A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
There's a strong emphasis on creating community around kids' shared love of certain books and book series. Kids are encouraged to shape the content that appears on this site ("submit your own poll question," "what other message boards should Scholastic create?").
Products & Purchases
There are a lot of ads on this site for everything from Scholastic books and book-related products such as video games to pest control services and sticky notes. Even though ads are clearly marked, some are still a little too closely linked to content for many younger kids to make the distinction. For example, some of the clothing and accessory options in the "create your avatar" section of the site are "sponsored" by various advertisers, like Disney. The videos are also rather celebrity heavy.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that THE STACKS is a well-organized and well-moderated tween site created by Scholastic to promote its books and book series (like Harry Potter) created for kids ages 8-13. Tweens can come here to find out more about their favorite books and authors, practice their writing skills, chat with other readers on message boards, play games, get news about their favorite book series and upcoming releases, and watch videos. The site contains lots of ads both for related and non-related products, some of which might be difficult for tweens to identify as commercial.
Is It Any Good?
THE STACKS is Scholastic's official spot online for kids ages 8-13. Scholastic's main website and catalogs have oodles of material for parents, teachers, and kids of various ages to sort through, so it's nice that The Stacks is the place just for tweens. While at The Stacks (still in beta), kids can communicate on moderated message boards with other kids about the books they love and issues that are important to them; they can play games, learn about their favorite authors and celebrities, and practice their writing skills. The video section is fairly celebrity heavy; It would be nice to see more authors, teachers, and "real kids" featured. There are also a lot of ads here, a definite downside, but overall this is an excellent site for young independent readers to be affirmed for reading, one of the healthiest habits young people can cultivate.
Online interaction: The message boards are monitored by moderators who actually respond to kids' individual posts. This helps to create a positive atmosphere where kids are heard and, therefore, tend to make more meaningful and respectful comments.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.