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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Teens, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Meet a New YA Star, Tora From “Burn Out”

Seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds is one of the last survivors on Earth when the sun starts to burn out way ahead of schedule. She is tough and sarcastic which has helped her to survive, yet she also has a vulnerable side that comes out when she comes across fellow survivors.

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2. Identifying unexpected strengths in adolescents

By Johanna Slivinske

Think for a moment, back to when you were a teenager. What were you like? What did you enjoy doing? In what did you excel? The positive activities in which we partake in adolescence shape our adult lives. In my case, playing the clarinet in band and competing in extemporaneous speaking on the speech team molded me the most, and became my personal strengths.

360px-Chambre_adolescentMusic and the creative arts continue to influence my writing and speaking, and many of these facets of my professional life can be traced back to strengths developed and built upon in my youth. Another strength was the fact that I had a loving, kind, and caring family. This provided me with a solid foundation for life, and in a sense, these protective factors in my life made me resilient. However, strengths can also be found in unexpected venues, perhaps peering through the cracks of hardship.

  1.   Adolescents might find strengths through their failures in discovering that they are able to get back up after falling. When teens fail, and continue to try despite the failure, they show a level of resilience, diligence, and perseverance.
  2.   The communities of adolescents, even if less than perfect, can be a source of strength. Creating dialogues about community leaders may benefit teens that need role models in their lives. It can help them figure out whom they aspire to be similar to in character and in positive personal qualities. A community leader can be anyone who functions as a responsible person in the community, or anyone else who cares about the well-being of the community as a whole.
  3.   Acting out behaviors may be viewed through a strengths lens if those behaviors are a response to traumatic experiences such as community violence or sexual assault. The nonproductive response of acting out behaviors during adolescence may be reframed therapeutically as a survival mechanism or a stepping-stone leading toward a more productive path of healing and growth.
  4.   Instead of viewing quirks, eccentricities, or diagnoses as negative qualities, these may sometimes be perceived as qualities that foster the creation of unique perspectives and promote divergent ways of understanding the world.
  5.   When everyday necessities are lacking from adolescents’ lives, they may learn to be resourceful. Resourcefulness may entail surviving under extremely stressful circumstances or learning how to “make due” with limited resources. Teens may have learned how to cook for themselves, or they may have asked friends to share clothing with them. These are examples of using the strength of resourcefulness under difficult circumstances.

When working with adolescents and their families, it is essential to focus not only on their problems, but also on their strengths. This may sometimes present as a challenge, but if you search intensely, with an open mind, strengths may be identified and built upon as a solid foundation for life. This contributes to the fostering of resilience in adolescents and their families.

Hidden or obscured strengths, when perceived in a positive manner, may serve as methods of coping or means of survival during times of stress. Even when strengths are obvious to professionals, adolescent clients may not be aware of their own strengths, and may benefit from therapists’ ability to identify, recognize, and name them. Through working with adolescents, it’s possible to identify strengths and help them learn more about themselves and what makes them unique, so that they can grow to become productive members of their communities.

Johanna Slivinske is co-author of Therapeutic Storytelling for Adolescents and Young Adults (2014). She currently works at PsyCare and also teaches in the Department of Social Work at Youngstown State University, where she is also affiliated faculty for the Department of Women’s Studies.

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Image credit: Chambre de jeune français. Photo by NdeFrayssinet. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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3. Such an honor to be recognized…in Writer’s Digest Magazine!

writers-digest-may-june-2014I’m so thrilled to hear that Writer’s Digest Magazine (in the May/June issue) gave me A+ for social media for teens!(beaming and beaming) What an honor, and such a good feeling!

And Debbie Ohi’s (a fellow Toronto writer, illustrator, and friend) website is in the top 101 websites again (and so well deserved).

Thank you so much to Maureen L McGowan for letting me know!

I get a digital subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine, but I don’t have the May/June issue yet. And I so prefer paper magazines any way; they’re so much easier to read, what with the sidebars and such. I have to go buy myself a print copy! (grinning)

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4. YA Mythbusters

Okay, let's face it--a lot of books and movies don't accurately address teenage life. Like, I, for one, have never hit my head on a chandelier while drunk-dancing, which unfortunately means that I haven't been caught by a conveniently-placed Heath Ledger, either (womp). So let's examine a few of the misconceptions, shall we?

  • Bullying isn't as bad as it used to be.
    • *DISCLAIMER: My concept of "used to be" is drawn almost exclusively from nineties chick flicks.* Bullying is different, sure. It's needling. In a lot of cases, it's subtle. Lots of passive-aggressiveness, gossping behind backs, snide remarks followed by "Ehmahgawd, I'm just kidding! Lighten up!" Honestly? I've seen two primary kinds of bullying:
    • First: within cliques. You fall in with a group of people, and you let them step all over you and talk down to you. So that they'll like you. So that you'll have someone to sit by at lunch. You swallow their crap, you wake up the next morning and do it all over again, and eventually, you forget how to stand up for yourself. Or why you should.
    • Second: there are certain kids that a grade or an entire school will mark as "okay" to bully. Maybe they're not good in social situations. Maybe they don't shower as often as everyone else. Maybe the committed some stupid faux pas in middle school and people still won't let go of it. Whatever the reason, these kids get bullied. Their classmates bully them, and the worst part is, they don't recognize it as bullying it. Once, I confronted one of my friends about her stupid comments to a kid in band, and she replied, "Oh, come on. Look at him. He brings it all upon himself." Hell, even the teachers do it.
    • Example: there was this story a while ago about a group of kids that voted someone unpopular onto a dance court, and how the school/community wouldn't stand for it. It was a beautiful story, but why was that news? Because it's rare. At my school, they've voted someone unpopular onto basically every dance they've held since my freshman year, and our administration barely even addresses it. It's horrible and disgusting and people don't think twice about playing a prank like that, because your part is so small. One click on the computer next to someone's name. You laugh. They don't. You don't ever think of yourself as the antagonist in a story. We are not villains. We are not heroes. We are hormonal. Sometimes we make mistakes, and sometimes we don't. 

  • Cliques aren't as bad as they used to be.
    • I have a friend who puts it like this: "They tell us not to label, but we can't help it. We put people in categories--it's biological. We label and then everyone tells us that labeling is bad, so we lie and say that cliques don't exist." To be clear, it isn't like Mean Girls. It isn't like there are the cool Asians and the nerds and the jocks, and no one intermingles. But there are definitely friend groups, and since my school is a very athletic-oriented one, most of them were formed around the teams you were a part of. And there's definitely a social hierarchy.
    • But then again, I've heard from friends at bigger schools that say that the social structures aren't as rigid as they used to be. It definitely depends on who you ask.

  • Teens are lazy.
    • Here is a typical day for me:
      • 4:30 a.m. Wake up, write (this has been more sporadic this year, because damn, my bed is comfortable. And you could argue that most teens don't get up to meet a deadline. But a lot of sports teams have morning practices, and some classes are held during zero period. There's not a lot of sleeping in).
      • 6:30 a.m. Start getting ready for school: last minute homework, morning routine, etc (this also varies. Like, at the beginning of this year, my morning routine was pretty standard: makeup, hair, and so on. I gave myself a break on No Makeup Mondays and Sweatpants Fridays. Now it's No Makeup Everyday and I'm lucky if I wear real pants twice a week).
      • 7:45 a.m. Get to school, go to the coffee shop, etc.
      • 7: 55 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. School. There might be a study hall in there if you're lucky.
      • 3: 10 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. After-schools. Sports practices (though during tennis season, I rarely get home before seven. On game days, you get home anywhere between 8:30 and 11:30 or later. Games can be on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. Except varsity football and boys' basketball, which have games on Fridays). When your sport isn't in season, you might be in the weight room, editing the newspaper, attending open gym, or doing some other extracurricular.
        • ALTERNATE: 4:00 p.m. - 9 p.m. (ish): this seems to be a popular work slot for most teens.
      • Whenever you get home, you finish everything else that needs to get done. I play piano, and I try to get in an hour or two of practice a day, but that's not always possible. We have two-three hours of Calculus homework 2-3 times a week. Three reading assignments for reading per reading. Spanish vocab tests, economics packets, and a lot of online work for science classes--all in all, anywhere from fifteen minutes to six hours of homework per night. Keep in mind that the six hours of homework could fall on a night on which we don't get home until ten or eleven.
    • So you see why it's frustrating when the protagonists in YA literature have no homework to worry about and don't seem to care about anything but their love interests? Jesus. Obviously I'd rather be thinking about Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones than conic parametric equations, but I also don't want to fail Calc. So drop some stuff, you suggest. Don't take on more than you can chew. You don't need to be in so many extracurriculars. BS. You do whatever you think it'll take to get into college. You snatch as many leadership positions as you can. You take every AP course even though you don't need most of them for the career you have in mind. And you claw your way along while trying to keep your class rank, in order to get scholarships.

  • Teens procrastinate.
    • Okay, so the psychologist Roy Baumeister once did this experiment during which he had two groups of students, right? He put one group of students in front of an oven full of baking cookies and gave them a bowl of radishes, saying the could eat as many radishes as they wanted but weren’t allowed to touch the cookies, and left them alone. The second group was allowed to eat as many cookies as they wanted. After thirty minutes, he gave both groups the same math problem. The group that got to eat cookies solved the problem way faster because the first group had already used up their store of mental energy. Willpower is a real thing, guys. After four years with a schedule like the one outlined above, you don’t have a ton of it. You replenish it with a good night of sleep and a good meal, right? But have to skip dinner at least a few times a week and get maybe five hours of sleep. My sleep deck is the goddamn Titanic. And it isn’t just me, it isn’t just because of writing—most of my friends are stressed. Like. I’m sitting here trying to remember if there’s one of us who hasn’t burst into tears at some point during this last year.
    • Another thing: all of our teachers, coaches, advisors, etc. tell us to prioritize. So we do. But prioritizing means that something has to come first, right? And everything else has to come after that, and that makes people mad. So prioritize really means this: Put my subject first. My sport. My club. And we’re in a stage of our lives where we really need to be liked, and when a teacher/coach/advisor is unhappy, we take it a lot harder than I think most people realize.

  • Teens are shallow.
    • So, I have a love affair with Buzzfeed. But this article pissed me off. At lunch on Friday, my friends and I talked about the gender gap, internalized misogyny, The Handmaid's Tale, and the tendency to fulfill expectations whether we want to or not. After school, we went out for coffee and talked about statutory rape, abortion, tried to figure out our political opinions, and acted out scenes from Frozen.

  • And a personal peeve: High school dances are no longer a thing.
    • A lot of schools have done away with them due to low attendance, but the low attendance is caused primarily by rules about physical contact. For example, a few of our local schools saw a sharp decline in dance attendance after forbidding grinding. People don't buy tickets because the high school dance becomes more of a middle school formal, wherein you stand in your stupid little gender-segregated circles and jump around in time to the music. Less attendance = fewer tickets sold = less money to hire a DJ and buy decorations = crappy music and crappy decorations = an even small attendance for the next dance. So if schools do away with dances, that's usually why, not because we're too busy snapchatting/Facebooking/Tweeting/etc. But on the other hand, schools that do allow grinding tend to have pretty high attendance numbers. So are high school dances dying out? Should they? Meh.
    • Also: Jeez, CNN. Lighten up on the nostalgia. If you want, you can come to my school and relive your prom in our cafeteria, where on dance nights you walk in and smack into an almost-literal wall of heat slide around on the very literally sweat-soaked floors.

What do you guys think? Did I miss anything important? Leave below in the comments, and I'll do another post. Also, what do you guys think of having a Twitter chat about this? YA authors, do you have questions or want to do a fact-check on your contemp manuscripts?

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5. SALT by Danielle Ellison (Entangled Teen)

Print Length: 250 pages Publisher: Entangled: Teen (January 7, 2014) Sold by: Macmillan Buy the book: Amazon Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent

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6. Blog Tour by Ink Slinger PR: Author Interview & Giveaway - White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: The Dark Elements (Book 2) Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Harlequin Teen (February 25, 2014) Language: English ISBN-10: 0373211104 ISBN-13: 978-0373211104 BUY LINKS: Amazon Barnes and Noble iTunes Kobo One kiss could be the last.  Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon,

0 Comments on Blog Tour by Ink Slinger PR: Author Interview & Giveaway - White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout as of 3/7/2014 1:20:00 AM
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7. Toastworthy Teens - Alex Nestor

Alex Nestor, Pantry Saver

For his Eagle Scout project, Alex Nestor decided to help restock his local food pantry. First, he organized a food drive with other New Jersey-area scouts, collecting 400 bags of food for local families.

But then the 16-year-old went the extra mile by also rehabbing the entire pantry itself – repainting, tiling the floors and ceilings, plus putting in new shelving units.

What an inspirational example – not just for other scouts or teen, but all of us – of how to recognize opportunities to help and jump in!

To meet other bright young scouts, visit:

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8. Best Summer Vacation or Bust

Summer is officially in swing, at least it is here in the South–and I guess it must be gearing up pretty soon in the rest of North America. Sorry Australia. As the weather warms up and my nephew collects spare change in his vacation jug, it puts me in mind of some of my best vacations. Actually it’s hard to choose a best. I’ve been pretty lucky.

Definitely one of the best vacations of my childhood would be the combined summers at Space Camp. I was technically a teenager, technically a middle-schooler, but I can be nerdy enough to admit that space absolutely turned me into an excited little kid and although it wasn’t really anything like the movie, Space Camp was an incredible adventure.

The first year was a whirl-wind. I didn’t know anyone, but it didn’t matter because everyone was a lot like me. I met Heidi right away, a girl who became a very dear, lifelong friend. Much from the two years actually blurs together now, in fact every time I think of a memory from the first year, I start to wonder if it was actually the second year. Which year did I get my head stuck between the bunkbeds? Which year did we build the rocket that was rather hideous and was named The Load Toad? Which year did we look at Jupiter in the giant telescope? Which year did we tour the training facility where astronauts practice weightless maneuvers in dive suits inside a ginormous tank?

I honestly can’t remember anymore. (My memory is terrible. Just ask D. He’s my official memory-keeper. As in, “Remind me to go to the bank. Remind me to eat dinner. Remind me what day it is.”)

What I do remember is that I had so much fun. Every moment was as thrilling as the breathless 4Gs of the Space Shot. Technically, it wasn’t Space Camp. Technically the first year was Space Academy (Level I) and the second year was Advanced Space Academy. Heidi and I were the only girls on the “pilot” track that year, but we hung tough with the boys and loved it. We trained hard and then executed 3 separate missions: We flew the shuttle, we performed experiments on the space station, and we assisted the other teams from the safety of Mission Control. I swear it was exactly like Apollo 13. Except without, you know, Gary Sinise. Or Ed Harris.

There were movies in the OmniMax and private tours of the museum. And So. Many. Dippin’ Dots. We even had our own turn in a big “weightless” metal water tank. Unfortunately I had allergies and was terrified of getting the benz (in 30 feet of water…), so I  snorkeled instead. Probably for the best because a tornado choose that moment to make an appearance, and we were unceremoniously hauled from the tank early and sent down to the safety of the basement museum, our wetsuits still dripping. I am, however, slightly haunted by my fear of scuba diving, and as I have never had a good snorkeling experience (stories to come, I’m sure), I hope some day to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef.

One of the highlights of camp was meeting an actual astronaut, and somewhere there may still be photographic evidence. I wish I could say that Space Camp was where I learned not to lose my camera, but alas, remember what I said about my memory? If not, then perhaps your memory is worse than mine. That’s a scary thought.

I can’t speak for other programs, but my time at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center was truly unparalleled, and I would encourage everyone to go–at least for the day. In fact, given what a good time he had at the Ren Faire, it might be time to haul the Star Wars obsessed E down to Alabama for the day.

What are some of your favorite vacation spots? Best memories? Feel free to share–I’m always looking for someplace new to go. As my dad always says, “You want to do everything.” Well maybe not everything–bungee jumping just doesn’t sound like something I should do.

Tagged: Astronauts, Being Brave, Dippin' Dots, friends, Middle School, snorkeling, Space Camp, Summer, Vacation

4 Comments on Best Summer Vacation or Bust, last added: 6/6/2013
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9. The Future is Scary

FRHSLast weekend was my alma mater’s high school graduation. A thrilling, momentous (and gorgeous) day! It made me think back to my own graduation and the fact that what scared me at 18 scares me still: moving forward into the unknown. In fact, if I could go back and give myself advice it would probably be this: The future is scary. It never stops being scary. Get used to it. And don’t be scared.

Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to leave high school, to venture out of state to college, to make new friends and take classes towards two majors I was passionate about (screenwriting! creative writing! so much writing!). But I was also terrified. My high school was a cocoon of all that was familiar and comfortable and good. Not that every day was bliss. There were fights and tears and stress. But what I realized on graduation night was that I wasn’t ready to leave. I’m never ready to leave: not school, not a party, not vacation. I’m not ready to leave for work in the morning, and I’m not ready to leave work in the afternoon. And I’m NEVER ready to go to bed at night, no matter how tired I feel.

I spent much of the summer before college doing what I loved: reading–and finally there was no required reading. Free to read what I wanted, I think I read nothing but Orson Scott Card. I’m not going to get political here because this was during an innocent time before the internet gobbled me whole, so these books were merely the words on the page and what I brought to them.

I remember it so clearly. I was sitting on the deck at my parents’ house, feeling sorry for myself because in a few months time I would be far away from the beautiful rolling hills, when I came to one specific passage.

Alvin grimaced at him.  ‘Taleswapper, I’m not ready to leave home yet.’
‘Maybe folks have to leave home before they’re ready, or they never get ready at all.”

I stopped and read it again. Because although I had not named it out loud, that was me. I was Alvin. And Taleswapper’s words were exactly what I needed to hear: it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to not feel ready. Because if you wait to feel ready, then you’ll be waiting forever. Sometimes you have to jump out of the plane and trust that your parachute will open.*

*(Please note, I have never been sky diving, but I know someone who has, so that’s almost the same thing, right?)

It’s funny to think back to that day, because it it planted a seed which has motivated me many times since. Not always, of course. Sometimes I still chicken out. But sometimes when anxiety refuses to release its stranglehold: a new relationship, a new job, a new adventure–I find myself thinking back to those wise words, and I realize that I will be okay, because I’m always okay.

And if Orson Scott Card is not your bent, a good friend of mine recently gave me a new mantra, one that she repeats to her daughter whenever she is scared worried. “You are BRAVE. You are STRONG. You are WONDERFUL. And YOU will be fine.” What better words could you ever need?

There are so many things I could have missed out on, if I gave into fear:

Duffy College Performing Hole-in-the-Rock, Bay of Islands, New Zealand Whangarei, New Zealand Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory, Australia Katherine's Gorge, Australia Jelly Fish, Sydney Aquarium Manta Ray, Sydney Aquarium Heights Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Loch Ness, Scotland Rally to Restore Sanity, Washington, DC

So do you embrace the future at full tilt? Or are you worry-wart* like me?

*(Officially diagnosed by my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Burton. Thanks for that.)

What gets you through the scary times?

Tagged: Being Brave, Fear, Future, Graduation, Growing Up, Leaving Home, Orson Scott Card, Reading, Teens, writing

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10. IF: yesterday

After I finally got the Beatles song out of my head, the ideas for Illustration Friday's "yesterday" prompt just came pouring in. Does that mean I'm getting old ?
Here's a little teenager with some of yesterday's technology. I was very proud of my own walkman cassette player, and it got a lot of use... 
(although I don't think I should tell you what I listened too)

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In Chris Crutcher’s upcoming novel, PERIOD 8, a group of students comes together every day during Period 8 to talk about (in the author’s own words) “the important things: hopes, dreams, fears, and the comedy and tragedy of their lives.” Teacher Bruce Logsdon, who runs Period 8, has only one rule—you have to tell the truth. No question is off-limits, no topic is forbidden, as long as the discussion remains honest.

If you’ve read his books or seen him speak, you know that frank treatment of tough subjects is a Chris Crutcher hallmark. Perhaps you are thinking, “Hmmm. I wonder how much of this Bruce Logsdon character is autobiographical.” We can’t exactly answer that for you, but we can offer you this exciting invitation . . .

In the spirit of Period 8, Chris Crutcher is taking real-life questions from teens, and he will answer them in a video to be posted on our teen community website Epic Reads.

Do your teens have burning questions they’d like to ask him? (Who doesn’t, right?) Encourage them to submit their questions on Epic Reads, and check back at the end of March for some video answers from this very wise man.


Period 8


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12. Toastworthy Teens - Aidan Dwyer

Aidan Dwyer, Solar Panel Designer

If you’ve read (or seen) The Da Vinci Code, you might know the term “Fibonacci sequence.” If you paid attention, you might also know that it’s a mathematical sequence in which each successive number is equal to the sum of the preceding two (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…). And if you delved even deeper, you know that the pattern is often seen in nature, everywhere from the scales of a pineapple to the seeds of a sunflower.

What you probably don’t know is how to use a Fibonacci sequence to develop an improved, portable solar panel that could revolutionize the energy field. Well, that’s precisely what 14-year-old Aidan Dwyer did to qualify as a finalist in the 2012 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. From there he went on to speak at the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, as well as meet with President Obama in Washington, D.C.

His teachers credit Aidan’s self-motivation, creative thinking, and scientific questioning, while also recognizing that kids have the ability to think outside the box in a way that many adults simply cannot.

If you are (or know) such a bright scientific mind, learn how to enter next year’s competition here:

 Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE?  

Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

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13. Toastworthy Teens - Matthew Petronis

 Matthew Petronis, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund

For most people, Thanksgiving is pretty much synonymous with "home." That's why it was so devastating for Matthew Petronis to see the beloved Breezy Point community where he'd spent all of his 18 Thanksgivings go up in flames as part of the Hurricane Sandy destruction.

By the time the fire was subdued, more than 100 houses had been lost...and within hours Matthew had set up the first fundraising tool to help those newly homeless families. In the month between the Oct. 29th tragedy and Thanksgiving Day, Matthew's relief fund collected almost $80,000 in donations, all while Matthew (whose baseball coach calls "a free spirit, yet a caring kid [with] that New York can-do attitude") managed a full college freshman course load. 

To help Matthew help others, visit:

Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

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14. Out of Sync KBWT

This week is out of sync.  On Tuesday, I thought it was Monday -missed an appointment on Monday - sigh.

So today, I want to remind you about figment - a writing and reading website for teens. Which is the kind of thing I usually share on Tuesday.  Out of sync, like I said.

Here it is -  figment.com - a website for young writers and a great place to learn about hot books for young adults - 15 and up! Some are fine for younger readers.  I just want you to know this is a site you can grow with.

Sign up for their weekly newsletter.  Today, I took a quiz to see if I have ESP. (I'm Possibly Psychic - which is better than clueless, I guess.)  But, you can write fanfic to win prizes; enter contests of all kinds; learn about awesome new books, films, music and TV shows - all of which require good writers. 

Check it out and have fun. 

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15. Toastworthy Teens - Devon Rodriguez-Cayro

Devon Rodriguez-Cayro, Icy Plunger

It happens every year, all over the country; different places call it everything from the “Polar Dip” to the “Polar Plunge.” In Harrisburg, it’s known as the “Penguin Plunge” and 2013 is the 16thyear locals have run into the frigid Pennsylvania water in January to raise money for the Humane Society. 

14-year-old Devon Rodriguez-Cayro has taken the icy dare 4 YEARS running and this year brought in almost $5,000 in donations for the animals! She not only will continue taking the plunge in the future, but I bet she'll also keep doing it with style. ;)

Meet Devon here:

 Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

1 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - Devon Rodriguez-Cayro, last added: 1/15/2013
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16. Flip the Page is accepting submissions for 2013!

Flip the Page: Central Ohio’s Teen Literary Magazine is back and accepting submissions for the Spring 2013 issue. If you’re 13-19 years old and live in Central Ohio, we want to read your writing!

Flip the Page is written, staffed, and produced by teens, making it a wonderful learning opportunity for all involved (including us).  Our mission is to provide a showcase for the work of local teenagers and offer opportunities to learn about publishing.  Last year, we received well over 100 submissions that encompassed all genres of writing and we are hoping for the same exciting turn out in 2013.

So, get to writing and send in your short stories, essays, poems, songs, plays, science fiction, epics (as long as they’re under 800 words) and anything else that you can get down on paper.  All accepted writers receive a complimentary copy of the magazine and an opportunity to read their work at the Columbus Arts Festival in June 2013.

-Must reside in Central Ohio and be 13 to 19 years old
-Limit of 800 words or less
-Limit of two submissions per person
-Submissions MUST be sent via email and include a completed submissions form
-All files must be labeled with your last name and the title of the file                                     (ex: Jane Smith—submission form; Joe Jones—Great Expectations).


For more information and a submission form, visit our website.
Email submission and questions to flipthepage@thurberhouse.org

Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, we are able to continue Flip the Page and help young creative writers on the road to achieving their dreams


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17. Toastworthy Teens - Julia Bluhm

 Julia Bluhm, Anti-Photoshop Campaign

Since we so love reality on our TVs, why not in our magazines?
Well, because of the efforts of one 14-year-old girl, we may soon be getting just that.

Maine teen Julia Bluhm grew so tired of models photoshopped to the point of unrecognizability that she began a petition on Change.org. And once she accumulated over 85,000 confirming signatures, she and some friends brought the petition to protest outside the NYC office of Seventeen Magazine.

Although Julia didn’t have high expectations, Seventeen actually responded with a published “peace treaty,” agreeing to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and to “celebrate every kind of beauty in [their] pages.”

That first success then fueled Julia to join other girls in similarly petitioning Teen Vogue. To help her win them over, sign on at:

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3 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - Julia Bluhm, last added: 1/3/2013
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18. Toastworthy Teens - The 14 Teen Authors of "We Are Absolutely Not Okay"

Our troubles become slightly more bearable once we discover we don't have to face them alone.

No one knows this better than the students of the Scriber Lake alternative high school in Edmonds, Washington; 14 of whom came together to compile "We Are Absolutely Not Okay: 14 Stories by Teenagers Who Are Picking Up the Pieces." (Available in both print and as an ebook.)

These young authors, each of whom has overcome obstacles (and usually more than one apiece), wanted to share their stories to give hope to kids facing similar difficulties.

Since they say it best, hear their stories and the motivation behind the book in their own words here:

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2 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - The 14 Teen Authors of "We Are Absolutely Not Okay", last added: 12/20/2012
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19. Toastworthy Teens - Nicholas Lowinger

Nicholas Lowinger, Gotta Have Sole

Even as a child (or perhaps because he was a child) Nicholas Lowinger recognized how seemingly small things can have huge importance. When the 5-year-old Nicholas noticed that the children at the homeless shelter where his mother volunteered had poor shoes (or none at all), he began donating his own shoes as he outgrew them. 

And Nicholas’s desire to help grew as rapidly as he did, eventually giving birth to Gotta Have Sole – the non-profit organization he founded in 2010 to get new, properly-sized shoes to children in homeless shelters. So far, Nicholas has helped 3,000 kids in 8 states and continues to expand his reach.

What inspires him? In his own words:

New shoes not only provide the perfect fit for a child, but they also aid in increasing a child’s self-esteem. The exuberant expression on the children’s faces while receiving this shoes has been greatly satisfying to me. Parents and shelter advocates continue to comment on how happy the children are when they receive the new footwear. The parents have said that, without my program, they would never have been able to provide their children with such well-made footwear and how this has made such a positive difference in their children’s lives.

To find out more, visit:

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0 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - Nicholas Lowinger as of 9/11/2012 12:50:00 PM
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20. Toastworthy Teens - Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy, Cansculptor

New Jersey teen Monica Murphy knew that if she built it, they would eat.

“They” meaning all those served by the Monmouth and Ocean County food banks, and “it” being a replica of her school built entirely out of canned goods.

Completed in the spring, Monica’s cansculpture incorporating 2,500 cans brought public awareness to a cause that’s been dear to Monica since she was in the 5th grade and first discovered that food bank shelves, which are usually well-stocked for the holidays, are often empty during the “off season.”

Monica’s also been mentoring a sixth grader from her school district to ensure her project continues – and those shelves stay full – after she graduates.

Guess you’d say this 17-year-old has a CAN-do attitude. :)

Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 
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1 Comments on Toastworthy Teens - Monica Murphy, last added: 9/19/2012
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Yesterday we brought you an inside scoop on UNRAVELING, and today we’re giving you some insight into the author herself, Elizabeth Norris.  Be warned: by the end of this, not only will you be dying to read the book, you’ll be sighing with envy at Elizabeth’s romance and craving banana pudding.

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

When I was first learning to read, my mom bought me a collection of picture books about characters from the Disney movies and I read them over and over again until I could practically recite them. Then in fourth grade I read A Bridge to Terabithia and it was the most incredible story. I begged my mom to buy me a copy since I had to give the school its copy back. Right now, I’ve just started reading Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, and it’s wonderful.

What is your secret talent?

I’m not sure if it’s a talent, but I always manage to find myself in strange or awkward situations that make hilarious stories after the fact. My friends in college used to joke that I should put all my embarrassing stories together in some kind of memoir and title in Only in My Life.

Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.

My sister. Whenever we’re together it’s like the stars have aligned and everything is hilarious.

My current obsessions are…

I recently discovered the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery and I swear I have dreams about it. I’m also super obsessed with Game of Thrones–the books and the television show. I feel like Westeros is a real place and I want to go visit it (but after the war ends).

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of highs and lows when you’re writing a book and even more when you’re trying to get published. You have to savor the highs and let them inspire you, and then let the lows roll of your back.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

…feels something.

Tell us more about how UNRAVELING was born.

Like most of the crazy stories in my life, this once starts with “So I met this guy…”

Only, I didn’t actually “meet” the guy in a traditional sense—I became friends with him over the internet. He was a friend of a friend, funny, intelligent, charming. We traded meaningless comments or jokes with friends, but the more I got to know about him, the more it seemed we had in common. We liked the same movies and television shows, we both loved to read and to write, and we just seemed to be on the same intellectual wavelength. We recommended books to each other and we could talk about anything and everything.

And somewhere along the line, I realized he had become my best friend—and then we met, and it just felt like we belonged together (I’m a hopeless romantic, I know). Of course, he lived in another state and neither one of us had any ambitions to ever move so we started muddling through a long distance relationship, making up our own rules and trying to figure out what worked best for us.

Which got me thinking about long distance relationships. They’re hard—flawed and tragic. Most of them are doomed from the beginning. The emotional highs and lows in that type of relationship add an intense stress to even the most calm lives.

In June 2010 (during one of those emotional lows), I thought about how universally unfair it was, that I’d finally found this guy who was perfect for me, who really belonged with me, and yet he actually also belonged somewhere else. And that was the moment of inception of UNRAVELING. Because at its heart, it’s a star-crossed love story. Janelle and Ben are from different worlds, and in their darkest moments, they find each other.

I am also a huge science fiction and fantasy nerd, and I hate the perception that science fiction isn’t cool so I wanted UNRAVELING to be accessible to people who don’t know a lot about science or who don’t normally read science fiction. I love shows like Fringe and The X-Files and I wanted to do something with science fiction that was very grounded in reality. I spent about two months thinking about the plot and writing down character ideas in a notebook while riding the subway, and then I started writing pieces of dialogue and a few key scenes. And then before I knew it, the book was almost complete.


Thanks Elizabeth!  UNRAVELING is on sale now.  And you’ll be happy to know that this won’t be the last you’ll hear from Ben and Janelle. Check back next summer for more!


And that wraps up our Summer New Voices!  We’ll be back January to share our amazingly talented debut writers of the winter with you.  Until then…

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22. Toastworthy Teens - Julien Leitner

Julien Leitner, Archimedes Alliance

Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth.

This Archimedes quote, delivered by Julien Leitner’s 5thgrade science teacher, is what led to the now 14-year-old launching his own charity. That one notion made Julien, who accompanied his parents on volunteer outings even as an infant, realize that “there [have] to be a billion other people like me who want to make a difference, but feel they can’t…what if everyone just pooled their resources?”

His goal for Archimedes Alliance is to get 1 million people to donate $2 each and then to donate the proceeds to “a small charity with visible impact on the local community.”

I have a feeling Julien himself is going to have a visible impact…on the world. 

Learn more about Archimedes Alliance here:

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23. Countdown to Launch of Storm: Cover Reveal, Sneak Peek & Giveaway!

I am jumping out of my chair excited to share my latest project and soon-to-be-published novel with you… *drum roll*

STORM!!! A young adult mystery-drama about a creative and complex teen boy. Here is the official synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Storm enjoys skateboarding, fixing broken electronics, and building things with his hands. They distract him from the tormented thoughts surrounding the circumstances of his mother’s death. But his problems can’t be avoided forever…
Since his mother’s death, tensions are high at home, the girl of Storm’s dreams is dating someone else, and an argument with his father lands him in the school counselors’ office.
Will Storm overcome his fears, let go of the feelings that have been haunting him, and reveal his long-held secrets? Can his dad ever forgive him? Will the girl of his dreams ever see him as more than a friend?
A true-to-life young adult novel teeming with mystery, romance and intrigue.
This book is full of lots of juicy drama and fun, colorful characters but it's ultimately about relationships, connections and overcoming obstacles. The story has a beautiful message - one that I believe both teens and adults will relate to.

Because this book deals with many issues that teen’s today face, I am donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to youth organizations - something that is very important to me. Some of the organizations that I will be supporting are: Born This Way Foundation, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Hey U.G.L.Y, To Write Love On Her Arms, Love Is Louder, Do Something and Half Of Us.

Storm is scheduled for print release on December 14th, 2012 by DreamFusion Press, LLC, but you can pre-order autographed copies today. Click ELECTRIC to pre-order paperback copies of Storm.

The 6-week countdown to launch starts today, which means you will have many opportunities to win an autographed copy of Storm!

Each week, I will post an activity, puzzle or question related to Storm and all participants will have a chance to win a copy of Storm - just for participating! I will randomly select a winner from the participants of each post, per week to win 1 autographed copy of Storm (6 books in total will be given away). Countdown and giveaway ends on December 14th, 2012. Limit 2 books per person.
That's it! So here's this week's activity to kick off the countdown:

Judge this book by its cover! What do you like most about the cover art? What feelings, thoughts or messages does it convey? What is the boy on the cover thinking about? Answer one or all of these questions in a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Storm!

Be sure to check back next week for an exclusive character interview with Storm himself!

1 Comments on Countdown to Launch of Storm: Cover Reveal, Sneak Peek & Giveaway!, last added: 11/21/2012
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24. 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.

0 Comments on Young Adult Fantasy Threesome! as of 12/10/2012 11:49:00 PM
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25. Toastworthy Teens - Ikea Johnson

Ikea Johnson, Lifesaver

It could’ve been an episode on What Would You Do? On Ikea Johnson’s walk home from work, she encountered 2 women screaming and crying over a 3rd lying on the ground. The victim, who has Downs syndrome, had tripped on the sidewalk, fallen and hit her head, and now lay unconscious and not breathing in a pool of her own blood.

Without hesitation, Ikea ordered the two friends to call 9-1-1 and run into a nearby building for a defibrillator. Ikea then performed chest compressions and breath checks until paramedics arrived. I’m not sure which is more unbelievable – that Ikea is only 16 years old, or that, after performing the heroic feat, she just walked home to finish her homework as if nothing had happened!

Her guidance counselor, however, wasn’t surprised at all, noting that “She has that cool, calm demeanor that reacts to the toughest situations as if she was a seasoned professional.” In fact, everyone in Ikea’s life sings the praises of the varsity cheerleader and honor student, saying she’s a “model student,” “very rare jewel,” and “breath of fresh air.” One of her teachers added, “With students like Ikea, one does not worry about the future of our citizenry. We are all in better hands with young adults like Ikea Johnson.”

I completely agree. :)

For a good FAQ on CPR, visit:

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