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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. Whatever After #7: Beauty Queen

whatever after Book #7Special STACKS Cover Reveal

We are so excited to introduce the enchanting new book in The New York Times bestselling Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. Are you ready to see the cover of Beauty Queen? Royal drum roll, please . . . Whatever After: Beauty Queen

What do you think? Rather beautiful, right?! Tell us in the Comments below, and for more Whatever After fun, help Abby play dress up as she falls into a fairy tale.

Whatever After follows the adventures of siblings Abby and Jonah, whose magic mirror leads them into different fairy tales, where hijinks and hilarity ensue! This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When Jonah picks a rose from the Beast’s garden, he messes up the story. Abby and Jonah better get creative and save this fairy tale, before things get pretty ugly.

Read a sample excerpt here!

Beauty Queen is available wherever books are sold April 28, 2015.

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2. One Direction Goes In Two Directions

Zayn MalikZayn Is Leaving One Direction!

It’s true. THIS IS NOT A JOKE! After five years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece group in the forthcoming concerts of their world tour, and will record their fifth album, due to be released later this year, without Zayn.

On the official One Direction Family website, Zayn says:

“My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”

One Direction say:Jennette McCurdy Zayn Malik

“We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”

You know you’re a Directioner when . . . you wish this was just a bad dream. I remember when I was first introduced to Zayn (not in real life, but you know what I mean!) when I read this crazy, hilarious interview. And remember this One Direction trivia quiz? And who could forget when Sam abducted him on iCarly? Oh, the memories!

What are your best Zayn memories? Leave your tributes in the Comments. We will miss you, Zayn! *sniff*

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Zayn Malik photo courtesy of Sony Pictures, iCarly photo courtesy of Nickelodeon

 

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3. March Books of the Month

Recommend me!The Most Popular Books of the Month

This long and dreadful winter is finally, finally coming to a close. At least we had PLENTY of time to power through our to-read lists with all of those snow days and freezing weekends. Unless, of course, you’re from some sunny spot that has never felt the icy grip of below-freezing temperatures . . . in which case, I’m super jealous. But anyway, I asked you last month what books you were reading and loving, and the response was crazy amazing! Thank you everyone who shared their gotta-read-it-right-now picks. Here they are:

march books of the month

Percy Jackson is the runaway favorite this round, but Dork Diaries is getting some serious representation. Go, Dork Diaries fans! Way to show your support! Harry Potter and Heroes of Olympus are neck and neck this time. It’s a very close call. Between the two, which is your favorite?

There were a lot of new contenders this time around, too. I see you, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library! I’m definitely reading that next.

Let’s keep this going. What other books are you super-excited about? What book must everyone in the world read at least ONCE? Share your picks in the Comments below!

See ya next month!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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4. Spring vs. Fall Would You Rather

Would you rather . . .Spring vs. Fall Would You Rather

With the snow finally melting, the sound of birds chirping in the air, it can only mean one thing. Spring is here. Finally! It’s been a tough winter, and I’m totally ready. What about you guys?

But some people, as much as they like spring, like fall even better. They’re both such awesome seasons, it’s hard to decide. Which is your favorite?

Would You Rather . . . 

1. Pick flowers in spring OR rake leaves in fall?

2. Have a spring picnic OR a fall campfire marshmallow roast?

3. Eat jellybeans OR candy corns?

4. Be forced to dress up as the Easter Bunny OR a Thanksgiving turkey?

5. Plant a garden OR pick a pumpkin?

6. Drink pink lemonade OR apple cider?

7. Go to an NFL football game in the fall or MLB Opening Day baseball game in the spring?

8. Shop for back-to-school clothes in the fall OR shorts & t-shirts for the spring?

Let us know which season you “spring” for in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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5. Spring Poetry Generator

Peep says Hi.Spring Poetry Generator

Spring is here… or so I’m told! It’s hard to imagine wearing t-shirts and sandals, when only last week, I was digging out the 5 feet of snow surrounding my driveway. But I’m optimistic, so I like to think it will be here sooner rather than later!

To get into the spirit, your job for today’s Writing Prompt is to take the 25 words below, and generate your own spring-themed poem. (The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “I Have a Dream” poems you guys wrote were A-mazing.)

You can add articles (little words like “a” and “the”), verbs, or anything that will help it flow, but try to include as many of these 25 words as you can in your poem. Any style of poem works – rhyming, non-rhyming, couplet, haiku, free-form, or even random. It’s up to you!

  • springspring poem generator
  • sing
  • warm
  • sun
  • bathes
  • grass
  • toasting
  • birds
  • reflection
  • freezing
  • glow
  • butterfly
  • laying
  • running
  • flowers
  • kiss
  • garden
  • outside
  • trees
  • beauty
  • never
  • alive
  • falling
  • calling
  • school

Leave your poem in the Comments. We can’t wait to be infected . . . with Spring Fever!!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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6. End Terrorism

Make a difference!A Plea to End Terrorism 

Every day when you wake up there is another frightening story on the news about an atrocious terrorist attack on the lives of many innocent men, women, and children. I think the most important issue in the world is stopping terrorism. I want the world to find a way to beat terrorists, so their threats and actions don’t make us question our freedom, but how?

First of all, the government needs to make stopping terrorism its top priority. It needs to focus less on Common Core, immigration, and school lunches, and more on the real problem of terrorism. We should NOT release convicted terrorists from prison. Letting them go only hurts us. We don’t know what they’ll do next and who they could be working with.

Also, the government needs to give more money to the military instead of constantly taking it away. I feel that our military is the best way to stop terrorists. Everyone can help by supporting the military in their efforts to stop terrorism. We can make a difference. Watch my video about how to support our troops overseas, and send your own care packages to this address:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Angel Cuevas/Receiving 

The world would be such a better place without terrorists. We could all go to sleep feeling safer knowing terrorism has ended. It would be so awesome if there were no terrorists. Terrorism is a major world issue that must be stopped. This could be the change that could make the world a better place.

If you agree, please leave a post on the Save the Planet Message Board! Let’s keep this conversation going!

Emma Rose, Scholastic Kids Council

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7. Kelsey Green, Reading Queen

Recommend me!Kelsey Green, Reading Queen (for ages 6-9) by Claudia Mills

Todays book review comes from MidsummerBook13 on the Reading Buzz Board.

Do you like to read? Then this book is perfect for you! Kelsey Green, Reading Queen has many outstanding characters and a cool plot. I also think it has awesome illustrations. Kelsey loves reading the way her friend Izzy Barr loves running and her friend Annika Riz loves math. She is the best reader in her class, tied with Simon Ellis. Plus, she has a really, really mean teacher, Mrs. Molina. She has the best principal ever, Mr. Boone. She also has a bad reader in her class, Cody Harmon.kelsey green, reading queen

When Mr. Boone announces a school-wide reading contest, Kelsey Green is totally in. She thinks Simon is cheating, so she and her 2 best friends Annika and Izzy try to spy on him to figure out if he really is reading all those books he says he is. Kelsey is also kind of sneaky because she reads at her brother Dylan’s band concert, and in math.

Finally, Rob Shepperson is the best illustrator I’ve seen since Judy Blume’s The Pain and the Great One‘s illustrator. He draws with great detail and awesome shadow techniques. On the cover, I highly adore the technique he used of drawing a line underneath Kelsey to make it seem as if Kelsey is standing on a solid surface, even though she is really just floating in the pale green and white striped background.

In conclusion, I’ve read a lot of books, so trust me when I say Kelsey Green, Reading Queen is the best one I’ve read in years. It’s great for bookworms ages 6-9, and I would totally give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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8. Choose Your Own Adventure Part 3

shamrocksChoose Your Own Adventure: A St. Patrick’s Day Story Part 3

We posted Part 1 and Part 2 of this epic St. Patrick’s Day story. Get ready for the conclusion!

You follow Niamh through a wooded glen. You are greeted at every step by all sorts of bizarre and unusual creatures and people. Fairies! Warriors in fur pelts! Talking animals! This is getting way crazy. Enbarr trots behind you, neighing and occasionally butting you with his nose.

“Tír na nÓg is what you mortals call the Otherworld,” says Niamh.

“Otherworld?” you ask. “What’s that?”

Niamh looks very disappointed, and sighs loudly. “What are they teaching you on Earth nowadays? The Otherworld. It’s where the immortals and spirits live.”

You approach a massive gate, grown over entirely with ivy. Niamh waves her hand and the gate swings open, and you enter a giant garden with a golden path leading to a massive castle.

“This is my home,” says Niamh. “I have something of utmost importance that I must entrust you with.” Enbarr stays at the foot of the stairs as you walk up to the massive entrance. You can’t help but gawk at the interior of the castle; everything seems to be gilded and encrusted with jewels.

“This is all yours?” you ask, amazed.

“Yes,” she says. “But what I need to give to you is this.” She opens a giant, wooden chest and pulls out a tattered, leather-bound book. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as the chalices and swords you see everywhere, but you are drawn to the book. On the cover is the same three-leaf clover that’s on the bottle the woman at the market gave you.

“This is the Great Book of Legends,” says Niamh. “People on Earth are forgetting about us. When our memories die, we begin to die, too,” she said, looking out the window at her garden. “Tír na nÓg used to be much larger. Each year, it shrinks and more and more of us disappear.” She turns back to you. “You must let people know that we still live here. Read the Great Book of Legends and tell everyone about what you read. You’re our only hope.”

“Whoah,” you say. “That’s a lot of responsibility.”

“It is,” she says, “but you were chosen for a reason. Did you get the potion?”

“You mean this?” You pull out the small glass vial.

“Yes!” she says. “I would send you back on Enbarr, but the last time we sent someone back on Enbarr . . . well, it didn’t go so well.”

“What happened?”

“You’ll read all about it in the book. For now, you must get home. Hurry, drink the potion! We haven’t much time!”

You . . .

  1. ask for the horse. You’re not about to drink potions willy-nilly! Whatever happened last time with Enbarr, you’re willing to risk it.
  2. say you’ll do it, but only if you get a sword and some other stuff to take home with you. Souvenirs!
  3. drink the potion asap!
  4. ask for a list of ingredients in the potion. You’re not going to drink something full of weird chemicals unless you know exactly what those weird chemicals are!
  5. say you’ll do it, but only after you get to explore the island more–this place is so awesome, and who knows if you’ll ever see it again? The book can wait!

You wake up and you’re back in your bedroom. The sun is just beginning to rise. What a weird dream! Your mouth feels dry, so you reach for a glass of water from your nightstand. Your hand bumps into something that falls to the floor. You peek over the edge of your bed. It’s a small green bottle with a faded three-leaf clover painted on the label. There’s a giant leather-bound book also on your floor.

Well, it looks like your St. Patrick’s Day project isn’t going to be such a drag after all!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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9. St. Patrick's Pug

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for this St. Patrick’s Pug!

St. Patrick's Dog

Funny Pug St. Patrick’s Day Flickr photo by DaPuglet

This festive, Irish dog is ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style!

Write what you think he is saying in the Comments. I think he’s saying, “My leprechaun name is Lucky O’Looney! What’s yours?”

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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10. Mimi Kirkland Answers Your Questions

Mimi KirklandThe adorable Mimi Kirkland who plays Lily on Austin & Ally answers your questions.

Q: How old are you?
Mimi: I am 10 years old.

Q: When you first came on Austin & Ally how excited were you?
Mimi: It just happened to be my 10th birthday when I got the call that I would be playing Lily on Austin & Ally. I started screaming and jumping for joy!! It was the best birthday ever!! I have seen every Austin & Ally episode so it was a dream come true to find out I would be working and acting with them.

Q: How long does it take to make 1 episode?
Mimi: It takes one week to film one episode.

Mimi Kirkland and Laura Marano

Photo courtesy Disney Channel

Q: How would you describe each of your co-stars?
Mimi: Laura: Sweet and nice.
Raini: Exciting and energetic.
Ross: Musical and cool
Calum: Funny and entertaining.

Q: Do you have to memorize your lines or do people hold up cards?
Mimi: We have to memorize our lines.

Q: When did you start acting? Do you like singing? Can you give me some tips?
Mimi: When I was on stage at my preschool graduation, I was 5 years old and the teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I wanted to be an actress so my parents found an agent in Raleigh, NC. I’ve had to audition for over 150 roles. Yes, I love to sing. Be yourself, be confident, and have fun! Keep working towards what you love because there is always something that you have to sacrifice to pursue your dream and it’s not always easy. Stick with it and stay positive!

Q: What are the names of your sisters?
Mimi: Coley & Kate

Q: What do you do in your free time? Do you like to read?
Mimi: I love to read!!! I also like playing outside, swimming, riding my bike, dancing and playing with my friends and my sisters.

Q: What is another talent you have besides acting?
Mimi: I like to sing and dance. I’m currently taking hip hop and ballet.

Q: Do you like pizza?
Mimi: YES! Cheese pizza, regular crust!

Q: What’s your favorite color?
Mimi: Green.

Q: Why does Ally never like anyone to touch her song book?
Mimi: I really don’t know why. Maybe because she writes personal things in her song book and it’s more like a journal.

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11. Drop the Drama

Make a difference!World Peace Starts at Home!

The most important issue in the world today is terrorism and violence. Terrorism is when a group of people does terrible things to people around them. Terrorism can happen anywhere, but right now it is occurring in the Middle East in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

I hear about these acts of terrorism and feel bad for the victims, and I had an idea about what I could do to help this issue. The idea is to make peace within my own community. We can’t expect to have peace in the Middle East if two kids can’t resolve arguments calmly at school.Drop the drama

Adults should be setting an example for their kids. Since kids look up to adults as a guide, they should see that peaceful problem solving works better than making a huge drama about something. With problem solving, you forget the issue sooner than with a huge drama. I know adults can get all wrapped up in problems that are only little, just like kids do. I’ve also seen adults resolve things peacefully between themselves. A good example of this is my dad. Work can present disagreements for him, but he is always so calm when he talks about his day that I know he is very good at problem solving.

This idea would make a difference because kids don’t always think of other possibilities when they have a problem. They often get wrapped up in the argument and how they are “so right” that they don’t ever try to resolve it. If their parents practiced better resolutions of problems in front of them, kids might think of it when they have disputes with people.

While one person can’t stop terrorism, if everyone tried as a whole world, we could. Even if terrorism continues for years to come, this will still make a difference within our communities, schools, and within ourselves for just as many years. Even if this idea of rational problem solving doesn’t work immediately, it will definitely work long-term and make the world a better place.

Go to the Save the Planet Message Board to discuss YOUR ideas to help create world peace.

Beata, Scholastic Kids Council

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12. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework by Nick Cannon

Neon Aliens Ate My HomeworkA New Poetry Book by Nick Cannon

Check out a new Nick Cannon book titled Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems. Filled with humor and heart, this book rhymes its way through a world filled with fantastical robots and dinosaurs, mean lunch ladies, terrifying babysitters and a vegetarian who’s had one too many bowls of beans. Check out an excerpt here!

Neon Aliens Ate My Homework

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13. Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

shamrocksChoose Your Own Adventure: A St. Patrick’s Story Part 2

Last week, I gave you Part 1 of this 3-part story. Get ready for Part 2 . . .

You’re too curious, so you approach the horse. It takes a few steps towards you, and then circles around and starts to trot out over the water! This glowing horse is walking on water. You’re way fascinated now, so you walk out after it, but you definitely don’t have the ability to walk on the lake. Pretty soon, you’re up to your knees in water. And it’s pretty cold.

“Wait!” you shout.

The horse stops and turns back to look at you. It comes back, hooves dancing delicately above the surface of the lake.When it reaches you, it kneels and nudges you with its nose. As if by instinct, you climb onto the horse’s back. It rises again and begins to walk out onto the lake.

A giant cloud of fog suddenly descends, and now you can’t see the other bank. You’re kind of scared, but mostly excited — this is so bananas! You’re riding a horse that walks on water! That’s when you hear giggles, laughs, and splashes coming from below the water.

Then you see a face. A beautiful young woman stares up at you, laughs, and disappears under the water. You hear more splashing, and then she reappears. You can see now that she is a woman from the waist up, but below the waist she has a long, scaled fish’s tail. She smiles up at you and says, “Welcome!”

“Are you a mermaid?!” you blurt out. She laughs some more, a musical and echoing laugh, and nods her head.

“Yes, I am,” she says. “And I am here to welcome you to Tír na nÓg.”

“To where?” you ask.

“Tír na nÓg. Our home. We have been waiting for you.” And with that, she disappears again.

The fog begins to lift, and you see now that you are headed not the other side of the lake, but to a lush island that is surrounded by a shimmering halo of light. The horse you are riding neighs and begins to gallop towards the island, and you clutch onto its mane for dear life. As you approach the shore, the horse slows and you see a woman standing on the bank. She is dressed in white and wearing a crown.

“Welcome to Tír na nÓg,” she says. “I am Niamh, one of the queens of this land. We are so glad that you could make it. I see that my horse Enbarr has taken good care of you.”

“Well, the ride did get a bit bumpy at the end,” you say, and at that Enbarr bucks you off and you land butt-first in the sand.

“Hey!” you shout, scowling. Niamh laughs.

“That’s Enbarr for you,” she says. “Now come, we haven’t much time.”

You . . .

  1. look for a boat or some other means of escape. This is getting way weird, and you also definitely don’t want to miss dinner.
  2. try to wake yourself up. This is a dream for sure.
  3. follow Niamh.
  4. take out your phone and look up Tír na nÓg. It’s spelled like it’s pronounced, right?
  5. say you’ll stay right where you are, thank you, until someone explains what is going on. You’re not about to follow some stranger.

Leave your response in the Comments and tell us what you think will happen next! Part 3 of this 3-part story is coming to Ink Splot 26 on March 17.

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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14. No Matter How Old I Get . . .

Writing promptWriting Prompt: No matter how old I get. . . 

Some things will never change. You love it now, and you always will. It’s your “forever” or something you are so sure about in your heart that you know it will never change! For today’s Writing Prompt, we want to know . . .

No matter how old I get, I will always… (love Harry Potter, sleep with my bunny, be best friends with_______, play basketball)

Serious, silly, or somewhere in between, let us know in the Comments below!

- Ratha, STACKS Writer

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15. 2015 Kids' Choice Awards

Kids' Choice Awards 2015The Nominees Are in for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards!

Some of our very favorite books were nominated for the 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards, and YOU get to choose the winner!

The Nominees for Favorite Book are . . .

Diary of a Wimpy Kid has won 4 times already in years past, but I don’t think The Fault in Our Stars has ever been nominated before. Will this be its year? Winners will be announced on the Kids’ Choice Awards Show on March 28, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Go to the Reading Buzz Board to discuss which book you think should win and why!

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

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16. Hand and Hand Anti-Bullying Club

Make a difference!Join the Hand and Hand Anti-Bullying Club

Bullying is such a big problem for kids, so we started a club to help you deal with it. Go to the STACK Back Message Board and tell us your stories of being bullied. If you don’t want to go into detail you don’t have to. We are here for you though.

My story: I’ve been bullied almost every year in school. I was tired of it and needed to do something about it. My best friend Layla and I created this organization to help people like us. This is for YOU GUYS.

Join us here!

Rowan, Scholastic Kids Council

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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. 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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23. 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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24. 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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25. 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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