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We have a special Thanksgiving treat for you! Natalie Lloyd, the author of A Snicker of Magic, has a brand-new story set in Midnight Gulch—a magical town full of mystery and enchanted ice cream.
If you liked A Snicker of Magic, then you’ll love this “spindiddly” story featuring Jonah Pickett (a.k.a. the Beedle). If you haven’t read A Snicker of Magic, then you’ll still love this sweet, heartwarming story.
It’s fall, and with chilly weather comes more time for reading indoors! Ah, to be snuggly and warm by an open fire with an excellent book—nothing compares. At the STACKS, we believe that sharing is caring, and we love to share our book recommendations. She here are the Best Books of Fall as voted by YOU!
The reigning book favorites Harry Potter and Percy Jackson definitely top the list this fall, but Warriors and Kingdom Keepers are gaining ground!
What books are you excited to dig into? What books do you think everyone needs to be reading RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT? Share your picks the Comments below!
You know who you are. You fell in love at the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and you never looked back. But there are some things that people who have not read Harry Potter just don’t understand about you . . .
You wish Hogwarts were real and you desperately want to get your Hogwarts letter.
You try seriously hard to do magic and are frustrated when your “wand” (a.k.a. stick) does not work.
Dobby, Fred Weasley, Professor Lupin, Snape, and Tonks.
Trying to explain Quidditch to your non-Harry Potter friends so you can play it at recess.
The movie did not include your favorite line or scene from the book.
You scream while watching the movies, “That didn’t happen in the book!”
When someone says, “JK” (for just kidding), you think, “Rowling.”
You are desperately waiting for J.K. Rowling to write another children’s book.
If it’s not Harry-related, you kind of don’t want to talk about it.
Nothing else you read is ever as good as Harry Potter.
Can YOU relate to any of these? Leave a Comment to tell us your problems that only other Harry Potter fans understand!
Thanksgiving is this week, so I hope you are excited to eat lots of food and maybe watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Here is last year’s turkey from the parade. What do you think it is saying? Leave your caption in the Comments.
Olivia B. is only 12 years old, but she has already gotten the attention of a presidential candidate. Last month, she wrote a letter to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about the importance of a good education for children with learning disabilities. Olivia’s letter went viral after Secretary Clinton posted it on Twitter. Olivia even got to go to Clinton’s birthday party and take a selfie with her.Olivia (left) and her dog, Shelby, with Adedayo in New York City
“I thought it would be important to me to actually write to her and reach out,” Olivia said. “I was happy that I did.”
Olivia lives in New York City with her two dads and her twin brother. She has dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and attends Mary McDowell Friends School in Brooklyn. There are 12 students and 2 teachers in each class.
“My school makes it so that the teachers are really connected [with the kids], and it’s so much easier to learn,” Olivia said in a recent interview.
Olivia told Secretary Clinton that her private school is “fairly expensive.” That’s one reason Olivia hopes to enter politics—after fulfilling her dream to be a professional soccer player. She already has some ideas for education policies.
“We need more money for public schools to be built and to hire extra teachers so that we have smaller classes for more students with learning disabilities,” she said. “Putting more kids in a class isn’t good for someone like me because it’s too distracting, and I can’t ask my questions.”
Olivia told Clinton that she’d like to help out in her campaign headquarters after school. “They haven’t offered me a job, but I have done some things to help,” Olivia said. “I did a video—a campaign video—so I guess that’s the closest to a ‘job.’”
Olivia is surprised by the amount of attention her letter has received. “You can kind of do whatever you want, if you try,” she observed.
I went on an epic adventure to Universal Studios where I spent two days exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you have already been there, then you know how awesome it is. If not, I’m bringing the adventure to you!
On the first day, I went to Islands of Adventure to visit Hogsmeade and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As soon as I walked through the Hogsmeade entrance, I felt like I had walked onto a movie set or a real Harry Potter dream. The ground is made of cobblestone; the buildings are all whimsical and pointy, and store windows have displays that actually move! (If you buy a wand from Ollivanders, you can activate the displays by waving your wand at them.)
In the middle of the crowd of witches, wizards, and Muggles, stood a large wooden cart with a wizard serving butterbeer. Since this is the beverage in the wizarding world, I had to give it a try. It has a surprisingly pleasant taste like butterscotch soda with a dollop of cream on top. Then I took a stroll through Honeydukes and bought my very own Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (and they do mean every flavor). I accidentally ate a vomit-flavored bean and it didn’t go so well.
After passing Three Broomsticks, I finally came to the massive Hogwarts castle. Although its size is impressive, it is nothing compared to the magical experience inside. The pictures move and talk; the ceiling snows, and you can watch Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, and Hermione talk in some of the corridors. I won’t spill the beans on what the ride is like, but let’s just say it is awesome, scary, and exhilarating. I went on it twice and loved it both times!
On the second day, I went back to Hogsmeade to catch the Hogwarts Express which travels to King’s Cross Station, a.k.a. Platform 9¾. The exterior of the train is just like the movie in all red and black. Inside, there are cabins capable of holding 8-10 people. The ride, although short, is probably the best ride ever! The windows display scenic views of Hogwarts and show real wizards flying by on their broomsticks. Even the doors are animated. You can actually see and hear shadows of Harry and his friends walking by.
As soon as we stepped off the train, it felt like I had crossed the world and landed in London, a.k.a. Platform 9¾. The first place I wanted to go was Diagon Alley, but it was kind of hard to find. I had to really look at the small details of the map to see that Diagon Alley is actually hidden behind walls! You could easily walk past the entrance and not even notice it was there. It is a hidden passage which leads to another secret wall with an unfinished brick passageway just like when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time.
Diagon Alley is everything I thought it would be, and more! There is a store for almost everything a wizard or witch needs, including books, robes, owls, Quidditch supplies, wands, and even Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The most impressive structure is Gringotts Bank, complete with a dragon perched on top. Inside, there are life-sized goblins that move and even blink as they work behind their desks. To get to the 3-D ride, “Escape from Gringotts,” you travel on moving elevators just like the ones in the Ministry of Magic. I don’t want to reveal all of the details of the ride, but let’s just say water and fire are involved and it is absolutely incredible!
If you want to chat with me and other Harry Potter fans about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, join the Harry Potter Message Board here. Ask me any questions you want and I’ll try my best to be as detailed as possible. TTYL!
Taylor Swift Donates 25,000 Books to New York City Schools
Scholastic and Taylor Swift are excited to announce a donation of 25,000 new books from the Scholastic Possible Fund to 25 New York City schools that need more books for their students! These 25 schools will each receive 1,000 new children’s books.
As a long-time literacy advocate, Taylor hosted a webcast for classrooms during which she shared how books, reading, and writing have influenced her and opened her world. Since it first aired in October 2014, the webcast has been viewed by more than 4.5 million students from around the country! Watch it here.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Children all over the world dream of the future, what they will do, and what jobs they will have. Now, these dreams can become a reality at KidZania (kid-ZAH-nee-ya). Opened last August in Manila, the interactive kid-sized city combines role-playing activities and real-life experiences to simulate the real world for children ages four to fourteen.
Pinky Laurena of KidZania Manila and Georgia gesture “hello,” or “kai,” the KidZania way.
KidZania is the first-of-its-kind indoor play city for kids. The city has paved streets, kid-sized vehicles, hospitals, shops, and dining outlets. I’d been hearing about KidZania from friends in Indonesia for the past two years. I was thrilled to see that a branch had finally opened in Manila!
The first KidZania opened in Mexico City in 1999 by Xavier López Ancona, an entrepreneur who said that he wanted to create a “safe, creative play city where children can let their imaginations run free.”
Children from more than 100 schools have visited our local KidZania in Manila since its opening in August. “This is a city run by kids, for kids, ” said Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas, the State Governor of KidZania Philippines. Within the play city, kids are given the chance to work in one of many establishments. Some are sponsored by real-world brands such as Honda and McDonald’s. There is a bank, a bake shop, a news bureau, a bookstore, and even an airline.
“The working experience is super-duper fun,” said 9-year old Ayia Formilleza, who was waiting for her turn to be a nurse at the hospital. “It’s like I’m in the real world, and not just in a fake one.”
Upon entering the play city, kids are given a check for 50 KidZos, KidZania’s national currency. They can open a bank account and cash the check, and then begin to earn more KidZos by getting jobs. During my visit, I worked as a journalist, a magazine columnist, a manicurist, and a radio host. Each job or activity involves 6 to 10 kids at a time and is completed in about 20 minutes. KidZos can be used to purchase items at stores within the city, or may be saved for a future trip to Kidzania.
“I like this theme park because the kids see the relationship between working and earning in a way that they can understand,” said Vincent Fabella, the father of f 10-year-old Roxanne. At the time, Roxanne was busy running around the city working as a journalist.
KidZania is strict about its 4-to-14 age restriction. I’m lucky that it opened the year I turned 14 since I still have a few months to enjoy it. KidZania currently has branches in 20 countries, including Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Future locations include Singapore, Russia, and the United States.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin ( for ages 11 and up)
Hi, everyone! EvilGoblin here. I’m going to talk about the main plot of my book Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. If you like suspenseful, real-life spy stories, you will love Lincoln’s Grave Robbers.
A criminal named Big Jim hatches a plan to steal the remains of the dead President Lincoln. Secret service agent Patrick Tyrell finds out and hires a roper (an undercover spy who pretends to be a criminal) Lewis Swegles to figure out what is going on. He figures out that on election night of 1864, Jack Hughes and Terrence Mullen are planning to steal the remains of the dead president.
On election night, Tyrell takes a team of spies to hide in the labyrinth of the monument. When the thieves go to commit the crime, the roper gives the signal and Tyrell’s squad gets in position. Tyrell darts up the stairs and onto the terrace and about 70 feet in front of him, a figure darts back as Tyrell shoots. The thieves take cover and shoot at Tyrell. He dodges the bullets but the thieves escape. It is only a matter of time before they will be found but you have to read the book to find out the rest of the story.
Let me ask you a question: Would you rather be a criminal or a spy? Reply in the Comments and then come talk to me on the Buzz Board.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on the set where your favorite book-turned-movie was filmed? I recently got the chance to visit the forest whereThe Hunger Games movie (rated PG-13) was filmed. I got to see the very place where Jennifer Lawrence acted as Katniss Everdeen and ran from the fireballs in the Arena. I acted out the scene where Josh Hutcherson portrayed Peeta Mellark, who was using camouflage to hide from the other tributes. It wasn’t on a set in Hollywood or New York City, but instead, in DuPont State Recreational Forest in North Carolina.
Jordan recreates the scene where Katniss finds Peeta’s blood in the Arena (DuPont State Recreational Forest, North Carolina).
The scenic area in Transylvania County is about 40 miles from my home in Asheville. I got to see where pivotal scenes from the movie were filmed on a special tour led by Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours.
Leigh Trapp owns the tour company. In an interview, she explained why she started the tours: “It’s kind of like when you go to Disney, and it’s almost like you’re in a magical world. I want people to have that same feeling. I want you to be able to walk into places where the people you love, the characters you love, actually do those things.”
A BOOK LOVER’S PARADISE
The tour is a book lover’s paradise. After a long hike, visiting some “sets” along the way, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls for lunch. Inside of our packs, we had a box full of “Survival Snacks.” These were foods that Katniss would have lived off of during the Games. Foods included beef jerky, bread, and even goat cheese made locally. The nightshade berries are “eat at your own risk.”
Emily Harper, 12, from Clemmons, North Carolina, was on the tour. She acted out some of the scenes with her cousin, Ava Campbell, 13, also from Clemmons.
“We got to recreate a lot of the scenes,” Emily said. “It was like, whoa! The actors were actually here, where we are right now.”
Some of the other activities included archery and camouflage. Tourists could practice archery and work some “movie magic,” disguising themselves as Peeta.
Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours offers the DuPont tours from March through October. I strongly recommend these tours if you’re a fan of the books or movies. As Trapp said, “I think people who love the books and then love the movies are some of the most interesting people there are. They’re always super fun. They’re bright, they’re smart, they read, and so it makes for great days.”
Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi (rated PG), episode VII The Force Awakens will also feature Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, but of course they are much older now.
Photo courtesy of LucasFilm
There are also 3 important new characters. Here is what little I know about them so far. . .
Finn is a runaway stormtrooper whose TIE Fighter crashes on Jakku, a remote desert planet in the Outer Rim Territories. He also has a lightsaber in this picture. Where did that come from? Has he been trained as a Sith or a Jedi?
Rey is a scavenger living on Jakku. She was abandoned there by her parents when she was 5 years old, so she’s, you know, pretty tough and independent. It looks like she and Finn become friends somehow.
And Kylo Ren is the dark knight who wants to continue the evil reign of terror that Darth Vader left. He looks really mean, guys, and his lightsaber is homemade. How evil do you have to be to make your own lightsaber? He doesn’t look as scary as freaky red-eyed Darth Maul, but he does look like a pretty evil villain.
Strangely, we don’t have a picture of how Luke Skywalker will look in the new movie. Why? What are they hiding from us? Did he become a hermit like Ben Kenobi? Or has he gone to the dark side?? We won’t know for sure until December 18 when the movie comes out.
Are you a Star wars fan? What do you think of the new movie posters? Let us know in the Comments!
Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, and it’s my favorite holiday! I tend to get sentimental and weepy thinking about how lucky I am to have my family and friends. These books might make you cry, but they will also make you feel really thankful for the good things in your life . . . which is what Thanksgiving is all about!
See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles (5-tissue rating)
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is busy being a teenager; and Holden fends off bullies at school. Fern is usually the one left to take care of three-year-old Charlie, who always gets his way. But then tragedy strikes and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. This book is DEFINITELY a tear-jerker!
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (4-tissue rating)
This is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her mother, who left the family. So she embarks on a cross-country road trip to see her again. The ending of this book made me cry!
Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan (3-tissue rating) When Naomi’s absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi doesn’t quite trust her or her mother’s new boyfriend. So, with her great grandmother and younger brother, Naomi runs away to Oaxaca, Mexico to find her missing father. The situation Naomi has to go through with her mother is truly sad, but Naomi is a strong person and love helps her come through in the end.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (2-tissue rating)
Mo LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where she washed ashore as a tiny baby in a hurricane eleven years ago. Although Mo hopes someday to find her biological mother, she’s found a home with the Colonel and Miss Lana, who take care of her and love her. When a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known. This book is an exciting mystery, but it’s also a story about sticking up for your friends and family when they are in trouble.
Matilda by Roald Dahl (1-tissue rating) At age five-and-a-half Matilda can do double-digit multiplication problems and read adult books. But her parents are horrible and don’t realize how special she is. Also, her school principal is a bully who makes the students’ lives miserable. The best part of Matilda’s life is her teacher Miss Honey, who understands her and loves her for who she is. This book is too funny to really be a tear-jerker, but it made me cry a little because someone once told me I remind him of Miss Honey (which is, like, the best compliment ever!) If you have a “Miss Honey” in your life, you should tell her how thankful you are because it will make her feel so happy!
What books make YOU feel thankful? Tell us in the Comments!
Excellent news, Roald Dahl fans! The beloved fictional giant, the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), will be coming to big screens in 2016. (There’s a joke on being larger than life in there somewhere . . . ) If you can’t get enough of the silly, sometimes surreal, and always heartwarming world of The BFG, here are some great books for ages 8-12 to read next!
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Mr. Fox is a smart and clever fox who feeds his family by stealing from a trio of cranky and cantankerous farmers named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Mr. Fox, his family, and his fellow animal neighbors are in a great deal of trouble after the mean old farmers decide to rid themselves of the sneaky and sly Mr. Fox once and for all. Their plan? To dig up Mr. Fox’s burrow and starve him out. But the three farmers are no match for the quick-witted Mr. Fox and his friends!
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Borrowers are definitely not giants—in fact, they’re so tiny they can live in the walls and floors of a house, completely undetected! The Clock family is one such family of Borrowers, and they live happily in a house in England . . . well, under the floorboards, anyway. Borrowers survive by staying undetected by the big “human beans”, but one day fourteen-year-old Arrietty Clock is seen by—and sees—a human boy!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
When Wayside school was built, there was one major problem: it was built sideways! The building was supposed to be one floor with thirty classrooms, but instead it is thirty stories tall with one classroom on each floor. Each chapter of this book is about a teacher or student at Wayside School and the strange, wacky, and sometimes spooky things that happen in this strange, wacky, and sometimes spooky building.
Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson
Three aging sisters, Aunt Cora, Aunt Etta, and Aunt Myrtle, live on an island where they care for a wide range of wild and magical creatures. As they get older, they realize they need help—so they kidnap three children to teach and train to take over. However, while the children are fascinated (and sometimes frightened!) by the mermaids, selkies, and other exotic island inhabitants, their families back home will stop at nothing to get the children back. When the island is “discovered” by the people back home, all the creatures are in danger. Will the children and the Aunts be able to save their precious island?
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
When two children, Digory and Polly, discover that Digory’s Uncle Andrew has magic rings that can transport them to different worlds, they find themselves on a wild adventure that lands them in an abandoned city in an ancient world. There they find the lone survivor of the destroyed world, a queen named Jadis. When Jadis follows the children back to their home world in England, ultimate mayhem ensues. This is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, so if you’re left thirsting for more (and you totally will, believe me!), you’ve got six more books of awesome!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter is an orphan living with his horrible remaining family, the Dursleys. Bullied and abused and forced to live under the stairs, Harry learns on his eleventh birthday that he is actually a wizard…and that there is more to his parents’ death than he initially thought. He is whisked away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he discovers the wondrous wizarding world, the dark cloud of mystery surrounding his parents’ murder, and the curious and frightening role he is to play in saving the world from the purest form of evil there ever was! Read all 7 books in the Harry Potter series!
Have you read any of these books? Which one is your favorite? Which one do you want to read the most? What books do YOU recommend for fans of The BFG? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the Comments below!
If you could be any Disney princess, which one would you be? Take this quiz and find out the answer to that question now. All you have to do is keep track of your answers and then find the reveal below. Good luck, princesses!
Two words to describe me are . . . a) cool and extraordinary. b) classy and loving. c) assertive and clever. d) determined and persistent. e) intellectual and quirky.
What is your favorite season? a) Winter. b) Spring. c) Summer. d) Fall. e) It doesn’t matter. I love all the seasons!
What do you fear the most? a) Global warming. b) Bullies. c) Weird noises at night. d) Getting bad grades in school. e) Not having enough books to read.
If you could have any one of these animals as a pet, which would you choose? a) Penguin. b) Mouse. c) Cat. d) Lizard. e) Horse.
In your free time, you like to . . . a) play fun games with your siblings. b) hang out with your pets. c) go exploring in the backyard. d) watch TV at home. e) relax and read a book.
What qualities will your prince have? a) Ssph . . . Who cares? I don’t need a prince anyway. b) Charm. c) An adventurous spirit. d) Bravery. e) Intelligence.
When you grow up, you want to be . . . a) an architect. b) a fashion designer. c) a pilot. d) a hair stylist. e) a librarian.
Your go-to hairdo is . . . a) a cool braid. b) just tied back in a ponytail. c) pulled back with a headband. d) long and straight. e) a messy bun.
Which is your favorite quote? a) “Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.” – John Wooden b) “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus c) “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it The Present.” – Eleanor Roosevelt d) “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne e) “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss
What is your favorite subject? a) Science. b) Music. c) Geography. d) Art. e) Reading.
Read on for your Princess personality Quiz results! If you picked . . .
Mostly A’s, you are Elsa!
You have a courageous spirit and you put the people you love first before yourself. All your friends admire you because you follow your heart.
Mostly B’s, you are Cinderella!
You are a classic princess who is kind. You have a deep love for all living things especially cute animals.
Mostly C’s, you are Jasmine!
You are adventurous and you love to travel. Your friends love you because you are down-to-earth and smart.
Mostly D’s, you are Rapunzel!
You are determined and independent. You don’t need friends around to be happy, but they come to you anyway because you’re so cool.
Mostly E’syou are Belle!
You are smart, witty, and you love to read books. Everyone loves you because you have amazing positive energy and you inspire them.
Which princess did you get? Let us know with a Comment below!
Are the villains in children’s books too mean? To help you answer that question, I’ve compiled a list of the top seven most evil children’s book villains. Some of these characters are so deliciously evil, it’s no wonder that they have all made it from books to the big screen.
Her character is supposed to be a tall Amazonian woman with pretty features and great strength, but for all that beauty, inside lives a very dark and ice-cold heart. She turns people and animals to stone and then uses them for home décor. Who does that? Also, did you know that the fur collar she wears is actually Aslan’s mane? Yeah, that’s mean!
Aside from his abnormally large nose and weird sideburns, Count Olaf is really mean and weird. You can almost always find him scowling in every illustration, and he is definitely known to have bad hygiene (ew). Yup, that’s enough to put him at number 6.
#5: The Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I know that he is seriously misunderstood, but with a green, hairy face, those evil-looking wrinkles and long, pointy, hairy fingers, how could you not be scared of this guy? The Grinch may be one of my favorite childhood holiday movies but he’s still pretty scary-looking.
#4: Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I loved, loved, loved this movie, but seriously, Miss Trunchbull is mean and scary. Why she is even working in a school when she hates kids completely boggles my mind. On top of that, she doesn’t let anyone eat snacks or have candy in their pockets!
Kronos, who is technically Percy’s grandfather, is the god of the Titans. Isn’t it weird that he looks like a monster while Zeus and all the other gods look normal? Either way, he’s scary-looking and he wants to destroy the world even if it means destroying his own kids. That’s pretty evil!
#2: Slappy from Slappy’s Revenge. Where do I even start with Slappy? His name, his features, and his evil tendencies are all equally frightening in so many ways. If I had a doll that looked anything like Slappy in my room, I don’t think I’d be able to sleep. Would you?
#1: Lord Voldemort from theHarry Potter series.
Drum roll . . . And our number one villain, of course, is Lord Voldemort! He’s pure evil and wants to destroy all Muggles. Since that includes Hermione, who is my heroine, there’s no question he should be on top of this list.
That’s my list of the top meanest villains of all children’s books. Which one on this list do you think is the creepiest? If you could add another villain, who would it be? Let me know by dropping a Comment below!
If you had to pick a favorite animal, it would be . . . a) kangaroo. b) whale. c) shrew. d) caribou.
Pick which food you’d rather eat. a) Barbeque. b) Smoked salmon. c) Fish and chips. d) French fries with cheese and gravy (a.k.a. poutine).
Your favorite kind of weather is. . . a) super-hot. b) sunny in summer and cold and dark in winter. c) cool all year. d) snowy.
Which would you rather do? a) Go surfing. b) Go for a long bike ride. c) Visit a palace. d) Go hiking.
Which sport do you enjoy watching the most? a) Rugby. b) Swimming. c) Football (a.k.a. soccer). d) Ice hockey.
Which entertainment would you prefer? a) Opera. b) Antique amusement park. c) Gigantic Ferris wheel. d) Circus.
Which type of music is your favorite? a) Rock. b) Pop. c) Punk. d) Hip hop.
Which language would you rather learn? a) An indigenous tribal language. b) A Scandinavian language. c) Old English. d) French.
What is your favorite dog breed? a) Sheepdog. b) Great Dane. c) Russell Terrier. d) Labrador Retriever.
Read on to find out which country you live in!
If you picked mostly A’s, you should live in Australia.
You love hot days when you can head to the beach and see some of the most unique wildlife in action! Your ideal day-trip would involve snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and surfing the waves of Australia! You can enjoy a game of rugby followed by some delicious Australian barbeque! Welcome to the land down under!
If you picked mostly B’s, you should live in Denmark.
Your ideal location involves bright, sunny summers, dark winters, and lots of fresh seafood! You will love swimming and sailing around the many islands of Denmark. Ride your bike to the world’s oldest amusement park in Copenhagen while listening to trendy, Scandinavian pop music.
If you picked mostly C’s, you should live in England. The cool weather doesn’t bother you – in fact, you prefer it! You love all things royal! Take a ride on the London Eye and watch a football match at the pub over a meal of fish and chips. The iconic red telephone booths and tea times are calling your name!
If you picked mostly D’s, you should live in Canada. What a mixture of culture! You get to speak both French and English. Canada is the home of ice hockey, poutine, and Cirque du Soleil! You will love hiking in the summer, tapping maple trees for fresh syrup in the spring, and skiing and skating all winter. Oh, Canada!
Did you know 32 out of 1000 people are twins? Are you one of the lucky 32? I always wondered what it would be like to have a twin. To share clothes, secrets, and a birthday, and basically have a built-in best friend . . . or partner in crime. . . for life!
If you’re a twin, know twins, or just want to test your knowledge, help yourself to a double serving of our Twins Trivia!
Photo courtesy Warner Bros.
TRUE or FALSE? Twins are always look identical to each other.
TRUE or FALSE? The states with the highest rates of twins are Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Are twins with the exact same DNA called fraternal OR identical twins?
The actors who play Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies are actual twins in real life. What are their real names?
The world’s oldest living twins were Eli Shadrack and John Meshak Phipps born in 1803 in Virginia. How old did they live to be? A) 108 and 113. B) Both 101. C) 90 and 91.
TRUE or FALSE? Identical twins have almost identical brainwave patterns. This can cause one twin to feel pain when the other one is injured.
When they are born, twins usually weigh MORE or LESS than the average baby?
Which famous athlete is a parent of twins? A) Peyton Manning. B) Stephen Curry. C) Tom Brady. D) Sidney Crosby.
TRUE or FALSE? Having twins is hereditary.
Fill in the blank. The Major League baseball team ___________ Twins!
Did you score in the double digits? Check out the answers below.
TRUE or FALSE? Twins are always look identical to each other.ANSWER: FALSE. Twins can be born at the same time and not look exactly the same.
TRUE or FALSE? The states with the highest rates of twins are Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. ANSWER: TRUE. The state with the lowest rate of twins is New Mexico.
Are twins with the exact same DNA called fraternal OR identical twins? ANSWER: Identical twins. The name kind of says it all!
The actors who play Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies are actual twins in real life. What are their real names? ANSWER: James and Oliver Phelps.
The world’s oldest living twins were Eli Shadrack and John Meshak Phipps born in 1803 in Virginia. How old did they live to be? ANSWER: 108 and 113!
TRUE or FALSE? Identical twins have almost identical brainwave patterns. This can cause one twin to feel pain when the other one is injured. ANSWER: TRUE! Some twins also say it can give them the ability to read each other’s minds.
When they are born, twins usually weigh MORE or LESS than the average baby? ANSWER: Less. The average twin weighs about 5.5 pounds. The average baby is about 7 pounds. (The average triplet weighs about 4 pounds!)
Which famous athlete is a parent of twins? ANSWER: Peyton Manning has 4-year-old twins, Marchall (boy) and Mosley (girl) Manning.
TRUE or FALSE? Having twins is hereditary. ANSWER: TRUE. There is a greater chance of having twins if there are other twins in your family. But having identical twins is completely random!
Fill in the blank. The Major League baseball team ___________ Twins! ANSWER: The Minnesota Twins!
Give us a shout out if you’re a twin or know any twins in the Comments below!
This Blog Post is Sponsored by Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Way back in the winter of 1820, the New England whaleship Essex was attacked by a much bigger, mammoth-sized whale. The incident would inspire American author and poet Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick, but this was a real-life disaster in which a ship with a crew sailed into the Pacific and never returned.
An exciting new film, In the Heart of the Sea (rated PG-13), is based on the Nathaniel Philbrick book, In the Heart of the Sea—The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (for ages 12 and up).
The Pittsburgh-born author’s book is a work of nonfiction. It explores the grim path of the crew of the Essex, which headed out to sea after leaving Nantucket in the summer of 1819. The ship barely survived a bout of nasty weather not long after it set sail, enduring significant damage in the aftermath, and was sunk after the huge sperm whale attacked it during November of the following year.
Opening in theaters on December 11 and starring Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea tells the powerful true story of the Essex and celebrates good storytelling.
Tell us in the Comments below about the last good piece of nonfiction storytelling you read, and leave your caption for this photo . . .
Meet Ben, a 10-year-old magician from New Jersey. His card tricks will blow you away! I’m not kidding; you have to see this! I have seen him perform in person, and I can tell you, he is legit. Watch his card trick video.
Amazing, right? I have no idea how he does it, but if you are interested in card tricks, check out Klutz Card Trickery. Maybe you can learn Ben’s secrets!
The Peanuts Movie (rated G) is coming to theaters today and we are excited because the Peanuts gang visited the STACKS to answer some of our questions. Read on to find out why Lucy is so mean, why Linus always carries his blanket, and how Charlie Brown can ever be a winner!
Q: What is it like to have a dog like Snoopy? Charlie Brown: Well, it’s not without its challenges. He requires a lot of supervision. And costume changes. But I honestly think having a dog makes the world better. And I’ll tell you this— it’s never boring.
Q: How do you keep up hope even when everything goes wrong? Charlie Brown: I try not to focus on all that’s going wrong but on what’s going right. And if nothing is going right, I go home and pet Snoopy.
Q: Linus, when will you stop carrying around your blanket? Linus: I suppose when I’m a little older I’ll have to stop carrying my blanket. But then I’ll have it made into a sport coat. I think the bigger question is why don’t more people carry around blankets?
Q: Sally, what is it like being Charlie Brown’s little sister? Sally: It’s not so bad. He’s kind of embarrassing. And sometimes I pretend we’re not related. But if he weren’t here, I would have to feed the dog! He’s actually very supportive and helpful. No matter how mean I am to him. It’s so annoying!
Q: Lucy, do you feel bad about being so mean to Charlie Brown? Lucy: I don’t think I’m being mean. As a trained psychiatrist, part of my job is to make the patient examine himself on the inside. Sometimes that requires a lot of yelling from the outside. What you call “mean,” I call “caring with crabbiness.”
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Q: Do you have any tips for Charlie Brown about how to be a winner? Linus: Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, strive to be the Charlie Browniest. Sally: Yes, don’t play sports. Play checkers. Don’t start any trouble— but don’t be afraid either. Remember what Theodore Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a beagle.” Lucy: Yes, never fall in love with a musician and never pay more than 5 cents for advice. You have to be true to yourself. Unless of course you’re Charlie Brown. Then you have to just hope for a miracle.
Check back later today for a special Charlie Brown Would You Rather with the actual cast from The Peanuts Movie!
Have a perfectly round head like Charlie Brown OR have red hair like the Little Red-Haired Girl?
Francesca (who plays the Little Red-Haired Girl): I already have red hair, so that’s easy! (If you haven’t seen Francesca on Dog with a Blog, you can see her gorgeous hair in this video.) Noah (who plays Charlie Brown): I would want a round head. That would be cool!
Carry a blanket with you everywhere like Linus OR wear Charlie Brown’s zigzag shirt every day? Marleik (who plays Franklin): Can we change the color? I want the shirt to be red!
Have Sally as a sister OR Lucy as a sister? Marleik and Noah: Sally! Francesca: Sally. Lucy is mean! Alexander (who plays Linus): I would pick Lucy. Sally is annoying!
Have Snoopy as a pet OR have Linus as your best friend? All 4 kids: Snoopy! Me: Wow! No love for Linus? Marleik: Linus is an old man and a baby. Francesca: Yeah, he’s an old baby!
Thomas Edison as State Inventor? by Gabriel Ferris
Students Rory Danieluk, Dylan Kalina, Zoe Kitson, and Emma Smith with their teacher Sarah Lindbloom and State Senator Shirley Turner (center) at the New Jersey State House. New Jersey may soon follow Massachusetts’ lead in naming an Official State Inventor. Four students from Stony Brook Elementary School in Hopewell, New Jersey, are behind a bill that would name Thomas Alva Edison as their State Inventor.
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Smith
The odyssey started last year with a class assignment from Sarah Lindbloom, the students’ fourth-grade teacher. Lindbloom asked, “If you were to create a state symbol, what would it be?” Rory Danieluk, Dylan Kalina, Zoe Kitson, and Emma Smith chose Edison.
Emma, now a fifth-grader, said, “We all simply agreed on Thomas Edison.” Her group, she added, “really didn’t think of anyone else.” But they did have a backup plan. If their teacher denied Edison as a symbol, the girls “would have chosen a state animal.”
Dylan said that Edison deserved to be the state inventor “because he has done incredible things for our state.” Born in 1847, Edison helped change the world by developing the first electric light bulb and movie camera, among many other inventions.
KIDS CAN BE HEARD
Lindbloom thought that the girls’ proposal was so impressive, she encouraged them to send it to New Jersey State Senator Shirley Turner. Zoe, like her classmates, was thrilled when Turner responded. “It was exciting because I didn’t expect a reply,” Zoe said.
Turner, for her part, was delighted to see students get involved in government at a young age. “I believe that the students’ participation in our legislative process will have a lasting impact on them,” she said.
Rory agreed. She thinks that kids can be heard by government officials on an ongoing basis, “if they have provided a fair argument.”
Time will tell if the students’ argument was strong enough. The fate of the bill (S2771) is still pending. Hurdles include approval by both the state legislature and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Supporters of the bill are optimistic that it will pass and increase New Jersey tourism, as well as appreciation for an amazing inventor.