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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: girls, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 132
1. Be Lucky--Win a Free Book!

If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough. 

This month, everyone has the chance to be lucky! 
Win a Free hardcover of A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY! 

Kirkus Reviews pinned a nice, big, blue star on A Whole Lot of Lucky, so what are you waiting around here for? Enter now at Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth

A Whole Lot of Lucky

by Danette Haworth

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

0 Comments on Be Lucky--Win a Free Book! as of 3/17/2014 12:41:00 AM
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2. Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology

Tom Selleck owes me an apology. Anyone my age knows the unobtainable standard he set for a teenage boy just coming into maturity. Why, do you ask, am I seeking contrition from him?

Good looks? No.

Suave disposition? No.

All the ladies? No…well maybe.

I’m talking about the hair…his stinking perfect hair.


When all of the girls had a picture of the Magnum PI in mind, how could any of us real boys measure up? Curly coiffure, bushy mustache, chest hair, leg hair… There it is! Leg hair. Recently, smooth has become stylish and I would have been perfect for this new generation. But that isn’t my generation. When I was in high school and college, the girls wanted hair and lots of it. Hair I didn’t have.  Well, that’s not absolutely true. Science should study my leg hair because it is translucent like that of a polar bear. It’s there, just not to the naked eye. It only shows up if I have a deep tan, which is near impossible for someone of Swedish/Germanic descent. Undaunted, I went to the pool, laid out, and held my legs just right so that passing females might possibly get the proper angle to spot a few strands.

As a freshman in college, I went so far as to purchase a tanning package. I donned little glasses and laid on top of the plastic surface to bake. And bake I did. Remember the shorts Magnum used to wear? Not long like they are today, 80′s shorts came way up on the thigh. Hoping my tan would expose leg hair from the top of my leg to my toes, I even pulled them up higher. Oh yeah, I got burned in very sensitive areas. It hurt for weeks and didn’t help my hair stand out whatsoever.

We all have physical characteristics we would rather minimize or hide completely. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who told me her 10 year-old daughter E had been called fat by another girl. My heart sank. Her sweet little girl is now self-conscious about something as irrelevant as my smooth legs. She is active and isn’t overweight in the least, but also isn’t waif-thin like so many women our society seems to put on a pedestal. Such a tragedy.

I want so much for her and other little girls to see what truly matters about themselves instead of what is fleeting.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things … Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.

1 Peter 3:3-4

That’s what is important. I hope my daughters know that. I pray little E learns that too. We have to tell them they are beautiful and keep on telling them until they understand. That’s how God sees them.

So Tom, whenever you are ready, it has taken 25 years, but I am finally over your provocation and prepared to accept your apology. It’s been a long time coming.

Photo credit to Alan Light

8 Comments on Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology, last added: 3/15/2014
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3. 496 Million Women

496 million. That’s how many women in the world can’t read or write even the most simple sentence. Many women never have the opportunity to reach 6th grade, and some don’t get to go to school at all.

Today, we join citizens around the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, and I want to share the stories of Dinah Mwangi and Katie Hendricks, two special women whose lives exemplify the theme of this year’s celebration, “Equality for Women is Progress for All.”

Dinah MwangiDinah makes progress for all in Nairobi, Kenya. While waiting in line at a carwash, Dinah noticed two young boys straining to see what she was reading – a children’s book she had purchased for her niece. When she asked if they would like to join her, the boys lit up.

They read, and laughed and shared stories with Dinah. Then they told her they had no books of their own.

Dinah started buying books with her own salary and recruited volunteers to read and distribute them to kids each Saturday. In less than three months, she had over 500 kids participating. Now she’s pursuing relationships with Kenyan publishers, corporations and funders in order to expand her reach and deepen her impact.

On the other side of the world, Katie makes progress for all by helping girls from low-income families in California’s East Bay bridge the gap between school and home.

Photo from girlsinc-alameda.orgAs a young teacher, Katie yearned to improve all aspects of her students’ lives, inside and outside the classroom. Her holistic approach led her to create Girls Inc. of Alameda County, a program that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold. Katie and her team reinforce what their girls learn at school, help them become fluent English speakers, provide them with healthy meals and expose them to subjects girls aren’t always encouraged to study, like science, technology and athletics.

By improving the lives of girls in California’s East Bay, Katie also improves the lives of their family members, teachers, friends and classmates.

Dinah and Katie represent what’s possible when women have the education, resources and motivation to make progress for all. Their immediate impact on the kids they serve is immense. Equally powerful, however, is how their spirit and service ripple through entire communities, transform lives and change the future.

In addition to celebrating heroic women like Dinah and Katie, I invite you to join me in recommitting ourselves to becoming a powerful force for equality.

The gender gap has closed significantly over the past few decades, but we still have a long way to go. In some countries, less than a quarter of women finish primary school; 496 million women around the world cannot read or write a simple sentence; and globally, women only reach 93 percent of men’s educational attainment.

I believe the path to equality is through access to quality education. That’s why First Book is equipping educators like Dinah and Katie with brand-new books and resources for the kids they serve, expanding our network to reach women and girls around the globe and lifting up the voices of an unprecedented community of individuals serving children at the base of the economic pyramid.

Please consider a gift to First Book today. Together, we can support the work of heroic women like Dinah and Katie around the world.

The post 496 Million Women appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. a bit of sweetness....

eli's slumberland
©the enchanted easel 2013
on this otherwise sad day.

well, for all of you who follow me on facebook (or on here), you know i have been working on this cute little elephant over the last 4 days. it was a surprise gift for the wonderful secretary in my neurosurgeon's office, jackie, who is about to pop soon! these people have been so amazing to me through 3 neck surgeries/cervical spine/fusions that there was just NO way i could let it go without doing something. jackie has always been so lovely to me over the years that it was a no-brainer for me to want to paint her something super cute for the impending arrival of her little one. 

since she's waiting until the baby is born to know whether it will be a little girl or boy, i wanted to make sure that i created/designed something gender friendly. also, it turns out, jackie LOVES elephants (like me). so, it couldn't have turned out any better. 

i delivered it to her personally today and she was so surprised. her reaction made the rest of my 2013 for sure. granted, i'm a bit sore from painting so much for so many days in a row (as i'm still trying to recover fully here from my 3rd surgery) but i have to say, her reaction made the soreness worthwhile.

i have decided to sell PRINTS of this in my etsy shop found here:
it is available in sizes 4x4, 6x6 or 8x8. a perfect addition for any baby boy/girl's nursery. besides, who could resist a cute little baby elephant...in a diaper? ;)

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5. Molly Brown 2/3

I’ve now read books five and six of the Molly Brown series — Molly Brown’s Post-Graduate Days and Molly Brown’s Orchard Home. And I think I’m taking a break for a bit. I don’t like anyone anymore. Or care about what happens to Molly.

Here’s what happens in the first two post-college Molly Brown books:

A bunch of people fall in love with each other. Everyone is super jealous of everyone else. Molly and Professor Green are much less entertaining than they were before. Molly’s aunt, for whatever reason, is evil. So is the mother of a girl they meet on their way to France in book six. The kind of people who were redeemable in the earlier books aren’t anymore. The humor is meaner. The friendships are less convincing.

I’m sure part of the way I feel about these two books is about my having run out of patience, but not all of it. So, I hope to come back to Molly Brown at some point and finish the series, but for now I am done.

Tagged: 1910s, girls, nellspeed, paris, series, the south

6 Comments on Molly Brown 2/3, last added: 7/3/2013
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6. Ypulse Essentials: Tumblr Tries Ads, ‘Sh*t Girls Say’ Gets Book Deal, Elle‘s Facebook Commerce App

Tumblr is testing the waters of paid advertising (according to CEO David Karp. The site had been strictly opposed to advertising in the past, but it’s turning its dashboard Radar feature — which was previously a curated space to highlight... Read the rest of this post

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7. HBO’s ‘Girls’ — Why We Have A Love/Hate Relationship With The Show

If you haven’t heard about HBO’s new show, “Girls,” directed by and starring Lena Dunham, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few weeks. It’s been years since we’ve seen so much virtual ink spilled over a television... Read the rest of this post

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8. My Name is Rebecca Romm, Named after My Mother’s Mom by Rachel Levy Lesser

3 Stars My Name is Rebecca Romm, Named after My Mother’s Mom Rachel Levy Lesser No. Pages: 32     Ages: 4 to  8 …………… …………………. Back Cover:   Rebecca Elizabeth Romm was named after her late grandmother Rebecca. She is annoyed when everyone compares her to her mother’s mom, because all she wants is a name of [...]

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9. Women and Girls - Power or Not?

Kelly over at Stacked just wrote a powerful post on being a woman and speaking your mind. If you haven't already, head right over and read it. I'll wait for you. *quietly scrolling through tweets*

Ah, good. You're back. Kelly has a couple of, oh, ten or twenty cogent points, eh?  She is speaking truth to power - and to us.

The issues of gender and power, girls and power and the destructive subtlety of people speaking and working against women who wish to be themselves and self-directed has been a lifelong concern of mine. As a young fire-brand librarian I was active in Women Library Workers, a feminist library network and support group that now is in an embers stage of it's existence. I have stood down from much of my active work but I have never believed for a nano-second that we are in a "post-feminist" age.

My partner is a guy with a voice pitch that is slightly higher than encountered in most guys. He has spent considerable time on the phone in his jobs. When men on the other end of the phone mistakenly think they are talking to a women, to a man, they are patronizing, dismissive, abrupt and sassy. When the person on the other end thinks my partner is a man, he is treated completely differently.  This has been a conversational topic between us for over thirty years. "Post-feminist age," my eye.

When Kelly talks about the expectations that men and women have for women and girls I hear her talking. As I commented on her blogpost: "I was reminded of a photo going around FB where Jada Pinkett Smith was asked why she let her daughter shave her head. Pinkett Smith wrote, 'The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.' "

This spring I attended a wonderful and enpowering unconference at UW-Milwaukee called "Out of the Attic and into the Stacks: Feminism and LIS". Lots of students and lots of old-guard feminist librarians. It was great to be around that living timeline of  feminist librarians. One question that came up from the students to the vets was, "How do you bring feminism into your work?"

This is what I said: You bring feminism into your work every day in every way. By making sure that you purchase and display materials that highlight strong women and gentle men; that open up the hidden contributions of women and that highlight girls as strong and not just frilly.  You do programs that empower girls but also don't shut out either gender. When girls come in to your library, you compliment not their hair or clothes but tell them they are looking strong or tall or smart today. The messages that we give - no matter how small - matter.

We need to stand strong together on these issues of women and girls and power. It does make a difference and will make a difference for decades to come. But we have to commit to doing the support every day in every way.

Image: 'Superherohttp://www.flickr.com/photos/51336161@N02/5416260011 Found on flickrcc.net

3 Comments on Women and Girls - Power or Not?, last added: 12/4/2012
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10. Young Adult Fantasy Threesome!

It has been a while since I reviewed any Young Adult books so for this update I will review Three wonderful YA books that your teens would love.  Please enjoy and grab them for the holiday season.

1) Starters- This book was written by Lisa Price and published by Delacorte Press in 2012. Imgine a world where a deadly war called the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between 20 and sixty years old. A young girl named Callie decides to rent her body to Enders-seniors who want to be young again.  Callie's world is divided and  full of danger, while teens are only second hand citizens. This book follows Callie and her survival in this detopian world full of renegades who will kill for food. As she rents her body she discovers that her renter intends to do more then just have fun. This is a great book to read. It will make you ask the question What if this can happen to us? I highly recommend this book not only for teens, but adults as well.  It will take you to place that may excist one day. Who know it may already be a parral world like this already. It is a very enjoyable read and lots of fun.

2) Elsewhere-  This book was written by Gabrielle Zevin and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2005. An imprint of Macmillan. "After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live".  This book look at the afterlife in a whole new way. The writer creates an amazing world that will imerse the reader in it's content. It is full of wonderful discrptions and has a great voice. As you read the book Liz will become a part of you and you will cheer her to the end. A great page turner.  Please grab this book and read it yourself or share it with your teen. A great gift  for everyone.

3) The Knife of Never Letting Go. Book 1 in Chaos Walking- This book is written by Patrick Ness and published by Candlewick Press 2008. "Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World." I really enjoyed this book and the world the auther created. In this world males can here what other males are thinking. Our two main Characters Todd and Viola set out on a journey running away from death. This book is full of action and intersting characters. You get to know the young teens very well. As you read the book it will be a page turner. it also has a much deeper meaning to it. I highly recommend you grab a copy for yourself and your teens. Just be warned the is very gruesome and not recommended for children under 12.

Thank you everyone for reading my blog and have a wonderful Holiday season. Look for a new update soon.

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11. a whole sea full of mermaids....

 one for every month of the year!

that's what's up next!

i thought it would be fun to do a series of paintings of beautiful little mermaids, based on the gemstone of the month.

i always think it's interesting (and inspiring) to see how other artists work...their creative process, if you will. here's a peek at mine...

from tiny little thumbnails to the sketch outline to a little bit of *coloring* (because i like my sketch books to look pretty) :)

from there i will trace my sketch directly from my sketchbook and then transfer it to my canvas, so that the painting remains as close to the original sketch as possible.

can not wait to start paintings these beauties! :)

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12. IF: whisper

This week I'm ahead of the game...or at least on time.

inspired by this doodle found in the bottom of a first grader backpack:

by Nora

5 Comments on IF: whisper, last added: 2/23/2013
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13. just a peek....

beautiful little Claret....

sweet little June....

lovely little Citrine....

mysterious little Opal...

at some more mermaids i'm sketching out.... Read the rest of this post

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14. Just having some fun.

Not all ideas are worth pursuing, but this one was, at least for my portfolio. 
I am so thankful my kids never did this. Have yours?

3 Comments on Just having some fun., last added: 3/9/2013
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15. Molly Brown, 1/2 — or maybe 3

People have been bugging me about reading Nell Speed for a long time. LadyMem on Twitter, in particular, reminds me every so often that this is something I have to do. And since it seemed like last week was coming late to the party week for me, I have finally started reading the Molly Brown series. This post deals with the first half of the series — Molly Brown’s Freshman Days through Molly Brown’s Senior Days.

And yeah, they’re fun. Really, really fun.

This is actually the first college girl series I’ve read in years that hasn’t made me feel like a lousy person for not liking college. I don’t know if that’s because they’re less intent on preaching the gospel of their fictional college, or just that I’ve moved past that. I think it might be a little of both.

Basically, these series are all the same. An appealing central character arrives at college as a freshman and makes two or three close friends in her own year, gains a wealthy senior as a friend and a spiteful sophomore as an enemy, and becomes generally beloved for her friendliness, honorable behavior and general attractiveness. Add in three more years, plenty of fudge parties and autumn walks, a handful of theatrical and/or musical performances, and a sense of oncoming nostalgia, and you’ve got yourself a series. The Molly Brown books do all of this and do it well, so probably the thing to concentrate on is what’s different.

There’s not a lot. I think the Molly Brown books are more lighthearted than similar series. They’re rarely emotionally intense, and when disaster looms, it doesn’t loom all that convincingly. For me, that’s part of these books’ charm. It’s nice to read something this unsuspenseful once in a while. But it also meant that the characters didn’t touch me as much as they do in, say, the Grace Harlowe books, which are objectively not as well-written. I liked the characters quite a bit, but didn’t have any stronger feelings about them.

The romance level was a little unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever read a college girl series where the romantic subplot was so obvious and kept so much to the forefront throughout the series. And I’m sort of in favor of that in this particular case, because the college girl heroine never falls in love with the balding English professor and probably she should. But I also like it when thoughts of marriage don’t intrude on a college girl’s career, because thoughts of marriage intrude in almost every other book of this age centered around young women. Often in series like this the girls are sort of implicitly paired of with some of the young men they hang out with, but not in a way that implies anything will come of it later. That’s not really the case here. And there was a lot of jealousy, a lot of girls disliking each other because they’re both interested in the same man, which isn’t actually as fun as a lot of authors seem to think it is. And then, there were times when the relationship between Molly and Professor Green bothered me in the same way that romances developing too early in books about significantly younger girls do.

If I had written this post before I started the fifth book, it would be a lot more positive. I really enjoyed the college books; I raced through them, barely able to put them down to go to sleep. But the series rapidly goes downhill after Molly graduates (is this the one where Nell Speed died halfway through and her sister took over?), and I think these are also just the kind of books I like better while reading them than while thinking about them. I know some people are really, really into Nell Speed though. What am I missing?

Tagged: 1910s, girls, nell speed, series

8 Comments on Molly Brown, 1/2 — or maybe 3, last added: 7/3/2013
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16. Let’s Help Girls Be Girls

The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign is a collaborative effort of hundreds of bloggers coming together to write about The Girl Effect from October 4th to October 11th, 2001. Thanks for visiting today and being a part of it!


Little research has been done to understand how investments in girls impact economic growth and the health and well-being of communities. This lack of data reveals how pervasively girls have been overlooked. For millions of girls across the developing world, there are no systems to record their birth, their citizenship, or even their identity. However, the existing research suggests their impact can reach much further than expected.

* The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 — already the largest in history — is expected to peak in the next decade. (Ruth Levine et al., Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda [Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, 2008].)

* Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. (Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries [Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].)

* Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls. (Human Rights Watch, “Promises Broken: An Assessment of Children’s Rights on the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/promises/education. html [December 1999].)

* One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year. (United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005, www.unfpa.org/swp/2005.)


In 2008, I made the first of several life-changing visits to southwestern Uganda. While there I saw firsthand how key girls and women were to the well-being of their village community. Those communities I visited who invested in the education of girls and women were far better off economically than those who did not. Unfortunately, I also saw firsthand how devastating life can be for girls and women who were either overlooked or deemed too valuable and necessary for work at home  to be able to attend school.

Girls everywhere deserve and have the right to be able to attend school, learn to read, and play with other kids their age in a safe and healthy environment. No matter where you live there are challenges for girls. Often men and dads are silent on many issues related to girls and women. It’s time for men and dads to speak up about letting the world’s girls be girls.


* The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads and villages and towns and countries. Learn more about the Girl Effect: http://www.girleffect.org/learn/the-big-picture 

* Write your own Girl Effect blog posts during the week of October 4-11. Include a link to this page ( http

1 Comments on Let’s Help Girls Be Girls, last added: 10/4/2011
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17. The Three Pillars

What is your foundation?
Before I get into what mine is, I want to give a bit of background to the images you're going to see.

Towards the end of last year I introduced three little angels to you. One named Twilight, one Dusk, and the other Noon. Each one features animals and obviously, a certain time of day. This was the basis/theme for the series. To catch up, here are the two links to those posts:

Created by Sheila Lygo
Not too long after that, Crafts and Me asked if I would finish the sketches and create line art for digital stamps. And I did, you can find them here:

Many crafters have used these images and created gorgeous cards with them! It has inspired me not to give up on the images....but I still wasn't motivated on how to use them yet.

I have created many line art works for Crafts and Me, and there is something rewarding seeing all of your paintings and sketches in beautiful, black, and clean lines. I knew this past Monday I had to keep painting. Oceana is finished, and I'm still working on the months and another large WIP, but I believe I can do more. With two shows next year (more on that later), I need to be painting!

Though,  I didn't want to think about composition or the poses. I went through those beautiful line art works and saw the little angels. PERFECT! Now is the time.
But will I stay with the titles and theme? 
Here's what I wanted from these:
  1. The focus to be solely on the angel, and the background to be simple enough for licensing.
  2. Large enough to make an impact in person, but not so huge I will never get them done.
  3. They have to be sitting on something that can be similar in each and again, doesn't take away from the angel.
  4. To have a meaning worth sharing, that aligns with my faith, and inspires.
The results? The Three Pillars.

The Pillar of Love
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18. About Peggy Saville and More About Peggy

So, this is what happens when I ask for recommendations: I download everything that looks appealing, read maybe half of it, and leave the rest sitting on my kindle indefinitely. Except that I also sometime come back to things. I’ve had Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey’s Peggy Saville books on my kindle since James recommended them more than a year ago. I finally got around to reading them last weekend, and I really enjoyed them. I mean, I thought there were some structural issues, and also when I look back at the two books it seems like nothing ever actually happened, but it was entertaining nothing.

Mr. Asplin is a vicar and he also prepares young men for college. The first boy who boarded with the Asplins was Arthur Saville, and everyone loved him, so when Mrs. Saville writes and says she’d like to leave her daughter Peggy with the Asplins while she joins her husband in India, they’re happy to have her. Peggy joins a group of young people that includes Mr. Asplin’s pupils Robert Darcy and Oswald Elliston, his son Maxwell (in the second book his name is sometimes Rex), and his daughters Esther (serious and studious) and Mellicent (plump and stupid and yes her name is really spelled that way). After some awkward and sometimes hilarious posturing, Peggy becomes the ringleader of the group and shows herself to be clever, creative, talented, bossy, and occasionally thoughtless. She and Rob become especially good friends, enlisting each other for help and support for everything from Peggy’s homesickness to the magazine contest Rob wants to enter.

I like Peggy and Rob’s relationship a lot. I also like that Peggy is allowed to have faults, and that the book doesn’t try to correct them. Rob’s beautiful sister Rosalind has faults too, but she’s not a bad person and she and Peggy go from not liking each other to liking each other very much without either of them really changing, which is cool.  And that’s About Peggy Saville.

The second book skips ahead a few years. Peggy has, in the intervening time, spent two more years with the Asplins, and gone out to India to be with her parents. When More About Peggy opens, they’re returning to England, planning to buy a house and settle down. Peggy is recognizably herself, but also recognizably more grown up (I gained a lot of respect for Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey over the course of these two books) and it’s not hard to believe that Rob’s older brother Hector, who happens to be on the ship with them, would fall in love with her. And Peggy recognizes the fact and isn’t really sure what to do about it.

That’s kind of the most fun thing about this book, because it’s a really enjoyable mix of practical and romantic. Peggy makes no attempt to disguise to herself the fact that when she’s returning to England, she’s really looking forward to reconnecting with Rob. And when they meet, there are no stupid things keeping them apart; they’re really pleased to see each other. Peggy and Rob are both refreshingly straightforward all the time. When things get (moderately) complicated, it’s only because Hector thinks he’s in a different story.

Then there’s Peggy’s brother Arthur, who is in love with Rosalind Darcy. Everyone’s in love with Rosalind, because she’s super pretty, but Arthur is the one who she’s a little in love with back. And obviously this is a really common romance trope, one that’s kind of angsty in a really enjoyable way, and then…Rosalind decides

4 Comments on About Peggy Saville and More About Peggy, last added: 11/16/2011
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19. How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

In this novel, a young woman whose darkness has been a long time coming connects with a once happy family that has recently experienced the sudden and devastating death of the father. The widow has invited the pregnant un-wed 18 year-old into her home with the intent of adopting the baby when it is born. Her daughter, in her last year of high school, thinks her mother has lost it. All three are so busy trying to save themselves from their own grief that almost no communication takes place. Aptly named, this story follows to resolution the dictum, “The life you save may be your own.”

Told in alternating perspectives of the two teen girls—Mandy and Jill—both the main and the supporting characters gradually emerge as complex and appealing individuals. Mandy negotiates with herself as she tries to both ditch her unfortunate childhood and to make better decisions for the new life she will bring into the world. Jill uses hostility as best she can to shut out others in her quest to numb the loss of her father. They are as different as two teens can be; their only common ground is the mother’s generosity and sorrow that holds them in an embrace. The magic of this story is how the author slowly brings them together to resolve the underlying and yet most gripping conflict in the plot, which is the question of the quality of life that awaits the new baby.

Zarr’s books, while clearly targeted to the teen girl audience, also fit well into the category of “If it’s good enough for a teen to read, it’s also good enough for an adult to read.” In fact this is a great book for mother and daughter to share.


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20. Black and White sample

My gal Maggie pitched some of her artists for a chapter book series and I didn't have much of anything appropriate for the project, so I whipped one out over the weekend.

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21. illustration friday~forward

moving 'forward' down the park path....a picnicing they will go :)

my contribution to this week's i.f. theme of "forward". this is an illustration i did for the october 2011 issue of stories for children magazine. ALSO, a PRINT of it is FOR SALE in my etsy shop here http://www.etsy.com/listing/78554000/a-picnicing-we-will-go-reproduction?nc=1
to quote a line from my favorite disney/pixar film "meet the robinsons"...."keep moving FORWARD!"

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22. Illustration Friday: “Popular”

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23. High School Awkwardness....aka The Stalker Chronicles

Cammie Bliss, the protagonist of my first young adult novel, The Stalker Chronicles, is a teenage girl who routinely, almost pathologically goes too far in pursuit of love.  Because of this, her classmates have labeled her a “stalker,” and while it’s not a name she enjoys, Cammie realizes that she’s earned it.  But when a new boy named Toby moves to her small town, Cammie—with the help of her best friend Rosie and a sympathetic teacher—hopes she can change herself and win his love. 

My interest in creating a character like Cammie was initially very personal.  I’d written a long prose poem about five years ago, entitled “My Friends and Enemies” which was published in the journal Fence.  This poem was my attempt to create a catalogue or imagistic list of all of the people from my childhood, quite literally my friends and my enemies (not that I had all that many of the latter!).  I suppose I was interested in mini-histories, in how a list can somehow create stories.  But I was also struck by how many of those stories, for me, were about embarrassment, or moments in which I felt misunderstood or couldn’t quite speak my mind.  I thought of all the boys I’d had crushes on, and how many of those boys I scared away because I was a little bit too aggressive or a little bit too out there.  I wanted to tell some of those stories, and a young adult novel seemed like the perfect venue.  But of course, Cammie is not entirely me, and I’ll leave it to readers to decide which things in the book I may or may not have actually done.  But the flashback format is there.  Cammie remembers the boys she stalked so that she can figure out how to stop.

I’ve also always been intensely fascinated by the horrors of high school and the ways in which outsiders—nerds, punks, skaters, Goths, LGBT kids, theater and band geeks, you name it—cope with the daily humiliations of being different.  When I briefly taught high school in New York City, a colleague and myself asked our freshmen to perform monologues or scenes from Julius Caesar.  These performances were wonderful!  I remember one young woman in particular, who was as awkward as awkward can be—she had frizzy hair, a whole lot of orthodontia, and a very excited, high-pitched voice that sometimes cleared the room, but she was very comfortable in her own skin.  She was a bit of exhibitionist, actually, and her performance was particularly good.  We all gasped as she pulled a fake sword out of its sheath!  She was totally invested in her character!  She made me think about the difference between my students who could own their awkwardness and the ones were devastated by it.  Cammie Bliss is very much in the middle of that struggle.  Can she change?  Does she even want to?

I think we live in a culture that encourages us to be voyeuristic, and girls in particular can be easily embarrassed or even choose to embarrass themselves as a way to establish community and closeness with other girls.  I wrote my dissertation about Seventeen magazine and one of my chapters was about a column in the magazine, “Traumarama!.”  In “Traumarama!”, girls submit short, embarrassing stories about daily humiliations.  I became a student of this column, and obsessed with its repetitive, stylized, and heavily edited stories.  The Stalker Chronicles, in some small way, was an attempt to make some of those stories more real, more hu

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24. CUTENESS...in progress :)

this week's "project"....a duo of really cute sisters (and their beloved counterparts)!
click on the link below to see the other piece i just did for their adorable little ballerina sister...

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25. Girl Power

Given the state of our country and the strong negative messages being given to women and girls by politicians and legislators, this website came to my attention at a perfect time.  It is full of great suggestions for books and movies that show strong female role models. I also stumbled on Wollstonecraft thanks to the Hedgehog and this children's ebook project looks particularly exciting for girls.

Last month I attended a national unconference on feminism in librarianship, Out of the Attic and Into the Stacks.  One of the discussion points was how to pursue feminism within your library work.  To my way of thinking, it's every day and every way.  I compliment girls on how strong or smart they are.  I encourage women on staff and in the profession to reach higher and look for ways to open leadership doors for them.  I make sure books with positive, strong images of girls get plenty of face-out display (and I am not talking about bitchy images or princessy-simpering). 

Sometimes small steps accumulate into a powerful march. And we can do it every day.

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