Archives for February, 2011
BOOK NAME: Dread Locks: Dark Fusion #1
AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman
Parker lives in a luxurious neighborhood with his family and siblings and the empty mansion next door. The mansion won’t be empty for long, though: Parker’s problem of boredom is solved quickly when a strange girl moves in. She goes to his high school, and is kind of … weird. She always wears dark sunglasses, and her hair sometimes seems alive. Her name is Tara.
Tara sees no problem in taking things that aren’t hers. She seems smart, and has a certain power over other people. The people she is friends with start developing weird behaviors, and Parker’s own brother is overtaken by the disease-like affliction. Her victims begin to drink tons of milk, eat dirt, and become very sedentary and weak all of the time. Will Parker be able to figure out what is going on and save his friends?
This was a very good book. It wasn’t one of Neal Shusterman’s best, but it was good. I personally liked it because of the references to Greek mythology. I won’t tell you what they are (you’ll have to read to find out), but if you like the Percy Jackson books, you’ll love this one. It’s a short read, which is also nice–I don’t have to spend hours poring over it. Sometimes it’s good to get a quick little book to read. It gets a little bit scary, so I would recommend it to kids in 6th grade and up. It’s certainly spooky!
BOOK NAME: Ender’s Game
AUTHOR: Orson Scott Card
Hey guys. How are you all doing today? I know I’m happy. I am going to tell about one of my favorite books. It is called Ender’s Game. I think that this book is appropriate for 11 year olds through young adults
Ender is the main character in this book. His real name is Andrew but people call him Ender because he is a third child. There is a law that says you can only have two children but Peter (Enders brother) did so well in battle school that the government thought he would be the next great commander so they let the Wiggins have a third child because they thought that Ender would also be a great commander. It turns out Peter was too violent and Ender was just right.
Ender needs to save the world from the alien Buggers just as Mazer Rackham did about 70 years ago during their second invasion. He killed the Queen bugger. He also is Enders teacher at commander school. He teaches all of the kids who generals think have a chance at being the next commander of their fleet. Ender is the last child Mazer will be able to train before the third invasion which is coming soon. Everybody hopes that Ender is the next great commander.
Can Ender save the world? Will he ever get to see his family again? You have to read this book to find out. The book is part of a series. A very long series that is. It is so long that even today Orson Scott Card is still working on the last book. Have a nice day everybody and make sure you check under your bed for Buggers. I know I will.
A destructive 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday. At least 65 people were killed, and people remain trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. This quake is the latest aftershock to follow a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Christchurch in the fall of 2010.
Photograph by Mark Mitchell, New Zealand Herald/AP
BOOK NAME: The Mystery at Disney World
AUTHOR: Carole Marsh
Christina, Grant, and their grandparents were getting ready for their first day at Disney World. Just as they were ready to leave for the park, they were greeted by Mick and Crystal, who were going to give them a personal tour. When they got to the park, the kids and grandparents parted. Mick and Crystal would be giving Christina and Grant a tour, and their father would be giving the grandparents a tour. To keep in touch with their grandparents, Christina and Grant were given walkie-talkies. “Stay on channel twelve,” their grandmother said. “That way you can stay in touch with us.” Grant then decided to change the channel to thirteen. “Then we won’t bother them with our talking,” he said. Christina agreed.
But it wasn’t such a good choice. Christina started getting weird messages on her walkie-talkie. As they went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Grant disappeared! When they got off the Haunted Mansion ride, Crystal disappeared! And as they exited Mickey’s house, Mick disappeared, too! Now Christina was left to find them all before the fireworks at 8:30!
The Mystery at Disney World is a great book. It’s appropriate reading for all ages. Carole Marsh used real places and real people which make it seem so… real! This was the third time I read the book, yet I never get tired of it. Every time I read it, I can never put it down. For people who have been to Disney World, like me, reading this book is so cool because you know exactly what places they’re talking about. And if you haven’t been to Disney World, I think you’ll know the next place you want to go for vacation.
BOOK NAME: Dweeb
By Aaron Starmer
Five 8th grade students, all geniuses in some kind of way, are accused by their school’s mean assistant principal, Snodgrass, of stealing money from a bake sale. The book is all about how they get out of this problem, and it’s quite amazing. The students are Denton, the negotiator; Wendell, the computer whiz; Eddie, the athlete; Elijah, the writer; and Bijay, the performer. Snodgrass locks them in a room under the school and forces them to study for the hardest test on Earth. To escape, they use a hole in the wall full of toilet pipes, a pile of computer scraps, and a Sudoku puzzle that is impossible to solve. (Don’t ask. You’ll have to read the book to believe it.) It ends with a maniac nurse on the loose trying to take over all students’ minds.
This book was so exciting at times that I read it for hours before my Mom would tell me to so I could get other things done. If it didn’t end with a such a cliff hanger, this would be a perfect book. It would make a great movie. I can only explain it as a book full of untold mysteries that are constantly being solved and created. You should read it.
A five-year-old Scottish deerhound named GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind (or just Hickory for short) won Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on Tuesday. This is the first time that a Scottish deerhound has won the top prize.
Hickory will now officially retire from dog shows and will spend her time at her owner’s farm in Virginia.
Read about last year’s Best in Show winner on News Bites.
How much do you know about different dog breeds? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Photograph by Mary Altaffer, AP
Six creative classrooms across the United States are vying to win the “Find Your
Footprint” contest. Vote for your favorite finalist of the
in-school conservation program which inspires students to make their schools and
homes more environmentally friendly.
Winners will receive five Promethean ActivBoard interactive whiteboards, five sets of 32 ActivExpressions learner response systems, up to $1,000 worth of award-winning atlases, books, and more. Plus, every student in the winning class receives a one-year subscription of National Geographic Kids Magazine.
The voting period has now ended, but check back soon for the Grand-Prize Winning School!
BOOK NAME: A Time of Miracles
AUTHOR: Anne Laure Bondoux
The book A Time of Miracles by Anne Laure Bondoux is a great book, although it is not a book for all ages. I would say that it is a book for ages 11 and up.
Little Koumail, or “Mr. Blaise” as Gloria nicknamed him, had only lived through times of war and violence. His vision of the world was a harsh, dirty, violent place. Komail and Gloria, who was not his real mother, traveled from one refugee camp to another, trying to escape the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Who is Gloria, if she is not his real mother?” you may ask. Well, when Gloria was at the train station one day, many years before, there was a big accident. As Gloria tried to help everyone, she saw this lady in the corner, almost dying. The lady said to her, “Take my child, for I am not sure if I will survive.” Gloria took the baby and raised him as her son. In this book, you will take part in Gloria and Komail’s journey, as they try to reach the ultimate freedom in France. But at the end of the book, Gloria reveals Komail’s real story. It’s a very shocking thing, to find out that Gloria lied to him all these years. You’ll just have to read the book to accompany Gloria and Komail on their amazing travels, and find out what the true story is.
I really liked this book. Some parts may be a bit difficult to understand. You can do what I did. I asked my mom. My favorite thing about this book was how little Komail survived his childhood. It made me realize how lucky I am that I live in a peaceful time. I think Anne Laure Bondoux is a great writer. Her writing style keeps you curious to know more about the story! Something I thought was very interesting about the book was that every three or four pages was a new chapter! It’s just a type of writing I’m not used to. There was even a chapter that was only two paragraphs long! I recommend this book to anyone 11 and over.
Panda cubs traditionally receive their names 100 days after they are born, and today Zoo Atlanta officials and DreamWorks Animation announced the name! The cub was named Po after the character voiced by Jack Black in the movies Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 (in theaters May 26th). The cub received his new name with a traditional Chinese naming ceremony, including a dragon dance! Jack Black even came to the ceremony to meet his character’s namesake.
Po is the only giant panda to be born in the United States in 2010.
Get the facts on giant pandas on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Pouya Dianat
During the judging phase (going on now), we will not be posting comments about the 2011 Hands-On Explorer Challenge. We will resume posting comments about the HOEC after the winners are announced.
BOOK NAME: Cats vs. Dogs
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Carney
Cats vs. Dogs is about which pet is the best. There are a lot of contests in the book like Senses, Diet, Communication, and Behavior. The book tells you what each animal can do or is like. At the end of each little chapter, there’s a box that tells you who’s the winner–cats, dogs, or a tie.
Cats won a lot and dogs won a lot. It’s really a tie, so in the Final Showdown it shows that there’s not really one winner, there’s two…it’s a tie.
The books tells you some interesting facts like if cats have a twitchy tail, it means the cat is ready to pounce. Some other facts about cats are when “cats sweep their tails from side to side when they’re feeling excited or aggressive.” We looked at our cat Archie and his tail was straight up which means he was happy.
This is what dogs do about their tails: “Happy dogs wag their tails from side to side or round and round like a propeller.” Also, “when dogs are scared they tuck their tail between their legs.” “Dogs hold their tails still and upright when they sense danger.” We couldn’t really see our dog Jibber’s feelings…mostly because she doesn’t really have a tail; she only has half a tail.
And that’s what Cats vs. Dogs is all about. I would recommend it for ages maybe 5 through 10. I’m in second grade and it was a really easy book for me and I think everyone would really like it.
BOOK NAME: The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn
AUTHOR: Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Seikei dreams of becoming a samurai, but he knows his fate cannot be like one of a samurai. Being a tea merchant’s son, he is expected to grow up and inherit his father’s trade. Living life by one day at a time, Seikei becomes familiar with the tea his father sells and almost gives up on his dream of being a samurai. Soon after, a ruby sent to the shogun (the military governor of Japan) is stolen by a ghost. Being the only witness, Seikei is required to assist the famous samurai magistrate, Judge Ooka, in his adventure to find the thief and return the ruby.
The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn is a book apart of the “Sleuth Puffin” group so it’s a mystery/adventure. This book was one I was to read for school. In full honesty, I read the summary on the back which covered most of the whole story like the paragraph above and I deeply sighed. A Japanese boy with a dream. A dream that couldn’t come true. Then something gets stolen and he has to help. So typical, right? After the second chapter in this book I kept reading and reading. I loved it so much! The storyline is admittedly common, but the authors, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, dazzled up the plot and the whole story came alive. No inappropriate content and a fabulous story! I suggest it to reading levels of 3rd grade and up!
Nearly 160 million greeting cards will be purchased for Valentine’s Day this year, according to the Greeting Card Association, and that doesn’t even include the packaged Valentine’s Day cards kids exchange at school. This year, why not send an e-card instead and encourage your friends and family to do the same? This will save a lot of trees and reduce trash in the landfill.
Create your own Valentine’s Day e-card featuring Zipper and his friend, Snaps!
Don’t forget to recycle any paper cards and envelopes you receive or use them in other projects, like this Tissue Paper Flower craft.
At England’s Cocester Zoo, the mandrills have been seen covering their eyes. Why? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but one idea is that covering the eyes means that a mandrill wants to be left alone. A new study says that this behavior has been observed in the Colcester Zoo mandrills for at least ten years, and probably started with one mandrill. All of the other mandrills copied the behavior, and now all of the zoo’s mandrills cover their eyes.
This is especially interesting to scientists because humans didn’t teach this behavior to the mandrills. Study authors say that the mandrills’ behavior could be considered cultural, because of natural way the gesture developed.
Read more about the study on National Geographic News Watch.
Play Monkey Bars Gymnastics on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Mark Laidre, University of California, Berkeley
BOOK NAME: Incident at Hawk’s Hill
AUTHOR: Allan W. Eckert
Imagine if you were stranded in the prairie and your only hope of survival was a badger! That’s what 6-year old Benjamin MacDonald has to live through! After wandering aimlessly away from his home, he becomes hopelessly lost. He finds the den of a badger, and falls asleep. This begins an unlikely friendship between Ben and the badger. The badger brings Ben food, and lets him sleep in her den. Even with the badger’s help, is it possible for a small boy like Ben to survive on the unforgiving prairie, when the only skill he has is the ability to mimic animals?
Incident at Hawk’s Hill is actually based off of a true story that happened in 1870. The story was so amazing that I actually thought that it was a fictional book! For example, I found it hard to believe that a small boy and a badger could fight a huge ferocious dog and survive! That was also my favorite part of the book. I find it interesting that Ben could mimic animals, like badgers, mice, and birds, so well. I like observing animals too. Only once or twice has one ever responded to my mimicking calls. If I’m astounded by the story today, I can only imagine how people must have felt in 1870!
Have you ever created a work of art you think would make a great greeting card? If you’re 14 or under, you can enter the 20th annual Pier 1 Imports/UNICEF greeting card contest! This year’s theme is “Making Spirits Bright.” The winning design will be reproduced as an official UNICEF greeting card for the 2011 winter holiday season. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and $500 in art supplies for his/her school! In addition, visitors to the Pier 1 website will be able to cast their vote for the “Fan’s Choice Award.” The artist who receives the most votes will receive $500 in art supplies.
All entries must be received by Pier 1 Imports’ Corporate Headquarters by March 12, 2011. The winner of the contest will be announced in April.
Visit your local Pier 1 store or visit the website to get an entry form.
Image courtesy of UNICEF. Design by Justas Varpucanskis, 2010 “Voter’s Choice” winner
Most fans wouldn’t notice it, but Super Bowl XLV was played in green stadium. The U.S. National Football League’s newest and largest stadium, Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, showcases a growing trend in sports toward greener arena designs and cleaner energy.
Sports stadiums around the world are making energy-saving improvements by installing solar panels, adding wind turbines, efficient lighting, increasing recycling, and improving water management systems.
For more information, read Kickoff Time for Green Stadiums on National Geographic News.
Photograph by Photograph by David Drapkin, AP
BOOK NAME: Julie
AUTHOR: Jean Craighead George
Imagine visiting a modern Eskimo village. That’s exactly where Julie by Jean Craighead George takes you. This realistic fiction book is a sequel to Julie of the Wolves. Julie teaches you that if you are determined to achieve something you should never give up.
In Julie of the Wolves, Julie, a young Eskimo girl, survives the harsh winter on the tundra alone with help from a wolf pack. In Julie, she returns to her father, Kapugen, in Kangik, Alaska. Kapugen has given up Eskimo ways and has adapted to modern amenities. He has even married an American woman named Ellen. At first, Julie has a hard time adjusting to the new ways, but eventually feels happy as she learns to balance herself between the two traditions. However, problems arise when a wolf from the wolf pack Julie had befriended kills a musk ox which belongs to Kapugen. Kapugen wants to kill the wolves. But, Julie wants to save her wolves and sets out on the tundra to push them farther away from Kangik. Will the wolves stay away from the musk oxen? Will Kapugen’s desire to kill them lessen? Read the book to find out.
Julie is a book one would enjoy reading. I would suggest reading Julie of the Wolves first, so you can understand Julie better. The interaction between the wolves and Julie is described so thoroughly that communicating with animals seems simple. The details about the Eskimo village and the Eskimo ceremonies are very informative. Julie is truly a wonderful book!
BOOK NAME: Wheels of Change
AUTHOR: Sue Macy
As I read Wheels of Change, the newest book from National Geographic, it really started moving the wheels in my mind. This book takes you through how the bicycle began a chain of events in which women and the general public came to realize that women’s rights, freedoms and expectations were in need of change.
The book starts with a basic history of the bicycle itself with many intriguing facts, images, and short biographies of ladies who led the way. A woman riding a bike back in the late 1800s wasn’t that big of a deal, but when they wanted to become competitive, they realized that the long skirts had to go. Many felt that if women got to wear pants or divided skirts, the whole social system would collapse. Maybe women would even compete with men! In fact, in a race in which a woman challenged a man-she won! This behavior was considered scandalous at that time.
The bicycle aroused wide-spread thinking about women’s rights and their place in society. It opened the way for actions toward equality and women eventually gaining the right to vote. The new freedom that the bicycle gave them opened up the way for different kinds of thinking, a sort of symbol of independence.
I would recommend this book to older readers due to the vocabulary and the topic itself. This book lends itself to have you think about women as activists and their place in society. A pretty heavy topic, but told in an attractive, easy to follow format.
And yes, a big change started with something as simple as a bicycle!
A new exhibit opened yesterday at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” celebrates 500 years of African American contributions to the United States — from the 1600s, to the inauguration of the first African American President.
Broadcaster and exhibit presenter Tavis Smiley led a special tour of the exhibit for students from Washington, D.C.’s Neval Thomas Elementary School. The exhibit features over 200 historical artifacts, as well as items from contemporary African Americans like Serena Williams.
“I have a better understanding of stuff. My favorite part was to see the doors ["The Door of No Return" from the Cape Coast Castle, the Ghanaian departure point for millions of Africans who were shipped to America as slaves.],” said Faith, 11, a student at Neval Thomas Elementary School.
“America I AM: The African American Imprint,” will be at National Geographic Headquarters through Sunday, May 1, 2011.
Learn about the exhibit on National Geographic Museum’s website.
Browse through pictures of Black Pioneers of Science.
BOOK NAME: The Schwa Was Here
AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman
Anthony Bonano is just a normal kid – well, look beyond his weird nickname “Antsy” and he is. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and goes to school like any other teenager his age. But one day, his life changes when he and his two best friends, Howie and Ira, meet a boy named Calvin Schwa. Calvin, or “The Schwa” as he is known to most people, isn’t a normal kid. Not a lot of people notice him–that is, he seems to fade into the background a lot, and some people can’t even tell he is there. Antsy and his friends begin to document the “Schwa Effect,” to help Calvin stay in existence (he is worried that once no one notices him, he’ll just cease to exist). On one of their missions to prove the Schwa Effect, Calvin is challenged to sneak in to the neighborhood curmudgeon’s house and steal a dog bowl. The grumpy old man, Mr. Crawley, has 14 different Afghan hounds, and while Calvin is trying to take a bowl, he is caught. Antsy and Calvin have to work for Mr. Crawley to stop him from calling the police, and they have to walk the dogs every day as their punishment.
Just in case this wasn’t too much, Mr. Crawley’s granddaughter is coming to visit, and he has offered to pay Antsy to spend time with her. Antsy figures that there must be something horribly wrong with her – but there really isn’t: she’s just blind. Her quick wit and lovable attitude bring both Antsy and the Schwa to fall in love with her, which causes tension between the two.
My favorite part of this book was the Schwa’s collection of paperclips. He has a huge collection of different paperclips from different worldwide occurrences, and at one point in the story, he shows Antsy. Some people might think that it is weird, but I think it’s quite cool. He even has one from the Titanic! Anyway, this is a heartwarming and unique story that I would recommend to all readers. Neal Shusterman really did a great job with this novel.
During protests against Egypt’s leader Hosni Mubarek looters tried to steal precious artifacts from the Cairo’s Egyptian Museum last Friday. Looters are using the chaos in the country to try to loot historic areas, archaeological sites, and museums, and are probably looking for gold.
Civilians and police helped secure the Museum’s priceless treasures on Saturday. More citizens formed a human chain around the outside of the museum to keep additional looters from getting in. Although nothing has been stolen, some artifacts were damaged, such as two royal mummies whose heads fell off. Ordinary people have protected historic sites in other areas in Egypt, too, such as Luxor and Alexandria. National Geographic fellow Fredrik Hiebert explains that historical objects in Egypt are easier to loot than in other places. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, people [had] moved away from the archaeological sites.” Egypt is mostly desert, though, so “you can’t move anywhere–the Nile is it.”
National Geographic explorer-in-residence Zahi Hawass says that the country’s museums are now safe and guarded by the army, and should open near the end of the week.
Read more about the situation in Egypt on National Geographic News.
See pictures of what was damaged on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Egypt on National Geographic Kids.
Read an interview with National Geographic fellow Fredrik Hiebert on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic