Thursday, November 30, 2006

Body Worlds!

Are you one of the 20 million people who’ve seen the Body Worlds exhibit? Writing is my first love, but secretly I’m a science junkie. I often compare scientist to writers—we’re all trying to observe the world and learn something about it from what we see. Body Worlds is a science exhibit that’s been touring the world since 1995 and it features actual human bodies that have been “plastinated,” which means the water and fats in the body are replaced with plastic. The bodies look completely preserved, and you can see all the systems and organs of the human body. I’ve seen pictures in books, on television, and even plastic models of the human body, but I’ve never seen the insides of a real human being. I think it will be amazing!

Of course, maybe you’ve heard the exhibit can be pretty controversial. Some people say that it’s disrespectful to display people’s bodies after they’ve died, even if they’ve given their permission. Also, a lot of the bodies are “in action” and some of the actions are pretty stereotypical of women and men—a pregnant woman lying down, a ballerina, and a woman who looks like she’s wearing stilettos, while the men are featured as strong, smart, and active: “The Runner,” “The Swordsman,” and “The Chess Player.”

The Body Worlds exhibit in Saint Paul, Minnesota closes this weekend and moves to Dallas. The exhibit is so popular that the Science Museum will be open 24-hours a day until it closes on Sunday night. So, this Saturday morning I’m not sleeping in. I’m going on a 4am field trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota. If you’re there, look for me in my pajamas, carrying a notebook in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other—and feel free to give me a nudge if I’m snoring during the Omnitheater movie.

Have you already seen the Body Worlds exhibit in your city? What did you think? Will I wish for my beauty sleep, or will I be glad I braved the wee hours to see the 200 plasticized bodies? What do you think about the controversy around the exhibit?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Single-Sex Ed Smart?

In the latest edition of New Moon's Friends e-newsletter, we asked, "Is Single-Sex Ed Smart?"

Meghan O’Rourke, culture editor at Slate, recently pondered that question. “During the last decade, single-sex education has come to seem cutting edge once again, backed by a startling rise of bipartisian support,” she wrote. Meghan noted that there are some significant advantages to girls-only and boys-only classrooms, such as fewer distractions and a greater sense of individuality. But some supporters of single-sex education seem to be advocating classroom techniques that reinforce gender stereotypes, whether that is their intent or not.

Here at New Moon, we strongly believe in the importance of girls-only (and boys-only) spaces. But we’re concerned by some of the “sweeping, untested conclusions” single-sex education supporters seem to be relying on. What do YOU think?

Here's a response from a mother of two:

I grew up in a public school system that had boys and girls together in every grade. I went to college, lived my every day life, got a job, had friends, and so on--surrounded by BOTH boys and girls. I believe it is just a plain fact of life that girls and boys need to learn how to co-exist together in every setting. My children are 11 and 9, and I see their schoolwork. I think schools are much better today at teaching (math especially) in varied ways in order to click with different learning styles of children (male or female). I am much more worried about the effects of school funding and school violence on my children’s education than I am about single-sex classrooms. -Linda
And here's one girl's opinion on the subject:
I don't think single-sex education is smart! You have to learn to be comfortable around boys! The world does not revolve around people of the female sex!!!! Girls like boys (at least I do!), that is why I don't go to an all-girls school. If everyone had to have single-sex education I don't know what I'd do, or what I'd talk about! Look, boys are just as smart and just as funny as girls! If there weren't any boys at school, what would girls do when hormones rolled around? We'd be in even worse shape! We'd crave boys! That is why I think single-sex ed is a bad idea!

Tell us what YOU think!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Winter is on it's way! Week by week the air is getting colder and I have had to dig out my mittens, scarf and hat before going outside. Here in Minnesota, it gets very cold and the lakes freeze over with ice from November through March. Snowstorms blow through and drop lots of snow on the frozen ground.

One of my favorite Winter activities is sledding. When I was younger, I would spend hours sledding down the hill at my parents' house and running back up and doing it all over again. I also loved going ice skating on the frozen lake and pretending that I was a figure skater in the Olympics. I always won Gold!

Does it snow and get cold where you live? What kinds of Winter activities do you like to do?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Moon® wins Gold, Silver, AND Bronze!

New Moon recently won three new awards from the Minnesota Magazine Publisher’s Association (MMPA). Our 2006 “25 Beautiful Girls” issue won a Gold Award for “Best Single Topic Issue,” our “Global Village” department won a Silver Award for “Best Regular Column,” and New Moon won a Bronze Award for “Overall Excellence”! Nancy Gruver, New Moon’s founder, graciously accepted the awards at the 10th annual Excellence Awards.
The GEB showing off our new awards.

Last year, our “Body Language” department won a Gold Award for “Best Regular Column” and our 2005 “25 Beautiful Girls” issue won a Silver Award for “Best Single Topic.” When former GEB member Anna and current GEB member Sage accepted our awards, they received a standing ovation!! It was the only standing ovation the whole night!

MMPA has been recognizing New Moon Publishing since 1997, and we appreciate the honors! We’re so proud of all the girls and adults who contributed to New Moon and everyone who has helped New Moon become the best magazine by and for girls. Thanks for being part of our community!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Calling all Movie Makers!

Do you like to make home movies? Play with movie software on your computer? Put together witty or thought-provoking documentaries? Channel your creativity toward environmental solutions, and you could enter an awesome movie contest!

A few days ago, I got an email from the organizers of the Endgame International Film Festival, a "new festival focusing on fresh and serious solutions to global environmental problems." The following is from the press release:
"Our planet is poised on the edge of catastrophic climate change and mass extinctions and none of the proposed solutions match the scale of what’s at stake. We’re asking filmmakers to answer the question: what if this culture isn’t going to make a voluntary change to a sane and sustainable way of living. What does that mean for our strategy and tactics?

The festival was inspired by author Derrick Jensen (A Language Older than Words, The Culture of Make Believe) and his latest work Endgame, which also addresses these themes. Derrick will also be part of a jury of writers, thinkers, filmmakers, and activists who will select the winners of festival awards. We’re offering a one thousand dollar grand prize (US dollars). We seek inspirational and original films, so we are also offering prizes of $250 for originality, inspiration, and for a film by a filmmaker under 25."
I think it's awesome that this festival has a category especially for young filmakers. It could be you! To learn more about the festival, visit And let those cameras roll!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Size 00 ???

Ever wonder about clothing sizes and how some name brands sizes seem to differ from other brands? The sizes, although they say they are the same, never seem to be the same. Now there is a trend to have size 00 ! Does this seem right to you? Do you and your friends worry about what size you wear? Or are you happy with your body whatever the size? Check out this interesting article about the new size 00 and what some young women have to say about it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Blast From the Past

A couple of weeks ago, New Moonies teamed up and gave the New Moon basement a good cleaning. We went through old boxes and recycled a lot of paper and old computer parts! While I was going through a box, I found three 5 ¼ inch floppy disks. I hadn’t seen 5 ¼ floppies since I was really little. I was excited to see them because it brought back memories of my very first computer.

Chances are, some of you have never seen or used a 5 ¼ floppy disk! It’s amazing to me how quickly technology changes and becomes outdated. Here is a brief history of the 5 ¼ floppy disk from Wikipedia

The first 5 ¼ floppy was introduced in the 1976 to replace the larger and more cumbersome 8 inch disk. By the end of the 1980s, the smaller 3 ½ floppy disks took over. By the mid 1990s,5 ¼ disks and drives disappeared from the market. At the end of its life, the 5 ¼ floppy was able to hold 1.2 MB of information. The 3 ½ disk that replaced it, held 1.4 MB.
5 ¼ compared to 3 ½

The storage capacity is a hard idea for me to grasp, but this “visual” helped.

A CD-RW, that I found in our office, holds 700 MB of information! That means if the CD was holding all the information it could, it would take 584 5 ¼ floppies OR 500 3 ½ floppies to hold the same amount of information as the CD. WOW, have times changed! Can you imaging going to school with 584 disks in your back pack?

If you are interested in taking a trip into the past, check out this site. It is dedicated to vintage computers! Just think the computer you’re using right now might be on this site in 20 years!! ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Party Animals

Cats, dogs, snakes, lizards, horses, fish...Lots of people have different types of pets. At New Moon Publishing, we have 10 staff members and most of them have at least one pet. Between all of us we have 6 cats, 2 dogs, a gecko and a guinea pig. Some New Moonies have even brought their pets to work with them!

I have two cats and a leopard gecko and they are more than a handful to take care of. The two cats are very friendly and playful, especially at night. That's Kala in the photo to the right and Moxie down below!

The gecko loves to come out of her aquarium to explore my apartment floor and crawl on the furniture. Some people are scared of her, but she's actually very sweet and tame.

What kinds of pets do you have in your home? Write to us at and let us know!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cut - the book, the movie, the reality

A few days ago, I received the following book review from Zoe, age 12.

"I'm reviewing a fantastic book called Cut by Patricia Mcormick. It is a wonderfully descriptive novel about a girl named Callie who cuts herself. She is a 'guest' at a psychiatric hospital called Sea Pines, and she doesn't understand why she should be there. She goes through emotional difficulties with her family, environment, and friends. Her mother is paranoid about everything that could possibly endanger Callie's brother, and Callie struggles with the fact that the attention is always on him.

Patricia Mcormick's ability to develop characters and emotions draws you so far into the book, you can't stop reading. In Cut the writer puts you in the perspective of Callie's therapist, which makes you feel her different attitudes as if you are actually talking to her. The book is so detailed that when Callie cuts herself you feel the stress being released within your body, too. This book takes you on a journey through the depression and the troubles of a 15-year-old girl. I highly reccomend this book to whoever is interested in novels with this particular feel to it--sad but great. This book is one I will definitely read again. Don't miss out on it."

This review reminds me of the most important things books can do for us: they can help us understand others, or they can show us that others have the same struggles that we do. I read Cut when it was first published about 5 years ago because I was trying to understand self-harm. I've learned so much since then, mostly because more people are talking about it. There's even a new documentary about teens and self-harm coming out. If you see it, I suggest going with parents so you can have a conversation about it afterwards.

Self-harm is when someone hurts herself on purpose. There are a lot of myths about self-harm, such as that people who do it want to commit suicide or that it's a "cry for help." Thankfully, most people who do it don't want to commit suicide. It can be a cry for help, but it's also a coping mechanism. That means people do it to help them deal with stress or emotional pain in their lives. For some people, physical pain distracts them from emotional pain.

Some people don't take self-harm seriously because they think girls do it "just to get attention," "to be cool," or "to fit in." But if a girl needs to hurt herself to get attention, be cool, or fit in, that's a sign that she needs help. If someone self-harms, it doesn't mean she's sick or crazy. It just means she needs to find healthier, less dangerous coping mechanisms.

Even though it's scary to talk about, I'm glad self-harm has been getting so much attention, because that means self-harmers are less likely to suffer alone. If you have ever self-harmed or thought about self-harming, talk to an adult right away. If you're not sure who to tell, your school counselor is a good place to start. She'll likely understand self-harm and help you find ways to talk about it with other people who can help, like your parents. I also hope you will check out these websites: and The more we understand, the stronger we'll be.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We voted! Did you?

Here at New Moon Publishing and Dads and Daughters we showed our commitment to speaking up and letting our voices be heard... WE VOTED! We hope you voted, too!

Everyone in our office is proudly wearing their red "I Voted" stickers today. However, some of us were camera shy! :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Should Kids Vote?

Tomorrow is Election Day--would you vote if you could? New Moon's September/October 2006 "Voice Box" asked readers that very question:

1. At what age should people be allowed to vote? Why?
2. Should kids’ votes count as full votes or partial votes?
3. Would you vote in national elections if you could? Why or why not?
4. Do you think politicians would treat young people differently if teenagers could vote?

The GEB already chose their favorite answers, which we'll publish in the January/February 2007 issue. But we got a TON of great responses from readers! Here are just a few:

"Not long ago, my class was talking about the election of George W. Bush. It turned out that if we kids had the right to vote, the current president wouldn't be in office. Kids and adults have different opinions. If kids could vote as early as 16, maybe it'd bring better, more responsible presidents into the White House."
-Dina, age 12, Colorado

"I find that there are more irresponsible children out there than not, who would throw away their vote (if they had one) in exchange for a candy bar. But, on the other hand, there are many far more irresponsible adults, and also many responsible children, and so I would be willing to take risk of allowing voters Kindergarten through death if it was up to me. I think it only fair, because children are affected by elections as much, even more, than adults. For example, suppose the Government passed a law for shorter recesses. That, in my opinion, would affect children’s health drastically. If children could vote, however, the government might pass a law for longer recesses, in order to get more votes if they ran for re-election – like the way the gas prices are going down as we near November 7th."
-Sorcha, age 10, California

"I don't think that kids should be able to vote. A 14-year-old probably wouldn't know enough about how exactly each president would affect the nation. Also, a parent could take advantage of the child, by grounding them or punishing them if they didn't vote for a specific person. This would give people with children who could vote more votes than people without children. People might start to have more children so that they could get more say in the presidential election. The elections would become unfair, and would become much more chaotic than they already are. This is why I think kids under 18 should not be able to vote."
-Monica, age 11, Connecticut

"Politics don't just affect adults. They affect everyone, from a teenage girl considering an abortion, to an elementary school student taking a standardized test, to a young family without health insurance. So if the best way to voice our opinions about the kinds of politics that affect our everyday lives is to vote, why is voting limited to people over the age of 18?
I know that not all kids or teens--or even some adults--might understand politics and government well enough to make the 'informed decisions' that voting involves. But I think it would be fair to give those under age 18 who do care about having a say in politics a chance to have that voice. I know that if I could vote in elections (local, state, or national), I would do so without hesitation. As singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco says, we have to understand that 'the personal is political.' If only everyone understood that!"
-Natalia, age 15, Wisconsin

"I think the voting age should be 16 because if you can drive, you are obviously ready for some responsibility. I think people under 16 should vote, but their votes should be counted as partial votes. I think teens’ votes (above age 16) should count as whole votes, because some adults don't know much more than kids about politics.
I would vote if I could, but I know people that wouldn’t. But not everyone has to vote!
I think politicians would change their campaigns if kids could vote, but they shouldn’t. Kids can be very well-informed. The politicians wouldn’t need to sugar-coat everything."
-Sarah, age 13, New Jersey

"I think that the voting age now is fine. People know what they think when they are 18. Kids usually take the opinions of their parents. Kids’ votes should not count in the real election. I will vote in national elections when I am 18 and my opinions are thought out and my own."
-Sarah, age 12, New York

"Voting is something I think is very important, I would like it if 16 year olds could vote. If they could vote there would be more say in whose president and we can let our voices be heard! I also think since we’re a whole person we should get a whole vote, why not? I would love to be able to vote, because I feel it helps us be supportive of our country. I know though, that if I was allowed to vote, the politicians would end up changing their whole campaign to stupid stuff like teen pop stars and fashion. That doesn’t seem right! I don’t care if Paris Hilton is on their t-shirts, it’s what they promise to do for our country that matters! So, do I think teens should vote? Yes! But I don’t think politicians should change their campaigns to suit us!"
-Jessi, age 12, Pennsylvania

"The voting age is a huge issue that can’t be addressed by a simple yes or no answer. For one thing, as I am sure we’ve all realized at some point in time or another, pre-teens and teenagers all mature at different rates, and we all come from different backgrounds that affect our maturity. Giving a 14 year old the right to vote might not always be the best solution. Even 16 and 18 year olds might not be mature enough to shoulder such a responsibility as voting. After all, we are talking about our country’s management. It is also unquestionable that politicians, parents, teachers, and other mentors would treat young people differently. At this time in our lives, we are still learning right from wrong and are highly impressionable. It is even a fact that the decision-making part of our brain is not yet fully developed. So, while we might not be altogether naive, it wouldn’t be hard to alter our votes to suit someone else’s opinion either.
This is why I have come to the conclusion that the best solution to this issue would be a test. Knowledgability in the voting process is key. However, age does not determine maturity, and so, giving this test to only the youngest members of our voting community would be foolish. The test would require the voter to provide the basic facts on a measure, congressmen, or whatever was being voted upon. These questions would have bubble in answers, and the results of the test would lead to a custom ballot suited to the voter’s knowledge.
In addressing exactly what age a voter should be, I believe that best to be left open ended--but not completely. I think the best answer to this question would be that that any young person with a driver’s license should have the right to vote. After all, the fuel economy is affecting everyone else as well as them, and if you’ve passed a test to be out on the country’s roads, you should be able to make decisions about how it’s run as well. "
-Sarah, age 14, California

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's a fine month for writing

I know a lot of readers of this blog are also writers -- I am, too! If you've ever felt like there's a novel inside of you dying to get out, this month is the time to write it. That's because November is National Novel Writing Month, and every year, NaNoWriMo puts out a challenge to all those budding novelists in the world to write a WHOLE novel (well, at least 50,000 words of it) in one month. This is my second year taking up the NaNoWriMo challenge, and I'm thrilled! NaNoWriMo even has a special section for young writers where you can feel right at home.

Feel nervous about writing a whole novel in one month? Me too. But since I did it last year, I know I can do it again. When you break down the words into 30 days, it means you have to write about 1700 words a day -- that's about 6 pages in a word processor. You don't have to worry about whether what you write is good (although I'm sure it is!) as long as you pound out enough words. So even though I'm an editor, I tell the little editor inside of me to be quiet during the month of November and let me JUST write. There will be plenty of time to edit during the rest of the year.

Not ready to tackle a novel? Or thinking, "been there, done that, now what about PUBLISHING?" Ah, I'm glad you asked. I've been wanting an opportunity to plug the fabulous book A Teen's Guide to Getting Published by Jessica and Danielle Dunn. I've read a lot of books that have tips for getting published, and this one is definitely one of the best. It's written by former teen authors and reading it is like having a conversation with an expert who just wants to share all her secrets with you. There are also whole sections about different markets that welcome kids' and teens' writing and there are tips for being a teen writer for adult markets as well. The book covers writers' guidelines, starting writing groups, copyrights, and more. It includes interviews with successful teen authors and editors who share their secrets. What's more, the book is so well organized that you'll find exactly what you're looking for without trouble. Check it out!

Happy writing and publishing!

All the way from Arizona!

New Moon reader Kathryn from Arizona visited the New Moon office a few weeks ago! Kathryn, her mom, and her grandma--who lives in Duluth--stopped by to see where the Girls Editorial Board magic happens and to learn more about the magazine. We had just rearranged our office space when they arrived, so things were a BIT messy. Kathryn and her family didn't seem to mind, though. It was really fun for me to hear Kathryn's feedback and explain how the submissions and editing process works. Thanks again for visiting us, Kathryn, and thanks for sending the photos!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Election Day 2006!

Election Day is Tuesday, November 7th. Are your parent(s) voting? If you don’t know, ask them. If they’re not, encourage them to vote. If they are planning to vote, ask if you can join them in the polling booth! You will get to see how the voting process works and realize that it’s quick, easy and important!