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!

Monday, September 29, 2014

rgz tour: #hitwithgratitude

The concept of #hitwithgratitude began with the release of my young adult novel HIT coinciding with the release of Justina Chen's YA novel release, A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS. As close friends, critique partners, and co-founders of readergirlz, it was a short leap to the thought of going on tour together. Rather than rgz coming to us, we'd go to you all!

To join two houses, 
Blink Young Adult Books and Little Brown Books for Young Readers, would be novel. Yet, with a love of literacy, two books releasing so close together, the support of two houses, and being besties ourselves, it was an easy decision to hit the road side-by-side. 

How about the hashtag #hitwithgratitude? Where did that come from? Justina and I a few years before had taken a 
test, springing from Shawn Achor's book THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE. We discovered out of more than 20 personal strengths, we both ranked Gratitude in our top five abilities. It was interesting, and we filed it away. We also ran across Ann Voskamp's book, ONE THOUSAND GIFTS: A DARE TO LIVE FULLY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE, and we discussed the beauty of numbering our blessings. Personally, I was being hit with wave after wave of chronic illness diagnoses from lupus to rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, while Justina was being hit by an unexpected divorce, being abandoned in China, and finding her long way home. 

In 2014, as Justina read HIT and I read A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS, we were struck by how both novels carried the theme of enduring trial with a thankful heart. A theme we've shared with readergirlz across the country since our beginning in 2007. We chatted about choosing to be BETTER NOT BITTER and choosing PRAISE NOT PITY. There was room to be thankful in the midst of trial: not because of it (that would be irrational), not in spite of it (that would be grim determination), but thanks in the midst of it, knowing there is a greater purpose and lessons to be learned.

With #hitwithgratitude, we set out initially on tour with our books to encourage readers of all ages to hit back with gratitude even when hit by heartache, loss, and physical testing. As time passes, we'll likely travel together around the globe more, carrying the same injunction. Along the way, we'll meet with readergirlz, media, librarians, teachers, students, and book clubs of all ages. We'll exchange stories, listening wholeheartedly, and encourage everyone to share a pic, a text, a video, or a post with the hashtag: #hitwithgratitude. Sharing, our personal gratitude we can hit, encourage one another, with our thanks...over and over...and over. 

Join us, rgz. Let's run and #hitwithgratitude!

Hit-and-Run: the Gratitude Tour
Portland: October 2
Yakima: October 3, 4
Launch Party, Sumner, WA: October 7
Tempe: October 16-18
South TX: November 12-16
YALSA Symposium: November 15

(If you'd like to contact us regarding a visit, virtual or personal, jot an email to lorieanngroveratclearwiredotnet. We'd love to see you, rgz, and share a bit of our gratitude for each one of you!)

Monday, September 22, 2014


Adult/Teen Librarian Danielle Dreger-Babbitt from Mill Creek Library WA is here to Roar with readergirlz for Banned Books Week
Welcome Danielle.

Tell us about Banned Books Week
Banned Book Week was started 32 years ago to celebrate the freedom to read after more and more books were being challenged in libraries and schools. According to the American Librarian Association, over 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982. Over 200 of them happened in 2013! You can learn more about Banned Book Week on the ALA website.

What do you do to spread the word about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom Issues?
I do a banned book display each year.  My favorite displays are the ones I did in 2011 when library patrons wrote about their favorite banned books and the 2012 display that took up a whole shelving unit. I love being able to showcase these banned and challenged books.

Along with each year’s display, I include Banned Book lists and pamphlets as well as bookmarks and buttons for library customers to take home. We’ve had essay contests where readers write about their favorite challenged or banned books and win copies of banned books. When I visit the middle schools to talk about books in the fall I often bring along books that have been challenged from other parts of the country and have the students guess why they might be banned or challenged.

Readers Roar: (Let’s hear what teens have to say about banned books)
“If people read the books before they banned them, they might have a better understanding of why the book is important. If you ban a book, it only makes me want to read it more.”- Jessica, Grade 11

Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
Some of my favorite banned and challenged books include Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Shine and TTYL by Lauren Myracle, and 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  And my absolute favorite banned/ challenged book is Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Most teens are amazed to hear that it has been taken out of some schools and libraries!
What can readergirlz do to celebrate Banned Books Week?
Check out the activities on the BannedBooksSite . Readergirlz can celebrate their freedom to read by reading one or two banned or challenged books during Banned Book Week. Bonus points for reading these all year long, not just in September and for sharing these titles with their friends and family.
More ideas from readergirlz diva Janet Lee Carey: Grab your favorite Banned Book and RIP = Read in Public. Do a selfie while reading your favorite banned book and post it on your favorite social networks. Use twitter hashtag #BannedBooksWeek and @readergirlz when you post on twitter.
Use the site Support Banned Books Week  to add a temporary banner below your profile photo. Divas Janet Lee Carey and Justina Chen's photos:  


ONE LAST BIG ROAR from guest poster, Danielle
The best way to support libraries is to use them! Check out books and DVDs and CDs, use the databases to find information, and attend as many library programs and events as your schedule allows. By doing these, you are showing us that you think libraries are important. There are many ways to give back to your library. Consider becoming a volunteer or join the library board or Friend’s Group.  Teens can join the library’s Teen Advisory Board and help make decisions about future library programs and purchases. You can also donate books to the library for the Friends of Library Book Sale. The money from these sales supports library programs and special events!
About Danielle Dreger-Babbitt
I’ve been a teen librarian for over 10 years and have worked in libraries in Massachusetts and Washington. I’ve been an Adult/ Teen Librarian at the Mill Creek Library for over 5 ½ years. I’ve been active in ALA’s YALSA   (Young Adult Library Services Association) for the last decade and have served on committees including Outreach to Teens With Special Needs, The Schneider Family Book Award, and most recently The Alex Awards, for which I was the 2014 committee chair.

In my spare time I write for children and teens. I love to read YA and MG fiction and cooking memoirs/ cookbooks. I own two cats and two badly behaved (but adorable) dogs. I also love to travel and recently visited Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.

Let’s Link:
Sno-Isle Teen Blog 

Thanks again for the terrific Banned Books post for readergirlz, Danielle!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Diva Delight: A Monster Calls and Rhyme Schemer

Don't miss these even if they are catalogued in middle grade. A good story is a good story, right? When I picked up both of these works, from the first pages there was that feeling of instantly knowing these are brilliant books. These are the ones to savor and then share. Go. Find. Them.

"At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined."

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press, 2013

"Kevin has a bad attitude. He's the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he's even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on? Rhyme Schemer is a touching and hilarious middle-grade novel in verse about one seventh grader's journey from bully-er to bully-ee, as he learns about friendship, family, and the influence that words can have on people's lives."

Rhyme Schemer
by K. A. Holt
Chronicle Books, 2014

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Movie Party: The #AMITY trailer is here!

Hello readergirlz!

As you may know, my latest book, Amity, released last week from Egmont USA. Melissa was kind enough to share my cover story with you then, and today, I'm THRILLED to be able to reveal my book trailer! We're only about 8 weeks out from Halloween, so why not start getting in the spirit with a spooky video (and some creepy reads) now?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Watch for it: Be a Changemaker

“We've had the civil rights movement and the women's movement—now it's time for the youth movement. Today, youth everywhere are rising up, building new organizations, and creating the changes they want to see in their communities and around the world. Be a Changemaker gives readers the tools and confidence they need to affect real change.”
“BE A CHANGEMAKER is a how-to guide for young social entrepreneurs who want to effect social change in their communities and around the world. Equal parts instruction and inspiration, the book will include tools and tips, exercises, and profiles of teens who’ve already been there, done that.”

Laurie Ann Thompson  swings by readergirlz today to chat with readergirlz cofounder, Janet Lee Carey about her new book.


JLC - Welcome Laurie! It’s good to have you’re here. Tell us what inspired you to write this book.

LAT - I was that kid who wanted desperately to save the world, but I had no idea where to start or even that I actually could. I didn’t come to discover my own power until I was in my 30s, and I didn’t think anyone should have to wait that long! In fact, I believe the world needs everyone to start making their own changes much sooner than that. I wrote Be a Changemaker to inspire teens as well as give them the tools they need to start creating the changes they care about—right now.

JLC - What can readergirlz learn from these committed teens? 

LAT - I hope they can start to see themselves in the various profiles included in Be a Changemaker. I interviewed young people from age 9 through young adults, from across the United States and around the world, and from a variety of racial and economic backgrounds. If they can do it, readergirlz can, too!

JLC – I agree! Anything else you’d like to add about the book?

LAT - In addition to the inspirational profiles of young people who have already created change, Be a Changemaker is loaded with practical advice, templates, examples, anecdotes, and resources to help readergirlz jump right in and start making their change.

JLC – Can you share some excerpts? 

“How many times have you complained about something but done nothing to fix it? Or noticed something and thought, Someone should do something about that? We all have those thoughts sometimes. And it’s okay, because none of us can solve every problem we encounter. But guess what . . . you’re someone. And when you set your mind to it, you absolutely can do something that matters.”
 (Chapter 1)

“‘Even though I can’t [completely] stop poverty, war, or rainforest destruction,’ Change the World Kids co-founder Phebe Myers says, ‘I’m a changemaker.’ As their motto goes, ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’” (Chapter 15)

Change the World Kids 

“’Don’t hesitate because you feel like you have to have the whole model or long-term vision figured out and on a massive scale,’ says Jackie Rotman. ‘You can start small. Just start!’ She adds that after almost eight years of steady work, Everybody Dance Now! has achieved things she never even envisioned when she began the project.” (Chapter 17)
Everybody Dance Now
JLC Anything else?
LAT I’d like to invite readergirlz to come and participate in the Q&A section on the Be-a-Changemaker website where we’re hoping to have an ongoing conversation between young changemakers at various stages in their journeys. Even if you’re just thinking about it, and you’re at the brainstorming stage about what you’d like to do, we would welcome your ideas.
JLC Thanks for this book highlighting innovative teen changemakers, Laurie. May their example inspire a wave of teen outreach worldwide.
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters   
By Laurie Ann Thompson
Simon Pulse/Beyond Words, 9/14