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!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Graceling and Hipwritermama

Hey rgz!

Postergirl Hipwritermama

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has a most excellent interview up at her site with Kristin Cashore AND the publisher is offering 10 Graceling books as a giveaway!


Run over and check it out! The deadline is Wednesday!And let me just say you are going to need a copy of Graceling in the near future at rgz. *squeee*

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Miss Erin in a MOVIE!

Standing "O" for postergirl Miss Erin, rgz! I just saw this at her blog:



THE MOVIE WILL BE DIRECTED BY GLENN WITHROW. IT'S GOING TO STAR HALLIE TODD (!!!) AND MYSELF WITH A GROUP OF OTHER GIRLS. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll know that those are two of my favorite people (and heroes/mentors) on EARTH.


Check out her full report here. *running around the room and squeeing for our Miss Erin*

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May 2009: Laura Resau

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

Welcome, Laura Resau
Poetry Friday: Red Glass
Have you ever taken a trip that changed your life?
What have you overcome?
Clothes or jewelry that make a difference?
Unusual behavior
What's your heritage?
Red Glass Party
Unexpected Reactions
rgz LIVE!
Older Female Inspirations
Looking Past Assumptions
Gracias, Laura

Family: Micol and David Ostow

Helping me close out this month's family series are siblings Micol and David Ostow.

Rumor has it I was less-than-thrilled about the birth of my baby brother. The details are hazy to me, seeing as I was three at the time, but the story goes that I'd been staying with my grandparents while my mother was in the hospital. We got the call that she'd given birth, and my father announced to me that I had a new little brother. To which I replied, "I want to live with Grandma and Grandpa now." 1

That pretty much set the tone in our relationship from childhood through the college years.2 I'm not sure what changed exactly, or when, but these days my brother is not only my writing partner3 but also one of my very best friends. And I have learned that a bonus in working with a partner who also happens to be your brother is that you are granted carte blanche to occasionally revert to your five-year-old self amidst times of stress.

Family has to love you, even when you're not being a mature and professional adult-type person.4

1. (It didn't fly.)
2. (His, not mine.)
3. (SO PUNK ROCK, an illustrated novel, due out this July!)
4. (Thank GAWD!)

- Micol Ostow

I disagree with Micol. Family does not have to love you. My very unscientific observations suggest that the odds of being born into a community of people who are prepared to love you for who you are and who – in their tolerance – deserve the same, are fairly slim.

For better and for worse, we Ostows have beaten those odds.

For better because the freedom to pursue our chosen paths has given Micol and me not only a clear perspective on our own selves, but on one another as well. And it turns out we're not so different. Our shared sense of entitlement, cynicism to the world at large, and tendency to laugh at the expense of others are the keys to any success with which So Punk Rock is met. Without the opportunity to harness all this negative energy and to deflect it outwards, Micol would still be throwing blunt objects at me – as she did when we were children - and I would still be sleeping with one eye open.

For worse because, having given us carte blanche to explore our creative sides, our parents paved the way for a long history to come of sibling competition. This was first evident when my sister, age 10, declared that she "could write circles around anything I drew." At the time, my 7-year-old self couldn’t make sense of the figurative nature of this comment and could scarcely understand why Micol wouldn't prefer the more standard medium of ruled paper to my pretty good drawing of Garfield which didn't call for any embellishment as far as I could tell. At 30 years old, I think I finally understand what she was getting at, and let’s just say the race is on to see who can exploit their talent faster and more effectively. (She's winning so far.)

Luckily - and perhaps in anticipation of this - our parents bequeathed to us another long-standing Ostow family institution: Therapy.

- David Ostow

Visit the websites for Micol, David, and So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother)

Follow the series of family posts.

Gracias, Laura Resau!

Here's a big gracias to the awesome Laura Resau for joining us at readergirlz this month! Red Glass touched us in so many ways, and I'd like to quote from the book a little. This is a message we can carry into our days, weeks and years:

"I felt taller, as if my whole life, I'd let fear cram me into a small box, a space so tiny I was always curled over, my shoulders hunched, my back bent. That box had seemed too strong to break through, so I hadn't tried before. But maybe, all along, the box was just flimsy cardboard, and all I had to do was stand up, punch through the top, and climb out." (p. 203)

Having Laura here this month has been inspiring. Thank you, Laura, for hanging out with readergirlz!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Latino Images in Film: Rita Moreno

All month long, Turner Classic Movies has spotlighting Latino Images in Film as part of their Race & Hollywood series. In addition to airing an amazing lineup of classic and contemporary films featuring Latino actors and cultural storylines, they have also taped interviews with actors such as Edward James Olmos, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno, and John Saxon. I absolutely loved the interview with Rita Moreno, in which she discusses stereotypes and getting (or not getting) certain roles.

Watch the video with Rita.

Visit the Latino Images in Film website.

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
Warrior Princess by Frewin Jones

For Your Younger Siblings
Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw

This Month's Spotlighted Title
Red Glass by Laura Resau

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rgz Street Team: Vanessa Reviews GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow

The rgz Street Team is a group of teens who bring YA reviews to our blog, led by Postergirl Miss Erin. Find out more.

Today, Vanessa reviews GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow:

Written entirely in blog posts and status updates, GoldenGirl is definitely a modern story. Describing the lives of girls who would normally be upper class boarding school snobs, the blog aspect made the characters easy to understand in a way I've never experienced before with the 'mean girl' character. Being inside Spencer's head gave me a chance to learn what she was really going through and why she acted the way she did.

Neatly enough, the story doesn't end when the last page is turned, and no that's not just because book two is coming out soon - Bradford Prep continues online. The very blogs mentioned between the covers actually exist on the internet with additional information from the characters. Most of the girls even have Twitter and Facebook accounts too! Not only is the story fun to read, but it's interactive to boot.

Take a look at bradfordprep.com for a peek, then read the book for yourself.

[Adding the book trailer for fun!]:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Attention writergirlz: Summer Revision Smackdown!

Hey readergirlz: are you writergirlz, too? Have you written a story and need a licorice lash to get going on revision? If so, you're invited to come on over to diva Holly's blog for the Summer Revision Smackdown!

Post your goals, crack the whip alongside some fabulous writers, get tips from the experts, and win prizes! See the Smackdown post for all the details on how to participate. I hope to see some of you there!

Things to Know About Featured Author Laura Resau

The amazing Laura Resau, author of Red Glass, has shared a few things about herself with us:

On the nightstand: Orange ChapStick, notebook to record dreams, The Hunger Games (amazing book!)

Favorite drink while you write: Hot tea with lots of honey and milk

Pets: Half-corgi-half-lab named Luli. She's short and long and bratty - she gets lots of laughs.

Place to write: My *sweet lil fifties rig* - a cozy silver trailer in my driveway

Dream book tour: How about a series of candlelit readings in remote caves around the world? Getting there would be an adventure for everyone.

Favorite outfit: A très chic strapless silk dress I discovered last summer at a street market in Aix-en-Provence, France. Always looking for excuses to wear it — not easy here in Colorado -- the land of Polarfleece and Tevas.

WOW. I so want to meet Laura's dog, write in her rig and go to her candlelit cave readings (maybe even wearing her strapless dress). You guys? Find out more on readergirlz.com!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Nominee

Quick note: How cool is it that the new Supreme Court nominee (federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor, left) is Latina, and during our big month celebrating Latin culture? Readergirlz and President Obama = same wavelength. It's history making!

Family: Lesley M.M. Blume

The literary family that I've adored continuously - from childhood to the present -- is J.D. Salinger's Glass family. I still really love that one footnote in Franny and Zooey" that describes each of the seven children: Franny, Zooey, Walter, Waker, Boo Boo, Buddy, and of course, Seymour. When I was at Cambridge, I wanted to stage a play based on 'Franny and Zooey,' but then I heard that Salinger sues the hell out of anybody who tries to dramatize anything based on the Glass family, so that was that.

I was amazed, then, when Wes Anderson dished up a remarkably similar family of child geniuses in his film The Royal Tenenbaums -- and came through it unscathed by Salinger's legal team. I loved the Tenenbaums with as much gusto as I loved the Glasses - from Margot with her play dioramas to Chad with his dalmation mice to Richie with his ballroom of paintings.

If I had to put my finger on what attracts me to these families, I'd have to say it's their combination of unbridled creativity and utter dysfunction. The narrative of enormous-yet-squandered brilliance and potential has always been very interesting to me, and I explore it a lot in my own writing. The Glasses and Tenenbaums have also been a big influence on me as I've created my own child-savant characters in my books: Cornelia in Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters is an expert in words; Franny in The Rising Star of Rusty Nail is a piano prodigy; and the title character in Tennyson is an uncannily sharp writer whose talents belie her age.

-- Lesley M.M. Blume

Follow the series of family posts.

The Teen Author Carnival in NYC THURSDAY May 28th!

Some very Awesome YA fans, those of the aptly named Five Awesome YA Fans ning, have put together quite a carnival of teen authors. So if you're in NYC this Thursday from 4-6pm, stop by the Jefferson Market Branch of the NY Public Library ( 425 Avenue of the Americas) and party with us! Who's on the guest list? See below. I can't tell you what the categories mean... I haven't found out myself (Though I'm glad to be a Caramel Apple). What I can tell you is this: It's going to be F-U-N. Come!

Maureen Johnson
Robin Wasserman
Melissa Anelli
Carolyn MacCullough
Brian Sloan
Michelle Zink
Emma McLaughlin
Nicola Wheir
Beckie Weinheimer
Lauren Barnholdt
Robyn Schneider
Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Libba Bray
Jenny Han
Sarah MacLean
Melissa Walker
Sasha Watson
Pam Bachorz
Greg Neri
David Ostow
Micol Ostow
Sarah Cross
Tish Cohen
Jessica Burkhart


Cassie Clare
PG .Kain
David Levithan
Taylor Morris
Linda Gerber
Elizabeth Scott
Claudia Gray
Cinda Chima
Michel Northrop
Aimee Friedman
Susane Colosonti
Coe Booth

Monday, May 25, 2009

Family: Beth Kephart

Every meaningful relationship is born of, and returns to, trust. Family, for me, is composed of the people whom I trust. So that my husband, son, father, and siblings are there in my heart home, absolutely. But so are those with whom I dance two times a week - the teachers with whom I feel free to make mistakes, the other dancers who yearn as much as I do. Sometimes I don't even know what we are all yearning toward - I can't name it or define it. But I look around and I understand that we are all in that same wanting place, and that we trust each other, and that the conversations we are having, the lives we are living, will be tangled up together for a long time. That we are, in other words, family.

- Beth Kephart

Follow the series of family posts.

May: Looking Past Assumptions

One theme in The Little Prince quotes in Red Glass is that what's essential is invisible. Can you think of a time in your life when you had to look past surface appearances to find what was most important? Have you ever made an assumption about a person, and then, after you've gotten to know him or her, had a different impression?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

For Your Younger Siblings
The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
It's Not Fair by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Elephant & Piggie: Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems
Amanda Pig, First Grader by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger
Fairy School Dropout by Meredith Badger

This Month's Spotlighted Title
Red Glass by Laura Resau

Friday, May 22, 2009

Peace, Swings, & Book Giveaways!

I dared author Lauren Myracle to describe her newest book, Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks, solely in song titles - and she did! Only she didn't list the arists - just the songs - to test my song-recognizing prowess.

Do YOU recognize the songs and know who sang 'em? Read my interview with Lauren Myracle, figure out who sang what, and then leave a comment with your guesses before midnight PST on Sunday, May 24th. One random commenter will receive a signed copy of Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks. Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to Jenna, who was selected to be the winner!

View the complete Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks playlist.

Fellow postergirl HipWriterMama is, thanks to Candlewick, giving away 10 sets of Jo Knowles' two novels, Lessons From a Dead Girl and Jumping Off Swings! Leave a comment at her blog (after reading the awesome interview and the rules!) before Friday, May 29th.

Family: Holly Cupala

I have always thought of family as reaching beyond genetics and including friends. Several years ago, I realized family was even more. My husband and I lost our first daughter at birth, and I have never seen such an outpouring from our families, friends, colleagues, writing community, neighbors, and complete strangers. They called and visited. They sent cards. Meals. Flowers. Books. Every expression of kindness imaginable, to let us know we were not alone. When I think of that time, I think as much of the love as I do of the sadness. Now I know: a family is defined by love.

- Holly Cupala

Follow the series of family posts.

The Defining Twilight Contest

Brian Leaf, author of Defining Twilight: Vocabulary Workbook for Unlocking the SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT (Wiley), is hosting a contest that sounds pretty darn cool.

Your job is to write a creative essay of no more than 1,000 words that incorporates the eight words listed on Brian's contest page.

You can write Twilight fan fiction or an entirely original essay. Each essay will be judged based on: correct and effective use of the eight vocabulary words, creativity, clear communication of ideas, correct syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Oh yeah, it's serious grammar time. There are three age categories and five winners in each category. (First prize is $500 and a copy of the book; second prize is $50 and a copy of the book).

Deadline: Essays are due on or before Friday, July 31st.

Good luck, readergirlz! Find the full rules and info here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May: Older female inspirations

Sophie is blessed to know and love Dika, an older woman with a zest for living and complete acceptance of her body. Dika has lived through immense trials, but she has a joy for the day she's been given.

Do you have anyone in your life like Dika? Psst: what does she look like?

Cover Stories: The Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby

zombie.jpg This is Amanda Ashby's second Cover Story (read the story behind You Had Me at Halo here), and we're happy to have her talk about the striking cover for her latest release, The Zombie Queen of Newbury High:

"I didn't even think about the cover while I was writing this book--firstly because it wasn't contracted so my main concern was to get it finished (without getting eaten by zombies) and then hope that my agent might be able to sell it (and yay--she did!). The other reason is that I'm really not a very visual person so it's never been part of my process to think about what the finished product might look like.

"My editor told me that even though the book was quite light and humorous they wanted to go for a slightly darker cover, which I was totally up for! The only idea I had was a girl sitting in a frothy/tulle sort of prom dress, with loads of zombie arms trying to grab at her legs. I still think that might've been cute but I much prefer the way it turned it out.

"I don't know how they put the photo together though I did see that the designer, Jeanine Henderson is up on Jacketflap. Here are a few of her other cover designs:

jane.jpg paris%20pan.jpg wishes.jpg

"When I first saw my cover, words failed me--that's how much I loved it. And every second I would look at a different part and decide that was my favorite bit. The wilted corsage. The lacy gloves. The black nail polish. The amazing dress (which by the way, I actually wrote into the story. At first Mia wasn't too happy at having to lose her gorgeous blue silk dress but as soon as she tried the new one, she was cool!).

"However, I think my absolute favorite part is the B-grade zombie movie font that was used on the sash. The whole reason I wanted to write a zombie movie was because every time I even said the word I thought of all the old zombie horror movies that my husband had made me watch. So to me that really captured the essence of the idea (not that the designer had any idea of this of course, but it's still cool!)"

I have to say, I LOVE the dark, goth style corsage that Mia has on. What do you guys think of this cover?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mourning for ADAM!

WHAT? Are you kidding me. Bring it on, rgz. ADAM is my American Idol. Period. Exclamation point! What in the world happened? I called for 1 1/2 hours last night!

Diva Lorie Ann is having a very sad moment here, peeps. Here's to Adam. My American Idol.


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May: rgz LIVE! with Laura Resau

Welcome to rgz LIVE! Jump into the party with Laura Resau, the divas, postergirlz, and rgz. Let's celebrate Latina month!

Family: Lorie Ann Grover

Family is either
what you are blessed to be born into
or those people you surround yourself with
who nurture
your body,
and aspirations.

I am flocked by
my natural family,
my Church brethren,
and then dearest friends
that I am thankful
to count as family.

- Lorie Ann Grover

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. ~ Gail Lumet Buckley

Follow the series of family posts.

May: Unexpected Reactions

In Red Glass, Sophie encounters an extremely gross bathroom on her solo trip into Guatemala. She runs outside and ends up laughing hysterically. Why do you think she does this? What's the most shocking (or grossest!) place you've encountered? How did you react? Have you ever had a completely unexpected reaction to something?

PS-Don't forget to join us tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PST...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

National Book Award Judges for 2009

This just in from the National Book Foundation's newsletter:

In Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People's Literature

The National Book Foundation has announced the twenty writers who will serve as judges for the 2009 National Book Awards. These writers are from all across the country and represent a variety of backgrounds and diverse writing styles and include National Book Award Winners and Finalists, two Pulitzer Prize winners, a PEN-USA Award winner, a Whitbread Prize winner, and recipients of Newbery Honors and the Michael L. Printz award.

The Judges for the 2009 National Book Awards:

Young People's Literature panel: Kathi Appelt, Coe Booth, Carolyn Coman, Nancy Werlin (chair), Gene Luen Yang

Woohoo! Let's give it up to these fantastic writers for their service! We can't wait to see the finalists!

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Reminder: The Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys

For the guys

Here's what Colleen says over at GLW, rgz:

"The Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys to benefit the teens held in the LA County Juvenile Justice system is still rocking along! We really appreciate all the help we have gotten thus far and hope that folks will continue to share the link and let those who are unfamiliar with our project know about what we are trying to accomplish. Please read my earlier post on our partnership with InsideOut Writers in LA and how to access the Powells Wish List. Did a book change your life? Well now's the time to pay that literary favor forward."


I just bought Jacqueline Woodson's Locomotion for the teens. It's awesome having the chance to contribute. Just visiting the Wish List is very interesting. So many are affordable, btw.

Standing O for GLW!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Family: Courtney Sheinmel

A few days ago, the two-year-old son of one of my dearest friends was rushed to the hospital. (Before I go any further, let me just tell you that the baby is fine; he got an absolutely clean bill of health.) Moments after the ambulance came, my friend's husband called to tell me what was going on. I dropped the phone, ran outside, got a cab, and raced to the hospital. On the way over, I started to think about what I would tell the receptionist at the ER. I desperately wanted to be with my friend and her son, and I was afraid the emergency room staff wouldn't understand that we were such close friends that really we were family.

The thing is, I've always had a really broad definition of family. I don't think you need to share DNA or be legally related to someone to be their family. Tonight, just before I sat down to write this, I looked the word "family" up in the American Heritage College Dictionary. It was a pretty long entry, so I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing here, but this was my favorite part: "Two or more people who share goals and values, [and] have commitments to each other. . . ."

There are a lot of people in my life who fit this definition, people who are my family in the truest sense of the world, people for whom I am grateful every single day.

When I got to the hospital, I went straight back to the pediatric ER. I spotted my friend sitting on a gurney, the baby asleep in her arms. I sat down next to her, just like I belonged there. A few minutes later, a nurse came over to take the baby's vital signs. He woke up and started to cry. "It's okay,” the nurse said. "Settle down. Your family is here."

Yes, I thought. We are.

- Courtney Sheinmel

Follow the series of family posts.

Mark your calendars and spread the word!

Laura Resau's rgz LIVE chat is coming up this Wednesday, and we've got a new graphic to prove it!

Grab and repost this graphic, and spread the word! We'll be posting rgz LIVE featured book graphics like this every month, so get ready to tell your friends and chat live about great books!


Join Us!

Become one of the readergirlz

Joining readergirlz is simple, really. All you need to have is the love of reading - and the book of the month, of course! Get the book from your local library or bookstore. Then, as you read it, discuss it with other readers right here at the readergirlz blog.

Simply put, readergirlz is an interactive book group, open to all ages (and both genders - we do have readerguys!) But it's so much more than that. Reading a book isn't the same thing as experiencing a book. We want you to read, reflect, and reach out. That's why, every month, we pick a book which features strong, gutsy girls, then go beyond that. We recommend additional titles (see below for our postergirlz picks) and inform you of outreach programs that tie-in to the book we're discussing. Every issue also has an exclusive interview with the author of that month's book as well as a playlist created by the author, discussion questions, and tips on hosting your own book group.

Want to see what books we've spotlighted and discussed before? Browse through our archived issues.

This month, we're discussing Red Glass by Laura Resau. It's a perfect fit for both this month's theme of Family and for Latina Book Month. Find out more about the book by reading the May issue of readergirlz and the Red Glass roundtable discussion between me (Little Willow), Shelf Elf, Lorie Ann Grover, and Holly Cupala.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blog site improvements


Many thanks to diva Holly Cupala for the header of amazingosity! Now everyone can see exactly what we are talking about for the month.

And how cute is this baby slideshow I found for the sidebar? We'll have the postergirlz fab recommends showing all month!

Let us know if you have any thoughts to improve our community at divasatreadergirlzdotcom.


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Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
Re-Gifters by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel (graphic novel)
Prince of Stories by Christopher Golden, Hank Wagner, and Stephen R. Bisette
Fairytales, poems, and other writings by Oscar Wilde

For Your Younger Siblings
The Baby-Sitters Club #118: Kristy Thomas, Dog Walker by Ann M. Martin
The Hollywood Sisters: Truth or Dare by Mary Wilcox
Rissa Bartholomew's Declaration of Independence by Lynda B. Comerford

This Month's Spotlighted Title
Red Glass by Laura Resau

May: Red Glass Party Ideas!

Wanna host a book party in honor of Red Glass? Laura Resau has some ideas for a colorful, musical fiesta!

Invite: Star-shaped invitations with The Little Prince quotes Under the Same Moon, Like Water for Chocolate, El Norte, The Motorcycle Diaries

Food: Mangos, fruitcake (um, if you're not into fruitcake, how about quesadillas?), red Jell-O -- and lime juice squeezed over EVERYTHING!

Décor: Scatter around little white flowers and hard corn kernels, red glass beads or marbles, chicken feathers, a map of the US, Mexico, and Guatemala (to trace Sophie's route)

Movies: Under the Same Moon, Like Water for Chocolate, El Norte, The Motorcycle Diaries

Craft: Learn to dance salsa, meringue, or cumbia; make corn tortillas

Friday, May 15, 2009

Congratulations, Mitali Perkins!


Mitali Perkins as been given an Honor Award from Skipping Stones Magazine.
"There's nothing I enjoy more than a good love story, but I didn't expect to be so emotionally pulled into this tale. I was spellbound by the details ... It was a book that both educated and inspired ..." Editor Françoise Bui

Mitali says:

"This is one of those awards that dovetails with my personal vision as a write', honoring books that 'promote cooperation and cultivate an awareness of our diverse cultures." Thank you, Skipping Stones!"

Give it up for Mitali, rgz! We love Secret Keeper, and our rgz Talent Scout!

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