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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!

2007, Archive



December, 2007



Download postergirl picks as a PDF or JPG
Download diva picks as a PDF or JPG
Download all of the booklists as a DOC

Readergirlz Presents: Best Books for BFF

The holidays are here, readergirlz! And what better gift for your BFF than a book perfect for her passion? The divas, postergirlz, and one fabulous bookseller have teamed together to give you the most excellent shopping list for your BFF, designed by readergirlz divas Dia Calhoun and Lorie Ann Grover.
Is she The Girl Who Saves Her Neck for Edward? Jackie's list will do the trick.
Or maybe she's The Girl Who Dances in Glass Slippers. Dia's list is right on.
Check out our list of ten personalities, print out the PDFs, and then shoot over to your local bookstore. Even better, print out all the lists, hole punch the corner, and tie them together with a ribbon. There may be a book you want for yourself as well! Let the shopping begin!
And remember, check out www.2SMRT4U.com for tips on keeping you safe online. They're giving away way cool FREE rings for you and a friend. Slip a ribbon around the ring and you've got yourself a stand-out present topper.
Consider these bookmarks our gift to you & your BFF and our very personal community service project all rolled in one. Read, reflect, and reach out.
Happy holidays!

Readergirlz Issue 11

Welcome to our December issue. Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller.
The winter holidays are here. Time to slip on your sweater and curl up with your favorite books. Don't forget to put Miss Spitfire and our postergirlz suggested reads, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, and Shining On edited by Lois Lowry, in the book pile by your cozy chair. All month long, join us at our readergirlz MySpace group to talk about Miss Spitfire and our fun December book picks.



Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller
Annie Sullivan was little more than a half blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887. Desperate for work, she'd taken on an impossible job - teaching a child who was deaf, blind, and ferocious as any wild animal. But Helen Keller needed more than a teacher. She needed someone daring enough to work a miracle. If anyone was a match for Helen, it was the girl they used to call Miss Spitfire. For Annie, reaching Helen's mind meant losing teeth as raging fists flew. It meant standing up when everyone else had given up. It meant shedding tears at the frustrations and even more at the triumphs. By telling this inspiring story from Annie Sullivan's point of view, Sarah Miller's debut novel brings an amazing figure to sharp new life. Annie's past, her brazen determination, and her connection to the girl who would call her Teacher have never been clearer.
Miss Spitfire has been nominated in the Middle Grade category of the 2007 Cybils Book Awards.

What People are Saying "Miss Spitfire is everything a historical novel should be--richly imagined, true to its period, and providing an engaging story that will feel completely relevant to modern readers."
-- Teen Reads Too


"In language that often reads like poetry, Miller creates a strong portrait of Sullivan's accomplishments, as well as her character -- volatile, ferociously intelligent, and yearning for love and belonging, just like Helen. [ . . . ] Miller's words reach beyond the historical facts here, encouraging readers to think about the small miracles of connection they can accomplish with words every day."
-- Booklist, starred review


"Debut author Sarah Miller shows us that even the most familiar story can become edge-of-your-seat gripping when the writing's cool and collected."
-- Fuse #8


"This moving story - for all ages - is about how Anne an underprivileged young woman awoke to life and learning the most famous woman of her time. Miss Spitfire is high drama about how language unlocks the world."
-- Richard Peck


"Miller goes well beyond history. She delves into the hearts and minds of her subjects, creating realistic, believable characters. The Kellers' love mingled with despair, Annie's loneliness and her terror of failure, and Helen's frustration and the overwhelming joy of her breakthrough are palpable. Miller brings history to life."
-- VOYA


The While-You-Read Playlist

These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Sarah adds, "I owe BIG thanks to Little Willow, Caitlin, Janet Lee Carey, and Miss Erin for helping with my playlist! Thanks to them, you're not listening to dead German composers or Disney show tunes."
Give - Relient K
Speed of Sound - Coldplay
Give Me the Words to Speak - Aaron Shust
Talk - Coldplay
My Destiny - Katharine McPhee
Water is Wide - Niamh Parson
Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
It Had to Be You - Leon Warner Trio
 
     

Two Live Chats in December
The readergirlz forum is open all day, every day. It's easy to strike up a conversation with other readergirlz all over the world. Post about your favorite books and tell us what you think of this month's spotlighted title. Check it out! Typically, we hold one hour-long chat per month with the author of that month's selected title. This December, join readergirlz on our group forum for not one but two special live chats, first with Sarah Miller, then Deb Caletti a week later. The authors will be present to answer your questions. Guest: Sarah Miller
Date: Tuesday, December 11th
Start Time: 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST
Topic: Reaching into the Past With Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, Sarah Miller has uncovered the hidden gifts Annie Sullivan used to turn Helen Keller from an unruly terror into one of the most renowned women in the world.
Join Sarah as she discusses the challenges and rewards of telling this famous story from a fresh point of view.
Be a Book Winner!
The 10th chatter to post will win a copy of Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller.
The 20th chatter will win Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst.

31 Flavorites Big Scoop

When all the MySpace group sites froze during Deb Caletti's chat night in October, we promised to give our readergirlz another date. Deb Caletti has generously agreed to chat with us this month, so get your scoops ready!
Guest: Deb Caletti
Date: Tuesday, December 18th
Start Time: 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST
Discussing: Her newest release, The Nature of Jade Be a Book Winner! The 10th chatter to post will win a copy of The Nature of Jade. The 20th chatter will win Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst.
Chat with us!


Community Challenge: Best Books for Your BFF

See the top of this issue for full details!
Which booklist suits YOUR best friend? Click on the title of a list, print out the bookmarks, and start shopping!
Postergirl Jen Robinson's list:
For the girl who knows Nancy Drew can take on Sherlock Holmes . . .

Postergirl Miss Erin's list:
For the girl who lives for seven curtain calls . . .

Postergirl Jackie's list:
For the girl who saves her neck for Edward . . .

Postergirl Little Willow's list:
For the girl who has read every book in the library . . .

Postergirl Alexia's list:
For the girl who brews her own magic potions . . .

Readergirlz diva/author Janet Lee Carey's list:
For the girl who rides dragons . . .

Readergirlz diva/author Lorie Ann Grover's list:
For the girl who runs free with verse . . .

Readergirlz diva/author Dia Calhoun's list:
For the girl who dances in glass slippers . . .

Readergirlz diva/author Justina Chen Headley's list:
For the girl who kicks in her stiletto boots . . .

Book buyer Renee Kirkpatrick's list:
For the girl who takes quantum leaps . . .

Download all of the booklists as a Word document.


Shoutout: postergirlz

In honor of this month's theme, Give, the readergirlz divas want to thank our amazing postergirlz and the community of children's lit bloggers who give their valuable time so freely in the name of teen literacy! Thank you for all the reviews, book recommendations, and powerful author interviews.
Blog on. You're keeping lit alive!
Peruse our postergirlz sites:
* Little Willow - Bildungsroman
* Jen - Jennifer Robinson's Book Page * Jackie - Interactive Reader * Miss Erin * Alexia



Because We Like Shiny Objects

Some fun ways to dress up your BFF Bookmarks:
· Cut out your bookmarks with zig-zag scissors or other fun designs
· Decorate with glitter pens, markers, stamps, or stickers
· Spray with a light coat of pearl or glitter paint
· Punch a hole in the corner and tie with a ribbon
· Punch a series of holes around the bookmarks and thread them with a cord
· Punch one small hole in the bookmarks and use a cute brad fastener or ribbon to group them together
· Try something new, and have fun!
Thanks to author Holly Cupala for the tips and tricks. Look to the right, and you'll see her snazzy creations.


Wild for Readergirlz

Sarah Beth Durst was our awesome 32 Flavorite Author in October, ready to step in if we had an emergency. Thankfully, that situation never occurred.
In support of Sarah's participation, we have seven copies of her awesome novel, Into the Wild, to share with you. Two copies will be given away to our live chat winners in December - but that leaves more five books!

So here's the deal. The first five readergirlz who download, print, and decorate the Best Books for Your BFF bookmarks, then post photos of their creations
at the readergirlz forum will win copies of Into the Wild! At the forum, look for the thread titled December: Best Books for Your BFF Photo Shoot and post your pictures there.
We'll also blog your photos so everyone can see your awesomeness.

Get those printers humming, those glue sticks open, and the ribbons unraveling. Ready, set, create!

Postergirlz Recommended Reads

Our December theme is Give. Try these great companion reads. Fiction: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Shining On by Lois Lowry
Non-Fiction:
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
     


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Gather your favorite readergirlz together to discuss Miss Spitfire. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize! Here's how Sarah Miller recommends you celebrate her book with your best readergirlz friends: Invites
Type up the text for your invitations, then convert it to Braille or ASL with these specialty fonts from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
If you print on card stock, you can raise the Braille dots from behind with a dowel or dull pencil.
Choose textured papers embellished with photos of Annie and Helen. Online photo archives are accessible at the American Foundation for the Blind.
Eats
Delight your senses! Make a feast for your fingers with dainty sandwiches and treats you can fit in the palm of your hand. Garnish your plate with refreshing fruits that have distinctive shapes, scents, and textures, like starfruit, pineapple, or kiwi (with skin!)
For dessert, there's Helen's simple favorite: cake. Make it generous -- after a good discussion, you'll deserve more than Helen's customary mouthful.
And to drink? Water, of course! (Why not pep it up -- try sparkling water to give your mouth a little extra zing.)
Decorations
Keep it on the simple side. A few apples and some ivy, perhaps? Twine a length of differently textured ribbon through each place setting. You can also make Braille or ASL place cards. If you want to splurge a little, Annie and Helen both adored fresh flowers. Any kind will do -- just don't forget to take the time to smell and even touch them!
Movies
The Miracle Worker (1962)
Children of a Lesser God
Helen Keller in Her Story (aka The Unconquered)
Wait Until Dark (just for fun!)

Discussion Questions
  1. Annie had to give Helen a hearty dose of tough love to help her learn to behave like a human. Have you ever had to be tough on someone for their own good?
  2. Annie survived a troubled and difficult childhood long before she met Helen Keller. In spite of her shame, Annie's past helped her deal with Helen when others couldn't. Have any of your worst experiences unexpectedly helped you cope with things other people can't handle?
  3. Annie chose to ignore Helen's handicaps and made her live up to the same standards as hearing, sighted children. What impact have other people's high expectations had on you?
  4. Annie quickly realized that one of Helen's greatest handicaps was actually her parents' love and indulgence. Would you have had the courage to stand up to the Kellers?
  5. Helen's frustration at not being able to express herself erupted constantly into fierce temper tantrums. Have you ever felt trapped inside yourself like Helen did?
  6. Annie Sullivan took on a job many people thought was impossible -- even she didn't know if she could do it. What makes you stick to a job no one else thinks is possible?
  7. Annie saw potential in Helen when almost no one else did. Has anyone ever stood behind you that way?

Author Chat

The readergirlz divas had a wonderful talk with Sarah Miller.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?
Sarah Miller: Miss Spitfire got started when I saw The Miracle Worker on stage at the MeadowBrook Theatre in October of 1998. We came to the end, that famous scene with the water pump, and when the audience stood up to applaud, I realized I was crying. I don't do that. And it's not like the climax of the play was a surprise -- I'd seen the movie, and I knew the story -- but for some reason it walloped me that day. When I saw Helen's mind fill with words, I understood for the first time what it was like to be empty of language, and the notion fascinated me. It still does, in fact -- nine years later, I still have the ticket stub, and the movie still makes me cry. Now, I didn't walk out of that theater thinking, "I'm gonna write a book about that!" but I was certain I wanted to know more about Annie and Helen. So that night I went home, broke into the public library (actually, I worked there at the time, so I just let myself in the front door) and picked up Helen's autobiography, The Story of My Life, both film versions of The Miracle Worker, which I promptly watched back-to-back, and before I knew it, I was hooked in my utterly obsessive way. Not long after that I realized there was another side to the Helen Keller story, and at some moment I can't even pinpoint anymore, I decided that was a story I wanted to tell.
Lorie Ann Grover: Please tell us how you researched Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller. Sarah Miller: From the get-go, I read all the books about Annie and Helen I could get my hands on. In an old copy of The Story of My Life, I found the letters Annie wrote during her first weeks with Helen, which of course turned out to be one of my best sources. I was also lucky that my library system had an out-of-print edition of Anne Sullivan Macy, a mostly forgotten gem full of Annie's childhood recollections. Then the snowball really started rolling down the hill, and I began immersing myself in every little thing I could think of related to Annie and Helen. I took all the sign language classes my university offered, taught myself Braille, and changed my major to linguistics. I found out which plays and poets Annie liked best and I read them. I listened to Frank McCourt read Angela's Ashes because the McCourts and the Sullivans both came from Ireland's County Limerick, and I wanted to get a feel for the accent. When I read that Annie's father was a drinking man who recited Gaelic poetry and told his daughter stories from the old country, I read up on Irish mythology and listened to Gaelic music and traditional pub songs. Eventually I even visited the Keller home in Alabama - on what happened to be the 115th anniversary of Helen's breakthrough at the pump.
Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Sarah Miller: My process, once I get the research done, seems to consists of forcing myself to sit down and write until I figure out it's not so bad/hard/awful after all. First drafts are tough for me. I'd much rather tinker and revise, so I try to compromise by simultaneously putting new material down and reworking the previous few days' work. I'm much happier if I can see some improvement as I go. I've had a few bad cases of "I-don't-wanna-and-you-can't-make-me" but I don't think I've ever come down with traditional writer's block. Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why? Sarah Miller: I have a thing for Eleanor Roosevelt. Talk about someone who knew how to give, to stand up for justice, and to fight for the underdog. Besides that -- as if that weren't enough! -- anxiety is a big pain in my neck, and Eleanor Roosevelt is famous for saying we should do one thing every day that scares us. So on a fairly regular basis I grit my teeth and grudgingly say to myself, "This one's for you, Mrs. Roosevelt." Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career? Sarah Miller: You betcha. Laurie Halse Anderson tells kids who want to write to be nice to their parents, and she's not kidding. Let's just say my monthly rent is WAY below market. More seriously, though, I don't know if I would have believed I could write in the first place if my family hadn't told me so from the time I was small. Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Sarah Miller: So far, I've written about real people -- people I'm fascinated with and become quite fond of by the time I'm done. I love the idea of spreading that fascination, and of maybe even forming a sort of vicarious friendship between my characters and my readers. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent this month's theme, Give. Can you please comment on why you think teen girls ought to know about this? Sarah Miller: Here's the interesting thing about Annie Sullivan: she didn't realize she had anything at all to give. She went to Alabama purely out of desperation, taking on a task she hadn't been trained for and didn't know whether she (or anyone else, for that matter) could accomplish. But she gave it her all, and ended up profoundly changing Helen Keller's life. And Helen in turn lobbied to raise awareness and create change for millions of deaf and blind people around the world. That's a pretty fine legacy for a blind girl from the poorhouse. Not only that, Helen gave Annie exactly what she needed most. If you give what you've got, even if it doesn't seem like much, you may be surprised by what comes of it – for yourself and others. Divas: Thank you, Sarah, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website: http://www.sarahmillerbooks.com Discuss the book at the readergirlz forum: http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Sarah Miller: Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature Miss Erin
Little Willow

readergirlz




November, 2007



Readergirlz Issue 10           Welcome to our November issue. Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present our featured author, Dana Reinhardt, and her award-winning book, A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life. As we bundle up against the chill November wind, and roll out the dough for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, readergirlz comes together to celebrate the meaning of Family. Join us at our readergirlz MySpace group to talk with Dana Reinhardt. We'll discuss diverse definitions of family with the author whose book is heralded by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books as "[a] deftly crafted story of family love and human connection." Simone has always felt different, though her life seems pretty normal. Her mom's a lawyer for the ACLU; her dad's a political cartoonist. Her little brother is a jock who seems to know how to do everything just right. Her best friend has a new boyfriend. And Simone has a crush on a really smart and funny guy who spends all his time with another girl. But you can tell what really makes Simone different just by looking at her: She doesn't resemble anyone in her family. She's adopted. She's always known it, but she's never wanted to know anything about where she came from. She's happy with her family just as it is, thank you. Then one day, she meets her birth mother, Rivka, and everything changes.

What People are Saying
"Superbly crafted . . . compelling and strong characters. Asks the big questions about love, about faith, about what it means to be a daughter."
-- School Library Journal, starred review


"This intimate story celebrates family love and promotes tolerance of diverse beliefs. Readers will quickly become absorbed in Simone's quest."
--- Publishers Weekly, starred review


Winner of the Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature

Sidney Taylor Honor Award

Best Books for Young Adults

Finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2006 Cybils Book Awards

Live Chat
Join readergirlz on our group forum for our live chat with Dana Reinhardt at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern on Thursday, November 15th. Dana says our focus will be: Surprise! The Wonderful and Horrible Moments when Something Unexpected Happens and Nothing is Ever the Same. Come talk about the things that have happened in your life that have shaken things up. Or the things you wish would happen to shake things up. Or the things you hope never happen to shake things up. Come talk about why my title for this chat is far too long. Or come talk about anything you want.
Chat with us!

The While-You-Read Playlist


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. 
Not Pretty Enough - Kasey Chambers Still Fightin' It - Ben Folds Save Me - Aimee Man, Supertramp, Jon Brion Thirteen - Big Star High and Dry - Jorge Drexler Breathe Me - Sia
Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright 
   
   

Loving the Impossible

"We picked A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt for readergirlz because Simone finds the courage to look outside of her perfectly normal, happy upbringing, to redefine family and become the person she is rather than the person people expect her to be. She learns to think, rather than just agree with those around her, and she faces the fear she's spent most of her life avoiding.
"I think Simone speaks to me loudly because she's so ordinary, so real, so normal. Yes, she was adopted, but it's not really a big thing with her - it doesn't at all affect her daily life. She chooses to question. To evaluate. To wonder if everything she's just taken for granted is really the right position for her. No person or situation forced her to reevaluate the issues. She got curious. Most people endeavor to be exactly like everyone else and Simone is searching for herself."
- Jackie (InteractiveReader) on behalf of the postergirlz, the readergirlz teen lit advisory council

Postergirlz Recommended Reads
Our November theme is Family. Fiction: Dairy Queen and The Off-Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth
Non-Fiction:
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
       


Community Challenge

This month readergirlz zeroes in on the Pay It Forward Book Exchange.
This innovative program begun by a blogger "encourages people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!"
Participating bloggers give "nearly new" books away free! The lucky winner later pays the favor forward by offering the book or another "nearly new" book to a winner on her blog.
Free books are fun to receive. It's also fun to pass a book on to another eager reader.
Book winners who are not bloggers are encouraged to donate their book to a library or local shelter once they've finished with it.
It's easy as can be. Just keep it free.
It's all about Community in this month's Community Challenge.
We invite readergirlz to join the growing list of people participating in the Pay It Forward Book Exchange.

Shoutout: Grace Lin
The readergirlz divas give a shout out to Grace Lin, author and illustrator of more than a dozen highly acclaimed picture books. Grace Lin's book ROBERT'S SNOW was dedicated to her husband who was battling Ewing's sarcoma. Inspired by the book, the couple later founded Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure.
Since it was launched in 2004 the Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure event has raised more than $200,000 for sarcoma research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Robert lost his valiant battle against cancer and passed away in August. This year the fundraiser for the cure continues as bloggers build the buzz for all the artists and illustrators creating new snowflakes for the online auction.


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Gather your favorite readergirlz together to discuss A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize! Here's how Dana Reinhardt recommends you celebrate her book with your best readergirlz friends: Invites
I'm a big fan of evite. It makes things so easy. You can use the cover image of the book. The paperback image says "party" to me much more than does the image from the hardcover.

Eats
Eat bite-sized candy! It's a favorite of Simone's. An obsession really. Why wait for Halloween?

DecorationsBite-sized candy can go far. Spread it around on the tables. I guess having copies of the book on hand would help remind you why you're there. Sorry, these aren’t great ideas, but I’m not exactly the Martha Stewart type!
MoviesEdward Scissorhands (It's Simone's favorite movie.)
Running on Empty (I just re-watched this movie. It's great. And it's about a kid who's trying to figure out how to live with the political decisions his parents have made, what his own politics are, and how to balance it all with being a normal teenager. Not a direct parallel, but there are some similarities here.)
Some Kind of Wonderful (In this story the best friend gets the boy, which isn't what happens to Zack, but it’s a beautiful depiction of first real love.)


Discussion Questions
  1. Why do you think Simone's parents push her to meet Rivka?
  2. Is it possible for Simone's friends to understand what she’s going through? Can you point out some times in the story when they do a good job of supporting her? How about moments at which Simone is a good friend in return?
  3. What does separation of church and state mean? Does it matter if there's a cross on your town's seal? Should public schools allow religious groups, or a group of atheists, to meet on campus?
  4. What does it mean to be an atheist? Is Simone an atheist at the beginning of the book? Is she an atheist at the end?
  5. Is Simone Jewish? Can a person be Jewish and an atheist at the same time?
  6. Why do you think that at the very end of the novel, Simone lights the candles and goes through the blessings and the rituals of Shabbat? Do you have important rituals in your life?
  7. How does meeting her birth mother Rivka change Simone? Does it alter the way Simone feels about her mother? Can a person be a daughter to two mothers?

Author Chat

The readergirlz divas had a wonderful talk with Dana Reinhardt.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?
Dana Reinhardt: My initial idea for the book grew out of the desire to tell a story dealing with Jewish identity that wasn't about the Holocaust or anti-Semitism. I wanted to write about a normal, down to earth, modern kid who is struggling with what it means to be a Jew. But as any writer knows, books often take on a life of their own, and this book turned out to be many more things than this initial idea. Lorie Ann Grover: Is it autobiographical? Dana Reinhardt: The basic answer is no. I'm not adopted. I wasn't raised in a suburb of Boston. I'm not lanky with olive skin and almond eyes. I'm lousy at math. But what Simone and Rivka both struggle with: What does it mean to be Jewish? Can you be an atheist and a Jew? Can ritual have meaning without God? Those questions are very much alive for me, and I'm still not sure I have the answers. Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Dana Reinhardt: I try to write every day. Well, every day Monday through Friday. I treat writing as I would any other kind of job. I try to show up for work and get the job done. I set goals for myself that are easy to meet so that I don't get frustrated or disappointed by my lack of progress. As for writer's block: I think everyone gets it in one form or another. I'm lucky that I've never had a terrible bout of it. But I do get snagged in it sometimes. I can't figure out my way out of a situation or a scene or I can't figure out what should happen next. Usually a run, or a long walk with the dog, or a trip to the movies, or a good night's sleep will help me work through it.
Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why? Dana Reinhardt: My role models are the people who spend their days trying to make the world a better place. I can envy other writers’ successes, or worship other artists' talents, but the people who should be role models for all of us are the ones who dedicate themselves to the discomfort and injustice that face most of humanity. Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career? Dana Reinhardt: I grew up in a family of storytellers. My older brothers would tell elaborate lies that I almost always believed. My father would take me for long walks in the neighborhood whenever something life changing was occurring, either privately or in the world at large, and he would narrate those events for me in a thoughtful and elegant way. I spent summers with my grandparents and at night my grandmother would put me to bed with stories about the boyfriends of her youth. And my mother shoved books into my hands, books I often didn't want to read because my mother had given them to me and that's how children tend to be about the books their mothers love, but inevitably I would read them, and more often than not I would love them every bit as much as my mother insisted I would. When I sit down to write, the stories of my family come back to me and I try to keep all aspects of their storytelling in mind. I try to be a good liar. Telling elaborate lies and telling them well is the cornerstone of writing. I also believe that good young adult novels should have events that shake the protagonists to their cores, should involve a romantic entanglement or two, and ultimately should be the kinds of books you can’t put down even if your mother is the person who thrust them upon you.
Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Dana Reinhardt: I imagine this is pretty much the same answer for any writer, but my favorite part of writing by far is having written. In the larger sense, I love holding a book for the first time. I love the way it feels to run my hands over the dust jacket. But also I love the way I feel at the end of a day when I've written what I set out to write, and I don't hate it. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent this month's theme, Family. Can you please comment on the importance of Family in a teen's life? Dana Reinhardt: For me at least, my family is where I developed and honed my outlook on the world and on how to live my life. Nobody can give you that the way your family can, and if you've got a family who can help you sort through things while you're in your teens and trying to figure out who you are, then you're lucky indeed. I recognize that this isn't true for everyone and some people have to look outside their families to develop their sense of self and self in the world. But I was one of the lucky ones. Even though my family was far from perfect, and even though my family was fractured several times over by the time I was in adolescence, I was still surrounded by people I loved, who loved me, and in whom I could find something to emulate. Divas: Thank you, Dana, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website: http://www.danareinhardt.net Discuss the book at the readergirlz forum: http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz

readergirlz



October, 2007



Every night in October 2007, the readergirlz divas and YALSA hosted a chat with a notable YA author. Click on a name below to read a transcript!
Week One
October 1st: Meg Cabot
October 2nd: Tiffany Trent
October 3rd: Brent Hartinger
October 4th: Lorie Ann Grover
October 5th: K.L. Going
October 6th: Nikki Grimes
Week Two
October 7th: Ellen Hopkins
October 8th: Justina Chen Headley
October 9th: Chris Crutcher
October 10th: Ann Brashares
October 11th: Sarah Mlynowski
October 12th: Cecil Castellucci
October 13th: Kirby Larson
Week ThreeOctober 14th: Tanya Lee Stone
October 15th: John Green
October 16th: Sara Zarr
October 17th: Deb Caletti
October 18th: Rachel Cohn
October 19th: Kirsten Miller
October 20th: Mitali Perkins
Week FourOctober 21st: Sonya Sones
October 22nd: Lisa Yee
October 23rd: Carolyn Mackler
October 24th: E. Lockhart
October 25th: Janet Lee Carey
October 26th: Gaby Triana
October 27th: Lauren Myracle
Week FiveOctober 28th: Holly Black
October 29th: Cynthia Leitich Smith
October 30th: Dia Calhoun
October 31st: Stephenie Meyer

Readergirlz & YALSA present 31 Flavorite Authors!
The readergirlz divas and YALSA will be hosting 31 of your flavorite authors for 31 days in October -- all in honor of Teen Read Week.
From vamps to vampires, the creators of your favorite characters in YA lit will chat nightly at our group forum at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST (with the exception of the Halloween chat, which will be held at 9 PM PST/MIDNIGHT EST). So, readergirlz across the world, get ready to hang with:
The #1 international best-selling author Stephenie Meyer (Eclipse) and #1 New York Times best-selling authors Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) and Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), along with the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature winner Holly Black (Ironside), National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature winner Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Mark Twain Award winner Janet Lee Carey (Dragon's Keep), YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens nominee Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof), Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year winner Rachel Cohn (Gingerbread), Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Crutcher (Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes), Printz Honor recipient K.L. Going (Fat Kid Rules the World), Printz Award and Honor recipient John Green (An Abundance of Katherines), Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes (Bronx Masquerade), NYPL Book for the Teen Age pick Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe), four-time Book Sense pick Brent Hartinger (Geography Club), Asian Pacific American Award for Literature winner Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard), New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins (Crank), Newbery Honor recipient Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky), ALA Best Books for Young Adults recipient E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List), Printz Honor recipient Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things), Vanity Fair Hot Type pick Kirsten Miller (Kiki Strike), Book Sense pick Sarah Mlynowski (Bras & Broomsticks), New York Times best-selling author Lauren Myracle (ttfn), NYPL Book for the Teen Age pick Mitali Perkins (Monsoon Summer), Borders Original Voices nominee Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize), Christopher Award winner for Best Children's Book Sonya Sones (What My Mother Doesn't Know), ALA Quick Pick Tanya Lee Stone (A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl), IRA/CBC Young Adults' Choice Gaby Triana (Cubanita), Book Sense pick Tiffany Trent (In the Serpent's Coils), Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner Lisa Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius), and NYPL Book for the Teen Age pick Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl).

Download the 31 Flavorites poster! The poster is available as a large PDF, a small PDF and a JPG.
Download and print the 31 Flavorites bookmark! Put one in the book you're currently reading and give others to your book-loving pals.
"Books are one of the safest places for teens to explore our tumultuous world. Long Live Teen Read Week!" - Tanya Lee Stone, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
"A book is the only thing I know of that invites you to get lost and finds you while you're wandering. Get lost and found during Teen Read Week!" - Tiffany Trent, In the Serpent's Coils

Hanging out with your 31 Flavorite Authors
Spread the news, friend the readergirlz MySpace site and group forum, and get ready to hang out with your favorite authors and readergirlz!
1. Join the readergirlz group forum on MySpace NOW. You must be a member of the forum to participate in the 31 Flavorite Author chats. (http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz)
2. Friend readergirlz at MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/readergirlz)
3. Chat every night throughout October (5 pm PDT, 8 pm EDT) with your 31 Flavorite Authors.
4. Win FREE books! The thirty-first person each night to comment on the Flavorite Author chat will win a FREE book.

"What could be more perfect than YALSA's Teen Read Week for the darkening days of October? Teens can turn up the lights, ignore the gloom outside, and curl up with a stack of books by authors who write just for them." - Dia Calhoun, readergirlz diva, Avielle of Rhia

Live Chat
Join readergirlz on our group forum for our live chat with a different YA author each evening at 5 PM Pacific / 8 PM Eastern. Note that Stephenie Meyer (Eclipse) will be visiting us on Halloween at 9 PM Pacific / midnight Eastern.
Come chat with us!
"Books are truthful mirrors. Teens who turn to books get a clearer vision of their lives. Thanks, YALSA, for turning teens toward good literature!" - Janet Lee Carey, readergirlz diva, Dragon's Keep

The While-You-Read Playlist



These songs were chosen by you, readergirlz! Thank you for this awesome playlist and rock on!
32 Flavorites - Ani Difranco
Disenchanted - My Chemical Romance
Exceptional - JoJo
Not a Pretty Girl - Ani DiFranco
You're not Alone - Saosin
I am Extraordinary - Liz Phair
Famous Last Words - My Chemical Romance
Who We Are - Hope Parlow
There's Hope - India Arie
Extraordinary - Mandy Moore

         
   

What People are Saying

"By supporting Teen Read Week, readergirlz makes a statement to teens that reading is an essential and fun part of teens' busy lives." - Paula Brehm-Heeger, YALSA President
"Inspiring teens to read is one of the most important things we can do for the future. What teens imagine, they will create." - KL Going, St. Iggy

"You! Slowly move away from that TiVo . . . Now pick up that novel and let your brain indulge . . ." - Gaby Triana, Cubanita

"One of my greatest joys is opening a reader email; telling me they've never finished a book before, but finished mine in record time, and could I please recommend other books? Reading empowers." - Ellen Hopkins, Crank

"Reading = cooler than doing nothing. It's exercise for the mind (even nicer when served up with a side of chocolate)." - Rachel Cohn, Gingerbread 

"I know what I loved about reading when I was a teenager: it made me feel grown up. I could travel anywhere, be anyone, and do anything. I loved that freedom and exploring those worlds. Teen Read Week is a great celebration of that, and a great reminder to teens that those voyages are there for the taking, right inside a book." –Cecil Castellucci, Boy Proof


Shoutout 

The readergirlz divas are thrilled to give a shout out to three fabulous women at YALSA who celebrate teen reading: Beth Yoke, executive director; Paula Brehm-Heeger, president; and Judy Nelson, former president.

"What an amazing mission YALSA has to engage teens in literature. For many Teen Read Week could be the moment they start their own amazing journey of discovery, through a book in their hands." - Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva, On Pointe

"Just as teenagers must come of age as people, they also must come of age as readers. Teen Read Week puts a spotlight on this transition, and reminds us all of the importance of getting good books to teenagers." - John Green, An Abundance of Katherine

"Books are like potato chips: they're made of potatoes, sliced thinly, then deep fried in oil and lightly sprinkled with . . . no, wait, that's not right. Books are like potato chips because you can't read just one! There we go, that's right." - Brent Hartinger, Geography Club

"This is the golden age of teen literature! Reading is popular, and books are the best kind of obsession." - Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tantalize

"Reading is the key that unlocks everything. It opens doors to knowledge, experience, compassion, and perhaps most powerfully of all, imagination. With imagination, everything seems possible." - Sara Zarr, Story of a Girl



Community Challenge

October 27, 2007 is Make a Difference Day -- a national day of helping others in your own community. So readergirlz -- get out there and find something to do to help your community. Stuck on ideas? Browse the past issues of readergirlz for our community service ideas that accompanied our previous book picks.
If you want even more ideas, go to the Idea Generator on the USA Weekend website. Take a moment to log your plan into the DAYtaBANK at the website. Your project will be included in USA Weekend’s national listing of local projects so others can help in your effort or join you on the Day -- and so your project can be available to USA Weekend's newspaper partners looking for article ideas.

Take pictures of your Make a Difference Day. The USA Weekend selection committee will choose a winner to go on a paid volunteer vacation (winner gets to pick where!) through Travelocity's Travel for Good Program.


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Want to celebrate 31 Flavorite Authors with your friends? * Download and distribute the 31 Flavorite Authors poster.
* Blog and email about 31 Flavorite Authors
* Throw a readergirlz party and invite your friends to your home or library. (Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!) Chat with your BFF and your flavorite author at the same time at the readergirlz forum every night at 5 PM Pacific / 8 PM Eastern. And of course, serve up your flavorite ice cream. As Holly Black, author of Ironside, says, "Shared reading can make strangers into instant friends and can reach across all the things that divide us as individuals."
* Read, read, read! Sure, you've read every single one of your Flavorite Authors' books before, but don't forget to check out some of our other featured authors.

"When a teen finds herself in the pages of a book - and realizes that she's not alone, she's not the only one going through it - it can make those angst-ridden hideous years almost tolerable." - Sonya Sones, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know



Discussion Questions

Start brainstorming now about the questions you'll pose to your flavorite authors. Here are some of the readergirlz divas' top burning questions for the 31 Flavorite Authors:
What was your inspiration for your novel?
Do you have an idea for a community service project that teens might do relating to your novel?
Which gutsy girl character in teen lit do you admire?
What was your character's gutsiest moment?
Where do you write?
Do you have any writing rituals?
What is your favorite part of writing?
What do you dislike the most about writing?
Are you working on a new novel or is one about to be published that we can watch for?
What is your flavorite ice cream?


Author Chat

This month, Little Willow, readergirlz website maintainer and the head of postergirlz, our teen lit advisory council, interviewed the divas about the 31 Flavorites project. This interview also ran in The Edge of the Forest, a children's literature monthly.
Little Willow: Who came up with the idea and name for 31 Flavorites?
Justina Chen Headley: I'm afraid the Headley clan is to blame for the craziness that is 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens! My husband was driving our family on this looooong road trip in the spring, and to keep him awake, brilliant conversationalist that I am, I told him about YALSA's Teen Read Week. On and on I blabbed about how readergirlz could help promote Teen Read Week since we have this massively growing group of avid teen readers plus a large network of authors and bloggers. I wasn't sure my husband was really tracking until he suggested that readergirlz feature 31 authors in 31 days. And then (possibly because I was starving), I blurted out: "31 Flavorite Authors!"
Fast forward to now: In addition to our own writing, the divas have been working literally around the clock launching 31 Flavorites - Dia creating logos and posters, Janet coordinating the calendars, Lorie Ann managing our MySpace and website. My divas love me.
Little Willow: What is the goal of 31 Flavorites, and how does it correlate with the readergirlz manifesta?
Justina Chen Headley: 31 Flavorite Authors is all about connecting teens to their favorite authors and adding another dimension of fun to reading. What better way to get teens excited about great literature than to give them a chance to talk to 31 of the most incredible YA authors today? Our partnership with YALSA creates the ultimate triumvirate of book geeks: librarians, readers and authors.
Every month, readergirlz features a fabulous book selected by our advisory council of bloggers, the postergirlz. The divas invite the author to chat online live once a month with readergirlz. 31 Flavorites is a supersized, uber-estrogened version of what we already do. Readergirlz exposes teens to YA lit, gets them talking about the books as it relates to their lives, and then inspires them to change the world.
31 Flavorites is going to be the world's biggest book club party!
Little Willow: Did you already know the YALSA powers-that-be, or was this the first time you teamed up?
Lorie Ann Grover: When readergirlz launched, the divas were invited to meet with the president of YALSA, Judy Nelson, in my own Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Washington! Our presentation of the early concept of 31 Flavorite Authors to the PCL staff went so well, Judy arranged for Justina to meet with her again at ALA in Washington, DC -- along with YALSA's executive director and incoming president. Justina just happened to be attending the convention to pick up the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature for her novel, Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies)! To our collective delight, YALSA agreed to partner with readergirlz on 31 Flavorite Authors.
Little Willow: How difficult was it to get authors involved with this project?
Janet Lee Carey: I was amazed at the response we got from all of our participating YA authors - bestsellers and newcomers alike. It's a testament to YALSA, really. All of us are passionate about getting teens to read for pure pleasure. And all of us are passionate about supporting YALSA's Teen Read Week.
Now, of course, the logistics of reaching everyone was a gargantuan project in and of itself. We reached some authors through their email, others through MySpace, and a few through their publicists.
Then I decided to take a few days away myself and ended up in a hotel in Leavenworth, Washington (which shall remain nameless) with a Neanderthal Internet connection. I was actually working behind the desk for a few hours in the hotel office as I tried to reach Carolyn Mackler! When I finally got web access in my room and was writing a thank you to Carolyn, I boasted, "One of our readergirlz is wild about your book, The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things!" And I hit send. It went to Carolyn. It also went to a nun in a Catholic Girls' School the readergirlz divas visited this year . . .
Now, try organizing the night each of our wonderful YA authors could chat! That was another challenge. But other than that, inviting the authors to 31 Flavorites was a piece of cake, or should I say a bowl of ice cream?
Little Willow: What are you currently reading?
Justina Chen Headley: I'm midway through the readergirlz December pick, Miss Spitfire, and its companion read, Shannon Hale's newest, Book of a Thousand Days. Both are breathtaking. Our readergirlz are in for a spectacular treat with these novels.
Lorie Ann Grover: I'm finishing up Melissa Kantor's novel, The Breakup Bible. It's delightful!
Little Willow: What are you currently writing?
Janet Lee Carey: I've started a new YA fantasy and am roughly 100 pages in. But I put that aside to revise The Dragons of Noor. Those who read The Beast of Noor will be glad to hear that a sequel is on the way. I'm very "inside" Noor just now and find it hard to come out into the "real" world to things like cell phones, computers, trains, planes, and automobiles . . . In Noor, horses, carts, sail boats, and on rare occasions, dragon rides, are the only means of transportation.
Lorie Ann Grover: I'm busy working on my novel Dark Doorways set in Korea outside an American military post in the 1980s. The work shares one girl's journey to understand what she experiences as she lives among prostitutes and under a real military threat.
Justina Chen Headley: I have post-partum manuscript depression. I just handed in my next novel that's due out around October 2008, called North of Beautiful, about a girl with an enormous port wine stain on her face. It's all about beauty and the boy who shows her how to see her own True Beauty. I have an idea for my next three novels, one of which is very very very gnarly. I'm not sure I have the guts to write it. (Oh, bad readergirlz diva! Gutsy girls, I need your support!)
NOTE: readergirlz diva Dia Calhoun was unable to participate in this interview because she was on a writing retreat, busily finishing up her next YA fantasy.
Little Willow: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Lorie Ann Grover: Oooh. It's definitely the Happy Birthday Cake mix at Cold Stone. I'm in love with sprinkles!
Janet Lee Carey: Pistachio Almond - any other green food aside from vegetables gives me the willies.
Justina Chen Headley: Heath Bar Crunch. Need I say more?
And if I got to be a flavorologist for readergirlz diva Dia, I'd create a Firegold ice cream for her - vanilla with apple pie and a huge kick of cinnamon.
Little Willow's favorite flavors of ice cream include Cream of Gold vanilla, chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and strawberry. She feeds her mind with a wide variety of books. Drop by her blog, Bildungsroman, at http://slayground.livejournal.com to see what she's currently reading and recommending.

But wait! There's more!

The divas introduced Little Willow (albeit it virtually) to Paula Brehm-Heeger, the 2007-2008 YALSA President, and they got to talking.
Little Willow: How can people get involved with YALSA?
Paula: Getting involved with YALSA is easy! We're always looking for enthusiastic members to support YALSA's goal of advocating, promoting and strengthening service to young adults in all types of libraries.
You can start by subscribing to and participating on one of our electronic discussion lists. A complete list of electronic resources is available here.
The YALSA blog is another way to join in discussing teen services issues.
If you're looking for a way to participate live and in person, attend an ALA conference (held each June and January) where YALSA offers many exciting sessions and networking opportunities. Or, volunteer to serve on one of YALSA's many committees by submitting a volunteer form. And, some people may not realize that there are more than $33,000 in grants and awards available each year from YALSA! You'll also find opportunities to publish through our division's journal, YALS, and our online newsletter, YAttitudes.
Of course, I have to mention that officially registering for Teen Read Week is an essential part of participating in YALSA. Registering is easy and free. Just visit our Teen Read Week page at www.ala.org/yalsa/teenread There, you'll find all kinds of valuable resources to help you celebrate Teen Read Week!

Little Willow: How do teens get their voices heard in YALSA?

Paula: Great question! YALSA members will confirm that an essential step in connecting teens with libraries and reading is listening to what teens themselves have to say! One great example of YALSA's efforts to provide teens the opportunity to have their opinions heard is through our Teens' Top Ten. Titles are nominated by teens working with YALSA's YA Galley committee. All teens are then invited to vote for their favorite nominees during Teen Read Week. The 2007 nominations are available here.
Little Willow: What is the aim of Teen Read Week?
Paula: Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative aimed at teens, their parents, librarians, educators, booksellers and other concerned adults. It began in 1998 and is celebrated the third week in October. Today's teens lead busy lives and Teen Read Week serves as an important reminder for them to take time out and just Read for the Fun of It!

Little Willow: What is this year's theme?

Paula: I mentioned the main theme for the Teen Read Week - Read for the Fun of It - in my last answer. The sub-theme changes each year. This year it is LOL @ Your Library. Librarians and educators can take the idea of using humor and lighthearted books for getting teens to read and run with it by developing programs and displays centered on LOL!
Little Willow: How did YALSA team up with readergirlz?
Paula: The amazing and wonderful author and readergirl Justina Chen Headley, met with me, YALSA's immediate Past-President Judy Nelson and YALSA's Executive Director Beth Yoke at the American Library Association annual conference this past June in Washington, DC. Justina explained the readergirlz idea for supporting Teen Read Week through the 31 Flavorites. Her energy was contagious and she had quite an impressive list of today's most popular teen authors already on board with the 31 Flavorites idea -- well, it was a great fit and YALSA is thrilled to be working with Justina, the readergirlz and the many involved authors on this project.
Little Willow: What book are you reading right now?
Paula: I finished Harmless by Dana Reinhardt a few days ago and have just checked out Carolyn Mackler's new book, Guyaholic. I couldn't help it - I grabbed it as soon as I saw it on the shelf at my library! I hoping to start it this weekend (if I can wait that long).
Little Willow: What was your favorite book as a teen?
Paula: As a young teen I really enjoyed John Christopher's White Mountain series. Then, I must confess, I discovered Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of Sweet Valley High fame (series created by Francine Pascal). Wow, did I love those books. That series really helped make reading a habit for me and is a big reason why I understand firsthand the power of encouraging teens to read what is fun for them whenever possible. A few years ago I was helping my mom clean out some boxes from my middle school years and discovered a handful of SVH paperbacks. One look and it was clear I had read them, passed them to friends to read and then read them again! In high school I also had a blast reading My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel with my older sister.
Little Willow: If you could give one piece of advice to teenage girls, what would it be?
Paula: I'll make my advice reading-related! Find good stories with strong characters (like the great choices offered by the readergirlz!) and read, read, read. If you're not finding what you want don't be shy -- ask your librarian for exciting books with powerful girl characters or for biographies about real life amazing women. Take a minute to see yourself in those women and imagine all the possibilities for your own life.

Little Willow: What led you to libraries?

Paula: I worked several jobs as a teen - fast food and other jobs in the customer service industry. The one thing that was clear to me was that I really enjoyed working with people every day. When I was a senior in high school I landed a great job as a student assistant at a local public library branch. I knew right away that I wanted to stay in libraries for the rest of my life, helping everyone discover the joy of reading and finding whatever information they wanted or needed.
Little Willow: Why teen services?
Paula: When I was in college I worked in a small, urban public library branch as a library assistant. I loved the feeling of community in that neighborhood and enjoyed helping everyone, but working with young people - particularly teenagers - was for me one of the most fun and rewarding things I had ever experienced. I've never changed my mind and feel the same today as I did then -- teens are the best audience in the world!
Now Paula has a question for all of you readers: Are You a Friend of YALSA?

More Interviews

The postergirlz are gracious to share these links to past interviews they've conducted with a few of the 31 Flavorite Authors. Dip in and read more!

readergirlz divas @ Bildungsroman

Brent Hartinger @ Interactive Reader
Lorie Ann Grover @ Bildungsroman
Justina Chen Headley @ Bildungsroman
Cecil Castellucci @ Bildungsroman


Kirby Larson @ Bildungsroman
Tanya Lee Stone @ Bildungsroman
Sara Zarr @ Bildungsroman


Sara Zarr @ Interactive Reader
Deb Caletti @ Bildungsroman
Rachel Cohn @ Bildungsroman
Kirsten Miller @ Miss Erin
Kirsten Miller @ Jen Robinson's Book Page
Mitali Perkins @ Bildungsroman
Mitali Perkins @ Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sonya Sones @ Bildungsroman
Lisa Yee @ Bildungsroman
Lisa Yee @ Miss Erin
E. Lockhart @ Bildungsroman
Janet Lee Carey @ Bildungsroman
Holly Black @ Bildungsroman

Dia Calhoun @ Bildungsroman
Dia Calhoun @ Miss Erin (Part One & Part Two)

Audio Clips

Listen in to these great audio clips from Random House!

Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles


Ann Brashares
Forever in Blue


Meg Cabot
Jinx


Rachel Cohn
Pop Princess


K.L. Going
Fat Kid Rules the World


Kirby Larson
Hattie Big Sky


E. Lockhart
Fly on the Wall


Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse


Sarah Mlynowski
Bras and Broomsticks


Lisa Yee
Millicent Min, Girl Genius


readergirlz


September, 2007


            
Starting with the September issue, the readergirlz divas are pleased to present a downloadable pdf poster featuring each month's pick. So click here, download, print and post - and celebrate readergirlz all month long.

Readergirlz Issue 8             Welcome to our September issue. Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present National Book Award finalist Sold by Patricia McCormick. Join us on our readergirlz MySpace group to talk this month with Patricia McCormick about her heartbreaking and inspiring story of Lakshmi, a young girl from Nepal who is sold into sexual slavery. We hope Lakshmi's resilience and courage inspires readergirlz everywhere. Our deepest thanks to Patricia for writing this book and bringing to light this often hidden, global crisis. May Lakshmi's plight propel many of our readers into taking action in support of children's rights around the world.
Novel description:
Lakshmi's life on a hillside village in Nepal is poor but full of simple pleasures. Until her family loses everything in the monsoon and she meets a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid working for a wealthy woman in the city. Soon Lakshmi learns the truth: she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz runs her brothel with cruelty and cunning - telling Lakshmi she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt, then tricking her out of her modest wages so she can never leave. Eventually the day comes she has a chance to escape. Will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?

What people are saying:
"Told in a series of haunting vignettes, Sold is a harrowing account of sexual slavery. When 13-year-old Lakshmi is sold by her stepfather, she leaves her mountain village in Nepal and is taken to a city where she is kept prisoner in a brothel. Alternating lyrical imagery and precise detail, Patricia McCormick gives voice to the terror and bewilderment of a young girl who is brutally robbed of her childhood and future but who finds strength to survive and ultimately triumph."
-- National Book Award citation


"McCormick provides readers who live in safety and under protection of the law with a vivid window into a harsh and cruel world -- one most would prefer to pretend doesn't exist."
-- Kirkus


"Sold is a demanding and at times painful book to read. These challenges, however, only serve to heighten the impact of the powerful and important novel that sheds light on a global crisis."
-- Teenreads.com


"Heartbreaking . . . McCormick's research for this novel involved interviewing women in Nepal and India, and her depth of detail makes the characters believable and their misery palpable. This important book was written in their honor."
-- School Library Journal

Live Chat
Join readergirlz on our group forum for our live chat with Patricia McCormick, author of SOLD, on Thursday, September 20th at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern Chat Title: SOLD: The Tragedy of Sexual Slavery
Chat Description: Add your voice to the discussion about a tragedy that affects nearly a million children a year. Your views, your questions, your experiences – they all make a difference.
How does a girl wind up in sexual slavery?
What happens to girls in the brothels?
How young are the girls? How many have AIDS?
What are people doing to stop this practice? What can I do?
Come talk about it!

The While-You-Read Playlist


Here's what Patricia recommends downloading for Sold.
Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae Drops of Jupiter - Train
If I Could Change the World - Eric Clapton
     


Photographs by Achinto Bhadra

"Another Me is a vivid record of trafficking survivors' imaginings of themselves as human, animistic, and divine beings of power, love, revenge, and freedom. Kolkata-based documentary photographer Achinto Bhadra and counsellor Harleen Walia guided 126 girls and women through a 'healing journey of psychological transformation.'" -- The Nepal Times

Community Challenge
If Patty McCormick's Sold moved you as it did us, then start collecting your loose change and join a national movement of students in "Loose Change to Loosen Chains."

The International Justice Mission will use the loose change students collect from friends and family to rescue victims of slavery and other forms of oppression. This project was started by a 7th grade student who raised more than $8,500 to support IJM's mission.

The group has provided students with everything they need to kick off their own Loose Change to Loosen Chains movement, so check out their website now!




Shoutout: Joyce M. Roché

President and Chief Executive Officer, Girls Incorporated
The readergirlz divas are thrilled to give a shout out to this groundbreaking trailblazer who is all about getting girls to be strong, smart and bold. And that is what readergirlz and this month's featured book, Sold, is all about. Not only is Joyce the head of Girls, Inc -- a group we readergirlz love -- but she has been a trailblazer in the corporate world.

Postergirlz Recommended Reads

Our September theme is Strength. Fiction: The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeiffer
Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud
Non-Fiction:
When I Was A Soldier by Valerie Zenatti
 
       


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide 

Gather your favorite readergirlz together to discuss Sold. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!


Invites Here are a couple of different ideas for invitations. Picture choices for your invitations: 1. Download pictures from Another Me, Transformations from Pain to Power - Photographs by Achinto Bhadra. These photos feature girls who once worked in brothels and are now free -- and beautiful. 2. Download the picture of the girl on the cover of Sold. Her face is innocent and compelling. 3. Download pictures from MaitiNepal.com -- a shelter for girls of the red light district. Eats Keep it simple. Make it a pot luck and consider donating the money you’d normally spend on food and drinks to an organization that helps save children in poverty or in prostitution.
Another option: Indian food.


Decorations
1. A globe or a wall map showing Nepal and India. 2. Download pictures from Another Me, Transformations from Pain to Power - Photographs by Achinto Bhadra.

Mood Music
Just download the While-You-Read Playlist and crank up the music.
Movies
1. Born Into Brothels
2. Water
3. Moonsoon Wedding
4. Salaam Bombay

Discussion Questions
  1. Lakshmi experiences a profound betrayal of trust by her family. She’s also one of the millions of girls who are survivors of sexual assault. Have you or anyone close to you experienced this kind of pain?
  2. Even in the brothel, the grimmest place imaginable, there are acts of kindness, moments of humor. Has an unlikely person--a former ‘enemy,’ an outcast, someone else in pain--ever reached out to you when you needed kindness? How did that make you feel? How was it different from getting support from a friend?
  3. Writing the book meant traveling to the red light district of Calcutta and to the foothills of Nepal. Have you ever done something where you surprised yourself with your own bravery? What inspired you to take such a risk?
  4. Lakshmi is literally locked in and trapped by her captors. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you had no way to escape?
  5. One of the saddest moments in the book is when she submits to her own oppression, saying she’ll do anything, sleep with anyone if she has to. Have you ever done something you regret because you knew you had to?
  6. Lakshmi's experience takes place in a country far away and far different from the one you may know. Have you ever seen children in your own country suffering from poverty, neglect or abuse? What feelings did it evoke?
  7. The book is told in a series of vignettes. How does it resemble short poetry you write?
  8. Lakshmi had a simple hope: to earn money to buy a tin roof for her family. Despite her sacrifice her dream never came true. Have you ever experienced that kind of disappointment?
  9. When Monica goes home, she’s shunned by her family – for something she did to help them. Have you ever been unfairly blamed or punished for something you did with the best of intentions?
  10. Elie Wiesel said, "Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander." What can we do to stop trafficking?
Author Chat

Listen in as Patricia McCormick chats with the readergirlz divas about Sold.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Patricia McCormick: In the past year or so, the trafficking of children has gotten a lot of attention. But five years ago, when I had a chance meeting with a photographer who was working undercover to document the presence of young girls in brothels overseas, I knew immediately that I wanted to do what none of the journalists had done so far: tell this story from the point of view of one individual girl. Lorie Ann Grover: How did you personally relate to this book or to your main character, Lakshmi? Patricia McCormick: I’m a survivor of sexual abuse and so I think I related to that feeling of betrayal and loss of innocence. I was also able to use some of my own feelings to imagine what Lakshmi’s experience might have been. I say I’m a survivor, not a victim, because I think there’s a huge difference there. I don’t see myself as damaged goods; if anything my experience has made me more attuned to and more passionate about the suffering of others. I probably wouldn’t be a writer if I hadn’t had to find a way to express a lot of those pent-up feelings. Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Patricia McCormick: I try to write every day – but sometimes I spend the whole day in search of the perfect cupcake. I go to a place with no phone, no Internet, no TV because I need the quiet and the lack of distraction. My key advice to people who want to write is to cultivate a sense of comfort with solitude, with your own company. I also think it helps to write at the same time every day. When I show up at my computer regularly, inspiration shows up, too. If I absolutely positively can’t write, I go for a walk – that seems to loosen up my thoughts. If all else fails, it also gets me closer to that perfect cupcake. Janet Lee Carey: What kind of research went into the making of Sold? Patricia McCormick: I spent a month in India and Nepal tracing Lakshmi’s steps--going from poor, isolated villages in the Himalayas all the way to the teeming red light district of Calcutta. I took notes and photos observing the sights, the smells, and the customs -- to give the book authenticity. I also interviewed mothers who lost their daughters, girls who had been sold into prostitution -- and a man in jail who said he sold his girlfriend because he wanted to buy a motorcycle. What I saw was devastating that I couldn’t eat or sleep or write for almost two months. Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career? Patricia McCormick: My family growing up discouraged me from becoming a writer -- mainly because they were worried I wouldn’t be able to make a living. But I always wrote, from the time I was in fifth grade and wrote terrible plays my best friend was nice enough to perform in. When I left college, I got a degree in journalism because it seemed like a great way to be a writer, within a structure that guided and supported me. I loved being a journalist. It was a passport to follow my curiosity just about anywhere. I even worked for a while as a movie and book reviewer -- but that only made me realize I wanted to be writing the stories, not reading or watching stories by someone else. Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Patricia McCormick: Closing up my computer at the end of the day and seeing something that didn’t exist the day before, something I made up out of nothing. That’s very satisfying. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent this month's theme, Strength. Lakshmi is amazingly strong and resilient during her captivity. Because of this, she is able to find her way to freedom. Can you please comment on why you think teen girls need strength? Patricia McCormick: No matter how many advances have been made, girls still face discrimination, abuse, and violence in numbers far greater than men do. The answer is not to be daunted or discouraged by that, but to find the strength -- and the support -- you need to prevail. And to remember that asking for help and accepting it from even the most unlikely sources is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Divas: Thank you, Patricia, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website http://www.pattymccormick.com Also drop by her MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/patriciamccormick Discuss the book at http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Patricia McCormick:
Website Q&A
TeenReads
Hyperion Books for Children


readergirlz



August, 2007


Join us this month on the readergirlz MySpace group to talk about all things faery and Ironside with Holly Black.

Readergirlz Issue 7              Welcome to our August issue! Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present Holly Black's newest teen fantasy, Ironside. Hit the beach with this luscious read. Ironside's journey into faerie is rich, tantalizing and bitter sweet as dark chocolate. This sequel to Tithe is a pleasure you won't want to miss!
In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing -- her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie. Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth -- that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside.
But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?
This book is recommended to readers over the age of 14.

What people are saying:
"Decadent and deadly, the urban fantasy setting is not for the faint of heart; the cruelties of even the so-called good faeries are breathtaking. Fans of faerypunk will eat it up."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"Ironside is a compelling, thrilling read that paints a new picture of faeries living and coping with the evolution of the modern world. The way it sucks you in, one would almost believe the book itself had an enchantment on it."
-- The Trades

"Full of court rivalry, deception and betrayal, sword fights and murder, faerie curses, new romances, and even characters from Valiant, Ironside is another wonderful foray into the dark, gritty world of Faerie and will not leave readers disappointed. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you pound your pillow in frustration and clap your hands in delight."
-- teenreadstoo.com

"It is this combination of eternal summer and bitter sorrow, graceful beauty and cold cruelty, which Holly Black vividly captures in Ironside. More than that, it is the metaphor of fairyland, with its constant threat of stealing life, of leaving a human life empty and unfinished, which fuels the true power of this outstanding YA fantasy novel."
-- greenmanreview.com

Live Chat
Join readergirlz on our group forum for our hour-long live chat with Ironside and Tithe author Holly Black! Thursday, August 23rd Beginning at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern Come talk about the joys and frustrations Holly Black faces while writing fantasy. Here's your chance to ask her all those questions you've been saving up and to explore her tantalizing faery world.
Come share your fairytales with us!

The While-You-Read Playlist



Because the novel's theme song, "Sister I Need Wine" by Guided by Voices, was unavailable at Project Playlist, the divas are happy to feature "Watching You" by Velvet Chain. We immediately thought of Roiben when we heard it. Our own talented webdiva and postergirl Little Willow co-wrote the lyrics. Rock on, readergirlz!
     

Listen Up
Here are more of Holly's favorite tunes for Ironside not yet hosted on Project Playlist.
1. Theme song: Sister I Need Wine - Guided by Voices
2. Try Not to Breathe - REM
3. To Be of Use - Smog
4. Something I Can Never Have - Nine Inch Nails
5. Keep Me From Harm - Peter Murphy
6. Still In Love - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Community Challenge

Holly Black created a dark and fantastical world filled with dangerous faeries in Tithe and Ironside. While Kaye had to figure out on her own how to stay safe, the readergirlz were lucky to have Little Willow, one of our beloved postergirlz, to tell us how to stay safe on the Internet. That's why this month, we're asking you to check out the website she told us about: 2 SMRT 4U at http://www.2smrt4u.com
It's a site started by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to encourage teens to practice safe, smart habits when posting information about themselves on social networking Web sites and blogs.
After you check it out, be a good friend and tell all your buddies about what you've learned. Share the tips on keeping your private info private while you're online.


Shoutout: Hayden Panettiere

We've watched her on Heroes, but to us, Hayden Panettiere is a real Hero for her work with 2 SMRT 4U. Do as she does: think before you post any private info on MySpace, Facebook, or your blog.

Recommended Reads

Our August theme is Imagine. If you love Kaye's adventures in Ironside, then you'll love the unique characters and settings in these great companion reads. Fiction: The Ferryman by Christopher Golden
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
Non-Fiction:
At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things by Diane Purkiss

       


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide 

Gather your favorite readergirlz together for a fun book party for Ironside. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!


Invites Here are a couple of different ideas for invitations. They all start with a sheet of light-colored paper (light green, light blue or cream) sent through a printer (to make a smaller invite, print one sheet of paper and cut it in half). You can then affix any of the following:
1. Sew a bundle of twigs along the top with blue, green or brown thread. If the paper is thick enough, they can be sewn on with a regular needle.
2. Using papercraft glue, affix a dried leaf (available at craft stores). You can also use a leaf removed from a silk or plastic plant.
3. Stamp the paper with a dark silver imprint of a leaf. Or use dark silver paper and imprint with black or blue ink.
4. Using a small paper punch that cuts out the shape of a leaf, punch out a bunch all over the top of the invitation.
5. If you want to send evites or e-mail invites, the book cover and/or a creepy black and white picture of icicles would dress it up.
Eats For faerie food, Holly suggests stuffed mushrooms or different kinds of mushrooms with dip; any kind of green liquid (Mountain Dew? Iced green tea?); fruits like Asian pears, grapes and pomegranates; and cakes or scones. Edible flowers, which you can find at some supermarkets. Anything rose-flavored. (Holly has some delicious rose-flavored Turkish Delight that tastes like fairy food.) Unusual serving stuff makes the food more exotic -- encourage people to bring stuff from home. Vases make good decanters, but wash them VERY well first! Decorations
If the party is themed around the whole Modern Faerie Tale series, you can fill any old bottle with gold glitter to be the Never, then surround bottle with a bunch of leaves and with a single paper butterfly from a craft store (or printed and assembled from a computer).
Mood Music
Just download the While-You-Read Playlist and crank up the music.
Movies
1. The Fairy-Faith (2000)
2. Legend (1985)
3. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
4. The Crow (1994)
5. The Lost Boys (1987)
6. The Secret of Roan-Inish (1994)

Discussion Questions

Book spoilers ahead! Book spoilers ahead! Book spoilers ahead!
1. Near the end of Ironside, Kaye tells Roiben that he's a bad boyfriend. Do you agree with her? Do you think they have a healthy or unhealthy relationship? Do you think their relationship changed from the beginning of the book to the end? 2. Corny hated Luis because he thought Luis looked down on him and would never be attracted to him. Have you ever hated someone because you made assumptions about him or her? 3. Faeries can't outright lie, although they can bend the truth so far that it snaps on its own. How would it change your life if you couldn't lie? Or would it be enough to be able to bend the truth? 4. Luis has inherited the Sight, the ability to see faeries, from his father. Corny sees the Sight as a superpower, while Luis sees it as a curse not unlike the ones he treats. Would you want the Sight? And if you did, what would you do with it? 5. Kaye decides to tell her mother that she's a changeling and that the "real" Kaye was spirited away by the faeries. Do you think she should have told her mom or do you think she was better off keeping it a secret? If Kaye was your close friend, what advice would you have given her? 6. At the end of Ironside, Kaye refuses to choose between the human and faerie worlds. Similarly, Roiben, in the end, is attempting to straddle the line between being Seelie and Unseelie. Do you think they are being realistic? Have you ever felt like you were being pulled in two directions? Is there a way to be two seemingly opposite things at the same time?

Author Chat

Listen in as Holly Black chats with the readergirlz divas about Ironside.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Holly Black: After I finished Tithe, I was sure I wasn't going to write about those characters again. Then I had the idea for what happened at Roiben's coronation and the quest. And I realized that the truce had been broken so the two courts were going to be in conflict again. Before I knew it, I had a plot. Lorie Ann Grover: Is it autobiographical? Holly Black: No, Ironside is definitely not autobiographical, although I think all novels draw on real experiences of the novelist. Like, er, in this case, getting drunk and doing something I regretted. Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Holly Black: My writing process is to sit in a cafĂ© (usually with the writer Kelly Link) and write a chapter. Then I edit it. Then I write another chapter. Then I edit them both again. I don't do this because I think it's a particularly good method (it sure isn’t a quick method), but because sometimes when earlier stuff isn’t right, later stuff feels wrong -- like the foundation is unsteady. Once I get through what I call a first draft, but which has been edited all the way through about ten to thirteen times, I send it to my critique group. Often my writing buddies (Kelly Link, Cassandra Clare, Steve Berman, Justine Larbalestier and Cecil Castellucci) will have seen parts of the book, but when the group (Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Gavin Grant, Kelly Link, Sarah Smith, Cassandra Clare) go over the whole book, new problems, trends, and choices become clear. The most interesting thing that I've learned about critique is that the first level is having problems pointed out so they can be fixed, but the second level (and I am lucky enough to have a group which excels at that level) is being pushed to turn good scenes into great scenes. Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why? Holly Black: This is a really hard question to answer because on one hand, there are certain writers (particularly Tanith Lee and Ellen Kushner and WB Yeats, but also Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, and Michael Moorcock) that informed my idea of the kind of writer I wanted to be. In terms of how to live my life, though, I've always felt that I was making things up as I went along. Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career? Holly Black: My mother really encouraged creativity when I was a kid. She's a painter and a dollmaker. She also writes stories and can make almost anything that's crafty. I think, on one hand, that made me more focused on doing only one thing -- writing. But it made me really value the arts and value making something out of thin air. Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Holly Black: This is going to sound crazy, but I love revising. When I'm actually writing the first drafts of scenes, I find it incredibly frustrating that all the great ideas I had are turning into crap as I write them out. But in the editing phase, at least I'm making the writing better. And, once the basics of a scene are down, I get to mess with it and make it more dramatic and interesting. For me, that's the really fun part. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent the theme Imagine. Can you please comment on why you think the ability to imagine is important for teen girls today? Holly Black: Girls can visualize their futures, act out possible selves, and see themselves with a different gender, cultural background, or even living in a totally different time or place, all on the stage of their imagination. Imagination lets us think outside the box and problem-solve in original ways. It gives us empathy and the vision of a future that keeps us hopeful when things seem hopeless. Divas: Thank you, Holly, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website http://www.blackholly.com Also drop by her MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/mshollyblack Discuss the book at http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Holly Black:
teenreads.com
cynsations


readergirlz


July, 2007



Readergirlz Issue 6              Welcome to our July issue! Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present Goy Crazy by Melissa Schorr, a hilarious novel about falling for the wrong goy. Summer is here. Time to slip on your shorts and sandals, pack your sunscreen, and head outside. But wait! No summer day is complete without a great summer read. Make sure to slip Goy Crazy into your pack.
Teens Read Too calls Goy Crazy "sweet, tragic, and laugh-out-loud hilarious."
With an unforgettable cast of characters and razor-sharp wit, Melissa Schorr's debut novel is an engaging comedy about a girl's decision to go goy crazy. Join us on the readergirlz MySpace group to talk about Goy Crazy and the ins and outs of dating.

Goy Crazy

Rachel Lowenstein can't help it. She's got a massive crush on a goy: Luke Christensen, the gorgeous star of the basketball team at St. Joseph's prep. But as the name implies, he's not exactly in Rachel's tribe. Rachel just knows her parents would never approve. Then Rachel's Jewish grandmother issues a stern edict -- "Don't go with the goyim!" -- sealing Rachel's fate and presenting her with a serious dilemma.
Should Rachel follow her heart and turn her back on her faith? Or should she heed her family's advice and try and find a nice Jewish boy?
What people are saying:
2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection 
Best Books of 2006 - "A notable debut." -- Little Willow 

"Well-written chick-lit with a Jewish slant" –- Kirkus Reviews 
"GOY CRAZY is fabulous - a giddy, juicy read!" -- Lauren Myracle, author of TTYL and TTFN

The While-You-Read Playlist



Here's what Melissa recommends downloading for Goy Crazy. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Ordinary Day – Vanessa Carlton
Dirty Little Secret – The All-American Rejects
Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul
The Hanukah Song – Adam Sandler
Two Princes – Spin Doctors
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne
If We Were a Movie – Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus)
Chemicals React – Aly & AJ



       

Community Challenge
Get into the giving spirit this summer with this fun project: catch and release a book. That's right: join BookCrossing and be part of the half a million people who practice leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. Read a book (such as one of the readergirlz picks or companion reads). Register the book on www.bookcrossing.com Get a special code that you put in your book. And release it in your neighborhood or your next vacation for someone else to read.
Live Chat
Readergirlz and readers held a live chat with Goy Crazy author Melissa Schorr on Thursday, July 26th. We talked about The Dramedy of Dating and shared our most tragic and comic and moments in romance - especially summer romance - and dating people from different faiths or backgrounds. Thanks to everyone who attended - It was our best chat to date!


Shoutout: Audrey Brashich
The readergirlz divas want to give a shout out to acclaimed author, former teen model, and girl power spokesperson Audrey Brashich.
Definitely pick up Audrey's book All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty to get the inside scoop on what real beauty is all about.


Recommended Reads

Our July theme is Fun. If you love Rachel's misadventures in Goy Crazy, then you'll love the delightful characters in these great companion reads. Fiction: Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman
Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Non-Fiction:
Got Issues Much? Celebrities Share Their Traumas and Triumphs by Randi Reisfeld and Marie Morreale

         

The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide
Gather your favorite readergirlz together for a fun book party for Goy Crazy. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!


Invites Send out an evite with a holiday theme. My favorite is "Naughty or Nice?" which goes perfectly with Rachel's decision to break The Teen Commandments.
Eats

Create an interfaith feast! Start with the Goy Crazy signature sandwich, which was created by the legendary Katz's Delicatessen in New York City. Here's how to make your own:
  1. Take white bread and slather it with mayo and mustard.
  2. Add pastrami.
  3. Cut into quarters.
  4. Enjoy (or not)!
Create your own cross-cultural sandwiches: Ham on mini bagels? Chopped liver on pita bread? Be creative! For drinks, serve Kosher grape juice and eggnog. Yes, you can make your own eggnog -- all you need is milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Don't forget dessert! You may not be able to find them in stores right now, but you can order favors like candy canes and Hanukkah gelt online. Try chocolategelt.com and orientaltrading.com Decorations
Create a holiday theme with all faiths represented. Use a string of Christmas lights and some menorahs lit with candles. Create a mix of funny holiday music, like "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "The Chanukkah Song" by Adam Sandler.
Mood Music
Simply crank up the playlist from above and dance.
Movies
1. The Way We Were
2. Romeo + Juliet (or West Side Story)
3. Save the Last Dance


Discussion Questions

1. Rachel thinks that her parents won't approve of her dating a boy who isn't Jewish. Have you ever wanted to date someone, but thought your parents wouldn't approve? What did you/would you do? 2. If a parent wants their child to only date or marry someone of the same race or religion, does that make them prejudiced? Why or why not? 3. Do you think there are any benefits from being friends or dating people of different backgrounds from your own? 4. From Rachel's perspective, her family was not very religious, but still made religion a priority in who they wanted her to marry. Do you agree with Rachel that this was hypocritical? 5. Luke suggests that Rachel should get a tattoo, but she's not sure she really wants one. Meanwhile, her friend Jen plays strip poker to impress her boyfriend and his friends. Have you ever seen smart girls do dumb things to please boys? What would you tell them? 6. Is it really possible to go from being "just friends" to boyfriend/girlfriend?

Author Chat

Listen in as Melissa Schorr chats with the readergirlz divas about Goy Crazy.

Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Melissa Schorr: My own life. The idea to write a book about interfaith dating started almost ten years ago when I wrote an essay called "The Joys of Goys" for GQ magazine, based on my own life experiences. At first, I wanted to write a non-fiction book about my own life, a real-life "Sex in the City" about dating a slew of non-Jewish guys. Then -- whoops! -- I met this great guy, who just so happened to be Jewish, and -- even bigger whoops! -- I ended up eventually marrying him. So, that basically killed that book project (sob, sob). It only took another decade or so until I realized the story could be fictionalized and set back where it all began, in my teen years, when my parents were always pressuring me about whom I dated. So when people ask me how long it took to write the book, I like to say that while literally, GOY CRAZY took about a year to actually write, in a sense, I've been writing it my whole life -- by living it. Most importantly, my book doesn’t try to send some kind of message, either for or against, interfaith dating. I just hope the book will help teens and parents talk about the issue, and maybe help any teen also dealing with that feeling of pressure like I did. Lorie Ann Grover: How autobiographical is it? Melissa Schorr: Very. My parents always pressured me as a teenage to date Jewish boys. Once, my own grandmother, like Rachel's, actually said to me, in her thick European accent: "Mal-ees-ssa, don’t go with the goy-im." So of course, like every teenager, I did the exact opposite. Just like Rachel, I did once meet a sexy non-Jewish boy at a party and snuck off to meet him. Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Melissa Schorr: I try to daydream a lot about my story, keeping it in my subconscious, even when I'm not actively working on it. I tend to write a lot of it away from the computer -- visualizing it as a movie and hearing the characters talking to each other in my head. I have an outline of what I think is going to happen, but sometimes the characters surprise me. Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why? Melissa Schorr: My parents. To their credit, they always encouraged me to pursue a career in the arts, even though writing can be a tough pursuit. I joke that my parents "burdened" my ambition to be a writer by giving me such a happy childhood, without too much angst to draw upon. But, even so, I'm still subconsciously working out my issues with my parents, because parental approval seems to be a key theme in my next novel as well. Justina Chen Headley: You mentioned that there has been some controversy surrounding the title of your book. Melissa Schorr: Yes, some people are uncomfortable with my using the slang word "goy," which they see as being offensive to non-Jewish people. To me, this is like judging a book by its cover. From what I understand, all the word traditionally means is "people" or "nation." The negative connotation comes from how some people have used it, which is something Rachel actually agonizes over within the book. Basically, as a writer, I believe context matters, and here, the word is clearly being used affectionately, in a positive, not negative, way. Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Melissa Schorr: When the perfect line or scene pops into my head. Getting fan e-mails from readers. And finishing. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent fun. Can you please comment on why you think teen girls ought to know about this? Melissa Schorr: The point of my book is that even though interfaith dating can be a serious issue, it's also okay to joke about it. Also, while I'd encourage teens to think about this, I'd also say that it's okay to date people of different backgrounds while you're still young, in high school. That's the whole point of dating, to have fun, to explore different options, and to learn about the world and yourself. Divas: Thank you, Melissa, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website http://www.melissaschorr.com Also drop by her MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/melissaschorr Discuss the book at http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Melissa Schorr:
Little Willow interviews Melissa Schorr at Bildungsroman
The Book of Life Podcast featuring Lorie Ann Grover and Melissa Schorr

readergirlz


June, 2007



Join us on the readergirlz MySpace group to talk about the Beauty and Beast that resides within us all.

Readergirlz Issue 5       Welcome to our June issue! Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey. Listed in the Top Ten Book Sense Summer Children's and YA Reads, Dragon's Keep has all the elements of the best magic tales - a princess, a dragon, a sorcerer, and a conniving queen, but this story also has a surprising twist. Just remove Rosalind's golden glove and . . . "None but Mother and myself knew what hid beneath my glove. Scaly claw of a beast with a black curving talon at the end. We hid the devil's mark from all lest I be burned as a witch." Rosalind's future hangs on the hope of healing her "beast mark." Yet year on year the potions fail.

Dragon's Keep

Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. No one, save her mother, the queen, knows her terrible secret. Rosalind must wear golden gloves to hide her claw until a cure can be found. She is a princess, she must be perfect – how else can she fulfill Merlin's six-hundred-year-old prophecy that will restore her banished royal family to its rightful throne? But Rosalind's flaw cannot be separated from her fate. And soon the bloodthirsty dragon that plagues Wilde Island carries her off. The dragon sees beauty in her talon where her mother saw only shame. And on Dragon's Keep, Rosalind comes to understand the truth behind the prophecy that has haunted her since birth. Is Rosie a princess? Or the spawn of a dragon? Which part of her blood holds the secret to who she really is?
Carey has written a stunning portrayal of the complex relationship between a mother and daughter in a lyrical novel sure to thrill readers who love fantasy -- and those who don't.

What people are saying:
"A rich medieval fantasy, a splendid weaving of bright and dark threads . . . brutalities and beauties, terrors and triumphs -- remarkable achievement."
- Newbery Award-winning author Lloyd Alexander


"The author has crafted something new and magical."
- School Library Journal Starred Review


"In stunning, lyrical prose, Carey tells the story of Rosalind, a twelfth-century princess destined for greatness . . . thoroughly compelling."
- Booklist Starred Review


"Part fairy tale, part mythology, part legend, all around fantastic! Read it! You'll be glad you did."
- TeensReadToo


The While-You-Read Playlist

Here's what Janet recommends downloading for Dragon's Keep. She chose Yellow by Coldplay for the novel's theme song because, "Yellow is both Modern and Magic. I imagine Kye singing this song about Rosie." Yellow - Coldplay Am I The Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way) - The Dixie Chicks May It Be - Enya - Lord of the Rings Soundtrack Feels Like Fire - Dido If I Laugh - Cat Stevens Caravanserai - Loreena McKeenit The Water is Wide - James Taylor Godspeed - The Dixie Chicks Return of the King Theme - Return of the King Soundtrack
Bonny Portmore - Loreen McKeenit

Shoutout: Chin-Chin Gutierrez


Chin-Chin Gutierrez Speaking Out on Radio Ibajay

Readergirlz gives a big shout out to our June Gutsy Girl pick, renowned actress and environmental spokesperson, Chin-Chin Gutierrez. Chin-Chin is the Vice Chair of Mother Earth Foundation. In 2003, she appeared on Time Magazine's cover for the "Asian Heroes" issue where she was hailed for using her celebrity stature to further the cause of ecological awareness. She received The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service (TOWNS) Award in 2004 for her environmental advocacy. Chin-Chin speaks internationally to raise awareness on global issues of sustainable lifestyles, ecological waste management, sustainable development, women and the environment, and more. She is the perfect Gutsy Girl pick for our June Go Eco Community Challenge. Readergirlz is proud to honor Chin-Chin Gutierrez's amazing worldwide contribution to environmental awareness. Check out her website!

Readergirlz Community Challenge

readergirlz June Community Challenge: Go Eco-friendly
You love spending summer outside camping, swimming, biking, and hiking. Let's all work together to keep the world green and clean so generations to come will be able to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, swim in unpolluted rivers and oceans, and enjoy earth's amazing array of plants and wildlife. Are you ready to Go Eco? YouthNoise teens launched a spring campaign this April and came up with a treasure trove of Eco-friendly ideas for you to try. YouthNoise -- Top Ten Ways to be an Eco-friendly Earthling Go Eco readergirlz Challenge 1: Lifestyle Changes
* Shorten your shower time (try a timer and cut a few minutes off each day).
* We generate 200 million tons of trash every day in the USA. Recommit to recycling.
* Alternative Summer Shopping: try garage sales, trading stuff with friends, or
check this shopping site. Go Eco readergirlz Challenge 2: Bottled Water Summer's a thirsty time and water is good for you, right? Check out this info on the Eco-unfriendly side of bottled water. The billions of plastic bottles used for bottled water = more waste. Companies are buying water rights up around the world. If this trend continues, water will no longer be free! Try buying a reusable water container. Use clean, cold tap water or get your own purifier. Go Eco readergirlz Challenge 3: Water-free Car Wash Do you see lots of people outside washing their cars this summer? Why not put on a neighborhood water-free car wash? Check out the YouthNoise winning video from their spring environmental challenge. More Green Sites to check out: Hank Green - EcoGeek Cameron Diaz - MTV Environmental Trippin show

YouthNoise

From the YouthNoise website: Across the globe, youths everywhere are making a difference. Combating issues without blinking an eye, they possess the spirit and strength, along with the heartfelt belief, that they can change the world. And change the world they do! YouthNoise gives these world-changers, these hope-givers, a voice, a place to connect, and a place to inspire-and be inspired. An activist haven, a socially conscious sanctuary, YouthNoise invites youths to write, to learn, to think, and to act. A virtual conference hall, playground, coffee shop, and classroom, YouthNoise is where the difference begins. YouthNoise's Mission [T]o inspire and empower young people everywhere to catapult their passion and idealism into movements to sustain the planet. YouthNoise's Vision One day millions of young people around the globe will work together through the YouthNoise platform and beyond it to make their communities and the world a better place for their generation and generations to come. YouthNoise Girls Speak Out for the Earth:
Crusader:
Where on Earth do we Begin?
SkellyBones:
Dangers in Your Laundry Basket
bonbon:
Green is the New Black

Live Chat

Going Eco! Are you into an Eco-friendly lifestyle? You're not alone. Celebs like Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio (going Green isn't just for girls!) are all making lifestyle changes and Speaking Out to save the environment. Come chat about Going Eco with YouthNoise teens. Let's talk about the challenges of the Eco-friendly lifestyle. Tell us what works, what doesn't, what you'd like to try. LIVE CHAT DATE: Wednesday, June 20th. START TIME: 7 PM Pacific Time / 10 PM Eastern Time DURATION: One hour. Janet's looking forward to chatting live. If you have any additional questions, please e-mail Janet.

Recommended Reads
Our June theme is Speak Out. If you love Rosalind in Dragon's Keep, discover more heroines in these great companion reads: THE HERO AND THE CROWN by Robin McKinley
Sword in hand, Aerin is bold. A great girl adventure.
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
Discover the mystery behind Melinda's mute screams. A riveting read.
THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale
Ani learns to speak out and reclaim her royal birthright. Magical.
THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE by Gail Carson Levine
These sisters with opposite dispositions really stand by one another.
READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN by Azar Nafisi
A powerful book that shows how life-changing reading together can be. 


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

The Ultimate Book Party
Gather your favorite readergirlz together for a spectacular fantasy book party for Dragon's Keep. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!
Take a peek at the fun pics from Janet's Dragon's Keep Book Launch Party. Invites
Janet used www.evite.com to create invitations for her book release party. You can use the cover of Dragon's Keep on the evite or craft your own for snail mail. Rosie writes on dragon scales while she's held captive on Dragon's Keep. Make your own dragon scale invitations on green paper.
Eats
Most readergirlz won't want to do a traditional medieval feast complete with such delicacies as roasted peacock, or gilded and slivered calves' heads. Yikes! But you might like a few medieval treats at your party. How about: Sliced cheeses -- Bram the pigboy is always pestering Princess Rosalind for a bit of cheese. Fresh fruits -- Serve apples, strawberries, currants and raspberries. Got a sweet tooth? Medieval cooks baked sweet fruit tarts and custards. Drinks Apple juice or cider -- a medieval mainstay Dragon's Tea -- Brew black tea or green tea and grind in some fresh ginger to add Dragon Fire.
Craft: Make Your Own Talon
Spell for a Dragon's Claw You will need:
  • Blue, green, and black Sculpey or FIMO clay (metallic is best)
  • Sculpey or Fimo metallic power in blue, green, and gold (optional)
  • Clear nail polish (optional)
  • Talcum powder
  • The cap of one pen
  • A table knife
  • A rolling pin Take a stone-sized piece each of blue and green clay. Warm the clay-stones in your hands and work each into a long worm. Twist the two colors and knead together, leaving some of the marble pattern. Flatten with a rolling pin to the length of your ring finger plus 1/2-inch and wide enough to wrap around your finger. Dust your finger with talc, then shape the clay around your finger, placing the seam on the top. Trim the excess with the table knife. Carefully slip the clay off your finger and set aside. Roll the excess blue and green clay into a very thin sheet, then cut scales with the cap of the pen. Starting at the base of the claw, layer the scales on the back all the way up to where the talon should rest. With a stone of black clay, form the talon into a long, terrifying shape (about 1.5 inches), and affix the talon to the finger carefully. If you have metallic powder, paint the claw before baking. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for twelve minutes. When cooled, paint the talon with clear nail polish and wear your new dragon claw with pride. Thanks to Holly Cupala for the photo and craft. Mood Music
    Simply crank up the playlist from above.
    Dress
    Dress as you please in medieval costumes or comfy jeans and tees. If you want to create a medieval costume to wear to your readergirlz book party, you can find costume ideas here.
    Movies
    1. The Lord of the Rings (all three)
    2. Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett (1998)
    3. Eragon

  • Discussion Questions

    1. Beauty And Beast:Rosie is part princess, part dragon -- both Beauty and Beast. She is taught to be ashamed of her claw and to hide that part of herself. Do you ever feel like you have to hide a part of yourself to be accepted by others? 2. Best Boy:As the author of DRAGON'S KEEP, I'm partial to Kye. I also love Holly Black's Roiben in both TITHE and IRONSIDE. Who is your favorite romantic hero? 3. Pride:On Dragon's Keep, Lord Faul teaches Rosie to be proud of her claw, and she begins to come into her power. Can a “weakness” or “fault” become a strength? What do you think? 4. Imperfect Princess:Rosie doesn't think she's beautiful because of her claw. Girls today are taught by the media that beauty = love. How do you handle the constant commercial hype? 5. Endangered:The dragons in Rosalind's day are endangered. Rosie does what she can to try to prevent their extinction. Do you think girls today can create environmental change and save some of the threatened species now? Can Going Eco help? What are your ideas? 6. Oops, I thought . . .
    Rosie assumes Kye has rejected her because of her claw. Have you ever assumed someone felt a certain way about you and later discovered it was only in your head?

    Author Chat

    Listen in as Janet chats with the other readergirlz divas about Dragon's Keep.

    Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Janet: I devour fairytales in winter. One year, after reading one too many "perfect princess" and "evil dragon" tales, I thought I'd turn the typical fairytale upside down and write one where the princess played both beauty and beast. The five-page fairytale I planned to write turned into a five-hundred-page novel, much of which had to be drastically cut later. Rosalind started talking and, well I guess I got a little carried away . . . Lorie Ann Grover: Is it autobiographical? Janet: No. Yes. No. Hum . . . Okay, I was overweight in High School and didn't feel like the "perfect princess" I was supposed to be in order to be loved. The story came from that feeling of not being good enough or pretty enough by the "commercial" definition of beauty. So I wrote a Beauty and Beast tale and made Rosie embody both. Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Janet: I start by playing on paper. In my journal, I ask a lot of questions to get to know the characters and discover the heart of the story. I also draw weird looking charts to dig around and unearth fresh ideas. I always knew Rosalind would be stolen and forced to raise the dragon pips. What I didn't know was how she would eventually escape and what would happen after. It took a lot of journaling and letting Rosie speak to discover all the plot twists in the book. Justina Chen Headley: Do you have animals that pester you when you are writing? Janet: We have a cat named Uke. She's beautiful and demanding and sits in my lap as I write. Occasionally she strolls across the keyboard and lets her fluffy tail tickle my nose (both cute and annoying!). If I truly understood my place in the world, I would let her continually traipse across the keys and mess up my manuscript, but humans are very hard to train. Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Janet: I love falling into the story -- getting so completely absorbed in the creative process that I lose track of time and forget where I am. I no longer think, "Here I am writing a book". I am inside it. That's when things really come alive and I discover all kinds of surprises. One occupations hazard I faced while writing DRAGON'S KEEP was the medieval to modern shift. If, let's say, the phone rang as I was boiling thistles in the dragon's cave, I'd practically leap out of my chair. What is that sound? It would take me a moment to regain my modern mind. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent our Speak Out month. Can you please comment on why you think teen girls ought to Speak Out? Janet: To me Speak Out means taking a stand about things we are passionate about. Not waiting on the sidelines and letting other people speak for us. There are so many ways for girls to Speak Out: We speak out with our hands when we roll up our sleeves and help someone. We speak out with our feet when we go on charity walks or runs. We speak out with our hearts when we tell the truth and stand by it. We speak out when we talk against injustice of any kind, or when we give voice to the voiceless. For example, our June Community Challenge asks readergirlz to Go Eco and Speak Out for the Earth. Readergirlz Speak Out every day by the choices they make. Divas:
    Thank you, Janet, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, visit her website www.janetleecarey.com and http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Janet Lee Carey: Interview conducted by Little Willow of Bildungsroman Interview conducted by Cynthia Leitich Smith of Cynsations Powells Kids Q&A (Also here.) Interview conducted by Michele Dillard of Suite101.com
    readergirlz

    May, 2007



    Readergirlz Issue 4             Welcome to our May issue! Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun in honor of National Mental Health Month. Do you love dragons, princesses, mystery, and magic? Are you a creative person? Do you admire a girl who can conquer her own demons? Have you ever felt sad one moment and happy the next? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the book for you!

    The Phoenix Dance

    On the island of Faranor in the kingdom of Windward, twelve princesses dance their shoes to shreds each night. No one knows why. Not the king and queen, not the knights, lords, or ladies-in-waiting. When the queen blames the royal shoemaker, his apprentice Phoenix Dance puts her life at risk to solve the mystery. She braves magic spells, dragons, evil wizards, and the treachery of the princesses themselves. As Phoenix faces these dangers, she finds herself caught in her own dangerous dance inside herself -- a dance of darkness and light, a dance that presents her with the greatest challenge of her life. This captivating companion to Dia's other Windward adventure, Aria of the Sea, weaves a retelling of Grimm's fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses with the tale of an imaginative young woman's struggle to understand an unpredictable, and sometimes overwhelming, part of herself.

    What people are saying:

    A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
    "The story is well crafted and offers excellent insight into the life of an individual suffering from bipolar disorder." -- School Library Journal

    "The Phoenix Dance is a lovely retelling of the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, told from the perspective of the shoemaker's apprentice. It's a beautiful, mythic story about overcoming challenges and trying to find one's place in the world." -- Wands and Worlds

    "The compelling portrayal of Phoenix as she slowly slips from one emotional extreme to the other gives a memorable edge to the novel." -- Booklist

    "Calhoun tackles real-life bipolar issues (finding effective meds; side effects; whether losing the mania is too high a price for stability) with specificity and aplomb." -- Kirkus

    The While-You-Read Playlist

    Diamond Road - Sheryl Crow
    X-Amount of Words - Blue October
    Pale - Within Temptation
    Lithium - Evanescence
    Girl Anachronism - Dresden Dolls
    Vincent - Don McLean
    Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
    Imaginary 2.0 - Evanescence
         
    Dia also recommends you listen to the music of Lindsay Rush, our May Gutsy Girl Shoutout, available at MySpace. Dia chose Lindsay's Gepetto Cut the Strings as the theme song for The Phoenix Dance. It was featured on our MySpace page during the month of May. You can get Lindsay's music at http://www.myspace.com/lindsayrush and tell her thanks for doing her part to break the stigma associated with mental illness!

    Shoutout: Lindsay Rush 

    The readergirlz divas want to give a shout out to Lindsay Rush, a singer-songwriter who is the national spokesperson for mpower, musicians for mental health.
    mpower is a new youth awareness campaign that's harnessing the power of music to change youth attitudes about mental health and fight the stigma facing the 1 in 5 youth with mental health problems. Working with artists, music industry executives, mental health advocates, and youth leaders, mpower is dedicated to reaching out to today's youth about a range of mental health issues, including depression, substance abuse, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide, and providing important resources and information to encourage those in need to seek help. 

    In Lindsay's Own Words

    "I'm a 20-year old singer-songwriter-guitarist and have been working with mpower: musicians for mental health and Mental Health America (formerly NMHA) since 2003.
    "Maintaining good mental health is so important and writing and music are, in my opinion, the greatest forms of self-expression. When you write something- whether it's a song, a poem, a short story- it's automatically YOURS. How many things in life are there that we can truly say are our own?
    "And, you can never be wrong when you write something. I think it's so important to bring that option to the attention of people, and youth specifically. I live by it."
    - Lindsay Rush
    mpoweryouth.org musicans for mental health
    Readergirlz Community Challenge 

    In honor of The Phoenix Dance, author Dia Calhoun encourages readergirlz everywhere to help overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness. So check out one of Dia's favorite websites, National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.nami.org
    Click on their TAKE ACTION tab. Find the link Fight Stigma and click on that, or just or just click here.
    You will see several ways that you can become a StigmaBuster! NAMI StigmaBusters is a network of dedicated advocates around the world who fight inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness. Whether these images are found in TV, film, print, or other media, StigmaBusters speak out and challenge stereotypes and educate society about the reality of mental illness and the courageous struggles faced by consumers and families every day. StigmaBusters' goal is to break down the barriers of ignorance, prejudice, or unfair discrimination by promoting education, understanding, and respect.
    Readergirlz can bring the anti-stigma program In Our Own Voice to your school. You can also go on a NAMIWALK in your state to help raise funds to support mental health programs.
    Another NAMI program is Breaking the Silence: Teaching School Kids about Mental Illness. This is an educational package designed to teach students on three grade levels, upper elementary, middle school, and high school about serious mental illness. This attractive, easy to use educational package for three grade levels uses stories to humanize serious mental illness and teach that these illnesses are no-fault brain disorders. Students also examine the role the media plays in perpetuating stigma. Bring this program to your school!

    Shout out to CABF (The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation)


    Dia and the other readergirlz divas give a shout out to CABF for all the good work they do. The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation educates families, professionals, and the public about pediatric bipolar disorder; connects families with resources and support; advocates for and empowers affected families; and supports research on pediatric bipolar disorder and its cure. Check out their website at www.bpkids.org

    Recommended Reads
    Impulse Ellen Hopkins Wildwood Dancing Juliet Marillier
    Dancing on the Edge Han Nolan
    Stop Pretending Sonya Sones
    The Illustrated Mum Jacqueline Wilson
    The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Jane Ray
    Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament (nonfiction) Kay Redfield Jamison

    Check out this link to CABF's e-newsletter article about readergirlz and The Phoenix Dance.

    Additional Online Resources Check out these other great sites and
    blogs:
    UCLA School Mental Health Project: Center for Mental Health in Schools

    Their mission is to improve outcomes for young people by enhancing the field of mental health in schools.
    NAMI Washington
    NAMI Washington provides a statewide unified voice for people affected by brain disorders
    TeenScreen
    The Columbia University TeenScreen Program is a national mental health and suicide risk screening program for youth. Their goal is to make voluntary mental health check-ups available for all American teens.
    Mental Health Recovery and WRAP
    WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) is a self-management and recovery system developed by a group of people with mental health difficulties. Run by Mary Ellen Copeland, their mission is to promote personal, organizational, and community wellness and empowerment. Check out their wonderful WRAP recovery books!
    DRADA: Depression and Related Depressive Disorders Association
    DRADA understands the need to eliminate the stigma that is attached to mood disorders, and is constantly striving to promote public knowledge of signs, symptoms, and resources available to persons affected by these illnesses.
    About: Bipolar Disorder
    For early warning signs of bipolar illness and much more
    Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
    Helping children with mental health needs and their families achieve a better quality of life
    Pendulum Resources
    Gateway to Bipolar Disorders on the web
    PsychCentral
    The Internet's largest and oldest mental health social network created and run by mental health professionals
    PsychEducation.org
    Provides quality education on mental health topics where information on the Internet is scattered or non-existent
    BipolarConnect
    Check out John McManamy's great bipolar blog
    The Icarus Project
    Navigating the Space between Brilliance and Madness
    Dr. Ivan's Depression Central
    A clearinghouse for information on all types of depressive disorders 


    The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

    The Ultimate Book Party
    Gather your favorite readergirlz together for a spectacular fantasy book party for The Phoenix Dance. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!
    Invites
    Dia used www.evite.com to create invitations for her book release party. To be author-authentic, download the book cover image.
    If you want to create your own invitation, scan a photo of cool shoes from a magazine ad. Import into your word processing program and add book cover, date, time, and place of the book party. Make it colorful - Phoenix's aunts love bright colors! Print out on your ink-jet printer and wala! You have a custom made invitation! If you don't have a scanner, cut and paste shoe photos from magazines onto your invites.
    For content, how about: "Put on your best dancing shoes and dance on over to 1234 Readergirlz Lane on May X, 2007 to celebrate The Phoenix Dance."
    Eats
    For your The Phoenix Dance book party, Dia recommends serving food featured in the book:
    Corn Muffins - Percy Snailkips gives Phoenix corn muffins when she first meets him.
    Sugar Cookies and Pancakes - Phoenix whips up several batches of these when she is in one of her manic moods.
    Ginger Snaps - Phoenix's rival, Teeska, makes these for Whelk.
    Cheese-filled sausages - one of Phoenix's favorite foods.
    Chocolates - the favorite food of the mysterious old woman who gives Phoenix the magic cloak.
    Brickly-brick sweetie sticks - a candy sold in the Faranor market on Harbor Road. Use your imagination to come up with these!
    AND (not from the book) Red Hots - represents the Black Dragon's fiery breath.
    Tea - the Twelve Dancing Princesses' favorite drink.
    The boiled water from cooking mustard greens - For the full The Phoenix Dance experience, get a taste of Phoenix's medicine!
    Craft and Decorating Ideas
    Buy shoes from goodwill or use old shoes of your own. Clean and polish. Using a glue gun, go wild decorating the shoes with one or more of the following:
    • glitter
    • sequins
    • faux pearls
    • feathers
    • cording
    • braid
    • shells
    • fabric paint
    • silk flowers
    • ribbons
    For a decorating idea put some of these materials in a bowl and use as a centerpiece. Add lilies and bluebells. OR scatter shells across the tables.
    Mood Music
    Simply crank up the playlist from above.
    Dress
    Of course, because the book is all about shoes! shoes! shoes! Everyone should come to the book party wearing her favorite shoes! Even bring a pair to trade!
    Discussion Questions

    1. Phoenix has extreme highs and lows. Many teens have highs and lows, too. How do you manage your own highs and lows?
    2. Several of the Twelve Dancing Princesses treat Phoenix badly when they learn she has bipolar illness, a mental illness. Have you ever been treated badly for something that you had no control over? What did you do about it?
    3. Phoenix's aunts do not want her to become a shoemaker. Have you ever had to convince your parents/guardian to let you pursue a dream?
    4. When her illness is first diagnosed, Phoenix doesn't want to take her medicine because it makes her feel like a different person. Have you ever had to do something that you know is good for you, that helps you ultimately, but that made you feel strange or weird at the time?
    5. Mederi Gale (yes, this is the grownup Cerinthe Gale from Aria of the Sea!) asks Phoenix, "If you sweep away the fire, the smoke, and the darkness, and saw instead the ship of yourself sailing in the light of a clear dawn, what color would your sails be? Who are you, Phoenix, at the heart of yourself?" What color are your own sails? Who are you at the heart of yourself? Do you know? Or are you still finding out?
    6. Phoenix loves the feeling of being "on fire" and "alive" when she is being creative. How does creativity make you feel inside?

    Author Chat

    Listen in as Dia Calhoun chats with the other readergirlz divas about The Phoenix Dance.

    Janet Lee Carey:
    What inspired you to write The Phoenix Dance, Dia?
    Dia:
    I've been fascinated with the fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses ever since I was a child. All those princesses! All those dresses!
    All that dancing! Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Two Illness. That's a mental illness where your mood swings back and forth between mania and depression. My doctor traced the illness back to when I was a teen. A light bulb flashed. I could write a young adult book about this, I thought. But I did not know what form the story should take. Years passed while I wrote my other books. Meanwhile, I read the Twelve Dancing Princesses again. What, I thought? What is calling me? I kept thinking about the story. Then one day, in spite of medication, an episode of my illness struck. Imagine yourself spinning on a stool, huddled, legs tucked up, spinning faster and faster, dizzy, sick. Sometimes when I am hypomanic—the low-level type of mania that I get—I sometimes have bursts of creative energy. As my thoughts raced, the princesses popped into my mind. I saw them dancing in their gorgeous dresses, but dancing wildly, on fire, all night long. Like me. Then I knew. The princesses were manic. Like me. They were sick. That interpretation of the fairy tale was what had been calling me all those years. Then I knew I could use the fairy tale as the basis for a book about bipolar illness.
    Justina Chen Headley:
    Is it true that you kept your bipolar illness a secret until you finished writing The Phoenix Dance?
    Dia:
    Yes, until then I had only told a few close friends and family members. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to having a mental illness, especially bipolar illness. I was afraid people would treat me oddly or be prejudiced against me. But when I finished writing the book I thought it would do so much more good in the world if I told people it was based on my own experience. I thought I could help educate teens and help overcome stigma. And I'm so glad I came forward! So many people have told me how much the book has helped them. And not only people who have, or know someone who has, the illness. I've also heard from girls who just feel different from everyone around them and feel misunderstood.
    Lorie Ann Grover:
    Phoenix is lured by the manic state she feels in the Kingdom of Brilliance (mania). Have you felt that way, too?
    Dia:
    Oh yes! The hypomania can feel wonderful at first. I feel alive, on fire, full of creative energy. Wonderful ideas come rushing, connecting, one after the other. But then there is no OFF switch. I can't turn my mind off. I can't stop the ideas. I can't stop working. I can't sleep. Exhaustion overwhelms me. It feels as though every nerve ending in your body is on fire. It turns into a nightmare. And a plunge into depression often follows. The depression is terrible.
    Janet Lee Carey:
    How did the illness affect you when you were a teen?
    Dia:
    What I remember most is the depression and suicidal thinking—I never attempted suicide, but I thought about it. I took a bus across town to ballet class every day. Once a woman came up to me on the street and said, "Why are you so sad, little girl?" I'll never forget that. I walked around with a huge ache in my chest. I also had terrible insomnia and racing thoughts.
    Justina Chen Headley:
    Why did you give Phoenix that name?
    Dia:
    I have always thought that the myth of the Phoenix is a great metaphor for bipolar illness. In mythology, every 500 years the phoenix bird is consumed by flame, then it rises again from its own ashes, only to be consumed by flame in another 500 years. This is like the great dance from the fire of mania to the ashes of depression that cycles over and over in those with bipolar illness. For more about the Phoenix legend, click here. Lorie Ann Grover:
    Would you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a writer?
    Dia:
    I knew when I began writing poetry in the second grade that I wanted to be a writer. I majored in English in college. But after college, I went to graphic design school, because I needed a way to earn a living. I then freelanced as a logo/lettering artist for many years. I designed the Alaska logo on the side of the Alaska Airlines aircraft! After I bought my first computer, I began writing for an hour every morning before I went to work. I had always loved YA books, and that is what I wanted to write. My in-laws have a beautiful apple and pear orchard in Eastern Washington, and I knew I wanted to set a book there. My YA fantasy novel Firegold was the result. It took me five years to write it! Then while I was trying to sell it, I wrote Aria of the Sea, a fantasy about my ballet experience. After I sold Firegold, I wrote a prequel to it, White Midnight.
    Janet Lee Carey:
    The Phoenix Dance has the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Brilliance. Are darkness and light themes in any of your other books?
    Dia:
    Yes! White Midnight and my latest, Avielle of Rhia, are both fantasy novels about girls trying to find their courage in the face of great darkness. Darkness and light almost become characters in the books. I have a Christmas fable, The Return of Light: A Christmas Tale, coming out in October 2007, that is also about this. I wonder if I am obsessed with it because of the bipolar illness and my swinging moods that plunge me into darkness and have me fighting my way back toward the light again and again.
    Thanks so much for the great interview, divas! I send greetings to all readergirlz and look forward to chatting with you each at the MySpace group site http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz or through e-mail divas@readergirlz.com
    For more interviews with Dia Calhoun:
    Interview with Michele Dillard Suite101.com
    http://teenfiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/fantasy_author_dia_calhoun Interview with Miss Erin, children's lit blogger Part One
    Part Two
    Interview with Dia about The Phoenix Dance
    http://www.diacalhoun.com Divas:
    And thank you, Dia! To learn more about our featured author, visit her website www.diacalhoun.com and http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz
    readergirlz


    April, 2007


    Girls' Life Magazine Top Ten Summer Read Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year Dorothy Canfield Fisher Top Ten Book of 2006

    Readergirlz Issue 3              Happy Poetry Month! 
    Welcome to our April issue! Divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are joining readergirlz everywhere to celebrate verse novels this month. We'll be reading and discussing Lorie Ann Grover's novel in verse, On Pointe. If the word poetry makes your skin crawl, hear us right now: Poetry
    doesn't have to
    be confusing,
    leaving you lost
    without a clue
    of what
    it means!
    Rather, it can create moments, pictures, and make your mind connect things that you have never connected before. Don't miss out because of some past negative experience. Try reading a verse novel and see what we mean. So, get ready. A novel in verse carries intense emotion. Reading one is like holding hands with the author to duck in and out of incredible scenes and images. There's a safety in the surrounding white space. There's a chance to breath and think before diving forward again. Come on, readergirlz. Whether you are a poet who thinks in meter and rhyme, or this form is totally new to you, let's join hands and experience On Pointe!

    On Pointe

    Clare has spent her life training to become a member of City Ballet Company. She's sacrificed free time, friends, and other pursuits to reach her one dream. Her entire family has supported and contributed to help her realize her hope. But this summer, just before auditions, Clare is having a growth spurt. She's noticeably taller than everyone else in class. Will something completely out of her control steal her dream? Who would she be if dance was taken away? How would she define herself, and could she ever dream again? It seems impossible. Amidst a group of dancers, all training for the same positions, some struggling with anorexia, others driven to succeed by parents, Clare faces the audition that may change her life.

    What people are saying:

    "(An) introspective novel. . . . From the details of the dance-class routines and the tension and competition among the dancers to the intimate family crises, the teen's voice rings true. (A) finely written novel." School Library Journal

    "Grover brings an air of authenticity to this well-wrought free-verse novel about a girl's passion for ballet." Publishers Weekly

    The While-You-Read Playlist

    Here's what Lorie Ann recommends downloading for On Pointe. These songs reflect Clare's story, or they have encouraged Lorie Ann personally. Video - India.Arie
    I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
    I Believe - Fantasia Barrino
    Here I Am - Bryan Adams
    What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
    Bein' Green - Kermit the Frog
    I Like to Move It - Sacha Baron Cohen
    There's Hope - India.Arie
    Rainbow Connection - Kermit the Frog 


       
       
    Shoutout: Scarlett Pomers

    Readergirlz give a shout out to actress Scarlett Pomers of TV's Reba. After her experience with anorexia, she is now the Ambassador for NEDA, the National Eating Disorder Association.
    Within the association, she has established the Arch-Angels Fund "to raise awareness and funds for eating disorders advocacy, education and treatment."
    Read about Project Chains and how proceeds benefit NEDA. Rock out to the CD by Scarlett Pomers and Jak Paris. Thanks, Scarlett!
    NEDAW 2007

    The readergirlz divas challenge you to coordinate donations for NEDA's Great Jeans Giveaway. How often do we try to wear uncomfortable jeans because we aren't happy with our own genetic build? So here's the challenge: "Be comfortable in your genes. Wear jeans that fit the REAL you." Look through your closet and give your old or new uncomfortable jeans to your favorite charity. Organize readergirlz or your whole school to rethink body image acceptance and donate jeans to a good cause.
    Learn more about how NEDA celebrated this great event and be inspired to continue the work by visiting this link.

    Readergirlz Community Challenge

    Because anorexia is seen in the dance world, and teens across the country are under great pressure to be thin, we've compiled these warning signs from the credible websites listed below. These signs could indicate an eating disorder: 1. Fear of weight gain that is constant
    2. Refusal to eat or harsh limits set on amounts of food eaten
    3. Obsessive dieting
    4. Extreme weight loss
    5. Obsessive exercising
    6. False body image revealed by complaints of bloating, nausea, or fatness
    7. Oversensitive to cold
    8. Tired and unable to concentrate
    9. Avoids society
    10. Weak immune system
    11. Depressed and anxious
    12. Downy hair grows on face
    13. Period is lost
    14. Nails dry
    15. Constipated
    16. Headaches
    17. Hair falls out
    18. Visits pro-anorexia websites If you or one of your friends is in danger, call The Eating Disorder Treatment and Helpline 1-866-494-0866 and visit the website. These organizations are dedicated to helping those with eating disorders:
    NEDA, The National Eating Disorders Association
    ANAD, Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders And check out these great related blogs and sites: Shaping Youth, Amy Jussel
    Find help in fighting the media's influence on your mind. We Bite Back, Sharon Hodgson
    Get incredible Post-Proana support! The Body Positive, Connie Sobczak
    Here's a great site to learn to love your body and read about Health at Every Size. Y Pulse, Anastasia Gordstein
    Visit this independent blog for teen/youth media and marketing professionals. Big Fat Deal, Mo Pie
    Read about weight issues in the media, pop culture, and society.
    Check out this particular post. All Made Up, Audrey D. Brashich
    This site accompanies our recommended read of the same title. Respect RX, Courtney Macavinta
    Make sure you click here to read about 5 ways to boost girls' self respect. Follow up by reading this amazing blog, "How I Got Thin." Readergirlz give a shoutout to those who promote healthy dancers: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
    Boston Ballet
    Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
    Mark Morris Dance Group
    The Baryshnikov Dance Foundation
    The National Dance Association
    For those who support tall girls:
    tallwomen.org
    tall.org

    Recommended Reads
    Aria of the Sea, Dia CalhounMake Lemonade, Virginia Euwer WolffOne of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, Sonya Sones Cut, Patricia McCormick Your Own Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath, Stephanie Hemphill All Made Up, Audrey D. Brashich

    The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

    The Ultimate Book Party

    Book a meeting with your favorite readergirlz for an On Pointe party. E-mail us a photo of your celebration!
    Invites
    Create an evite with www.evite.com. To be author-authentic, download the book cover image.
    For hand delivered invitations, punch a hole in a tea package and attach it to your invite with a pink ribbon. For content, how about:
    Dance on over to celebrate On Pointe!
    We'd love for you to join our Company.
    The curtain rises on April 2007, at 12345 Readergirlz Blvd, at 6:00 p.m.
    Come and share your hopes and dreams: past, present, and future.
    Food and Drinks
    Do you want snacks or a full meal?
    Snacks:
    Just for fun:
    * Popcorn
    * Dill Pickles
    * Ice Cream, French Vanilla
    * Diet Soda
    For elegance:
    * Tea
    * Lattes
    * Biscotti
    To recreate a meal with Clare:
    * Have everyone bring a microwave dinner
    * Or pick up Teriyaki and egg rolls
    * Or serve tomato soup, grilled cheese, and Jell-O
    * Or how about bratwurst, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes
    We don't recommend Grandpa's warm prune juice!
    Decorate
    Centerpieces:
    * Now's the time to dig through your closet! Is there an old tutu in the far back? Old ballet shoes maybe?
    * Or how about a vase of sunflowers or a small bouquet of pansies?
    * Scatter the pieces of Scrabble, Dominos, or Checkers on the tabletop.
    * Stack dance magazines as your centerpiece.
    * Decorate place card settings with a few bobby pins.
    Music
    Crank up the On Pointe playlist and dance!
    Movies
    Follow up your book discussion with one of these films:
    Thin, a documentary by Lauren Greenfield http://www.laurengreenfield.com/index.php?p=Y6QZZ990
    The Turning Point http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076843/
    The Company http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335013/
    Shall We Dance http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358135/
    Strictly Ballroom http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105488/
    Baryshnikov by Tharp http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0785432/ - Lorie Ann's former classmate, Deirdre Carberry performs with Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Little Ballet.

    Discussion Questions

    1. Clare feels she's out of control as her body matures. Was/is this an issue for you?
    2. If your outlet for your passion was completely removed, what would you do instead? Could you try that now?
    3. Have you been tempted to lose weight for the wrong reasons: peer pressure, the media, your family?
    4. Clare feels beautiful when she dances. It is as if she is “turned inside out.” What makes you feel this way?
    5. Are you under pressure from others to achieve their dream as Clare was?
    6. Sometimes others can see who we are when we can't. Grandpa sees Clare is already a dancer. Have you ever ignored anyone else's input about yourself?


    Author Chat

    Listen in as Lorie Ann chats with the divas about herself and her work.
    Janet Lee Carey: Where did you get your inspiration for On Pointe?
    Lorie Ann: I was a member of the Miami Ballet Company until I grew too tall, six feet. On pointe, I'm actually 6'8"! After ten years of study, my dream died with a phone call from the dance master. I dealt with the disappointment by shutting the door on dance. I couldn't watch or think about it. Until twenty years later, when I met Dia Calhoun. She had just published her book about ballet, Aria of the Sea. Chatting with Dia unlocked my doors. I knew I had a story to tell and a dance to reclaim.
    Justina Chen Headley: So you are saying this story is autobiographical?
    Lorie Ann: Unlike your work that we looked at last month, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), I have to say most definitely, my work is autobiographical! About seventy percent is my experience. My grandpa, Reuel Grant Garber supported my dance whole-heartedly. (Check out my dedication.) I did dance and audition for a company. I had a seventeen-year-old cat named Mija. And I knew a fabulous caregiver named Mabel.
    However, my story occurred in Miami, Florida. I set On Pointe in the Northwest because that's where I make my home now. My other novels, Loose Threads and Hold Me Tight, were set in Miami, and I felt like I wanted to share my beautiful community of Sumner in this work. Walking down Main Street you might bump into Judge Hammermaster, see the former Mayor in the park, and definitely see the high school, home of the Sumner Spartans! And right now the daffodils actually are blooming and everyone's gearing up for the Daffodil Parade.
    In this work, both the mother and father are fictitious. Although they are named after my in-laws!
    Janet Lee Carey: Did your grandfather really suffer a stroke?
    Lorie Ann: He did, but his recovery was fuller than Clare's grandpa. He was able to hear my grandmother read my book to him before he passed away just a year ago. Mija, my seventeen-year-old cat, also has died. It is sweet to revisit them in the book. I love that other people can hear my grandfather's wise words.
    Dia: What's your writing process?
    Lorie Ann: I try to write daily. I work on one novel at a time. I also illustrate and write board books. When my left brain is empty, I give my right brain some exercise. I squeeze all my work around homeschooling my daughters and being a readergirlz diva.
    Justina: Who are your writer friends?
    Lorie Ann: Well, the divas of course! And the state of Washington is full of great children's lit authors. There are just too many to list. But closest are Joan Holub and my writing mentor Laura Kvasnosky. I, like you, have to mention Janet Wong. She's my fairy godsister.
    Janet: Since your work is more heavily autobiographical does you family support your efforts?
    Lorie Ann: Oh, yes! Although my immediate family hasn't really appeared in my books yet, except for my husband, David, in Loose Threads. My brothers have basically been whining to appear in a story from the start. They said it was about time when Hold Me Tight came out. I believe it's hardest on my mother as my books shift details about really happened. Fiction and reality get so jumbled. And those memories I'm writing about aren't her pleasant ones. I don't believe my natural father has been able to read Hold Me Tight. Despite everything, everyone supports me! Isn't that amazing?
    Dia: It is! Would you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a writer?
    Lorie Ann: Well, when the door closed on my ballet career, I pursued fine art at the University of Miami. My titles on my paintings grew longer and longer. They began to be poems even. I realized I wanted to create picture books to join my two interests. My editor Emma Dryden is the one who challenged me to create my first novel. With a little nudge, I was off!
    Justina: Do you dance now?
    Lorie Ann: Well, I certainly can't do ballet. I have rheumatoid arthritis that affects all the joints in my body. But with a few braces and without a flare, I can dance ballroom and do a bit of swing dancing. I love it so much! I'd encourage everyone to try other forms of dance. My mother-in-law is a great example. At seventy-three, she's taking Zumba classes for the first time!
    Janet: As girls finish On Pointe, what else might they read?
    Lorie Ann: Dia Calhoun's Aria of the Sea is a must read, as my work was inspired from hers. Glimpse another side of ballet in this amazing fantasy, and see Cerinthe find her true voice. Read the fabulous Make Lemonade by Viriginia Euwer Wolff, considered by many to be the first YA verse novel. Booklist has compared my writing to hers.
    Sonya Sones is a master of the verse novel. Pick up her great read, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies.
    Considering other self-damaging illnesses beyond anorexia, Patricia McCormick's verse novel Cut offers up understanding and help for a teen tempted to hurt herself.
    Your Own Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill is garnering wonderful reviews. Find out why.
    A strong non-fiction work is All Made Up by former model, Audrey D. Brashich. Remind yourself where true beauty lies and combat the media's influence.
    Thanks so much for the great interview, divas! I send a wave to all readergirlz and look forward to chatting with you each at the MySpace group site. http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz
    Divas:
    And thank you, Lorie Ann! To learn more about our featured author, visit her website www.lorieanngrover.com

    readergirlz


    March, 2007

    Readergirlz Issue 2        Happy National Women's History Month!
    Truth: March is the perfect time to launch readergirlz, because today's girls will make tomorrow's history. Truth: Our world needs more gutsy girls. Truth: Last spring on her book tour, readergirlz diva Justina Chen Headley made a special effort to visit urban areas that couldn't otherwise afford to bring in authors. One particular afternoon in Seattle's International District left a profound impact on Justina . . . and inspired readergirlz! Truth: It took 9 months, 3 additional readergirlz divas (YA authors Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey & Lorie Ann Grover), 1 superstar webdiva nicknamed Little Willow, and the advice of countless children's lit librarians and bloggers to create readergirlz. Truth: Justina is happy to make good on her promise: to provide a rich author experience to all teen girls, regardless of where they are or what their situation is. (And she is thankful that she can sleep guilt-free now.) So it's with particular pleasure that all 4 readergirlz divas -- Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover & Justina -- introduce you to Patty, a girl who learns to accept, love, and stand up for herself in Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies).
    Thanks for joining the readergirlz movement. We can't wait to read and reach out together. After reading our inaugural issue, book on over to our MySpace Group and get gabbing with Justina and the other readergirlz divas!


    Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)
            
    Truth: I am Patricia Yi-Phen Ho. Patty to my friends; Pattycake to the one aunt on my mother's side who calls us once a year, and Pattypus to my enemy, Steve Kosanko, a short, stock bully who's hated me since fourth grade. He's right in a way. I may not look half-duck, half-beaver, but I don't look wholly anything either. Not quite white, not all yellow. Half-and-half Patty Ho has never felt completely at home in her skin. Life at House Ho is tough enough between her ultra-strict mom (epic-length lectures and all) and her Harvard-bound big brother. But things get worse when a Chinese fortune-teller channels Patty's future via her belly button ... and divines a white guy on her romance horizon.
    Faster than Patty can add two plus two, her mom freaks out and ships her off to math camp at Stanford. Just as Patty writes off her summer of woe, life starts glimmering with all kinds of probabilities ...

    What people are saying:
    Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) was named Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best, a Borders Original Voice, a Book Sense pick, and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Unbelievably well done. Engaging, humorous, and realistic.
    -- Interactive Reader
    . . . filled with made up words like Mama-logue and insta-judge, spot-on observations, and real feeling. I would recommend it for both teens and adults.
    -- Proper Noun

    A bitterly funny, tear-jerking, raise-your-fist-and-cheer YA novel about race and relationships and reality . . .
    -- Readers' Rants

    The While-You-Read Playlist

    Here's what Justina recommends loading on your MP3 player. Listen to these tunes while you read Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) and get in touch with your inner gutsy girl. Suddenly I See - K.T. Tunstall In My Head - Anna Nalick Dear Diary - Pink Turn Me On - Norah Jones Where Are You Going - Dave Matthews Band Harajuku Girls - Gwen Stefani Who Makes You Feel - Dido Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
    A special note for the first track: Justina considers Suddenly I See to be the theme song for her novel -- the lyrics are kicking -- and so is K.T. who happens to be half-Asian herself.

    Gutsy Girl: Josie Watanabe 


    A shout out to our inaugural Gutsy Girl, Josie Watanabe, Teen Services Librarian for the Seattle Public Library -- the inspiration behind readergirlz! Josie invited Justina Chen Headley to speak at an event in Seattle's International District that made our readergirlz diva vow to provide teen girls anywhere and everywhere with a rich author experience. We honor Josie, a true Gutsy Girl, for sharing her passion for books with teens.
    "I love to read!!! Reading is like being a super spy. You get to sneak a peek into someone else's life - to see how they lived, the mistakes they made and how they persevered." -- Josie Watanabe


    Readergirlz Community Challenge

    In honor of Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), author Justina Chen Headley encourages readergirlz to break down social boundaries and to help stop bullying at their high schools. Check out one of readergirlz diva Justina's all-time favorite websites, www.tolerance.org According to the website, 70% of students pointed to the cafeteria as the single place on campus where social lines are established. Read the website to learn how you can break down barriers, separating kids into different social clans. It even gives tips on how you can plan a Mix it Up Lunch at your school to do just that.
    Better yet, come up with your own idea to shatter social cliques at your school, and you can win a grant from www.tolerance.org to put your idea into action! Read all about how you can apply for grant money and study how other students like you have made their schools a more welcoming place for everyone.

    The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide
            
    Get your favorite readergirlz together for a fabulous East-Meets-West book party for Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies). Make sure to email us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize! Invites Justina used www.evite.com to create invitations for her book release party. To be author-authentic, choose the purple swirly design and download the book cover. For ultra-creative types (i.e. the ones who shudder at the thought of sending invitations over cyberspace), wrap a fortune cookie in cellophane, knotted off with a ribbon and the invite. You can use Patty's Truth Statement format for the invitation. For instance: TRUTH: We are having a book celebration in honor of Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)! TRUTH: No book discussion is complete without you. TRUTH: Show up at 12345 Readergirlz Blvd on March, 2007, at 6:00 p.m. sharp. TRUTH: Truth Serum will be served. So be ready to spill the truth (and that's no white lie). Eats Clearly, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) calls for an East Meets West menu. Here's what Justina served up at her own book release party and you can, too: *dim sum. Hop over to your local Trader Joe's or an Asian food market that stocks bite-sized dumplings in their freezer section. They're easy to steam 15 minutes before your readergirlz arrive. *chicken skewers. Admittedly, these are a pain to make. So for a fun alternative, fix sandwiches with an Asian twist. For instance, serve up Asian chicken wraps. (Fill a tortilla with shredded Chinese cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, red bell peppers, and chicken. You can drizzle it with a tiny bit of soy sauce.) *Asian chicken salad. Toss mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, and roasted chicken with greens. *edamame. Boiled and lightly salted soy beans, edamame, are the perfect nibble during the book discussion. Of course, every Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) party needs to serve the infamous Jello Inequity which is dished up in the book. Now, Justina's mother-in-law provided her with a recipe for jello that includes cream cheese, which is trotted out every Christmas in the Headley house. Which means that you can fix jello for your book bash, too. (However, to this day, readergirlz diva Justina admits that the jello perplexes her: while the jello is green, does it truly qualify as salad?) Drinks The Truth Serum: Serve a sweetened Green Tea (such as Vitamin Water Rescue or Sobe). For a fun and different serving idea, fill test tubes with the truth serum tea and nest them in a bowl of crushed ice. Decorate At Justina's party, some of her fabulous friends hung Chinese lanterns around the bookstore. Then, for a hip Asian vibe, they scattered handfuls of (raw) black azuki beans around votives. (If you replicate this, make sure to keep an eye out for burning candles!) Fill a bowl with fortune cookies and place them in the center of the discussion table for an edible, affordable centerpiece. Mood music Simply crank up the Nothing but the Truth playlist from above.
    Other party ideas After your book talk, you can check out Double Happiness, a movie featuring the ultimate Kung Fu Kick-Ass Queen, Sandra Oh.


    Discussion Questions

    1. Over one fateful summer, Patty learns a lot of different truths about herself. What was the most important truth she learned? What is a truth that you've discovered about yourself recently?
    2. Early on in the novel, Patty was taunted in an ugly racist incident. How did that impact the way she saw herself? Have you ever faced any bullying of any kind?
    3. Patty found solace and power with girlfriends, one of whom she had originally written off as a loser. How did her perception of Anne change, even as her own self-definition shifted? Have you ever been surprised by the girls who come through for you during your crises—and the ones who don't?
    4. One of the most painful parts of growing up in House Ho for Patty was her relationship with her mother. What changed that relationship for the better? Does your parent/guardian or your teachers have their canned lecture series?
    5. What do you wish you could tell them when those lectures start rolling? Stu makes a truly bad choice at the summer camp. Was that necessary in the plot? Why or why not? How did it affect Patty? Did she learn anything from it?
    6. What was Patty's gutsiest moment in the novel? When have you taken a stance? What do you think enabled you to do that?
    Author Chat

    Readergirlz diva Justina Chen Headley gives you the inside scoop on writing and her novel in a chat with the other readergirlz divas. Janet Lee Carey, readergirlz diva: Justina, where did you get your inspiration for Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)? Justina: To tell you the truth, I wrote this novel out of rage. Hell hath no fury like a writer-mom whose kids are scorned! See, I had taken my children, who are half-Asian, half-white, to a Children's Museum, and some teens mocked them in that hung-twung-wung pseudo-Chinese. Anyway, my character started talking to me that night, telling me that she was a biracial teen and how hard it was to feel too Asian for her all-white high school and too white for her mom's all-Asian potluck group. The next morning, I went for a run, and with every step I took, more of Patty's story spilled out.   Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva: Justina, why did you write Patty's story? Is it autobiographical? Justina: People always ask me that! They even want to know if it's me on the cover. (No, even though I sometimes feel and act like I'm 17, I'm not. The cover girl is a wonderful teen I met at a chocolate store.) While some authors write books that are more autobiographical in nature (such as readergirlz Lorie Ann Grover who called upon her experience as an almost-professional ballerina to write one of her novels), I draw from my own history of feelings. I'm not half-Asian myself, but I felt compelled to tell Patty's story, because I believe that the feeling of being an outsider and different and not belonging is universal. Giving a character a transformative summer and getting her to a place of self-acceptance was super important to me. Dia Calhoun, readergirlz diva: What is your writing process, Justina? Do you ever get writer's block? Justina: I try to write 3-4 hours every day and sometimes I'll be on a 12-hour writing roll. Those are special days, gifts from the muse. Writer's block happens when I lose my way in the story and forget what my character really wants. So if I go back to that basic question, I can usually figure a way to move the story forward. Now, getting tired writer's brain is a totally different quandary. Then, I usually head outside for a walk, do yoga, call my agent to complain, or (okay, I'll admit it) cyber-shop at some cool indie crafter sites to tickle my inner Martha. The worst thing to do is to park myself in front of the fridge.  Sadly, chocolate therapy, while so tempting, isn't all that effective in inspiring writerly ideas.  Janet Lee Carey, readergirlz diva: I was also curious about your ethnic background. Justina: Well, I'm Taiwanese-American.  That's one of the reasons why the character in my first novel is part-Taiwanese.  But more importantly, I wanted to write a mainstream novel that happened to feature an Asian girl.    Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva: Justina, who are your role models/heroes and why? Justina: My mom is one of my main role models. She taught me always to give back to the world.  She is ***not**** the mother in my novel.  This is a work of fiction, not memoir.  Trust me.  (Well, except for the Jell-o part...) Other role models include Marion Wright Edelman, the president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund. Also, Bill & Melinda Gates. What they're doing for the world is truly awe-inspiring; we're watching history being made. As far as girlfriends go, Janet S. Wong defines friend and mentor. She is a gifted poet and a gutsy woman who thinks nothing of moving the world to help the people she loves. And finally, readergirlz diva Dia Calhoun impressed me so much when she so courageously went public with her bipolar illness to explain why her book, The Phoenix Dance, was so important to her.   Janet Lee Carey, readergirlz diva: Has your family been an important factor in your career, Justina? Justina: My parents always believed that I would get published.  (Did I mention that my mom is not the overbearing mother in my novel?)   Dia Calhoun, readergirlz diva: Justina, have you ever had any doubts about your abilities as a writer or about your choice to become a writer? Justina: Of course!  You're talking to Ms. Neurotic here.  Every day that I face the empty page, I wonder whether I'll be able to write another novel, whether I'm any good, whether I'll keep my readers' attention, whether they'll care about my characters, whether the book will touch anyone...  The doubts go on and on.  But I keep plugging away because I love to write, I love my characters and their stories, and I love my readers who've asked for more books.   Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva: What is your favorite part about being a writer, Justina? What do you hope to accomplish as a writer? Justina: I love every aspect of writing.  Especially the rewriting!  That's when I really find the heart of the story. I'd love to keep writing books that connect with readers—which make them laugh and cry and feel something.  I want to write books that are memorable and meaningful.  And I intend to keep tying every book that I write to philanthropy.  That's why I personally sponsored a $5,000 college scholarship essay contest last year.  The winners are up on www.nothingbutthetruthnovel.com!  And I've got plans for something in conjunction with my next novel, Girl Overboard.  Dia Calhoun, readergirlz diva: If girls love your book, Justina, what other ones should they read? Justina: They should check out: Carolyn Mackler's The Earth, My Butt & Other Big Round Things. I swear, Virginia is Patty's Kung Fu Kick Ass Club soul sister! Holly Black created a truly spectacular character in Kaye who happens to be the half-Asian star of Tithe. I loved her and this modern faerie tale. Lisa Yee is pure comedic genius. While Millicent Min, Girl Genius, is a novel for tweens, teen girls and adults will find it pee-in-their pants hilarious. To explore the outcast status of a teen girl, everyone should read Laurie Halse Anderson's legendary Speak. Darkly profound. Headlining every girl's must-read list should be Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade—and let's talk about subverting stereotypes. Readergirlz diva Janet Lee Carey's forthcoming YA fantasy, Dragon's Keep, also deals with a girl accepting herself, just as Patty must. And finally, Rachel Simmons wrote a fantastic non-fiction book called Odd Girl Out about girl bullying. While Patty was bullied by a guy, not a girl, I still think this is a relevant read for teen girls who've felt like an outsider. To learn more about this author, visit her website at www.justinachenheadley.com or talk to her at her MySpace at www.myspace.com/justinachenheadley 

    readergirlz


    February, 2007

    Readergirlz Issue 1         Welcome to readergirlz!
    Readergirlz is a new online book community celebrating gutsy girls in life & lit.
    Grab your friends & get ready to gab about young adult books with the readergirlz divas: YA authors Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover & Justina Chen Headley.

    We are so excited to be launching our book salon on March 1, 2007 in honor of National Women's History Month. Every month, we'll showcase a YA novel featuring a strong female character (or two!). We want to connect you with stories that will change the way you and your friends see yourselves, and inspire you to have the guts to make history of your own. So you'll see lots of great community service ideas that tie in with our featured books.
    Since we believe that seriously good books are best experienced through rich discussion and debate, we urge you to join readergirlz by friending us at MySpace. Get ready to read & reach out with readergirlz!

    The readergirlz Book Divas
    Meet Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Lorie Ann Grover, and Justina Chen Headley, the divas of readergirlz. Aside from starting readergirlz, we're four young adult novelists who love dishing about our two favorite topics: reading and writing about memorable girls, whether they're girls in contemporary, historical, or fantasy fiction.
    Dia is the winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature and has authored ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Her latest books are Avielle of Rhia and The Phoenix Dance.
    Janet has penned two fantasy books, The Beast of Noor and the forthcoming Dragon's Keep, which has already earned a starred review in Booklist. She won the Mark Twain Award for Wenny Has Wings.
    Lorie Ann's novels in verse, including On Pointe and Loose Threads, have been named A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age as well as A Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth.
    Justina's debut novel, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), was named Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best, a Borders Original Voice, and a Book Sense pick.
    In other words, we are true readergirlz who love YOU, our true reader girls! 
    We can't wait to give you the inside scoop about where our ideas and characters come from as well as share our favorite reads and authors with you.

    The readergirlz Manifesta

    Reading a book isn't the same thing as experiencing a book. You know what we mean. There's a reason why we readergirlz are known to shove books at our best friends - books that have rocked our world, books that have revealed our souls, books that are gifts of the heart. 
    So here's our official readergirlz Manifesta: what we stand for, what we believe, what we promise YOU:
    * Readergirlz is about having serious fun while talking about books with the author and your friends!
    * Readergirlz is about getting the inside scoop about why the novel was written - the tears and joys and real-world angst that the author has lived and layered into her story.
    * Readergirlz is about reading great books to get to know yourself, your friends, and yes, even your mother, better.
    * Readergirlz is about celebrating strong girls in books who've got the guts to dream.
    * Readergirlz is about reaching out to others based on what you've read.
    * And most of all, readergirlz is about inspiring girls to make history of their own! 


    Readergirlz Book Celebrations

    Check in on the readergirlz website, blog, or MySpace every month to discover the new book we'll be reading and celebrating in the following fun, fabulous ways:
    * Chat with the author
    * Read and hear author interviews
    * Download author-selected playlists for tunes to listen to as you read her book
    * Throw a readergirlz book party, using the author's personal suggestions for menu, decorations, and of course, the all-important discussion questions
    * Complete the fun readergirlz surveys to let us know exactly how you relate or don't relate to the books and win readergirlz prizes, including autographed books

    A Chat with the readergirlz Divas

    Read what the readergirlz divas have to say about their new book community.
    1. Where did you get your inspiration for readergirlz?
    Justina: When I was out on my book tour for Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), I made a concerted effort to visit urban high schools that didn't have the budgets to bring in authors. It broke my heart how few kids had ever met an author - even though they were avid readers. So I thought: how can I give all of my readers the opportunity to meet and talk with me - and my favorite writer-buddies? That's when I hit upon readergirlz as a concept.
    Dia: I meet girls when I visit schools, but there never seems to be enough time to talk about books and writing, especially on a personal level. So chatting about books and characters on readergirlz seemed like a fabulous idea. I love to talk about books - my books and other author's books - and with readergirlz, I will have the chance to do that with the girls I am actually writing for.
    Lorie Ann: I'm inspired to be a member of readergirlz to find others who love great characters and great books like I do. Whether it's discussing a favorite novel or sharing the backstory of one of my own, talking about books is inspiring!
    Janet: I do a lot of book events, but there are so many readers I never get to meet. I thought wouldn't it be great if there were a place where I could meet and talk with a reader anytime I wanted to? Where she could click a button and ask me a question as soon as it popped into her head? Where readers could meet around a favorite book and make friends? Readergirlz is just the place.
    2. Who are readergirlz?
    Janet: Readergirlz are thinking girls who like to speak their minds. They love to read and pass their favorite books around. Girls who read are girls that lead.
    Lorie Ann: Readergirlz are book lovers who know that the written word has power to engage, encourage, and strengthen. Talking about books makes that power even stronger. Readergirlz read, think, dialogue, and act!
    Dia: Readergirlz are girls who are passionate about books and love to discuss them.
    Justina: Readergirlz are any girl or woman who's in touch with her inner girl and knows that bookish girls are cool girls.
    3. What do you hope to accomplish with readergirlz?
    Lorie Ann: I learn so much through reading, and have fun, too. I find passion and answers and understanding in books. I hope to find all of these alongside other amazing readergirlz!
    Justina: I want girls to get excited about reading great books featuring super strong girl characters. And I want readers to connect deeply with books. I know for me that my appreciation and understanding of a book really deepens when I discuss it with my own book club.
    Janet: I learned how brave girls can be through books. I remember thinking, okay, if she can do it, I can do it. Great books cross cultures and break boundaries. I'm hoping readergirlz will challenge girls to dream big, support each other, and go for their dreams!
    Dia: Through reading books about strong girl characters, I want readergirlz to discover they have the power to change how they look at the world, change how they act in the world, and even change how they aim their dreams.

    Other readergirlz

    Because true readergirlz read way more than one book a month, we salute all book clubs and encourage you to visit them, too. Here are some of our favorites:
    Girls, Inc.
    Not Your Mother's Book Club
    Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone
    The Ultimate readergirlz Group Guide

    How to set up your own readergirlz group:
    Ten Tips for Starting Your Own readergirlz Book Club
    1. Contact other girlfriends who love to read and chat about books as much as you do, and invite them to join readergirlz. Be sure they stand by the readergirlz Manifesta!
    2. Your group can be any size, but staying below 12 seems to work well. Everyone has a chance to share. Will your group be all girls or will it be a mother/daughter group?
    3. Consider if there's one girl who will always be the leader or will the leader change from month to month? That person might download readergirlz monthly info and discussion questions for the group and send out meeting reminders.
    4. Consider where you'll meet. Homes, a library, a bookstore, or a school classroom are great choices.
    5. Is your group going to have a party each month where you follow the great readergirlz suggestions? Who will take care of the food, decorations, and music? The fun preparations might rotate through the group.
    6. How long will your meeting last? Two hours is a good amount of time to gab about a book.
    7. Have a commitment from everyone to keep to the readergirlz monthly pick and avoid gossip. Redirect discussion that strays.
    8. Share your opinions, but be willing to hear other points of view. Everyone doesn't have to agree. Differences make great discussions!
    9. Once your group is meeting regularly, be respectful of the other members and ask before inviting another readergirl. Groups can be tight with each other, and everyone needs a say before an addition.
    10. As all true readergirlz are, be a great friend in the group and out. These are friendships for a lifetime!

    Readergirlz Ground Rules

    So here's the deal: readergirlz encourages healthy discussion and debate about the books we're celebrating. What does that mean?
    1. Keep it clean: no swearing and definitely no personal attacks, threats, porno, or cybersex. That is very uncool and un-readergirlz-ish.
    2. Keep it pure: no ads of any kind, please. This is about the book, the whole book, and nothing but the book.
    3. Keep it safe: don't share your personal info in any of our public forums. 

    readergirlz


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