March 23, 2016

Books About Magical Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about MAGICAL KIDS!

Do you ever wish you could wake up with magical powers? It would be so cool to make myself invisible, or move objects just by waving my hands, or eat endless amounts of chocolate without getting sick . . . Well, that last one is more of a superpower, but you get my point. If you love the idea of being able to do magic, here are some awesome books about kids with magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Of course Harry Potter is on this list. What’s not to love about this amazing series? After a pretty rough start in life, young orphan Harry Potter is surprised to discover that he’s actually a wizard. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns to master his abilities, makes some incredible fellow wizard and witch friends, goes on wild adventures, and finds himself at the center of an epic battle between good and evil!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Poor dyslexic Percy’s life changes once he learns he is the son of the Greed god Poseidon. As if this news doesn’t make his world complicated enough, he also discovers that his life is in danger! At Camp Half-Blood, he meets other demigods (half-god, half-humans) and is tasked with the responsibility of preventing an all-out war from erupting between the gods . . . which is no easy task for someone just learning of his magical abilities!

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie is less than happy when he discovers that he can suddenly hear people speaking to him through photographs. (I mean, it is pretty creepy! And probably totally annoying.) Once his special talent is discovered, though, he is shipped off by his scheming aunts to the dreary Bloor Academy. But what is the history behind his talent, and why is he being kept at this horrid school with all these other gifted children?

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Isn’t chocolate amazing? John Midas certainly thinks so, and he gets really mad when he’s told by the doctor to eat more healthy food and less chocolate. But a seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious candy man leaves John with an even stranger magical power: everything he touches turns into chocolate! That may seem like a very awesome (maybe the awesomest?) magical power to have, but things start to get messy really, really fast!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
For everyone who ever thought, “By golly, having ANY magical power sure beats having NO magical power,” meet Ella. Given the “gift” of obedience at birth by a fairy, Ella is unable to disobey any direct order. After her mother passes away, Ella finds herself at the mercy of her truly terrible stepsisters and equally horrid stepmother who have learned to make her their slave. But with a little creativity and some wonderful friends, Ella may just find a way out from under her “gift”—and even find true love.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Felicity Pickle has a very unusual ability: she can SEE words, and the words tell her an awful lot about people and places. In the town of Midnight Gulch, she sees “home.” But there’s also a terrible spell hanging over Midnight Gulch, and unless Felicity can return magic back into the once magical town, she may never get to call this place her home.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily lives on a boat with her mom, but weirdly enough, she’s always been told to stay away from the water. It turns out, she’s actually a mermaid! Emily embarks on a journey to find her real mer-father and the truth behind her birth (and tail!). Along the way, she discovers some incredible and heartbreaking things about the magical creatures she is beginning to understand are her family.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Living in a city that runs on magic would be pretty cool . . . unless that magic started running out. Conn, a young boy living in such a city, accidentally comes in contact with a powerful stone while trying to pickpocket a wizard. When he doesn’t die, he’s taken in as the wizard’s apprentice. While learning his own magical abilities and searching for his own stone, he begins to discover exactly that is draining his city’s magic.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
What if you knew you had a magical power, but you had to wait until you turned thirteen to find out what it was? Welcome to Mibs’ world! In her family, everyone possesses an ability (known as a “savvy”) that reveals itself to them on their thirteenth birthday. But on the days leading up to her big day, Mibs’ world is suddenly turned upside down. Can her power—whatever it is—save a loved one who needs it the most?

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
Rowan is shy and likes to spend his time caring for animals, unlike the rest of the people in his village who are bold and brave. But when the river running through the village runs dry, Rowan is the only one able to read a magical map that can lead a band of villagers up a mountain and to the river’s source . . . and whatever mystery has stopped it from flowing.

Well now, that’s some list! Did I miss any of your favorites? Which ones are you most excited to read, and which ones have you read and loved? Share your picks in the Comments below!

Happy magical adventuring,

En-Szu

March 22, 2016

10 Problems Only Cat Lovers Understand

Posted by at 1:48 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

cat computer 10 Problems Only Cat Lovers Understand

In your opinion, cats are purrr-fect, but there are a few . . . um . . . issues that come with being a cat owner. If your kitty companion is the love of your life, or you just love cats in general, then this Top 10 List is for you!

  1. Hair is in everything around your house (from your morning cereal to your favorite eye shadow).
  2. Your cat fell asleep in your lap and now you can’t move because you don’t want to wake it up.
  3. Your cat is wide awake at 3 a.m. and wants you to play!
  4. Cleaning the litter box. EWW!
  5. Allergies? They’re kind of worth it.
  6. Sometimes after “playing” with your cat, it looks like Wolverine attacked you.
  7. You answer your cat’s random meows with “Yes, totally! I know, me too!”
  8. Your cat wants to lie down right on top of whatever you are working on at the moment: your homework, computer, your painting for art class. . .
  9. You accidentally trapped your cat in the kitchen cabinet. (Who knew he liked to leap up there and take a nap?)
  10. Hairballs.

But of course, these problems are nothing compared with that cute, little bundle of fur that loves you. Do you have any problems only a cat lover would understand? Let us know in the Comments!

-Ratha

Photo courtesy of Karen Wang

March 21, 2016

It's Spring!

Posted by at 1:58 am in News | Permalink

springCelebrate Spring!

Now that it is officially spring, it’s time to start thinking spring with spring quizzes, crafts, and activities! Winter is over! Winter is over!! Winter is over!!!

Happy spring!

March 20, 2016

Are Ghosts Real?

Posted by at 1:21 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

ghostAre Ghosts Real?

Boo! Did I scare you? I hope not, but ghosts have been scaring people for centuries. The big question is, are they real?

Since Ancient Egypt, people have believed that the soul or spirit of a dead person remains on Earth and can appear to living humans.

Some people believe ghosts can be found anywhere, from old castles to haunted houses. Most ghost stories tell of people who died unexpectedly, either by accident or murder, and their spirits still want to remain on earth.

Some people conduct séances in an attempt to speak to the dead. Believers claim these rituals let them speak to ghosts and prove they exist. Skeptics, or non-believers, say that séances are a hoax.

In an attempt to prove the existence of ghosts, many believers have turned to science for evidence. The art of ghost hunting is traced back to London’s Ghost Club, which sought out ghosts in the English city. Modern ghost hunters use high-tech equipment, including handheld infrared thermometers to measure changes in room temperature, and audio recording equipment to pick up ghostly voices.

Skeptics believe that evidence found by ghost hunters can be attributed to many different things. These scientists say that images of ghosts are most likely dust particles in the air, while audio recording devices picked up signals from local radio towers.

There is still no evidence proving ghosts definitely exist, but the debate rages on. So, do you believe in ghosts? Tell us in the Comments.

Brian

March 18, 2016

Fashion Trends for Your Personality

Posted by at 1:19 am in Kid Power | Permalink

Fashion Trends for Your Personality

Whether you’re the captain of the cheerleading team or the next Picasso, we’ve got a fashion look that will work for you. Just pick one and own it!

Outgoing
Chances are you like to stand out. You don’t mind being the center of attention. The good news for you is bright colors are all the rage this year. A great look for you would be red pants (either flared or skinny-style) with a black and white polka dot shirt. This outfit will show off your confidence and spirit.

Shy
Okay, shy gal. Chances are you wouldn’t be caught dead in red pants! How about a nice pastel ensemble? Here’s an outfit suggestion for you: Try pairing a neutral pant like beige or peach with a white, long sleeve t-shirt. Finish the outfit off with a brown shoe and a gold purse. The gold purse will add some personality to your look but won’t make you stand out too much.

Sporty
You like to move around a lot so putting on anything too fancy would really cramp your style. You don’t want to look too girly, but you don’t want to look like a slob, either. Change up your look with a pair of neat black leggings and a sporty sweatshirt. Slip on a pair of comfy sneakers and you’re ready to go.

Artsy
You pride yourself on being unique, so why not put some of that creativity into your wardrobe? You’ll find great one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories at flea markets and second-hand shops. A vintage, red dress paired with a gold necklace from a past decade would really suit you. Then, when you’re tired of the necklace, you can incorporate it into one of your art pieces.

What’s your fashion style? Tell us in the Comments.

March 17, 2016

What Kids Need to Know About Money

Posted by at 1:17 am in Kid Power | Permalink

What Kids Need to Know About Money

Money. Moolah. Cash. Buckaroos. Whatever you call your loot, you’ve got to be smart with it. Here are some tips to help you hold on to your hard earned dollars.

Save! Save! Save!
Saving money might not be as fun as spending it, but “future you” will be really grateful. Ask your parents to help you find a good savings account program. Deposit a small amount every week, and before you know it, you’ll have a nice stash of cash in the bank.

Be Careful with the Card!
Sure, it’s easy to put purchases on a credit card right now, but remember that you still have to pay for those purchases! What you buy today could end up costing you way more if you can’t pay the full amount at the end of the month. Some credit cards have a high interest rate of 20% or more. That means, if you don’t pay the full amount every month, you might have to pay the credit card company $20 extra for every $100 you spend! EVERY MONTH!!

Count Your Cash!
Keep track of how much cash you need for everyday things. Keep only that amount in your wallet and keep the rest somewhere safe in your room or with your parents.This is helpful because it forces you not to overspend. If the money isn’t in your wallet, you can’t spend it.

Make A Deal!
Finally, don’t buy anything full-price that you can get on sale. Those sneakers you’ve been eyeing are bound to drop in price, so wait for a sale! They’ll still be cool 3 months from now and they’ll be much cheaper.

It’s okay spend a little here and there, but with some smart planning, you can save a bundle of cash for yourself!

March 16, 2016

Books About Girls Who Rock

Posted by at 1:47 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about GIRLS WHO ROCK!

Being a girl is awesome. Girls are funny, smart, cool, and brave! Read these ten super-fantastic books about girls who rock, so you can remember that you, too, are a girl who rocks!

Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a smart, funny girl who loves a good prank—especially if it’s on one of her terrible, selfish family members. Her teacher, Ms. Honey, realizes that Matilda is very smart — but the bully headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull, is determined to prevent Matilda from moving up to a higher class. Meanwhile, Matilda discovers that she has developed a strange superpower . . . and while it’s good for a prank or two (or three!), it might also be the key to changing her life forever.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Things are getting steadily worse for everyone in Annamarie’s Nazi-occupied hometown of Copenhagen in 1943, but things are especially bad for the Jewish residents. First their stores are closed down, and then they are rounded up by Nazis and shipped off to concentration camps. Annamarie’s best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. To protect her, Annamarie and her family pretend that Ellen is Annamarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?

El Deafo by Cece Bell
Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky and uncomfortable hearing aid. And the hearing aid (called The Phonic Ear) doesn’t just get in her way physically: Cece wonders if it’s getting in the way of her making a real friend. But Cece discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . not just her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet is bright and can sometimes be a know-it-all, but she’s a lovable one with great friends. Her favorite activity is to observe other people and record her thoughts in a notebook, as training for her future dream job as a writer. But when Harriet’s caretaker announces she’s getting married and leaving, and Harriet’s notebook is discovered by her schoolmates, everything turns topsy-turvy. Harriet finds herself friendless, and the kids at school have formed a club against her! Can Harriet find a way to use her smarts to get out of this pickle, or is she doomed to be lonely forever?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
For Jacqueline, growing up in the segregated south in the 1960s is not easy. There is a lot of racism, and even though there are good people, they are outnumbered by the bad. So it’s no surprise when her mother decides to move to New York City. Splitting her time between New York City with her mother and Greenville, South Carolina with her grandparents, Jacqueline struggles to understand where she fits in to the rapidly changing world . . . and the answer might be much closer than she thinks.

Sweet Home Alaska by Carol Estby Dagg
During the great depression, Terpischore and her family are given the chance to start a new life in Alaska (thanks to some land given to them by the government). After reading books about frontier life, Terpischore feels like she’s ready for anything . . . and even when it’s tougher than she ever imagined, upbeat Terpischore always finds something to be happy about. But her greatest challenge of all is making Alaska feel like home for everyone in her family. Can she do it?

The Finisher by David Baldacci
Vega was born and raised in the town of Wormwood, a town surrounded by a deep and mysterious forest. All her life, she has been warned of the danger that lies beyond the borders of Wormwood. One day, however, she sees someone willingly running INTO the forest . . . and he leaves behind, for Vega, a note and a map. Vega’s about to dig up a whole lot of dirt on Wormwood, and get to the bottom of the mystery!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
When the Vietnam War reaches Ha’s hometown of Saigon, she flees with her mother and brothers. Bound for the unfamiliar shores of America, Ha has no idea what to expect—and what she finds is not at all the shiny, hopeful land she was promised. Bullied, tormented, and made to feel unwelcome, Ha’s attempts at fitting in just don’t seem to work . . . but learning just how strong she really is might be the key to Ha finding happiness once again.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan 
Esperanza lives an almost fairy tale-like life in Mexico, with a beautiful home and wonderful parents and amazing friends. She is surrounded by love and kindness and never wants for anything, but that all changes the day her father is killed by bandits, and Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave the life they have known for an uncertain future in the United States. Working in a poor labor camp is in no way like the princess treatment she is used to, but in spite of the grueling work and shabby living conditions, Esperanza is starting to see that true happiness may just come from deep within.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Katie’s sister Lynn always finds the silver lining in every situation, even when their family moves from their Japanese community in Iowa to the unfamiliar state of Georgia. Katie is learning to think like Lynn, and be hopeful in the face of all the bullying, teasing, and homesickness she faces every day. When Lynn gets very sick, though, Katie struggles to find the hope that Lynn still has . . . and to be grateful for all the kira-kira (glittering) moments in life.

What do you think? Do you have other favorite books about girls who rock? Do you have a favorite book from this list? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Yours in rocking,

En-Szu

March 15, 2016

Cool Things Invented by Kids

Posted by at 1:34 am in News, Trivia | Permalink

popsicleCool Things Invented by Kids

You may think of inventors as geniuses with years of experience, but some of the coolest inventions actually came from kids!

In 1858, 15-year-old Chester Greenwood invented earmuffs. He hated hats and hated cold ears even more. So he tied fur patches to a headband and invented the first earmuffs.

Robert Patch was only 6 years old when he turned the model truck into a children’s toy. The boy created a toy truck with parts that could be taken apart and rebuilt into different vehicles. Patch’s truck was patented way back in 1963, but is still selling in toy stores today.

Frank Epperson accidentally stumbled across the Popsicle when he was 11. One frigid night, he left his drink outside with a stirring stick inside. The next morning, he found a frozen drink, and the world’s first Popsicle was born.

Krysta Morlan was in 10th grade when she invented the cast cooler, a device that pumps air into a cast and relieves irritation. But Krysta wasn’t done yet. She also invented the Waterbike, a bike-like vehicle you put in the water and power by pedaling.

Ryan Patterson was working at Burger King when he saw a translator ordering for a deaf friend. That sparked Ryan’s imagination and he soon invented a glove with sensors that translate sign language into written word.

Louis Braille was only 15 when he invented his own language for the blind. Braille, named after its inventor, uses a series of dots that people can trace their hands over and read.

Kids have created some of the coolest gadgets and also helped a lot of people. What invention would you like to create?

Brian

“blackberry watermelon popsicle” Flickr photo by stu_spivack

March 15, 2016

Harry Potter Book Club Meeting 2

Posted by at 1:29 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

StacksBookClubSTACKS Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Welcome back to the magical STACKS Book Club! What an amazing ending to J. K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! This book is filled with so many villains, so many friends, and so much magic, I hardly know where to begin. We’re always welcoming new members, so whether you joined Meeting 1 or this is your first time, please join the conversation!HP1_KK

  • What type of mischief would you get into if you had an invisibility cloak?
  • Would you be afraid of entering the forbidden forest?
  • Hagrid’s giant, three-headed dog is named Fluffy. If you had a three-headed dog, what would you name it?
  • What would your reaction be if you discovered your friend was raising a baby dragon?
  • What obstacle would you be best at completing: catching a winged key, winning a game of chess, or solving a riddle and drinking the correct potion?
  • What would you be thinking if you were face to face with Voldemort?

Post your answers in the Comments below and ask your own questions to the STACKS Book Club! To meet and chat with other Harry Potter fans, join the Harry Potter Message Boards.

–Brian, STACKS Staffer

March 14, 2016

Pet Astrology

Posted by at 1:20 am in Trivia | Permalink

Cat130What is the perfect pet for your astrology sign?

Having a hard time deciding which pet will compliment your personality best? It might be time to turn to the stars for some advice. Here are some furry (and not so furry) creatures for each astrological sign.

Sign: Aries
Pet: Ant Farm
Similar Characteristics: Aries and Queen Ants are both strong, independent beings with a knack for leadership.

Sign: Taurus
Pet: Hedgehog
Similar Characteristics: Protective and cautious, you’ll respect each other’s space.

Sign: Gemini
Pet: Kitten
Similar Characteristics: Restless and curious, Geminis and kittens both can’t sit still for long. You both love to explore.

Sign: Cancer
Pet: German Shepherd
Similar Characteristics: Loyal and sensitive, you and your pup will take care of each other through thick and thin.

Sign: Leo
Pet: Parrot
Similar Characteristics: Confident, and LOUD, you can even teach your parrot to give you compliments.

Sign: Virgo
Pet: Ferret
Similar Characteristics: Virgos are different and unique and don’t like having the same pet everyone else does. You can show off your ferret to all your dog and cat-owning friends.

Sign: Libra
Pet: Bunny
Similar Characteristics: You’re both charming and sociable. Everyone will want to be around you and your fluffy new friend.

Sign: Scorpio
Pet: Goldfish
Similar Characteristics: Secretive and mysterious, you can tell your underwater friend anything and its fish lips will be sealed.

Sign: Sagittarius
Pet: Snake
Similar Characteristics: You’re an independent spirit. Most people will be afraid of you and your snake, but hey, that’s their problem, right?

Sign: Capricorn
Pet: Horse
Similar Characteristics: Dependable and hard working, a horse is the only other pet that can keep up with your drive and persistence.

Sign: Aquarius
Pet: Turtle
Similar Characteristics: Unlikely to be overemotional, your turtle won’t be looking for hugs, kisses, or belly rubs any time soon. And you’re absolutely fine with that.

Sign: Pisces
Pet: Guinea Pig
Similar Characteristics: Emotional and cuddly, you and your guinea pig both have a craving for affection.