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1. The Sound of Music Movie Review

The Sound of MusicThe Sound of Music (rated G) Movie Review

My favorite movie would have to be The Sound Of Music! I love the story that it tells and how it does it in such a creative way. The characters sing songs to express their feelings, which is not something you see in an everyday movie. The music is what I love most about the movie. I get the songs stuck in my head for days after watching it!

I would recommend this movie to children my age for various reasons. To begin with, if you are a music lover like me, then this is what to watch because there are many different types of songs. Some songs are happy or funny, while others are romantic or sad. The actors and actresses are so talented.

In addition, the movie is all about the love that the nanny, Maria, gives to the seven kids she cares for. They learn to love her even though they want to be mean to her at first. It shows you that sometimes things work out differently than you planned. Also, the romance between the father of the household and Maria will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Lastly, this movie informs as much as it does entertain. I learned a lot about what happened during World War II, which is a very important time in history. I love The Sound Of Music, and I bet others will too. It is a classic, but also an original! I recommend it to everyone. I think this is the best movie of all time, and I can’t wait for more people to enjoy the thrill that I had when I first saw it!

Grace, Scholastic Kids Council

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2. Starring Jules Trailer

Starring Jules book #4New Book Trailer for the Starring Jules Series (for ages 7-10)

You should watch this AWESOME trailer if ANY of these apply to you:

  • You love the Starring Jules series by Beth Ain.
  • You like catchy songs.
  • You don’t know why you aren’t famous yet.
  • You enjoy blowing milk bubbles.
  • You’re a regular kid.
  • Your teacher is strict.
  • You have a little brother.
  • You wear pigtails in your hair.
  • You like reading books that make you laugh!

If you nodded your head yes to any of those, then this series is for you. Still not convinced? Check out the trailer and rock out with shining star Jules Bloom!

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3. The Worry Tree Review

The Worry TreeThe Worry Tree (for ages 7-10) by Marianne Musgrove

Juliet worries way too much. She has problems at school, home and within herself. She can never get them out of her mind, no matter how hard she tries. She can’t stop worrying! Does that ring a bell? Do you have worries you can’t stop thinking about? Whether or not you do, you will enjoy The Worry Tree by Marianne Musgrove.

Juliet finds an old tree painted on the wall after she peels up the wallpaper in her new room. Her Nana explains the legend of the Worry Tree to her, and Juliet is intrigued. Could this solve her problems and finally get her worries out of her mind?

It is really easy to relate to Juliet’s problems because this book has a realistic amount of drama and doesn’t send characters into fake drama hysterics. I enjoyed this book because it isn’t magical in the way Harry Potter is, but it does have a mystical element! This is a very easy read; I read it in third grade in a day. Nonetheless, older kids will enjoy this too! If you are looking for a fun and easy read, The Worry Tree is perfect!

Beata, Scholastic Kids Council

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4. Creative Personality Quiz

CycloneVampire7 STACKS avatarTake CycloneVampire’s Personality Quiz!

This Personality Quiz is creative because the results will come from you! Answer the following questions and then write in the Comments what your personality type is. The results can be as creative as you are!

The questions were written by CycloneVampire7 who says, “I love these things, and have always wanted to make one, so yep. Here it is!”

  1. What is your favorite color? (There. I said it.) A) Warm colors such as brown, red, gold, orange. B) Rich colors such as emerald green, purple, lapis. (Look it up.) C) NEONS!!! (Me: Totally! XD!) D) Black.
  2. What are your hobbies? (These are just a couple I came up with.) A) Reading (Me: XD!!!) B) Writing! (Me: Yay! Keep going!) C) Drawing D) Other (Me: Please tell me what it is in the Comments! Pwetty pls?)
  3. Your friends . . . ? A) I have TONS and they all would support me with their lives if they had to!!!(You’re just extremely perky, aren’t you? Lol. You: YEP!!! :D ) B) I have my own special group. We like to talk about random stuff. #MEME! (Me: You just had to, didn’t you?) C) I have my besties! We like retro! Yahoo! The party doesn’t start till we- (Me: I’m so sorry, but I had to stop you there. Super sorry.) D) My bestie. We talk about deep stuff like poems and such. (Me: O.o)
  4. Fave book? (It actually tells a lot . . .) A) I like reading animal stories and the like. All the classics as well. B) Science fiction/Fantasy. I’m not as techie as you think. Seriously! C) Romance and stuff like Twilight or The Fault in Our Stars (both for ages 12 and up). D) Anything dark/scary. It could also be deep or well written.
  5. Did you like this? I’m also sorry if it sounded stereotypical. I didn’t mean to, honest. (DON’T ADD THIS! IT DOESN’T COUNT FOR YOUR FINAL ANSWER!!!) A) Well . . . It was somewhat stereotypical, but all in all, I LOVED IT!!! B) It kinda offended me . . . Still OK though.(Me: I’m so sorry!) C) Phsshaaaa, girl, I loved it! (Me: Awwww . . . Thanks!) D) ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS WAS THE WORST, MOST STEREOTYPICAL QUIZ I’VE EVER SEEN!!!!! Society these days! (Me: *whimper*.) E) It was pretty good for your first one! It’s really hard sometimes to make a personality quiz that does NOT sound stereotypical. (Me: Thank you! I’ll take that into account!)

Ready for the results? You have to create your results! YOU tell US what your personality is! Leave a Comment with your creative result for this creative personality quiz!

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5. Bad Books and Good Books Writing Prompt

skyelark moon STACKS avatarBooks Writing Prompt from Skyelark Moon

Hey, everyone!

I’m sure most of you have had a similar conversation where you ask someone about a book, and she replies, “Don’t read that book; it’s bad.” That lead me to the question: what makes a book *bad*? Is it the characters? The plot? The general way the story is written? Is the book *bad* because of a negative connotation that was put towards it?

What do you think makes a book *bad*?

For me, I have found a *bad* book to be one that I simply did not enjoy. In general, either the characters or the plot (or both) weren’t engaging enough for me to enjoy the story to its full potential.

That then leads to the question of: what makes a *good* book? To me, I find the characters and the plot quite important. Of course, that is not all I look for, but they are certainly a large factor. :D

What do you think makes a *good* book?

I’m very interested in hearing *cough*reading*cough* your answers! Have a wonderful rest of your day!

Fly you high,
Skyelark Moon who used minimal smilies in this post. :lol:

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6. The Marvels: New Brian Selznick Book

Extra!The Marvels by Brian Selznick

If you loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, then prepare yourself for another amazing book by Brian Selznick coming out on September 15, 2015! With 440 pages of original drawings and 200 pages of text, The Marvels promises to be epic, and it will have a beautiful cover! Look! Just look at it!!The Marvels book cover

In The Marvels, Selznick weaves together two spellbinding stories—one in words, and the other in pictures. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The written story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick’s storytelling skill. Get it? Marveling! The Marvels is filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and features Selznick’s most arresting art to date.

Here’s what the author has to say about The Marvels: “I’m thrilled to finally share The Marvels with readers after three years of intense work on the book, including living briefly in London and spending an entire year drawing the pictures,” says Brian Selznick.

And here’s what I have to say about The Marvels: “I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15!!!!! And also, what are those cool serpent thingies on the cover? Oh, I can’t wait!”

Leave a Comment to tell us what you think about this news.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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7. Kira Kosarin from The Thundermans

Max (Jack Griffo), Phoebe (Kira Kosarin) in THE THUNDERMANS Kira Kosarin Plays Phoebe on The Thundermans

Q: Tell us about your show The Thundermans.
Kira: It’s a show on Nickelodeon about a family of superheroes who move to the suburbs to try to live a normal life, but that doesn’t always work because we all have superpowers. I play Phoebe who is a really strong superhero and my twin brother [played by Jack Griffo] wants to be a super-villain, so comedy ensues.

Phoebe (Kira Kosarin) in THE THUNDERMANS

Photo by: Alice Hall/Nickelodeon

Q: What is an unusual talent that most people don’t know you have?
Kira: I can talk crazy, crazy fast and rap. No one thinks I can rap, but I can. My friends know. I don’t have many secrets. I’m kind of an open book.

Q: What was your most embarrassing moment?
Kira: I fell during a live taping of The Thundermans. I wiped out on the stage. That was pretty embarrassing.

Q: If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?
Kira: In The Thundermans we have a talking bunny and I think that would be so cool! Our bunny talks because he was a super-villain who got turned into a bunny. On the show it’s actually a puppet.

Q: Are you a city person or a country person?
Kira: City. I’ve lived in both. I’ve lived in New Jersey, Florida, and then here [Los Angeles].

Q: What’s one thing that you think could help make the world a better place?
Kira: If everyone would do something really small it would make a difference in any arena. I think people should be taking care of the environment more, throwing out your trash, and recycling, and unplugging things. I think that if everyone could be nice to each other, it would be great!

INTERVIEW BY SUE SCHNEIDER

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8. STACKS Shows

stacks showsI <3 STACKS Shows!

I have noticed a very fun trend on the STACKS Message Boards: people making their own shows. They are all super-creative and each person’s show is different. Here is a sample of some of the shows I’ve been seeing lately.

Radio Show!!! by SoftballAthena7 and WinterWonder9300

W: Hey, guys! Today is our first ever radio show on the STACKs! This show is all about having fun. Stay tuned for quizzes, interviews, STACKs news, and much, much more! The roof is about to get raised!
Before we start, let’s introduce ourselves! I’m WinterWonder9300 and I love to read! I’ve loved every second of my four years of being on this site. I can’t wait to spend many more years here.

S: And I’m SoftballAthena7. I love to read, write, play sports, and, of course, I’m all about Greek mythology.

W: Now, since this is a radio show… we have a few songs to listen to! “Amnesia” by 5 Seconds of Summer and “Believer” by American Authors
While you check out those songs, here is some STACKs news. . . (Click here to read the rest of this show.)

The Purplewizard50 Show by PurpleWizard50

So, as most of you may know, I got this idea from CatGymnastics, my Stack Pal. So thanks, Melanie! And here’s your reward! You’ll be this week’s Featured STACKer! Anyway, let’s start the show off with the newest fan fiction I’m writing. Basically, I’m going to be writing a chapter in every episode!

Chapter 1
Everything in this story is true. Trust me. Or don’t. Most people don’t trust me because I’m totally unreliable. Others don’t trust me because my father is a jewel thief and my mother is a murderer. My name is Scarlett Moon. (Click here to read the rest of this show.)

If you are not on the boards, you should go visit and join the fun. Maybe you can write your own show!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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9. Fly by Night Book Review

Fly by Night book coverBook Reviews by Kids, for Kids

Are you looking for 100% kid-approved book recommendations? The STACKS has them. This week, CycloneVampire7 recommends Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (for ages 9-12). Have you read this book? What did you think? Read on for CycloneVampire’s 4-star-review.

Fly by Night book coverFly by Night is a beautiful book about a girl named Mosca Mye. In Mosca’s world, books are dangerous and outlawed, and supposedly fill your mind with lies and poisonous ideas. But Mosca can read. Her father taught her to. He is dead now, so when Mosca meets Mr. Eponymous Clent, a dangerous man with a poet’s way with words, she decides to help him. As things slowly start to unravel, Mosca realizes that things aren’t always as they have been, and Comfort isn’t always the good guy. It’s a little hard to understand at times, but all-in-all, a wonderful book. I would probably say it’s for ages 10+ because it’s hard to follow, or age 9 if you’re a good reader.

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10. Superpower Personality Quiz

Question marksPersonality Quiz: What Superpower Would You Have?

It can be fun to envision how different life would be if we each developed our own superpowers. At one point or another, you probably wished that you had supersonic speed or the ability to fly. I know I have! Dare to take this quiz and discover what epic superpower you would have.

  1. You can be described in one word as . . .  A) quiet. B) tough. C) sneaky.
  2. When you have extra time on the weekends, you . . . A) stay home and play video games. B) play sports and exercise. C) spend hours reading books and doing puzzles.
  3. Not that this would ever happen, but if you were late to school and got locked out, you would . . .  A) sit outside the front door until a teacher found you. B) kick the door or window open. C) sneak into the janitor’s shed and find the spare key. 
  4. When someone makes fun of you at school, you wish you could . . . A) disappear. B) punch a wall. C) think of something smart to say back.
  5. You enjoy listening to . . .  A) cheery pop songs. B) loud rock music to get you PUMPED! C) nothing too noisy that could break your concentration.
  6. Your favorite game to play is . . . A) hide and seek. B) football. C) Monopoly.
  7. Your favorite subject in school is . . . A) Reading. B) Physical education. C) Math.

Ready for your results? Now for the moment of truth! Which superpower would you have?

If you answered mostly A’s:  You have the power of Invisibility!
In stressful situations you tend to want to disappear. You are quiet and timid. With the power of invisibility you could vanish in the blink of an eye! You could sneak out of places without people noticing, or play hilarious pranks on friends!

If you answered mostly B’s: You have Super Strength!
Being strong and powerful definitely has its advantages! You could perform outrageous tasks from opening tight jars and bottles to lifting cars and breaking blocks of stone!

If you answered mostly C’s: You have Mind Control!
With the ability to read and control people’s minds, life would be easy but also dangerous! You could persuade a teacher to give you a good grade, make your parents raise your weekly allowance, or basically do anything you wanted!

—Amanda, STACKS Intern

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11. Autumn Puppy Create a Caption

Create a CaptionAutumn Puppy Create a Caption
Is that a stuffed animal? No, it’s fluffy, little Charlie! It looks like he is having fun playing at the park. He is all ready for fall as his red fur matches the autumn leaves on the ground!

Charlie Puppy
Here’s my caption: “Okay I’m ready! I’m ready! Throw the Frisbee please! Oh . . .oh . . . There it goes! I can see it coming towards me! Wait a second . . . No, that’s just an autumn leaf falling from the tree!

Write YOUR own caption for this picture in the Comments!

Amanda, STACKS Intern

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12. The Pink Panther Movie Review

The Pink PantherThe Pink Panther Movie Review

Have you seen Scholastic Kid Council member Michael’s awesome video review of The Pink Panther movie (rated PG)?

Check it out and tell us what you think in the Comments!

The Pink Panther review

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13. The Sisters Grimm Kid Review

The Sisters Grimm book coverThe Sisters Grimm

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to exist in a place where fairy tales are real? Wondered what it would be like to live in a town where the three little pigs are sheriffs, Snow White is a teacher, and Prince Charming is the mayor? Well, for two girls living in Ferryport Landing, this is their reality. Join Sabrina Grimm; her sister, Daphne; and a cheeky boy fairy called Puck on a whirlwind adventure in The Sisters Grimm book series by Michael Buckley.

The Grimm sisters are two girls who, since their parents’ disappearance, have been bounced around the foster care system until they are reunited with their long lost grandmother who lives in Ferryport Landing. In this town, fairy tale characters are real and constantly getting into trouble. Sabrina and her sister are forced into continuing their family business: being fairy tale detectives and solving crime in Ferryport Landing. The two girls, with Puck at their side, make new friends, new enemies, and solve the mystery of their parents that has been haunting them for so long.

Aside from the inventive story line, the themes in this series also make it stand out among other books. Love is a fairly evident theme. We see Sabrina’s love for her sister and her parents, and even for Puck, and we also see how much Granny Relda loves her grandchildren.

I would recommend this series for kids my age because it is full of magic, humor, and love. I think it’s good not only for girls, but for boys too because there is a lot of action. Also, the lovable Puck will always make you laugh.

So if you’re looking for a good adventure, laugh, or just a feel-good novel, these books would be the way to go. No matter what you’re into, The Sisters Grimm series will put a smile on your face.

Izzy, Scholastic Kids Council

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14. Girl Meets World Would You Rather

Girl Meets WorldGirl Meets World Would You Rather

We recently interviewed Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter from the Disney Channel show Girl Meets World, and judging from your Comments, we know you can’t get enough!

I used to love the show Boy Meets World  which featured Riley’s parents Corey and Topanga as kids, and now I love Girl Meets World just as much. It follows Corey and Topanga’s daughter, Riley who is in 7th grade, and her best friend Maya. Riley is funky and artistic, but also very academic. Maya is more street-smart, pretty, and popular. Like Boy Meets World, it has a good story with a bit of a lesson at the end. Are you guys hooked? Then get ready to meet . . .Girl Meets World Would You Rather!

Inspired by the show, would you rather . . .

  1. Have Riley OR Maya as your BFF? (Did you know they are actually BFFs in real life?)
  2. Be a teacher like Corey OR a lawyer like Topanga?
  3. Your secret admirer be the gorgeous Lucas OR super-smart-quirky-adorable Farkle?
  4. Have a style makeover to become “harajuku” (cool, funky, Japanese-style trendy) like Riley in the “Girl Meets Popular” episode, OR vampire goth queen?
  5. See an episode how Corey and Topanga got married OR an episode that shows Riley as a toddler?
  6. Have to write your flaws on your forehead (like in the bullying episode “Girl Meets Flaws”) OR have someone announce them over the school loudspeaker?
  7. Have your dad be your teacher (like Riley) OR your teacher be your next door neighbor?

We can’t wait to “meet” your answers in the Comments, so let us know what you think!

Ratha, STACKS Writer

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15. Technology Writing Prompt

Earth from space photoTechnology Writing Prompt

Every day, we use technology. Light bulbs, for instance, run on electricity and electricity is technology. Everything that is man-made is technology! Can you believe that? Technology has become a very important part in our daily modern lives. You use it and you barely realize it. 

Laptops, PCs, phones, smart phones, iPads, tablets, iPods, Bluetooths, GPSs, cars, other vehicles, toys, other appliances, etc. These things are all technology. Even the simplest thing is technology. Like just an inch of paper! Paper comes from trees, and trees are nature (which is not technology). How do the trees get turned into paper? Technology.

Could you live without technology?

Can you imagine life without technology? You would be so bored. No video games or anything to do. Technology has made our lives very fun and enjoyable. Without technology, life would very, very miserable.

Leave a Comment to say what YOU use technology for, and what your life would like without it.

Sharafa, Scholastic Kids Council

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16. SPONSORED BLOG POST Annie

Annie movieThis blog post is sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

It’s a hard knock life, but you’ve got to know that the sun will come out tomorrow!

In the upcoming movie Annie (rated PG), in theaters December 19, Annie faces challenges and adversity, but always with optimism and humor. She knows that you’re never fully dressed without a smile!

See below for photo stills from the movie. What do you think she and her friends might be saying? Create a fun or silly caption for each photo!

Annie movie

Annie and girls dancing in apartment

Annie movie

Sandy and Annie

Annie movie

Annie posing in her red dress

Annie movie

Will Stacks with girls in helicopter

Leave your captions in the Comments!

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17. Family Time: Klutz Style

Klutz logoHalloween is over. Boo . . .hoo hoo!  :(

C’mon. Get it together. This is no time to cry over spilled pumpkins. Conquer your post Halloween blues with Klutz, makers of activity books with a creative kick that bring the family together. Here are a few of our favorites, and how to share them with your family this November.

Klutz Washi Tape Stickers book coverMake Your Own Washi Tape Stickers
What’s cuter than a washi tape whale? A family of washi tape whales! Or washi tape owls, or bunnies, no wait — a kitty cat! It’s really hard to say. After all, no two of these colorful creations are quite the same. See how many different ways you and your siblings can turn tape into super-cool stickers. Then get down to the important business: where to stick ‘em.

Klutz Star Wars Folded Flyers book cover

Star Wars Folded Flyers
The weather is colder in November. You’re stuck inside. Fortunately, it just so happens that staircases make perfect launch sites for handheld, high-performance starfighters. So, rally the troops, build a fleet of these sleek paper ships and see who’s the greatest pilot in your corner of the galaxy.

Klutz String Art book coverString Art
Share a  few stories while you zigzag, fan and scribble with string! It’s the perfect pastime to tackle during family day: hang out, score some quality time and make a one-of-a-kind work of art!

Klutz Spiral Draw book coverSpiral Draw
High impact doodles! Square off for a spiral doodle duel. Whoever makes the biggest, coolest geometric creature gets an extra serving of dessert (bonus points for sound effects and an action-packed origin story).

Klutz Loop Loom Bracelets book cover

Loop Loom Bracelets
Whether you loom with your relatives or fly solo, these bracelets are instant heart-melters. Give one to any member of your family, from the old to the young, and we guarantee you’ll see them wearing it (paired with a smile) for months to come.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your family?

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18. Halloween Book Challenge Bonus

Happy HalloweenHave you been participating in the Halloween Book Challenge? Every week, we read a different book. Today is Halloween so we have a BONUS challenge for you! It’s a Halloween Party Spell-It-Out Challenge.

Here’s how the bonus challenge works. Think of all the books you read this month for the Halloween Book Challenge. Then think of the perfect Halloween party item (drinks, candy, decorations, etc.) and spell it out using the first letter of words in your book titles.

Example:
G - 
The Graveyard Book

U - Captain Underpants

M - Midnight Howl

Leave yours in the Comments. Have a super-fun and safe Halloween!

 

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19. Whatever After: Cold as Ice

Whatever After booksWhatever After Book #6: Cold as Ice

The next book in the Whatever After series is almost here! Abby and Jonah are visiting another fairy tale . . . and this one’s freezing! When author Sarah Mlynowski meets her fans, they often suggest to her which fairy tale they want her to write about next. The #1 request she had been getting from readers was to put main characters Abby and Jonah in the story of “The Snow Queen.” Next month, the Snow Queen-themed Whatever After book will be available and here’s a sneak peek at the cover!Whatever After #6: Cold as Ice

What do you think? Pretty awesome, right!?!

If you’re not familiar with Whatever After, check out the website to play the dress-up game, watch the trailer, and read a few excerpts.

For all you Whatever After fans, Cold as Ice will be available on November 25th.

And look out for Whatever After #7: Beauty Queen, coming in May!

Happy reading!

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20. Book Wars: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson

Book warsBook Wars: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson

Attention all fantasy readers! You’ll want to get in on this week’s book war, because I will be comparing two of the most popular fantasy series there are: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson & The Olympians.

People have been saying for years that the two series are similar in character and plot, but I’m about to take a deeper look to find out. So, are you a Potterhead or are you a Demigod? Can you be both?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief book coverTo begin the comparison, let’s start with the two main protagonists. Harry and Percy are both unlikely heroes with difficult backgrounds. Harry’s parents were killed when he was just a baby, and he was forced to live with his horrible Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and his vile cousin, Dudley. Percy was raised by his mother and his awful step-father, Gabe Ugliano. Both children were bullied because they were weak and scrawny and no one really cared about them.

Harry and Percy also share some similar traits. Harry and Percy both have a “saving people thing” because they always want to help someone in danger. They are also known to be witty and sarcastic, but incredibly loyal to their friends.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book cover illustrated by Kazu KibuishiFinally, Harry and Percy are the “Chosen One” and the “Child of the Prophecy” meaning that they are the only people who can save the world because of a prophecy written about them.

Now let’s compare some of the other characters.

The main female protagonists, Hermione Granger and Annabeth Chase, are both the most intelligent characters in each series. They always know the answer for everything and always have a plan, but Annabeth is more of a warrior than Hermione.

And let’s not forget about the lovable best friends. Ron Weasley and Grover Underwood are the two main characters’ best friends. They are similar in that they are both easily scared, funny, and have a love of food. The only difference would be the fact that Grover has goat legs . . .

And, of course, we have the villains. There are the main bad guys, Lord Voldemort and Kronos, and also the conflicted henchmen, Draco Malfoy and Luke Castellan.

Another similarity in the series would be the plot. Both books are about two children who become heroes and have to save the world. They both involve a prophecy, magic, and myth.

So what do you think? How similar are these two series? And are you a fan of HP or PJO? Leave your opinion in the Comments.

Izzy, Scholastic Kids Council

PS. Emma Rose weighs in on the debate in her video. Ari is also a PJO fan. He says, “The books are exciting. It is fun to see Greek Mythology come alive in the present day. Percy, the son of Poseidon, must learn to survive and protect both the mortal and the immortal worlds.”

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21. My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

My Neighbor TortoroMy Neighbor Totoro (rated G): An Extremely Awesome Movie

A movie I would definitely recommend is My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli. I have dressed up as Totoro for Halloween, and introduced the movie to anyone who would watch it. In this animated film directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, two sisters adjusting to their move from the city meet a forest spirit called Totoro. He helps the girls and they become friends. The movie is super-cute, and the expansive forest backdrops are stunning. My Neighbor Totoro is definitely my all-time favorite movie and is great for everyone.

Tell us YOUR opinion in the Comments.

Maggie, Scholastic Kids Council

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22. Taylor Swift Shake It Off Contest

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift Shake It Off Contest

Taylor Swift uses music to shake off the things people do or say that could have the power to hurt her. We want to hear how you shake off the things that get you down in your life. Enter the Taylor Swift This Is How I Shake It Off Writing Contest for a chance to win these prizes . . .

  • Grand Prize: A trip for 2 people to Taylor’s concert including a meet & greet with Taylor Swift!
  • 2nd place winner: A signed guitar & 1989 CD
  • 5 Runners-up: A signed 1989 CD

Taylor Swift Shake It Off Writing Contest

Here’s how to enter!

  • The contest is open to students attending U.S. schools in grades 3 through 6 who are legal residents of the United States.
  • Students must write an essay or poem, no more than one page, which explores the question “How do you shake it off when someone says or does something that has the power to hurt you?”
  • Each entry must include student’s name and grade, teacher’s name, school name, address, and phone number.
  • Entries must be mailed to: This Is How I Shake It Off! Writing Contest, P.O. Box 714, New York, NY 10013-0714.
  • Entries must be received by December 11, 2014. No other means of entry accepted.

Leave a Comment telling us how YOU shake it off, and then send in your contest entry! Good luck!

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23. Taylor Swift Would You Rather

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift ROCKS Would You Rather!

The youngest singer EVER to win a Grammy for Album of the Year.  The only female artist to chart at #1 with three consecutive studio albums. An album on Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Albums of All Time list. And . . . she writes her own music. And . . . she has a totally awesome fashion style.

TAYLOR SWIFT!!!

Check Ink Splot 26 very soon to watch an exclusive, up-close and personal chat with Taylor. She’ll share books that have inspired her, how writing has opened her world (a.k.a. becoming a rock star songwriter), and an exclusive never-before-seen video clip!

And enter the This Is How I Shake It Off Writing Contest. Taylor uses music to shake off tough moments in her life. You can share your story for a chance to win some amazing prizes. (Read the contest details here.)

So with all the Taylor Swift excitement around the STACKS this week, we want to know . . .

Would You Rather…

  1. Win a trip to see her concert OR win a guitar signed by Taylor Swift?
  2. Be in the room when Taylor was writing a new song OR when she is making a music video?
  3. Have Taylor’s long hair OR short bob haircut?
  4. Have front row seats in a giant concert stadium OR be one of 10 people hearing her play in a private coffee house?
  5. Have Taylor as your songwriting coach OR your fashion stylist?
  6. Have Taylor Swift as your BFF OR Ariana Grande? (too hard to choose?!)
  7. See Taylor guest star on Austin & Ally OR The Thundermans?
  8. Sing a duet with Taylor in front of your whole school to “Shake It Off” OR “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”?

We can’t wait to hear what you guys say in the Comments below! Rock on.

Ratha, STACKS Writer

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24. Q & A with R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine, Goosebumps authorWith Halloween nigh, it’s only fitting to serve up a treat . . . a Q & A with the terrifyingly spooktacular R. L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series! Read to find out which Goosebumps character R. L. Stine is most like, his inspiration for Slappy, and more!

Q: How did you come up with Slappy’s character and the rhyme that brings him to life?

R.L Stine:  I’ve always been fascinated by puppets and dummies. When I was really young, maybe about three, my mother read the original Pinocchio to me, and it scared me to death. I think that’s where the idea of Slappy came from. When I write him, I want him to be so rude, he’s funny.

Q: Why did you decide on Goosebumps as the title of your book series?

R.L Stine: I liked the title Goosebumps because it is funny and scary at the same time, exactly what I try to do in the books. I’ve never been able to think of another title as perfect as that one.

Q: What would you do if you found yourself inside one of your books? Would you try to change the story or would you let it unfold?

R.L Stine: I think I would scream my head off—and run—like most of my characters. I would hate to be trapped in one of my books!

Q: Does anyone still call you “Jovial Bob?”

R.L Stine: No. Now I’m just scary. I haven’t been Jovial in years.

Q: Are any of your stories based on things that gave you nightmares as a kid?

R.L Stine: I was scared of a lot of things when I was a kid. I think that’s why I stayed in my room typing stories all the time. When I write my books now, I don’t remember specific things I was afraid of then. But I remember those feelings of fear and panic and try to bring them to my books.

Q: Do you go on book tours to other countries like Europe or Asia so that fans outside of the U.S. can meet you?

R.L Stine: I’ve been lucky to have done several wonderful book tours in other countries. I’ve done appearances and signings in London, Paris, and cities in Italy. My most memorable book tours were the ones in Australia and, most recently, China. I hope to travel to more countries soon.

Q: If you had to choose any character in any Goosebumps book to get its comeuppance from any Goosebumps monster, which character and which monster would you choose?

R.L Stine: Believe me, I don’t want to be a character in any of my books, and I don’t want to be a monster. I think I would least like to be the monster at Camp Jellyjam who was so smelly he died from his own smell!

Q: Which character from your Goosebumps books would you say is most like you and why?

R.L Stine: I guess I’m like the kid in The Blob that Ate Everything. He likes to sit at an old typewriter and write stories. And then he’s horrified when everything he writes comes true. I’d be horrified, too!

Q: What inspired you to write horror books?

R.L Stine: I’ve always enjoyed horror. When I was a kid, I read wonderful horror comics, like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. My brother and I used to go to a horror movie every Saturday afternoon. I think I enjoy writing horror for kids because it’s a chance to give them a chill—and a laugh—at the same time.

Q: Have you ever considered taking a fan’s idea and writing a Goosebumps story about it?

R.L Stine: I’ve never used a reader’s ideas. I enjoy thinking them up too much myself!

Photo Credit: Dan Nelken

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25. Halloween Costume Writing Prompt

Dear STACKS readers,

We want to know . . .

What are you going to be for Halloween???

Warriors book costume

Leave a Comment and tell us your Halloween costume this year!

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