Saturday, February 28, 2009
1. She likes to wear her mother's "Miss Essie" hats!
2. She looks for inspiration in nature. "I look at a lot of art and trees. Yes, I can find answers in the trees."
3. She inspires all who read No Laughter Here: "The younger readers (11-13) love being trusted with the story and information. They claim themselves a girl warriors. And we have some boy warriors out there too!" Hooray!
We had so much fun this month!
Friday, February 27, 2009
The Explosionist is set in a parallel world. Napoleon defeated Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This caused many other events that conspired to create a very interesting world that you want to learn about.at the
This book was amazingly well written and very interesting. The characters are amazingly real and loving. Once you start this book, you will be glued to the story. The story starts off slowly, but then you are put into this pit of amazing mystery and intrigue. There are some complicated plot twist, but it keeps your mind full of thoughts. This dystopia of a parallel world will keep you reading until the last word and then it will stay with you for long afterwards. The ending will make you want more, because it is such a wonderful book. --Sarah
Thursday, February 26, 2009
For the Operation TBD trailer, I wanted to create a Wizard of Oz kind of feeling, going from last year's event in sepia and switching to color for the upcoming event (besides, Andrea's music makes me think of old movies). I wanted the books in the video to simulate Rocking the Drop - teens and authors and publishers dropping thousands of books across the country - and used a few book covers from each of the publisher donors. Even better, and totally coincidentally, the first book to pop up is a Wizard of Oz graphic novel!
Ok, once you have your music and an idea rattling around in your head, it's time to create the images. There are basically three ways to do this: use video footage, use still images, or create titles within your moviemaking program.
The TBD trailer is compiled of still images (made in PhotoShop) and title effects (more on this later). For the rgz/GuysLitWire/YALSA/ publishers/tons of dropping books section, I made over 70 images to layer one after the other. Here are just a few:
Here's the part where the Mac people will want to throw fruit at me, because I use Windows Movie Maker (even worse...I run Vista on my MacBook Air). So I know there has to be a free moviemaking program for Mac OS X (iMovie?), but it's probably so user-friendly that you don't even need this tutorial (uh, unless you happen to be running Vista on your Mac).
In Movie Maker, everything is pretty drag-and-drop. The import bar is on the left, and you can import videos, pictures, and audio files. Once you have imported all of your components, you basically just drag and drop them onto the appropriate slot on the timeline bar at the bottom. To add titles (all of the text zooming in and out), just go to Tools -> Titles and Credits, and follow the instructions.
To create effects, like old film grain, fading in and out, sepia, or the cool warp that made Ellen Hopkins' books look like they were marching across the screen, go to Tools -> Effects. A bunch of options will present themselves. You can test them on the upper right screen and then drag and drop them directly onto each slide.
You can synch your images and titles by using the zoom tool above the timeline bar and adjusting the length of time that image is in the movie down to fractions of a second - for instance, I tried (very hard!) to hit the beats on Andrea's song when transitioning to another image for greater impact. If you are using video footage, you may want to tinker with the music and sound so that you don't lose the audio.
A more complete Windows Movie Maker tutorial is available here.
Looking for an excellent place to use your newly acquired movie-making skills? Check out the North of Beautiful Find Beauty Challenge! Justina is giving away an iTouch, and for every video uploaded, Justina will donate $10 to Global Surgical Outreach, an amazing group that helps kids with cleft lips and palates in the third world. See the details here!
Holly Cupala, author & rgz diva
"Okay, I have to say, I sound like a picky pants in this Cover Story. So particular! But it is the world of ballet. Oh, my. Everyone was so patient with my requests! When I began to discuss the image for On Pointe with my editor Emma Dryden of Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster, I begged her to represent high quality toes shoes on the cover. In the ballet world, your shoes are everything. Seriously.
"Back when I danced with the Miami Ballet Company, I special ordered my shoes from Germany every month. The shoes were constructed according to an outline and diagram of my feet. Those were the kind of shoes I wanted on my cover. I knew that I'd lose the respect of dancers today if the publishers showed inferior shoes.
"The art department asked for a photo of my old shoes to help them in their search for the perfect image.
"I pointed out the square toe and flatter boxing. I provided brand names to narrow down the possibilities. Just as important to me was the fact that the model be in good form or position. I couldn't bear her to be over extended with a weak arch or not fully up on pointe. And please, I asked, no new shoes! They needed to look worn and used to be in keeping with my story.
"When the final cover was presented to me, I was so pleased! Perfect form, perfect shoes, all the way down to the placement of the elastic and the knotted ribbons. They aren't brand new, but worn and broken in. It's a beautiful stock photo of a real dancer.
"In terms of the composition, I loved the placement of the feet close to the edge of the book. It creates so much good tension. The font is elongated and thin like a dancer. The added lines and blocks of color are reminiscent of Mondrian paintings. What could be stronger for a book titled, On Pointe?
"As for the flap, I was told it's unusual to use an author photo. However, when I shared this image, the art department decided they did want to include it.
"So after all the fuss about the cover toe shoes being so exact, there I am at age seven, on pointe, in horrible shoes with ribbons hanging out. In bows! Ack! The cover designers were kind enough to remove the dangling ribbons from the final flap photo. Shew. And whenever I visit schools I take the opportunity to lecture on not going on pointe until you are done growing. Unlike me, who was put into toe shoes at seven because I was the size of a twelve year old. But that's another story..."
How fun is Lorie Ann?! I love how much her own life experience went into this story, and this cover. What do you guys think?
PS-If I had my way, I'd wear a tulle tutu as often as possible. With sparkly shoes.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation as the range of procedures which involve "the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason." Approximately 138 million women around the world have undergone FGM. Every year, another 2 million girls are at risk of the practice.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This is my second trailer for a readergirlz project (the first being the readergirlz Night Bites trailer in honor of YALSA's 2008 Teen Read Week), so I thought I'd give you a few of the behind-the-scenes deets of making a movie - especially if you plan to make an entry for Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful Find Beauty Challenge! On Thursday I will post part 2, a short Windows moviemaking tutorial on how to put it all together.
First, you need the perfect music for your trailer - something that inspires your mind, coordinates with your images and/or video footage, and that you will love to listen to at least a hundred times before you are finished.
"Marching Orders," by lovely and talented Seattle singer/songwriter/musician Andrea Wittgens, is all that and more - edgy, catchy, and thematically right on. (Thanks to my artist friend Alice Engelhardt for suggesting her!)
Next, you need permission - because it's not OK to use someone's music without their permission any more than it's ok for someone to plagiarize your writing or art or whatever, and there are plenty of free music sites on the web for just this purpose (Google "royalty-free music" to find public domain music, or find someone you know who makes music, or be brave and send your favorite band a message on MySpace). Generally it's easier to get permission for indie music on small labels versus the big ones that want big royalties - it was rumored that Microsoft paid between $8 and $14 million for permission to use The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" in their Windows '95 marketing campaign - so if someone give you permission, be very very grateful. (Have I mentioned how much we love Andrea?? Check out her album at CD Baby!)
Once you have your music, you're ready for the next step: putting it all together. Stay tuned for Part 2 on Thursday!
Holly Cupala, author & rgz diva
I told you it was lame. I'm sure you have better ideas, which is why, if you're between the ages of 12 and 20, you should enter this challenge (Deadline: March 15, 2009).
Through the Invent Your World Challenge, Ashoka GenV and the Lemelson Foundation will help fifty young inventors use their creations to address a local or global challenge and create positive change.
Young people are invited to submit their ideas for a new technology or the adaptation of an existing technology that will help make life easier, the planet greener, or the world better.
If your idea is selected, you'll receive an action plan so that you can apply for funding. You will then submit your action plan and present your project to a panel of mentors to receive feedback and advice. Once your idea is approved, you will receive a grant.
The challenge is open to all individuals between the ages of 12 and 20 in North America and Europe, and 12 and 24 everywhere else. Each participant will be required to submit an action plan showing what activities will be carried out and how the grant will be spent, and will need to form a team with at least two other youth to qualify for funding.
A panel of distinguished judges will choose five of the best invention ventures to participate in a global roundtable on climate change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judges will also award one team a $20,000 scholarship for college.
The last day to submit a project idea is March 15, 2009. Visit GenV for complete program information.
Monday, February 23, 2009
In honor of her latest release North of Beautiful, Justina Chen Headley's Find Beauty Challenge is underway, rgz!
Here's an excerpt:
Tell the world what you find to be Truly Beautiful! Just upload a 90-second video describing what real beauty means to you...and you could win yourself an iTouch! PLUS, for every uploaded video, I'll donate $10 (up to $1,000) to Global Surgical Outreach, an amazing group that helps kids with cleft lips and palates in the third world.
Submissions are coming in. Here's the latest:
If you don't have your own equipment, how about teaming up with classmates at school or asking your local librarian for assistance?
* catch that video on a camera, computer, or phone
* edit it with a program like Windows Moviemaker
* save it to publish
* upload it on youtube
* send your link to firstname.lastname@example.org
Get going, ladies! Can't wait to see your submission. Shoot for that Grand Prize iPod Touch!
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Sunday, February 22, 2009
You must, must, must come! And not just to see me (though I'll be reading in the Bronx and at Books of Wonder, and I'd love a rgz hello!). But enough about me; here are the shiny, happy events you can attend if you're in town (note our featured author Rita Williams-Garcia is in the mix!):
Monday, 3/16, 4-6pm, Tompkins Square Park branch
of the NYPL, 331 E. 10th Street
Join Holly Black, Alaya Johnson,
Justine Larbalestier, David Levithan, Diana Peterfruend, Scott Westerfeld as
they read some of their (ahem) less accomplished work from their middle school
and high school years. Hosted by Libba Bray.
I Have Seen the Future…and It Sounds Like This
Wednesday, 3/18, Mulberry
Street Branch of the NYPL Teen authors are notoriously stingy about reading from their works-in-progress. But for Guest of Honor Joe Monti, authors Libba Bray, Rachel Cohn, Eireann Corrigan, Justine Larbalestier, Barry Lyga, and Scott Westerfeld are willing to share a little bit from their future books.
Hosted by David Levithan.
The Five-Borough Read
Thursday, 3/19 BROOKLYN: Central Library, Dweck Center, 10 Grand Army
Plaza, Brooklyn 10-11am Gayle Forman Jenny Han Leslie Margolis Abby
Sher Matthue Roth Robin Wasserman BRONX: Bronx Library Center, 310 E.
Kingsbridge Road, Bronx 4-5pm Coe Booth Madeleine George Paul Griffin
Brian Sloan Melissa Walker MANHATTAN: Countee Cullen Branch, 104 W
136th St 4-5pm Matt de la Pena Daphne Grab Mary Hogan Bill Konigsburg
Barry Lyga Carolyn MacCullough MANHATTAN: Jefferson Market Branch, 425
Avenue of the Americas 4-5pm David Levithan Bennett Madison Laura
McLaughlin Billy Merrell Marie Rutkoski MANHATTAN: Webster Branch,
1465 York Avenue 4-5pm Lisa Ann Sandell Courtney Sheinmel Rachel Vail
Cecily Von Ziegesar Martin Wilson QUEENS: Far Rockaway Branch, 2002
Cornaga Ave, Queens 4-5pm Tara Altebrando Laura Dower Heather
Duffy-Stone Aimee Friedman Eliot Schrefer Siobhan Vivian Rita Williams-Garcia
STATEN ISLAND: St. George Library Center, 5 Central Avenue
4-5pm Kate Brian Judy Goldschmidt Michael Northrop Micol Ostow Lynn
Rock Out with TIGER BEAT!
Thursday, 3/19, 6pm at Books of Wonder
By day, Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barney Miller, and Natalie Standiford are upstanding authors. But by night, they turn into … TIGER BEAT, the first ever YA author rock band. Tonight is their debut public performance … and it’s sure to go down in legend. With opening act The Infinite Playlists (Rachel Cohn and David Levithan reading a
litany of musical references, but mercifully not singing).
I Love You, New York: Teen Lit in the City
Friday, 3/20, 6pm, NYPL, 42nd
Street, Court Room
Join authors Coe Booth, Paul Griffin, Maureen Johnson, David Levithan, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Rita Williams-Garcia in a spirited reading and discussion about teen novels set in New York City – from the glamour of the gossip girls to the grit of the Bronx projects, from the everyday battles of
the high school halls to the extraordinary events of 9/11.
Stuff for the Teen Age Ceremony
Saturday, 3/21, 1pm, NYPL, 42nd Street, Celeste Bartos Forum
This new list only has the best of the best, and includes books, music, movies, and video games. Featuring a keynote by Walter Dean Myers
Teen Authors Celebrate Teen Readers
Sunday, 3/22, NYPL, 42nd Street, Trustees Room, 1pm
Over a dozen authors salute teen readers and teen advisory board members from around
the city, including Blake Nelson, reading from his upcoming novel Destroy All
The Biggest Teen Author Signing EVER
Sunday, 3/22, Books of Wonder, 4pm
Join over 40 authors for a signing extravaganza as they take over Books of Wonder, sign books, and converse with
fans new and old. An incredible event that is sure to go down in book-signing history. Authors include: Nora Baskin Jessica Blank Judy Blundell Coe Booth
Elise Broach Susanne Colasanti Sarah Darer-Littman Matt de la Pena Heather
Duffy-Stone Gayle Forman Aimee Friedman Madeleine George Maureen Johnson
Kristen Kemp Justine Larbalestier David Levithan E. Lockhart Barry Lyga Carolyn
Mackler Sarah MacLean Megan McCafferty Laura McLaughlin Neesha Meminger Billy Merrell Blake Nelson Micol Ostow Matthue Roth Marie Rutkoski Lisa Ann Sandell Courtney Sheinmel Abby Sher Brian Sloan Rachel Vail David Van Etten Ned Vizzini Adrienne Maria Vrettos Cecily von Ziegesar Melissa Walker Robin Wasserman Scott
Westerfeld Suzanne Weyn Maryrose Wood Lizabeth Zindel
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Canterwood Crest #1: Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart
For Your Younger Sister
There are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz
This Month's Spotlighted Title
No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia
Corinne Bailey Rae
From Kimberly at Young Adult Books Central -
Looking for the Next YABC Teen Demi-God or Demi-Goddess
So, some of you might be wondering what the heck happened with the YABC Teen Demi-God or Goddess search that usually kicks off in December? Well, I thought we'd do something a bit different this year. Rather than the official teen reviewer of YABC being a yearly position, I'd like to make it a more permanent fixture. Kind of.
Basically, whoever applies and is accepted for the official YABC Teen Reviewer Demi-God or Demi-Goddess spot is the Demi-God or Demi-Goddess until they either a) quit (for some unknown reason (I guess snail mail life sometimes takes precedence, huh?), b) or are no longer a teen (i.e. they turn twenty), or c) I have to ask them to step down (like if things aren't working out for some unknown reason...which hopefully won't ever happen!).
So...would YOU like to be the next Official YABC Teen Reviewer?
Here are the requirements:
* Be between the ages of 13 and 19
* Be able to contribute at least one (but preferably more) reviews a month to YABC http://www.yabookscentral.com/
* Be able & willing to check your YABC email inbox at least once a week
* (Optional) Interview authors
* Your bio on the website
* Bragging rights :-)
* A YABC email address
* The opportunity to learn about the latest books & authors
* As many free books as you can review and possibly some other "swag" as well
If you are interested, email email@example.com with the following:
* Your name
* Your age
* Why you want to be the next Official YABC Teen Reviewer
* Why you think *you* would be the best candidate for the job
* How many reviews you think you can do a month
* A sample review (can be one you posted previously on YABC)
Applications are due at the end of February.
Good luck, everyone!
Thanks Little Willow for the tip!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Today, Traci reviews Escape by Carolyn Jessop:
Carolyn was born into a family that had been practicing polygamy for many generations. She grew up with abuse and insecurity all around her. She watched as her sister ran away from home, scared about being forced into a marriage with a man who was 20 years her senior. Carolyn also watched as that same sister was pulled back by the leaders of their community with emotional and religious prompts. If she didn't do their will she would go and rot in hell. It was Carolyn's turn now and she was forced to marry a man at least twice her age who already had 3 wives and around 20 children. That night as he lay on top of her she felt violated and wondered if this really was just a rape. At that moment, a little bit of doubt crossed her mind and that started her thinking about what else was out there in the real world. Was she supposed to live like this? Her next 15 years were spent slowly planning her escape.
If someone asked me to define polygamy, I would have to said it was when a man has multiple wives. That is true, and it was bad in my eyes, but after reading Carolyn's story of abuse, starvation, death, animal cruelty, dying children, and burned books, I now realize it wasn't bad--it was horrendous. Carolyn worked hard to ensure her children's happiness in a free world, but it almost killed her. She is a hero to her kids and a role model to all abused woman and children in polygamist situations or abuse of any kind. Warning: This book contains large amounts of sexual references and physical and emotion abuse. --Traci
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Books dropped from our hands,
impacts teens for life.
After many hours and much love, readergirlz is excited to roll out our joint project with GuysLitWire and YALSA: Operation Teen Book Drop 2009!
Check out the trailer, Lorie Ann's awesome TBD haiku, and the many people who have made this possible: publishers, our project partners, authors, readergirlz postergirlz and allies, and Seattle musician Andrea Wittgens, who graciously donated her song for our trailer.
Stay tuned for the official press release and more TBD fun stuff, coming soon. Spread the word and please re-post!
Holly Cupala, author & rgz diva
Check Internet Anagram Server to anagram your name. What do the letters of your name spell if repositioned?
Eek! Here are four of mine out of the 1,000 I scanned:
Ever Roaring Loon (Um, probably. Depends on who you ask.)
A Governor Liner (No, idea.)
Leaving No Error (Certainly, my aim!)
Gain Novel Error (Ha! Those do happen in my writing.)
So, what are your anagrams? It's worth a giggle, rgz!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Holly Cupala, author & rgz diva
Monday, February 16, 2009
Her debut book, SUPERGIRLS SPEAK OUT, is about the pressure on girls to be perfect. The book is on sale now, and Liz appeared on the Today Show this week to speak about the topic, which many readergirlz can surely relate to:
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Yay for the Cybils Winners, 2008 and every blogger who worked so hard on this year's selections. Party it up, kidlitosphere! It's a wonderful accomplishment for both writers and bloggers.
Here are the YA winners from their site, rgz, and the quoted summaries:
The Hunger Games
written by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games wins for its broad crossover appeal, complicated moral issues, and sociopolitical satire. In a richly imaginative twist on a familiar dystopian landscape, Suzanne Collins creates a deadly game using child combatants to explore the dehumanizing effects of war and violence. Katniss struggles against overwhelming odds while being groomed and polished for what could be her televised fight to the death. At each agonizing choice or fearful alliance, the reader is confronted with the same questions Katniss faces. How far would you go to save yourself? Can you meet violence with violence, yet preserve your humanity?
Nominated by Heather Doss.
written by Mariko Tamaki
illustrated by Steve Rolston
“This title rises above a traditional outsider/teen angst tale because of its protagonist's interest in her local performance artists, a subject that hasn't been done to death in YA. The story is also novel simply because it's about a teen exploring art and find how it can change you. Ralston’s art is an important aspect of the story, working in tandem with Tamaki’s unique story.”
Nominated by Cecil Castellucci.
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir
written by Cylin Busby
and John Busby
Young Adult Fiction
Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The
written by E Lockhart
It's a setting we know. It's a theme we're familiar with. But with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart takes common features of teen fiction and turns them into a smart, fun, multi-layered, action-filled, coming-of-age story with a unique treatment and fresh voice. Frankie's feminist-fueled and P.G. Wodehouse-inspired antics at boarding school are hilarious, but also tinged with the sometimes-harsh truths of growing up. A book complex and clever enough that wildly diverse readers will each take, and love, something different out of the narrative.Nominated by Stacy Dillon