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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. Annie DVD Giveaway

Extra!Attention, all Annie fans!

We are offering you a special opportunity for a chance to enter to win a DVD copy of the Annie movie (rated PG) starring Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks and Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan.

But, here’s the thing. You can ONLY enter if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter.

Quevenzhane Wallis as Annie

Quevenzhane Wallis as Annie

So right now you may be thinking. . .

YOU: Oh no! I’m not a STACKS Blast subscriber and I don’t even know what the STACKS Blast is!

ME: The STACKS Blast is our free monthly e-mail newsletter. You give us your e-mail address and an e-mail address for one of your parents, and once a month (usually around the 15th), we send you a newsletter full of polls, quizzes, books, and a sweepstakes you can enter.

YOU: Cool! I want to get that newsletter! But wait, I want to enter for a chance to win that DVD now. How do I enter?

ME: Patience, grasshopper! First, you sign up for the newsletter. Then you must wait until March 13 when Hooray! the STACKS Blast will arrive in your e-mail inbox. Hurry up and open it! Inside, you’ll see a special section for the STACKS Giveaway. That’s where you enter. OK?

Don’t forget to sign up for the STACKS Blast Newsletter and enter the sweepstakes. Good luck!

image from kids.scholastic.com — Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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2. Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story

shamrocksChoose Your Own Adventure: A St. Patrick’s Story

This morning, you found out your two so-called best friends, Megan and Kelly, are going to be co-leading the presentation in the school St. Patrick’s Day festival . . . and you’ve been assigned to dress up as a bearded leprechaun. Ugh!

You were hoping that you could be a part of the Irish Step Dancing troupe, but when assignments were announced today, you found out that Megan and Kelly would be dancing with Tommy instead. And you three were supposed to be best friends! So you’ll be leading the “folklore” segment of the presentation, whatever that means, and you are definitely NOT a happy camper. The costume alone makes you want to hide under a million blankets until March 18th.

It’s a gray and dreary day, but at least it’s not raining. You take the long way home so you can get a cookie to cheer yourself up. You’re right–a delicious Snickerdoodle is just the trick, and you’re feeling way more chipper halfway through. That’s when you notice a kind of shabby-looking woman sitting behind a homemade stand. She is wearing a cape, and has long, windblown, brown hair flowing out from underneath her hat. She sees you, smiles, and starts waving. Something about her makes you curious, so you walk over. As you approach, you see her stand is full of little bottles organized neatly.

“Hello, darling,” she says in a thick accent. From underneath the brim of her brown hat, her eyes are sparkling and bright. “Fancy a potion?”

“A potion?”

“Yes, yes! A love potion, a healing potion, a lucky potion. I do all kinds of potions. Though I think what you need,” she says, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a little bottle, “is this little guy right here.”

The bottle is made of dark green glass. There’s a tiny, faded label on the side with a three-leaf clover painted on it.

“What does this one do?”

“Exactly what you need it to,” the woman says. “And don’t worry; it’s a gift.”

“How do I even use it?”

“You’ll know when the time is right.” She smiles and shoos you away, so you slip the potion in your pocket and start to go home.

Your walk takes you past a bridge that goes over the lake, and at the foot of the bridge you see a most unusual sight. A lone, white horse is standing at the edge of the water. It’s an overcast day, but the horse seems to be glowing. When it sees you, it begins neighing and nodding. When you don’t move, it starts to huff and paw the ground impatiently. You . . .

  1. call Animal Control. Someone is definitely missing a glowing horse!
  2. keep walking. Someone is definitely missing a glowing horse, and that someone is responsible for finding it!
  3. approach the horse. I mean, it’s a glowing horse! That’s awesome!
  4. take out your phone and look up how to safely interact with a horse. Hey, better safe than sorry, right?
  5. wait a while to see if the owner shows up. You don’t want to jump the gun and call for help, but you want to make sure the horse isn’t left alone or eaten by a swamp monster.

Leave your response in the Comments and tell us what you think will happen next! Part 2 of this 3-part story is coming to Ink Splot 26 on March 10.

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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3. St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Name Generator

shamrocksWhat’s Your Leprechaun Name?

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 and we want you to be ready with your leprechaun name in case you meet a leprechaun! Here’s how it works. Find the first initial of your first name in the list below. That word is your leprechaun first name. Then look at the list of the numbers below and pick your luckiest number. That word is your leprechaun last name. For example, my name begins with an S and my lucky number is 10, so my leprechaun name would be Goldie McElfin.

  • A-Dancing
  • B-Buckles
  • C-Pixie
  • D-Misty
  • E-Jolly
  • F-Toadstool
  • G-Wee
  • H-Clover
  • I-Blarney
  • J-Emerald
  • K-Twirling
  • L- Twee
  • M- Windy
  • N-Greenie
  • O-Fiddle
  • P- Lucky
  • Q- Fortune
  • R- Blackthorn
  • S-Goldie
  • T-Peevish
  • U- Jig
  • V – Leaping
  • W-Mischief
  • X- Paddy
  • Y-Magic
  • Z- Wishes
  1. McTrickster
  2. O’Cobbler
  3. O’Rainbow
  4. McSprite
  5. McGolden
  6. McCharm
  7. O’Lucky
  8. O’Looney
  9. McShoemaker
  10. McElfin

Hope you have a fun and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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4. Austin & Ally Actress Answers Your Questions

Mimi KirklandMeet Mimi Kirkland!

Hi! I’d like to introduce you to Mimi Kirkland. She plays Lily on Austin & Ally this season. Her character is a spunky and energetic fan who begins taking music lessons from Ally so she can hang out with the star. In real life, Mimi loves to spend time with her family and enjoys participating in outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming, and playing tag with her 2 sisters and her dog.

Mimi Kirkland and Laura Marano

Photo courtesy Disney Channel

AND . . . she has offered to answer YOUR questions! Do you want to know what it is like to be on a Disney TV show with Laura Marano and Ross Lynch? Now is your chance to ask.

Leave your questions in the Comments and come back here on March 13 for Mimi’s answers!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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5. Humpback Whales

humpback whalesNew IMAX Movie About Humpback Whales!

Humpback Whales is an extraordinary journey into the mysterious world of one of nature’s most awe-inspiring marine mammals. Set in the spectacular waters of Alaska, Hawaii, and the remote islands of Tonga, this ocean adventure gives an up-close look at how these whales sing, feed, play, and take care of their young. Humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction 50 years ago, but today are making a recovery. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out why humpbacks are the most acrobatic of all whales, why they sing their haunting songs, and why these intelligent, 55-foot, 50-ton animals migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year.

Watch this video for a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the movie!Humpback Whales Whale Diver

• Humpback whales are found in all oceans on Earth. Populations migrate between summer feeding grounds in temperate polar waters and winter mating grounds in tropical waters. In a sense, the humpback connects all of the world’s oceans.
• Humpback whales are named for the arching motion they make with their backs in preparation for diving. Their scientific name Megaptera Novaeangliae means “great wing,” referring to their large flippers.
• Some of earth’s largest mammals, humpbacks can reach between 40 and 55 feet (about the length of a school bus) and weigh up to 50 tons (about the weight of 500 average-sized human beings). Their lungs alone are about the size of a compact car.
• Humpbacks are one of the few animal species in which females are larger than males.
• The humpback diet consists of krill and varieties of small schooling fish and they have been observed eating up to a ton of food a day when in feeding grounds.
• Humpback whales can swim in bursts up to 16 mph, but swim at slower speeds when feeding.
• A newborn humpback calf can be 10-15 feet long at birth and weigh up to a ton.
• Only the males sing. A humpback song can last as long as 20 minutes, and sometimes the same song will be repeated for hours.

Do YOU think we should do more to protect humpback whales? Join the Save the Planet Message Board to share your thoughts about these glorious animals!

Humpback Whales photos copyright © Brandon Cole

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6. K. C. Undercover Would You Rather

Zendaya in K.C. UNDERCOVERTop Secret: K. C. Undercover Would You Rather

If you’re all shaken up Shake it Up! is over, then you might need to check out Zendaya’s NEW Disney show that’s all the rage:  K.C. Undercover.

K. C. (played by Zendaya) is an undercover spy in a family of undercover spies who go on secret government missions. She is a 16-year-old math genius spy in training (who can rock incredibly dangerous looking 3-inch sneaker high heels)! Her brother Ernie is a socially awkward, but lovable computer expert. And the family receives a new addition of a 10-year-old robot sister Judy. We’re still learning whose side she’s on. It’s pretty hilarious. The stories have a nice mix of capturing the bad guy while balancing being a teenager. And I have to say I love all her outfits!

So for today’s mission, it’s your job to let us know:

Would You Rather . . .

  1. Go undercover to your school dance and arrest your date (who’s a  bad guy spy!) OR go undercover into the football team locker room and arrest the sweaty but gorgeous star quarterback?
  2. Be a spy like K. C. and her family OR be a ghost like on The Haunted Hathaways?
  3. Live as a spy in Russia OR Brazil?
  4. Have a secret gadget to listen in on people’s conversations OR secret gadget to make things explode by pressing a button?
  5. Discover your parents are spies OR your parents are secretly rich and famous from being in a rock band in the 1990s?
  6. Be able to dance like Zendaya in Shake It Up OR do action karate moves like Zendaya in K. C. Undercover?
  7. Have a robot sister like Judy OR a real robot who obeys your every command?
  8. Be a good spy OR an evil spy? (bwa ha ha ha)

Should you choose to complete this mission, leave your answers in the Comments below. And let us know what you think of Zendaya’s new show K. C. Undercover!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

 Photo courtesy of Disney Channel

 

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7. Dinosaur Create a Caption

Create a captionCreate a Caption for This Terrifying Dinosaur

There is a dinosaur on the loose! It’s huge and ferocious  . . . and blue? Uh, ok. What do you think this creature is saying? Leave your captions in the Comments!

Spinosaurus

“Spinausorus bleu” Flickr photo by Jeanne Menj

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8. Brec Bassinger from Bella and the Bulldogs

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGSBrec Bassinger is Bella!

A lot of you are fans of Nickelodeon’s newest live-action comedy series, Bella and the Bulldogs. Bella Dawson (played by Brec Bassinger) is a confident, caring, and talented teenager who suddenly finds herself fulfilling a lifelong dream — as quarterback of the school’s football team. We interviewed the actress Brec Bassinger to find out more about her life on the new show.

Do you have anything in common with Bella?
Brec: What I relate most about Bella is that she follows her dream that is a little bit less normal, and, you know, becoming an actress is a little bit less normal. That’s what I relate to most.

What do you think is the biggest takeaway for the viewers of the show?
Brec: I would say the main thing is that you can follow your dreams no matter what. People will tell you, “No,” but you just need to work that much harder to prove that you can do it.

How’s it being with all the boys?
Brec: It’s fun. We’re all, like, best friends on and off the set. I grew up with two older brothers, so I’m used to it. You know how older brothers are. [Laughter]

Did you ever play football as a child?
Brec: I would throw the football around, but I never actually played football. They sent me and Coy, who plays Troy on the show, to a football camp. It was so different but it was a lot of fun, and I can throw a pretty mean spiral now. Yeah. [Laughter]

Are you good at any other sports?
Brec: I played volleyball, basketball, and track. My main thing was competitive cheerleading though, like Bella.

Have you ever been discouraged from doing something because you’re a girl?
Brec: Not really. Growing up with two older brothers, I always kind of felt like one of the guys. So being a girl never held me down.

Are you also a girly girl?
Brec: I am. I’m super into fashion. I love shopping, and I love drawing different sketches. I go online and try to figure out a new, unique outfit that would be cool.

I understand you’re a straight-A student.
Brec: Yeah, I’m very weird about my grades. That is 100% me. Actually my parents are the ones like, “You don’t have to be in all AP classes. It’s ok.” If I don’t have a 95 or above I am so hard on myself. I’m crazy. I know.

How do you find time to devote to your studies?
Brec: I am homeschooled. I was in normal school until five weeks into my freshman year. So I got to go to homecoming and everything and get the high school experience for five weeks. And then I quit and moved to homeschooling. I miss school terribly. Just being around kids your own age, being in that kind of atmosphere I very much miss. But homeschooling is great because I can go at my own pace, and I actually am going to graduate a year early. I’m 15. I’m going to graduate when I’m 16, so that’s exciting.

What are some of your areas of excellence in school?
Brec: It would definitely be math. Math is my number one thing. I just get it. I like math because there’s always a correct answer. I like the dryness of it. I can prove I’m right. [Laughter]

Do you like to read?
Brec: I actually listen to books a lot more than I read. Audiobooks. My favorite part of reading is it can expand your vocabulary, and that may sound school-y, but I like having descriptive words.

Any pets?
Brec: Yes. Right now I have two dogs, a snake, and that’s it. In the past, I’ve had crazy pets. I’ve had a pot-bellied pig, a lamb, a naked mole rat, a hedgehog, and lizards. We do it all. They’re back in Texas unfortunately. I miss them so much.

Is Brec short for something?
Brec: Nope, just Brec. Some of my friends have come up with stuff. So when people ask me, they’ll be like, “Yeah, it’s short for Breccalini,” and I’m like, “Yeah, ok.”

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Brec: This was super-embarrassing to me. I was jump-roping in a scene and the jump rope flew behind me and it knocked down a shelf. Not only did I break the shelf, I broke, like, three things on the shelf. I was so embarrassed. Everyone just started laughing.

Interview by Marie Morreale

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9. February Books of the Month

Recommend me!It’s Books of the Month Time!

I know I always get WAY too excited whenever this post comes around, but hey–it’s been a long winter and I’ve had a lot of free time, so I’m running out of books to read. I need your recommendations now more than ever!

Last month, we asked you what books you were reading and loving. I’ve put the results in a word cloud so we can see which titles reign supreme. Check it out:

Best books for kids

Well, now! Harry Potter is experiencing a bit of a comeback! It looks like Dork Diaries is moving up in popularity, too! Let’s keep this going. What other books are you reading this winter? What books do you think everyone else absolutely, totally, MUST read, like, RIGHT AWAY? Share your picks in the Comments below!

I’m off to re-read Harry Potter now. See you around.

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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10. Harry Potter Shipping Challenge

Harry Potter StampToday’s question comes from BubblyBookworm12 on the Harry Potter Board. I am VERY CURIOUS to see your responses to this one!!

Hello! *waves*
I was taking a break from studying when I realized I hadn’t been here in ages. Aaaaages. So I logged on, had a look at all the old posts, and noticed my shipping challenges. Everyone had such great responses and seemed to enjoy them, I thought why not post another? So, here it goes. . .
This week’s couple is:
Professor McGonagall &Vernon Dursley!!!

Leave a Comment saying why you think they could or could NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS be a good couple!

Good luck!!!!

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11. Weird Quiz

Peep says Hi.The Post Where I Ask Everyone Weird Quiz Questions

Today’s quiz comes from CycloneVampire7 on the Reading Buzz Board.

  1. What would you do if NO ONE (not even your family) would talk to you?
  2. Is your room messy, neat, or in between?
  3. What types of books do you read?
  4. Are you bored a lot? (I know I am.)
  5. Do you like school?
  6. If you could change your name, what would it be? (No last names!)
  7. Sparta or Athens???
  8. LEAST favorite color?
  9. Lucky number?
  10. Are you scared of Friday the 13th or the number 13? (I’m not referring to the movie, which I have not seen.)
  11. Are you a people person, shy, or just socially awkward?
  12. Is your glass half-full, half-empty, or completely empty because you drank it all?
  13. Any weird habits?
  14. You are on a deserted island. You can bring one thing with you, and it can be anything, even something you don’t currently have. What will you bring?
  15. Have your feet ever taken you places while your mind wandered off?
  16. Was there a time when you were so scared you couldn’t do anything except curl up in a ball and cry?(No details necessary . . . but just so you know I have to say “yesh” to this!!)
  17. Are you wondering what the whole point of this is?
  18. Pickles . . . or SAUERKRAUT??? (I know they taste the same; think of it as a challenge!)

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Comment if you enjoyed this, or if you want to add more questions! ~Cyclone

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12. World’s Largest Drum Set

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption: Guinness World Record

Drum roll please! These guys are playing the world’s largest drum set! I wonder what song they are playing. If you could create a caption for the picture what do you think these drummers would be saying?

World's largest Drum set

Photo Credit: Richard Bradbury/Guinness World Records

Here’s my caption: “Can somebody please get the ladder again? My solo is coming up and I need to reach the highest symbol!”

Write YOUR caption in the Comments below!

Amanda, STACKS Intern

 

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13. Bad Hair Day

BAD HAIR DAY - Laura MaranoNew Disney Movie: Bad Hair Day

Laura Marano (from Austin & Ally) and Leigh-Allyn Baker (from Good Luck Charlie), star in Bad Hair Day, a comedy about a high school tech-whiz whose prom day abruptly shifts into a wild ride across town, thanks to a down-on-her-luck cop and a jewel thief. This Disney Channel original movie premieres Friday, February 13 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT).

BAD HAIR DAY - Leigh-Allyn Baker and Laura Marano

Photo courtesy Disney Channel/Bob D’Amico

The story unfolds with Monica on the morning of her senior prom. She’s eager to get ready . . . until she can’t get her hair to cooperate. On top of that, she’s mistakenly enlisted by Liz, a police officer hot on the trail of missing jewels. Her prom day goes from bad to mad as a dogged jewel thief tries to outwit the pair.

Will you be watching this movie? Leave a Comment!

PS. I love Laura Marano but her hair does look kind of crazy under her hat. Still cute, though! Do you think she will wear that hat to the prom?

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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14. Stop Bullying!

Make a difference!I. Am. Not. A. Bully.

Bullying happens much more than it should. No matter where you live, what language you speak, or the color of your skin, bullying is all around you. It is the most important issue to children of the world today, and everyone needs to help put a stop to it.

Ask yourself: What can I do?Stop bullying!

  • Stop gossiping
  • Tell an adult
  • Reach out to people
  • Stand up to bullies
  • Say, “STOP!”

Adults need to help kids through this. Sometimes, kids in my school are too afraid to tell a teacher or another trusted adult about what is going on in their lives. Many times, it takes one interested teacher or adult to identify a problem and step in to try and fix it. For example, by noticing a child alone in the lunchroom at school, a teacher can pick out a student who might be a victim of bullying.

The schools in my town hold assemblies to teach kids about bullying, and bring people in who have been bullied in their life. These assemblies inform the students how to stop a bully, ignore the offender, and talk to parents or teachers about it. In addition, the guidance counselor at my school helps all of the students with their problems. It is a good feeling when you know that someone wants to help you. Talking about your feelings to a teacher makes you feel secure and safe. My guidance counselor helps everyone who is discouraged, and she tries to solve the problems they are facing. Teachers can help further by holding information sessions for parents about bully awareness. Keeping parents updated about what to look for and how to talk to their children is a way to keep the lines of communication open.

Bullying is a serious issue, and no one deserves to be a victim. Tackling the problem requires involvement and help from adults. Some situations are too big for kids to handle on their own, so parents and teachers need to play a role in putting an end to bullying.

What is YOUR best advice to someone who is being bullied?

Grace, Scholastic Kids Council

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15. Valentine Personality Quiz

heart4Who Is Your Fictional Valentine?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! I don’t know about you, but I love Valentine’s Day. I can’t wait to get together with my best friends, make pizza, eat ice cream, and watch bad movies (obviously, the greatest Valentine’s Day tradition ever)! But for those of you who are feeling romantic, we decided to give you a very special, love-themed Valentine Personality Quiz! Since, you know, regular people are just not as good as fictional characters, we’re allowing our imaginations to run free to dream up the dreamiest of valentines: your favorite book characters.

  1. Your idea of a perfect date is: a) dinner and a movie–classic. b) ice skating followed by hot chocolate at your favorite cafe. c) theme park! d) a walk in the great outdoors. e) a concert.
  2. In your free time, you are most likely: a) playing a game of pick-up basketball with your friends. b) reading a book. c) pulling pranks on a family member. d) volunteering at the local animal shelter. e) setting things on fire.
  3. To you, the best Valentine’s Day gift would be: a) a teddy bear. b) a book thoughtfully picked out just for you. c) candy! ALL THE CANDY! d) a beautiful bouquet of flowers. e) gifts are for losers, but some cash would be really sweet.
  4. Your dream Valentine wears: a) flannel and jeans. b) something dressy and smart. c) a witty t-shirt. d) the coziest of sweaters. e) a leather jacket.
  5. At school, your favorite subject is: a) history. b) chemistry. c) lunch. d) language arts. e) playing hooky.
  6. What’s a big no-no for you? a) nail-biting. b) not reading for fun. c) being too serious. d) not liking animals. e) following the rules all the time.
  7. You and your valentine are a) always on time. b) always swapping book or movie recommendations. c) always joking around. d) always looking for ways to be more environmentally-friendly. e) always getting into trouble together.
  8. The first thing you notice about your Valentine is his/her: a) strength. b) brains. c) sense of humor. d) kindness. e) looks.
  9. Your favorite breakfast is: a) pancakes! b) breakfast smoothie. c) PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST! d) fresh fruits and oatmeal. e) coffee.
  10. Your dream vacation would be: a) a historical tour in a European city. b) a week at a lake cabin, reading books all day by the water. c) Disney World! d) a safari trip. e) a trip to a huge, exciting city with a cool music scene.

If you picked mostly A’s, you got the all-star. Your valentine? Hermione Granger or Percy Jackson. Your dream valentine is one of those all-around good people with a heart of gold and really high standards. He/she is a real leader, and together, you’ll be unstoppable. You keep it classy. Even your parents and best friend are fans!

If you picked mostly B’s, you got the quiet genius. Your valentine is Amy Cahill or Neville Longbottom. Even though your valentine isn’t super-flashy on the outside, he/she is definitely a brainy rock star. As a team, no one can beat you guys at trivia. Your to-read list is about to get a whole lot longer, since your valentine is also really great at recommending the perfect book. And your sweetie always gets you the perfect, most thoughtful gifts. Talk about a fairy tale romance!

If you picked mostly C’s, you got the class clown. Your book valentine is Jamie Kelly or Greg Heffley. You love having a good time and your valentine knows exactly how to turn every situation into a laugh-fest! Be prepared to deal with a LOT of cleverly concealed whoopee cushions and fake bugs on your desk. But hey, life’s definitely much more interesting that way!

If you picked mostly D’s, you got the free spirit. Your ideal match is someone like Luna Lovegood or Rowley Jefferson. Smart and whimsical, your valentine is a really great listener and knows exactly how to make you feel important and cared for. You’ll be spending a lot of time outside, playing with animals, and learning how to make delicious vegan cookies together. Sounds pretty sweet!

If you picked mostly E’s, you got the baddie. You love a rebel like Mackenzie Hollister or Draco Malfoy. Do you solemnly swear that you are up to no good? So does your partner-in-crime. Though your times together can get kind of rocky, you’ll still have a total blast breaking the rules and making your (dark) mark on the world.

Which book valentine did YOU get? Share in the Comments below!

See ya next time,

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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16. Writing Prompt: Irritating Questions

Writing Prompt: Shout-outI get so irritated when people ask me…

I’m sure you’ve all had it happen to you. Someone asks you an irritating question and you say in your head, “Did she really just ask me that?!” Maybe the first time someone asks you a question, it’s not that bad. The second time they ask you, it gets a little annoying. But by the third time, you are full-blown, all-out irritated! Or maybe it’s a question that just shows how misunderstood you are. My worst example of this is, “You know it’s just a book, right?” Ooh, I hate that question!

Which leads me to today’s Writing Prompt . . .

What are the most irritating questions people ask you?

And we promise not to ever ask you any of those questions! Let us know in the Comments below!

- Ratha, STACKS Writer

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17. Disney New TV Movie Descendants

PopcornNew Television Movie Coming This Summer: Disney’s Descendants

Disney’s princes and princesses are living out their happy endings in Auradon, a present day idyllic kingdom. All the defeated villains have been sent away to the Isle of the Lost, isolated from Auradon’s modern-day luxuries.

After many years, the teenage son of King Beast and Queen Belle is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation is to offer a second chance to the teenage kids of the trouble-making villains stuck on the Isle of the Lost. The children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella de Vil are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the other children in Auradon.

DOVE CAMERON, BOOBOO STEWART, SOFIA CARSON, CAMERON BOYCE in Descendants

Photo courtesy DISNEY CHANNEL/Bob D’Amico

The villainous parents see this as an opportunity to use their children to carry out an evil plan that will finally free them from the Isle of the Lost. Will these teens follow in the footsteps of their wicked parents when they go abroad?

THE VILLAIN KIDS
Mal:
Played by Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie, Cloud 9)
Daughter of Maleficent
Evie:
Played by newcomer Sofia Carson
Daughter of the Evil Queen
Jay:
Played by Booboo Stewart
Son of Jafar
Carlos:
Played by Cameron Boyce (Jessie)
Son of Cruella de Vil

We have to wait until the summer for this movie to come to the Disney Channel, but I must say it looks AWESOME! Are you excited? Leave a Comment and tell us what you think.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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18. Help Save Manatees!

Make a difference!Save the Manatees!

One of the most important issues today is the state of the environment. There are many ways to help fix all the problems humans have caused, and one of them is saving wildlife, more specifically: manatees and other creatures that live in the ocean. Manatees are gentle, calm animals, and I think they are adorable!Help save manatees

There are too many people, however, who don’t pay enough attention to manatees. Some manatees are killed by negligent motorboats, and others are put at risk by pollution in our oceans. Adults can help save manatees by driving boats more responsibly, or enforcing motorboat laws more forcefully. People need to pick up litter and keep the oceans clean. If you can’t take action directly, there are many charities through which you can make donations to save manatees and other sea creatures.

Leave a Comment if you agree that saving the manatees is an important topic, and join the Save the Planet Message Board to spread the word!

Maggie, Scholastic Kids Council

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19. Penguins Create a Caption

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for these Stylish Penguins

I love penguins just in their regular tuxedos (a.k.a. their birthday suits!), but these dressed up penguins look ready for a fancy South Pole party! Don’t they look like they could dance the night away?

Stylish Penguins

‘These Penguins Have Style” Flickr photo by Michael Dorausch

What do you think these stylish penguins are saying to each other? Leave your caption in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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20. Winter vs. Summer Who Would Win

winterWho Would Win: Winter or Summer?

Here in the New York City area, we’re pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired of winter! Freezing temperatures and mushy snow make us long for summer. But will we feel the same way in summer? Will we long for the cool, magical, coziness of winter? Well, if you can’t decide, weigh in . . .

Winter vs. summer. Who’s the winner, in your opinion?

  1. Ice cream vs. Hot chocolate
  2. Snowboarding vs. Surfing
  3. Shovel snow vs. Mow the lawn
  4. Beach house vs. Mountain ski house
  5. Snowsuit vs. Bathing suit
  6. Ice pops vs. Icicles
  7. Winter holidays vs. summer vacation
  8. Hawaii vacation vs. Iceland vacation
  9. Building a sand castle vs. Building a snowman
  10. Frozen vs. Teen Beach Movie

And if you live in a part of the world where you are enjoying beautiful weather right now, then I am officially jealous!

Let us know your winter vs. summer winners in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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21. Lockwood & Co.

Recommend me!Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud (for ages 11 and up)

And now, a book recommendation from DreamtimeDetermined14!

Oh my gosh! I just finished reading Lockwood & Co. Book #2: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud, and it was so amazing! Although, the cliffhanger made me really mad. I can’t wait for book #3!

The series is about a psychic investigations agency in London called Lockwood & Co. It’s managed by the very brave—and very reckless—Anthony Lockwood, who is still a teenager. Lockwood employs 2 other teenagers, Lucy Carlyle and George Cubbins, to help at the agency. The book is told from Lucy’s point of view.Lockwood and Co

Lucy and George live with Lockwood in the house he inherited from the parents he never likes to talk about. Their house is also headquarters for the agency—the smallest one in London. The city wouldn’t need these agencies if it wasn’t for the problem… Many years before Lucy was born, the problem started. Ghosts started coming back from the dead. People realized that only children could sense the ghosts, and some children better than others. That’s when large agencies started employing children to help defend the country from visitors.

Parts of the books are quite frightening, but I think most people older than 11 should be okay reading it. I enjoyed the books immensely, even though I’ve never liked very scary books or movies. The characters were wonderful and the plot was intriguing. I recommend this series to anyone who is looking for an exciting mystery or just wants a good book to read. If you haven’t read this series you definitely should!

–Scotland on the Reading Buzz Board

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22. Bella and the Bulldogs

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGSAre You a Bella Fan?

Bella is a head cheerleader at her middle school until her life takes an unexpected twist. Her rifle-like throwing arm takes her from the sidelines to becoming the starting quarterback in Nickelodeon’s newest live-action comedy series, Bella and the Bulldogs. Bella Dawson (played by Brec Bassinger) is a confident, caring, and talented teenager who suddenly finds herself fulfilling a lifelong dream. But she also has to navigate the world of her teammates Troy (Coy Stewart), Sawyer (Jackie Radinsky), and Newt (Buddy Handleson), without losing her two best friends, Pepper (Haley Tju) and Sophie (Lilimar) from the cheer squad.

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS

Photo: Jim Fiscus/ Nickelodeon

Are you a fan of the new show, Bella and the Bulldogs? Let us know in the Comments.

-Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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23. 2015 Newbery Winner

Newbery2015 Newbery Medal Winner

The Newbery Medal is awarded every year by a committee of librarians to recognize “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Past winners have included The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Holes by Louis Sachar. Last year’s winner was Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (who also wrote Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux).

This year’s winner was just announced today, and the 2015 Newbery Medal goes to . . .The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Have you read The Crossover yet? Do YOU think it was the best American children’s book published in 2014? Two Honor books were also chosen this year: El Deafo by Cece Bell, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

If you were on the committee voting for the 2015 Newbery Medal, which book would YOU have chosen? (Remember, only books published in 2014 by writers in America are eligible.) Let us know in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

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24. New Harry Potter Illustrations

Extra!Preview a New Illustration and Play Harry Potter I Spy

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will get a deluxe new edition with all new illustrations later this year, and we have a preview of Hermione!

The illustrator Jim Kay says on his website that this illustration of Hermione is based on his niece Milly, and the door is from All Saints Church in Thornham, but he added all the Hogwarts graffiti himself. The graffiti is actually really cool! If you look closely you can see lots of Hogwarts students’ signatures, like Tom Riddle, Lupin, and even J. K. Rowling (who, I guess, is an honorary Hogwarts student)!

Hermione Granger by Jim Kay

Illustration by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

For a REALLY good look at all the graffiti, click on the picture and you’ll get an enlarged version. Tell us in the Comments what other Hogwarts names you recognize in this illustration.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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25. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Recommend me!Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (for ages 10 and up)

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Drapervideo camera that is always recording. Always. And there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people — her teachers and doctors included — don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently, her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool level alphabet lessons again and again and again.

If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can’t because Melody can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind . . . until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last, Melody has a voice, but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

GerbilGeneral10 on the Reading Buzz Board

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