December 28, 2015

Middle School Bucket List

Posted by at 1:49 am in Movies & TV, Personality Quiz | Permalink

Middle School bucket-listWhat’s on your list of 100 Things to Do Before High School?

While going to high school may seem really exciting and amazing and cool, it’s important to remember to make the most of your younger years . . . because once you get to high school, “you lose your best friends when you all discover you like different things.” That’s what CJ’s older brother says in 100 Things to Do Before High School.

We’re inspired by the brave (and goofy) antics of CJ and her BFFs, so we bring you our own bucket list . . . with a twist! Would you rather . . .

  1. Pull an all-nighter doing homework OR have a sleepover in a haunted house?
  2. Have your best friend give you a bad makeover OR go on a really weird diet for a week?
  3. Spend a day at school dressed as a turkey OR have to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” in front of the whole school before a sports game?
  4. Say “yes” to everything for a day OR lick a toad?
  5. Get a really bad haircut OR only wear crusty old sandals every day for a month?
  6. Wear your underpants outside your pants for three classes OR eat a bug for lunch?
  7. Have your best friend use you as a guinea pig in a science fair project OR wear a super-sparkly “Mom is #1!” sweatshirt on the first day of school?
  8. Publish a book OR break a world record?
  9. Meet your favorite celebrity OR talk to your crush?
  10. Read every book in the library OR get A’s on every test?

Well, there you have it—our 100 Things to Do Before High School Would You Rather bucket list! Share your answers in the Comments below and tell us what is on YOUR list of 100 things to do before high school!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

P.S. Don’t worry about high school. You get to keep the friends that you like, and you also get to make even more awesome friends!

December 27, 2015

A Roller Coaster Ride

Posted by at 1:55 am in News | Permalink
Scholastic News Kids Press CorpsA Roller Coaster Ride by Bobby Sena

What thrills do you seek when you visit an amusement park? “People come into the parks, and they want something different and unique,” says Joel Kornbluth, Vice President of Totally Bananas, a Florida-based company that manufactures treats made from frozen bananas.

Kuka Coaster roller coaster

This year’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) trade show began on November 16 in Orlando, Florida. More than 1,000 exhibitors took advantage of the “nine miles of aisles” to showcase everything from “Ninjago,” an interactive 3-D ride that lets visitors throw snowballs at a digital screen, to “Honolulu Hot Dogs,” which are topped with tropical fruit.

“New technology and new innovations always fill the trade show floor,” said Colleen Mangone, Director of Media Relations for IAAPA. “That makes the show exciting and fresh each year.”

“X-TREME” FUN

Throughout the week, industry representatives from 120 countries toured the show. Some people even brought their kids to try out the rides and sample the food. For this reporter, the ultimate thrill came on the “Kuka Coaster,” a robot-based ride that had me swiveling in wild rotations, wondering what would happen next as I hung upside down. The coaster, which seats two people, lets passengers customize their experience from “gentle” to “x-treme.” I chose the latter. Watch the video here, and tell us in the Comments: Would YOU ride this roller coaster??).

Other highlights included testing my sports skills with interactive games and simulating the experience of falling 500 stories on the “Finger Coaster” designed by SMAAASH Entertainment, a company based in India. The coaster lets you make your own ride by drawing it out with your finger, which is how it gets its name. A virtual-reality headset allows you to choose the setting for the experience, like a beach or a lake.

This year’s show, Mangone said, “was all about how rides are incorporating new technology, specifically virtual reality, to add a new dimension to the visitor experience.” Whether you were twisting and turning or getting frozen treats, there was something for everyone!

December 25, 2015

Most Popular Names 2015

Posted by at 1:05 am in Personality Quiz | Permalink

most-popular-names 2015Most Popular Names 2015

Your name is one of the things that says who you are. It can show your personality or uniqueness. It is such a part of you, it’s hard to imagine yourself with a different name, but today’s Would You Rather quiz does just that. The top 100 girls’ and boys’ baby names of 2015 have been announced, so now is your chance to imagine a different name for yourself.

Girls, would you rather have the name . . .

  1. Sophia (#1 most popular name in 2015) OR Kinsley (#90)?
  2. Emma (#2) OR Mila (#37)?
  3. Olivia (#3) OR Jordyn (#96)?
  4. Ava (#4) OR Isla (#94)?
  5. Mia (#5) OR Emery (#99)?
  6. Isabella (#6) OR Eleanor (#80)
  7. Zoe (#7) OR Jocelyn (#77)
  8. Lily (#8) OR Hazel (#89)?
  9. Emily (#9) OR Camilla (#65)?
  10. Madison (#10) OR Makayla (#48)?
  11. Riley (#12) OR Juliana (#86)?
  12. Maria (#54) OR Violet (#59)?
  13. Eliana (#62) OR Paisley (#64)?
  14. Stella (#68) OR Alice (#70)?

Boys, would you rather have the name . . . Continue reading

December 24, 2015

Bringing Cheer to Military Families

Posted by at 1:34 am in News | Permalink
Scholastic News Kids Press CorpsBringing Cheer to Military Families by Courtney Pine

First Lady Michelle Obama opened the White House to military families on December 3, displaying Christmas decorations that she had helped create with volunteers. Mrs. Obama invited members of the military and their families to enjoy festive displays and celebrate the holiday season. “I want to honor all of the people who sacrifice,” she said.

Continue reading

December 23, 2015

Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler

Posted by at 12:00 pm in Authors, Reads | Permalink

Revenge of the AngelsRevenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler

When I was growing up, the holidays seemed magical. It felt like there was a balloon inside me, slowly filling as the celebrations grew closer, until I felt like I might burst—or maybe float up to the ceiling. But as I got older, I started to feel more stress around the holidays, and I’d worry that I didn’t have enough time or money to make things special.

In my new book, Revenge of the Angels, the holidays are not going well for Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster. They’ve been told they aren’t going to get the presents they asked for, weather has stranded their mom and beloved older sister in Boston, their dad has to work a lot, and they didn’t get the parts of the Three Wise Men in their church Christmas pageant just because they are girls. To make things worse, someone is stealing decorations and baked goods off people’s porches! It’s enough to make anyone with holiday spirit turn into a Grinch.

But here’s something I’ve learned that the triplets also come to realize: The holidays don’t have to go perfectly to be magical. The point is to enjoy special moments with people who matter to you, and show them how much you care for them—with a gift, a baked treat, or simply some kind words or deeds. And it’s also a time to enjoy shared traditions. You know those special things you do year after year? Maybe there’s a recipe you cook or bake only around the holidays. Or maybe there are songs you sing, items you display, games you play, or places you visit during this time. There’s something comforting about doing the same things with the same people at the same time of year.

My family eats tamales on Christmas Eve and we always watch the movie A Christmas Story. There’s also an ornament I was given when I was a baby—an elf wearing glasses that I named Doc. Doc is now scuffed and a little shabby in places, but he’s like an old friend, and I look forward to hanging him on our tree every year.

What special things make your holidays seem a little magical each year?

Jennifer Ziegler, Scholastic Author

December 23, 2015

Clementine for Christmas by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Posted by at 1:36 am in Authors, Reads | Permalink

christmas for clementineClementine for Christmas by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Hello Stacks Readers,

I’m excited to give you the inside scoop on Clementine for Christmas!

Josie always looks forward to the Christmas Gala at Frost Valley Hospital where she and her beloved dog Clementine volunteer. But when Oscar, a boy Josie knows only as a troublemaker from school, shows up at the hospital to volunteer for the month, and Josie learns that this year’s Gala is going to be cancelled, she is sure Christmas is ruined.

Meanwhile, Oscar has problems of his own. His parents won’t stop arguing and now he’s being pressured to wear a costume and sing to sick kids. His response? “No way!”

Then there’s Gabby—she’s keeping a secret from everyone, a secret that she is terrified will be revealed. It’s beginning to look like the worst Christmas ever. But maybe if Josie, Oscar, and Gabby can find a way to band together with a little holiday spirit and some help from Clementine, they can find a way not only to save the Gala but to make this the best Christmas ever.

Christmas is my very favorite holiday (despite tough competition from Halloween) and so it was especially fun to write a book set at that time of year. Ever since I was little, the weeks leading up to Christmas have felt like a magical time. I look forward to traditions like singing carols and baking Christmas cookies. (I am a big fan of snickerdoodles which I made sure to include in the book!)

My favorite tradition is decorating our Christmas tree—each ornament has its own story, like the ceramic whale in a Santa hat that my sister bought me in Bar Harbor, Maine, and the dough candy canes I made with my mom before my sister was even born. And then there’s Christmas morning, opening presents while carols play, and eating a big breakfast all together. For me, the very best part of Christmas is being together with family and friends.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Daphne Benedis-Grab, Scholastic Author

December 22, 2015

Who Is Your Christmas Alias?

Posted by at 1:22 am in Personality Quiz | Permalink

christmas-alias-quiz-imageWhich Christmas Character Are You?

During the holiday break, I love to come together with my friends and family, get cozy on the couch with soft, warm blankets, eat popcorn and drink hot chocolate while watching my favorite holiday movies. In honor of those movies, I’ve come up with a quiz to discover which Christmas character you would be. Answer the questions below and count the letters you choose to reveal your Christmas alias!

1. Choose your favorite part about December. a) Wrapping gifts. b) Cute decorations. c) Snow. d) Cookies. e) Nothing. Can we go back to Halloween?

2. What would you do if you met Santa? a) Ask if you can visit the North Pole. b) Go shopping with him. c) Have a snowball fight. d) Treat him to milk and cookies. e) Give him a good but funny scare!

3. If you were a food, which would you be? a) Candy cane. b) Roast beast. c) Ice cream. d) Gingerbread cookies. e) Pumpkin pie.

4. Your go-to Christmas outfit is . . .  a) green and red. b) red and white. c) all white. d) something neutral with red details. e) all black.

5. What is your favorite holiday beverage? a) Hot chocolate. b) Hot caramel apple cider. c) Eggnog. d) Warm spiced milk. e) Pumpkin spice latte.

6. Your friends say you are . . .  a) small, cute, and helpful. b) innocent, loving, and brave. c) fun, energetic, and cuddly. d) sweet, funny, and mischievous. e) creative, kind, and misunderstood.

7. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of winter time? a) Holidays and presents. b) Family gatherings full of love. c) Ice skating and snowball fights. d) Warm fireplaces, scented candles, and lots of sweet things to eat. e) Brrr . . . It’s too cold. Can we go back to fall?

Ready to find out your results? Read on . . . Continue reading

December 21, 2015

Are You Ready for the Holidays?

Posted by at 1:37 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Christmas cookiesYou Know Youre Excited for the Holidays When . . . 

The holidays are in full force right now: Salvation Army bells on every street, holiday music floating out from every store, window displays worth ooh-ing and aah-ing over . . . and chocolate, chocolate everywhere! The holiday spirit is infectious (as are the cold and flu, which are also floating around this time of year, so remember to wash your hands)! Have you caught the holiday bug? You know you’re excited for the holidays when . . .

  1. You have a holiday playlist blasting 24/7, and you’re still not sick of it.
  2. You’ve watched the movie Elf 5 times already since Halloween.
  3. You catch yourself singing along to “Winter Wonderland” at the mall.
  4. You are infected with the spirit of giving, and you can’t stop thinking of great gift ideas.
  5. You’ve broken down your wishlist into High Priority, Medium Priority, and Low Priority categories.
  6. You check your calendar every day and count down the days to Christmas (4 more days!).
  7. You drink hot chocolate with a candy cane every day after school. In fact, your diet is 5% peppermint-flavored candies, 5% real food, and 90% chocolate in any and every form.
  8. It is cookie o’clock every hour of the day.
  9. You gathered a bunch of empty boxes and old books and wrapped them in holiday paper so it looks like you have a big pile of presents in your room. You are actually drowning in wrapping paper and ribbon, and you have never been happier.
  10. You can’t stop wearing holiday-themed sweaters. You will NEVER stop wearing holiday-themed sweaters.
  11. You add cinnamon to everything. EVERYTHING!
  12. The sound of jingling bells makes you look up in the sky for reindeer.
  13. You have decorated your locker with glitter and paper cut-out snowflakes.
  14. You keep wishing for snow . . . even if it’s sunny at 75 outside.

Are you ready for the holidays? What are the things you do to get excited? Share in the Comments below!

Happy, happy, HAPPY holidays,

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

December 19, 2015

Interview with a Wookiee

Scholastic News logoInterview With a Wookiee

Meet the actor who plays the most famous hairy giant in movie history. Few movie characters are as well known as Chewbacca from the Star Wars films. But what about the person inside the giant Wookiee suit? He’s Peter Mayhew, a British actor who stands 7 feet 3 inches tall. Mayhew, age 71, returned to his famous role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (rated PG-13). The seventh film in the series opened on December 18. Here’s what he recently had to say about playing Chewbacca and being a real-life giant. Continue reading

December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Would You Rather

star wars the force awakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens Would You Rather

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Star Wars: A New Hope (rated PG) hit theaters and people went crazy for Star Wars!

Premiere Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red Carpet

Fans at the premiere Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red Carpet

Set 30 years after the original films, a new saga: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (rated  PG-13) is hitting theaters December 18! Star Wars fans, tell us . . .

Would You Rather . . .

1. Be on the light side OR dark side of the Force?

2. Have Princess Leia bun hair OR Wookiee fur like Chewbacca?Premiere Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red Carpet

3. Battle Kylo Ren OR Darth Vader?

4. Fly with Poe (the leader of the X-wing pilots in The Force Awakens) OR Luke (from The Empire Strikes Back)?

5. BB-8 OR R2-D2?

6. That the new character Rey turn out to be Han and Leia’s daughter OR Luke Skywalker’s daughter?

7. Fight with a blaster OR lightsaber?

8. Have lunch in a cafeteria full of stormtroopers OR battle droids?

Premiere Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red CarpetTell us how psyched you guys are for the movie, and let us know what YOU would rather. May the force be with you!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer