January 21, 2016

Winter Weather Weekends

Posted by at 4:07 pm in Games, News | Permalink

winterWinter Weather Weekends

Are you ready for the winter weather? Winter Storm Jonas is coming to the East Coast! I am ready with a nice, big pile of books to read, some hot cocoa mix, and all the ingredients needed to bake something yummy.The forecast calls for fun!

Here are some other ideas for things to do on a snowy weekend.

What do you have planned for this snowy weekend? Tell us in the Comments. Whatever you do, please stay safe and warm!

January 21, 2016

A Helping 3-D Hand

Posted by at 1:48 am in News | Permalink
Scholastic News Kids Press CorpsA Helping 3-D Hand By Lilian Jochmann

A little girl gets a life-changing gift.

It all started in 2013, when Shea Stollenwerk, then eight years old, asked for a new hand for Christmas. Shea was born with a partial right hand, which restricts her ability to do things that other kids take for granted.

Shea practices picking up objects with her new hand. Photo courtesy of Frankie Flood.

“My mom went online” to look for help, says Shea, who lives in Mukowango, Wisconsin. Shea’s mother, Ranee, soon learned about a community of artists, designers, and scientists who are making big breakthroughs with prosthetic (artificial) hands.

Frankie Flood, a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, was among the designers who saw Ranee’s online request. Flood enlisted help from fellow professor Adream Blair and their students, who were learning how to make designs using a 3-D printer, a device that can create layers of material, like plastic or metal, one on top of the other, to produce solid objects.

“We made a mold of Shea’s hand out of plaster,” Flood explains about the beginning of the process. “We made a cast, and then we 3-D scanned her hand.”

A LOW-COST SOLUTION

Flood emphasizes that Shea’s “robo-hand” is not like devices that medical professionals make for people who have lost limbs. Such devices can cost thousands of dollars, whereas a “robo-hand” can be printed for less than $50.

While being fitted in Flood’s laboratory, Shea got to choose the color of her new hand. She went with bright pink. She now has a pink hand, a purple hand, and a purple and pink one, and can do things that she couldn’t do before, like peel potatoes, pick up objects, and catch a ball.

Flood and his team have since built hands for six other local children. Indirectly, they have helped dozens more, by posting their designs online so that people around the world can print them out. Flood is also working on prosthetic legs for military veterans who were injured on the battlefield. “Without a covering, the [prosthetic] leg is kind of ugly and plain,” Flood says. “Soldiers want something that will restore the shape of their leg and make it cooler to look at when they’re playing sports.”

As for Shea, the aspiring musician can now play her viola with help from an adaptive device that Flood’s team created. “Nothing is ever going to hold her back,” Shea’s father, Steve, told a local reporter. “She is going to do what she wants to do, and we are going to be there to help her.”

January 20, 2016

Ranger in Time #3: Long Road to Freedom

Posted by at 1:12 am in Reads | Permalink

Ranger in TimeRanger in Time #3: Long Road to Freedom

Everybody’s favorite time-traveling dog is back in the newest installment of Ranger in Time! Ranger has traversed the Oregon Trail and escaped the Roman Colosseum, and now he’s back to help two kids navigate the Underground Railroad!

In this adventure, Ranger travels to a Maryland plantation during the time of American slavery, where he meets a young girl named Sarah. When Sarah learns that the plantation owner has plans to sell her little brother, Jesse, to a plantation in the Deep South, it means they could be separated forever. Sarah takes their future into her own hands and decides there’s only one way to run—north.

Will Sarah and Jesse make it to freedom? Anything is possible with Ranger at their side! Start reading an excerpt from Ranger in Time #3: Long Road to Freedom!

January 19, 2016

Problems Only Dog Lovers Understand

Posted by at 1:36 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Problems Only Dog Lovers Understand

Do you have a dog? Or just love dogs in general? Then you know there are some problems that non-dog people just don’t get. Can you relate to any of these problems that only dog lovers understand?Dog Problems

  1. You toss food on the floor of restaurants because you forget your dog isn’t there to eat your leftovers.
  2. You have enough hair all over your bed to make an entire wig.
  3. When someone yells, “Fetch!” you look around for flying balls.
  4. Your windows are always smudgy from your dog’s nose prints.
  5. There’s a giant drool spot on the couch where you were about to sit.
  6. Those sad, sad puppy eyes break your heart every morning when you have to leave for school.
  7. It is sometimes embarrassing when friends come over and your dog acts INSANE!
  8. Your foot is asleep right now because your dog is sitting on it and won’t get up!
  9. You have to hide your favorite shoes because your dog thinks they are chew toys.
  10. It is minus 20 degrees out and you have to go walk your dog in the snow. Brrr!

Can you relate to any of these? Let us know YOUR problems that only other dog lovers would understand!

-Ratha

January 17, 2016

Spreading Smiles

Posted by at 10:48 am in News | Permalink
Scholastic News Kids Press CorpsSpreading Smiles by Esther Appelstein

In 2006, sculptor Mark Borella felt helpless when his friends’ son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Borella wanted to give the friends something to honor their son, but he couldn’t think of anything suitable. Finally, he turned to a jar of leftover clay and molded the clay into smiles.

On the last day of the young man’s life, Borella brought a handful of smiles to his friends’ house. “I know there is nothing I can say or do to make you feel better,” he said. “So I thought I would bring you some smiles to help you get your smile back. I call them ‘Seeds of Happiness.’”

When word spread about the little sculptures, and people kept asking to buy them, Borella decided to start a business. Soon, his staff grew too large for his house, and Seeds of Happiness settled into a small building in St. Louis, Missouri, where about a dozen people work.

“We’re very laid back,” says employee Sophie Williamson. “We have a lot of fun. We always say that all this fun we have, we put it right back into our work.”

Each month, Seeds of Happiness ships more than 40,000 “seeds” to customers in the United States, Canada, Germany, England, Australia, and elsewhere. The company also sells T-shirts, caps, and other clothing.

“Leprechaun Seeds of Happiness” in the making

“Leprechaun Seeds of Happiness” in the making

MAKING SMILES

To make a seed, clay is shaped into a ball, and then the eyes and mouth are drawn in. “We poke the eyes with chopsticks,” says Borella. Next, an employee adds other features, like a hat or a beard. The seed is then put into a kiln to bake. About 15,000 seeds are baked at a time.

When the seeds come out of the kiln, an employee presses the bottom of each one so that the figure can stand up. The seeds are then baked a second time. Finally, they are painted and ready to be shipped.

“Everything in here,” says Borella, “is based on smiles, happiness, and being funny.”

January 15, 2016

Exclusive Hotel Transylvania 2 Featurette

Posted by at 1:00 am in Movies & TV | Permalink

Hotel Transylvania 2 dvdHotel Transylvania 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Hotel Transylvania 2 fans will want to check this out! The Blu-ray and DVD version of the movie is in stores and we have 2 new video featurettes about the making of the movie.

Hotel Transylvania 2 character effects video

Video courtesy Sony Pictures Animation

In the video featurettes, director Genndy Tartakovsky and his animation team walk us through amazing visuals which show how they created the lighting, animation, character effects, simulation techniques, and more.

Future animators, pay close attention! This might be your job someday! Watch the videos!

So cool, right? Leave a Comment to tell us what you think!

 

January 14, 2016

Teens for Jeans

Posted by at 1:16 am in Kid Power | Permalink

Kids Collect Jeans for Teens!Teen for Jeans

Over 1.5 million teens and children are homeless. One of the items they need most is a pair of jeans. YOU can make a difference by helping to clothe homeless youth.

Teens for Jeans is a campaign to help get YOU involved!

  • WHAT: Jeans. Check your closet for jeans that don’t fit you anymore. Run a drive at your school, place of worship, or local community center to collect as many pairs of jeans as you can!
  • WHERE: Drop off all pairs at your local Aéropostale or P.S. from Aéropostale clothing store.
  • WHEN: Now through February 10th, 2016

Make a difference!  This winter YOU can help collect jeans for kids and teens who really need them!

—Amanda, STACKS Intern

January 13, 2016

Race the Wild

Posted by at 2:16 pm in Reads | Permalink

Rain Forest RelayRace the Wild: Rain Forest Relay by Kristin Earhart (for ages 7-10)

On a once-in-a-lifetime race through the animal kingdom, it takes smarts, strength, and skill to win!

When Russell entered the race, he knew it was going to be a wild ride. Especially the first race course! He’d been studying up on the Amazon’s animals and culture forever. But nothing could prepare him or his teammates for what they’d find in the rain forest: raging rapids, poisonous venom, and sneaky competitors who’d do anything to win.

Can the red team work together to make it to the finish line in one piece? Each chapter in this action-packed adventure series is bursting with totally true facts about wild and wonderful creatures, dangerous habitats, maps, and more!

January 12, 2016

2016 Would You Rather

Posted by at 1:33 am in Polls, Would You Rather | Permalink

Would you rather . . .2016 Would You Rather

2016 is here! A time for new opportunities and new beginnings. Of course, a fresh start doesn’t always mean everything is going to be hunky-dory . . . and because we love the opportunity for a WOULD YOU RATHER, we are giving you an ultra-tough one for the new year! In the upcoming year, would you rather . . .

1.     Make the sports team, but break your leg and spend the season on the bench OR make the sports team but lose every game of the season?

2.     Find out your favorite celebrity couple is breaking up OR that your favorite musical group is breaking up? (I SEE YOU, ZAYN!)(I can forgive but never forget!)

3.     Find out your crush likes you back, but is moving to another country OR find out that YOU are moving to another country?

4.     Go on an epic summer vacation only to find out your worst enemy is also there OR show up at a school dance wearing the same outfit as your worst enemy?

5.     Find out your favorite TV show is ending OR that the movie you’ve been looking forward to won’t be released for another year?

6.     Have more rainy days than sunny days OR have snow half the year?

7.     Outgrow all your favorite clothes OR have your computer crash?

8.     Find out your favorite book is being turned into a movie, but the lead actor is not someone you would have picked OR find out a book you really disliked is being turned into a movie instead?

Whew! Those were tough ones. Share your answers in the Comments below, and let’s all hope that none of these horrible things happen to any of us in 2016!

Happy New Year!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer