Friday, September 29, 2006

It's been a great week for free speech

Banned books week is coming to a close, but that doesn't necessarily mean the discussion is over! I hope all our readers have enjoyed reading girls' thoughts about censorship as much as the staff at New Moon has. I loved hearing about different banned books you've read and loved. One girl says that the only reason for banning books is if you just don't like reading:

"I have read the Harry Potter books and I really enjoyed them. I'm actually really upset that there's only going to be one more. The thing is, Harry Potter is a wizard. He's FICTIONAL! For Heaven's sake, no one can ever really become a witch or wizard! There's no reason to take the Harry Potter books off the market unless you absolutely despise reading period."

And to finish off the week, 13-year-old Sydney writes in with her thoughts about censorship:

"I believe cenorship is incorrect, if a parent does not wish to let his or her child read a certain book they should not allow them to read it. However trying to ban this book from a whole county is unfair to the poeple whose parents are allowing them to read it. I think that children should be able to read what they like with their parents permission but no one else's. It is up to the parent to see what their children are reading, if they don't like it, it should be the parents not the teachers or othe adults to take it away and give them another.

I also do not belive it is correct for a book to be banned because of homosexual content, race, religion, history, or language styles. The reason books have these topics in them is because it is important to the story. Many books are banned because of these topics, it is alarming to me when I am teased for reading a banned book."

Even though banned books week is almost over, we hope you'll keep commenting on the discussion here and speaking up for free speech!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is censorship OK sometimes?

We got a letter from 11-year-old Abbey, who feels that censorship is OK in some situations. Here's what she has to say:

"I believe it is okay to censor some books that mention things like sex and puberty and even dating from younger children. I only believe that it is okay to ban books that talk about sex to YOUNGER CHILDREN. I also believe it is partially your parents choice to what you read and when to explain to you things like puberty and sex. I believe in some cases censorship is okay; but definitely not in all cases is censorship okay."

I definitely agree with Abbey that parents should have some say over what their kids see and read. And I'm interested in the argument about whether censorship is OK in some cases. For example, when books tell you how to do something harmful -- like how to break into someone's house or how to create a computer virus -- should bookstores and libraries still be allowed to carry these books?

Please comment to leave your thoughts, or write your own post and send it to

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A New Moonie shares her favorite banned book

New Moon's Administrative Assistant, Melanie, has this to say about How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell -- one of her favorite books.

"I read this book at least three times when I was in grade school. When I did a quick Google search, I found that it is also a banned book! Here is the link.

Anyway, it was a quick easy read for me as a kid and the first time I read it I couldn't believe that the main character Billy actually ate the worms! It was so goofy and fun that I had to read it more than once! Memories of reading the book came back to me when I saw that a movie was being made based on the book!As far as the reasons why How to Eat Fried Worms is banned, I've never eaten fried worms and I'm not a compulsive gambler.

I've also read SuperFudge and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, who was mentioned in the kick-off post for how many times people have tried to ban her books."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Banned Books Week Continues!

And the discussion continues with 12-year-old Katie's opinion about banned books:

"I have read the Harry Potter series over twice, most of the people at my school have. In knitting club we talk about it, during lunch we talk about it, to the teachers we talk about it. Is Dumbledore dead? Is Snape good? I don't know a person at my school who doesn't know what we're talking about. It's common knowledge. If it promoted witchcraft then my entire school would be full of witches and wizards, which would be pretty cool, and believe me, all the little kids dress up and try to wave their wands, but it just doesn't work. We can all dream, but this book is FANTASY. It's never going to happen, so why take it off the markets? A group of kids may just protest to get it back on! And we've won the fight on one thing, we can do it again. Kids DO have power!

I have also read It's Perfectly Normal and I believe that all teens should be educated about this stuff, because, as studies show, if they don't know about them they're more likely to have sex or get pregnant. Trying to hide sex is a poor way of doing things because sooner or later they're going to find out, and who would you rather have tell them, you, or some random teenager who tells them it's fun? Exactly, if you have any sense at all, you would say that you would like to tell them, which is why girls should be open with their parents about these things. And parents should be open with their girls."

Monday, September 25, 2006

13-year-old Caitrin reads banned books

In the January/February 2006 issue of New Moon, we asked girls to share their thoughts on censorship so we could post them during Banned Books Week. Below is 13-year-old Caitrin's response.

"I have read the Harry Potter Series, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Adventures of Hucklberry Finn which at some point in time have all had people try to ban them. I enjoyed all of them and thought they were perfectly appropriate for New Moon age group and up. The Harry Potter Series has such a wonderful, exciting storyline and allows the reader to use their imagination. Besides the book isn't saying, 'You must do witchcraft, this is how you do it.' It is clearly written as a fun fiction book.

I can see were the people could be coming from in a way about To Kill A Mockingbird, however I dont agree. I think it is a great book about a young girl growing up and finding out about how the world is or was in the time the story takes place. I think slavery is a horrible thing but that doesn't mean we should ban it being a part of any book because then we would blocking out a piece of our history. To lose history threatens not learning from our mistakes. To Kill a Mockingbird does not promote slavery or rape, the young girl's father is even the lawyer representing and defending the accused African-American man.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic book that I really enjoyed reading. Although some of the slang used in the book is not appropriate or nice to use in conversation it was the terminoligy of the time. It is an author's job to portraye and tell the story. Part of a story is setting and time period which includes ways of speech. So I believe to tell the story well the slang used was necessary and not meant to be offensive to anyone.

I really like the Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think many girls around my age would enjoy them."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Banned books -Censorship - Freedom of Speech

Banned books week starts this Saturday (tomorrow!!). Banning books has to do with censoring what people say. In the U.S., the first amendment of the constitution gives everyone the right to “Freedom of Speech,” which pretty much means we can say and believe whatever we want. In some countries, the government decides which books people can read and which books are forbidden. In families, parents can say what’s “off limits,” but I don’t think that’s the same thing as banning books. When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies. Lots of my friends’ parents let them watch R-rated movies and I thought it was unfair that I couldn’t. My mother had final say in my house, and I respected her (OK, I snuck into an R movie ONE time). But if someone, like the government or another group of adults, told me I couldn’t watch certain movies or read certain books I would think they were crazy! When I was a kid I read everything I could find, from magazines to books as thick as a dictionary. It turns out that lots of my favorite books were banned in certain places—Huckleberry Finn, Harry Potter, and tons of Judy Blume’s books (because of her open discussions about girls bodies and sexuality). I feel bad that everyone didn’t at least have the CHANCE to read these books because I learned a lot about the world and about myself from reading them.

Next week, we’ll be talking more about banned books and freedom of speech on our blog. Banned books week is a celebration of freedom of speech and you can participate in lots of ways. Post to our blog. Talk to your parents about their views of censorship. Read a banned book! What do you think? Is it OK to ban books? Have you ever read a banned book? Send your thoughts and opinions to

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Join the club!

Adele Griffin, author of Hannah, Divided (and other great books!) will chat online with members of New Moon's Book Club on Monday. I can't wait! I'm going to re-read Hannah this weekend so it's fresh in my mind.

Members of the club, don't forget to come to the chat room at 7 pm Central (8 pm Eastern and 5 pm Pacific)! If you're not a member, you can still send me your questions for Adele.

"Talk" to you soon!

55802--The Basement. Part Three

Congratulations! You have made it to part three of the New Moon Publishing office tour. You’ve missed parts one and two? Shame on you! No worries. You still have a chance to read them.

Part One
Part Two

Melanie will be leading the tour without Jen today. Jen is currently detained in an undisclosed location, to be revealed later. We have seen all there is to see upstairs, so let’s go into the depths of the basement! The basement is where we keep all of our back issues and wonderful, girl-friendly merchandise, available at Of course, we have all of the normal, boring stuff too, like extra toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap, envelopes, old computer parts, and our new wonderfully fabulous server.

The first thing you will notice about New Moon Publishing’s basement is that it is surrounded by a tall chain-link fence. We share the basement with two other companies and it helps to keep all of our stuff separate. But, sometimes when a New Moonie gets in trouble we lock her in the “cage.” The other two companies thought it was a weird business practice, but now they see the benefit and lock their employees in there, too.

Ah, and this is where we find my detained sidekick Jen. What exactly did Jen do, you ask? Well, she left her dirty dishes in the sink!

We even put up a sign to remind her to wash them, but it didn’t work.
The "cage" was the last option. She has served her time. I think it’s safe to unlock the door. Now, Jen and I can continue the tour together!

What occupies the most space in the basement? New Moon back issues! We have several boxes of each issue from the past fourteen years! For those of you that are new to New Moon here is the cover of our very first issue from 1993.

Wait! Where did Jen go? I think I have lost her! Never mind. She is hiding behind our stacks and stacks of New Moon back issues! She's so silly. We have to be careful when trying to find a back issue because there are so many boxes. That’s why we have started the movement “Save a New Moonie.”

It looks like I’m the one that needs the help today! Help save a New Moonie by purchasing lots, and lots of back issues!

Don’t get caught in the basement alone after 5 pm. We have our very own security system to protect the merchandise. Her name is Moonie Monster and she only has three fingers. She is very shy and doesn’t like her picture taken.We had to sneak up on her to get this rare photo. She bears a striking resemblance to Jen doesn’t she?

I think we have disturbed Moonie Monster enough for the day, so we had better end the tour. Thanks for joining us. We enjoyed having you! Look for other tidbits from 55802 on the New Moon Blog!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's it like to walk a mile in YOUR shoes?

If you're a girl between the ages of 11-14 living in the Boston area, the Judge Baker Children's Center wants to hear from you!

You're invited to enter the Camille Cosby "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" essay contest. This is YOUR chance to tell the world about you, your life and what it's like to be a girl today. For essay guidelines and entry form, contact Olivenne Skinner at 617-278-4265 or email The deadline for submission is Friday, December 1, 2006.

Not a Boston girl? Write an essay anyway and submit it to our blog!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Acadia's Thoughts :-)

Acadia, 14, from Duluth, MN sent us this wonderful poem on her thoughts about fashion. Thanks, Acadia!

Reasons Why Shopping Makes Me Want to Throw a Tantrum

Jeans too tight
Never fit right
Mini-skirts look cold
But that’s not what I’m told
Apparently they’re hot
Especially when bought
At the “right” store
Where you always pay more!

And by the way,
The other day
I learned air costs a lot
Because that’s all that I got
In the jeans all ripped
From Abercrombie and Fitch
So I sold them on eBay
Then fed a small country for three days

Now spaghetti on a plate
Would be nice on a date
But spaghetti strap tops?
Eww…I think not
Reminds me of buying a bikini at the mall
It got lost in the bag, ‘cause it was too small
Teensy tight things I cannot wear
When I can’t breathe, I get quite a scare

Why do boys get all the comfy clothes?
You never see them in heels or pantyhose
I guess girls must have more grace
Even in stilettos they don’t fall on their face
Which is good in those dangerous shoes
Because they could stab, slice, or bruise
Speaking of death, if I see another midriff
I might just jump off a cliff

You can see my frustration
With this fashion nation
Maybe I’m just lacking know-how
To wear all the “in” things now
I guess I just don’t get
Why clothes aren’t supposed to fit
Unless you are stick thin
Like that Lindsey Lohan
It’s a sad, ridiculous mess
When smaller clothes don’t cost less
I’m missing out on the fashion logic

So from now on, I think Ill just dodge it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On Growing Up: Ryann's Perspecitve

An 11-year-old girl named Ryann published a thoughtful essay on the life of a tween over at Empowerment4Women. Check it out!

Ryann contrasts her experiences with her mom's, and though there ARE girls playing football these days (see yesterday's post), I think she's right that today's kids are surrounded by media--TV, internet, iPods, etc.--and more "under the influence" of stars and advertisers. What's the solution? I think kids need to learn about how the media works and how marketers try to influence you, so you can make conscious choices about who you're going to be and why.

What do you think, girls? Does Ryann's essay sound like real life to you? Or do you have a different experience/perspective?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gridiron girl

Speaking of sports, check out this interesting story about a sixth grade girl in Oregon who's playing her third year of football. I have a friend who played football in middle school--her coaches, family, etc. convinced her to quit when she reached high school, partly because the boys kept getting bigger and she had quit growing. I think she later regretted dropping the sport.

I really enjoyed flag football the few times I played, but the regular game is a little too violent for my taste. Do any of you play football, on a team or just for fun?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Feeling Pretty?

On Saturday, I accidentally watched Maria Sharapova win the U.S. Open. I say accidentally because I just happened to switch on the TV about half-way through her match with Justine Henin-Hardenne. I tuned in at the end of the first set, which Maria won, so I started rooting for Justine because I wanted the match to last longer! Maria, who is only 19, ended up winning 6-4, 6-4.

It's been a while since I watched tennis on TV, but I was a big fan when I was in high school. One year, my sister got me a tennis racquet for my birthday. My school didn't offer tennis as a sport, and I had no idea how I was supposed to hit the ball, but it was still fun. I remember reading Ladies of the Court--a behind-the-scenes look at women's tennis with lots of gossip about the top players of the time. Steffi Graf was my favorite. I eventually learned the basics of the game as a freshman in college, when I took two tennis classes.

Yesterday, I dusted off my old tennis rackets and played for the first time in a couple of years. I had a blast, even though my friend beat me 6-1, 7-5 and I couldn't have hit a backhand shot to save my life. Later that day at the GEB meeting, Selene mentioned that she was having trouble concentrating because the U.S. Open men's final was going on--and she was missing it! I didn't get a chance to quiz Selene about her interest in tennis, but it's nice to know I'm not the only New Moonie who's a tennis fan.

Women tennis players get a lot of attention based on how they dress and how they look--definitely more than men do. Some players, like Maria, Anna Kournikova, and Venus and Serena Williams, seem to revel in the attention (and the endorsement money) and become fashion plates, while others stay out of the spotlight, no matter how well they do on the tour.

Are you a tennis fan or player? What do you think about Maria's "I Feel Pretty" commercials? How about all the attention paid to women athletes' appearance in general? Post a comment!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

This Luna drawing just came in to New Moon and I wanted to share it with all our blog readers. The artist, 16-year-old Leslie, says, "I think Luna doesn't have a face, but she is made of energy. She is the spirit, sitting on the moon."

What I love about this drawing are the many bright colors, especially the rainbow sleeves. If you'd ever met me in person, you'd know that I LOVE rainbows. I have a Rainbow Brite purse, rainbow bandanas, rainbow barretts, rainbow candles, rainbow nightlights--and sometimes I paint my fingernails rainbow colored. When I was little, I loved the Noah's Ark story because the rainbow is a sign of hope. As I got older, I realized that rainbows were also a symbol of diversity of all kinds and also support for the GLBT community. And I think that hope, diversity, and support make a really nice rainbow of ideas themselves--that diversity gives us hope for the future and that we need to support that diversity so that our world doesn't miss out on what anyone has to offer.

So I wear rainbows proudly and feel happy when I see them in the sky or on bumper stickers. Is there a symbol that's especially important in your life?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

55802--The Office. Part Two

Welcome to part two of New Moon Publishing's virtual office tour! If you missed part one, get caught up!

Upon entering our kitchen you will probably see someone standing with the fridge door open wondering what she is going to have for lunch.
Looks like she has a lot of options…

New Moonies like to share. We have a table with a purple tablecloth where FREE items are located. Today, the only things we see are peppers from Ann’s garden.They do look really nice.

HOWEVER, there are four candy dishes located through out the office that New Moonies grab from through out the day.

We love chocolate!!!
Oooo! And we were lucky enough to have a plate of cookies mysteriously appear in the conference room. These are for the taking, too.

Using the facilities (AKA the bathroom) at New Moon Publishing could be quite an adventure if you are not careful. Make sure to get "the code" from a New Moonie to get out. Some New Moonies have gone in, but have never come back...If you see a New Moonie in there that looks lost, tell them we miss them! (And giving them the code would be nice, too.)

New Moonies also like birthdays. We have an office birthday tradition! A birthday loot of a wand, crown and giant NSYNC pencil are passed from person to person. A New Moonie receives the loot on her birthday and gets to keep it until the next birthday. Currently, the birthday loot holder is our very own Melanie. She gets to retain her loot until Crystal’s birthday in September. She has had her loot since the end of July. THAT’S A LONG TIME! With the birthday loot she can ask any New Moonie to do anything she wants as long as no New Moonie will be harmed in any way, physically or otherwise, AND they have to do it. Now, that's birthday power!

Let’s head to the editorial offices. There we will find the Luna bin. All of the letters and artwork that girls send to New Moon go straight to the Luna bin for safe keeping until Luna can read them. The bin is looking a little empty girls! Send those submissions in!

Hidden in the very bottom drawer of a file cabinet is the stash of New Moon covers. If you ever come to visit the office in person, you can take some covers home with you! Covers make great posters!

Over in the Circulation area is the infamous rubber band ball. It was started by former New Moonie Karin between the spring of 2002 and 2003. We were able to catch up with Karin to get the full history of the rubber band ball.

It started because I was sorting the mail and had a desk drawer full of rubberbands from the bound letters. So, one afternoon, when I was cleaning the desk, I started going through the drawer and winding up the rubberbands. I remember that the very center band is red... or maybe blue... but,I think it's red. It took a week or so but, eventually the drawer was cleared out and the ball remained in its place. I'm glad to know it lives on...
Yes, Karin, it still lives on and it's still growing. We add to the ball everyday and it now weighs in at 4.2 pounds. That's right! 4.2 pounds. The rubber band ball is truly the highlight of the New Moon Publishing office.

Next time…55802—The Basement.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Heart-warming Charity by Avery

Getting New Moon reader, 14-year-old Avery's, letter this morning made my day. She writes about her devotion to two different charities, both which warm both the heart and the body. I've included her story below. - Lacey, New Moon Editor

"Reading the New Moon News, I found the "Get into Giving" article and enjoyed it. For my writing class in school this year, we are encouraged to support a charity of some kind. I researched up a few very wonderful charities that I am currently working on contributing to.

The first is for a foundation called Warm Up America. WUA collects donated crocheted/knitted afghans and afghan patches that can be sewn together and distributed to places such as homeless shelters, red cross facilities, women's shelters and daycares. They also encourage you to get all your friends involved in making the large afghans and distributing them yourself in your own community. It is such an amazing thing to feel that you are helping to make someone warm!

Along those lines is the other cause I found. A collaboration between WUA and another foundation called Save the Children, this cause is called Caps to the Capital. WUA and Save the Children are joining forces to ask people to knit/crochet baby hats for children in developing countries, millions of whom die each year from lack of hats and blankets. These hats are made according to an easy pattern that can be found at or All hats must be sent to an address that can be found on the above sites by January, so it is important that the word gets out!! The hats are rewarding and simple to make and look so adorable when they are finished that you want to make a million more!

Hopefully all the knitters/crocheters at New Moon can help spread the word and support these amazing foundations--the warmth they spread truly makes a difference!"

Friday, September 01, 2006

The House You Pass On the Way, reviewed by Theodora Ranelli

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson
Please read this book. Do not read the review, do not pass go, just read the book.

The House You Pass on the Way is an incredible book, rich with language and layers. This book is only 99 pages long, but manages to fill many different voids. Staggerlee is fourteen and re-names herself after the character in the song when she realizes that the words were more about someone trying to shake off their chains than about a murder. She decides that she is going to shake off her chains. Living in the South, she is ostracized because her mother is White (her extended family shun them for this reason as well) and her grandparents are famous (deceased, but famous). She kissed a girl once and people made fun of her, since then she thought loving a woman was a bad thing. A cousin she never knew comes to stay with her for the summer and the two form an intense connection. This girl named herself ‘Trout’ because she wanted to be a fighter. They discus racism, family, identity, and sexuality as they wonder who they are. After Trout’s gone and seems to be headed in an opposite direction, Staggerlee wonders about herself, who she will become, and understands that she’ll have to go alone.

A wonderful depiction of how sometimes there are no easy answers, of the importance to keep moving even if you do not understand, of giving yourself over to the ride. The music adds to the book's texture. I saw Staggerlee's harmonica as something that she will always have, even if life erupts in chaos.

This review really does not do the book justice. Woodson packs quite a punch. Haunting, rare, and needed.