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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. Max & Shred Girls

Max & Shred girls Howie (Saara Chaudry), Abby (Emilia McCarthy)Meet EMILIA McCARTHY and SAARA CHAUDRY from Max & Shred!

Last week we introduced you to Jake and Johnny from the Nickelodeon show Max & Shred. This week, we have an interview with the girls who play Abby and Howie on the show.

Q: What is your favorite Max & Shred episode so far?
Emilia: I had to wear a Yeti suit. After watching it and all the hard work that we put into that episode and then seeing it, it definitely paid off. So it’s really funny. It was boiling, and on set it’s already really hot because of the lights and it was summertime. So, yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my entire life.

Q: What do you think kids will like about the show? 
Emilia: There’s a character on the show that’s relatable to everyone. Everyone’s pretty different on the show. Like, there’s Howie, who’s played by Saara, and she’s the little 8-year-old genius. She’s 8 going on 30. And then there’s, you know, the two boys. One is the cool snowboarder guy and the other one is the scientist. And then there’s Abby, who’s the teenage girl who has a different boyfriend every week and she’s always on her phone. Everyone can find someone they relate to on the show, which I think is cool.

Q: You have a fun nickname like Howie does on the show. How did you get it?
Saara: When I was younger, I was very curious like Howie. Howie got her name because when she was little she kept asking, “How?” so everyone started calling her Howie because she was so curious. So when I was little I was really curious and I would always look up to things and say, “This,” because I didn’t know how to say anything else really. But I had a bit of a lisp so it always came out as “Dish.” So everyone in my family calls me “Dish” and it sort of stuck since I was little.

Q: What’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
Saara: Um, well, I think it was probably when I was on stage when I was doing Les Mis in Toronto and it was my first night being Little Cosette on stage and all my family was there. I was so nervous that I hiccupped on stage in the middle of my song. It was pretty embarrassing just to know that I did something like that. I don’t know if many people noticed, but definitely my family did.

Q: Do you have any Mexican family traditions from your mom?
Emilia:  Well, New Year’s is very funny. She has all these Mexican voodoo things. I don’t even know if they’re real or if she just made them up. We have to eat a grape every minute for ten minutes before New Year’s and we have to make a wish.  And she also has to sweep. We have to go outside the house with our suitcases to represent travelling. She has all these crazy Mexican things . . . I don’t know, but I do them anyway. Like, ten minutes before New Year’s we’re doing all these crazy things like, “What the heck are they doing?” My dad is the most Canadian person I know and he has to put up with all these Mexican dishes and Tabasco sauce. He’s a good sport. But I love Mexican food so I wouldn’t be any happier than having tacos every day.

Q: Tell me about the book you wrote when you were 7.
Emilia: It’s called Baby’s Wish and it’s about what the baby wishes for before it’s born. It wishes about what the parents would look like and what it’s going to do and what it’s going to look like. And when it’s born, none of the wishes come true physically, but, you know, the baby realizes that the parents still love the baby and that’s really all that matters. My dad is a writer, so he helped me with the idea and he wrote it. It was kind of like a dream I had and we worked together to create a little, cute story. I am in the process of writing something. It’s been so long. But I really enjoy writing and I wouldn’t mind getting into screenwriting for movies.

Q: Tell me about the “Because I am a Girl” campaign. 
Saara: It’s a campaign for girls to get education and to have equal rights in parts of the world where they don’t get equal rights like in Africa and Asia and India. For my 9th birthday instead of choosing to get presents, I asked my friends to make a donation to the “Because I am a Girl” campaign. It’s something I’m really passionate about and I’m learning about that sort of stuff at school and everything, just like that whole topic about equal rights and girls’ education and charities and everything. It’s one of my big passions to help kids out around the world who don’t have opportunities like me and my friends. It’s something I really want all my fans to get into. 

Q: What is the best book you ever read?
Emilia: This book called Before I Fall (for ages 12 and up). I read it a few years ago. I love it so much. It’s about a teenage girl who gets hit by a car but then for some reason she survives. She travels back in time as if the car accident never happened and she gets to relive her life decisions. I love it so much. It’s so great for young girls to read. For me, reading it as a young teenager, I was so astounded by it.
Saara: Any Dr. Seuss book. Growing up, he’s been my favorite author. But I also love the author Deborah Ellis. She has some great books. I especially like the Breadwinner trilogy and My Name is Parvana. I love those books. My librarian at school actually introduced me to Deborah Ellis.

Q: Do you have any pets?
Emilia: I have a dog called Crème Brulée. He’s a Cockapoo. And he is quite a wimp and I feel kind of guilty because the name kind of suits him unfortunately. [Laughter] Actually he was on eTalk with me once for a “Work Out with Your Dog” segment, and he was so badly behaved. He should not be in the acting business. He tried and it did not work out for him and I don’t think he should pursue the acting business.
Saara: I have a couple of fish in my backyard, quite a few actually. They’re mostly koi fish that my dad takes care of because we have a small pond in my backyard. But I also have one fish just in my room and it’s a blue beta fish I think, and it’s called Juju. I love fish. I would like to get a dog, but my mom is allergic and she just doesn’t want to take care of it that much. [Laughter]

Interview by Marie Morreale 
Image courtesy of Nickelodeon

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2. What Books Should You Read?

Scholastic Summer Reading ChallengeIt’s practically summer, and that means you can read all the books you want! YAY! But how do you decide which books to choose? Well, STACKS Staffer Sandy created this helpful graphic. Take a look and find out which books you should read this summer.

And don’t forget to log your minutes in the Summer Reading Challenge!

What books should you read this summer?

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3. Summer Personality Quiz


PurpleWizard50 created a quiz to help you answer the question: What Should You Do This Summer?

1. Yay! It’s finally summer! What do you want to do? a) Check out some sunny beaches. b) Stay at home and read. c) Go to a new and exotic city. d) Visit your friends and relatives.

2. Wow! It’s burning out there! What do you do to cool off? a) Take a dive in an outdoor swimming pool. b) Sit in front of the A/C until your teeth freeze. c) Run through the sprinkler with a home-made paper fan. d) Head to your bestie’s place for a movie marathon in her air-conditioned basement.

3. What’s your favorite summer treat? a) Ice cream sundaes. b) Fresh fruit juice smoothies. c) Icy cold “mocktails.” d) Those twin Popsicles.

4. How would you describe yourself? a) Sporty and fun. b) Bookworm-y and quiet. c) Unique and artsy. d) Social and a great BFF.

5. What is your favorite hobby? a) Playing sports and swimming. b) Reading and being alone. c) Painting or drawing. d) Hanging with your bestie.


Mostly A’s: Sports are totally your thing. You would rather run around the neighborhood to warm up than sit in a warm woolen blanket — not that that has anything to do with summer. Hit up some beaches and maybe the local pool.

Mostly B’s: You like being lonely. You would rather make a fort out of pillows and sit in there, reading a book for hours. Stay at home this summer and read your favorite books. Or if you’re going out of town, pack an extra suitcase for books!

Mostly C’s: You’re different and artsy. You would rather make your Mother’s Day gifts and cards than buy them from the mall. Check out an exotic country or head to art school. Or art school in an exotic country.

Mostly D’s: You and your BFF are inseparable. You would rather shop with her than shop alone, no contest. This summer, hang with her. Have sleepovers, playdates, shopping sprees, gossip sessions, whatever. Just have fun!

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4. 2015 Summer Name Generator

question marksWhat’s Your Summer Name?

Do y’all remember the fantabulous Winter Name Generator? Well, it’s definitely not winter anymore, so it’s time for new names. I’m thinking that it’s time for . . . SUMMER NAMES!!! Introducing the wonderfully weird and wonky Summer Name Generator! (This is version 2.0. If you want two special summer names, you should try out last summer’s, too!).

Here’s how the Summer Name Generator works. Find the first initial of your first name in the list below. That word is your summer first name. Then look at the list of the months below and find the month of your birthday. That word is your summer last name. For example, my name begins with an E and my birthday is in March, so my new summer name would be Pool Noodle Surfer. I’m into it!

  • A – Sunny
  • B – Sunshine
  • C – Water Slide
  • D – Sandy
  • E – Pool Noodle
  • F – Flip Flop
  • G – Beachy
  • H – Jumprope
  • I – Leafy
  • J – Bicycle
  • K – Thunder
  • L – Sunglasses
  • M – Grass
  • N – Popsicle
  • O – Roller Coaster
  • P – Vacation
  • Q – Lake
  • R – Canoe
  • S – Festival
  • T – SPF
  • U – Forest
  • V – Starry
  • W – Zipline
  • X – Hiking
  • Y – Nature
  • Z – Explorer
  • January – Shorts
  • February – Backpack
  • March – Surfer
  • April – Frisbee
  • May – Speedboat
  • June – Water Bottle
  • July – Lightning
  • August – Firecracker
  • September – Hummingbird
  • October – Sprinkler
  • November – Hopscotch
  • December – Picnic

It’s heating up fast outside and soon it’ll be vacation time. Get ready by grabbing your sweetest swimwear, favorite flip flops, coolest sidewalk chalk, and brand-new SUMMER NAME! What’s your new, wacky summer name? Share it in the Comments below!

See ya around,

En-Szu, a.k.a. Pool Noodle Surfer

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5. Max & Shred Boys


Q: Which character are you more like in real life, either Max or Shred?
Johnny: Honestly, I do find myself a lot like my character, Max. He’s a very athletic person and I play a lot of sports. He’s a very charming person and I’ve been told that I’m very charming in interviews. He’s a really enthusiastic and upbeat person and I’m a really high-energy person as well, which really helps me playing the character. And he’s a really physical person. I use a lot of my physical presence when I’m speaking as well. I’m not like Max intelligence-wise. I do very well in school and I always strive for good grades. Max, he kind of struggles in that field of education but he’s a socially smart person, not really a book smart person. I use a lot of the same terminology as he does, like “bro” and “sick.”
Jake: I have a very good time playing Shred, but I think I’m actually like a mix of them. I have some Max and some Alvin traits. I guess probably slightly more Max maybe, but I’m very, very like both of them. I have lots of friends. I kind of like school, but not as much as Alvin and I don’t do science experiments at home. I think I’m a mix of the two.

Q: Why did Max give Alvin the nickname “Shred”?
Jake: In the pilot episode, Alvin is making fun of Max in his bedroom alone. He puts on a Max wig and his helmet and is all dressed in his snowboarding stuff and is just making fun of Max. And Max’s snowboarding agent comes into the house and sees Alvin. Since he’s all dressed up like Max, he thinks that Alvin is Max and he takes him snowboarding to a mountain and it’s in front of a bunch of people and it’s, you know, televised nationally. Alvin, who has never snowboarded before, has to go down this hill and do all these crazy tricks and do a 50-foot jump at the end, which is crazy. So Alvin ends up having to go because, you know, everyone’s watching him and he can’t just leave. Everyone thinks he’s Max. So he ends up going down the hill and his tricks are all wobbly and really bad and he just happens to land all of them. In the last scene when Alvin is in the hospital, Max comes to visit him, and they have their first moment really as friends and Max is like, “Wow, you shredded up that mountain so well. I’m going to call you Shred.” It’s a special thing between the two of them and only Max calls him that.

Q: How long have you been snowboarding?
I think this past winter was my third season. Johnny’s been snowboarding for way longer.
Johnny: I’ve been snowboarding for six years now. Hitting rails is really awesome. I might come up to a rail riding fakie and then I’ll hop up onto it and just board slide. That’s my starter move. It’s just easy for me and it’s a satisfying move, or maybe doing, like, a blunt slide on a rail.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Johnny: I ripped my pants once in gym class. It was a grade 8 dance unit, and I forgot all my attire. So I’m up there in skinny jeans and we had to do this, like, wheelbarrow move, and, yeah, I completely ripped my pants and I was extremely embarrassed. It was really funny, but funny for everybody else.
First recess, first day, grade 2, got pantsed. I don’t even remember if I got pantsed or if they just fell down. But I mean that’s so embarrassing, right? First day, grade 2, I didn’t know many people. Yeah.

Q: How do you balance being a celebrity with a typical young boy life?
Honestly, just like every other kid, Monday to Friday when I’m not filming, I go to school. You know, I do all my school work. I do all that normal kid stuff. I’m very lucky, but I don’t feel like a celebrity. I do all that normal kid stuff honestly and then, you know, when I go to the Kids’ Choice Awards it’s so cool because it’s in L.A. But I don’t even feel like I have to make an effort to balance being on a show and being a 12-year-old boy.

What books would you recommend to a friend?
Johnny: The first book that probably made me want to read more is reading the Hunger Games series (for ages 12 and up). I love that series and I really got into them. I read them all within like a month and I usually don’t do that. And then it made me go read more. Like right after that I started reading Maze Runner (for ages 12 and up) and that was a really amazing book.
Classics like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit I guess. They’d be the best ones. If you haven’t read the books, they’re very good. That’s what I would say because lots of people have seen the movies, but it’s an amazing story. That’s my all-time favorite book.

Do you have any pets?
I do. She’s sleeping next to me right now. Her name’s Daisy. She’s a dog. She’s called a Ganaraskan. It’s a mix between a poodle, a schnauzer, a Cocker Spaniel and a Bichon Frise. She’s very cute. Sometimes she’ll see her tail and just start running in circles. I know lots of dogs do it but honestly it’s so funny when she’s just basically like playing tag with her tail and no matter how fast she runs her tail’s going to be faster because it’s on her body. But that’s just funny when you’re just relaxing and all the sudden your dog is having a seizure chasing her tail.
Johnny: My favorite episode is the episode where I get a dog. I really love that episode because I’m a dog, animal fanatic. I actually have five dogs in my family, so I love dogs. We have a Boston Terrier. His name’s Maverick. I have a French Bulldog named Lola, I have a German Shorthaired Pointer named Violet, a Great Dane named Maggie, and a – who am I missing – oh, and a Schnoodle named Holly. They’re amazing. I love them. They’re all really friendly and they’re all pack dogs. But we live on a farm, right? So they can burn most energy when we go for really long walks. They can just rip around and then they come back in and they sleep.
Do you have a pet?

If you were going to star in a biopic about an athlete, what athlete would it be?
Johnny: I was thinking about a hockey player but at the same time, I think it would be really awesome to play some kind of football star, like some running back because when I played football I played running back. I love Marshawn Lynch. Seattle Seahawks are my favorite team, and he’s an absolute animal on the field. I just love his style.

Q: If you hadn’t chosen acting, what job do you think you would be working towards?
Jake: I don’t even know if I want to be an actor when I grow up. I’m open to lots of things. You know, I go through phases. Like, I’ll do a month of being really into something and then the next month I’ll be really into something else, and then eventually I’ll go back to that something that I was doing the first month. I just have lots of different interests that I pick up and drop. Something might come up and that might stick around. Right now I’m into learning different programming languages, which is fun. So, you know, there are lots of things and I honestly don’t know what I’ll do as a career.

What is one thing you think could help make the world a better place?
Jake: I’m a very environmentally friendly person. Our geography teacher at school always talks to us about that stuff. You know, I don’t use plastic water bottles. I have a reusable water bottle. I have a lunch box. I don’t have a plastic bag for a lunch bag. I don’t litter, obviously.
Johnny: Wow. I’ve never actually put any thought into something like that. But, I don’t know, like, some kind of technological advancement, like a different way we could filter energy instead of depleting our world’s resources. So, you know, cars can now run on . . . blahbity blah or like, “We’ve now figured out a way to create fresh water just by like putting these two kind of chemicals or elements together.” Something like that would be mass-changing for the world. It’s a great question. That’s the best question I think I’ve actually ever been asked.

Interview by Marie Morreale
Image courtesy Nickelodeon

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6. Ricky Ricotta

Ricky ricotta and his robotRicky Ricotta and His Mighty Robot are back in a brand new, out-of-this-world adventure!

Ricky Ricotta loves his Mighty Robot, but sometimes it’s hard having a best friend who is so BIG! If only his Mighty Robot had someone his own size to play with, Ricky could have some fun by himself. Little does Ricky know, his wish is about to come true. Ugly Uncle Unicorn is hatching a hideous plan to take over Earth, and he’s got a super-sized surprise for Ricky and his Robot friend!

Click here to learn more, make your own robot, watch cool videos, and more!


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7. Soccer Trivia Quiz

Arjen RobbenWe  are kicking off with some regulation Soccer Trivia! See how well you score . . .

  1. TRUE or FALSE? Soccer cleats and baseball cleats are the same.
  2. The World Cup (the world championship of soccer) is played every ________ years?
  3. Who won the 2014 World Cup? A) Brazil B) Argentina C) Germany D) United States
  4. What is it called when you hit the soccer ball with your head?
  5. In soccer rules, what does it mean if the referee shows you a red card?
  6. The handsome and ridiculously talented Cristiano Ronaldo is from what country?
  7. Americans call it soccer, but what is this sport called in most other countries around the world? (Hint: It is not called “soccer” in England.)
  8. In youth soccer, what do the terms U-8 and U-10 mean?
  9. Only 1 player on the soccer field is allowed to touch the ball with his or her hands. What is this player called?
  10. How many players from each team are on the soccer field at a time?

Scroll down to see the answers.

  1. ANSWER: FALSE. Soccer cleats have spikes usually made from rubber or plastic and are lightweight and flexible for running on grass. Baseball cleats have metal or hard thin spikes to grip the clay/dirt on the field, and are bulkier and stiffer for support.
  2. ANSWER: Every 4 years. The next World Cup will be in Russia in 2018.
  3. ANSWER: Germany won (beating Argentina in the championship).
  4. ANSWER: A “header.” Believe it or not, if you hit it in the right place on your head, it doesn’t hurt that much.
  5. ANSWER: It’s a penalty card, and you are kicked out of the game. Also if you receive 2 “yellow cards” (warning cards) it equals a red card and you’re kicked out of the game! Yikes, talk about fiery red.
  6. ANSWER: Portugal. He plays for the Portugal National Team, and also the Spanish club Real Madrid C.F.
  7. ANSWER: Football. The United States, Canada, and Australia call it soccer but most other countries call it football, futbol, or “footie.”
  8. ANSWER: U-8 is a division for kids aged 8 and under. U-10 is for kids 10 and under.
  9. Only the goalkeeper or “goalie” is allowed to use his or her hands while on the field. Of course, any player may use his or her hands to take a throw-in from off the field.
  10. ANSWER: In professional, high school, and college soccer 11 players total (10 plus a goalkeeper). Although in youth leagues it can be 4 vs. 4, 6 vs. 6 or 8 vs. 8.

Are you a soccer fan or a soccer player? Shout out to your favorite teams in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

Arjen Robben photo credit Global Panorama

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8. One Direction Without Zayn

Zayn MalikOne Direction without Zayn is like . . .

. . . a sock without its match.

. . . a day without a friend.

. . . a rainstorm without a rainbow.

Ok. You’ve come to grips with the news, sort of. Zayn Malik has left One Direction.

Some of you are devastated he left the band. Some of you understand that he wants to live like a normal 22-year-old. Some of you are skeptical and feel betrayed after his first solo song was leaked just a week after leaving the band. And . . . Some of you don’t really care.

Well, whatever side you’re on, we’re about to hit you with a Writing Prompt that you’ll want to answer! Pour out your feelings . . . or non-feelings . . . and complete this sentence in your own unique way.

One Direction without Zayn is like . . . 

We can’t wait to see YOUR Direction in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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9. Zendaya Interview

Zendaya in K.C. UNDERCOVERZendaya from K. C. Undercover 

If you love Zendaya, then you must read this interview. It’s kind of long, but she talks about everything! She talks about the weird thing that she’s afraid of, her 7th grade eyebrow disaster, going to high school with an 8-year-old, and her advice for girls.

Q: How would you describe K. C.?
Zendaya: K. C. is just a regular girl. What I think is so exciting about her is the fact that she’s just a regular teenager who was put in this really irregular type situation and lifestyle, and I think she kind of just has to make the best out of it. But I love the fact that she’s kind of awkward. She’s not the coolest person in school. She’s not very popular, but is able to be cool and popular through her spy work. She’s able to use all these things that kind of made her nerdy.

ZENDAYA in K.C. Undercover

Photo credit: Disney Channel/Kelsey McNeal

Q: Would you be friends with her?
Zendaya: Absolutely. I think we’re like the same person. In fact, somebody who is close to me was telling me, “It’s funny. On TV you act a lot more like yourself.” And I was like, “Yeah. I do,” because I feel like she’s a lot like me, you know what I mean? She has a lot of characteristics like me, which makes her easier to play and easier to understand.

Q: K. C. is a math and tech whiz. How does that help her in her spying?
Zendaya: It helps her be more problem-solving, you know? The fact that she’s able to think on her feet and solve things with her mind . . . you know, it’s like brain exercise. She’s really sharp.

Q: How about the fight training? Has that been difficult?
Zendaya: Well, fight training is never super-easy, especially when you’re not a martial artist, you know what I mean? That’s not where I started. So for me, I think of it like dancing. It’s like learning new dance choreography, but only you’re punching someone.

Q: Out of acting and dancing and singing and writing, is one talent your favorite?
Zendaya: Honestly I don’t have a favorite. I always try to find time to balance all of them because I think it’s really important if you want to be an entertainer to give each of your arts time and be able to enjoy all of them. You know what I mean? That’s the same for acting, singing, dancing, even visual art as well. So I try to find time for everything.

Q: What career would you follow if you had never been famous?
Zendaya: I feel like my life kind of happened for a reason and everything is the way it is for a reason and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. But I’d maybe want to do something that involves kids. I don’t know if it would be teaching or, you know, coming up with an organization that helps younger people.

Q: What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Zendaya: Honestly . . . ok, here’s the thing. I’m not a huge experimenter. I’m definitely more of a cheese pizza and fries type of girl. I don’t like to get too crazy. Plus I’m a vegetarian, so any of those super-weird foods I can’t eat.

Q: What is it like going to school on the set of your show?
Zendaya: Well, I go to high school in a classroom with me, Kamil, who’s also 18, and an eight-year-old. [Laughter.] Which is very strange, but it’s funny. It’s also kind of hard because, you know, there are certain things that we’re learning that she hasn’t learned yet. So there’s certain stuff that I can’t really talk about because it’s something that’s way beyond where she’s at right now and it’ll confuse her. But it’s also cool because there’s a lot of teaching moments and she can learn from us being in the classroom as well.

Q: How do you balance your life as a celebrity with just your normal life?
Zendaya: Honestly, all I do is I just do regular kid stuff. It’s like all in a state of mind. For me, I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity or anything like that. I just feel like I’m a regular kid. So what do regular teenagers do? We go to the movies, and we hang out with our friends and that’s honestly what I do. I don’t do anything that special.

Q: Do you have advice for younger girls who look up to you as a role model?
Zendaya: My number one piece of advice is always not to grow up too fast, to enjoy the years that you have as, you know, a 12-year-old because they go by so fast. The next thing you know you’re an 18-year-old and you have to worry about so much and think about so much more. So just enjoy the age that you are. And that’s even when you get older. When you’re 18, enjoy being 18. You don’t want to be 21 yet.

Q: Do you have a motto or a quote that you live by?
Zendaya: My motto is always DFTS. It means “don’t forget to smile” because I think smiling is just a really powerful thing.

Q: When you were little, did you have a word that you couldn’t pronounce?
Zendaya: Milk. I used to say chocolate mook.

Q: If you could invent an ice cream flavor, what would you invent?
Zendaya: It would be . . . “Nutella Greatness.” Maybe it would be vanilla ice cream with Nutella in it. Maybe do a version with caramel. But it all has Nutella with multiple different kinds of things inside.

Q: What’s your biggest fear?
Zendaya: You know, I don’t know why I’m so afraid of flies. It’s not that I’m afraid of them. They’re just really, really annoying and they drive me crazy. But the thing is I feel bad killing them. So I either make my friends kill them or my dad or something. [Laughter.] Or I just let them be . . . like, especially at night time when it’s dark and they, like, buzz around you. I have this irrational fear that they’re going to crawl in my nose. I don’t know.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday or summer activity?
Zendaya: I love vacations. I love going on vacations with my family usually to somewhere tropical. I like that weather where you don’t need a jacket. You just walk around with a tank top and it’s comfortable even at night time. Honestly, I like doing absolutely nothing. Laying by the beach, going to the pool, like just chilling out because sometimes I work so much and I do so much all the time that not doing something is a strange feeling and it’s exciting. I think one of my favorites was when I went to Jamaica. The culture was really awesome, like the music, food, everything out there is really great. And then on top of that, the water is warm. I’m not a huge fan of cold ocean water, so the fact that the water was warm was very exciting.

Q: Do you have a first-day-of-school memory?
Zendaya: Oh, yeah. I remember, It was my first day of seventh grade. I went to get my eyebrows done the day before and the lady really messed up my eyebrows and I was so embarrassed to go to school. I cried. But I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with my eyebrows nowadays.

Q: What are your dreams and hopes for your future?
Zendaya: That’s a good question. Well, I dream to just continue to do my art but continue to spread positive messages and do good things with what I do.

Interview by Gerri Miller
Photos courtesy Disney Channel

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10. STACKS Stars Feature

Stacks starsSee how you can get featured in next month’s STACKS Blast newsletter!

We think you are awesome and we want to know more about you! Every month, I will post questions in a STACKS Stars blog post. All you have to do to participate is answer the questions and we will pick one random user to be featured in next month’s newsletter. Don’t see yourself in the next newsletter? No worries! You can enter yourself again as many times as you like! Everyone is a winner so there’s always a good chance that you could be next.

To participate, you must have a STACKS profile and screen name. If you don’t have one, it is easy and free to set one up. Click here to set up a profile. Be sure to create an awesome avatar that really shows who you are because that picture will be used in the feature if you are selected! Remember to have fun with your avatar and get creative.

This month’s questions are about the Summer Reading Challenge! Do you think you are ready to participate? If so, here they are.

  1. What is your STACKS screen name?
  2. Which book are you planning to read next?
  3. Why are you choosing this book?
  4. If you could read this book anywhere in the world for a day, where would it be and why?
  5. Have you read any books on the Summer Reading Challenge list? If so, which was your favorite and why? If not, which books are you interested in reading next?

To help give you some ideas, here are my answers:

  1. CleverPiglet15 (I think pigs are really cute!)
  2. I’m planning to read The Madman of Piney Woods, by Christopher Paul Curtis.
  3. I chose this book because I like realistic adventures and friendships.
  4. If I could read this book anywhere for an entire day, it would be under a shady tree by a nice creek with picnic blankets and snacks.
  5. I’ve read some of the other books on the list and they have been all good, but my favorite is probably the Amulet series because it’s a graphic novel that is both fun and magical.

OK, now your turn! Ready? Set? Go!

Sandy, STACKS Staffer

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11. Glass Slippers Interview

BookwormFairy31 avatarHey! BookwormFairy31 here. I wanted to interview Ella from “Glass Slippers.” Ella, come out here!

Ella: Oh, hi Destiny.

Me: My writer name is Destiny. So, Ella, were you surprised when your aunt Cora told you about your power?

Ella: I was stunned but I made a limo out of my car and created an iPod 8 out of thin air.

Me: Do you like Will? *smiles sheepishly*

Ella: Why did you ask me that?!

Me: Sorry! Sorry! Sheesh.

Me: What do you like best about Jessica?

Ella: I guess that she’s honest and caring, same as her sister Madilene.

Me: What do you hate about Alexa?

Ella: What’s not to hate? She’s a huge jerk. She’s even mean to her own kids!

Me: Can I bring someone else up?

Ella: Sure.

Me: Will, come up here!!

Will: Umm . . . hi.

Me: So you ran into Ella at the dance. What did you think of her when you first met?

Will: I thought she was nice . . . and clumsy.

Ella: Hey! I was pushed.

Will: Sorry. I didn’t know.

Me: Umm . . . let’s stop this right now before there’s a fight.

*Ella creates Will’s worst nightmare in the background.*

Me: Cut! Cut!

*Camera goes black.*

To find out more about BookwormFairy’s version of Cinderella, read the story here.

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12. SpongeBob Would You Rather

SpongeBob SquarePantsSpongeBob SquarePants Would You Rather

SpongeBob SquarePants. The name says it all. One of the most wildly popular cartoons of all time, it is still going strong in its 16th (!!!) year since the first episode on Nickelodeon in 1999. Not many can “absorb” as successfully as this sponge.

Did you know the creator of SpongeBob, Steve Hillenburg, was a marine biologist? Or that the series was going to be named SpongeBoy or SpongeBoy Ahoy?  And did you realize what a special place SpongeBob had in your heart . . . until you just read this blog? Well if you’re a landlubber who loves SpongeBob, we want to know . . .

Would You Rather . . . 

1. Live in a pineapple under the sea OR a tree house up in the sky?

2. Eat a krabby patty from The Krusty Krab OR a crab cake from Red Lobster?

3. Have to wear a bikini in a snowstorm OR a snowsuit jumping into a pool?

4. Have Plankton as your evil sidekick OR the hyenas from The Lion King?

5. Go on a date with Larry the Lobster (the muscular lifeguard of the Goo Lagoon) OR Patchy the Pirate?

6. Get sunburn OR frostbite?

7. Have Gary the snail as your pet OR Sandy Cheeks the squirrel?

8. Be the “voice” of SpongeBob on the cartoon OR star in YOUR OWN live-action TV show?

9. Have to wear square pants OR octagon pants?

10. Be best friends with SpongeBob OR Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Anchors away, and let us know YOUR answers in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer


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13. Hamster Create a Caption

Create a CaptionCreate a caption for Michael’s adorable hamster!

I think this cutie pet is saying, “This strawberry would taste even better dipped in some chocolate!”

Leave your captions in the Comments!


Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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14. End Prejudice

Make a difference!Prejudice is judging people based on how they look, their religion, or their gender. Stereotyping is making a generalization about a group of people. For example, all blondes are dumb, or all Americans are lazy and arrogant, or all people in England have bad teeth. There are also far more offensive stereotypes than these.

Prejudice and stereotyping are caused because people are ignorant. They aren’t educated in other people’s cultures. For example, many people judge others based on the color of their skin. But if they learned a bit more about their culture and people, they would realize that they aren’t that different. Or if people from other countries learned more about Americans and their culture, they might not think that all Americans are lazy and arrogant. Prejudice and stereotyping are just two different forms of bullying.

How do we enact the solution to prejudice and stereotyping? Well, there are many ways to get people educated on other cultures. For example, schools could have classes in which students discuss other cultures and lifestyles.

See? It’s simple! You can take action today by spreading the word or talking to your principal about learning about other cultures, or simply by getting to know someone before you judge him or her. Judging people without getting to know them and acting badly about them because you are prejudiced or biased is bullying. So, be a buddy, not a bully!

Join the Message Board to talk about how prejudice affects you and how to help stop it! Join now!

Izzy, Scholastic Kids Council

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15. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical CreaturesDo you love books like Harry Potter, Wings of Fire, and The Spiderwick Chronicles? Then we think you will love this brand-new series Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures (for ages 8 and up)!

Meet Pip and her world full of magical creatures and whimsical adventures! Click to read an excerpt, watch the trailer, and take the quiz to see which magical creature matches your personality!

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16. Marriage Personality Quiz

question marksWhat kind of person will you marry when you grow up?

1. You admire. . . A) Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama. B) Kanye West & Kim Kardashian. C) Kevin Durant & Gabby Douglass. D) your mom & dad. E) Albert Einstein & Marie Curie.

2. Favorite thing to watch on TV is . . . A) news. B) reality shows. C) sports. D) cartoons. E) science and history shows.

3. Your crush’s hair is . . . A) a buzz cut. B) always perfectly styled. C) tied back in a ponytail or headband. D) just normal. E) kind of messy — but in a good way!

4. Favorite book series: A) Harry Potter. B) Dear Dumb Diary. C) Game Changers. D) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. E) The Mysterious Benedict Society.

5. Where will you get married? A) In a castle. B) On a private tropical island. C) In a giant stadium. D)  At your local church. E) At the Eiffel Tower.

6. Your BFF is . . . A) popular. B) stylish. C) athletic. D) kind. E) smart.

7. If you were a food, you’d be . . . A) Cool Ranch Doritos – zesty! B) ice cream – sweet as can be! C) a protein shake for strength. D) pizza – what could be better? E) a healthy smoothie.

8. When you grow up, your job will be . . . A) President of the United States. B) a famous movie star. C) NBA basketball player. D) teacher. E) a scientist who cures cancer.

10. Once you’re married, you plan to live . . . A) in a big city. B) in Hollywood. C) on a farm. D) in the same neighborhood where you grew up. E) near a large library.

Ready for the results that may determine your entire future?? Keep reading.

If you answered mostly A’s, YOU’LL BE MARRIED TO A POWERFUL LEADER!
You are a strong and confident person, and are destined to marry someone like that too! You like someone who can inspire and lead people. You might marry the President of the United States (if you are not running for President yourself!), a king or queen, someone who owns a giant corporation, or a college sports team coach. Some examples are: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, or Prince Harry. Whoever it is though, hang on for a fun ride to the top!

You like the spotlight, fame, and fortune. You also have a talent for acting, singing, and general fabulousness. This is why you are destined to marry a Hollywood celebrity. Get ready to travel the world, and rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Some people you might marry are: Taylor Swift, a boy band member (1D anyone??), Selena Gomez, or Zac Efron. But as you rise to the top, remember to stay grounded at heart!

If you answered mostly C’s, YOU’LL BE MARRIED TO AN ATHLETE!
You are a sporty guy or gal. This is why you are destined to marry an athlete. You will start out as friends who play sports together. Some examples of your future Mr. or Mrs. include Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Danika Patrick, Hope Solo, or Tim Tebow.

You are down to earth, and appreciate the simple things in life. You don’t need fancy things or money to make you happy, and you will marry someone with similar values. You might already know your future sweetheart right now. It might be the girl next door, or the boy who sits behind you in math class (but will one day be Mr. Awesome!) or your older brother’s best friend.

If you answered mostly E’s, YOU’LL BE MARRIED TO A SUPER-SMART GENIUS!
You are an intelligent person, and this is the main quality in your future mate! Sit around for hours talking about nuclear physics? Check. Translate Harry Potter into 5 languages for fun? Check. Have a contest to see who can recite the most digits of the square root of Pi? Check. Your future Mr. or Mrs. may be the next Einstein or Galileo. One thing is for sure – you will never be bored!

Want to know where you’ll live? Play our M.A.S.H. (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House) game here.


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17. Star Wars Day

Hi!May 4 Is Star Wars Day! 

To celebrate, go play the Jedi Trainer Game!

I don’t know why May 4th is Star Wars Day. It seems like such a random date. Nevertheless, I speak for Yoda and all the Jedi knights when I say, “May the 4th be with you!”

Star Wars Heroes book cover

What do YOU think Yoda is saying on this book cover? Leave your caption in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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18. Make It Pop

MAKE IT POPNickelodeon’s Make It Pop!

Three unique girls — an aspiring pop diva, a fashionista, and a bookworm — come together at school to form their own K-pop-inspired band in Make It Pop, airing on Nickelodeon weekdays at 7 p.m.


Photo Steve Wilke/ Nickelodeon.

Diva Sun Hi (played by Megan Lee), fashionista Jodi (played by Louriza Tronco) and bookworm Corki (played by Erika Tham) must learn to live together in perfect harmony after they are randomly selected to room together at boarding school. With the help of fellow classmate and aspiring DJ, Caleb (played by Dale Whibley), the girls grow from roommates to bandmates as their group, XO-IQ, becomes a school-wide sensation and they compete for a place in the upcoming school musical, all while balancing friendship, grades, and crushes.

What do you think? Are you a fan of Make It Pop? Would you want to start a band at school with your best friends? Tell us in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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19. Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGSIt’s Game Time: Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather!

Based on overwhelming responses to our recent interview with Brec Bassinger, we know her new Nickelodeon show Bella and the Bulldogs scored a touchdown with you guys! She’s the bubbly cheerleader who suddenly finds herself fulfilling her dream of becoming the quarterback of the school football team! If you’re a fan, check out our Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather.

Would You Rather . . .

  1. Be the star quarterback OR the head cheerleader?
  2. Go to an NFL game OR an NBA game?
  3. Go shopping at Justice OR Sports Authority?
  4. Live on a ranch in Texas OR a mansion in California?
  5. Get a sports scholarship to college OR an academic scholarship?
  6. Lift weights OR learn a dance routine?
  7. Have to sleep in a football helmet OR a ski mask?
  8. Have to take a math test OR play fantasy football?
  9. Wear a dress to a formal dance OR a tuxedo?
  10. Be the only boy/girl on a team OR be on an all same-sex team (all-girls or all-boys)?

Let us know your answers in the Comments below, and tell us what YOUR call is on Bella and the Bulldogs!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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20. Saving My Tomorrow Eco-Tips

saving my tomorrow boy with butterflyIt’s Earth Day today!

“You are the future generation. You are the ones who are going to have to deal with this mess that everybody else behind us has gotten us into!” says ten-year-old Grace in HBO’s family documentary Saving My Tomorrow, airing tonight at 7:30 p.m.

This latest installment in the Saving My Tomorrow series showcases the ways kids are doing their part to clean up the environment. Focusing on plastic pollution and deforestation, the special includes stories about the Amazon rainforest and the albatross, and follows young activists around the world as they clean up beaches, plant trees, and demonstrate at City Hall. The creators of the show also made a whole list of Monthly Eco-Tips so you can celebrate Earth Day every month during the year. Earth Day is every day! Here is the tip for April.

APRIL • Cleanup days. Participate in cleanup days at a local beach or park or river, helping pick up litter before it harms wildlife. You will become better connected with the ecosystems in your community too.

What will you do to celebrate Earth day? Will you plan a cleanup in your community? Will you watch the HBO special Saving My Tomorrow? Tell us in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Image courtesy of HBO

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21. Famous Person Freaky Friday

switching placesWriting Prompt: Famous Person Switcheroo

In Freaky Friday, the mother and daughter switch places for a day, and the mother has to go to school and be the kid, and the kid has to handle all the mom duties by herself. Well, imagine what it would be like to switch places for a day with a famous person! Would you want to feel what it was like to be Tom Brady passing a game-winning touchdown? Or Ariana Grande performing in front of a sold-out crowd? Or the President of the United States making important decisions in the Oval Office?

For today’s Writing Prompt, we want to know . . .

If you could trade lives with a famous person for one day, who would it be?

If you would rather switch with a book character, that is ok too. Hermione Granger may be a made-up person, but she is still totally famous! Leave your answers in the Comments below.

- Ratha, STACKS Writer

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22. Cookie Personality Quiz

Chocolate chip cookiesWhat Kind of Cookie Are You?

It’s your turn to pick a restaurant for dinner on family night out, so you pick . . . a) your favorite diner. b) pizza. c) tacos with the works!!! d) the new Thai restaurant that opened last week. e) Chinese take-out. Eating at home is so much more cozy than going out.

Time to get a new book from the library! You’re leaning towards . . . a) the next book in the current series you are reading. b) something that’ll make you laugh until you cry. c) the book that inspired the movie you saw last weekend. d) something cool and non-fiction, like a book about your favorite animal. e) sci-fi and fantasy all the way!

You can’t leave the house without wearing your . . .  a) watch! b) favorite sneakers! c) sunglasses! d) headphones! e) backpack!

When it comes to doing long-term homework assignments, you . . . a) plan ahead, wayyyy ahead, and finish it a day early. b) What? There was a long-term assignment?! c) remember it a few days before it’s due, and get it done just in time. d) spend a lot of time thinking of different ideas, and really struggle to decide on one until the last minute. e) put it off until the night before, then knock it out like a champ. No worries.

If you were allowed to do whatever you wanted with your hair, you would . . . a) do something temporary, like hair chalk or a French braid. b) cut it short, if you have long hair, or grow it long, if you have short hair. c) dye it a funky, bright color! d) get a really edgy and fashion-forward cut. e) keep it as it is, since you’re comfortable and happy with your simple style.

Your favorite TV show is . . . a) a teen drama. b) a cartoon. c) a Disney or Nick show with your favorite stars. d) a foreign drama or anime. e) a documentary series.

For your birthday, you would like to . . . a) go bowling. b) have a pizza party. There’s really no such thing as too much pizza. c) ride around town with your best friends in a limousine! d) have a crafting party. e) have a cookout at home.

Your dream pet is a . . . a) cat. b) talking parrot. c) snake. d) ferret. e) dog.

If you picked mostly A’s, you are a SUGAR COOKIE! You like to keep things simple, neat, and awesome. You get along well with everybody–everyone likes you! Sometimes you can be overlooked when there’s a flashier cookie around (ahem, chocolate chocolate chip!), but people find your low-key friendliness very appealing in its own way. Oh, and you always read the book before the movie. Keep being you, sugar cookie. You set the standard for excellence, and you set it very high!

If you picked mostly B’s, you are a SNICKERDOODLE! You’re a total laugh riot. I mean, how could you not be with a name like Snickerdoodle?! You are so, SO much fun to be around. You’re funny and smart, and even if you are easily distracted, your warm spirit makes you easy to forgive . . . and to love!

If you picked mostly C’s, you are a CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE! You like to do everything big and over-the-top. But never too much, which makes you almost perfect. You are the life of the party everywhere you go, and at your center you’ve got a very solid sense of right and wrong. You never want anyone to feel left out, and you always try to make sure everyone you’re with is having a great time.

If you picked mostly D’s, you are a PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE! You are funky to the core! You’ve got style, peanut butter cookie, and you are oh-so-very cool. You’re not loud, but you’re thoughtful and you are constantly absorbing information. You know lots of weird and interesting facts, have unusual hobbies, and always push yourself to try new things. Your greatest fear in life is being bored, but with a spirit like yours, you’ll never have to worry about that happening!

If you picked mostly E’s, you are an OATMEAL COOKIE! Some people think oatmeal cookies are for old, boring people. Those people are wrong. Oatmeal cookies are gosh-darn amazing. You are super low-key and hate being in the spotlight, but that’s because you’re a behind-the-scenes genius. Someone’s got to run the show, right? You’re also really, really good at finding simple solutions to seemingly complicated problems. More importantly, you don’t care what people think about you, and that is simply the best. You don’t have time for silly trends; you’re busy making great discoveries and changing the world!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

Cookie photo credit: Elena Elisseeva/SuperFusion/SuperStock 

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23. Woof by Spencer Quinn

Woof by Spencer QuinnMeet Browser & Birdie

Woof by Spencer Quinn (for ages 8 and up)

Meet Browser, Louisiana’s top (smelling) dog. Bowser is very handsome and only slightly slobbery, and he can smell lots of things. Like bacon. And rawhide chews! When there is trouble brewing in the Louisiana swamp, Bowser can smell it—and the sweat on humans when they’re lying.

The girl Browser lives with, Bridie Gaux, also knows something is wrong. It’s not just that her grammy’s stuffed prize marlin has been stolen. It’s the weird rumor that the marlin is linked to a missing treasure. It’s the truck that seems to be following Birdie and the bad feeling on the back of her neck.

When Birdie and Bowser start digging into the mystery, not even Bowser’s powerful sniffer can smell just how menacing the threat is. And when the danger comes straight for Birdie, Bowser knows it up to him to sic ‘em.

Read an excerpt of Woof and find out what kind of crime-fighting dog YOU are!

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24. Books of the Month April 2015

Recommend me!Now that it’s finally spring, I’m so excited to sit outside in the park and read books all day. . . and of course, I have my handy-dandy Books of the Month post to help me plan out my reading list!

Last month I asked you to share what books you were reading (and loving) and I’ve put the results into a word cloud. Check it out . . .
april 2015 books of the month

Percy Jackson is obviously the runaway star of this month. More of you voted for PJ this time around than ever before! So I guess I’ll finally be finishing the series this May, and wishing and hoping for a third movie!

What books are you reading now? What books do you think everyone MUST MUST MUST put at the very tippy-top of their summer reading list? Share in the Comments below!

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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25. Jace Norman Exclusive Henry Danger Q & A

HENRY DANGERDo you love Henry Danger?

Well, the 15-year-old star, Jace Norman just happened to call me today for a chat! Read our exclusive Q & A below.

And be sure to tune in this weekend for the first of a 2-part episode! In part 1, a gang of graffiti artists are spray‐painting all over Swellview. While confronting them, Kid Danger is tempted by a cute girl in the gang, forcing him to choose between her and Captain Man (played by Cooper Barnes). Part 1 is set to air Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), and part 2 will air Saturday, May 9 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

Sonja: You just turned 15 in March. How did you celebrate your birthday?
Jace: I went to a mall in San Diego and met some fans. It was really cool!

Sonja: Tell me about your character on Henry Danger. Would you be friends with him in real life?
Jace: Henry is a fun-loving kid. He is really loyal to his friends, but he is also really stressed out. I like to think I would be friends with him, but I don’t know. Maybe not!

Sonja: You are hilarious on the show. What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you lately either on or off the set?
Jace: Oh, thank you! One funny thing that happened . . . I had to throw this candy bar at the goalie’s face . . . on the show! Not in real life! Well, so I was, like,1 foot away from him, and I couldn’t hit his face. I tried for, like, 30 minutes to hit him and I couldn’t do it! They finally had to have someone come and do it from off-camera, and he hit him in one try. It was embarrassing.

Sonja: I was surprised to hear that you have dyslexia. Do you have any advice for other kids about how to overcome difficulties and be successful in school or in an acting career? 
Jace: Everyone says, “Don’t quit,” so just don’t quit. I auditoned for 2 years before I got the part in Henry Danger. It didn’t just come to me immediately. Keep going and surround yourself with good people who will be supportive. And don’t give up!

Sonja: What book would you recommend to a kid?
Jace: Percy Jackson! I love the whole series.

Completely adorbs, right? Leave a Comment if you think I have the best job in the world! (Yeah, I know I do!)

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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