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!

2008, Archive

December, 2008

How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot

How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot
Stephanie Landry's been the least-popular girl in her class since a certain incident five years earlier. But this year, she has a secret weapon: An old book called How to Be Popular. All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book, and soon she'll be partying with the It Crowd (including quarterback Mark Finley) instead of sitting on The Hill Saturday nights, stargazing with her nerdy best pal Becca, and even nerdier Jason (now kind of hot, but still).
Steph doesn't realize that it's easy to become popular. What isn't so easy? Staying that way.
Download this month's poster.

"Our rgz pick for December, How to be Popular by Meg Cabot, is the sweet and hilarious story of Steph Landry. It explores the timeless theme of wanting to be part of the in crowd. Cabot's deft humor and sharp characterizations make this page-turner a perfect read for the month!" - Melissa Walker, readergirlz diva

9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list

Also on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists

BookSense Pick

NYPL Book for the Teen Age

Movie rights optioned by MTV

Meg Cabot

Things to Know
Meg Cabot

On the nightstand: Pounce (for the cat). Sarah Vowell's The Wordyshipmates (for me). Reading glasses (also for me).
Favorite drink while you write: Ice-cold water
Favorite bookstore: Black Orchid Mystery Book Shop in NYC (closed)
Favorite library: Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington, IN
Pets: Henrietta, my one-eyed cat
Place to write: My bed
Inspiration: My readers!
Dream book tour: Hawaii. I wish.
Writer buddies: Susan Juby, Michele Jaffe, Maureen Johnson, Rachel Vail, Judy Blume, R.L. Stine, way too many others to name!
Cure for writer's block: Long bike rides, shaving my legs, cleaning, watching Lifetime movies, sleeping...
Favorite outfit: Shorts, T-shirt, flip-flops
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop
Stilettos or Uggs? Flip-flops
Next up: Princess Diaries 10: Forever Princess and Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis
Author idols: Sally Benson, who wrote some of my favorite books, Meet Me in St. Louis and Junior Miss, and my favorite Hitchcock movie, Shadow of a Doubt.
Website: www.megcabot.com
Bonus: readergirlz and postergirlz discuss popularity

Do Something
Contrary to popular belief, the key to being popular is not about being interesting. It's about being interested. It's about stepping outside yourself – learning to listen and empathize with others, lending a helping hand, and being friendly with everyone. Try your hand at being interested this month! Visit www.dosomething.org to look for causes that appeal to you, then find out how to take action. Search community service projects by category, time commitment, location, and more. Pitching in is the real way to get popular, rgz!



These tunes are all songs are from the 1970s with which Jason, a character from How to Be Popular, is obsessed.
Let the Good Times Roll - The Cars
Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones
God Save the Queen - Sex Pistols
Young Americans - David Bowie
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
My Sharona - The Knack
London Calling - The Clash
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
Cantina Band - Star Wars

Have you ever done anything embarrassing like Steph's cherry Super Gulp incident? If so, were you able to live it down?
What do you think of the tips in How to Be Popular, the how-to manual Steph finds in the attic? Do you think they would work?
Is there a social hierarchy at your school like there is at Steph's? Are the popular kids at your school nice or mean?
What do you think of the way Steph treats Becca and Jason in her quest to become popular?

Would you have opened the door and let the gang have their keg party in the observatory?
How important is being popular to you?
Party it UP!

Invite: A big smiley face: Remember one of the rules to becoming popular: "Always have a ready smile for everyone."
Food: Cherry Super Big Gulps, smiley face cookies (with M&Ms), Doritos
Décor: Have a fifties theme! Dress like a 1950s teenybopper: pair a nice blouse or sweater with a poodle skirt or rolled-up jeans, then slip on a pair of saddle shoes.
Movies: Mean Girls, Hairspray, and Grease.
Crafts: Make a scrapbook that looks like a high school yearbook page with photos of all your friends.

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White  A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis  Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott  Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel  Respect
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel

Respect: A Girl's Guide to Getting Respect & Dealing When Your Line Is Crossed by Courtney Macavinta and Andrea Vander Pluym
The Princess Diaries

Forever Princess, the final volume in Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series, comes out this month. In honor of that release, HarperCollins has put the first book in the series online.

November, 2008

Enter the November Blog-o-HuntIt's time for another rgz blog-o-hunt for Native American Heritage month!
The rules: Find the answers to the questions below and email your responses to readergirlz@gmail.com with the subject line "rgz blog-o-hunt" by November 30th. The first 25 correct entries will win rgz buttons and bookmarks!
Cynthia Leitich Smith sent these questions:
1. Sherman Alexie wrote the screenplay for a movie that was a huge hit at the 1998 Sundance festival. What was it called?
2. What is Sherman's recent award-winning YA novel that shares the life of a Native American male teen?
3. Where does Joseph Bruchac live?
4. Joy Harjo and Cynthia Leitich Smith are enrolled members of the same Nation. What is the name of the tribe?
5. What will Richard Van Camp's next novel be called?
6. In addition to Moccasin Thunder, featuring Native authors, Lori M. Carlson also edited a YA anthology highlighting Latino voices. What was it called?

Hint: These great blogs will help you find some answers:
http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/ http://www.josephbruchac.com/ http://www.fallsapart.com/smoke.html http://www.joyharjo.com/ http://www.nativewiki.org/Richard_Van_Camp
Good luck, readergirlz!


Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White

Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White
Meg Powers is the daughter of the President of the United States. She's about to enter her first year of college. She's living through the worst year of her life. Last June, Meg was kidnapped by terrorists. She survived the unthinkable, the stuff of nightmares. Her captor is still at large. Ahead of her is the grueling physical therapy to heal her broken body; the challenge of leaving the safety of the White House for her freshman year at college. Will she ever forgive her mother, the President, for her "cannot, have not and will not negotiate with terrorists" stance - even when it came to her own daughter? And more difficult still, can Meg forgive herself for having the strength, the intelligence and the wit to survive?
Download this month's poster.

"Our rgz pick for election month is Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White. Fourth in a series, this compelling, witty read provides a fascinating look into White House life, as well as a realistic portrayal of being related to one of the most powerful people on the planet. Long May She Reign is about politics, power, and the presidency, but it's ultimately a book about healing and forgiving - and those are two things most of us have to do at some point in our lives, even if we never get to be a First Daughter." - Mitali Perkins, readergirlz diva

"[R]ichly drawn characters, dry humor, dead-on dialogue." - Booklist

"A novel to luxuriate in." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This is an intense, suspenseful, and stirring read." - School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of the Year

Booksense Children's Pick

Note that this is the fourth book about Meg Powers. Read them all:
- The President's Daughter
- White House Autumn
- Long Live the Queen
- Long May She Reign

Ellen Emerson White
Things to Know
Ellen Emerson White

On the nightstand: Usually, a cat named Abigail, blocking light from the lamp in a most irksome manner. I read 8-10 books at any given time (lots of non-fiction, and some fiction), and switch from one to another, until one captures my full attention.
Favorite drink while you write: If I'm feeling flush, an iced decaf latte from Starbucks with 4 shots. If not, a homemade latte - which is still good, if slightly less strong. (French press, freshly ground coffee, heated milk - I can make it last for quite a few hours of work-time.)
Favorite bookstore: The Strand, in New York City
Favorite library: The most impressive library around is the Library of Congress, I would say. I used to spend a lot of time in the Reading Room at the main branch of the New York Public Library, but the convenience of the Internet means I don't go there as often as I once did, which is a shame. When I lived in Boston, I used to like hanging out in the garden area at the Boston Public Library - which is about as much nature as I can handle at a given moment.
Pets: Wacky cats (including a crippled, neurologically impaired diabetic cat with no tail named Florence - oy!), and a fine black setter mix named Maggie
Place to write: I am very boring and work at a desk, but I also like writing by hand in a small notebook when I'm on the subway or Amtrak. My handwriting is terrible, and I can't always read it later, which is frustrating.
Inspiration: When the Red Sox win, Life is Good.
Dream book tour: Bookstores located next to ski resorts or baseball stadiums would be ideal.
Writer buddies: I know very few writers, actually, but R.L. Stine, Nancy Krulik, Daphne Grab, and Nocila Griffith are among them.
Cure for writer's block: I lie down a lot.
Favorite outfit: Unfortunately, I dress like an aging jock/college student. It's quite pathetic. I never go anywhere - even at night, as a rule - without sunglasses.
Long-hand or laptop? Longhand and desktop. I prefer longhand, but time is often an issue.
Stilettos or Uggs? Lange ski boots
Next up: Not a clue. Probably a sequel to my adult mystery, and maybe a spin-off from Long May She Reign.
Author idols: Probably Anne Tyler.
Website: www.ellenemersonwhite.com + MySpace + Facebook
Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss Long May She Reign

What Kids Can Do
Just because you're not 18 yet doesn't mean you can't get involved in what's been called the most important election of our generation. Underage or not, there are loads of ways you can sound your political voice! Check out WKCD - What Kids Can Do - at http://www.whatkidscando.org and get inspired by stories of young political activists who haven't let age stop them from participating in politics. From the 16-year-old editor-in-chief of a political newspaper to a 14-year-old who registered hundreds of people to vote - their stories are sure to compel you to political action. Fight for what you believe in, rgz!


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book - with the exception of the final two tracks, which were added by the readergirlz.
I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett
Cretin Hop by The Ramones
My Favorite Things by John Coltrane
My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music
A Spoonful of Sugar from The Sound of Music
Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music
Shall We Dance? from The King and I
Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones
Twentieth Century Fox by The Doors
We Are the Champions by Queen
Strong by Robbie Williams
Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham

What did you think about Long May She Reign? Have you read the other books in the series? Talk about the books at the readergirlz forum. Here are a few questions to get you started:
Meg absolutely worships the Boston Red Sox. Why do you think the team is so important to her? Do you follow any sports teams? Which ones, and why?
In Long Live the Queen, the book which leads up to Long May She Reign, the President -- Meg's mother -- is faced with a terrible situation. She can put either the country first and make no attempt to negotiate with the terrorists, or she can put her child first, and try to negotiate. Do you think she made the right decision? Why, or why not??
In Long May She Reign, Meg is dealing with a number of physical issues, which affect every single aspect of her life. Often -- because of fatigue and pain -- she makes some very bad choices. Are there better ways that she could have handled the situation? If so, how? What would you have done?
In Long May She Reign, Meg gets involved with a boy who turns out to be much more interesting and intelligent that she expected, and her original assumptions turn out to be wrong, for the most part. Have you ever misjudged someone based upon a faulty first impression? Or, has anyone ever made false assumptions about you? How did it feel?
Meg thinks that it will make her parents happy if she tells them she is going to major in English, but she actually loves politics and would rather study political science and law. Do you think she should do what she thinks her parents want her to do -- or should she follow her own interests? Do you think it is more important to please your parents, or try to explore your own dreams?
Although Meg never wanted to be famous, she is. In fact, she is so famous that photographers follow her everywhere, and she never knows when she is going to appear unexpectedly on television, the Internet, or on a magazine cover. What do you think it would be like to be a celebrity? How would it make your life more difficult? Would certain aspects of fame be fun?
Meg's family has a hard time discussing some of the difficult things which have happened to them. What are some things they could have done to make things easier? Do you think they handled the situation well? Can you imagine the way your family might face similar crises? 
Party it UP!

Invite: Probably a Red Sox theme. There would be no phone number, for security reasons, but 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the correct address.
Food: Serve Coca-Cola (or Tab, if you can find it!), Cool Ranch Doritos, tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries, lattes, popcorn with Parmesan cheese. Yoghurt and salads, to honor the President. Some apples, maybe.
Décor: American flags! Photos of the White House, downtown Washington, Boston, and the Berkshire Mountains. As much Red Sox memorabilia as is humanly possible to locate.
Movies: The Sound of Music - Play it on a continuous loop. C-Span could also play in the background, and at the top of the hour, everyone could turn to CNN, to see what's happening in the world at that moment in time. Alternatively, show highlights from the 2004 and 2007 World Series. (With luck, the 2008 World Series can be added to that list!) Episodes of The Brady Bunch would also be appropriate.
Crafts: I can't see Meg doing crafts. It is mentioned in one of the books that she once made a Christmas ornament so ugly that it is tactfully hung on the back of their tree every year, so that no one will have to look at it. What I can picture is Meg sitting down with the editorial pages from all of the major newspapers (New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc.), reading the op-eds, and discussing them, at length. (The sports pages might also suffice.)

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White  First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins  Wide Awake by David Levithan  First Daughter: Letters  Declare Yourself
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White
First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins
Wide Awake by David Levithan

First Daughters: Letters Between U.S. Presidents and Their Daughters by Gerard W. Gawalt and Ann G. Gawalt
Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote. More Than 50 Celebrated Americans Tell You Why 

October, 2008

readergirlz Night Bites

Whatever your literary tastes, sink your teeth into rgz Night Bites!
Visit the YALSA site for more info about Teen Read Week.


Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Now a major motion picture starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is a comedy about two teens thrust together for one hilarious, sleepless night of adventure in a world of mix tapes, late-night living, and live, loud music. Nick frequents New York's indie rock scene nursing a broken heart and Norah is questioning all of her assumptions about the world. Though they have nothing in common except for their taste in music, their chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band's secret show and ends up becoming the first date that could change both their lives.
Download this month's poster.

BookSense selection

Cybils (The Children's/YA Bloggers' Literary Awards) Winner for Young Adult Fiction

ALA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers

ALA Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA)

Rachel Cohn
Things to Know
Rachel Cohn
On the nightstand: Currently reading an Australian YA book called Borrowed Light by Anna Fienberg, an amazing Australia author I met on a recent trip to Sydney. Great book; great person.
Favorite drink while you write: Iced latte
Favorite bookstore: Green Apple on Clement Street in San Francisco
Favorite library: The Library of Congress
Pets: Patricia McCormick’s cat Eli
Place to write: The Writers Room in NYC, with writing buddy/great friend Patricia McCormick
Inspiration: Teen readers, Manhattan, daydreaming
Writer buddies: Patricia McCormick, Jaclyn Moriarty, Megan McCafferty, Carolyn Mackler, Kristen Kemp, Libba Bray
Cure for writer's block: Credit card bills
Favorite outfit: Yoga clothes
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop
Stilettos or Uggs? Bare feet
Next up: Currently working on upper-age YA book that will probably come out Spring 2010
Author idols: Markus Zusak, and all my writer-buddies, of course
Website: www.rachelcohn.com
rgz tv
Teen Book Review

Other YA novels:
Pop Princess
You Know Where to Find Me
Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List
(also with David Levithan)

Roundtable: postergirlz Little Willow and Jackie discuss Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

American Red Cross
In keeping with YALSA's Books with Bite, and rgz Night Bites, the divas thought it would be appropriate to encourage you to give blood to the American Red Cross. Some states allow you to donate at 16 years of age while others require you to be 17 years old. Check out the info at www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).
Be sure to drink plenty of water, get a good night's rest, and eat a good meal before donating. Read the Donor Eligibility Guidelines. The American Red Cross says that teens make up a quarter of all blood donations. Way to reach out, rgz! 

readergirlz tv logo


This month, we mixed the official Nick & Norah movie soundtrack with a playlist created by Little Willow to accompany the book. We also included the song Ring of Fire as covered by Universal Hall Pass, our 'theme song' for Night Bites.
Ring of Fire by Universal Hall Pass
Lover by Devendra Banhart
Riot Radio by The Dead 60s
Fever by Takka Takka
After Hours by We Are Scientists
Our Swords by Band Of Horses
Very Loud by Shout Out Louds
Last Words by The Real Tuesday Weld
Casual Affair by Tonic
Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) by Vertical Horizon
Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt
Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt
On Her Mind by Duncan Sheik
Fast As You Can by Fiona Apple
So I Fall Again by Phantom Planet
Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
Flames by VAST
I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick

The readergirlz forum is open 24/7, so come on over and tell us what you thought about Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Here are some discussion questions from the Virtual Book Club created in association with the N&N movie:
What did Nick do for Tris when they were dating? What are the most and least romantic things that have happened to you on a date?
What are some songs Norah wants to put on her playlist for Nick? Name your top 5 songs. Nick's band has no drummer. What instrument is the coolest in a band? Why do you think Nick's ex, Tris, showed up at the concert? Have you ever dropped in on an ex? What is Nick's first impression of Norah? How did you feel about your significant other the first time you met? What are Norah's parents like? Do they remind you of your parents? Really, why E.T.? Do you think anyone else would be better? And why E.T., do you think?
Party it UP!

Invite: Make up a CD cover
Food: Pierogies and borscht (Ukranian food), stale Oreos
Décor: Grunge rock 'n' roll
Movies: Before Sunrise, Can't Hardly Wait, Superbad, 40-Year-Old Virgin
Crafts: Design your own Norah flannel shirt or Nick gasoline jacket

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Tips on Having a Gay (Ex-) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones  Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson  Bloom by Elizabeth Scott  Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway  Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon  Cinderella's Big Score by Maria Raha

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Tips on Having a Gay (Ex-) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon

Cinderella's Big Score by Maria Raha

September, 2008


Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Good Enough by Paula You

Patti's parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.
But Patti's discovering that there's more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there's Cute Trumpet Guy. He's funny, he's talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti's favorite band. Then, of course, there's her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn't want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?
Download this month's poster.

" . . . a funny story that will hit home for many readers." - Publishers Weekly

" . . . convincing narration filled with laugh-out-loud lines . . . the deeper questions about growing up will stay with readers." - Booklist

" . . . a lovable main character with a superb voice." - Children's Literature

"Yoo successfully combines the readability of a chick-lit novel with a fresh coming-of-age story." - VOYA

"The author reflects on the hard lessons of adolescence with humor and authenticity." - KLIATT
Nominated for ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Paula Yoo

Things to Know
Paula You

On the nightstand: Eyeglass case, a Yale reading lamp (yes, my mom bought it after I graduated!)
Favorite drink while you write: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. (Catch the Star Trek: The Next Generation allusion here?)
Favorite bookstore: Any indie bookseller, period. Especially the children's indie bookstores including Children's Book World in Los Angeles, The Blue Marble in Ft. Thomas, KY, the legendary All for Kids Books & Music in Seattle, WA (which sadly closed this year), Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, CA, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, OH
Favorite libraries: Los Angeles Public Library, Seattle Public Library, Cincinnati Public Library, Beverly Hills Public Library
Pets: Bobbi, my dwarf hamster, and Oreo, my cat. I still mourn the loss of my first two darling goldfish, Lucky and Penny, from 2006.
Place to write: Inside the house where I don't have to dress up and/or be seen by the public! But when I'm just in the beginning brainstorming sessions, I'll go to the library or a coffeehouse to sit and doodle. The real writing I have to get done in private at home because I can stay up all night!
Inspiration: All music inspires me, as do my friends' chubby-wubby babies and fuzzy-wuzzy cats like my Oreo, and FOOD!!!!!
Dream book tour: New Zealand because a) I've never been there and b) that's where Lord of the Rings was filmed!
Writer buddies: Kelly DiPucchio, Lisa Wheeler, Hope Vestergard, April Young Fritz, Carolyn Crimi, and Janie Bynum
Cure for writer's block: Watch FOOD TV, play video games, and read, read, read! Eat comfort food, like my famous homemade mac & cheese or SPAM fried rice - and, in a pinch, I'll just heat up some Chef Boyardee ravioli. Mmmm!
Favorite outfit: When I play with rock bands, I like to wear the Patti Yoon rockin' schoolgirl outfit: a short skirt with knee-length black boots.
Long-hand or laptop? Long-hand for when I'm first starting out (brainstorming and outlining), laptop when I actually write
Stilettos or Uggs? Doc Martens! Although I'm in LA now and mostly wear short-heeled sandals because a) it's hot all the time and b) I have flat feet and can't wear stilettos anyway.
Next up: Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, a children's picture book biography about the Chinese American 1920s-40s movie star - published by Lee & Low Books, Spring 2009
Author idols: My brother, David Yoo, author of the YA novel Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before - published by Hyperion, October 2008

Interviews: rgz tv
Roundtable: readergirlz and postergirlz discuss Good Enough


According to a recent survey by MTV and the Associated Press, young people experience stress at a high rate - females more than males. Among 13-17 year olds, school is the most commonly mentioned source of stress. While quick bouts of stress can be healthy, too much uninterrupted stress can really take a toll on your bod. One way to control stress: learn to relax. To find other ways to keep stress at bay, and to try a simple breathing exercise, visit TeensHealth - then be sure to share what you've learned with your friends and family!
Did you know? September has been pronounced the first-ever Yoga Month! Celebrate by attending a yoga class, which has been linked to reducing stress. Ten cities across the U.S. and Canada are hosting Yoga Health Festivals, and volunteering can get you free admission. To find a festival near you, check out YogaMonth.org.

readergirlz tv logo


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. They are all pieces mentioned in the novel and/or in the mix CDs that Ben and Patti recorded for each other!
Violin Concerto in E Minor by Mendelssohn
Caprice No. 24 by Paganini, as performed live by Joshua Bell
Blister In the Sun by The Violent Femmes
Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols
Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies
Ever Fall In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)? by Buzzcocks
Search and Destroy by Iggy Pop and the Stooges
White Riot by The Clash
Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie by Black Flag
Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov

Paula Yoo, Violinist

Discuss books at the readergirlz forum, open 24/7. Here are some things to consider when talking about Good Enough:
1. Patti faces a TON of pressure from her parents to do well in school so she can be accepted into a prestigious university. At the same time, however, she puts just as much pressure on herself. Do you face a lot of pressure from your parents and/or from yourself to get accepted into college? How do you handle that pressure?
2. Patti has a guilty pleasure - a secret love for the fictional teenybopper band Jet Pack, which was modeled after Paula's real-life favorite teenybopper band, Duran Duran. Who is your favorite teenybopper/guilty pleasure band?
3. Patti has been raised by her parents to never "rock the boat," but she learns that, sometimes, you gotta rock that boat and protest! Patti makes a stand against racism. Have you ever rocked the boat for a cause you believed in? What was that experience like?
4. Patti's mom loves SPAM recipes. What crazy foods did your parents introduce to you that you still crave to this day? Do you have any recipes involving SPAM or other unusual food that you love to eat?
5. Patti has a secret crush on Ben "Cute Trumpet Guy" Wheeler. Telling someone that you have a huge crush on him/her can be terrifying! How have you handled being friends with your secret crush? Did you ever admit your feelings to him/her? What happened? Do you feel you've grown from the experience?
6. Patti learns that success does not always equal happiness. What does happiness mean for you? What makes YOU happy?
7. The title of this novel refers to Patti never feeling quite good enough, no matter how hard she studies and practices her violin. During the novel, and thanks to her friends, Patti learns that she IS good enough and finally takes pride in her abilities and gains self-confidence. Have you ever felt that you weren't good enough? If so, why? How did you learn to overcome these insecurities and grow more self-confident?
Party it UP!

Invite: Include a can of SPAM or a mix CD of the contemporary and classical songs mentioned in the book.Food: Make the SPAM recipes from the book, like SPAM Bi Bim Bap, SPAM Kimbap (aka Spam Sushi Rolls), and Spicy SPAM Ramen Noodles!
Décor: Posters of your favorite guilty pleasure teenybopper bands (Duran Duran, 'N Sync, The Jonas Brothers). Photos of famous Korean Americans, old school punk rock bands, and classical musicians. Piles of old SAT prep course books and college brochures. Put cans of SPAM everywhere!
* Sixteen Candles - Please note, this should include an intense discussion on the political and racial ramifications of the infamous stereotyped Long Duk Dong character as well as why on Earth Molly Ringwald had a crush on the popular boy (who isn't really a very nice guy) and how Anthony Michael Hall is really Samuel Kwon in disguise.
* The Breakfast Club - How does each character resemble Patti? For example, the wrestler played by Emilio Estevez has a great speech about the pressure he feels from his coach father to "win win win!" at all costs.
* Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Okay, this movie has nothing to do with the book, but Patti Yoon and Paula Yoo are huge Star Trek fans, so you should watch what we both consider to be the best of the Star Trek movies and discuss why it's so fantastic and why Star Trek ROCKS.

Crafts: Have a SPAM sculpture contest - or a SPAM recipe contest, which is less messy and less gross than the SPAM sculpture contest. Since Patti's such a good student, decorate a notebook with stickers of your favorite teenybopper band. If any of your friends are musicians, have them bring their instruments and have a jam session! Make each other mix CDs of your favorite songs and trade them!

Luna by Julie Ann Peters  Secondhand World by Katherine Min  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee  The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan  What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci  The Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Secondhand World by Katherine Min
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci

The Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

August, 2008


Violet in Private by Melissa Walker

Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design, and Violet in Private by Melissa WalkerA wallflower in the spotlight can do one of two things: wilt or blossom. Shy and insecure, Violet Greenfield's life changes forever when a lady in giant Chanel shades tells her she could be IT, the next Kate Moss. Tall, skinny Violet, who's been P-L-A-I-N practically forever, ends up walking runways in New York City, Brazil, and Paris. Juggling her best friends, her agent's shrill demands, and the pressure of the fashion world to stay thin at any cost takes its toll on Violet. When she finally does choose college over modeling, will she be able to stick to her decision? After all, if she's not Violet on the Runway anymore, who is she?
Download this month's poster.

"It's a hard sell, asking readers to muster sympathy for the congenitally gorgeous whose job it is to wear designer clothes and walk. In Violet on the Runway, Melissa Walker pulls it off." - The New York Times

 "Think America's Next Top Model in book form -- only better." - NPR, All Things Considered

"A sensitive portrait of adolescence - simultaneously funny and painful." - Nylon Magazine

"A story for any girl who ever wondered what it would be like to have her wildest dreams come true." - Sarah Dessen

 "You'll love the real voice of Violet." - Seventeen Magazine

An NYPL 2008 Book for the Teen Age

Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker

On the nightstand: Chapstick, eye cream, four bangle bracelets and my book choice of the week
Favorite drink while you write: Iced coffee with cream and sugar (I ask my coffee place to "make it taste like ice cream")
Favorite library: Vassar's library, so pretty you could get married in it (quietly)
Pet: Sadly, none! But there are two really nice alley cats in my backyard sometimes.
Place to write: An overstuffed pink flowered chair in the bay window of my apartment
Inspiration: Every single reader email I get
Favorite outfit: Black strapless dress from the Luella Bartley for Target designer collection, plus vintage Oscar de la Renta high heels.
Stilettos or Uggs? Despite my favorite outfit, I'm often found in T-shirts and yoga pants . . . with flip-flops or soft slippers.
Next up: Lovestruck Summer (summer 2009)
Author idols: Sarah Dessen, a fellow graduate of Chapel Hill High School
Other writings: ELLEgirl: Love Your Body, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Family Circle
Interviews: Little Willow, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Teen Book Review, YA New York, YA Fresh
Website: www.melissacwalker.com

Love Your Body Day

Love Your Body Foundation            

Hey rgz! Love Your Body Day 2008 is coming up this fall. Start planning now to support this important day of action to speak out against advertisements and images of women that are harmful, offensive, disrespectful, and demeaning. Ideas include:

a. Inviting your closest pals over and encouraging everyone to wear their most comfy clothes, like sweat suits, flip flops, and pajamas.
b. Staging a "Real Women" beauty pageant that celebrates the beauty of female bodies by presenting true versions of the ways teens and women look.
c. Mentoring groups of younger girls in your community, such as your local Girl Scout troop, talking about body image and working together to deconstruct ads and articles in magazines.
For more information and ideas, visit the Love Your Body Foundation.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Thirty-Three - Smashing Pumpkins
Change is Hard - She & Him
No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
Our Song - Taylor Swift
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths
Time Won't Let Me Go - The Bravery
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Tattoo - Jordin Sparks
Africa - Toto
Hey There, Delilah - Plain White T's
London Rain - Heather Nova
Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

Discuss the Violet books with us at the readergirlz forum. Here are some things to consider:
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a model or working in the fashion world?
Violet often has to choose between what she knows is right and what the people around her are pressuring her to do. Have you ever had to make those kinds of choices? What kinds of mistakes have you made? And when have you made the right decisions?
Throughout the Violet series, Violet and her best friend Roger have major chemistry. Have you ever fallen for a guy friend? What happened?
Body image is a huge issue for Violet as she navigates the modeling world. Do you think the fashion industry promotes unrealistic images of what women's bodies look like? If so, how can we help change that?
In pursuing her dreams of being a successful model, Violet deals with people who stereotype her as just a pretty face. Have you ever entered a new world where people had certain assumptions about you that you wanted to prove wrong? How did you handle it?
Looking through magazines, how does browsing the fashion pages make you feel? Do you like the clothes? Are you inspired by the shoots? What do you think about the models they use?

Party it UP!

Invite: Fashion Show invites are insanely creative, anything from 3D cutouts to silver key necklaces. But the coolest ones have an original sketch on them, so have a pencil-skilled friend create a unique design, or download a Project Runway sketch to use here.
Food: You could go with model food and serve carrots and celery . . . but don't forget strawberries dipped in chocolate and sparkling fruit juice for a treat.
Décor: Roll out a ream of paper on the floor and spread out fashion magazines (Vogue, ELLE, Nylon) along the "runway." Gather around it to chat about the Violet series. Don't forget to sprinkle glitter on the catwalk and let the event photographer sit at the end of the runway in the "photographer's pit." Create gift bags for each attendant with candy, stickers and makeup samples, which you can get in the pages of lots of magazines.
Movies: Zoolander, The Devil Wears Prada, Grey Gardens (for the insane, quirky, iconic style of Little Edie Beale)
Crafts: Bring digital cameras and pose with friends, making your most excellent model faces - cheerful, upset, angry, thoughtful. No do-overs! Download the shots on a computer and have an impartial judge crown a "Best Face" winner in each category. Bonus: If someone has a Polaroid, use that instead - it is the go-to camera for the fashion industry.

On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover  Looks by Madeleine George  Uglies by Scott Westerfeld  True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas  Sweethearts by Sara Zarr  Body Drama by Nancy Amanda Redd
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover
Looks by Madeleine George
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Body Drama by Nancy Amanda Red

July, 2008


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay Jensen is shocked to find a box of cassette tapes on his doorstep, recorded by Hannah Baker -- his classmate and crush -- who committed suicide two weeks earlier. As Clay listens to Hannah's voice on the tapes, he hears his name mentioned -- and learns that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. All through the night, Clay keeps listening. Hannah's recorded words lead him on a journey through his small town...
...and what he discovers changes his life forever.
Download this month's poster.

"A brilliant and mesmerizing debut..." - Kirkus, starred review

"Asher knows how to entertain an audience..." - Publishers Weekly
"...breakneck pace and dizzying emotion..." - School Library Journal
"Very clever premise, strong voice, perfect suspense." - Chris Crutcher
"...a moving, highly original story..." - Teen Book Review
Jay Asher
Jay Asher  
On the nightstand: A really thick biography of Charles Schulz
Favorite drink while you write: Coffee with cream and sugar
Favorite bookstore: Vroman's
Favorite library: San Luis Obispo Public Library (and not just because I work there)
Pet: I haven't owned a pet since Dodger (a beagle)
Place to write: Linnaea's Café
Inspiration: People watching
Writer-buddies: Robin Mellom & Eve Porinchak (we blog together as The Disco Mermaids)
Cures for writer's block: Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream (it solves nothing, but it makes me forget there was a problem)
Favorite outfit: Pajama bottoms and a T-shirt
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop (but I often brainstorm long-hand)
Stilettos or Uggs? If it counts, I've worn stilettos for a costume
Author idols: Stephen King & Ray Bradbury
YA novels you recommend:Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Website: www.thirteenreasonswhy.com + MySpace
Interviews: Little Willow, Book Divas, ReviewerX

Suicide is the only cause of death that's 100% preventable. A lot of factors might put someone at risk for suicide, but a number of things can help prevent it, too. * Watch this suicide prevention video that was created by Kaela as a school project.
* Visit SAVE at http://www.save.org and learn the warning signs.
* If you have a friend at risk, talk to her about it. Getting it out in the open may help her feel that her cries for help have been heard.
* If you feel suicidal, or know someone who does, call 1.800.SUICIDE
* Download and print out this list of resources regarding suicide prevention.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany his book.
  • Never Too Late by Three Days Grace
  • Across the Universe by Fiona Apple
  • Don't Speak by No Doubt
  • The Scientist by Coldplay
  • So. Central Rain by R.E.M.
  • Two Steps Behind by Def Leppard

What did you think of Thirteen Reasons Why? Speak with other readers at the readergirlz forum, open 24/7.
Here are some things to consider and discuss . . .
What do you think was Hannah’s main motivation in making the tapes? Could there have been other motivations as well?
What would you do if you thought a friend was suicidal?
Why do people gossip or spread rumors?
Why do similar situations affect people differently? For example, why do rumors devastate some people, whereas other people can shrug them off?
What more could Hannah have done to help herself? Why didn’t she do that?
What were your feelings towards Hannah at the beginning of the book? Did your feelings for her change as the story progressed?
When was the last time you did something for someone just so they knew you cared about them?
Party it UP!

Invite: Delivered via audiocassette...of course!
Food: Milkshakes (preferably banana and peanut butter)
Décor: A city map with red stars showing where everyone lives
Movies: The Virgin Suicides, Crash
Crafts: Decorate paper lunch bags, in which you leave anonymous and encouraging notes

Looking for Alaska by John Green  No Laughter Here by Rita Williams Garcia   Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande  Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde  As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway  Without You by Anthony Rapp

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Looking for Alaska by John Green
No Laughter Here by Rita Williams Garcia
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde
As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway

Without You by Anthony Rapp

June, 2008

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
Ashley Hannigan doesn't care about the prom, even though her best friend, Natalia, is the queen bee in charge. Ash has enough to deal with; her slacker boyfriend wants her to move in and her loud and pregnant mother won't let her move out. When the faculty advisor is busted for stealing the prom money, Ash finds herself roped into putting together the dance. But she has plenty of help -- from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat's crazy grandmother, and from her classmates. Creating a magical night teaches Ash a few things about dancing to the beat of her own drummer and making her dreams come true.
Download this month's poster.

New York Times bestseller

Booklist starred review

Kirkus starred review

IRA Young Adults' Choice

VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School readers
Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson

On your nightstand: Flashlight, notebook, pen (all for middle of the night ideas) and my inhaler.
Favorite drink while you write: Tea or coffee
Favorite bookstore: River's End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
Favorite library: Mexico Public Library, Mexico, NY
Pet: Kezzie (my German Shepherd)
Place to write: The loft of our house
Inspiration: My readers
Dream book tour: One that includes Paris, Edinburgh, and Tokyo
Author-buddies: Sarah Dessen, Chris Crutcher, Holly Black
Cure for writer's block: Run 5 miles
Favorite outfit: Jeans and hoodie sweatshirt, sneakers
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop
Stilettos or Uggs? Uggs!!!
Author idol: Francesca Lia Block
Next up: Chains (Fall 2008), Wintergirls (Spring 2009)
Previous YA novels: Twisted, Speak, Catalyst, Fever 1793
Interviews: YA Books Central, Debbi Michiko Florence, Teen Reads

rgz planned to showcase The Cinderella Project, but the successful program isn't accepting prom dresses until January 2009. Put it on your calendar, rgz, and in the meantime, consider GoodSearch this month! Make it matter!


China's recent earthquake took more than 80,000 lives, many of them students.
You don't need tons of cash to support relief efforts. Download GoodSearch (www.goodsearch.com), a search engine powered by Yahoo! that donates 50% of its revenue to the charity of your choice.
Participating charities that are helping with earthquake relief include AmeriCares, Direct Relief International, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Save the Children, among others.
Search the web and support a good cause, rgz!


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
  • Existentialism on Prom Night -- Straylight Run
  • How Far We've Come -- Matchbox Twenty
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun -- Cindy Lauper
  • I Summon You -- Spoon
  • Nowhere and Everywhere -- Michelle Lewis
  • With You -- Chris Brown
  • Stairway to Heaven -- Led Zeppelin
  • Learn to Fly -- Foo Fighters
  • My Wish -- Rascal Flats
Party it UP!

Invite: Make it look like a prom invitation (Click here for ideas!)
Food: Non-alcoholic champagne, hot dogs (Hannigan family favorite), pizza (in honor of Ashley's workplace), microwave popcorn (TJ's date food of choice)
Décor: Balloons, streamers, a mirror ball, and music! Don't forget the Philly touches - all of the sports teams like the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers
Movies: 10 Things I Hate About You, Pretty in Pink, Footloose
Crafts: Make tiaras. Paint sneakers sparkly as if they were stilettos (but way more comfortable!) Decorate votive candleholders and plastic champagne glasses with glitter and the date of the prom party.

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson  It's Not About the Accent by Caridad Ferrer  Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher  A Step From Heaven by An Na  She's So Money by Cherry Cheva
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
It's Not About the Accent by Caridad Ferrer
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
A Step From Heaven by An Na
She's So Money by Cherry Cheval

May, 2008


Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren's refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. The arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors - one welcome, and the other decidedly less so - brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.
With Shannon Hale's lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes.
Download this month's poster.

"Hale delivers another winning fantasy." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] highly successful romance." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Disguise, despair, adventure and romance fill the pages." - Columbus Dispatch

Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale
Family: I have the two cutest, bestest kids in the world. I have a huge crush on my husband.
Inspiration: Yoga keeps me sane.
By your nightstand: I have a life-size cutout of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in my bedroom.
What's in your cup? Melted milk chocolate chips in a mug = heaven!
Best time of day: My favorite time of day is evening, pre-dinner, when we crank up the tunes and have a family dance party.
Bottom-line on writing: Writing is the hardest work I've ever done.
Nail polish or natural? Right now my toenails are a dark red, left over from a pedicure I got with Libba Bray in Miami. (Well, we had to! We'd both left snow boots weather and were suddenly in sandals weather, and I won't describe the state of our collective extremities.)
Ever on stage? I used to do theater, but I can do only one passable impression: Snow White singing "Someday My Prince Will Come."
What's going on right now? My four-year-old son is sitting next to me and he wants me to write down a story he's going to make up: "Once upon a time there was there was a couch that wanted to fly, and it couldn't, it didn't have wings, and...and it went to the wing store and got some wings, and...and...it wanted to fly, and it flied! The end."
Website: http://www.squeetus.com/
Honors: Shannon Hale is a Newbery Honor medalist, and her books have been New York Times bestsellers time and time again.
Interviews: Miss Erin, Little Willow
Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss Shannon Hale's books
Asian Task Force
The Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence works to end family violence and strengthen Asian families and communities. Asian women hoping to live without fear and abuse can contact the 24 hour hotline. If you have a question, feel confused, or are in an emergency and need a place to stay call 617-338-2355.
Children's advocacy is also available.
Reach out by sharing the hotline with your Asian American friends who may be in need of help, rgz

These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
  • Pink Moon - Nick Drake
  • A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
  • These Boots Are Made For Walking - Nancy Sinatra
  • Close to Me - The Cure
  • 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
  • Crazy - Patsy Cline
  • I Never Loved a Man - Aretha Franklin
  • Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
Party it UP!
Invite: Invites wrapped around a single candle Food: Rat shish-kabob! (or any meat and claim it's rat); spiced rice with peas, raisins; anything spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, etc.Décor: Candles, pine boughs, catsMovies: The Princess Bride, The Weeping Camel
Crafts: Decorate candles or wreaths, or design and create your own journal

Here are some things to consider and discuss . . .
Dashti was very patient with Saren through all their time together. How would you have reacted to Saren?
What would you name your pet yak?
Dashti was afraid to face Khasar, and wasn't even sure she knew what she was doing. Have you ever done something hard that you thought was right?
Why do you think My Lord the Cat was so important to Dashti? What can pets do for us that people can't?
Thoughts of Under, Song for Evela, Beloved of Ris...make up a name for your own realm.
Do you think Dashti was right to be so loyal? Was she right to obey Saren and pretend to be her? Do you think she did it for noble or selfish reasons?
Do you keep a journal? What function does a diary have in your own life?

Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins  Good Enough by Paula Yoo  Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth  Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah  Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
Good Enough by Paula Yoo
Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

April, 2008

Operation TBD
After the success of our 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens program last October, YALSA and readergirlz are partnering on a second teen literacy project, Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD). To build awareness for Support Teen Literature Day, April 17th, 2008, readergirlz and YALSA have organized a massive, coordinated release of 10,000 publisher-donated YA books into the top pediatric hospitals across the country.
We now invite you to celebrate Support Teen Lit Day with us. How? Donate one of your books to your own community, and join an unprecedented online book bash: The TBD Post-Op Party!
Click here for full information, bookplates, bookmarks, and more.
Download the press release as PDF or DOC.
Rock the drop, rgz!


Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, 15-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything - absolutely everything - changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, "That's her - that's Shark Girl," as she passes. Poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings look unflinchingly at what it's like to lose part of yourself - and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.

SLJ Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

Nominated for BBYA by the ALA

"Powerful..." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"...justifiably popular." - Booklist

Readers will identify instantly..." - Kirkus

Kelly Bingham
Kelly Bingham

On the nightstand: Books, lotion, lip balm, pen and crossword book
Favorite drink while you write: Green tea
Favorite bookstore: The Flying Pig in Vermont
Favorite library: My hometown library
Pet: Dogs
Place to write: At the library, the beach, or anywhere quiet and relaxing
Inspiration: Music, news, and people
Dream book tour: Hawaii!
Writer-buddies: My classmates of Vermont College
Cures for writer's block: A long walk, listening to music, reading something mundane, housework, or a nap
Favorite outfit: Jeans and a T-shirt, fluffy socks
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop
High heels or Uggs? Neither - I'm a sock person!
Next up: Still working on it!
Author idol: Natalie Babbitt
Website: www.kellybingham.net
Interviews: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Little Willow
Roundtable: Miss Erin, Little Willow, and Lorie Ann Grover discuss Shark Girl

Check out this resource for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The site is full of facts that could help you or a friend!

Operation Teen Book Drop - Operation TBD - by readergirlz and yalsa

On April 17th, 2008, release a book into the wild! Leave a book with a TBD bookplate pasted inside in a teen gathering spot in your community. Place it where the book will be found, taken, and read. (i.e. a coffee shop, the park, your school, a bus stop.) Imagine the fun someone will have when they find your donation! This is the same day all 10,000 publisher-donated books will be dropped in pediatric hospitals across the country, and it is the same day authors and readergirlz worldwide will release their own books into their communities just as you have.


These tunes were hand-picked to accompany Shark Girl.
  • Theme from Jaws
  • How to Save a Life - The Fray
  • I Am - Bon Jovi
  • Ladder in My Tights - Amy Studt
  • Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
  • Pain - Elton John
  • You're Still You - Josh Groban
  • Hero - Superchic[k]
  • Fearless - Daechelle
Party it UP!

Invite: A picture of the book cover; stickers of seashells, fish, and sharks.Food: Jane is a vegetarian, so a huge bowl of fruit salad, a quiche or omelet with veggies, fresh bread, and chocolate cake.Décor: An artist's loft: paintings on the wall, art supplies laid out, swatches of paint or fabric, clay, sculpting tools, easels, canvas, busts - or a beach theme: straw hats, beach balls, flowered leis, seashells, sandals, shorts, bikini tops.Movies: Blue Crush, Surf's Up, Jaws

Here are some things to consider and discuss . . .
In Shark Girl, Jane often feels judged for her appearance. Has this ever happened to you? How does it make you feel?
Have you ever judged anyone by their appearance?
After the loss of her arm, Jane finds it hard to do ordinary things. Have you ever had to take on a challenge? What got you through it? How did you keep from giving up?
Art is something Jane loves to do for many reasons. Do you like to make things? Draw? Write? Dance? Sing? What's the best part of expressing yourself artistically?
Jane comments that sometimes it's best that we don’t know the future. Would you see the future if you could? Or would you rather be surprised? Why?
Let's say you could not use your right arm for a month. What sort of things could you not do that month? What would you miss? What do you think would be the hardest part?
Jane's friends try to help her feel better in this book. How have you helped your friends through hard times?

Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley  Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss  The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock  Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern  Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  Nerves Out Loud edited by Susan Musgrave
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss
The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Nerves Out Loud edited by Susan Musgrave

March, 2008


Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen is a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect facade.
Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything." This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend, no peace at home, and no one to sit with at lunch.
Until she meets Owen Armstrong, a music-obsessed boy. With his help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

This is young adult fiction at its best. - School Library Journal
Dessen weaves a sometimes funny, mostly emotional, and very satisfying story. - VOYA

A Booksense Top Ten Pick

A New York Times Bestseller

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen

On the nightstand: A stack of magazines, a pad and paper, my iPod
Favorite drink while you write: Hot chocolate or bottled water
Favorite bookstore: Regulator Bookshop, Durham NC and Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC
Favorite library: Undergrad, UNC-Chapel Hill. Ah, memories!
Pet: Monkey and Coco, my dogs (can’t choose just one!)
Place to write: Anywhere quiet in my house
Inspiration: Writing should be fun. If it's not, I'm doing something wrong.
Dream book tour: A summer spent driving across the country with my husband and daughter, stopping at bookstores along the way
Writer-buddies: Meg Cabot, Sara Zarr, John Green, Lara Zeises
Cures for writer's block: Deep breaths, chocolate chip cookies, and keeping going
Favorite outfit: A-pocket Seven jeans, a tank top and Havaianas flip flops
Long-hand or laptop? Laptop. My handwriting is terrible.
High heels or Uggs? Neither. Flip flops or wedges.
Next up: Lock and Key, raising my daughter, and starting another book
Author idol: Anne Tyler
Other YA novels: That Summer, Someone Like You, Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, Lock and Key (April 2008)
Website: www.sarahdessen.com
Roundtable: The postergirlz discuss Just Listen

Join RAINN's 24/7 Campaign
Every 2.5 minutes another American is sexually assaulted. Join RAINN's 24/7 Campaign. Spread the word about their amazing National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. Send an e-card to friends and raise awareness about sexual assault in your own community. Explore RAINN's site so you are aware and can help another in need. Arm yourself with knowledge and speak out.
Watch their video: You're Not Alone.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
  • "What It Feels Like For a Girl," Madonna
  • "Radio Song," R.E.M.
  • "Road to Nowhere," The Talking Heads
  • "Drop the Pilot," Mandy Moore
  • "This is Radio Clash," The Clash
  • "Blind Love," Tom Waits
  • "Story of My Life," Social Distortion
  • "The Joker," Fatboy Slim
  • "Ooh Child," Beth Orton
  • "Ace of Spades," Motorhead
  • "Fight Test," The Flaming Lips
Party it UP!
Invite: Print your fave playlist + party detailsFood: Waffles, bacon, and great coffee Décor: iPods and earbuds - crank up the playlist!Movies: Hope Floats, Bring It On, Speak

Here are some things to consider and discuss . . .
The book gets its title from Owen: "Don't think, or judge. Just listen." What does that mean to you?
Music plays such an important part of this novel. How important is music in your life?
Annabel feels like an outcast in her school. Do you ever feel this way?
Even if you attended high school after the 1970s, there is at least one Zeppelin song that will trigger a few high school memories. What is it about Led Zeppelin and high school?
Owen has a very eclectic taste in music. What kind of music do you listen to? What's your favorite song?
At 12 years old, Sarah Dessen was really influenced by Fannie Flagg's book Coming Attractions. What is the one book that has most influenced you most throughout your life?
What adjectives would you use to describe Just Listen?
The quote at the beginning of the book is "The best way out is always through," and to Sarah, that's the main theme of Just Listen. Do you back off from some things when you are nervous or scared or do you push through?

A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian  Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher  Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja  Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles  Red: The Next Generation of American Writers
A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian
Stay With Me by Garrett Freymann-Weyr
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
Red: The Next Generation of American Writers

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
readergirlz Make History Cards   readergirlz vow
readergirlz pendant by Gypsy Wings   readergirlz pendant by Gypsy Wings

Celebrate Women's History Month and our one year anniversary with us!
The readergirlz Make History cards offer powerful quotes from books we featured during our first year. Save the cards in PDF or JPG form, print them, stick them on your locker or bulletin board, and send them to your best friends. Be encouraged to make your own history!
Read, reflect, and reach out with girlz around the world during our second year. Download and print the readergirlz vow.
Commemorate our first year with this limited edition readergirlz pendant, created and crafted by readergirlz member and jeweler Gypsy Wings.

February, 2008

ALA & ALSC Honor Readergirlz
 The readergirlz website has been awarded this seal of approval by the ALA and named one of the ALSC Great Web Sites for Kids. The committee informed us that they evaluated over 400 sites and selected only 34 for inclusion. Wow! The readergirlz divas thank our 2007 authors for their participation and our webdiva Little Willow for her amazing, generous service. Thank you to the ALA for this honor!

Download this month's poster (PDF)

Happy Valentine's Day, Readergirlz! Talk about celebrating heart. This month's featured book, Bronx Masquerade, beats with heart and poetry. The divas -- Justina Chen Headley, Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey and Mitali Perkins -- are thrilled to welcome award-winning author Nikki Grimes this month! This February we move beyond the masquerade to bring down the barricades that separate us all. Nikki Grimes shows us how: I dare you to peep
behind these eyes,
discover the poet
in tough-guy disguise

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes Something's going on. Something more than a high school poetry assignment. Kids are taking a look, leaning in close, asking why or how.
Wesley Boone, writing a poem for Mr. Ward's class and actually wanting to read it aloud, poetry-slam style. Lupe Algarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, looking for an outlet for her anger after her mother ODs.
One by one, eighteen voices speak up, show themselves to the world, and deal with the consequences. Through the poetry they share and the stories they tell, their worlds and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.

What People are Saying "As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they’re looking for – real characters who show them they are not alone."
-- School Library Journal
"Creative, contemporary premise will hook teens, and the poems may even inspire readers to try a few of their own."
-- Publishers Weekly
2003 Coretta Scott King Award
Best Book for Young Adults
Quick Pick for Young Adult Reluctant Readers
NY Public Library Book for the Teen Age
Notable Books for a Global Society

The While-You-Read Playlist

These tunes were hand-picked by the readergirlz to accompany Bronx Masquerade.
I Have a Dream - Common
Where is the Love - The Black-Eyed Peas
These Words - Natasha Bedingfield
Remember to Feel Real - Armor for Sleep
No One - Alicia Keys
We Live - Superchick
How Do I Breathe - Mario
32 Flavors - Ani DiFranco

Community Challenge: Host Your Own Poetry Slam!

1. Read Bronx Masquerade.
2. Learn more about the poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
3. Encourage friends to take Nikki Grimes's Poetry Challenge in Poems To Go.
4. Now you're ready to host your own Poetry Slam.
5. Send donations from your Poetry Slam to your favorite charity.
If you're looking to contribute, check out United Teen Equality Center. UTEC's mission is to be a "by teens, for teens" safe haven for youth development and grassroots organizing. UTEC reaches out to young people through intensive street outreach, builds upon their unique strengths within a youth development framework, and creates opportunities to best support them in becoming agents of social change and organizers in the community.
UTEC has four main centers of programming: Streetwork, Youth Development, The Open School, and Youth Organizing.

Songwriters and Bloggers

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is having a songwriting contest! Students between the ages of 12 and 18 may enter individually or in groups of two, three, or four people. Songs are to be between one and half minutes and three minutes long and should "promote libraries and the many technological resources they offer." Learn more at the YALSA website.
The deadline is Saturday, March 8th, 2008.
Download the entry form (PDF)
Make sure to follow the guidelines and include the completed entry form and lyrics with your entry. Paperwork may not be your idea of fun, but make sure that you don't miss out on this contest due to a technicality!
For more information about the contest, contact Nichole Gilbert: ngilbert@ala.org or call 1 (800) 545-2433 ext. 4387
YALSA is also looking for teen bloggers between the ages of 13 and 18.
Download the application (DOC)
For more information about the YALSA teen blogger position, contact Linda W. Braun: lbraun@leonline.com

Postergirlz Recommended Reads

Our February theme is Self-Worth. Try these great companion reads. Fiction: Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
Non-Fiction: My Sisters' Voices: Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out by Iris Jacob
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Gather your favorite readergirlz together to discuss Bronx Masquerade. 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 Nikki Grimes recommends you celebrate her book with your best readergirlz friends: Invites
How about a masquerade party? Each person could come as her favorite poet. Invites could be in the shape of a mask.
Bronx Masquerade is a fondue of people, dipping their individual lives into a shared pot of poetry -- and what a savory sauce it is! So, why not serve fondue at your party, with fruit or veggies. Spicy sauce or chocolate (yum!) Mix it up. That's what the characters in Bronx Masquerade do.
Picture frames, poster poems, poetry bookmarks, and magnetic poetry coasters.
1. Freedom Writers
2. Finding Forrester

Discussion Questions

Questions from the author herself:
1. Lupe Algarin was desperate for love. Have you ever felt that way?
2. Janelle Battle knows she's beautiful on the inside, but she struggles with her body image. Can you relate? What advice would you give her if she were your friend?
3. Devon hides his love for reading so he can fit in with the other jocks. Have you ever played dumb to fit in with a group? Do you wish you hadn't?
4. A few weeks ago, I ran into the person who inspired Sheila Gamberoni. This person is still pretending to be something she's not, and it makes me sad. She was such a beautiful person on her own. Is this something you struggle with?
5. Chankara witnessed her sister being beaten by past boyfriends. Have you ever seen anybody like that? Is it ever all right for a boy to hit a girl?
6. Steve's aspirations clash with his parents' hopes for him. They're worried about him making a living. He's more concerned with making a life. Whose side are you on? Is there a compromise?
7. Who do people think you are? Who are you, really? Why do you hide?

Author Chat

The readergirlz divas had a wonderful talk with Nikki Grimes.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?
Nikki Grimes: My earliest inspiration for a book of this type goes back to Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. I read it maybe five, six years before I wrote Bronx Masquerade. Spoon River showed me the marvelous possibilities of telling a story in multiple voices. That masterwork planted a seed in me that I've been watering, fertilizing, and harvesting ever since. Years after reading it, I decided I wanted to write a novel about a classroom of high school students, exploring their individual lives, and the ways those lives intersected. Spoon River was an early roadmap that showed me the powerful place poetry could play in telling that story.
Lorie Ann Grover: Is any part of the book autobiographical?
Nikki Grimes: There is an element of autobiography in everything a writer writes. I'm no exception. In Bronx, the skeleton of the story is plucked from real life. I have a friend named Drew Ward who was a high school English teacher. He taught a segment on the Harlem Renaissance, during which time he invited me to visit his classes. He wanted them to meet a living poet from Harlem, influenced by the poets of that period. Enter moi! The poetry movement depicted in Bronx took place at his school. As for the characters, they are primarily figments of imagination, although there are two inspired by actual people I have known over the years. None of the characters represent me directly. However, Sterling represents my faiths, and I understand Lupe and Gloria, because I was an unwed mother, though not until age nineteen. I lost a parent at an early age, as did at least two of my characters, and like Diondra, one of my parents sought to dissuade me from pursuing the arts. Each character’s story is different from my own, but my personal history connects me with each on an emotional level.
Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block?
Nikki Grimes: I never know how to answer this question. Hmmm... Well, I believe that writing is 90 percent perspiration, and 10 percent inspiration. I begin my planning to write. I set aside time every morning, six days a week, to work on a project. Usually, it is a work-in-progress: a collection of poetry, a novel, a chapter book, an essay for a magazine or journal, etc. I lay out whatever materials I'm going to need for that project, so that they are handy. (Notes, journals, books I want to quote from, etc.) I try to go for a 3-mile walk every day, so I'll read my notes for a passage or a poem that I want to work on, go for my walk, and work out that piece in my head as I go. When I get back to the house, I grab a pad and jot down whatever I’ve come up with before I forget it. Then, for the remainder of the morning, I continue working on that piece. The work is sometimes dry when I begin, but that's to be expected. That’s what rewrites are for. The early draft is just to get the basic idea down on paper, so that you have something to work with. My final version takes several drafts. Thank God for computers with cut and paste!
As for writer's block, everyone gets it, though I don’t very often. When I do, I read a few pages of Gary Soto, Lucille Clifton, or California J. Cooper. There is something about their work that resonates with me, that takes me back to my own voice. I don't question it anymore. I just know that it works for me.
Janet Lee Carey: How did you manage to write Bronx Masquerade in so many viewpoints?
Nikki Grimes: I think I answered this already. I might add, though, that everything was going fine as far as keeping my character's storylines straight until my editor starting asking me to move the characters around! That made me a little crazy. Whenever I moved a character, I also had to reshuffle the details of their story that connected with someone else's story, or the overall plot. Storyline sequencing was a headache, but
it was all worth it in the end.
Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career?
Nikki Grimes: Yes. My mother was totally against it, which was a negative impact that drove me to prove her wrong. My father introduced me to the world of professional art, taking me to my first art opening, my first ballet, my first literary agent, getting me my first autographed book, and, most importantly, signing me up for my first poetry reading. I was all of thirteen at the time. What a rush! As for my sister, Carol, she is, and has always been, my biggest fan.
Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing?
Nikki Grimes: These days, I'm tempted to say my favorite part of writing is writing! I have so little time for it, what with travel, promotional events, Web site maintenance, etc. But, to the point, I love the poetry of it all. Whenever I discover a fresh, new way to paint a picture or capture an emotion, it makes me smile. I still love being able to make an emotional connection with my readers, and I love the way metaphor, simile, and imagery make that possible. Sometimes, I'll read back a line I've just written, and think, "Damn, I'm good!" And I'll feel brilliant for about two seconds. Then I get stumped on the next sentence, and all the air rushes out of my balloon! Still, those moments are priceless, especially since that wonderful piece of writing was usually preceded by hours of grunt-work.
Dia Calhoun: What are you working on now?
Nikki Grimes: I'm finishing a two-voice YA novel, similar to Dark Sons, and I'm also working on a new chapter-book series. There are a couple of other projects, but I don't feel free to talk about them yet.
Divas: Thank you, Nikki, for the wonderful interview.
Enjoy Other Titles by Nikki Grimes:
Dark Sons
Jazmin's Notebook
To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website: http://www.nikkigrimes.com
Additional interviews with Nikki Grimes:
Reading Rockets
Reading is Fun
Discuss the book with Nikki Grimes this month at the readergirlz forum: http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz


January, 2008

New Year's means it's time to celebrate last year's achievements and dream up new, exciting goals for 2008. The founding divas, Justina Chen Headley, Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, and Janet Lee Carey, began in 2007 with a dream of creating an online book community where teens like you could: * Have serious fun while talking about books with the author and your friends.
* Get the inside scoop from authors about their books.
* Read great books to get to know yourself, your friends, and yes, even your mother better.
* Celebrate strong girls in books who've got the guts to dream.
* Reach out to others based on what you've read.
* Be inspired to make history of your own! We've got a bunch of exciting ideas for you, our beloved readergirlz, to share new books and awesome authors with you, so here's a shout out to all of you readergirlz for helping our dream come true!

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
January is all about starting over. What better way to kick off the New Year than by reading Kirby Larson's Newbery Honor book Hattie Big Sky?
Sixteen-year-old Hattie starts over in a big way when she takes on the challenge to finish "proving up" her uncle's homestead claim in Montana. The year is 1918, and this gutsy girl is determined to achieve her dream.
Join the divas and the postergirlz in welcoming award-winning author Kirby Larson to readergirlz. We will be discussing the book all month long at the readergirlz MySpace group.
Novel Description:
For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim.
Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove on her quest to discover the true meaning of home.
Hattie Big Sky has won numerous awards and honors, including:
* 2007 Newbery Honor Book
* Nomination for the 2007-2008
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

* Winner of the 2006 Montana Book Award
* Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the School Library Journal
* Finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2006 Cybils Book Awards

What People are Saying
"For me, the decision to sit down and read Hattie Big Sky was helped immensely by this first sentence on the authorial bookflap: Thanks to her eighth-grade teacher, Kirby Larson maintained a healthy lack of interest in history until she heard a snippet of a story about her great-grandmother’s homesteading by herself in eastern Montana. And we’re off! As someone who also couldn’t have cared less about history and historical fiction for most of her natural born life, Larson’s declaration right from the start that history was never her bag came as quite the wake-up call. Plus the result of her newfound interest in history is this remarkable little book recounting a single girl’s wish to go out into the world and prove herself to others. You couldn’t have it any other way.”
-- Betsy Bird, blogger, Fuse #8
"In this engaging historical novel set in 1918, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks leaves Iowa and travels to a Montana homestead inherited from her uncle. In the beautiful but harsh setting, she has less than a year to fence and cultivate the land in order to keep it. Neighbors who welcome Hattie help heal the hurt she has suffered from years of feeling unwanted. Chapters open with short articles that Hattie writes for an Iowa newspaper or her lively letters to a friend and possible beau who is in the military in France. The authentic first-person narrative, full of hope and anxiety, effectively portrays Hattie's struggles as a young woman with limited options, a homesteader facing terrible odds, and a loyal citizen confused about the war and the local anti-German bias that endangers her new friends. Larson, whose great-grandmother homesteaded alone in Montana, read dozens of homesteaders’ journals and based scenes in the book on real events. Writing in figurative language that draws on nature and domestic detail to infuse her story with the sounds, smells, and sights of the prairie, she creates a richly textured novel full of memorable characters."
-- Booklist, Starred Review
"Larson creates a masterful picture of the homesteading experience and the people who persevered."
-- School Library Journal, Starred Review
"Hattie Big Sky, just as its narrator, is a brilliant, straightforward novel. Author Kirby Larson pulls no punches: death is ever present in the novel, as it was in 1917, and friends are essential to survival. I appreciated Hattie Big Sky for its complex ending as well. Hattie, in some ways, fails in her endeavor. (I won’t spoil the book for you by mentioning how.) In other ways, Hattie finds family, love, and self-sufficiency."
-- Kelly Herold, blogger, Big A little a
"I am an eleven-year-old girl who loves to read. I REALLY loved your book Hattie Big Sky. I'm writing you to tell you I really hope you are planning on writing a sequel about Hattie’s big adventures. I really got pulled into Hattie’s tough life as I read your story. Hattie may be fictional but she is a true inspiration."
-- Taylor, a happy reader

he While-You-Read Playlist

These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Single by Natasha Bedingfield
Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Braddah Iz)
Devity Gravity from Wicked as sung by Idina Menzel
I'm On My Way by The Proclaimers
Breathe In Breathe Out by Mat Kearney
Butterfly by India.Arie


Community Challenge: Go Overboard Challenge Grant

This month we're challenging readergirlz to Go Overboard with an idea to make a difference -- and win a Go Overboard Challenge Grant to put your plan into action.

Burton Snowboards
and award-winning author / readergirlz co-founder Justina Chen Headley are co-sponsoring the Go Overboard Challenge Grant with Youth Venture to fund the best youth-led ideas to change the world.

Commit to a cause you're already passionate about - whether it's saving the environment, ending world hunger, or protecting endangered species. With the help of local Vermont maple syrup makers (Green Mountain Sugar House), Olympic Gold medalist Hannah Teter bottles Hannah's Gold to earn money for AIDS orphans in Africa. Justina co-founded readergirlz - our online book community - to promote literacy in teen girls. Syrah in Justina's novel Girl Overboard spearheaded a huge snowboarding event to raise awareness for cancer. So think about a problem and figure out a solution!

Then tell us how you, your club, your team, or your entire school will Go Overboard by:
* forming a team (two or more persons) and filling out an action plan
* proposing a new sustainable organization (venture) to address a problem you have identified in your school, neighborhood, community, the world!

The best ideas will win one of 12 grants, each worth $1000, to help them realize their vision.
To learn more about the Go Overboard Challenge Grant, click here.
The rest of the divas want to thank Justina for making Syrah such an inspirational character in Girl Overboard and for working so hard on this grant opportunity with Burton Snowboards, Youth Venture, and Hannah Teter. You're always right out there in front with a giving spirit.

Our challenge to all you readergirlz: Go Overboard with an idea now. May the best reach-out readergirl win a Go Overboard Grant!

Shoutout: Hannah Teter

This month readergirlz gives a shoutout to Olympic Gold medalist Hannah Teter.
Hannah donated all of her Olympic-related prize money to World Vision and other charities. She spends much of her off-hill time rallying support and funding for various causes. Her maple syrup charity named Hannah's Gold donates all its profits to children in need in Africa.
We're honoring Hannah this month because she truly embodies the spirit of giving back.
She is currently touring with readergirlz diva Justina Chen Headley to pump up teens to go overboard with ideas to change the world and apply for the Go Overboard Challenge Grant.
"I'm really excited about the tour with Justina to inspire the youth of today to get involved in a cause they're passionate about," said Hannah. "I want to challenge young people to create changes they believe in and that will make a difference."

Welcome to Our New Diva

It's a new year and the divas are excited to announce our newest diva: the critically-acclaimed YA novelist Mitali Perkins. Mitali had to live up to her name (which means "friendly" in Bangla) because her family moved so often – they lived in India, Ghana, Cameroon, England, New York, and Mexico before settling in California. She studied political science at Stanford University and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, surviving academia thanks to a steady diet of books from public libraries. After getting married, Mitali's travels continued, and she lived in India, Bangladesh, and Thailand before moving to Massachusetts. A third daughter in her family of origin, she now thrives in an otherwise all-male household (husband, two sons, two labs, and one ferret are all boys), watching action-adventure movies and debating the difference between a Wii, an Xbox 360, and a PS3.
Her books for include MONSOON SUMMER, THE SUNITA EXPERIMENT, RICKSHAW GIRL, FIRST DAUGHTER: Extreme American Makeover, and FIRST DAUGHTER: White House Rules. Forthcoming titles include THE SECRET KEEPER and THE BAMBOO PEOPLE. Mitali reaches out to the reading world through her many books, her school visits where she discusses "books between cultures" and the life-changing power of story, and her website (mitaliperkins.com) and blog (mitaliblog.com) where she reviews novels with intelligence and passion, focusing on multicultural titles.


Welcome to our go2girls

In addition to our brilliant postergirlz -- our advisory council of major children’s lit bloggers -- we have created a second group to help us run readergirlz. Please welcome our go2girlz, made up of three exceptional writers -- Holly Cupala (winner of a 2006 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant), Sara Easterly (SCBWI co-regional advisor and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award winner for her debut children's title, LIGHTS, CAMERA & FASHION!) and Martha Brockenborough (hilarious Cinemama columnist on MSN, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, and author of the forthcoming THINGS THAT MAKE US [SIC]).
Our fabulous go2girlz guarantee that readergirlz continues to rock and roll.
(Pictured left to right: Martha, Holly, Sara)

Postergirlz Recommended Reads 

Our January theme is Hope. Try these great companion reads.
Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
Loose Threads by Lorie Ann Grover
A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marion Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman

The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Gather your favorite readergirlz together to discuss Hattie Big Sky. 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 Kirby Larson recommends you celebrate her book with your best readergirlz friends: Invites
Invitations could be glued to the back of sunflower seed packets and handed out or, for snail mail, they could be printed out on paper with a sunflower design.
If the weather is warm, serve iced tea or lemonade (or sarsaparilla, if you can find it!) Treats would have to be Perilee's Wartime Spice Cake and Hattie’s Lighter-than-Lead Biscuits (with lots of jam!) Both recipes are in the back of the book.
Fresh flowers – either sunflowers or lovely, old-fashioned flowers like sweetpeas or carnations – are always nice, but Hattie made do with crepe-paper flowers to decorate. One book club I visited had inexpensive wooden farm animal cut-outs scattered around.
Though it's a little corny, Heartland is a movie based on a collection of letters I actually read in researching Hattie Big Sky. Written by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, they are gathered together in the book, Letters of a Woman Homesteader.
To Kill a Mockingbird has that great scene where Scout's child-like honesty helps to diffuse the anger of a mob; I thought about that as I wrote the scene in which Hattie comes to Mr. Ebgard’s aid.
Any movie which explores the effects of prejudice -- of any kind.

Discussion Questions

Here's some food for thought: questions drawn by the author herself!
1. Hattie quickly learns that being a homesteader is harder than it looks. Have you ever taken on a project and realized you'd bitten off more than you can chew?
2. When Hattie packed up to go west, she took useful, practical things, including Mr. Whiskers, her cat. If you were moving to a new place, what are some of the things you'd take along?
3. One of the things Hattie confronts in the book is what it means to be a loyal citizen. Different people in the story had different interpretations of that concept. What do you think that means?
4. I didn't know much about this time period in American History when I began writing the book and I learned a lot. What was the most interesting/surprising thing you learned from the book about this time?
5. Hattie's daily routine was probably a lot different than yours. Do you think you could've been a homesteader?
6. Did you feel Hattie achieved her original goal -- to have a place to belong -- in the end?
7. I have been asked hundreds of times to write a sequel to Hattie Big Sky . I'm considering doing so but am not sure what the problem should be. Do you have any suggestions?

Author Chat

The readergirlz divas had a wonderful talk with Kirby Larson.
Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?
Kirby Larson: I was inspired to write Hattie Big Sky when I learned that my great-grandmother had homesteaded in eastern Montana all by herself as a young woman. Lorie Ann Grover: Please tell us how you researched your book. Kirby Larson: I initially thought I was "just" going to write a homestead story but my research led me to learn about the anti-German sentiment of WWI so I knew I had to include that, as well. I researched this book for nearly 4 years, reading diaries and journals written by homesteaders; reading newspapers from the time; reading scholarly tomes. For more details about my research, check out the vodcast at www.hattiebigsky.com Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block? Kirby Larson: The primary thing is to glue yourself to your writing chair. Inspiration can't find you if you aren't at work! My process was to do the bulk of the research first, and then I began my pre-writing process, which included writing letters from Hattie to the other characters in the story. I never got writer’s block with Hattie, because I was so committed to getting her story told. Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why? Kirby Larson: Aside from my mom and grandmother, my role models include fine writers like Karen Cushman and Katherine Paterson and fine people whose names you might not recognize but are working hard to make this world a better place. Justina Chen Headley: Has your family been an important factor in your career? Kirby Larson: My immediate family has been cheerleading me since I started down the writing road. They also give me much-needed kicks in the rear. Once, I was so discouraged, I gave up writing for about six months. My son, in grade school then, came to me and said, "Mom, you’re too grumpy. You need to start writing again." Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing? Kirby Larson: This is going to sound crazy, but my favorite part of writing is rewriting. I am always confident I can whip a manuscript into shape but I really have doubts during that initial first draft process. Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent this month's theme, Hope. Can you please comment on what you think teen girls ought to know about hope? Kirby Larson: Emily Dickinson said it better than I ever could: "Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --
Sometimes I think the gutsiest thing any of us can do is live with hope. Divas: Thank you, Kirby, for the wonderful interview. To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website: http://www.kirbylarson.com To learn more about our featured title, take a trip to: http://www.hattiebigsky.com Discuss the book at the readergirlz forum: http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz Additional interviews with Kirby Larson: Jaime Temairik @ Chompo Blog
Little Willow @ Bildungsroman
Nancy Castaldo @ Historically Speaking

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.


No comments: