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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April: Roundup of discussion questions

Our May Feature

Here's a roundup of all of Ellen Hopkins' discussion posts for Impulse this month. Feel free to jump in and add your thoughts at any time! Thanks again, Ellen and rgz!

Welcome to Ellen Hopkins!
What does perfect mean to you?
Thoughts on suicide
Help prevent suicide
April recommended reads
Humor as a coping mechanism
Has love surprised you?
Your poetic style
Have you ever been in a life or death situation?
April Impulse party ideas
rgz LIVE! with Ellen Hopkins
April Playlist by Ellen Hopkins
Have you been to a survival camp?
Thank you to Ellen Hopkins

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poem In Your Pocket Day
Today is the last day of National Poetry Month and it's Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Simply write a poem or choose one by your fav poet, and put it in your pocket. All day, share it with your friends, family, or strangers.

Click here to learn more.

I'm off to write out a poem. Woohoo, for April and poetry!

My website

Thank You, Ellen Hopkins!

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Here's a big gracias to the awesome Ellen Hopkins for joining us at readergirlz this month! Things we learned about Ellen during our LIVE chat include:

1. Her advice for aspiring authors? "Read, read, read... and write, write, write."
2. Ellen's favorite character of her own is Tony from Impulse. He's so sweet.
3. She likes bombardment in a LIVE! chat... which is a GOOD thing since the readergirlz chat was crazy! In an awesome way.

Having Ellen here this month has been beyond beyond amazing. Thank you, Ellen, for hanging out with readergirlz!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adam or Danny or...

Okay, rgz. We love our books. We love reading. But what about AMERICAN IDOL! Who is going to win, ladies?

Gypsy Wings and I are full supporters of Adam. My husband just let me know he could sing like Adam if he wanted. THAT'S a total relief. ;~)


Gypsy and I also heart Danny Gokey!


What do you say? Who are you voting for? It better be Adam. Just kidding. Mostly...

My website

Hope: Shelf Elf

When I was thinking about our "hope" theme this month, for some reason, those lines from that famous Emily Dickinson poem kept coming to mind: Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul.* I love that whole poem because it captures so much of what hope is for me. Hope can be fragile and impermanent, but it is often stronger than it looks. Sometimes it appears when you need it most, and when you’ve almost forgotten what it is, like a bird in the springtime. What makes me hopeful? Poetry. Lucky pennies. Random acts of kindness.

- Shelf Elf

* Read Emily Dickinson's poem in its entirety.

View all posts labeled with hope.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do YA Authors Twitter? Why yes, they do.

Here is a list, updated from the one by Mitali Perkins, and thanks to Alessandra Lee for updating! Authors, check out Alessandra's post to add your name to the list.

YA Authors:

1. Susan Adrian @susan_adrian
2. Jill S. Alexander @jillsalexander
3. Tara Altebrando @TaraAltebrando
4. Olugbemisola Amusashonubi-Perkovich @olugbemisola
5. Laurie Halse Anderson @halseanderson
6. R. J. Anderson @rj_anderson
7. Joelle Anthony @joellewrites
8. Kelley Armstrong @KelleyArmstrong
9. Andrew Auseon @andrewauseon
10. Kim Baccellia @ixtumea
11. Cyn Balog @cynbalog
12. Tracey Baptiste @traceybaptiste
13. Jennifer Lynn Barnes @jenlynnbarnes
14. Lauren Barnholdt @laurenbarnholdt
15. Clare Bell @rathacat
16. Robin Benway @robinbenway
17. Jonathan Bernstein @jbpeevish
18. Holly Black @hollyblack
19. Coe Booth @coebooth
20. Robin Brande @Robin_Brande
21. Libba Bray @libbabray
22. Leigh Brescia @leighbrescia
23. Heather Brewer @heatherbrewer
24. Jennifer Brown @jennifunny
25. Susan Taylor Brown @susanwrites
26. Meg Cabot @megcabot
27. Rachel Caine @jennifunny
28. Chelsea Campbell @kaerfel
29. Janet Lee Carey @janetleecarey
30. Ceil Castellucci @cecilseaskull
31. Susane Colasanti @susanecolasanti
32. Deborah Copeland @authorgrl
33. Paula Chase Hyman @Paulachy
34. Tera Lynn Childs @teralynnchilds
35. Cassandra Clare @cassieclare
36. Rosemary Clement-Moore @rclementmoore
37. Eoin Colfer @eoincolfer
38. Deborah Copeland @authorgrl
39. Sarah Cross @thesarahcross
40. Holly Cupala @hollycupala
41. Sarah Dessen @sarahdessen
42. Cory Doctorow @doctorow
43. Kathleen Duey @kathleenduey
44. Anthony Eaton @anthonyeaton
45. Daniel Ehrenhaft @danielehrenhaft
46. Beth Fehlbaum @bethfehlbaum
47. Neil Gaiman @neilhimself
48. Liz Gallagher @lizgallagherliz
49. Linda Gerber @gerbsan
50. K.L. Going @klgoing
51. Alison Goodman @alisongoodman
52. Alan Gratz @Alan_Gratz
53. Claudia Gray @claudiagray
54. John Green @realjohngreen
55. Lorie Ann Grover @lorieanngrover
56. Megan Kelley Hall @megankelleyhall
57. Brendan Halpin @bhalpin
58. Jenny Han @jennyhan
59. S.A. Harazin @saharazin
60. Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger
61. Louise Hawes @louisehawes
62. Justina Chen Headley @justinaheadley
63. Simmone Howell @postteen
64. Mandy Hubbard @mandyhubbard
65. Denise Jaden @denisejaden
66. Mark Jeffrey @markjeffrey
67. Maureen Johnson @maureenjohnson
68. Varian Johnson @varianjohnson
69. Carrie Jones @carriejonesbook
70. Heidi S. Kling @seaheidi
71. A.S. King @as_king
72. Jo Knowles @joknowles
73. William Kostakis @williamkostakis
74. Marie Lamba @marielamba
75. Margo Lanagan @margolanagan
76. Justine Larbalestier @JustineLavaworm
77. Jessica Leader @JessicaLeader
78. Mary Lindsey @marylindsey
79. E. Lockhart @elockhart
80.Cara Lockwood @CaraLockwood
81. Greg Logsted @greglogsted
82. Lauren Baratz Logsted @laurenbaratzl
83. Rita Lorraine @ritalorraine
84. Eric Luper @ericluper
85. Lisa Madigan @lkmadigan
86. Bennett Madison @bennettmadison
87. Sandra Malench @SandraMalench
88.Donna Maloy @donnamaloy
89. Marianne Mancusi @mariannemancusi
90. Lisa Mantchev @lisamantchev
91. Christine Marciniak @ckmarciniak
92. Melissa Marr @melissa_marr
93. Georgia McBride-Wohl @Georgia_McBride
94. Lisa McMann @lisa_mcmann
95. Neesha Meminger @NeeshaMem
96. Kate Messner @kmessner
97. Richelle Mead @RichelleMead
98. Dawn Metcalf @duskydawn
99. Saundra Mitchell @saundramitchell
100. Sarah Mlynowski @SarahMlynowski
101. Tee Morris @TeeMonster
102. Kirsty Murray @kirstymurray
103. Alyson Noel @alysonnoel
104. Sarah Ockler @sarahockler
105. Micol Ostow @micolz
106. Kelly Parra @kparra
107. Mary Pearson @marypearson
108. Marlene Perez @MarPerez
109. Mitali Perkins @mitaliperkins
110. Diana Peterfreund @dpeterfreund
111. Aprilynne Pike @AprilynnePike
112. Cheryl Rainfield @cherylrainfield
113. Karen Rivers @karenrivers
114. Dana Reinhardt @dsreinhardt
115. Chris Resttstatt @Rettstatt
116. Serena Robar @serenarobar
117. Christine Rose @christinerose
118. Penni Russon @eglantinescake
119. Carrie Ryan @carrieryan
120. Sara Ryan @ryansara
121. Lisa Ann Sandell @lisaannsandell
122. John Scalzi @scalzi
123. Yasmin Shiraz @yasminshiraz
124. Janni Lee Simner @innaj
125. Linda Joy Singleton @LindaJoySinglet
126. Jon Skovron @jonnyskov
127. Rhonda Stapleton @rhondastapleton
128. Courtney Summers @courtney_s
129. Sarah Sumpolec @SarahSumpolec
130. Nikki Tate @WriterGrrrl
131. Brooke Taylor @brooketaylorboo
132. Tiffany Trent @tiffanytrent
133. Gaby Triana @gabytriana
134. Melissa Walker @melissacwalker
135. Diana Wallach @dianarwallach
136. Gabrielle Wang @gabriellewang
137. Robin Wasserman @robinwasserman
138. Sara Bennett Wealer @sbennettwealer
139. Deborah Wiles @deborahwiles
140. Lili Wilkinson @twitofalili
141. Sara Zarr @sarazarr
142. Michelle Zink @michellezink

Character Twitters:

Paige Andrews (Micol Ostow's Bradford series) @FrontPaige
Spencer Grace (Micol Ostow's Bradford series) @goldengirl1
Regan Stanford (Micol Ostow's Bradford series) @California_Chic
Madison Takahashi (Micol Ostow's Bradford Series) @Madison_Ave


rgz Mail Call: Mexia High and Operation TBD!

After librarian Kathy Morgan from Mexia, Texas saw some of our Divas speak at TLA, she felt inspired to encourage her high schoolers to read, reflect and reach out. "I returned to our school library fired up and ready help our students step outside their comfort zone and grow as readers and as members of a larger community," she wrote in an email to Diva Justina.

Though they missed the actual Book Drop date, Mexia High hosted an alternative event called Jammin' in the Library. Students recited their original poetry and solo and ensemble musicians performed their selections before a live audience of parents and friends. All donations will benefit the TBD project.

"Our program is the talk of the school!" says Kathy. "To say that it was a hit would be an understatement. Students are asking when we will do this again and parents are applauding our efforts to promote an outreach program such as TBD."

We at readergirlz just want to say THANK YOU, Kathy and Mexia High School!! Way to participate in your own unique fashion. You rock.

Monday, April 27, 2009

rgz postergirl Little Willow in Gothmas!

Hey rgz,

If you are in the LA area, be sure to catch our own postergirl Little Willow in Gothmas at The Eclectic Company Theatre in North Hollywood. Shows are selling out and the audience is cracking up over this rocking musical!

Little Willow is on the far left. How cute is her poise and poofy skirt?

Little Willow is on the far right.

I wish we could ALL be there to support her SOLO! Break a leg, LW!

My website

Hope: Emily Wing Smith

For me, hope is an unexplained bubble of excitement in my chest that won't burst -- despite the reasons it should! Sometimes that mysterious bubble is the only thing keeping me going as a writer.

As for what makes me hopeful: Warm chocolate chip cookies. Any warm chocolate dessert, really. To me, as long as the human race has the ability to make delicious baked goods, things are bound to look up. I have great faith in chocolate.

-- Emily Wing Smith

View all posts labeled with hope.

Read one of my favorite passages from Emily's novel, The Way He Lived.

A Few Words on Body Image

Diva Justina sent me this link last week about a contestant for the Miss Universe Australia beauty contest. Clearly underweight, she made the finals, and her skin-and-bones image created controversy around the world. The first thing I thought when I saw the photo was that she could do runway modeling. True, she's thin for a traditional beauty pageant contestant, but she's not far off a runway model's body type. How crazy is that?!

So how do we shift society's perceptions of beauty to a healthier place? I'm not sure, but here's a start:

1. We have to continue to listen to, support and celebrate girls like Ali Michael (left), a model who spoke out about her struggles with weight inside the fashion industry (and eerily paralleled my main character Violet's struggles in Violet by Design.)

2. Kudos to My Favorite Author for their Body Image Theme Week (it's not too late to join the Body Image Challenge!) with bloggers like The Story Siren, Presenting Lenore, and In Bed With Books, plus authors Deborah Lytton, Sarah Darer Littman, Sara Zarr, Megan Frazer, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sydney Salter and Erin Dionne.

3. We should cheer for Scarlett Johansson, who posted a very smart and responsible piece in the Huffington Post about what healthy really means. (Thanks, Little Willow!)

4. Yay for Susan Boyle!

Where else is true beauty shining? Comment away!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April: Have you been to a survival camp?

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Tony, Vanessa, and Conner go through an intense survival camp together. They each find power and strength to do what they think is right through this experience. Have you ever gone away and participated in a similar extreme challenge?

Cover Stories: Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Dust%20100%20Dogs.jpg The very cool A.S. King stopped by my blog earlier this spring to share the cover story for her debut novel, Dust of 100 Dogs, and I wanted to share it with readergirlz!

Here's A.S. King:

"I never thought about my cover art. Even though I am a very visual person, and I pay attention to cover art quite a bit, I don't think about book covers while I'm writing the books.

"My editor asked me for input, and he suggested I search through images online for anything that might grab me. I did that and made a document with all of the images I liked, explaining what I liked about them. I also explained what I liked, generally, in books covers -- that I like black or dark colors, high contrast graphics, and simplicity. I believe I said that if I was to make the cover for the book, I would have an all black cover with a tiny skull & crossbones in the center and no title. (I'm obscure like that.)

"When I saw my cover for the first time, it was April Fool's Day and I was having email problems. I wrote to my editor about something completely unrelated and he wrote back and asked me what I thought of the cover art. I said, 'Huh?' because I hadn't got the email he sent. (In my mind, the cover wasn't due for months, as they'd only had the meeting like a week or two before.) So, then he called me and while we were talking on the phone, he sent the cover art again. He said, 'Now sit down and open that file. I want to hear your reaction.' It was a bit--oh no... what if I hate it? Then I opened it and my eyeballs popped out of my head. I think I kept saying, 'Wow.' He was feeling the same way about it. From what I could gather, this cover came out of the blue and knocked us all over! I was just gobsmacked. I still am. It's an AMAZING cover and I feel very fortunate. More than its visual effect, it has an additional pull for readers of the book though the placement of the subjects (the skull, the girl and the boat) and how they relate to the story. It's just incredible. Maximum respect to Gavin Duffy.

"I believe the cover was made up of several pieces of stock artwork, compiled to make the final image.

"Considering the front cover is so awesome, we didn't have to revise it. We did talk later about back covers, though, which was a great conversation, because Flux does some really amazing back covers for paperback originals. I love how they think out of the box like that, but I'd hoped for a mix for D100D--something arty but also some copy, because as a reader, I rely heavily on back cover copy when I'm buying a book.

"Keep in mind I came into this as a hard-to-please art school grad with a decent eye and a love of beautiful book covers. This cover couldn't be more spot on. I mean, down to the boat and girl sitting in an eye socket of a skull. I can't imagine a better cover for the story inside the cover. You'll know what I mean when you read it!

"Also, I have had, since 25 years ago, a weakness for red boots. Especially seriously cool red boots. (Like the big chunky ones with buckles and zippers and big metal-y bits.) Thing is--no one knew this. (Of course. It's not the kind of thing that comes up when talking to your editor, you know?) And here came this cover with Saffron in a pair of killer red boots. It was one of the first things I noticed."

Very cool! Here's a photo of A.S.'s favorite red boots:


Alea the Pop Culture Junkie did a Lookalikes post about this cover last fall, and The Book Nymph has another version of the cover story with different details (and a shark attack tale), so check those out.

I just love this cover (I'm a sucker for the classic black-white-red color combo)! What do you guys think?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks

For Your Younger Siblings
Pandora Gets Lazy by Carolyn Hennesy
The Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell (coming out in June)
Amanda Pig and the Wiggly Tooth by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger
Amy Hodgepodge #1: All Mixed Up by Kim Wayans and Kevin Knotts, illustrated by Soo Jeong
Kenny and the Dragon written and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Knuckleheads by Joan Holub, illustrated by Michael Slack

This Month's Spotlighted Title
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photo Friday: Rocking the Drop!

We wanted to feature just a few of the many people who participated in Operation Teen Book Drop '09 by rocking their own awesome drops around town. THANK YOU! (And thanks to The Brown Bookshelf for that awesome image which totally captures the spirit of drop-rocking!)

Claire Mysko, author of You're Amazing: A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self, says, "Here I am The Grove in LA. I found a bench right between Anthropologie and Forever 21, where there was quite a bit of teen traffic!"

The delightful Miss Erin went to Baskin Robbins for a three-book drop!

Jen Funk Weber went to a mall in Anchorage to drop Band Geek Love by Josie Blass in front of the movie theater, and then leave Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle in the skating rink. Cool! (Read her full blog post here).

Sarah Anne Sumpolec, author of the Becoming Beka series, let her adorable daughter do the dropping!

Beth Kephart, author of the postergirlz-recommended Undercover, left three copies of House of Dance at her old middle school (read her blog post here).

I put a couple of my books around NYC. Did you Rock the Drop? Tell us all about it!

PS-Also thanks to Seventeen magazine for covering the drop and Teen Lit Day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nikki Grimes: A One-Woman Hurricane of Change

Hello, readergirlz! Here's a repost from my blog. Please feel free to repost!


Meet one of my writer-mentors, Nikki Grimes, a NY Times bestselling author and Coretta Scott King award winner. She is brilliant and fierce and 100% heart.

She called me last night to check in on me, shored me up with some solid advice, and then told me her chilling story. Just nine days after speaking at a school in Arkansas, the entire town was leveled by a hurricane. "Cherish every day," she told me. "Every day."

Nikki is a woman after my own heart. She is singlehandedly spearheading her own Operation Teen Book Drop by trying to replenish that school's devastated collection of young adult titles. So if you didn't rock the readergirlz drop and still have YA books lying around that are in need of a good home, consider sending a few of them here:

Jimma Holder
Literacy Specialist
Mena Public Schools
501 Hickory
Mena, AR 71953
Today, I am grateful to be surrounded by friends who are changemakers. Who are forces of nature. Who live by their words and actions.


~justina, readergirlz diva

Hope: Courtney Sheinmel

Thank you, Little Willow, for asking me to describe what "hope" means to me.

I've been struggling to put it into words. Life is such a strange, unpredictable, and often difficult thing – there's a lot to be scared of and of course there's great sadness. It seems like a natural response to just be depressed and want to give up. But hope is the antidote to that. It's the reason to live, the ability to look forward, to expect a lot and believe things will work out. I have always had an elaborate fantasy life. My friends have made fun of me when I've described, often in great detail, my winning the lottery, accepting the Newbery Award, or being invited backstage at a Madonna concert. When you hope, you are setting yourself up for disappointment; but hope is continuing to have faith in your wildest dreams.

My book, Positively, is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Emmy who is HIV-positive and who lost her mother to AIDS. I know it's a really sad story, but I think it's mainly about hope – losing hope, and finding it again.

- Courtney Sheinmel

View all posts labeled with hope.

April: The IMPULSE Soundtrack

As discussed last night in our awesome LIVE! chat, Ellen Hopkins has chosen an amazing and eclectic soundtrack this month for Impulse. Here's a peek at who's on it--you can play it in the right sidebar, or hit up this month's issue for automatic listening action.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

rgz LIVE! with Ellen Hopkins

The chat will open at 6:00 Pacific! Join in!

Are You The King of the Screwups?

KL Going's King of the Screwups is getting rave reviews, and now KL is holding a huge contest that asks you to confess your biggest screwup in a paragraph or more! If she laughs hysterically, or cries in sympathy, you just might be a winner!

Here are the deets:

Contest runs: April 1st - June 30th 2009
Grand prize: $100 gift certificate to your local independent bookstore, Borders, or Barnes & Noble, plus a complete set of autographed KL Going YA books.

Three runners-up will receive an autographed copy of King of the Screwups.

You must be 12 or older to enter--good luck, readergirlz!

PS-Read a few chapters of King of the Screwups here. We dare you not to laugh out loud.

Earth Day Every Day!

Celebrate Earth Day every day! Here are just a few ways you can help protect this planet of ours and inspire others to do the same.

Every single time you go to throw something away, take a moment to consider how you could recycle, reduce, or reuse that item. Don't just toss things in the trash.

Be creative! Use that empty oatmeal canister to store fruit or jewelry or socks - but not all at the same time - or make it into a drum!

Recycle everything that you can - newspapers, plastic bottles, tin cans, everything. Check containers to see if they can be recycled and either take them to a local recycling center or, if you have separate trash bins for recyclables and greenery, use them properly and encourage your family and neighbors to do the same.

Bring your own canvas bags to the grocery store and other shops.

Buy locally grown and/or organic foods. After a meal, give those uneaten bread crusts to the creatures outside. I know, I know, you don't want to attract raccoons and such into your yard, but maybe you can feed the ducks at the pond or give seeds to birds or offer those crumbs to the critters at a local park. If possible, make a compost pile. I admittedly don't have a compost pile, but I buy day-old bread and feed wild squirrels almost every week when it's good weather. (The folks at Seven-Imp know all about this!)

Get a reusable beverage container and keep it with you. Summer's coming, so it's time to hydrate even more than usual! (Those of you that know me well won't be surprised to learn that one of my reusable bottles, that which goes to and from theatres, auditions, and rehearsals with me, is decorated with Tinker Bell.)

Eat at home and you'll save time and money, spend more time with your loved ones, and consume healthier foods. If you have to eat at work or school, pack your food in a reusable lunchbag or lunchbox, and include reusable utensils, plates, and containers.

When making purchases of any kind, look for items made of recycled and/or organic materials. Try not to buy things with excessive, wasteful packaging. Consider what it is that you're getting. Do you really need things to be individually wrapped?

Before you print something out, think about whether or not you really need to print it. If not, DON'T. Save that ink and that paper. When you do have to use paper, always use both sides, then recycle it when you're done with it.

Walk whenever you can, wherever you can.

Use public transportation whenever you can.

Carpool to and from work, school, and other places.

Exercise daily. Make an effort to MOVE MORE. Take a walk at lunch and/or before or after work, especially if you have a job where you sit all day. WALK. WALK. WALK. Also run, or run-walk, or hike. Ride a bicycle, a tricycle, a skateboard, a scooter - whatever works for you and runs solely on the power of your own two feet (and arms, and heart, and lungs...) Make it part of your daily exercise routine. If you include friends or family members, you're more likely to meet your goals because you will be challenging and encouraging each other. Whether you are with friends or by yourself, make sure that you have the proper safety equipment (helmet, kneepads, armpads, etc) - plus that trusty reusable drinking container filled with fresh, cool water, and good-for-you snacks, like dried fruit or granola bars! If you're going on a big hike or biking an offbeat trail or something like that by yourself, please, please make sure someone knows where you are, because I get really worried when I picture you doing that alone.

After you read this post, GET UP AND WALK AROUND YOUR HOUSE. (I mean walking around inside, but if you actually go outside and walk around the perimeter of your house, give yourself kudos, and give me photographic evidence, videotaped proof, or something.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Earth Day, I'll give you a brief history: The United Nations celebrates Earth Day annually on the March equinox, inspired by activist John McConnell in 1969. In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day as an environmental "teach-in," and it is celebrated annually on April 22nd in the United States and other countries.

Again I say: Earth Day every day!

I have also posted this at Bildungsroman, my personal blog.

Bonus Book: Looking for a cool book to share with your family or your students? Read Julie and the Wolves by Megan McDonald in your classroom, library, or home!

Flashback: Check out the readergirlz Community Challenge: Go Eco from June 2007.

Peace Over Violence presents Denim Day

Every year, Peace Over Violence presents Denim Day, a campaign to raise awareness and educate the public about rape and sexual assault. Here's more information about the event:

In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans. People all over the world were outraged. Wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

In 2007, 300,000 people signed up to wear jeans in support of raising awareness about the need to end sexual violence.

In 2008, on the 10th Annual Denim Day, over 600,000 individuals, 350 organizations, 75 businesses, 110 schools, 40 cities in LA county and representatives from over 20 states signed up to support the sexual violence prevention and education campaign Denim Day in LA and Denim Day USA 2008.

On Denim Day, wear your jeans as a visible sign of protest against the myths that still surround sexual assault!

Learn the statistics. Download the press kit.

Also visit Safe Horizon, an organization whose mission is "to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities."

I encourage you to wear jeans on Denim Day no matter where in the world you live!

For recommended books and other notes, keep reading this post at my blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Giveaway: 3 Copies of Flirtin' with the Monster

We're excited to have three copies of Flirtin' with the Monster (May 2009) to give away this week, courtesy of BenBella Books.

Our featured author Ellen Hopkins served as editor to a host of other writers as they explore her books Crank and Glass, from the straight truth on the physical effects of methamphetamine addiction to the psychological consequences of keeping secrets (and how Hopkins' books have encouraged so many teens to reveal theirs).

Flirtin with the Monster includes an essay by Ellen's real-life daughter (the basis for the character of "Kristina") that tells her version of the events that inspired the books--along with perspectives from "Scott," "Jake," and ten-year-old "Hunter," the baby from Crank.

Plus, all these voices weigh in: Niki Burnham, Cinda Williams Chima, Terri Clark, Gail Giles, Megan Kelley Hall, Susan Hart Lindquist, Micol Ostow, Mary Bryan (drug counselor), John Tatro (criminal court judge).

Hearing from experts, authors and even "characters"? What a great way to delve more deeply into Ellen's awesome books!

For a chance to win one of the three copies we have, make sure you're a follower of the readergirlz blog, and tell us below what other books you'd like to delve this deeply into! (Good news: Mind-Rain, an exploration of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, is out in June 2009). We'll pick three winning commenters at random next week.

Good luck, readergirlz!

PS-The winner of the final week of the 5-week contest, as announced during our LIVE! chat last week, is Paradox! Congratulations, P!

Books, Music, and People: an awesome combo

The best part of the weekend after coming down from Operation TBD?

Getting to see Kevin Emerson (author of the Oliver Nocturne series and musician extraordinaire) and Andrea Wittgens (yes, that Andrea, the one who donated music to the readergirlz Operation TBD trailer) perform LIVE as Central Services: Board of Education (über-cool indie kids' band), connection courtesy of another excellent Seattle young adult author, Liz Gallagher, author of The Opposite of Invisible.

(Got that?)

It was very cool to get to meet Andrea and thank her in person for generously letting readergirlz use her song. Here I am with Andrea and Liz:

We snapped a video of Central Services performing a little bit of their ode to the Number 8:

We bought the album, and You-Know-Who (age 4) wanted to listen to "The Lonely Tomato" ALL afternoon. But can you blame her? I've been singing about tomatoes in my apple pie, strawberry shortcake, tomato lemonade, guacamole pizza...hey, that actually does sound pretty good. Enjoy!

Holly Cupala

Hope: Holly Cupala

I think of hope as a little piece of eternity that lodges itself in us, orientating us toward what is to come, what can become - exactly the opposite of blame. Blame looks to the past. Hope looks to the future. Loss and hardship can seem meaningless, if we're looking for reasons in the past. Sometimes they are in the future, and we haven’t discovered them yet. They may open doors that would otherwise be sealed. I've found this to be a theme in my writing as well as in my life.

- Holly Cupala

View all posts labeled with hope.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April: Impulse Party!

Throw an Impulse book party with these great suggestions from featured author Ellen Hopkins, who'll be LIVE! here on Wednesday night at 9pm EST/6pm PST! (The magazine-word poem? Inspired.)

Invite: Text-message blast. MySpace bulletin. Facebook event invite.

Food: Veggie platter; crackers and cheese; popcorn

Décor: Scatter words cut from magazines or newspapers in the center of the tables. Find words signifying hope, despair, perfection, stress, depression, mania, etc. Use for craft (below). Also votive candles in glass bowls, signifying hope.

Movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; King of California; A Beautiful Mind

Craft: Use words cut from magazines to create poems. Glue them on construction paper.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Great Scavenger Hunt by Kay Cassidy

kays-contest.gif Had to spread the news about the Great Scavenger Hunt contest from Kay Cassidy, which every library should get in on. Seriously! Basically, readers read a scavenger hunt book, complete the scavenger hunt, and turn it in to their librarian. If they get 8 out of 10 answers correct, the librarian then enters them in the monthly contest.

Then every month, Kay chooses one lucky winner to receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, and their library wins a library prize tote filled with more amazing scavenger hunt books for the library collection.

How cool is this idea?! I made a Scavenger Hunt for Violet on the Runway (find it on this page), and I think I'm gonna make some more! I seriously love, love, love this game.

Spread the word to your libraries, people!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg (This fantastic graphic novel, along with the first volume, The Plain Janes, will be spotlighted at readergirlz in July!)
Positively by Courtney Sheinmel (coming out in September)

For Your Younger Siblings
Charlie & Lola: I Completely Know About Guinea Pigs by Lauren Child, based on Paul Larson and Laura Beaumont
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal (coming out in May)
Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler

This Month's Spotlighted Title
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Activate America

It's time to Activate America! From the YMCA website:

"Activate America® is the YMCA's bold approach to directly address our nation's growing health crisis. Our mission compels us to transform the way we work, both internally and externally, to support all kids, adults, families and communities in their pursuit of well-being in spirit, mind and body. In addressing America's unprecedented health crisis, the YMCA is best equipped to influence change in individuals and in our communities to proactively address this health crisis, which is central to the achievement of our mission."

Today is the 18th annual YMCA Healthy Kids Day. Over 1,700 YMCAs nationwide are hosting events either today or coming up soon. Check to see if there's an event in your neck of the woods.

Get up and get out today. Make sure you eat well, and remember to hydrate as you exercise. Take a hike with your friends, ride a bike or walk instead of driving, play a pick-up game of some kind - get moving!