September 10, 2015

Will You Be the Next Star?

Posted by at 1:50 pm in Kid Power | Permalink

Stacks starsMeet the September STACKS Star!

Do you want to be the next STACKS Star? It’s pretty easy! All you have to do is answer a few fun questions (below) and I’ll pick one random person to be the AWESOME star of the month. After the selection, that person gets to be featured in the next STACKS Blast newsletter!

stacks star bluecat2757The September Star is BlueCat2757.

BlueCat2757 is a HUGE Harry Potter fan who loves to listen to classical, blues, jazz and country music. Some things she is proud to say she can do include: writing cursive, writing with both hands, standing on one foot for a really, really long time, and naming all the state capitals. If you want to learn more about BlueCat2757, check out her awesome feature here in the Blast newsletter.

Since we are all in back-to-school mode, this month’s questions are going to be about . . . you guessed it! School!

1. What’s your favorite thing about school?
2. What’s your least favorite thing about school?
3. If you could have any kind of classroom pet, what would it be and why?
4. Which subject do you look forward to most in school?
5. What advice would you give to all back-to-schoolers?

To get you inspired, here are my answers:

1. My favorite thing about school is being able to see and hang out with my friends every day.
2. My least favorite thing about school is waking up so early.
3. If I could have a classroom pet, it would be a bunny rabbit. They’re easy to take care of, friendly, and most of all, they are super cute and cuddly!
4. I look forward to science the most because it explains why and how certain things happen in the world.
5. My advice for all back-to-schoolers is to be nice to everyone even if you don’t know them and you should smile every day :)

OK, squad! Tell me your answers and don’t forget to update your profile and avatar to make it look your best!

- Sandy, STACKS Staffer

September 9, 2015

2015 Books of the Summer

Posted by at 1:12 am in Books of the Month, Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!What were the top books of summer 2015?

You super-awesome STACKS readers worked your way through some pretty impressive summer reading lists! I asked you all to share what books you were reading (and loving) and I put the results into a word cloud. There were SO many books — you guys ROCK! Check it out:

2015 Books of the Summer

2015 Books of the Summer

It looks like Percy Jackson is still way, way ahead of the competition, but Harry Potter is putting up a valiant fight. You HP fans are seriously dedicated! And it was really cool seeing so many of you having conversations based on other people’s recommendations. Book lovers, unite!

What books are you reading now for the new school year? Share in the Comments below!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

September 8, 2015

Pet Name Trivia Quiz

Posted by at 1:09 am in Trivia | Permalink

question marksA-meow-zing Pet Name Trivia Quiz

What does a pet’s name say about it (or the human that loves it)? We investigated deep into the data of and discovered that just like baby names, each year new pet names pop up in popularity. How sharp is your doggie sense? Take a nibble of some kibble, and check out our Pet Name Trivia Quiz!

  1. What was the #1 male dog name of 2014? A) Boo-Boo. B) Max. C) Spider-Man. D) Rocky.
  2. What was the #1 female cat name of 2014? A) Kitty. B) Miss Fluffy. C) Lily. D) Ursula.
  3. People are naming their dogs and cats after Star Wars characters! The following names are the most popular EXCEPT for: A) Chewbacca. B) Vader. C) Yoda. D) Darth Maul.
  4. Is it more likely for a DOG or CAT to have a “human” name (like Jack, Cooper, Callie, etc.)?
  5. TRUE or FALSE. Ariana Grande just named her new pup after Sirius Black from Harry Potter.
  6. For both cats and dogs the top “animal” name is: A) Bear. B) Snake. C) Moose. D) Alligator.

Want to fetch the answers? Check below! Continue reading

September 7, 2015

Minecraft Name Generator

Posted by at 1:05 am in Games, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Minecraft)What’s Your Minecraft Name?

We know you guys looove Minecraft. (The last Ink Splot 26 Minecraft blog post got almost 500 Comments!) But since we’re living in the real world, and not a Minecraft world, we figured it would be fun to create a Minecraft name generator to give you an alternate reality Minecraft name.

Don’t worry if you’re new to our name generators. It’s as easy as putting a block down. Find the first initial of your first name in the list below. That word is your Minecraft first name. Then find the month of your birthday. That word is your Minecraft last name. For example, my name begins with an R and my birthday is in July, so my Minecraft name is Poisonous Potato Creeper.  Continue reading

September 4, 2015

SPONSORED POST Hotel Transylvania 2

Posted by at 1:18 am in Celebrities, SPONSORED | Permalink

Hotel Transylvania 2This Blog Post is Sponsored by Sony Pictures Animation.

Are you ready to go BACK to HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA?

Or maybe you’re checking in for the first time? No matter; the good news is that Dracula’s formerly monsters-only hotel policy has finally relaxed. He’s opening his doors to human guests, and considering his grandson isn’t exactly a pureblood vampire, it’s about time!

Hotel Transylvania 2

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Coming to theaters on September 25, Hotel Transylvania 2 (rated PG) has Dracula worried about his grandson Dennis’s half-human, half-vampire roots. When Drac’s old-school dad, Vlad, discovers that a change in policy allows for human guests and that his great-grandson isn’t 100% vampire, things get batty!

“There are four generations living under one roof, which obviously will be intense, no matter what the family is,” says actor Andy Samberg, who voices Johnny in the new movie. As Mavis’s human husband and father to Dennis, good ol’ Johnny isn’t only battling your standard in-law gripes.

“Johnny’s not just up against Drac, but now Vlad who is even more old-school in the tradition of being a vampire,” says Samberg. Obviously, Mavis is branching outside of that by marrying a human. So it’s complicated, but it’s also wonderful, and it’s them all getting to know each other and learning to understand each other.”

Actress and singer, Selena Gomez, is the voice of Johnny’s more-than-a-century-old wife, Mavis, in Hotel Transylvania 2. She agrees with her co-star on the fun in packing everyone into the hotel in the new film.

“Dracula brings everyone together,” says Gomez. “I think that’s sweet and endearing because he wants to include everyone.”


Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

What can we learn from this, and from Hotel Transylvania 2, about celebrating our similarities and differences—monster or not? That lesson isn’t lost on Gomez. In fact, it’s somewhat close to home for her.

“Extended family in Hotel Transylvania 2—whether they’re Frankenstein or the Wolf gang —everybody kind of comes together under one roof,” Gomez says. “That’s a cultural thing, in my opinion, because that’s exactly how my dad’s side of the family is. It’s not a good thing [to them] when you move out of the house. It’s almost like [they] want them to stay there forever, and you just pass it along, and I think that’s Drac’s idea. His intention is really good, but that’s something everyone can relate to.”

Check out the loads of fun that all goes down under one roof in the Hotel Transylvania 2 trailer, play the Monster Jumble game, and see the movie in theaters on September 25.  

September 2, 2015

James Patterson Author Interview

Posted by at 1:48 am in Authors | Permalink

iFunnyJames Patterson Talks About His Life as an Author!

Q: How many books have you written?
Patterson: I lost count. A little over 100. I write a lot of kids’ books. I write a lot of things that are different — that’s what keeps me excited. The kids’ books range from Maximum Ride, about kids who can fly to I Funny, about a kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian but he can never be a stand-up comedian because he’s in a wheelchair.

Q: Which ones would you like to see as movies on screen?
Patterson: All of them! Maximum Ride is very visual, these flying kids. I hope that will get made. We are shooting Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life at the end of the summer. It’s a cool story about how kids get lost in the education process. This kid in it is bright, brilliant as an artist, but there’s no way for him to express himself in school so he’s looked at as a dummy.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?
No, I don’t. I’m always working on more than one thing. I have a big imagination and I’ll just go to another project. I have a folder this thick of ideas for novels. Writing stories comes very easily to me.

Q: What first inspired you to write?
I was working my way through school at a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I had a lot of free time so I started reading like crazy and then I started scribbling stories. Somebody once told me, you’re lucky if you find something you like to do and it’s a miracle if someone will pay you to do it. I love doing it. I love writing stories. As a kid, I grew up in the woods. I used to wander around the woods and make up stories in my head. I think that talent was there, I just wasn’t aware of it.

Q: You often write with co-authors. Why?
It allows me to combine strength with strength. I’m a very good storyteller; I’m a little lazy as a stylist. So it allows me to work with a better stylist. Collaboration is OK!

Are you a fan of James Patterson’s books? Tell us which is your favorite in the Comments!


September 1, 2015

Harry Potter Name Generator

Posted by at 1:06 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

Harry Potter name generatorThe Hogwarts Express Leaves Today!

If you received your Hogwarts letter this year, you are probably just now getting ready to board the Hogwarts Express to start your wizarding education. Congratulations! To help you get ready for your new life at Hogwarts, I created this Harry Potter name generator so you can invent yourself as a character in the wizarding world.

I tried not to include any actual character name combos. So you can be Ginny Wizangamot, but you can’t be Ginny Weasley. (But oh my goodness, how awesome would it be to actually BE Ginny Weasley???) For first name, you have the option to choose either a boy’s name or a girl’s name that starts with the first letter of your Muggle name. There’s nothing that says you have to choose the boy’s name of you’re a boy or the girl’s name if you’re a girl, but you have the choice. I tried not to choose any evil character names, but for some letters, it was impossible. (Sorry Yaxley Umbridge! I’m sure you’re very nice in real life.)

First name choices:  Continue reading

August 31, 2015

SPONSORED POST: Money Confident Kids Contest

Posted by at 4:02 pm in SPONSORED | Permalink

T-Rowe-Price_130x130_Stacks.v2This blog post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price.

Are you a money confident kid? Here’s a chance to win one of six different prizes including $1,500 and a library of books for your classroom! All you need to do is interview your parent or guardian and write a short essay about the experience. Go to for all the details and to download the entry form.

Questions? Post below!

August 31, 2015

Song-Inspired Drabble Challenge

Posted by at 1:57 am in Music, Writing Prompt | Permalink

HippolyteHippolyte posted this awesome-tastic challenge for you on the Fan Fiction Message Board!

Heeeeeeeeey all!

So! This is a thing I saw in a STACKS Message Board a LONG time ago and though I’ve never participated myself, I figured it’s high time someone brings a new writing challenge. Here’s the deal:

You are to write a drabble inspired by the first song that comes up on shuffle. Grab your phones/ipods/mp3s/playlists or anything you have with music stored in it and a shuffle option, and enable said option. Your task is to write a short story (fan fiction or original) inspired by the song, for as long as the song is playing. Once the song is over, you stop writing and completely leave it be.


  • You may skip songs in case you can’t get inspired, but don’t be too picky or you’ll just be shuffling forever.
  • You must skip any songs that are inappropriate either because of language or content. Any song that receives a rating beyond PG 13 according to your judgment should better be avoided. We trust your judgment.
  • In case you feel that a song with questionable content is still appropriate enough for this board, please mention all warnings that apply. Your story has to be 100% appropriate for all people on this boards. (As Moderator Katie says, don’t write something you wouldn’t say to a 7/8-year-old.)
  • Your drabble can be a fan fiction or an original one. No preferences, but in case of fan fiction, make sure that the fandom you’re writing for is appropriate for younger kids on STACKS (PG 13 at most).
    • “Completely leave it be” is just that. Don’t correct anything. Don’t play the song again. Don’t touch it; it’s already a masterpiece.
    • Stories are expected to be short. Just brainstorm something and leave it in its raw beauty for the world to see.
    • Of course, you’re never obliged to post what you just wrote if you don’t want to. We’re only doing this for fun.

I hope everyone has fun! I also hope you’re not weak enough to decline the challenge. Mwahaha!

So leave your song title and artist in the Comments, and then go to the Fan Fiction Message Board to share your whole story.

August 26, 2015

Bad Kitty Readalikes

Posted by at 1:45 am in Reads | Permalink

Bad Kitty Gets A BathIf you like the Bad Kitty chapter books by Nick Bruel, try these other funny books about mischief and mayhem for ages 7-9.

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist Book #1: Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton
Mad scientist Franny is having trouble making friends at her new school, so she begins to experiment with fitting in. The result of her experiment is not so great though. You could even call it . . . monstrous.

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Danny Dragonbreath and his iguana best friend, Wendell, attend the Herpitax-PhibbiasSchool for Reptiles and Amphibians, and deal with bullies, bad grades, nerves of steel, and of course, fire breath. See also the other books in the Dragonbreath series.

Great Critter Capers: The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davis
After years of begging their parents for pet hamsters, Anna and Tom’s beloved pets mysteriously die! Anna and Tom begin a humorous murder investigation throughout their neighborhood. See also the other books in the Great Critter Caper series.

Geronimo Stilton Book #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Search for buried treasure, uncover a great pyramid of cheese, and uncover haunted cats with famed mouse reporter Geronimo Stilton and his sister Thea. See also the other books in the Geronimo Stilton series.

Babymouse Book #1: Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Meet the wildly imaginative Babymouse as she rocks out, camps out, and breaks hearts. See also the other books in the Babymouse series.

Stink Book #1: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody’s little terror of a brother now has his own series full strange antics, from getting free candy to super stinky sneakers. See also the other books in the Stink series.

Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
At the annual gathering of the MEOW society, cats of all kinds gather to tell cat stories. Find out the stories of Chico, the smallest cat in the world, a Pirate Cat, and Georgio the chef cat.

Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
It is the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, a yearly storytelling extravaganza where dogs from all over the world gather to share funny diary entries from their ancestors.

Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami
In this adorable manga, Yohei and his family learn how difficult it is to keep their mischievous kitten a secret from their landlords. See also the other books in the Chi’s Sweet Home series.

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
Binky prepares for his first trip into space, but begins to worry how his humans would protect themselves if he left for good. See also the other books in the Binky Adventure series.

Golden Hamster Saga Book # 1: I Freddy by Dietlof Reiche
Intelligent golden hamster Freddy aspires to escape captivity and to become an independent and civilized creature.

Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper
After a stack of fashion magazines falls on Kiki Kitty’s head while she is blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, Kiki turns into Fashion Kitty, a feline superhero who saves other kitties from fashion disaster.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
A pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who tries to convince the farmer that Wilbur is no ordinary animal.

Amanda, STACKS Writer