Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Girls and Women in Canada

Since our Letter to Congress issue went out, we've received several letters from girls outside the U.S. claiming the focus was too "American." Even though we published the magazine in the U.S. and directed it to the U.S. Congress, we believe these issues affect ALL girls -- and that different countries' governments can have a big effect on each other. We also want all girls to speak up about and to their own government leaders. 14-year-old Joanne writes the post below about women's issues in Canada. - New Moon Editors

"I am very disappointed with the government of Canada. As a 14-year-old feminist, I have been following the news about women’s issues in Canada with a lot of interest. When our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was elected, he promised to help sustain advocacy for women’s issues in Canada, and to continue to fund the organization Status of Women Canada.

Status of Women Canada is a government organization that supports programs and research to help young girls and women – because, let’s face it – women and men are hardly equal, even now. The government recently announced a $5 million cut (nearly half of the funding that was provided originally!) to women’s rights organizations in Canada. Now lots of amazing women’s organizations across Canada face staff shortages and lots of challenges that may force them to close their doors completely.
Rally in Hamilton, Ontario.
Lots of these organizations address issues around women in poverty, women of color, abusive relationships, and women of different sexual orientations. I don’t understand the value of limiting the work and resources for these organizations, because in my opinion, the work they do is some of the most important in society! Progress around women’s rights in Canada is going to go backwards. Shelagh Day, one of the co-chairs of FAFIA (Canadian Feminist Alliance For International Action) says, 'The closure of twelve offices is an extreme measure to make sure that women are cut off from meaningful input to public policy.'

So what does this mean for young girls who want to be involved in leadership, or politics? Canadian girls (or outside of Canada as well) reading this – write to Stephen Harper, or do your research at, or Women across Canada are outraged – sit-ins and rallies have been organized across the country. Now do your part!"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Contest: Create Your Own Ad

As part of the Turn Beauty Inside Out campaign, Mind on the Media is holding a Create Your Own Ad contest:

"We're so tired of ads that fall back on narrow, worn-out stereotypes of 'beauty'—that depend on unreal models and lots of makeup, photo retouching and special lighting. Why don't ads show the beauty of being a real person who cares about more than plastic perfection? We think advertisers can do better, and we want you to help us show them how!"

Mind on the Media invites all students age 11-16 to create your own original ads that celebrate Inner Beauty. Inner Beauty is the beauty of action, the beauty of being true to yourself, the beauty of making the world a better place, the beauty of being a good friend, the beauty of standing up for your beliefs and righting wrongs.

First prize is FREE registration to attend the 2007 Turn Beauty Inside Out Girls Leadership Retreat June 27-30, 2007, in Manhattan, NY (value of $380).

Ads must meet these specifications:
TV – A 15, 30 or 60-second public service announcement. Must be submitted on ½ inch VHS tape.
Radio – A 5, 15, or 30-second public service message. Must be submitted on audio cassette tape.
Print – An 8-1/2” X 11” black and white or color message. Original must be submitted. Keep a good copy for yourself.
Web – A banner ad must be a gif file that is 465 x 84 pixels. Or, create a full web page. Submit banner ads by emailing the gif. Submit a web page by emailing the url.

All entries must include the name, age, full mailing address, phone number w/area code, and email address of the creator(s). All contest entries are assumed for publication and become the property of Mind on the Media. All entries must be postmarked by April 1, 2007.

Web entries can be emailed to Video, radio, and print entries should be mailed to:
Mind on the Media Ad Contest
710 St. Olaf Avenue Ste. 200
Northfield, MN 55057 USA
Questions? Email or call 952-210-1625.

Friday, January 26, 2007

What exactly is ugly about Betty?!?

This week, I asked readers of New Moon's e-newsletter to share their reactions to the hit TV show, "Ugly Betty." New Moonies love America Ferrera, the star of the show, who spoke as part of a "Being a Girl in Hollywood" panel at the Turn Beauty Inside Out Girls' Leadership Retreat in 2005. When America recently picked up a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, she said,

"It's such an honor to play a role that I hear from young girls on a daily basis how it makes them feel worthy and lovable and that they have more to offer the world than they thought."

"Ugly Betty" seems to be resonating with many girls and women. What do YOU think about the show's message? And what about that title? Check out what a few of our friends had to say, then share YOUR opinion by leaving a comment or writing to

"I think it is wonderful how there is a show about a girl who is not perfect and beautiful, but a powerful woman. She is a wonderful actress despite the fact that she is not movie-star thin. It sends a wonderful message and I think this show should go on for a long time." –Emily, 10, Pittsburgh

"Whereas I understand the show, 'Ugly Betty,' turns out to be a positive production for girls, the title just seems offensive to me." –Caren, Massachusetts

"It seems to me that this show actually is reinforcing some arbitrary (Media-driven) notion of an ideal beauty! I guess the message of the show is that a person has value, even if she is ugly? But I still can't figure out what, exactly, is ugly about Betty! Is it because she has glasses and braces? Is she really considered overweight? Maybe it’s the brown curly hair? I think she is actually pretty attractive. I’ll admit that I've only watched the whole show a couple of times, and I can appreciate the intention. Still, I think the concept is ill-conceived and off-target. On another note, I think it's a shame that the content (due to adult themes, etc.) is inappropriate for pre-teens. My daughter is 12, and I don't encourage her to watch. " –Heidi, New Hampshire

"Personally, I am bummed that the title of the show is 'Ugly Betty.' I don't find Betty ugly at all! She is hard-working, kind, generous, warm and funny. I can see where it might be igniting conversation among girls and women, and hopefully among boys and men, too, which is extremely necessary. All good things start with valuable conversation. But there is so much focus on the body that it worries me for our youth. What about Betty's beautiful mind? Are girls able to separate all of this?" –Pam Erickson, Maine (Pam is executive director of Coastal Studies for Girls.)

"I LOVE Ugly Betty! At first I didn't know what to think about the title until I watched the show and really got the message. It's great! We need more shows like this and more actresses who are not the anorexic norm. We want REAL women!" –Rudy Ann Gunneson-Poling, California

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For your reading pleasure...

Hi Everyone! With school back in session, I'm sure many of you have a lot of assigned readings, so you're probably in dire need of a 'fun' read! If you do get a free moment, you should take some time to read this book about a young girl who imagines that JFK is her father! Read the review to get a feel for what the book is about, and to see if you'd like it! We can't wait to hear your comments about the book!

When JFK Was My Father
By Amy Gordon

Have you ever wanted to just switch parents? Have you ever looked at someone else's parent and wished that they were yours? That's how Georgia Hughes feels, too- but instead of just wishing, she actually "adopts" that parent in her mind.

Georgia Hughes lives in Brazil, where she meets her only friend, Tim. When her mother comes home to find her father with a young Brazilian woman, she brings Georgia to live in Washington, D.C. But Georgia's mother, who she calls La, sends Georgia to the Beard Boarding School for Girls in Connecticut practically immediately after the move.

Because Georgia's parents hardly communicate with her, she adopts a new father- the president. She hung a picture of JFK next to her bed and talked to him inside her head. JFK gives her advice on tricky situations she finds herself in, which tend to occur frequently. To help with the awful attitudes of Georgia's classmates and teachers, JFK tells Georgia that Beard is actually a cover for a gunrunning operation in which several of the mean students' parents and the worst teachers are working together to ship guns to Cuba. JFK gives Georgia hints to look out for, such as if a teacher is wearing the same tie for more than four days in a row.

The only people who are kind to Georgia at Beard are people who are younger than her, and Georgia feels abandoned and alone. She misses Brazil and her only friend there- Tim- and doesn't pay attention in class, except for English.

When Georgia gets her first report card, she is miserable with her terrible grades, along with other things. She skips gym class and wanders into a shed near the school- and finds Tim, her only true friend. He had been going to the boy's boarding school across the river. Tim hated it there, so he ran away. Georgia visits him again and whenever she has free time.

Suddenly, tragedy strikes. Word gets out that JFK was shot, and Georgia's world is shattered. Georgia runs away to Tim's shed, but they soon realize that it is too cold and too obvious. The retreat to the attic of the Beard school and hide out there. Tim continually tries to get Georgia to run farther away, out of Connecticut, out of the United States. As more and more people find out where Georgia is hiding, Georgia is forced to make an important decision- where does she belong?

I enjoyed this book because it was a touching story of a girl and her imaginary father, who she uses for consolation during hard times. I liked reading about the boarding school aspect, and a different point of view about JFK's death. My favorite part was watching Georgia change over time- learning to deal with her issues without JFK helping her in her head, and becoming able to make decisions on her own.

- Jasmine, 13
Northampton, Massachusetts

Thanks to Jasmine for the book review!

Monday, January 22, 2007


Here's a true story from Emily(age 10) in Massachussetts. I'm not a swimmer, but I really felt like I was right there with her as I was reading this. Way to go, Emily! Congratulations!


Water hits my face as the swimmers dive into the water.

I can do this! I can do this!

It’s approximately 9:15 on a freezing cold morning. Goosebumps
have officially invaded my body. I look at my hand, shaking and blue.
I’m so nervous. The day I’ve looked forward to and dreaded all year has
arrived. Championships.

But my coach, Tim, turns to me. “You can win this easy. This is
your race. And y’know what? You’ve worked hard this year. I bet you
can beat your old time.” He smiles.

“Thanks,” I say.

“Swimmers step up.”

Quickly I snap on my goggles and step onto the wet, slippery
diving block. Help me! I scream in my head.

“Take your mark…”

I bend down and squeeze my eyes shut.


I push off, soaring long and far. I dive nice and shallow. The
water feels warm and comforting on my bare legs.

I feel a surge of speed and kick my legs hard, a fierce geyser
sprouting behind me. I tune out everything I hear, everything I see,
except the wall. The wall. It seems so far away. But I will reach it.


My arms scoop over the water, pulling, pulling. Water fills my
goggles and every thing becomes a blur. But the wall, dark and solid,
remains ahead of me. I picture myself with a shimmering, glittery
trophy. I scoop harder, kick faster, and breathe less and less.

My arm reaches out. My fingers feel the scratchy prickle of the
wall. My heart is ready to burst. My head sprouts out of the water like a
flower. My knees straighten and I pull myself out of the water.

A wave
of relief, triumph, and a pinch of worry wash over me. What if I didn’t
win? What if all the other racers finished first? I search for the timer to
find out if I beat my old time. I find him and ask him my old time.


“My new time?”


My jaw hits the ground. 16.23? A sensation of excitement hits
me hard. I stand there, utterly amazed. I smile to myself. I reached the
wall first.

The End

Thanks for sending this, Emily! If there's something you would like us to post on our blog, send it to us at

Friday, January 19, 2007

Have You Written YOUR Letter to Congress?

Every time another "Letter to Congress" postcard arrives at New Moon, it makes my day!

So far, we've heard from girls in California, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Thanks, girls--we can't wait to bring your voices to Congress!

If you haven't sent a postcard yet, click here to get started!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Girl Speaks up about the Iraq War

10-year-old Eliza has written to us several times about her interest in the UN. She talks about the Iraq War from the UN's perspective.

Today, The New York Times reported that the UN issued a report that more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians were killed last year. This is the UN hand counted deaths in Iraq. That means that these are 34,000 people who WEREN'T FIGHTING. This number was three times higher than the Iraqi government had reported. The UN defended its report and said that the number may even be low because not all violent deaths are reported. (

The US army was sent to Iraq to fight, and now we have killed more than 34,000 people who were not even fighting. They didn't harm us. I think this is unfair. More than just unfair, I think it is cruel. At least the people actually enlisted to fight us (and those not enlisted who do) chose to be part of the violence, even if they think differently now. It's like Padme Amidala, and character of the new trilogy of STAR WARS, said: "I call it aggressive negotiations." Before she had been trying to make a "diplomatic solution." Anikan Skywalker, another STAR WARS character, had been asking her, in the middle of a crucial battle, "You call this a diplomatic solution?" I think it's almost like that. Padme said it much more movie like, calmly and rationally, while firing her blaster. But what we should have made a diplomatic solution, we have made into aggressive negotiations.

On Jan. 27, 2007, there is going to be a peace march in Washington. I am am going, and I think it is a good thing to go or to let other people know about it. For more info, go to

-- Eliza

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Natalia published by PBS NewsHour!

I'm excited to announce that Natalia's commentary on President Bush's recent address is featured prominently as a student editorial on the PBS NewsHour Extra website. It's called "U.S. Military Strategies Ignore Iraqi Girls' Rights," and it's on the "Speak Out!" page. Check it out!

Natalia says, "I hadn't heard about NewsHour's website before, but I'm enjoying discovering it. It's a great forum for students to speak out on political issues. The website includes a page on how to get your commentary published by NewsHour Extra."

Congratulations, Natalia--what an honor! I hope lots more girls submit their political opinions to our blog and to NewsHour Extra. Good luck!

Monday, January 15, 2007

What's Wrong With Cinderella?

"To call princesses a 'trend' among girls is like calling Harry Potter a book," claimed Peggy Orenstein in a New York Times commentary (via Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood).

Sales at Disney Consumer Products, which started the craze six years ago by packaging nine of its female characters under one royal rubric, have shot up to $3 billion, globally, this year, from $300 million in 2001. There are now more than 25,000 Disney Princess items. "Princess," as some Disney execs call it, is not only the fastest-growing brand the company has ever created; they say it is on its way to becoming the largest girls' franchise on the planet.

Last week, I asked readers of New Moon's e-newsletter to read and share their OWN opinions. Have marketers gone too far with the princess theme? We got a lot of thoughtful responses from parents, and one from a girl! Read on to see what they had to say, then share YOUR opinion by leaving a comment or writing to

I think that for little girls to play pretend and play that they are princesses is OK. I am a girl who strongly believes EVERY human is equal. But in my opinion, girls do seem to like playing house a little more than boys and they like dolls a little better than boys. This is not to say that boys are not allowed the freedom of a Raggedy Ann or that girls can't play boat or war! When I played those kind of games, even when I played adventures, I always wanted to be the girl princess or nurse. I do agree with Peggy on one thing. Most girls I know hate the color pink. It to me is more a color to say what the sex of a human is rather than their favorite color. I hate when someone calls me “hon,” or assumes my favorite color is pink. I must admit that sometimes I find it a little odd that people think all girls are pink-loving, sweat-hating angels. But then again some people go a tad bit overboard with the whole “girls don’t like pink they want to play in the dirt” thing. I myself do like to do that, but I also know girls who can't stand being dirty. I say let the children play and pretend. They will come to their own realization when they are older. Every child has a mind, some for princesses and some not. –Gui, age 12, Arizona

The princess thing is a moment in time. Our oldest, now 10, won't wear pink anymore, and at 4 and 5, she wouldn't wear blue. Embrace your child's natural bend and assure her it’s great to be girlie or a tomboy ... or a little of both! The notion that as women there's sides to this issue reminds me that we haven't come as far as I'd hoped. I see this even with mothers ... some of my more feminist friends look down on me because I get a manicure every once in awhile. –Robyn, Kentucky

The issue my sister and I have been fighting since our children were old enough to want Happy Meal toys is the question from the cashier, "Do you want a 'boy toy' (car/adventure toy) or 'girl toy' (Barbie/My Little Pony, etc.) with your Happy Meal?" There were many times my sister's son wanted a pony toy or my daughter wanted a car, but when we would remind the (usually teenage) clerk that boys and girls all play with many different kinds of toys, we would just get a blank stare. My sister even e-mailed McDonald's corporate office about this and asked them if it wouldn't be just as easy for cashiers to ask, "Do you want a car or a Barbie," but she got no response. Now I just bypass the issue by saying when I order, "I would like a Happy Meal with a car (or Barbie)." –Lisa, Ohio

As a Speech-Language Pathologist who works with disadvantaged preschoolers, Iuse the "princess" lure to my advantage, building on the girls' enculturation with princess images but modifying it to include role-playing that empowers them to be princesses who take action. I read them books like "Paperbag Princess" and "Feminist Fairy Tales." Who says princesses have to be wimps?! –Chris, Wisconsin

I agree with Peggy 100%. Little girls—and big girls—should aspire to so much more than being a princess. If we touted role models like astronauts, engineers, and scientists and much as pink princesses, we would have a woman for president right now. And boy, could we use one! –Jan, Colorado

Disney princesses are actually a fantastic learning tool for young girls. My own daughter will be 11 soon, and she loved each and every princess. I don't know how other Moms handle these situations, but I always talk to my daughter about the message being sent and I try to do this in a positive way. For example, we watched Little Mermaid together. Afterwards, I said that I felt Ariel was a beautiful sea creature, special and magical, and that no one should ever change who they are. All of her friends are sea creatures as well—surely she wouldn't want to leave all of them behind? My daughter completely agreed. Why then, I asked my daughter, did Ariel want to become a human? My daughter couldn't explain it. With each movie, I helped her understand the "real" story behind the Disney version. I compare the characters to real women and girls who don't have big eyes/lips and who don't flash skin, who my daughter admires and loves and considers to be beautiful. This has worked for me and sometimes, my daughter has analyzed the latest fad toy or doll without me saying one word. I believe that as long as I am doing my job, pointing out the marketing strategies these companies use, what messages they're sending, what messages they really should send, etc., then my daughter (hopefully) will be just fine. The princess phase is just that—a phase. –Kelly, Indiana

I think marketers will only push products/themes that they know will sell. I believe in supply and demand. If there was not a demand for princess-themed items in the market, then we would not be seeing them in advertising or in the stores. It is up to parents to decide if they allow their children’s self esteem or aspirations to be effected in any way by what is marketed in the media. They can do this by limiting exposure, or by watching with them and explaining their point of view at that time, and the most effective way is to NOT BUY the item(s) for their children! My experience has been that some girls go through phases in their development where the color pink, princess themes, and frilly dresses may play a big part of their lives. Then it may turn into a phase where sports, pants, and t-shirts are the most important themes. Hopefully as parents we can guide our child through these and enjoy the benefits without getting too caught up on the stereotypes adults tend to worry about. –Linda, Michigan

My mother-in-law sent me a copy of the article because she knows how much the whole princess craze drives me nuts! My daughter is 4 1/2 yrs old and MY mother is very into Barbies and princesses and has given my daughter a ton of CRAP associated with them—which I politely try to "leave at grandma's house to play with there" because quite frankly, I could not get through the badly-written copies of the annoying Disney princess storybook series without having to change the stories to be able to stomach them as a feminist who cares about my daughter's self esteem! –Melissa, Illinois

What would Peggy suggest that marketers use to reach little girls instead of pink and princesses? I think it'd be interesting to see what they would come up with instead. Don't we grow out of pink anyway? I don't know of many women walking around with plastic (or real) tiaras or pink feather boas with plastic heels on. I think the reality of having to go to work, or working at home while raising children, is a daily reminder that we are not all princesses. It doesn't mean we can't feel like ones, such as on my oldest son's wedding day when I wore my hair up and had my makeup done. –Rudy, California

Friday, January 12, 2007

Girls Across the Nation Write to Congress

New Moon is receiving the first letters to Congress written by girls! Instead of asking for submissions to the magazine, we are asking girls to send us letters to Congress. The Girls Editorial Board is planning to hand-deliver the letters we collect—along with copies of the magazine—to every member of Congress later this spring!

The Girls Editorial Board hopes their “Letter to Congress” will inspire thousands of girls to write their OWN letters to Congress. Go to to find out who represents you in Congress, get letter-writing tips, and download special postcards. We will collect your letters to Congress through March 1, 2007.

(If you don’t live in the United States, write to YOUR government leaders to tell them about an issue that matters to you! New Moon will deliver international postcards, too!)

So far, we have received letters from Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, California, New York, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Letters range in topics from animal and human rights to global warming.

We’ve also had awesome feedback from girls who have read the “Letter to Congress” issue and took our online survey!

"The interviews with the congresswomen were great. They showed me that the goal of being a politician is totally possible. And I liked the postcard that you attached. It can be daunting to send a letter to the government, but you make it easy!" -a 12-year-old

"I also realized that if ALL girls who read New Moon sent in their post card, that Congress would be bombarded!!!" -a 14 year old

"It [reading this issue] helped me have more courage because I have lots of ideas but was scared to show them to congress. This issue helped." -a 10-year-old

Make sure Congress hears YOUR VOICE! Write your letter to Congress today!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One girl's response to President Bush's address

This morning, long-time New Moon reader and past contributor Natalia Thompson, 15, of Wisconsin, shared her response to President Bush's January 10th speech with us. Natalia will be posting more "Letter to Congress" updates and commentaries on the topics of foreign policy and immigration in the next few months. Girls, if YOU would like to cover a "Letter to Congress" topic for New Moon's blog, read this post for information on getting involved!

Read on to hear Natalia's opinion and read her call to action for girls.

Last night, President Bush announced his plans to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq (to “help us succeed in the fight against terror”).

Around the world, thousands of bloggers have already typed up their thoughts on what President Bush’s actions will mean for America, for the Middle East, and for “the global war on terror and our safety here at home” (President Bush’s words, not mine). But those aren’t the issues that I wanted to write about.

I am, of course, worried about what this will mean for American citizens, including soldiers and their families. I’m also worried, though, that the President’s plan ignores the basic rights of Iraqi civilians. The President stated, “For the sake of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.” But in his 20-minute speech, he said next to nothing about what our military’s actions in Iraq mean for the daily lives of Iraqis—and, after all, Iraqi civilians are the ones who most suffer in this war.

President Bush mentioned that terrorists and insurgents have “responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis.” But what about the American military’s own “acts of murder” against “innocent Iraqis”?

According to a study from John Hopkins University, violence in Iraq has left more than 650,000 civilians dead since the war began. That’s about 2.2% of Iraq’s total population. Think of what that means for Iraqi families. In comparison, 0.0000003% of the American population has died while serving in Iraq.

The President also said that we are working in Iraq “to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.” Where is the justice and hope, I wonder, in living in the dangerous war zone that Iraq has become?

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that women and girls are losing freedoms in “the chaos of postwar Iraq.” No big surprise, right? But the stories told in one article are devastating. Here’s what 13-year old Tabarek Mahmoud told a reporter:

“We have had wars and no fun our whole lives. There is no stability.... It is so hot. There is no electricity and the light is so dim I am damaging my eyes. I am scared of being attacked, and I see guns everywhere. I just want to enjoy my childhood.”

Last month, the representative for Iraq for UNICEF (the United Nations organization that works to protect children worldwide) said that “Women should be equal partners in the future of Iraq, but their rights risk slipping away without positive action to protect them.” He added, “Women of Iraq cannot wait for more stable times to receive the support they need. We must act now to empower them towards realizing a brighter future for the nation as a whole.”

Iraq Minister for Women’s Affairs Ms. Fatin Abdul Rahman Mahmoud added, “Women must be involved in all key decisions about the future of our country and our children. This is the only route towards a fair society where all citizens can flourish.” I couldn’t agree more.

If you agree, here’s what you can do:

Call or email your representatives in Washington to tell them that foreign policy on Iraq must take into account the lives of Iraqi women and girls.

Please ask your Senators and Representatives to stand up for Iraqi women and girls, and work to:

1. Increase national resources directed to improved services for women and children.

  • Work to increase access to education for girls. Right now, 74% of Iraqi children not in school are girls. That number needs to be improved.
  • Protect girls from violence. So-called “honor killings” and “convenience marriages” (short term unions that can be dissolved within days) are still occurring inside Iraq - often without being

2. Introduce legislation to protect women’s basic legal and social rights.

3. Promote women’s full participation in local and national decision-making. Right now, among 37 newly-appointed ministers, only four are women. And only 25% of Iraq’s parliamentarians are women.

When you call or email, remember to mention that you’re a girl yourself, because congresspeople do take children’s voices into account when they make decisions. When I’ve contacted my representatives, they’ve often been surprised to hear that a 15-year-old girl wants them to take her opinions into account. But I think they do.

Afterward, email and let us know how it went. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

East by Edith Pattou

Hi! My name is Karla and I am a member of the Girls Advisory Board at New Moon. I recently read a great book called "East" by Edith Pattou that I wanted to share with you!

The story is about an adventurous girl named Rose, who is whisked away from her family by a polar bear! Rose's family has fallen on hard times, but when the infamous polar bear comes to ther house, he promises that Rose's family will prosper if Rose agrees to go with him. Rose has made up her mind and embarks on a journey where she meets a viking, a female witch doctor and trolls! She even frees slaves and rescues a prince! If you have read this book or can't get enough of stories like this one, I recommend "Hero's Song" and "Fire Arrow" both part of the "Songs of Eirren" series also by Edith Pattou.

Monday, January 08, 2007

What IS reality?

In the November/December 2006 issue of New Moon, girl-writer Geneva wrote about whether we can ever really know what is reality in "Voice Box." Our deadline for accepting responses to this "Voice Box" will be January 17th, so I wanted to make sure that girls had the chance to respond. Below is a copy of her article. Please send your responses to ! Love, Luna

“Time is relative.” “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “Put yourself in their shoes.” All of these phrases refer to the same idea: perspective. Perspective comes from our minds—the control rooms of our bodies that determine what we see.

What we see and how we perceive it could be different from how anyone else sees the same thing. When we look up at the sky on a clear day, we see blue. But is it the same color to everyone? Everyone calls it the same name. But we can’t prove it’s the same without trading bodies with another person to literally “see through their eyes.” To you, the sky could be what I call “orange,” but since we both call it “blue,” we think we’re seeing the same thing.

On the other hand, we all have senses—we see, touch, smell, hear, or taste—and some people think the information from those senses is proof enough of reality. We have satellite images of Earth to “prove” that it’s mostly covered with water. And scientists use the scientific method, which requires going through certain steps to test something again and again before claiming it’s “true.” Scientists have discovered many things that they believe to be solid proof of our reality. But we can’t clearly prove some things, such as how the world began.

How do you define reality? Can it change from person to person?
Do we have control over what we see and how we see it?
Does what we see limit what we consider “true”?
Is scientific proof really “proof”? Why or why not?
Do you think words and names create reality? Why or why not?

Friday, January 05, 2007

10-year-old Eliza writes about World Hunger

We published Geneva's letter about world hunger in our "Letter to Congress" issue. Eliza has this to add:

"My mom and I went to the UN while we were in New York on a family vacation. We saw lots of pictures of hurt and hungry people, and children in particular. There were funky looking weapons that children all over the world had seen and picked up to play with, thinking they had found a free toy where toys were scarce. My mom and I agree that if we abolish world hunger, we're one step closer to abolishing world violence. When people are hungry, they are grumpy, rude, and desperate. They just want food, and they aren't thinking about much else when they are heading for it.

Our soldiers are hungry right now, and so are the Iraqi soldiers. They are fighting right now, and we, well fed and happy, are sitting in front of our computer screens reading, and wanting to stop the war. Those soldiers want to come home, too. Both sides. But they want it in a completely different way. They want war to end because they want to have a real Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones. They want to go to the grocery store and stock up for life. Most of them have probably stopped caring who wins and who loses. They just want to go HOME. I'm sure I got my point across long ago, but I justwant you to know I care, and that you ought to, too." -- Eliza, 10

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Global Warming: Threat to the Entire World by Olivia Fleet, age 10

In our "Letter to Congress" issue, which is just beginning to arrive in our subscribers' mailboxes, we featured an article about Global Warming called "We're Just Warming Up." Girls have been asking us for a long time to feature an article about Global Warming. Girl Journalist Olivia sent us some additional information about this issue. - New Moon Editors

Some people may not know what global warming is, so before I begin talking about what it's doing, I'll explain exactly what it is. First off, global warming happens when the Earth begins to get very warm. There is a gradual warming of the Earth's atmosphere that is caused by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial pollutants. Some examples of those are the fumes that come from cars, as well as the black stuff you see coming from the chimneys of factories. These gases get trapped in the Earth's atmosphere and cause the global warming, which makes ice caps and other ice shelves (including the glaciers) melt. Because of this, polar bears are nearly extinct!

My mom just told me about something she read today on the Yahoo! homepage. A 25.5 square mile ice shelf broke off in the Canadian Artic, located close to Greenland. The actual break happened in August 2005, but at that time no one was able to pinpoint exactly what had happened. But satellite images helped geographer Luke Copland piece together what had happened. "This loss is the biggest in 25 years, but it continues the loss that occurred within the last century," Copland said. "What is important and interesting is that it is a sudden, quite alrge event. In the past we looked to climate change and thought that perhaps ice shelves would just melt apart by losing a little piece day by day, but now it seems that when you reach some kind of threshold, when you reach that level, the whole thing just breaks apart." This is why polar bears are nearly extinct.

We need to make changes! I'm an animal lover, and I hate to hear that polar bears are in danger. But they may be overlooked if Congress doesn't see the huge issue at hand. I urge you to go to and see what you can do! - Olivia, age 10

A Woman's Place is in the House....

New Moon congratulates Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic Representative from California, who will be sworn in as Speaker of the House of Representatives today. She's making herstory as the first woman Speaker of the House!

"Becoming the first woman speaker will send a message to young girls and women across the country that anything is possible for them," Speaker Pelosi said on Wednesday.

Click here to watch a video of the swearing in ceremony.

Girls, what would YOU like to say to the new Speaker of the House? What questions would you ask her if you had a chance? Leave a comment or write to with your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Are you a Global Girl?

We recently received a letter from 11-year-old Katie telling us about her website. In her own words:

"The URL for my website is I created this website for girls who want to make a positive difference in the world. Also on the site, you can apply to become a Global Girl. I think girls should visit my site, because together, girls can make a BIG difference."

We couldn't agree more!