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1. Watch for it: DASH


 
Although Mitsi Kashino and her family are swept up in the wave of anti-Japanese sentiment following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mitsi never expects to lose her home – or her beloved dog, Dash when she’s forced to move to an incarceration camp.

Kirby Larson  swings by readergirlz to chat with Janet Lee Carey  about her new middle-grade novel, DASH.

 

 
JLC - Welcome Kirby. Congratulations on your new historical fiction book and on the 2014 National Parenting Publications Gold Award (NAPPA) for DASH!

KL –  Thanks, Janet! It’s an honor to visit with you. And I am so delighted about the NAPPA award, as well as the two starred reviews, for my new book.

JLC - Tell us what inspired you to write Dash.

KL – I grew up on the West Coast and did not learn about the “evacuation” of 120,000 people of Japanese descent – most of them American citizens – during WWII until I was in college. I was shocked that something of that magnitude could have been omitted from my education. So I began to try to learn as much as I could about it; when I became a writer, I wanted to tell stories from that time period in hopes that no other child would grow up in ignorance about that shameful slice of history. One of the texts I read, Strawberry Days by Dave Niewert, had a short snippet of an interview with a woman named Mitsue Shiraishi, who told about being so heartbroken at the thought of having to leave her dog behind during the “evacuation” that she wrote to the man in charge, General John DeWitt, asking for permission to take her beloved Chubby to camp. He said “no,” so now Mitsi had a few days to find a home for Chubby; fortunately, a kind neighbor, Mrs. Charles Bovee, agreed to take him in.
 
Mrs. Charles knew how much Mitsi loved her dog so she kept a diary, in Chubby’s voice, of his first weeks in the Bovee household, and then mailed it to Mitsi at camp. Mitsi died as a very old woman and when her family was cleaning out her apartment, they found that diary in her nightstand. I was struck by the fact that of all the horrible things that had happened to Mitsi, the thing she held onto was a symbol of kindness and compassion. That heart hook into the story, plus the fact that I am madly in love with my own dog and couldn’t imagine having to leave him behind, lead me to write Dash.

JLC – Would you tell us a bit about your research, and give us a peek into your writing process?

KL – Do you have all day? ;-) As a researcher, I leave no stone unturned. For example, when I read that snippet about Mitsi in Mr. Niewert’s book, I began to reach out to everyone I knew in the Japanese American community to see if I could find Mitsi’s family. I did and they generously provided me with stories, photographs, and other ephemera to help me understand what Mitsi went through. I listen to music of the time period I’m researching, dig up recipes, put together outfits my characters might have worn (Pinterest is great for this!), and even scour second hand stores and eBay for old journals, letters and diaries to give me insights into the past. What I work hardest to find are primary resources – they are essential for helping me conjure up those delicious details that bring the past to life.

As for my writing process, it is a huge mess! I just jump in and start writing – no outline. No plan. What I do first, however, is get to know my character as thoroughly as possible. My work is very character driven.

JLC – The Kirkus starred review says: “Mitsi holds tight to her dream of the end of the war and her reunion with Dash. Larson makes this terrible event in American history personal with the story of one girl and her beloved pet.”
Would you share the secret of writing historical fiction in a way that makes it personal and real for young readers?

KL – I’m so flattered by this lovely review. I wish I knew the secret! What I do know is that if I don’t do my homework – really get myself grounded in a past time and place—I would never stand a chance of making history personal.

JLC – #WeNeedDiverseBooks is an important and long-awaited topic in the book world right now. Thoughts?

KL-   I am thrilled this conversation is taking place. Children need to see themselves – deserve to see themselves! -- in literature of all kinds. I do have a worry, however, that “diversity” could come to mean only ethnicity. It would be a shame to set such limits.

I’ve said this elsewhere: as a kid who grew up wearing hand me downs and sometimes finding the kitchen cupboards completely bare, I would have died and gone to heaven had I found books like Barbara O’Connor’s How to Steal a Dog or Janet Lee Carey’s The Double Life of Zoe Flynn, in which the main character is homeless. I hope and pray this #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign leads to an even richer and broader range of the kinds of kid characters and stories we’ll see in children’s and young adult literature.

JLC— What would you like readers to take away from this book?

KL – I want readers to take away their own meaning from all of my books. But if Dash made readers stop and think about what it means to be a decent human being, I wouldn’t mind that one bit.

By Kirby Larson
Scholastic, 10/2014


 

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2. Happy Teen Read Week, rgz!

 
LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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3. rgz Newsflash: International Day of the Girl, October 11

Just caught this early shout out from iheartdaily:

Just two years ago, the United Nations declared October 11th to be International Day of the Girl. The UN has said, “Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”   

This year's theme is "Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence."

Amen to that! Bravo, to the United Nations for this intentional focus. With their estimate of 200 million girls missing around the world due to gendercide, dowry infractions, and forced abortions of girls we need to stop and think and act.


Since the publication of FIRSTBORN, inspired by my outrage over gendercide, I've been trumpeting the work of All Girls Allowed. The nonprofit funds young women, pregnant with females, so they can carry their babies full term and keep them. They work to stop the intentional annihilation of girls. And then there's the Global Gendercide Advocacy and Awareness Project who takes internships, rgz! Or there's the movie which is absolutely chilling. Take a look at the trailer for IT'S A GIRL and then watch the full movie on NETFLIX.



I created a collection of posters on Polyvore to draw attention to gendercide. You can see the full group of 30 by clicking here. Share them and raise awareness.

Gendercide Poster #25Gendercide Poster #27

Celebrate INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL! Read, reflect, and reach out, rgz!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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4. Watch for it: HIT


 
Lorie Ann Grover swings by readergirlz to chat with Janet Lee Carey  about her new book HIT on its launch day! Welcome Lorie Ann.


JLC -- HIT is a riveting read! Tell us what inspired you to write it.

LG -- Thank you, Janet! HIT was inspired by a true story. Ten years ago, my daughter's best friend was hit in a crosswalk on the way to school. With her life threatened, her urgent brain surgery sent her family and friends spinning through a dark wait. Inspired by her experience, my novel tells the story of one girl struck down by the very grad student she is crushing on. Plans, goals, and dreams are shattered, as everything comes screeching to a halt. 

JLC – You chose to write the book in two viewpoints: Sarah, the girl who’s struck by a car, and Mr. Haddings, the young man who was behind the wheel. I was amazed by your choice which worked beautifully! Can you tell us when you decided to write the book this way and share some of the challenges faced?  

LG -- Well, it was originally six voices!

JLC -- Wow, six?

LG -- :~)

JLC -- Who were they?

LG -- Sarah, Haddings, Cydni, Luke, Janet, and Mark. Different editors along the publishing journey suggested reducing it to four, then finally two. Without introducing some sort of fantastic element, like Sarah wandering the hospital in spirit form, I needed at least two voices to tell the story as she is so long in surgery.

JLC – You write so deeply and truly about family and family relationships in HIT. Can you give us a peek into your process for this?

LG -- I think the real event was so charged and poignant, gestures, words, and phrases became haunting notes in my mind. It was simple to stream those straight into the novel. I also include the struggles I’m having or have had in the past: how to mother and let go, how to love the right person, how to separate your identity from another, etc. By digging deeply and bringing battles to light, there’s a chance the work will ring with a reader.

JLC—They say every story is about character change. Sarah’s accident forces not only the central characters but every character in the book to change. How did you determine the way each of these unique personalities would change through the events of the story?

LG -- Thank you for noticing, Janet! I started from a place where everyone was caught up in the everyday. They were selfishly focused. The accident arrests each of them, giving them a chance to stop and assess where they are and what is important. So often, this is one of the gifts within a hardship. I naturally landed on their starting points, riffing off my friends and my own traits. I amplified every facet to better the tale. Seriously, my friends are blessed with so much grace, I had to work hard to weaken them. :~)

JLC— What would you like readers to take away from this book?

LG --’d really like readers to consider the concept that within every hardship there are sweet red seeds. Like Dottie tells Sarah, under the leathery pomegranate skin, there is beauty. We just have to look for it. The truth lines up beautifully with Hit-and-Run: the Gratitude Tour. We're doing. Both Justina Chen and I tend to write about this.

JLC-- The tour will bring out HIT and Justina Chen's A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS.
 
 
JLC -- Tell us more bout the tour!
 
Hit-and-Run: The Gratitude Tour:
When trials hit, how do we run in triumph? When we have a blind spot for blessings, how do we embrace gratitude? Award-winning authors and readergirlz co-founders, Lorie Ann Grover and Justina Chen, share the trials and triumphs within their own lives and their books’ characters, inspiring teens and adults to #hitwithgratitude.

 
What we now realize is that our message is going to stretch beyond this tour across four states. We will continue to hit the road, encouraging readers to #hitwithgratitude now and in the years to come. For example, how about a 30 Day Challenge to #hitwithgratitude daily through the month of November? Why not tweet, fb, and Instagram shout-outs for those you are grateful for? Who are the people who have crossed your life that you’d like to #hitwithgratitude?

JLC -- I love this idea!

LG -- There are so many ways we can encourage each forward, right? Let’s do it.
I officially #hitwithgratitude: readergirlz and Janet Lee Carey!

 

JLC -- :~) 
Hit 
By Lorie Ann Grover
Blink, 10/07/2014

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5. rgz tour: #hitwithgratitude


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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6. READERGIRLZ ROAR FOR BANNED BOOKS WEEK

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


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


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

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


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

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

 

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

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

Let’s Link:
Sno-Isle Teen Blog 

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

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7. Diva Delight: A Monster Calls and Rhyme Schemer

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



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

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press, 2013



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

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

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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8. Thursday Movie Party: The #AMITY trailer is here!




Hello readergirlz!

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


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9. Watch for it: Be a Changemaker


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

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

 

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

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

JLC - What can readergirlz learn from these committed teens? 


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


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


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


JLC – Can you share some excerpts? 


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

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

Change the World Kids 

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

 

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10. COVER STORIES: "Amity!"


Hi readergirlz!

I'm super thrilled to be celebrating the release of my 12th (!) original novel, Amity, a haunted house story told in two separate perspectives, ten years apart. Diva Melissa was gracious enough to offer up a Cover Story slot to me, so here we go! 


1.              Did you have an idea in mind for your cover as you were proposing/writing the book? If so, what did it look like?

I think we all always knew Amity was going to have an image of a haunted house on the cover. It’s iconic and classic for a reason, right? We may have tossed around the idea of focusing in on one aspect of a house – a window, a door – or even doing something more modern and all type, but I don’t think any of those concepts were seriously on the table.

2.              Did your publisher ask for your input on the cover design before the art dept started working? If so, what input did you give?

My editor at the time showed me an early mock-up with the image they were planning to use. But at the time, she did make it clear that everyone in-house was very enthusiastic about the image, which, as I know from my own days on the editorial side of the desk, is pretty crucial and not to be ignored.



3.              What did you think the first time you saw the original version of your cover?

I liked the general idea and I really liked that Egmont was truly capturing that straightforward, “HORROR novel,” genre vibe. My main concern was only that the house itself looked nothing like the building that’s described in the book, or the original “Amityville” house. Specifically the half-moon windows are mentioned a whole bunch in the book, and are familiar to anyone who knows anything about the original Amityville crime. But I can appreciate that a strong cover can often outweigh the value of a literal cover. We talked a bit about how the house in the mock-up looked small and not quite menacing enough, and my editor assured me it would be tweaked.

And it was! And it’s amazing and perfect!



As you can see, the final cover is the same original image. But with the color adjusted, a new font, and lots of creepy blood dripped, the terror factor is amped way, way up. I could seriously marry this new final cover, and I’ve been thrilled with readers’ reactions to it! The general consensus seems to be that it’s insanely scary. Which to me translates to: mission accomplished!


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11. Watch for It: Egg & Spoon



When a Gregory Maguire book releases, how can you not stop everything and read it? You must for Egg & Spoon. Think of a female, The Prince and the Pauper, intertwined with a fiercely endearing Baba Yaga, searching to save a Firebird and mother Russia, while controlling an ice dragon for the world's survival. By the author of Wicked. Enough said, right?

Here is an epic story for middle-grade, young adults, and adults, and it will be beloved. For the first time, I fell in love with a house with chicken legs.

Within the 475 pages, you'll find language as rich as Saint Petersburg. It is the only point which will give you pause as you relish Maguire's word choice and imagery. Truth beats at the heart of the fairy tale, dabbled with modern references due to Baba Yaga's timelessness. I leave you with Baba speaking to her resident cat.

Baba Yaga snorted. "I look like a woman of a certain age."
"You are," said Mewster.
"Oh, no," said the witch. "I am a woman of every age."

Egg & Spoon
by Gregory Macquire
Candlewick Press, 9/14

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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12. Watch for It: A Blind Spot for Boys



Just back from the ALA Annual Conference where I went on the hunt for co-founder Justina Chen's new ARC. They were completely gone from the Little Brown booth the same day they were displayed. So watch for this one. I happen to know it's quite the hot adventure full of truths that will leave you thinking and inspired!

Here's the description:

Shana has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who's right in front of her?
Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it's time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong.
Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don't just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana's interest. Right as she's about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously... Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen.

A Blind Spot for Boys
by Justina Chen
Little Brown, August 12, 2014

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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13. Cover Stories: Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

Elisa Ludwig's Coin Heist is out this month, and we had to ask her about that cover! Here she is to share the story:

"I felt very very lucky to be part of the early cover design discussion. We shared some of our favorite covers for books out now, as well as some movie posters and went back and forth. My main input was that I wanted the cover to feel contemporary and fresh, to capture the fun and exciting pace of the story, and to appeal to boys and girls equally. No small feat!

"I got to see four rounds of comps, and it was fascinating to watch the ideas and inspirations evolve. I made some comments and suggestions along the way, but I also acknowledged that even though I have lots of opinions, I'm in the word business and not the image business, so I fully trusted the experts involved to come up with a great solution.

"I saw many 'original' images with different initial concepts. While they all shared a certain minimalist sensibility, some emphasized coins rather than human figures, others a 'plan notebook,' and still others had a tiled floor that represented the Mint at night. It's truly amazing how a seemingly simple design can communicate the plot, the mood, the characters and even the imagined reader of a book.

"When I first saw the final cover, I loved it right away. I'm a sucker for vintage graphics, and I thought the white font, bold green and stark silhouettes really evoked classic mystery/heist book covers while the background suggests the more tech-y, modern element of this particular plan. At the same time the details on the figures are emblematic of the characters in a way that won't limit the reader's imagination. My biggest takeaway: I'm in awe of designers! The silhouettes are an original illustration by Tahnee Gehm.

"I've already gotten a ton of positive feedback (from, it should be noted, both guys and girls). So yeah, I'd say it hit the mark."

Thanks, Elisa! Watch the trailer here!

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14. Watch for It: Jerk California, Mayday, and Aquifer

Hey rgz!

I recently toured with Jonathan Friesen and wanted to introduce you to his writing if you haven't found it yet. His body of work is impressive with Jerk California a recipient of the Schneider Award. I just started it!



Here he is talking about his mysterious, dystopian novel, Aquifer, released from Blink.



Mayday recently released, featuring a female protagonist. Isn't the cover totally evocative?



So there you go, rgz. Check out Jonathan's work. You won't be disappointed! Oh, and if you are going to ALA Annual, we'll be signing at the Blink Booth. We'd love to see you so stop by!

Jerk California
Aquifer
Mayday
by Jonathan Friesen

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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15. Watch for It: Remnants, Season of Wonder



Just finished Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Bergren and wanted to give rgz a heads up to watch for it. Talk about a fierce female protagonist. Andriana, a gifted Remnant, teamed with her Knight, Ronan, join the elite teen group of Ailith who are charged to heal the world. Set in the future, following the The Great War, the small band goes questing for their rightful leader.

Even as an empath, Andriana doesn't hold back from fighting her own battles. The conflicts are physical, intense, and realistic. The reader has to wonder if Bergren is a kick boxer herself.

Quick quotes that held great meaning to me:

"The road became more a series of unified elements, a path that led us forward rather than a barrage of threatening blocks."

"Every time I give in to concern about tomorrow, even my next hour, I rob this hour, this day of strength, peace."

One note: Andriana visits a society practicing gendercide. Bergren gives the fullest ramifications of the practice. What a complimentary work to my own Firstborn. Want to know more and reach out? Check out It's a Girl movie on Netflix, Instant View.

Can't wait for Remnants: Season of Fire, Jan. 15, 2015!

Remnants: Season of Wonder
by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Blink, 2014

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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16. Now & Forever Book Trailer!

Love this trailer? Enter to win a signed copy of the Now and Forever, out today!

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17. Cover Stories & Giveaway With Susane Colasanti!

Susane Colasanti's latest novel (out next week!) has a great Cover Story. Here's a peek at it:

"The hottest thing about the cover of Now and Forever might be that the models are a couple in real life.

"Or maybe it’s how the background image totally captures the excitement of a concert. And not just any concert. Now and Forever is about a girl whose boyfriend, Ethan Cross, is the world’s biggest rock star. So of course we had to do some kind of concert venue type design. I couldn’t wait to see which direction the art department would take.

"My contract says that I’m allowed cover consultation. When my editor sent me the first draft of the cover for feedback, something very obvious was missing in the audience..."

Read the full Cover Story at melissacwalker.com, and US residents can enter to win a signed copy of the book below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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18. rgz Newsflash: Salt Lake City and Tempe, rgz!

Hey rgz in Salt Lake City and Tempe, AZ!

I'm coming to town! I'd love to meet you and give you a rgz button. Do you have the time free?

 

Memphis is cancelled with the hope to make a stop in the future, and the authors I'm traveling with are: Jill Williamson, Jonathan Freisen, and Lisa T. Bergren.

Hope to see you! Read, reflect, and reach out!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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19. 7 Things You Don't Know About Little Willow

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this month's blog series! I had a lot of fun gathering candid and heartfelt responses from authors. Lorie Ann asked me to post my own list, so here goes nothing:



7 Things You Don't Know About Me
1) I've been writing stories and songs since birth, practically.

2) I am capable of charming squirrels out of trees.
3) There is no television show I have loved more completely from start to finish than Leverage.
4) I love word play.
5) Synchronicity and causality are recurring themes in my life.
6) Chances are, I'm shorter than you.
7) I project. In more ways than one. 


So there you have it! I hope March has been lovely for all of you. Don't forget to mark your calendars for Operation Teen Book Drop 2014, which will be happening in just a few weeks on April 17th. Stay tuned to the readergirlz blog, Facebook, and Twitter to learn how you can participate and #rockthedrop!

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20. rgz Newsflash: Get Ready to Rock the Drop, April 17th, 2014


It's coming! Support Teen Literature Day is Thursday, April 17th, 2014! So we all need to get ready for Operation Teen Book Drop. Above is the banner celebrating the day and our fabulous sponsors: iheartdaily and Justine Magazine. Feel free to grab and share it!

Below is the bookplate for you to print and glue into the young adult book you choose to drop in a public gathering place to Rock the Drop on April 17th. Follow us on facebook and twitter and plan to post a pic. #rockthedrop

 
To continue the celebration of our 7 year anniversary, we thought to recommend 7 philanthropies you might support as well this season. Watch for a full write-up soon!
 
 
In the meantime, readergirlz, let's get ready to Rock the Drop!
 
LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz  


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21. Operation Teen Book Drop, 2014, Philanthropies



As we get ready to Rock the Drop on Thursday, the 17th, here's a list of seven philanthropies you might look into. Get your book ready to drop with a bookplate and think how else you might contribute to Support Teen Literature Day!

Operation Teen Book Drop, 2014 – Seven Literary Philanthropies We Love

1. Girls Write Now
Founded in 1998, Girls Write Now is the first organization in the country with a writing and mentoring model exclusively for girls. Girls Write Now provides guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices.

2. First Book
A recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book has pioneered groundbreaking channels to provide new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices — and for free — to schools and programs serving children in need.

3. 826 National
826 National is a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. Its mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

4. The Lisa Libraries
The Lisa Libraries donates new children's books and small libraries to organizations that work with kids in poor and under-served areas. It was started by author Ann M. Martin and friends to honor and memorialize children's book editor Lisa Novak. Since its founding in 1990, the Lisa Libraries has contributed over 300,000 books to nonprofit organizations across the country.

5. Room to Read
Room to Read works in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

6. Reading is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. It prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. RIF inspires children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice.

7. World Literacy Foundation
The World Literacy Foundation is an independent not-for-profit charitable body, founded in Australia in 2003 that acknowledges education as a basic human right, and believes that literacy unlocks the door to a life of learning.

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22. Rock the Drop TODAY!

 

Support Teen Literature Day and Operation Teen Book Drop are underway! Sending our love to YALSA, YA authors, the publishing industry, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and rgz around the world. Special thanks to our 2014, sponsors, iheartdaily and Justine Magazine!

Here's the drill:
1. Find a YA book to donate.
2. Print the bookplate below and paste it in your book.
3. Leave the book in a public place to be found.
4. Snap a pic or post a message about how you Rocked the Drop on our facebook or twitter. #rockthedrop

 
Keep up the celebration by checking out these 7 philanthropies. It is rgz' 7 year anniversary after all!
 
 
The Operation Teen Book Drop party is on, so join in! Get out there and rock the world with YA lit!
 
~the readergirlz divas

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23. Rock the Drop: Recap #1

We cannot express how grateful we are about the amount YA love that you showed today! Here are just a few screen grabs of tweeted photos. More recap to come! If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at readergirlz AT gmail and we'll post it here. THANK YOU FOR ROCKING THE DROP!




























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24. Rock the Drop: Recap #2

Thanks to the many authors who Rocked the Drop on Thursday! Crissa Chappell filmed this very cool drop video in Brooklyn!




And Conrad Wesselhoeft send in these pics after he dropped off a couple of books at a school and at a "Little Free Library." 




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25. Rock the Drop Recap (third time's the charm)!

We just keep finding these amazing snippets from folks who rocked along with us on April 17th, and we have to share!

A "found" tweet - we love these!
maggz (@nogginquest)

@JenniferBrownYA @MCPLMO @readergirlz Thank you Jennifer Brown! We had a very excited Patron find your gift. It was a joy to see her joy.

This email about a group effort from a team of debut authors: 

Hi,

My 2015 YA debut author group, The Freshman Fifteens, had a blast participating in your even yesterday. We have a blog post about where we left our books, country wide.

Thanks for creating this initiative!



Lori Goldstein


Here's a great video of a true readergirl dropping over 30 books in her hometown! Love it!



Thanks, everyone, for rocking out with us! We love all of the enthusiam and the updates!

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