Tag: youngreaders

Harry Potter Classroom

This Harry Potter-Themed Classroom Has Gone Viral, and for Good Reason!

Going back to school often has a more negative reputation. You have homework, tests, and, worst of all, waking up early. Thanks, but no thanks. However, if you had Tressa Bargella as your teacher this year then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind going to school everyday.


The third grade teacher at Valley View Intermediate School in Pennsylvania went cast a spell over her classroom with amazing Harry Potter-themed decor. Check out all the work she put into this wizardly project!


Harry Potter Classroom

Image Via ABC News


Harry Potter Classroom

Image Via Today

Harry Potter Classroom

Image Via Babble



Pretty sweet, right? I think all Potterheads would consider taking third grade math again if it meant they could hang out in this classroom. Check out the interview Bargella had with People Now below!






Featured Image Via ABC News

rl stine

‘Goosebumps!’ Author R.L. Stine Talks the Funniest Moments of His Career

This weekend, Goosebumps! author R.L. Stine spoke to a panel at the annual thriller-writers conference, Thrillerfest, and man, was it thrilling! The world-renowned Young Adult Horror author told-all, starting with where his fame began…


R.L. Stine

RL Stine at Thrillerfest | Image Via Author


According to Stine, he’d never joined this industry with the idea of being a horror writer for children ages eight-to-twelve in mind:


I wrote joke books…I had no idea that children love being scared!


In fact, it wasn’t until Stine wrote his first creepy novel, Blind Date, and was quickly thrust into the world of praise from his new cult of pint-sized and happily terrified fans, that he realized he might be onto something. So, Stine decided to trust in his instincts and take the leap out of the world of comedy, and into the ever-so-spooky world of children, possessed dummies, gooey monsters, and all of the things that go bump in the night!


Blind Date

Image via Amazon


And, as you may already know due to his international notoriety and the sheer prominence the entire Goosebumps franchise holds as an important part of our pop culture history; turning toward horror novels for kids could not have worked out better for our most nostalgic wordsmith. Soon, he was filling bookstores and meet-and-greets with his avid-readers and loyal fans who couldn’t wait to shake his hand and hear him speak.


And, at one particular meet-and-greet that still stands out to Stine today, a teacher approached him at the table and said,


Can I take a picture with you? The kids all think you’re dead…


Never one to get bent out shape too easily, Stine told this story with joy, laughter, and the dry hilarity his friends and family know him for.


R.L. Stine went on to talk about the process of taking his works from the page to the screen; revealing that the first Goosebumps film adaptation was on the seventeenth version of the film script, written by the fourth team of writers, when they finally started filming. He even added that they hired a writer, paying him a flat-rate of $500,000 to go through the Goosebumps script for an afternoon and add-in jokes and silly phrasing. ($500,000?! Anyone know how I can sign-up for that gig?)


Stine also went on to talk about the difficulties and hurdles that came with casting, especially when it was nearing the time to decide which actor would take on the role of R.L. Stine, himself.


For months he mulled over the different actors he thought might be right for the role. And, every time the news broke about an actor who was potentially up for the part, fans would react in such an open (and slightly intense) manner; soon sending messages to Stine about how he should just play the role himself. Receiving an inbox filled with mixed signals and feeling more confused than ever before about who should play the role, Stine decided to take the decision to the two people he trusted most: his wife and son.


But, when he asked his wife, Jane Waldhorn, whether or not he should just play the role himself, she simply replied:


You’re too old to play yourself.


And, when he asked his son, Matthew Stine, for his hot-take on the whole casting process, and if he had any ideas about who should play the part, he said:


I think you should be played by Morgan Freeman.


Feeling like casting Morgan Freeman might be a bit of a stretch, Stine decided to once-again trust his gut and let the casting department go with their first choice actor: Jack Black.


Still, although he didn’t get to play himself, Stine was still granted his very own cameo within the film.



(Also, can we just take a second to talk about how beautifully meta it was for Jack Black, whilst in character as R.L. Stine, to bump into Stine and refer to him as “Mr. Black.” Clever, Goosebumps team, very clever…)


It was so, insanely exciting to spend the afternoon listening to such an important and iconic creator speak so candidly, and in such a fun, light-hearted manner, I’m still buzzing with adrenaline from it all! 


The trailer for Goosebumps 2 was released this week, watch it here! The film is expected for release October 12, 2018 (and I don’t know about you but I am so ready!!)





Featured Image via Vox Media

adorable polar bears

Sadness Can Make You a Better Reader, According to Science

If you’re a bookworm, then chances are you know what the blues feel like. By blues I don’t mean the sophisicated genre of music your grandparents probably listen to, I mean the sort of invisible, heavy cloak of sadness that we wear in our lives—some every day, and others every so often.


Sadness is a feeling that every person (maybe even every animal, I don’t know) can identify with. Yet the extent and duration differs dramatically. Sadness isn’t an emotion one may typically see as having advantageous effects, but, according to a recent scientific study, it has a huge advantage when it comes to reading. 


According to The Hechinger Report, a scientific study found a link between sadness and analysis, suggesting that readers who experience sadness are better at thinking critically and analyzing ideas that aren’t explicitly stated on the page. 


polar bear adorable

Image Via Daisy Gillardini/Global News


Sounds like a pretty good perk, right? According to The Hechinger Report, a team of researchers elicited an experiment in which they randomly assigned 160 adults one of two short video clips. Half of the participants viewed an emotional scene from the sports drama The Champ (1979), and the other half viewed scenes from the comedy sketch series Whose Line Is It Anyway?


Following the viewings, all of the participants read a passage about the survival of polar bears in the arctic and answered a subsequent reading comprehension test. The participants who were “sad” following The Champ scene were allegedly significantly better at answering the questions. For example, they were better able to infer ideas that weren’t explicitly written on the page as compared to the participants who viewed the comedy series.


To confirm the validity of the results, the research team performed another trial with a larger group of participants. Once again their findings pointed to a higher performance on the part of the sad participants when it came to analysis and inference. 


“We found that deep learning was better with sadness,” said Caitlin Mills. Mills is one of three authors who published the study, “Being Sad Is Not Always Bad: The Influence of Affect on Expository Text Comprehension.” It was published in the peer-reviewed journal Discourse Processes in October 2017.


“We shouldn’t take away from this, ‘Let’s induce sadness!’,” Mills warned. “The main implication is, what the student is experiencing is affecting how they learn.”


The connection between emotions and behavior (in this case learning) does provide a silver lining for those too familiar with feelings of sadness. 




Featured Image Courtesy of Bored Panda

Shira Josephson

My Fav Superhero Is This 8-Year-Old Who Reads to Sick Kids Online. You?

Just like the Neil Young song, we search high and low for a heart of gold. With all the bitterness in the world, we yearn to hear that someone is still good; we want something to hang onto. This past week, I’ll have to say that I did indeed find someone with a heart of gold. And she’s eight-years-old.


Shira Josephson

 Image Via Bustle


Shira Josephson made a choice to give her time away to those who don’t have much of their own. The endearing young girl sets aside a few minutes every week to make a video of herself reading her favorite book picks. There in her room, surrounded by her cute stuffed animals and glittery decorations, she reads to a very special audience: the children who are too ill to leave their hospital rooms.


Shira first came up with the idea for her channel, Shira’s Story Corner, when she became a junior ambassador at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. When they couldn’t leave their rooms, even for the visitor’s reading room, she knew she had to give them back their childhood joy of reading.


Shira Josephson

Image Via The Week


“It’s been exciting to watch her come up with all these ideas and to help her make them come to life,” Shira’s mom Brooke explains. Sweet classics like Corduroy, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and more! And when she’s not in front of the camera reading to the sick kids, she’s raising money for them and writing her own special stories.


“I will do everything I can to make the videos special for you, so you don’t feel alone,” Shira says. Take a look at one of her reading videos below. This girl is golden.


Feature Image Via People


Meet George, a Transgender Character Encouraging Acceptance of LGBT Youth

In 2017 we’ve seen progress of acceptance and representation of gay and lesbian individuals. When it comes to accepting and representing transgender individuals, however, there’s a lot more progress to be made. 


One author is seeking to bridge the gap between the LGBT community and the public through representation,  using the transgender protagonist in the children’s book, George.



Image Via Amazon


Gino’s book follows a transgender child who tries to find a way to help others understand her true identity as a female and shed the perception of gender that is ingrained in her community. Gino effectively dives into the discussion of gender, expectations, and reality with this moving tale. While the book is targeted towards an audience of ages eight to twelve, every reader can take something away from the story.  


Unsurprisingly in the modern age when even classic novels are banned by schools, Gino’s book about a transgender character was kept off the list of required texts in Wichita schools at the beginning of the 2017 school year.


While the decision was left up to the librarians at each school in regards to whether or not George would be included on shelves, (only 4 out of 57 elementary and middle schools carry the book), the lack of encouragement from school distracts can have very real effects for readers who can benefit from the exposure.


Gino, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers to be addressed as “they” in place of typical he/her gender pronouns, believes the representation of transgender youth is beneficial to readers of all demographics.



Image Via World Magazine


Gino says:


Some adults get all sorts of nervous when they think about how to talk about trans and queer issues with children. But the thing is, kids don’t have a problem until they learn to. The question of whether stories like George are age-appropriate are ridiculous, because there is no age before which it is appropriate to be compassionate.


Gail Becker, supervisor of library media for the Wichita school district, defended her decision to leave George off the master list titles. 


She told The Wichita Eagle that the mature language in the book led to her decision. 


“When I read this book, I kept reminding myself to look at it through the eyes of an eight-year-old, because that’s the intended audience,” Becker said. “I made the decision that … the maturity level of third grade was not appropriate for that book.”


While the book does include some mature language, including mention of sex reassignment surgery, by disregarding the book entirely it effectively closes the conversation about transgender youth. Yes, mature language can, at times, be uncomfortable. However, I would think that the inability to understand and empathize with others simply because of their gender and/or sexuality would be much more uncomfortable.


alex gino

Image Via Daily Hampshire Gazette/Jeffrey Roberts


Ignoring differences related to gender and sexuality doesn’t help encourage understanding and recognition. Just as the discussion of sex, race, religion, and so on needs to be discussed in order to create an informed and understanding community, so does the discussion of gender and sexuality. 


As Gino emphasizes, “access to validating stories saves lives. If younger folks learn to talk about queer and trans people in the world, the more we can hope to grow into a society in which queer and trans people are not only accepted, but celebrated.”


While school districts will continue to resist books like George in the upcoming years, it’s up to the public to encourage and participate in the discussion of gender and sexuality. Resistance and censorship won’t create understanding and change, it will only lead to ignorance. 


“It’s not just trans kids who need trans stories,” Gino continues, “we all need to see each other as people if we have any hope of getting through the next century.”



Featured Image Is Book Cover Courtesy of CSDOLA