Weather plays a trick on Colorado’s treat seeking goblins.
The end of October is a time for fall leaves, fun costumes, and candy. But this year in Colorado, the year’s most colorful month turned pure white with about three feet of snow—an early blast from winter, still weeks away. Now, instead of costumes, people are pulling out their snow gear.
This morning, I scrambled through my closet to find snow boots that would still fit. I’m excited to see snow so early, but hope it won’t interfere with trick-or-treating on the night of Halloween.
Outside, the pumpkins are hidden in the snow. My dog wanted to come out with me. He’s a Pomeranian, which is a small fluffy breed. His orange furry body was almost lost in the white stuff. He went back inside pretty quickly.
Thursday was a snow day in my school. According to my language arts teacher, it’s the first snow day in five years!
Everyone is excited about the short break from school. News reports say this is the biggest storm since 1997 and may be one of the earliest big storms ever. One expert said storms like this only come every 10 years or so.
Playing in the snow is great, but my favorite part is coming back inside to a warm cup of hot cocoa. Now if I can just figure out how to make snow boots and a winter coat work with a Halloween costume.
Photo: Kid Reporter Gayla Gough outside her home in eastern Colorado only two days before Halloween. (Photo Courtesy Kayla Gough)
Authors talk clues in live webcast on November 2; Book 6 released November 3.
Which series is action packed with mystery, new clues, and new authors who add their very own twists for every single book?
If you guessed the new hit series The 39 Clues you are correct!
The 39 Clues is a series of 10 books. The next book in the series, Book 6: In Too Deep by Jude Watson, will
be released on Tuesday, November 3. (Watson also wrote Book 4: Beyond the Grave.)
You can get a head start on the excitement on Monday, November 2, when award winning actor
and children’s book author Whoopi Goldberg hosts the "The 39
Clues: Advanced Agent Training" webcast. The webcast begins at 1:30 PM EST. You can log on and register at: http://www.teacher.scholastic.com/the39clueswebcast/
If you don't know about The 39 Clues, now is a good time to find out. The story is about kids Dan and Amy Cahill who travel the globe to find important clues that could make them the most powerful people in the world! The books are full of suspense and actually make you feel that you are a part of the story. They are also funny. I find myself cracking up when I'm reading.
I especially enjoy learning about historical figures and the getting the inside scoop on them.
Last but not least, I tremendously like the fact that each book is written by a different author, so if you read The 39 Clues, your favorite author might be coming your way.
I can’t wait to attend the event on Monday and meet the latest author. I’m also a big fan of Watson's Star Wars books.
Authors Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, and Patrick Carman will be joining Watson for a panel discussion lead by Goldberg. Participating kids will be on hand to ask questions and take challenges.
Participating is easy, but if you can't log on to the webcast, just check back to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps website the next day for my story. I'll have all the juicy details!
The headlines read: Swine Flu has hit America. Now it has hit me, too!
Honestly, when I first heard about this new flu strain I thought it was no big deal. It would never affect me. Boy, was I wrong!
Apparently, swine flu (H1N1) attacks the lungs first. That is why people with asthma and other respiratory diseases need to take extra precautions. And yes, I am one of those people. Problem was, when I started coughing all the time, I thought it was just my asthma acting up.
After four days of breathing treatments and no improvement, my peak flow levels, which measure my lung capacity, began to drop drastically. To make a long story short, I was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital with complications from H1N1. All of a sudden, swine flu news became a BIG deal to me.
At the hospital, I learned that hand sanitizer is my best friend. The people who came into my room had to wear masks, gloves, and gowns. Then, when they left and took those off, they had to use hand sanitizer and soap. Swine flu can be spread by touching something that has been touched by someone sick with the virus. That’s why when you are sick, it is very important to wash your hands often, even if you cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
Every time you blow your nose, you need to use sanitizer or wash your hands.
I know hand sanitizer and washing really works. No one in my family was sick, nor were any of my friends. Could I have gotten it just from touching a door handle or not washing my hands enough? I will never know. But, I have learned a lot about preventing the spread of the virus.
Here are some handy tips that I learned while in the hospital:
1. Always wash your hands before you eat, after using the restroom, or after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.
2. Most people use hand towels in the bathroom. Replace those with paper towels so the germs can’t accumulate on the towels.
3. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down anything that many people touch or use in your house, for example, door knobs, telephones, sink handles, and light switches.
4. If you are coughing or sneezing, avoid being around other people and stay home from school when you are sick. That way, you can keep the virus from spreading.
5. If you have asthma, monitor your peak flow every day. This will help make you more aware of your breathing levels.
6. Don’t wait until you can’t breathe before you contact a doctor.
7. Did I mention WASH YOUR HANDS?
These tips will help prevent H1N1 and other viruses and help you stay healthy.You can find out a lot more at the CDC's Web site.
Trust me. Swine flu is a big deal. Being in the hospital is no fun. Since I have asthma, I had to be on breathing treatments every two hours around the clock. That means I had to wake up every two hours just to breathe right.
The nurses and doctors were great, but I felt like a pin cushion or lab rat.
Even after I came home, I was so tired that I couldn’t even walk outside for five minutes. The good thing was that I had word searches and books (thanks, Scholastic friends!) to keep me occupied during the day.
But laying around and watching television through a breathing machine mask gets old. You would never believe how much you can miss going to school. Believe me, it is possible.
Maybe, by telling my story, I could help someone avoid the swine flu blues.
By the way, you can share your swine flu experience by clicking on the blue comment below and sending us a brief note.
Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan has an opinion. How about you?
Some people may think that the movie version of Maurice Sendak’s popular book Where the Wild Things Are is too scary for really young kids. For one thing, the book is for kids ages 4 to 8 years old, but is rated PG (parental guidance recommended). I saw a pre-release screening of the movie last week, and I don’t agree that it is too scary.
Nothing really tragic happens in either the book or the movie, and I think kids can handle a lot more than adults think they can. After all, I was in preschool when I saw Mufasa murdered in the G-rated movie The Lion King and I wasn’t scared at all.
I was also pretty small when I saw the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Remember when the Queen demands that a hunter kill Snow White and bring her heart back in a box? Pretty gruesome, huh? I love that movie and it is a children’s classic.
Where the Wild Things Are will also be a classic, although it is a much different experience than any other movie I have ever seen. Director Spike Jonze, told me he did not set out to make a children’s movie.
“I set out to make a movie about childhood,” he said.
I think he did both.
The task could not have been easy. Remember, this movie is based on a 48-page picture book of only about 300 words. The book focuses on Max’s wild behavior and feelings. You don’t get much of a back story in the book.
Jonze changes all that with the making of this movie.
It would be interesting to see what kind of story Jonze would tell based on another popular children’s book of few words, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Maybe Jonze could answer some important questions about this famous ravenous slug. For instance, why is the caterpillar so hungry? Is he really hungry or is he just an emotional eater? Does the caterpillar feel unloved?
Certainly Max fells unloved, and I think Jonze did a great job of capturing the perspective of child internal turmoil. And in doing that, he has made a very moving and exceptional film.
—Mariam El Hasan
PHOTO: A scene from Where the Wild Things Are. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
I want to be a journalist when I get older—more specifically a political analyst—but by then, will journalism even exist? How different will it be from today’s journalism?
To get some answers to these questions, I went to a lecture recently by well-known journalist Tom Brokaw.
The longtime anchor of the NBC Nightly News spoke on the future of journalism at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
I met with him briefly before the lecture and had my picture taken with him. I reminded him that we had met at the Democratic Convention last summer. He not only remembered me, he remembered what he said to me! “Every four years I get to do this [cover the conventions],” he told me then.
Brokaw has seen the news industry go through big changes in his lifetime. He is quick to tell of his dislike of the Internet version of news reporting.
“Very few bloggers are actually journalists,” he said. (Of course, I hoped he was not referring to Scholastic’s blogs!)
Brokaw says he believes bloggers wait for political gaffs to write about, instead of reporting on political issues. He emphasized the need for the public to use their “critical judgment” when making sense of the what they read online.
Brokaw said he believes “journalism is not dead” and that investigative journalism will thrive. He also believes trusted, high quality news organizations are becoming more popular. However, he pointed out, the newspaper industry is in anguish.
So, in these times of 24/7 cable news and thousands of news-related websites, what does Brokaw think can possibly save the daily papers? The longtime TV journalist suggests that if more newspapers published through E-Book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle or the Sony Reader, they might be able to save themselves.
I think that’s a great idea! Reducing paper usage would be better for the environment and the lower subscription costs would help the consumer.
While it appears that the media are going through some drastic changes, I am still an optimist about my chosen profession. I’m glad I went to hear Brokaw’s lecture. He has given me more hope for the future of journalism.
The deadline to apply to be a Kid Reporter is Monday, October 5.
My editor asked me to write a short piece about some things I learned as a Kid Reporter and to give some advice on how to write a winning application.
One of the most important things I have learned as a Kid Reporter is to manage my priorities and stay focused on my goals. Even when I have other plans, I have to make sure I get to my Scholastic work, too.
Being a Kid Reporter taught me how to multitask and juggle responsibilities. There are times when I have to manage multiple projects to meet my deadlines. One evening, I had to work on my environmental elementary project, study for an exam, perform at a violin concert, AND write a story for Scholastic that was due that evening!
I scheduled my time carefully and was able to get a good score on my test, play well at my concert, and finish my Scholastic assignment just in time. I got through that without stumbling by concentrating on one task at a time and keeping focused.
I also learned how to be flexible and work quickly. I received an email from my editor one morning asking if I wanted to interview Maggie Rodriguez, a leading reporter with CBS. The interview was set for the very next day!
Honestly, I did not have enough information to come-up with 16 questions for the interview. I had to do a little research first, and then write my interview questions. I had to do all this in a matter of a few hours.
The next day, after the interview, it was the report preparation time. I had to turn the story in the next day. By the time I got back from New York City to my home in New Jersey, the afternoon was almost over. Despite that, I was able to complete all parts of the report and send it in before the deadline.
Anyone with an interest and love of news and writing can apply to be a Scholastic Kid Reporter. The details are on the SKPC Web site, and they are fairly easy.
First, you have to send in some basic information about yourself including your name, address, phone number, and your parents’ names and email addresses.
Next, you must write a short autobiography explaining why you are interested in being a Kid Reporter. It must also include details about yourself and your favorite subjects, music, books, and hobbies.
Finally, you must write a 400-word article about what makes your community special. The story should include a few quotes from an interview you conduct. It should also be detailed and specific.
My advice is to pick one thing about your community that distinguishes it from other communities. Be very specific. Don’t just list tourist attractions and say the people are friendly. Tell your readers something they don’t already know about where you live.
Make sure you attach a picture of yourself so that Scholastic can identify you.
And as a final piece of advice, be sure your writing is not dull and boring. Make your writing fun to read so everyone can enjoy it.
Working in Scholastic can be challenging, sometimes, but I think it is really worth while. What about you? Want to be a Kid Reporter? You have until October 5 to send in an application.
PHOTO: Actress/singer Miranda Cosgrove with Scholastic Kid Reporter Gopa
Praturi at Bridgewater Commons Mall in New Jersey on Saturday,
September 12. (Photo Courtesy Brian Killan/Wire Image.com/Getty Images)