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Spoilers, Sneak Peeks, and the Inside Scoop on Books, Reading, and What's Going On at Scholastic for KIDS in THE STACKS!
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1. Book-Inspired Ice Cream Flavors

Ice creamDid you know that July is National Ice Cream Month?? Sounds like it’s actually the BEST MONTH EVER! I know that I’m gonna spend this month shoveling as much ice cream in my face as possible. No flavor is safe! And my favorite thing to do while eating ice cream is, of course, reading a book! Wouldn’t it be cool if we could combine our favorite books with our favorite ice cream to create book-inspired ice cream flavors? Read on for a few ideas of what I mean. . . 

Churros of Olympus
Cinnamon-y sweet, this delicious flavor will take your taste buds on one smooth ride. If you’re battling mythical monsters, toss a tub their way–they’ll definitely be distracted long enough for you to make a speedy getaway!

Kingdom Keepers’ Kashew Kraziness
This ice cream is a real roller coaster adventure! Extra nutty–just like your favorite Overtakers–you’ll find every bite chock-full of almonds, peanuts, Macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, and fudge chunks. Even Maleficent would approve (and we all know how difficult she is to please).

City of Ember Elderberry Extravaganza
So what if you might be plunged into darkness for the rest of eternity? That’s going to be the last thing on your mind once you have a scoop of this delicious elderberry-flavored ice cream, sprinkled throughout with ember-colored toffee bits that provide a delightful crunch.

Dork Diaries Doughnut Delight
Doughnut chunks, caramel, and chocolate peanut butter cups swirled into the creamiest of vanilla ice creams . . . there’s nothing dorky about this flavor. Move aside, MacKenzie Hollister – this is the new queen bee (of the frozen food section, anyway)!

Mr. Lemoncello’s Amazing Lemonade Gelato
Of course Mr. Lemoncello wouldn’t have his own ice cream flavor . . . he’s much more of a gelato man! Each spoonful usually has a sour surprise, but you might just get a bite of synsepalum dulcificum, a berry that actually changes your taste buds and makes sour things taste sweet!

This isn’t actually an ice cream flavor, unless you consider air to be a flavor. Holes ice cream comes in a container that is 5-feet tall and 5-feet wide . . . and full of nothing. Surprise! But hey: eating Holes ice cream definitely builds character (or so we’ve been told).

Which of these wacky (but — admit it! — kind of wonderful) flavors would YOU like to try? What book-inspired ice cream flavor would YOU invent? Share your ideas in the Comments below!

Happy snacking!


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2. Minions Would You Rather

MinionsMinion Mayhem! Minions Would You Rather . . . 

We know you guys are big fans of the Despicable Me movies, and as you might know, the unofficial prequel Minions movie is hitting theaters July 10th! In the movie, we follow the minions in search of the perfect supervillain to work for before they met Gru. They try out Dracula, Napoleon, and the new character Scarlet Overkill.

Minions Operation GameAnd, this month only, if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter you can enter for a chance to win a free Minions Prize Pack including the Minions Operation game and a Minions lunchbox! Subscribe here right now!

Now, get into the minion mindset, and let us know would you rather . . .

1. Be Stuart (one eyeball) OR Bob (small bald guy) OR Kevin (tall skinny guy)?

2. Be Dracula’s minion OR Gru’s minion?

3. Be able to understand “minion” OR speak 10 languages?

4. Be a supervillain OR superhero?

5. Battle The Incredible Hulk OR Darth Vader?

6. HAVE a sidekick OR BE a sidekick?

7. Eat bananas for a week OR watermelon for a week?

8. Have a dragon breathe fire on you OR a sumo wrestler sit on you?

Leave your answers in the Comments below, and let us know if you’re psyched for the movie!

-Ratha, Stacks Writer

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3. Least Favorite Good Character

Writing Prompt: Shout-outDebate: Your Least Favorite Good Character

There is a debate happening on the Harry Potter Message Board re: Who is your least favorite good guy? And TechnologyAthlete12 has some harsh words about Ron:

Ron. Yep I know a lot of you will be surprised but I just dislike Ron, as he is quite useless throughout the series other than the one time when he destroyed a horcrux. Other than that, all he does is take the female main character (Hermione Granger) as a wife and yeah. He really just slows things down, makes too much noise, and is too sensitive. I guess his family is okay as they help Harry quite a bit throughout the series, but Ron himself really does nothing. I guess he can be funny at times but that is the only positive thing that he does consistently throughout the series.

What do YOU think? Do you agree that Ron is useless? Who is YOUR least favorite good character? Tell us in the Comments!

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4. More Vacation Questions

Would you rather . . .Vacation Would You Rather

Today’s Would You Rather questions come from from IpodClub36.

You and your family are planning a trip, so would you rather . . .

  1. Go meet your favorite famous movie star OR go to China?
  2. Go to Paris OR go to Texas?
  3. Go to Greece OR go to Italy?
  4. Go hike up a mountain OR swim with dolphins?
  5. Go play at your friend’s house OR just play in your back yard?
  6. Go to an art place OR go to a music place?
  7. Go to Oz :lol: OR go to Hogwarts? :lol:

Hoped you liked them! Leave your answers in the Comments!

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5. Random Acts of Kindness Writing Prompt

Hi!Random Acts of Kindness

So far this has happened to my friend TWO times . . . She was in line at the drive-thru Starbucks, and the person in the car in front of her paid for her order! Isn’t that crazy? So by the time she got to the window to pay, it was already paid for!

Sometimes I wonder about these random acts of kindness. If we all did something at least once . . .  one time a day . . . could we change the world one small step at a time? Or at least make it a little happier?

I love this quote by the Chinese poet Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

What do you guys think? There are at least a million ways to be kind! Let’s get a list going of acts of kindness that you can do anywhere to brighten someone’s day. Like . . .

  • including someone new into your conversation
  • giving away a few of your old toys you’ve outgrown to your neighbor’s baby
  • holding the door instead of barging ahead
  • saying “Hello” to someone in school you’ve never spoken to before

What else can you guys think of? We can’t wait to see your small acts of kindness. We’ll tally the count in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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6. Teen Beach 2 New Stars

Teen Beach 2Meet 3 of the new cast members from Teen Beach 2!

Teen Beach 2 is airing this Friday, people, at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel! Are you ready? The Wet Side Story gang will be traveling forward in time to Brady and Mack’s world. That means we will get to meet all their modern-day friends and schoolmates including 3 new characters: Alyssa (played by Piper Curda), Devon (played by Raymond Cham, Jr), and Spencer (played by Ross Butler).

TEEN BEACH 2 stars Piper Curda, raymond Cham Jr, and Ross Butler

Photo credit: Disney Channel/Bob D’Amico

Piper, Raymond, and Ross were visiting New York with the cast of Teen Beach 2, and they stopped over for a visit at Scholastic! Here is the whole cast celebrating in New York’s Central Park. Read on for more about my super-fun visit with Piper, Raymond, and Ross.

Teen Beach 2 Cast in New York

Photo credit: DISNEY CHANNEL/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua

They started off on a serious note recommending their favorite books in this video.

Then, things got very contentious when I asked them the Teen Beach 2 Would You Rather questions. Watch this video to see them argue it out!

So fun, right? It was really great to meet them, and I can’t wait to see Teen Beach 2 on Friday! Leave a Comment and tell us what you think!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer


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7. Gregg Sulkin Answers YOUR Questions

Gregg SulkinGregg Sulkin from the new DVD movie Frog Kingdom (rated PG) is here to answer YOUR questions!

Q: Can you describe your character in Frog Kingdom? Do you have anything in common with him?Frog Kingdom
Gregg: I play Inspector Noggin but the movie is about a self-contained world, which is actually just a pond where all the frogs live. It’s a monarchical society with a king and queen and a princess. Every year, they hold the frog Olympic Games and this year, the king has decided to give away his daughter in marriage to the winner of the games. So Princess Froglegs runs away. She disguises herself to compete in the games and win to prove “she don’t need no man.” LOL. Inspector Noggin is one of the king’s advisors and a bit of a know-it-all Sherlock Holmes type. The King sends him off to find the princess and bring her back.
I couldn’t really relate because I like to listen and learn from people who are more knowledgeable than myself, whereas my character definitely doesn’t.

Q: What is your favorite scene in the cartoon Frog Kingdom?
Gregg: Probably Princess Frogleg’s scene at the games.

Q: How did you decide that you wanted to be in the Frog Kingdom?
Gregg: Mychal Simka and I had worked together before and I liked the idea of the film. Mychal wanted me on board, so I was happy to join.

Q: What’s your favorite book and why?
Gregg: Wow. Tough question – I read so many scripts I don’t have time to read books as much as I would like!

Q: Is it fun acting in shows and movies?
Gregg: It’s the best. I’m very lucky and I am very aware of that.

Q: What was it like to be a werewolf in Wizards of Waverly Place?
Gregg: It was awesome. The channel treated me very well and gave me a great platform to build from. I’ve developed as an actor and thankfully my fan base has grown massively too.

Q: What is your favorite food?
Gregg: Chocolate or cookies. I have a sweet tooth.

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8. Michael Northrop Tombquest Q & A

Michael NorthropTombquest author Michael Northrop talks about his books!

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Michael Northrop: 
None of the characters are based entirely on real people—and I don’t know anyone who’s been brought back from the dead!—but they all have some bits and pieces and traits and tics from real people. As a writer, pieces of yourself make their way into all of your characters. I like to think that I have some of Alex’s determination, and some of Ren’s serious work ethic.Tombquest by Michael Northrop

I’ve also visited many of the places mentioned in the books, so I was able to bring real history and a real sense of place into the books. As a New Yorker, I’ve spent many hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and in the subway system!) and I was also able to visit London and the British Museum, where Book 2 takes place. It did rain while I was there . . . just not blood rain.

Q: If you had to trade places with one of your characters for a day, who would it be?
Michael Northrop:
 That’s an easy one—I’d trade places with Alex and spend the day having a blast (of wind) with the scarab!

Q: In real life, would any of your characters be friends of yours? 
Michael Northrop: I like all of the main characters! Luke might be too cool for me, but if we found ourselves together we could definitely talk sports for an afternoon and probably catch a game. And Alex and Ren are a tight little BFF unit—they don’t necessarily need a third wheel following them around and trying to write down everything they say as research for the fourth book. So I’d probably end up hanging out with Todtman and practicing my horrible German.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Michael Northrop, Author

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9. Very Deep 20-Question Quiz

Peep says Hi.Hi! Now that school is out, you have time to think about very deep, important topics that your brain just couldn’t focus on while you had so much homework to finish! Well, this quiz is your chance to go deep into your own heart and soul and tell us about the real you. We want to know . . .

  1. What is your favorite season and why?
  2. Do you prefer new beginnings or old traditions?
  3. What is your favorite place and why?
  4. What is your favorite food?
  5. In general, do you enjoy school?
  6. What is one thing that is very important to you?
  7. Do you think outside the box?
  8. What is your favorite subject in school?
  9. What genres of books do you like to read and why?
  10. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  11. Do you like happy endings, sad endings, or open (hopeful) endings?
  12. Do you prefer peace or excitement?
  13. Do you enjoy a lot of suspense in books?
  14. Name a few of your favorite books.
  15. Name someone you admire and why.
  16. What are you excited for in the upcoming year?
  17. What is something in your life that is bothering you at the moment?
  18. What is something about other people that is bothering you at the moment?
  19. Name a couple of books that have affected you in some way.
  20. When making an important decision, do you mostly consider the past, the present, or your hopes for the future?

Leave your answers in the Comments — to just 1 question or as many questions as you want to answer!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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10. Summer Would You Rather

CatGymnastics Profile AvatarWould You Rather: Summer

Today’s Summer Would You Rather questions come from CatGymnastics173 on the STACK Back Message Board.

1. Would you rather have a summer with tons of snow OR a winter with a massive heat wave?

2. Would you rather drink hot chocolate in summer OR eat ice cream in winter?

3. Would you rather have your own custom beach umbrella that you designed online for a lot of money OR buy a very cheap beach umbrella with only a few colors?

4. Would you rather go to summer school but have more breaks off during the year OR not go to summer school and get no breaks at all (except for holidays)?

5. Would you rather study all summer (with no free time) and have nice, breezy weather OR not study at all and have it be so hot that you need a cooler every second?

6. Would you rather read 300 books by the end of the summer and get extra credit in school and an awesome prize OR read only 10 books by the end of the summer, have to redo a grade, and get a rock as a prize?

7. Would you rather have a big summer party for one day but have to go back to school for the rest of the summer OR have to study every day but never have homework and have many breaks during the year?

8. Would you rather have tons of fun free time all year without school and homework, but lose all your friends OR go to school every single day of the year with large piles of homework but keep all your friends?

9. Would you rather sew your own bathing suit for 2 weeks in the heat (no breaks) and have it be totally worth it OR buy a bathing suit at the store and never ever get to go to the beach again?

10. Would you rather go to the beach every single day with it very cool out OR go to the amusement park every day with the weather being roasting hot?

Hope you like it!

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11. Teen Beach Movie 2 Would You Rather

TeenBeach130This Summer’s Biggest Wave: Teen Beach Movie 2!

When I heard they were making a Teen Beach Movie 2, I. Could. Not. Believe. It. But what could they possibly do to top the first movie?

For those of you who don’t know, Teen Beach Movie stars Ross Lynch (You heard me right!) and Maia Mitchell as teen surfer sweethearts Brady and Mackenzie. They get sucked into a tidal wave-time warp, and end up in a classic 1950s movie where everyone spontaneously breaks into song and dance. It’s hard to tell what’s real and not. And it is delicious!

Teen Beach Movie 2 premieres on June 26th at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel. This time, the tides have turned, and Tanner and Lela from the first movie find themselves in Brady and Mackenzie’s world. Imagine teens from the 1950s coming to 2015! They discover all our modern day inventions . . . like selfies and chicken nuggets.

To get you stoked for TBM2, grab your surfboard, and let us know Would You Rather . . .

  1. For one week, live in the past (1950s) OR the future (year 3000)?
  2. Be a surfer OR a biker?
  3. Ride a giant wave surfing OR jump between two cliffs on a motorcycle?
  4. Have Brady’s hair OR that cool “ting” thing when Tanner smiles?
  5. Spontaneously break into singing OR dancing?
  6. Wear hot pink high heels OR flip flops?
  7. Have beach sand in your hair OR motorcycle oil?
  8. Be a character in Teen Beach Movie 2 OR a character in Austin & Ally?

Let us know what YOU’D rather in the Comments below, and if you’re psyched for the movie! Also, check back here next week for some very special, EXCLUSIVE videos with the new stars of TBM2.

-Ratha, Stacks Writer

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12. Best Friend Next Door

Best Friend Next DoorA special message from Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door

At first, it doesn’t look like Hannah and Emme are going to be friends. When Emme moves in next door to Hannah, there’s a big problem. Emme has moved right into the house that Hannah’s best friend just moved out of (and out of the country, too). And not only that, but the two fifth graders both have names that are spelled the same backward and forward, they have the same birthday, and they both hate pizza and love peanut butter. Hannah is not happy about this identity theft. But after a rocky start, Hannah and Emme realize that their friendship is meant to be, and they will stick together through bullying, fund-raising fiascoes, sick pets, and new babies.

I loved writing Best Friend Next Door. It made me think about my best friend growing up on Centennial Avenue. Her name was (and still is!) Stephie. She actually lived three doors down, but those two houses in between didn’t mean anything to us. We wore a path through the other backyards to each other’s homes. We swam in her pool in the summer and sledded down the roof of my sloped garage in the winter. (We got in trouble for this one.) We made a tin-can phone and tin-can stilts, and set up an obstacle course for my dog, Rascal, in my backyard. To honor Stephie’s and my friendship, I put Hannah’s and Emme’s houses on Centennial Avenue, though in a fictional town.

There is nothing like a best friend, and even better, a best friend you can visit at all hours, even in your pajamas.

Would you like to live next to your best friend? Do you know anyone who has a palindrome name?

– Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door

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13. What Type of Gamer Are You?

Game on!Gaming Personality Quiz

Want to know what kind of STACKS gamer you are? Take our quiz and find out.

1. Your favorite thing to do in the summer when you are bored is . . . 
a. Pick up a branch, turn it into a sword, and find an adventure!
b. Grab a pencil, and relax while completing a few challenging puzzles like word games or Sudoku.
c. Doodle in last semester’s old notebook pages while listening to music.
d. Grab a basketball and shoot a few hoops with friends.

2. My favorite game console is . . . 
a. Xbox One or PS4.
b. Nintendo 3DS XL.
c. I don’t have a favorite.
d. Wii.

3. You’re in the middle of playing your favorite game when your mom makes you stop to have dinner with the family. Your thoughts are . . . 
a. “Aw man! I don’t want to stop but I guess I can use a break to plot out my next few moves and come up with a strategy.”
b. “I don’t mind taking a break. This game isn’t going anywhere so I’ll just finish it when I get back.”
c. *Growling noise* “Wow, was that my stomach? You never realize how much time goes by when you’re having fun.”
d. “Finally! I’m starving!”

4. If you could become a magical creature, which one would you choose?
a. A fierce, fire-breathing dragon who protects a mountain of gold.
b. A wise unicorn who is humble and gentle.
c. An elf who can build anything.
d. A mermaid who is a natural born swimmer, swift and agile.

5. Which element do you relate to the most?
a. Fire.
b. Wind.
c. Water.
d. Earth.

6. When playing a RPG (role-playing game) game you have never played before . . . 
a. you play it until you master it so you can beat all your friends.
b. you first look for secrets online to see how you can complete the game faster.
c. you create your character to make it look like an awesome hero, and then worry about the actual game later.
d. you don’t know what’s going on but you are  going to smash all the buttons and hope it gets you somewhere.

7. Which character do you relate to the most?
a. Harry Potter.
b. Sherlock Holmes.
c. Captain Underpants.
d. Abby from Whatever After.

If you picked . . . 

Mostly A’s, you are a quest gamer!
You love being an adventure hero and you thirst for the excitement through role-playing video games that allow you to gain skills, find treasure or loot, and level up. Some games you’ll enjoy include Keys to the Kingdom, Deltora, and The Secrets of Droon.

Mostly B’s, you are a puzzle gamer!
You’re a fast thinker and you love solving problems. Your mind is your greatest weapon and you use it effortlessly to win contests and get ahead. Some challenging games you’ll enjoy include Lawless, UFiles Maze Rescue, and Keys to the Kingdom Puzzles.

Mostly C’s, you are a creative gamer!
You love to build, draw, and create things. You don’t need a preset adventure or storyline to set your pace because you are capable of imagining your own adventure. To help the creative juices flow, try these games: Main Street Scrapbooking, Captain Underpants Comic Builder, and How to Draw Ook and Gluk.

Mostly D’s, you are an arcade gamer!
When playing your favorite games, your reflexes are your greatest advantage. You are fast and prefer to avoid complex, problem-solving tasks. You prefer to play with characters with much physical ability and strength. Some arcade games we think you might enjoy are Dodge-a-Rama, Snowboard Challenge, and Game Changers Football.

Tada! Now that you know what kind of gamer you are, Let us know your results, try out a few of the game suggestions and shoot some feedback below. May the games be always with you!

- Sandy, STACKS Staffer

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14. Giant Lamb Banana?

Create a captionGiant Lamb Banana Create a Caption

Scholastic Kids Council member Izzy sent this awesome photo for today’s create a caption. The little hippos are confused, but the giant lamb banana isn’t talking. What do you think it’s thinking?

Leave your caption for this photo in the Comments.

lamb banana create a caption

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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15. Fantastic Beasts Will Star Eddie Redmayne

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemFantastic Beast Cast Announcement!

Last year, we gave you news of J.K. Rowling’s next wizarding world movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The movie is coming to theaters in November, 2016, and we finally have our Newt Scamander: Eddie Redmayne!

“I’m hugely excited,” Redmayne told the London Evening Standard. “J.K. Rowling’s a genius, I am so thrilled to be a part of it but I can’t say a single word beyond that . . . I’ve always loved that world and I feel thrilled to be invited into it.”

33-year-old Edward John David Redmayne was born and raised in London, England. Eddie is one of five children. He took drama lessons from a young age. His first stage appearance was as a workhouse boy in Oliver! in London’s West End.


Les Miserables photo courtesy Universal Pictures

In 2012, he co-starred in the musical Les Misérables (rated PG-13), as Marius Pontmercy.

In 2014, he played scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (rated PG-13), and won multiple awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor.

J. K. Rowling said herself on Twitter that she is “Thrilled that Eddie Redmayne will be starring in Fantastic Beasts. He’ll be a perfect Newt Scamander!”

With his red hair and freckles, he totally could have been a Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, but that never happened. So I’m excited to see him in Fantastic Beasts. Plus, I’m just really, REALLY excited to see this movie!

What do you think? Does he look like Newt Scamander to you? Are you excited? Leave a Comment!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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16. Introducing the June STACKS Star

Stacks starsMeet MermaidAthena542!

This month, our STACKS Star is MermaidAthena542. This Star loves gymnastics, skiing, and swimming. Her hobbies include reading, acting, kicking back with friends, and surfing the net. She never leaves home without her cell phone, gum, and a favorite book. Some of the many things she can do include rubbing her belly and patting her head at the same time, eating a whole pizza by herself, twirling a baton, whistling, and winking. ;) She plans to read The Book Thief (for ages 12 and up) this summer, and she has very strong opinions about Dracmione (Draco Malfoy + Hermione Granger as a couple).

Would YOU like a chance to become the next STACKS Star? All you have to do is answer the questions below and I will pick one random user to be featured in the July STACKS Blast newsletter. Don’t forget to update your profile and avatar to make it look your best!

  1. What is your STACKS screen name?
  2. What is the coolest thing you have done or will do this summer?
  3. Who is your favorite person in the world and why?
  4. Finish this sentence: The best part about summer is . . .

To get you all inspired, here are my answers:

  1. CleverPiglet15
  2. The coolest thing I have done this summer is go horseback riding through the countryside in South Carolina.
  3. My favorite person in the world is my dad. He’s an amazing cook with a kind heart and he loves me unconditionally.
  4. The best part about summer is that there’s never a bad time or place to eat ice scream!

Leave your answers in the Comments. I can’t wait to see your answers so start typing away!

Sandy, STACKS Staffer

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17. Funny R5 Interview

r5We met the members of R5, and they are really funny!

We got up-close and personal with the 5-piece band R5 consisting of Ross Lynch, Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Rydel Lynch, and (Ellington) Ratliff. What’s it like touring the world? What are their favorite things about each other? Find out the answers to these questions and more below!

Q: Do you guys have any pets?
Ratliff: I was the only one with pets and I had dogs, cats, and a little bird. I don’t know what kind of bird it was but it was a little bird. I always had pets.
Rocky: I got two baby turtles for my birthday one time and they were really small, and they lived for, like, a year.

Q: Are you guys classically trained musicians?
Ross: No. Actually we’re all self-taught musicians, but being a band for five years, you learn quite a bit.
Riker: We started at a really young age, just performing for basically anyone who would watch. We pretty much grew up doing it. And we were all best friends. We all loved each other’s company and there was really no one else we would rather do it with. And then we moved to California and met Ratliff at a performing arts center, and he fit in quite nicely.
Ratliff: I did.
Riker: So, we started playing gigs around California. One set led to another and now we’re here.

Q: Ratliff, you didn’t even have to change your name.
Ratliff: Yeah. My real first name’s Ellington and my last name is Ratliff. So at first they were like, “No, we can call you Roger…”

Q: Could each say something about another member of the band?
Ratliff: Rydel is . . . we like to call her the secret weapon of R5 because, you know, without her we would just be another boy band and who wants that? But, yeah, she brings the fun. She’s really giggly. She’s really into fashion and things like that. She doesn’t like shopping, but she always looks good.
Rydel: Thanks. Riker is our fearless leader.
Ratliff: Well, he’s afraid of spiders, so he’s not totally fearless!
Rydel: That’s true. I have to kill all the spiders for all of them. But Riker’s captain of the ship and he is a very hard worker. He has the best work ethic ever and he has a really cute nose.
Riker: Thanks, sis. Ross is our awesome front man, and he leads us into every show. Ross is very creative. He’s a total artist. He’s always striving for us to be different and try new things. He definitely keeps it fresh. It’s good.


from left to right: Ross, Riker, Rocky, Rydel, and Ratliff

Q: Ok, Ross, it’s your turn now.
Ross: All right, Rocky can be quiet sometimes. He’s also a thinker. He’s very smart. He always did well in school. He’s the one who taught himself how to play guitar first. So he’s really wise for such a young age, but he’s also somewhat of a realist. Surprisingly, even though he’s all those things, he’s also really funny with a dry sense of humor when it’s appropriate!

Q: All right, Rocky, you do Ratliff.
Rocky: He’s the alien.
Ratliff: I’m the onion?
Rocky: The alien! Ratliff is the UFO in the group, the unidentified object. He’s the only one not related.
Ratliff: I mean, I think we’ve covered that one. What else you got?
Rocky: You probably have the biggest vocabulary in the group, which is helpful for these interviews.
Ratliff: I DO have the biggest vocabulary in the group.
Rocky: Ross is a close second.
Ross: I just make words up. Or I’ll use words without totally knowing what they mean. I’ll learn the meaning soon after if someone tells me I’m stupid.
Rydel: Yeah, he learns really big words and then he just kind of throws them out, and we’re like, “Is that . . . what did he say?”

Q: What’s the best thing about touring?
Ross: I feel like there’s something that you learn from traveling so much.
Rydel: Definitely. Like riding a camel.
Ross: I don’t know how much we learned from that.
Rydel: That they smell really bad.
Ratliff: Well, you learn about the culture. That’s what you really learn about. How people live.
Ross: It opens up your mind to how other people think.


I totally wish I could hang out with R5. They seem like such hilarious, chill people! Of course, it’s not like I’ll show up at their front door asking them to be my friends . . . What do you think? Are you a fan of R5? Be sure to check out our earlier interview with R5, watch this video interview with Ross Lynch, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below!

See ya,

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

Interview by Marie Morreale
Images courtesy of Disney Channel

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18. The Awesomeness of Duct Tape

Make a difference!Duct Tape by Beata, Scholastic Kids Council

My duct tape collection is one of my favorite things. Making things out of duct tape is a simple craft that doesn’t require much skill at first. You develop skills as you go. My first duct tape wallet wasn’t that good. It had a lot of wrinkles and it was sticky on top. With practice, my wallets look pretty awesome now.

Duct tape comes in a lot of interesting colors and prints. It is fun to mix and match, and it’s fun to follow the new designs that come out. My favorite duct tape is the Minions print. Some others that I like are Olaf, Hello Kitty, Star Wars, Peace Love and Smiles, flying pigs, burlap, ducks, and a pretty rainbow chevron design.
duct tapeI recommend looking at The Art of Duck Tape website if you want to learn more about duct tape. Have you ever made anything out of duct tape? Tell me in the Comments.

Beata, Scholastic Kids Council


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19. Magic Animal Friends

Magic Animal FriendsLucy Longwhiskers Gets Lost (for ages 7-10)

It’s the first day of vacation, and best friends Lily and Jess are ready for adventure! Lily’s parents run the Helping Paw Wildlife Hospital and the girls love to help take care of all the animals. However, some other animals also need their help . . .

When Goldie the golden cat invites the girls to visit magical Friendship Forest, Jess and Lily are thrilled to meet – and talk to! – their new animal friends. But greedy witch Grizelda wants the forest all for herself. When Grizelda’s helpers kidnap Lucy Longwhiskers, a baby bunny, it’s up to Lily and Jess to rescue Lucy and defend the forest!

With the help of Goldie, a clever owl, and their own wits, the girls are up for the challenge. But rescue missions aren’t easy. Sometimes, it takes more than determination to save the day. Sometimes, it takes a little bit of friendship and a big pinch of magic.

Magic Animal Friends 2-4See what happens next in the Magic Animal Friends series! 

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20. My Favorite Thing Is a Pencil

Hi!Rowan’s Favorite Thing Pencil

My favorite thing in the entire world is, believe it or not, a pencil. Pencils allow my visions to become works of art. For instance, my pencil helped me win 2nd place out of all of 6th grade on our Sixth Grade Olympic T-Shirts. Since I got second, I get to make a mini logo for the front of the shirt in the upper right corner.

My pencil helps me think about what I will draw on a blank piece of paper because I can’t think of anything to draw without it. When I’m drawing, I visualize my picture, then pursue it. Only, it looks different than what I imagined. It’s better. I like to think of my pencil as having its own mind that wanders making my picture greater than before I put the pencil to the paper.

I had free time once, and I decided to create a quote about creativity and inspiration. It says, “It is not the artist who creates the masterpiece. It is in fact the utensil that holds the inspiration.” It doesn’t exactly make sense, but I love it anyway. Pencils help get out a message to people through many pieces of art. You just have to find it.

What is YOUR favorite thing? Tell me in the Comments.

Rowan, Scholastic Kids Council

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21. 100 Things to Do Before High School

100 Things to Do Before High School 100 Things to Do Before High School on Nickelodeon Saturday, June 6

Created by Big Time Rush executive producer and creator Scott Fellows, 100 Things to do Before High School will follow three best friends as they navigate the highs and lows of middle school, with the help of a bucket list of adventures that help them overcome class cliques, terrifying bullies, and clueless teachers.

100 Things to Do Before High School

Photo: Robert Voets/ Nickelodeon©2014 Viacom, International, Inc.

With real life and teen drama awaiting her after 8th grade graduation, CJ Parker (played by Isabela Moner) has only a short time left to make the most of her middle school years. Together with her two lifelong best friends Fenwick (played by Jaheem Toombs) and Crispo (played by Owen Joyner), she is determined to get the most out of this time, using an ever-expanding list of challenges as a guide. For this group, growing up means trying everything and taking chances while they still can.

What’s on YOUR list of things to do before high school? Tell us in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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22. Gregg Sulkin in Frog Kingdom

Gregg SulkinIf you were a fan of Wizards of Waverly Place, then you might remember Gregg Sulkin who played Mason Greyback on the show.

That was then, but NOW . . . Gregg is the voice of Inspector Noggin in the new DVD movie Frog Kingdom (rated PG) . . . AND he has offered to answer YOUR questions!  I wonder if his character will have a British accent like he does in this video.

Leave your questions in the Comments and come back here on June 26 for Gregg’s answers!

Here is some more about his new movie:Frog Kingdom

When The Frog King announces that the winner of the Froglympics will win his daughter’s hand in marriage, Princess Froglegs (voiced by Bella Thorne) runs away instead. Disguised as a commoner, the Princess befriends street vendor, Freddie, and begins training with him for the games-determined that she will win and thwart her father’s plans of marriage. Meanwhile, the villainous serpent has ideas of his own to ruin the Froglympics and take over the kingdom. With a little luck, and a little help from their trusty sidekick Captain One-Eye, Freddie and Princess Froglegs set out to save Frog Kingdom from the evil serpent.

Now, leave your questions for Gregg Sulkin in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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23. Why a Pen Is the Most Important Thing in the World

Make a difference!Izzy’s Favorite Thing: A Pen!

I find it extremely hard to write about my favorite thing, because there are so many things in my life penthat I could choose. However, I have chosen to write about a pen.

Yes, I know that to most people a pen is extremely boring, but, to me, it symbolizes possibility. There are so many things you can do with a pen. You could write a novel or a song. Record information and data, or draw a masterpiece.

For me, a pen is like the beginning of something amazing. Every day, I write a new page with my pen, and I am slowly paving a path for my future. I could get into Stanford for Biology, or Julliard for Music. Maybe I will be a scientist and change the world with my discoveries. Maybe I’ll become a musician and touch people’s hearts with my music. Or perhaps I will be an author and move people through words. . . . or a teacher and help children grow into the people they will become.

There are so many endless possibilities as to what I will do with my life, but I know that with my pen in my hand, I will write a good future for myself. Tell me in the Comments what future YOU will write for yourself!

Izzy, Scholastic Kids Council

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24. Boredom Personality Quiz

question marksWhat Should You Do When You’re Bored?

It’s summertime! Even if your schedule is packed to the rafters with camping trips, pool parties, concerts, theme parks, and more, chances are you’ll find yourself with at least an hour or two of downtime . . . so what do you do? Don’t let boredom bring you down! Take our handy-dandy Boredom Personality Quiz and find out what activity YOU should do to keep the boredom at bay. You’re in for one very fun summer!

  1. Your favorite pizza is . . .  a) extra cheese. b) plain. c) pepperoni. d) veggie. e) something you’ve never tried before.
  2. Your dream fictional creature pet would be . . .  a) a unicorn. b) a talking mouse. c) Pegasus. d) a phoenix. e) a dragon.
  3. Your dream digs would be . . .  a) a castle by the sea. b) a quiet cottage in the woods. c) a farm. d) an apartment in a busy city. e) nowhere in particular–your dream is to travel, not settle down!
  4. You are most drawn to the color . . .  a) blue. b) grey. c) yellow. d) green. e) red.
  5. You are most grossed out by . . .  a) people who are mean to other people. b) people with really bad table manners. c) people who complain. d) blood! e) dirty dishes.
  6. You deal with frustrating situations by . . .  a) taking a deep breath and trying to be patient. b) avoiding them!!! c) sticking by your convictions no matter what. d) finding a creative solution that makes everyone happy. e) getting someone else to help you stay positive.
  7. You watch TV and movies . . .  a) a few hours a month. b) hardly ever. You can go weeks without TV and somehow survive! c) a few hours a day. d) only when it’s a show or movie you really, really want to see. e) a few hours a week.
  8. When out shopping, you . . .  a) get things in a style you know you already like. b) get things that are comfortable. c) pick out the trendiest stuff you possibly can! d) go for new styles and looks you haven’t tried. e) zero in on the active gear.
  9. When something embarrassing happens you . . . a) get really mad, but cool off quickly and forget about it a few days later. b) hide in your room until you think most people have forgotten. c) laugh along with everyone. d) write about it in your journal until you feel better . . . . about a week later. e) do something awesome that will make everyone forget how embarrassing that was!
  10. Your favorite subject in school is . . . a) Computers. b) Language Arts. c) Science. d) Art. e) Math.

Keep reading for the results!

If you picked mostly A’s, you should build something.
You’ve got patience for days! Take on an advanced LEGO project or build a house of cards. Just don’t let any pesky younger siblings get too close. You’ve got the good grace to get over an accidental demolition, but you’d really rather not have to start all over again!

If you picked mostly B’s, you should read a book.
Why explore the big, bad world when you could explore an entirely new universe from the comfort of your favorite reading nook? (Okay, okay. Staying inside all summer would kind of be a bummer, but that’s what reading outside is for!) Check out our latest book recommendations.

If you picked mostly C’s, you should watch a how-to video (or three) to learn a new skill.
Ever wanted to learn how to burp the alphabet backwards? Juggle? Use a lemon to turn on a lightbulb? Dye a T-shirt? Cut your own hair? (The last one is NOT recommended. Trust me. I’ve tried. Best leave that one to the pros!) The Internet is overflowing with how-to videos. Since you’re one curious camper, feed your thirst for knowledge by picking up some interesting and entertaining skills to wow your friends in the fall. Here is a project to get you started.

If you picked mostly D’s, you should draw or take photos.
You’ve got a creative itch–scratch it! Appoint yourself official summer artist. Photograph or draw all the interesting bugs, pond adventures, blue skies, ice cream cones, and neighborhood pets you can. Put them in some homemade frames, and at the end of the summer you’ll have the best treasure trove of memories to share with everyone!

If you picked mostly E’s, you should solve a puzzle.
You’re always on the hunt for new ways to test your skills! Put on some groovy tunes, set up a snack, and put your brain to the test with a really challenging 1000-piece puzzle. It’ll test your patience and your eyeballs, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as placing that last piece in a giant puzzle. Plus, you can totally do this with a friend. Try on online puzzle game!

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25. Author Tui Sutherland Q & A

tui sutherlandTui Sutherland Q&A

Tui Sutherland is the author of the Wings of Fire series. In honor of the Summer Reading Challenge, she has offered to answer some questions about her books and characters!

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people? Did any of things that happen to them in your books happen to you or people you know?
Tui Sutherland: Some of my earlier books featured characters based on real people and things that actually happened to me, but I haven’t based any of my Wings of Fire dragons on anyone I know. And there aren’t a lot of arena fights, prophecies, amusing assassins, or enchanted jewels in my life, I’m afraid!

But I do try to build each character on emotions and traits that I relate to—for instance, like Starflight, whenever I get nervous or worried about something, I turn to books, both for answers and to help me feel better. Another example is the way Sunny feels like her friends don’t take her seriously—I’ve felt that way, too! Or there’s Tsunami: sure, I’ve never had to find a serial killer in my mother’s palace, but I definitely have done things when I’m angry that I’ve felt terrible about afterwards . . . I mean, hasn’t that happened to everyone?

I did write Clay, the main dragon in book one, with my son in mind. He was only a baby at the time, so Clay isn’t based on him, but I was picturing the kind of hero and friend that I hope he might be one day. So I gave Clay my favorite heroic characteristics: loyalty, kindness, and caring for others. (No pressure, little bear!)

Q: In real life, would any of your characters be friends of yours? Which character do you relate most to? Which one would you most want to meet?
Tui Sutherland: I would love to meet any of my dragon characters as long as they promised not to eat me! I’d probably feel safest with Sunny or Clay or Moon, who I can imagine as friends. I think Sunny is the dragon I relate to most, in that she’s kind of unreasonably cheerful and optimistic, and she’s much more conflict-averse than, say, Glory or Tsunami. If I could meet just one character . . . you know, I’d choose to meet Qibli, the SandWing in the new series, so he could help me write the book that’s coming up about him!

Q: If you had to trade places with one of your characters for a day, who would it be and what would you do?
Tui Sutherland: That would be amazing—I’d love to be a dragon for a day! I’m tempted to say Moon, because it would be cool to read minds . . . but then, that seems like the kind of gift that’s also clearly a curse at the same time. So I think I’d actually want to be Glory, because then I could fly and shoot venom at people and have a cute pet sloth and perhaps be queen of the rainforest (and possibly date Deathbringer, la la la!).

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