure you that if you do die, you need not hand it in.” (Prisoner of Azkaban)
  7. “Moody, is that a student? Moody, we never use transfiguration as a punishment!” (Goblet of Fire)
  8. “Are you quite sure you wouldn’t like a cough drop, Dolores? (Order of the Phoenix)
  9. “We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.” (Deathly Hallows)
  10. “Hogwarts is threatened! Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!” (Deathly Hallows

Do you see any of your faves? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below. Class dismissed!


Image courtesy Warner Bros.

October 7, 2016

SPONSORED POST Star Banks Adventure

Posted by at 9:54 am in Games | Permalink

T.RoweThis blog post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price.

Mysterious planets, an alien mentor, and a robot shopkeeper—sounds like the ingredients to an amazing sci-fi story, right? It’s also the foundation for a new swipe-and-match game called Star Banks Adventure! Watch the trailer.

Like all great games, Star Banks Adventure is packed with choices for you to make. But every choice has a consequence, so be careful! You’ll need to partner with Odal, an alien guide, to stop Overlord Zek, the evil mastermind bent on causing financial chaos. Use different Star Banks to collect coins and build space devices to save the galaxy from financial chaos. I can’t wait to see what comes next! Click here to check it out.

Accompanied by spacey music and a storyline that unfolds as you go, Star Banks Adventure is a blast!

This free game was created by T. Rowe Price as part of their Money Confident Kids Program, which focuses on helping kids better understand money. It can be played online or on mobile devices through iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

October 6, 2016

Create A Caption Panda

Posted by at 1:48 am in Create a Caption, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Oh, New York City . . . There is always so much to see! Whether it be the New York Public Library, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, a man dressed up in a panda suit, Columbus Circle, Wall Street, or Times Square, one’s eyes could never get bored. Hold it and back up . . . a man in a panda suit? Yep, that’s right! Such is everyday life in the city that never sleeps . . .

I know that when I spotted this spectacle, I was definitely thinking, “What in the world is a man doing dressed up in a panda suit in the middle of Times Square?!” I just wonder what he was thinking.

So it’s time to participate in: “What In The World Was That Guy/Panda Thinking?”


Leave a comment with what you think goes in the thought bubble.

— Carly M.

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.