Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

How does your family celebrate today? Do you have any unique traditions?

Visit the Arts and Culture Message Board at to discuss what people and things you're thankful for in your life!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop Violence Against Women Day

Today is Stop Violence Against Women Day. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will experience some sort of abuse in her lifetime. Abuse, physical or emotional, often comes from someone the victim already knows.

The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) is an effort by the US to decrease abuse against women worldwide. You can watch an informative video clip about violence against woman below, produced by Amnesty International.

Read more about the International Violence Against Women Act at the Amnesty International Website, or check out the "Safe Schools: Every Girls' Right" comic. You can also visit the Stop Violence Against Women Day Spotlight feature at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stereotypical costumes?

With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, you may be learning about the history behind this annual holiday in your classroom. However, the holiday has sparked some controversy in the California city of Claremont.

A LA Times article today discusses the current divide in opinion present in one school district over a yearly tradition in Kindergarten classrooms. Each year, kids have created and dressed up in costumes depicting Pilgrims and Indians, and gotten together to reenact the first Thanksgiving. Some residents of the city have expressed outrage about the costumes, viewing them as a racist stereotype of Native American heritage.

What do you think? Should the school district allow the children to wear the costumes? Should the stereotypes that the costumes represent be discussed with the children? Do you think that it's possible for the children to dress up as Native Americans without being stereotypical or offensive?

Discuss this issue over at The Great Debate discussion board at

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's Thanks and Remembrance Week at! There are many different ways to give thanks this week. Giving back to your community is just one way to show your appreciation and help out those in need.

Some organizations require that you be 18 years or older to volunteer, but there are many places that welcome help from younger people and families. You can search out volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood and pick a cause or organization that interests you. Some good places to look are your local library, a soup kitchen, and nursing homes.

Do you already volunteer in your community? If so, what do you do and how did you become involved? What ideas do you have for giving back? Talk about it on the Changing the World discussion board at (sign-in required).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Youth Internet Usage

You've heard about the possible negative consequences of spending too much time watching TV, but what about all of those hours spent in front of a computer?

According to a New York Times article, the time that adolescents spend socializing on the computer and using new media may actually be time well spent. By interacting online and learning how to use new technologies, you are learning skills which are likely to be valuable down the road and help you to succeed.

How much time do you spend online each day? How involved are you in new media, such as watching or making your own videos and blogging? Do you think that there's a point when Internet usage could become problematic? Discuss the impact that new media has on society over at the Arts and Culture discussion board at!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Loriene Roy

It's Native Peoples week at!

Loriene Roy is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, as well as the current president of the American Library Association. Hoping to increase literacy among indigenous children, she has started and overseen a number of educational initiatives, including the national book reading club "If I can read, I can do anything."

You can watch part of the of a celebration in her honor which took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The video clip shows a native Honor Dance and a short speech given by Loriene.

You can check out Loriene's blog here. Also be sure to check out the Spotlight hub at this week to read writing that has been submitted by other girls about Native cultures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Susan La Flesche Picotte

It's Native Peoples week at! Visit this week to read about several other outstanding native woman.

Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American female physician. She was born in 1865 into the Omaha tribe in Nebraska. The daughter of a chief who stressed the importance of education, she received her schooling through homeschooling and an all-girls school in New Jersey. She later graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, making her the Native American woman to earn a medical degree, as well as the first person in America to receive federal aid for education.

After receiving her degree, she worked on her tribes reservation as a doctor. On the reservation, she was confronted with the challenges that the changing lifestyles associated with American culture had on her tribe. She also spent her life studying health and bringing knowledge back to her tribe.

She died when she was 50 years old, in 1915. Two years before her death, she opened a hospital which now stands as the Susan La Flesche Picotte Center, celebrating her life work as a doctor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

American Indian Heritage Month

November is American Indian Heritage Month, and we're celebrating "Native Peoples" Week at!

What do you think of when you hear the term "American Indian?" Maybe you imagine someone who wears feathers and lives in a Tipi. Unfortunately, the word "Indian" often brings to mind a stereotypical image for many people. In fact, there are many unique Native cultures and tribes in America which all have their own characteristics and customs. For example, not all Indians live in Tipis (these were used by the Indians of the Great Plains). In our media culture, Indians are often stereotypically portrayed as violent, savage, and exotic. In contrast to this portrayal of Indians, Americans of European descent appear dignified and civilized.

This theme of Indians being violent and relentless is prevalent in professional sporting teams as well. Take for example baseball team the Cleveland Indians and football team the Washington Redskins. Many people oppose the use of these names and the team mascots for being racist.

What do you think about how you've seen American Indians portrayed in media? Do you think that pressure should be put on these professional sporting teams to modify their names or mascots? What implications do you think these portrayals have for those people who identify with a Native culture?

Join the discussion about this issue over at the Spotlight board at (sign-in required).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Guest Post: Beauty

It's Pride and Predjudice week at!Beauty is on the inside as WELL as on the outside, and it's important to recognize that beauty isn't always what society defines it to be. Gabrielle of blog/webzine Innovative wrote the following post on the idea of beauty.

You do not have to be a certain shape to be beautiful.
You do not have to be beautiful.
Those two sentences have taken the longest time to sink into my head. I've always been a reader and writer who hates sports, meaning I spent (and spend) a lot of time on the couch. I was a chubby kid and a chubby tween in a city where everyone was thin. Consequence? I dieted constantly and hated how I looked.
Scratch that. I was never comfortable with my weight, not comfortable with how I looked in shopping room mirrors or how I moved. I couldn't get it right.
Body image is something we struggle with constantly and I can't offer an end-all solution. I wish I could. But there are a few things that have helped me, as a senior in high school, appreciate what healthy body image can do and accept the way I look. See if this makes sense.

Think about images. Part of my problem was the images I saw in my halls and in magazines. There is this definition of beauty that I saw, with few alternatives. But look at pictures of gorgeous "plus-size" models in gorgeous clothes-look at them-my brain tells me, they're beautiful too.
Say yes to your mirror. Something I try to do is look in the mirror and stop criticizing. Look and say, this is what I look like and be okay with it. My body gets me places: it takes me to school, lets me breathe, helps me dance, shows off fabulous outfits.
Health is good. If you eat bad and feel bad, change how you eat and change how you feel. Unless you have a serious health problem and are on doctors' orders, you girls should not be on diets. Recognize that caring for your health and trying to fit in with a certain stereotype (and yes, it is a stereotype) are way different. Eat fruits and veggies not to change shape, but because it will give you more energy and it's good for your thumper. Drink herbal tea. Take dance lessons. Dress for your shape. It's fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Club Libby Lu Closed

Hey, girls. Did you hear that Club Libby Lu is closing its doors in May? Club Libby Lu was a retail store where girls ages 6 - 12 could have parties and get "makeovers" with various themes, such as rock star or princess. There were a LOT of pink dresses and glitter makeup involved.

Some people criticized Club Libby Lu because it encouraged girls as young as 6 to focus on being "pretty," and it stressed that girls could "be their unique selves," through shopping. It played to a lot of stereotypes about girls being delicate and obsessed with their looks and shopping. At first, I wondered whether Club Libby Lu was losing business because of this criticism, and whether that was why it was closing. But Saks 5th Avenue, the company that owns Club Libby Lu, says the reason for the closing was that Club Libby Lu didn't fit with the "direction" they'd like to take with Saks 5th Avenue (whatever that means).

So, what do you think? Have you ever had a makeover party at Club Libby Lu? Is it harmless fun, or does it add to girls feeling like they have to look perfect? Will you miss Club Libby Lu, or are you among those saying, "Good Riddance!" I'd love to hear from you!

Lacey, adult editor

Join in the discussion about this topic on the message boards at! (Sign-in is required to participate and view).

New Moon Girls Wins Three Awards

New Moon Girls was recently awarded three Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association (MMPA) awards! Girls Web Editorial Board member Holly (pictured) was there to accept the awards on behalf of New Moon Girl Media.

NMG received "Gold" awards in three different categories:

Overall Excellence
Best Regular Column (Body Language)
Best Single-Topic Issue (25 Beautiful Girls: Toot Your Own Horn)

You can read a full account of this event at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Official launch of! Official Launch!

Today marks the official of the online community! After sixteen years of publishing the award-winning New Moon Girls magazine, we’re proud to bring the “New Moon experience” of self-discovery, creativity, and community, to girls 24/7.

You can read more about the launch of on the website, or check out NMGM founder Nancy Gruver's blog about the launch and other media issues affecting young girls.

To start taking advantage of everything has to offer, you will have to register for an account.

See you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TeenSpace Retreat

Our lives this time each year can get especially busy, and it can be easy to forget to take off to concentrate on ourselves. However, it's important to dedicate time each day to relax and do something you enjoy, such as yoga, reading, or writing in a journal.

The TeenSpace retreat for teens and parents is taking place Saturday, January 31st (2009) from 8:30– 4:30 in Sedona, Arizona. At the retreat, teens and and adults will explore how to be more self-aware and live life with more self-care and make better choices for themselves and the world around them.

Facilitators of the event will include author Debra Beck, yoga teacher Maura Mark, and meditation instructor Sarah McLean. You can visit for more information about the event and how to register.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Real Beauty

It's Pride and Prejudice Week at, and this week we're celebrating the differences that make you proud to be YOU!

The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" is one of my favorite ad campaigns. We are constantly presented with media-created images that influence our perception and expectations of what physical beauty is. Watch one of Dove's commercials below, titled "evolution," which shows the creation of a beauty advertisement from start to finish. You can see for yourself how many advertisements are the result of stylists and computer editing.

Have you seen any of the other Dove "Real Beauty" commercials? What do you think about this campaign? Do you think that the commercial above is effective at communicating the editing involved with creating the advertisements we see in magazines and billboards?

Friday, November 7, 2008

ASYMCA Essay and Art Contest

November is Military Family Month!

The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) launched their annual essay and art contest this month and all children of U.S. active duty, National Guard or Reserves are invited to enter. If eligible, you're encouraged to write an essay about your military hero or illustrate your military family. Winners will receive a U.S. Savings Bond and the winning artwork and essays will also be displayed around the country.

The deadline for the art contest is February 20, 2009 and the deadline for the essay contest is March 20, 2009. Visit for entry forms and for more information about Military Family Month.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results!

It's hard to believe that the 2008 election season is over! Barack Obama was the clear winner of yesterday's election with 349 electoral votes, making him the 44nd president of the United States.

I thought Obama's victory speech was incredible, but I was almost more interested in McCain's speech. After realizing he had lost the election last night, John McCain gave a concession speech in Arizona to a dismayed and booing crowd. The crowd booed at points while he was talking, such as when he stated that he had called and congratulated Obama prior to the speech. However, McCain remained poised throughout his speech and was graceful in discussing his loss. You can watch his concession speech below:

What are your thoughts on the election? Did you watch either Obama's or McCain's speech on television last night? How do you think McCain handled losing the election?

The election may be over, but it's still election week at! The election may be over, but you can still cast YOUR vote in our Mock Election.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

It's Election Day! Be sure to head on over to and cast your vote in our mock election!

Vote for our Kids

It's Election Day - finally!

As I drive voters to the polls today I'll be thinking about how important this election is to our children. Whether they are still infants or they're already tax-paying adults like my daughters, this election will have a huge impact on their lives.

With our nation's deep economic and environmental woes, no matter who is elected, we're facing a time when Americans will all need to step up and defer some of our "wants" to make sure all of us get what we truly need. Luckily for parents, sacrificing our wants for our childrens' needs is something we already have some practice at! The part that will be different is how we define what our children truly need (as opposed to what they want).

One other thing on my mind is that whichever ticket wins today, there will be girls living in the White House or the VP's residence. That's exciting and will engage many kids in following what happens in national politics. It's already been wonderful in the campaign to see the genuine and expectant faces of Malia, Piper, Sasha & Willow as they accompany their parents at some appearances.

For me it's a reminder of the hopes of our children and the ways we as parents are responsible to their hopes.

I hope you all are voting today for our kids.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How do YOU vote?

It's election week! While you have to be eighteen years old to have your vote count officially in the United States, and many schools are holding mock elections this week!

However, many people question the purpose of these mock elections. Do kids, especially those who are younger, really understand the issues on which they are pretending to vote? With less information about the policies, it's easy to end up voting for the same candidate as your parents. While this emulation is often criticised, it makes sense--you vote based on your own personal values, which are often passed along and taught by your family.

Do you think that you will grow up to vote like your parents? What about if your parents vote for different parties? What can be done to help kids become independent and thoughtful voters?

You can read more about and discuss this issue here at Also visit this week to read about the different political parties and have your voice heard in our unofficial election.