Grand Avenue School Book Fair: encouraging lifelong learning, creating lifelong memories

Glen "Big Baby" Davis reading aloud to kids

Last week, something amazing happened in Florida. Teryl McLane from Scholastic Book Fairs is here to fill you in. Thanks, Teryl!

It was an evening to remember at the Grand Avenue Primary Learning Center in Orlando, Fla. last week!

More than 150 families showed up April 25 for a Scholastic Read and Rise® Book Fair event and enjoyed a fun-filled evening that included a parent literacy workshop, a Klutz Build-a-Book creative session for families, and pep talks about the importance of reading by former NBA player Adonal Foyle and the Orlando Magic’s Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

Continue reading Grand Avenue School Book Fair: encouraging lifelong learning, creating lifelong memories


Honors rapping, rapping at his chamber door – congrats Matthew J. Kirby!!!

Monday morning trivia!  Which author is widely considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre?  Some clues: he was born in Boston in 1809, is one of the first American authors to earn a living as a writer, his most famous poem is the title of a current movie with John Cusack, and even his death is somewhat of a mystery as he was found delirious and distressed in Baltimore wearing another man’s clothes.  All medical records were lost but it is said his final words were “Lord help my poor soul.”  Who was this tortured man?  Why, Edgar Allan Poe, of course.

So isn’t it fitting that the most prestigious awards in the mystery genre are known as the Edgars®?  We’re excited to share the news that one of our very own, Matthew J. Kirby, is the most recent recipient of this honor.  His novel, Icefall, won for Best Juvenile.  The story takes you on the adventure of Sloveig, a princess who is forced to spend her winter hiding from her father’s enemies.  With her siblings and father’s trusted soldiers, she must find out who is the traitor among them before it is too late and her kingdom is lost.  So as the weather gets warmer, and you may need to cool off, pick up this book!

I’ve been reading mysteries since Nancy Drew so it is awesome to know that more and more brilliant novels in the genre are still coming for readers of all ages.  Congrats, Matthew!

Matthew is one of the authors working on Infinity Ring, and we also had the pleasure of his company last year, when he stopped by to be interviewed in our 5 Questions video. Check ’em out!

The Great Sushi Monster Contest!

This week has been the week of Sushi Monster here at Scholastic.

“Sushi WHAT?”

In case you missed it, Sushi Monster is a new iPad app we released about a week ago that’s taking the Apple app store by storm. Last I checked, it was higher on the top free app list than Angry Birds! (We’ve even been sporting these killer t-shirts!) We’re so thrilled by it’s success that we’ve decided to give away something VERY SPECIAL to an educator (or anyone with a “school” in his or her life). We’re giving away FASTT Math Next Generation, a sophisticated new technology program for schools that’s designed to help students become “fluent” with their math facts.

The (SHORT) story behind Sushi Monster is that it was originally created as one of 18 new games for FASTT Math Next Generation. These games help kids practice and master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division so their brains are primed for higher order math. And they were created by experts in educational game design — people who know how to make games addicting and how to make them maximize learning.

And so, we decided to turn the Sushi Monster game into a free app that anyone (with an iPad) can use.


The winner, picked at random next Wednesday (May 2), will win FASTT Math for his or her school, or a school of his or her choice.

There are TWO ways to enter: 1) You can leave a comment on this post below (with your email address, please!), or 2) You can tweet about Sushi Monster using the hashtag #sushimonster so we’ll find your tweets.

Good luck!

Update: We’ve chosen our winner. Congrats, Leanne Briatico!

GIVEAWAY: Enter for the chance to win FASTT Math Next Generation for your school! To enter, just leave a comment that includes your email address on this blog post, or tweet using the #sushimonster hasghtag by Noon ET, Wednesday, May 2, 2012. We’ll announce the winner next week. Must be 18 or over and a legal US resident to enter; find the complete legal rules here.

In Our Feeds: The space shuttle, the differences between soda and pop, and why trains are so literary

Each Friday, we share a handful of links we found interesting, provocative, funny — or just plain cool. We call it In Our Feeds. Have a good weekend!

Happy Friday! Our day kicked off spectacularly, as the Enterprise space shuttle flew over our headquarters in SoHo, NYC. It was awesome! Check out NASA’s Twitter feed for pics and info, and Dante’s pic below!

And speaking of space…Alex wants you to see this rubber chicken space launch (I know, I’m confused too). Apparently a high school is studying solar radiation by launching a rubber chicken to the edge of space. We eagerly await their results!

In other photo news, Michael wants you to check out this list of the most beautiful train stations in the world from Flavorwire. I really liked this list, because I find train stations to be so literary…maybe it’s all the reading of Atlas Shrugged and Harry Potter I’ve done?

Meanwhile, Megan suggests you take a look at this gorgeous photo of the Library of Congress, which is celebrating its 212 birthday this week. The Library opened April 24, 1800, under the leadership of President John Adams. Or, if you like your libraries with a bit more movement, check out this fun video on library preservation that Jess sent over. It’s like a live-action game of literary Clue!

Photo by Dante A. Ciampaglia, from the Scholastic rooftop terrace!

There are other anniversaries this week, too — like the one-year anniversary of Prince William and Kate Middleton! Here’s a look back at their first year of marriage.

As I sip my seltzer here at my desk, I’m intrigued by this submission from Dante, on the invisible cultural borders across the US. Did you know one of the clearest regional differences in the U.S. can found by tracking the words people use to refer to soft drinks? I grew up in New Jersey so I’m a “soda” girl, but you might be a “pop” or a “coke” drinker instead. Fascinating!

And finally, April is wrapping up, and with it, National Poetry Month. Never fear! Lia showed me this charming list of poetic baby names. So now it’s time to put little Hugo and Tennyson to bed, and go enjoy your weekend!


Thanks, readers!

Choreography with Character

Did you know that April 29th is International Dance Day? Not being a dancer (like the Rainbow Magic Dance Fairies,) I didn’t.

Like many Americans, though, I have become a regular viewer of dance reality shows. A few weeks ago, I watched a number with flame effects that, of course, my mind associated immediately with The Hunger Games.

And thus begins…Dancing with the Literary Stars! After all, dance tells a story too. So I thought it would be fun to add some lifts and spins to OOM and pair up some well known characters with the dance that suits them best!

I’ll start with Katniss. She’s a mix of delicacy, anger, passion and love. In my limited DWTS vocabulary, that means Paso Doble! (And I’m pretty sure that Maks would make a suitable partner. Just don’t tell Peeta or Gale.) Continue reading Choreography with Character

Spotlight on System 44 All-Star Jose!

Last week, Alex wrote about the winners of the 2012 Scholastic All-Stars. These 12 students overcame obstacles and improved their reading skills.

On Friday, I had the chance to visit System 44 All-Star winner Jose Negron, a seventh grader at Equality Charter School in the Bronx. Born with a hearing-impairment, Jose had difficulty reading, and began sixth grade at a first grade reading level. One year later, his reading has improved immensely thanks to his determination and hard work. Continue reading Spotlight on System 44 All-Star Jose!

Who will wear the crown? The False Prince giveaway!

We’ve been pretty excited about Princess Week here at OOM. So far we’ve discussed the value of princesses and suggested some fun royal reads to help you celebrate. With all the imperial fuss we’re making over our fair maidens, I want to make sure we’re not forgetting someone very important… the prince!

Just in time for the weekend, I’m super-excited to tell you about a book you won’t want to put down—The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. The first book in a new trilogy, The False Prince has it all—danger, adventure, and twists and turns that will leave at the edge of your seat, breathlessly turning pages until the end. BookPage has featured it as a ‘Top Pick,’ saying,“Nielsen has written a terrific story that carries readers along to the very (surprising) end and will leave them clamoring for the next book in her trilogy.” Even The Hollywood Reporter has gotten in on the action with a glowing review that says,“The False Prince is more Harry Potter (minus the magic) than Hunger Games. The lack of the supernatural allows Nielsen to keep the reader focused on the political intrigue, scheming and court conspiracies at the center of the story. Even though the novel is set in a mythical kingdom, it feels ‘real’  with authentic characters, a convincing sense of danger and a genuinely high-stakes plot…Sage is one of the strengths of the book. Often surly and reckless, he is also bold, courageous and decent. He’s a three-dimensional character and a hero worth rooting for.” Continue reading Who will wear the crown? The False Prince giveaway!