October 10, 2016

Creepy Graveyards and Halloween Stories

Posted by at 1:45 am in Polls | Permalink

Tales 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.

October 4, 2016

Spooky Book Blurb Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:04 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

It Was  Dark and Stormy Night . . . .

Have fun with this cover for a completely nonexistent book by an absolutely nonexistent author:


Now it’s up to YOU to write the description for the back cover. If this were a real book, what would it be about? Leave a comment with your book blurb — if you dare. . .

— Karen

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

September 29, 2016

Book Swap Party

Posted by at 1:52 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

Want to start a new tradition with your friends? How about a book swap party? For those always on the hunt for the next great read, a book swap is the way to go.

Here’s how it works:

  • Invite a group of 1-5 friends.
  • Provide book-based snacks like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hot chocolate or a bowl of Bertie Bott’s jelly beans.
  • Everyone brings at least one great read to swap – it can be new, used, dog-eared, whatever, as long as all the pages are there. Feel free to bring more than one title because the ultimate goal is to match every swapper up with a fabulous book.

Get creative with how to match up friends with books. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have each swapper create a short “personality quiz” (like this one) to see who’s best suited to the book.
  • Try a “Yankee Swap.” Draw numbers out of a bag. Person 1 gets first pick, but Person 2 can choose from the pile OR grab Person 1′s pick – and so on.
  • Make connections with other books your guests have already read and loved. Here are some pairings to get you started:
Harry Potter If you liked sinking into all seven Harry Potter books, try The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. The Dark is Rising
The Calder Game If you liked going to England with The Calder Game by Blue Balliett, try The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Inkdeath If you liked the characters with amazing abilities in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, try Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke.
The Lightning Thief
A Series of Unfortunate Events If you liked the quirky twists in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, try The 39 Clues series. The 39 Clues

Cap off your book swap festivities with crafty fun like bookmark-making. (You supply the thick paper, stickers, and glitter glue.) Or pop in a book-based movie like The Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, pop some corn and settle in.

Are you planning a book swap? Be sure to Comment and let us know how it goes.

— Amy