I’m really excited to be participating in Once Upon A Bookshelf’s Body Image Month. If you’ve read My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, you already know how much I care about these issues. I try really, really hard to feel good about my own body (after years of hating my nose). But now I have daughters and I know that I have to be a good role model.
Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Cynthea Liu back–for her middle-grade debut! I adored this book and couldn’t wait to pass it along to my 4th grade daughter. She’s reading it right now and loving it just as much as I knew she would. Here’s what Cynthea has to say:
PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE does address the issue of beauty somewhat through Robin’s character. In a society where tan-ness is good and fairness is almost considered sickly, I’m sure Robin had many insecurities about herself. And its not just the lightness of her skin either- for her, it was her hair, her outfits… Basically everything about her was ridiculed. She was different, and people like Mayo, made sure she knew it!
Personally, growing up, I always thought I was okay to look at, despite the braces and the insecurities about my flat nose. But oh, how differences can make a difference! I coveted those big eyes my peers had. Gorgeous eyes in all different colors. Large, voluminous eyes that can see into your soul! I even tried to draw in bigger eyes in my yearbook photos when I was in jr. high. (And I was shading in the sides of my nose to make it look less flat, too!) EEK!
It just goes to show a simple insecurity can be such a big deal when you’re younger. To the point that you’ll try to doctor your pictures with a ballpoint pen.
But I am happy to declare that I am no longer drawing in bigger eyes for myself. (I just look paranoid that way!) And I did give Robin an ending that shows that Robin’s character IS about character, and not all of those stupid things kids AND adults spend way too much time thinking about.
About Paris Pan Takes the Dare
Twelve-year-old Paris Pan’s life is a mess. She’s just moved to a tiny town in Nowheresville, Oklahoma; her family life is a comical disaster; her new friends are more like frenemies; and the boy she has a crush on is a dork. Things couldn’t possibly get worse, until she discovers that a girl mysteriously died years ago while taking a seventh-grade rite of passage–the Dare– right near Paris’s new house. So when Paris starts hearing strange noises coming from the creepy run-down shed in her backyard, she thinks they could be a message from the ghost of a girl. But while she has no plans to make contact with the great beyond, her two new friends have other thoughts. Everyone who’s anyone takes the Dare, and now it’s Paris’s turn. Buy the book here!
About Cynthea Liu
Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff–writing for children. In addition to PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE and THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA (buy it here), Cynthea’s nonfiction book WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: A CRASH COURSE (how to write, revise, and publish your kid’s or teen book with children’s book publishers) is available in paperback here. Find out more about Cynthea at http://cynthealiu.com.
I was never a big risk taker in terms of fashion and beauty. I couldn’t figure out mascara (let alone eye liner), and I was so tall that jeans were almost always high waters on me.
I do remember in 8th grade, taking a daring fashion risk: I wore jean shorts with nylons, tube socks, and combat boots. And I felt cute! My BFF definitely raised an eyebrow at me and wondered what I was thinking, but one of our more popular friends really loved the look. It still stands out in my mind—feeling bold and crazy for a day, walking down the halls. I wish I’d taken more risks instead of trying so hard to blend into the walls!
About Prada and Prejudice
Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England… Buy the book here!
About Mandy Hubbard
Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming—and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel. Learn more about Mandy at http://mandyhubard.com
I’m happy to be hosting Danielle Joseph today. I spent the weekend reading Shrinking Violet. The book made me laugh, but also really made me think–especially about the shy girls I knew in high school. Some of them were so pretty and smart, but entirely unnoticed. I love the way Shrinking Violet shows how a shy girl uses her passion for music to find her own unique voice. The book is full of other great thinking moments, but I’ll let you discover those on your own. This book seriously belongs in your beach/pool bag!
About Shrinking Violet
For high school senior Teresa Adams, every day is an ordeal. She’s so painfully shy that she lives in dread of having to speak to anyone in the hallways or answer questions in class. But after school, in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks—doing mock broadcasts for Miami’s hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up, Tere surprises herself by working up the nerve to ask her stepfather to give her a chance—and finds herself The SLAM’s newest intern on one of the station’s most popular shows. Behind the mike she’s Sweet T, her sexy, confident on-air persona. To everyone’s shock—especially her mother’s—Sweet T is a hit. Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ’s awesome taste in music, making Tere wonder if it’s possible to be jealous of yourself. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest—and a prom date with “Sweet T” is the grand prize–Sweet T’s dream could turn into Tere’s worst nightmare. . . . Buy your own copy here!
About Danielle Joseph
Danielle Joseph was a college DJ for five years on the Gyroscope, a world music show. She also interned at several top Boston radio stations while earning her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College. She has taught Creative Writing and English to Middle school students.
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and two young sons. These days you can find her cruising around with the tunes blaring and her internal DJ hard at work. Read more about Danielle: http://daniellejoseph.com/
In Shadowed Summer, my main character Iris trails behind her best friend Collette in the getting-to-the-beauty phase of being a teen. It doesn’t occur to Iris to think about the way she looks until her uncle brings her a few faintly fashionable odds and ends from a tag sale.