readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ballou Book Fair

Every year, Colleen from Chasing Ray and Guys Lit Wire sets up a special book fair connected to Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C. In Colleen's own words:

Every year, Guys Lit Wire lends its platform to host a book fair for Ballou. Working with librarian Melissa Jackson and her students, we build a wish list of titles they need and then ask the internet to buy a book (or 2) (or more) and send some joy their way. It's quick and it's easy and for book lovers in particular, it's a no-brainer.

We all know that books matter to kids, and we all know why buying books for teens who do not have wide access to them is a smart investment in our world's future. For Ballou, the school fund for book purchases is not large and as a Washington Post article showed earlier this year, the dollars for books in DC often go to wealthier neighborhoods. Also, when they get money schools like Ballou are often not able to purchase the sort of fun or seemingly frivolous titles that teens would really to read.

That is where the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou comes in. We buy the books the kids ask for, plain and simple.

The mailing address is already set-up for checkout and there are nearly 400 books to choose from with a price range that starts under $5. We do hope you will find a book that you want to send to Ballou and help us fill their shelves with the titles these kids want so very much to read.

Here's the wishlist: http://tinyurl.com/BookFairforBallou

Please share the link to the wishlist as well as the link to Colleen's post at GLW via your blogs and social media to help spread the word.

Don't let it stop there. If you know of a library, school, shelter, or hospital that's in great need of books and other items, give back. Rally up your co-workers, patrons, students, and friends, gather donated items (new or gently used), and donate them to your chosen organization or charity. Share your good fortune and good spirits with others.


So many publishers are participating, rgz! Just hashtag #GiveBooks and publishers are matching the mention with donations to #FirstBook. Isn't that amazing? So well done!

Here's the link to make it super easy if you want to hit your multiple sites.


Happy holidays!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, November 16, 2015

Diva Delight: Dead End in Norvelt

We don't often feature books with central male protags, but this one from Jack Gantos also has a fierce senior female, Miss Volker, in the spotlight. And we don't regularly recommend middle grade novels. Yet, why not read outside YA? Isn't it the story that matters, not the age of the main character? Did you read, Dead End in Norvelt? You don't want to miss it. I was literally laughing out loud as I relished each page. I had to read passages to my family which in turn got us all giggling.

Blending truth and fiction, Jack Gantos writes of Jackie who spends the summer helping Miss Volker write the town's obituaries. The original citizens are passing quickly from the scene, even a bit suspiciously. The work brims with memorable characters living and dying in 1962.

The book won the Newbery in 2012 and the Scott O'Dell for Historical Fiction. Here are a few reviews:

A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos’s work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character . . . Jackie Gantos.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A fast-paced and witty read.” —School Library Journal

“A more quietly (but still absurdly) funny and insightful account of a kid’s growth, kin to Gantos’s Jack stories, that will stealthily hook even resistant readers into the lure of history.” —BCCB

“This winning novel, both humorous and heartwarming, takes place during the summer of 1962, when narrator Jack Gantos turns 12 and spends most of his days grounded. Jack’s main ‘get out of jail free card,’ and one of the novel’s most charming characters, is Miss Volker. The blossoming of their friendship coincides with the blooming of Jack’s character.” —Shelf Awareness Pro

* “There’s more than laugh-out-loud gothic comedy here. This is a richly layered semi-autobiographical tale, an ode to a time and place, to history and the power of reading.” —The Horn Book, starred review
“Gantos, as always, deliver
rs bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws.” —Booklist

* “An exhilarating summer marked by death, gore and fire sparks deep thoughts in a small-town lad not uncoincidentally named ‘Jack Gantos.’ The gore is all Jack’s, which to his continuing embarrassment ‘would spray out of my nose holes like dragon flames’ whenever anything exciting or upsetting happens. And that would be on every other page, seemingly. . . . Characteristically provocative gothic comedy, with sublime undertones.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Find this funny, poignant book, rgz, and get ready to laugh.

Dead End in Norvelt
By Jack Gantos
Square Fish, paperback

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The One Child Policy: Firstborn and The Only Child

Gendercide Poster #29
From the collection of Gendercide Posters on Polyvore 
by Lorie Ann Grover

At the close of October, China announced an end to their One Child Policy. According to the New York Times, Chris Buckley, October 29, 2015:

BEIJING — Driven by fears that an aging population could jeopardize China’s economic ascent, the Communist Party leadership ended its decades-old “one child” policy on Thursday, announcing that all married couples would be allowed to have two children.

The decision was a dramatic step away from a core Communist Party position that Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who imposed the policy in the late 1970s, once said was needed to ensure that “the fruits of economic growth are not devoured by population growth.”

For China’s leaders, the controls were a triumphant demonstration of the party’s capacity to reshape even the most intimate dimensions of citizens’ lives. But they bred intense resentment over the brutal intrusions involved, including forced abortions and crippling fines, especially in the countryside.

The efforts to limit family size also led to a skewed sex ratio of males to females, because traditional rural families favor boys over girls, sometimes even resorting to infanticide to ensure they have a son.

The One Child Policy is what motivated my writing of Firstborn. I was appalled that the practice of gendercide was still occurring in many countries around the world. The book was welcomed with a starred review from Kirkus and is now available in paperback.

Another book recently came across my desk: The Only Child, by Guojing. An illustrator from the Shanxi Province of China, she brings to the page her own memories of isolation in a wordless, graphic picture book. With starred reviews from Kirkus and PW, the book is resonating the loneliness that grew from China's earlier legislation. The black and white artwork is beautiful and captivating.

According to the Author's Note:

"The story in this book is fantasy, but it reflects the very real feelings of isolation and loneliness I experienced growing up in the 1980s under the one-child policy in China."

In celebration, we applaud the reform in China. If you'd like to make an impact, readergirlz, there are organizations dedicated to helping women carry their daughters to full term. One Christian organization is All Girls Allowed. Of course, there are many ways to #ReadReflectandReachout if you hold a different persuasion. The It's a Girl movie will do much to help you understand the worldwide situation.

As I sign copies of Firstborn, "Let them live!"

By Lorie Ann Grover
Blink YA Books, 2015

The Only Child
By Guojing
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Last Day of October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As you maybe get dressed up for a party tonight, remember it's the last day of the month we've raised awareness for breast cancer. Hopefully, we've celebrated those who were blessed to recover and remembered those who have passed from the disease.

This was always my intent with the publication of Loose Threads thirteen years ago. I caught the characters in my life, particularly my grandmother, Margie Garber, and her walk with the disease.

I'm thankful that today a book can continue to reach the right readers through e-books and print-on-demand.

Here's to compassion and assistance for those in treatment right now, readergirlz. May books be used as comforts on their journeys, and may they renew those who love and support them.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Did You Read: Under Dogs by Markus Zusak

How wonderful to have three books in one collection: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl, by Markus Zusak. Thanks much, Scholastic! (And Arthur A. Levine for bringing the set together in hardback originally!) These books were written prior to The Book Thief and stand strongly. In my mind I've sequestered Markus' beautiful, poetic language to The Book Thief, thinking it fit the tone of that lifework so well. However, reading of the Wolfe brothers, I'm reminded it is Markus' voice which blooms with metaphors across his entire body of work. For me, it creates a sympathy, an understanding, a care for Cameron, the youngest brother making his way through his Australian adolescence.

From crazy schemes, to searches for identity, to family and friend relationships, Ruben and Cameron's exploits entertain and touch the heart with resonating honesty and truth. This is one to look for rgz, if you missed it go by. You have to get to know these brothers. Raise the boyfriend bar.

Under Dogs
By Markus Zusak
Scholastic, paperback, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz