Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hot in California

I'm having a marelous time at Stanford University's profssional publishing course. The weather's been unseasonably hot but it's worth it.

Meeting interesting publishers as well as some of the icons of magazine & book publishing. And everyone's trying to figure out how to use the internet for good, not junk (well, maybe not everyone!).

Visiting was particularly thoughtprovoking - wondering if parents of 8-12 year old girls would like to get similarly age-appropriate info about your daughter's growth & development? Would you? Let me know.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Moon Girl Media YouTube Channel!

Hi everyone,

This is Julia, guest blogging to share my excitement about our new New Moon Girl Media YouTube Channel! The first video posted is a trailer for our orb28 blog for teen girls, which shows New Moon girls in action--brainstorming, working together, speaking out, and making their dreams for orb28 into a reality. I am so honored and inspired to work with these girls, and it was quite nostalgic editing the footage from the retreat into this trailer! (I also really enjoy the accompanying song, "Race You Back Home," and am glad indie female songwriter, Elizabeth Ziman let us use it! Check her out with her band, Elizabeth and the Catapult.)

The New Moon Girl Media YouTube channel is also the kick-off to more multi-media-filled days at New Moon. We'd love to receive your videos on why YOU love New Moon! Why do you think New Moon is positively unique? Why is it important in your life and for girls everywhere?

You can submit your video to add to the trailer excitement! And we of course welcome your written testimonials of why you value New Moon as well.

Please help us spread the word about this video and our YouTube channel by rating, commenting, and sharing the trailer with family and friends. I'm excited to hear your feedback...Thanks!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the Circle with Girls

Today I had the opportunity to attend a Girls Circle training with the Girls Circle co-founder, Giovanna Taormina. I first heard about Girls Circle through my work as an editor with New Moon magazine about four years ago, and I remember thinking, "Wow! What a great thing for girls!"

Being at the training reaffirmed that for me. Not only did I get to meet dozens of women (and one man!) working with girls in many different capacities, but I had the opportunity to be reminded of why working with girls in a different way is so crucial.

At New Moon, we work under a principle called "Share the Power," in which girls and adults make decisions together about the content of New Moon Girls magazine and our upcoming online experiences. Part of "Share the Power" involves creating a safe space where girls feel comfortable speaking up and disagreeing with one another -- otherwise, we'd never get to what girls really wanted and needed from New Moon. The Girls Circle philosophy also talks about sharing the power; in Girls Circles, the power is about girls helping one another to make good decisions about their lives. Girls Circles can happen in many different settings, such as schools, community programs, after-school programs, churches, and juvenile justice systems, to name a few.

Girls Circles are built around the understanding -- finally becoming mainstream -- that girls are not the same as boys, nor are they the same as adults. The Girls Circle model is rooted in the facts about how girls' brains and development work, so that girls can come together in a model that's designed for them. It's no wonder girls love coming to the circles, and no wonder that they raise girls' self-esteem (and lead them to making better choices).

There was so much wisdom at today's training that I could fill 10 blog posts. Some of the ideas that struck me the most were that
  • Girls' (and women's) psychological well-being is closely tied to their relationships. This means that girls and women in unhealthy relationships are more likely to abuse substances, have a low opinion of themselves, and struggle with depression. On an instinctual level, this makes sense. But now we have the science to prove it: when it comes to girls, relationships matter.
  • Similarly, the primary goal of the female brain is to form community; talking activates female's pleasure centers in the brain, but rejection activates the stress centers.

This is the foundation for the work that Girls Circle does with girls. The circle creates trust among the girls participating by

  • laying down groundrules that all agree upon
  • letting everyone have their turn to talk (a "talking stick" or other talking object helps with this)
  • turning things "back over to the group" as much as possible, rather than having an adult step in and "fix" any issue a girl brings up
  • committing to confidentiality, except in cases of mandatory reporting.

Once that trust has been established in a circle, the female brain is happy because it has a safe, healthy relationship to depend upon. This gives a girls a jumping off point to take the risk of being their authentic selves in the world, because they've seen a place where being authentic didn't lead to rejection. Wow, powerful stuff.

And the best part of all? Anyone can start a Girls Circle, anywhere. Girls circle or not, my hope is that all girls would find a place that felt that safe.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Never Know What the Mail Will Bring

Talk about a wonderful way to start the week! Opening the mail at New Moon is often an adventure with all the great letters and artwork we receive from girls. Today, Sandra opened a normal looking envelope at our office in Duluth, MN, and found a different kind of great story inside.

It seems that Mary Jo of North Brunswick, NJ lost her wallet. Jennifer of Highland Park, NJ found the wallet and returned it. That's a heartwarming story in and of itself, reinforcing my faith in people from New Jersey (my husband Joe was born there!).

But it gets even better. When Mary Jo asked Jennifer how she could return the favor, Jennifer asked her to order a subscription to New Moon magazine for the Highland Park Library. Now Jennifer's act of kindness in returning the wallet is going to give the girls of Highland Park the chance to discover New Moon.

Jennifer & Mary Jo, our deep thanks to both of you for being such caring women and for extending your caring to girls you don't even know.

P.S. If you're inspired by the generosity of Mary Jo and Jennifer, you can donate a New Moon magazine subscription to your library or school by ordering online or calling 1-800-381-4743 M-F 8am-5pm, central time. The girls will thank you!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kit & Eve - An Unusual Duo

I'm so happy to share that two people whose judgment I trust say there are a couple movies out now that are worth seeing because of the interesting, complex girl characters in them.

Melissa Silverstein of Women & Hollywood gives a strong thumbs up to Kit Kittredge: An American Girl starring Abigail Breslin. (I adored Abigail Breslin in Miss Sunshine.) Even though I haven't seen Kit yet, based on Melissa's review, other positive reviews, and a charming piece by A.O. Scott in the NY Times about seeing the film with his daughter, I look forward to it.

Have you or any girls you know seen it yet? I'd love to hear what you think.

And actor Kathy Najimy blogs about why she loves the character of Eve the robot in the new animated film, Wall-E:

Eve's a fantastic example of a strong non-compromising, female character
for girls. (One of the best I have ever seen and as the mother of an 11 year old
girl--I have seen them all and am frequently disappointed--I LOVED EVE!) The
thing that impressed and delighted me the most is that Eve is one of very
few female animated characters that isn't female identified by red
lipsticked lips or a big pink bow in her hair or long false eyelashes or
high heels to indicate she is female. She is, instead, a sleek white round
ipod looking character that could be any gender. I applaud Pixar for not
drawing or writing her in the usual gross, stereotypical manner. She is strong and in charge and saves the day.

In this case, I'll go see the movie, which I wouldn't have otherwise, just to see this character. Thanks for the tip, Kathy!

You're Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self

Julia guest blogging here...

I just got word from our friends at 5 Resolutions that Claire Mysko's book for girls is out this week!

Claire writes:
"You're Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self is based on the Girls Inc. "Supergirl Dilemma" study, which shows that girls are feeling increasing pressures to be perfect and please everyone. Perfectionism is a major source of girls' stress (60% of girls in the study reported that they often feel stressed), low-self-esteem, and poor body image. That's the bad news. The good news is that with the right tools and support systems, girls can learn to give up the quest to be "super" and start celebrating what makes them amazing. My hope is that this book will help to kick-off that celebration. I would like to say a big, big thanks to you, dear readers! Your support and kind words have meant so much to me. Speaking of all fit the bill."

To kick things off, Claire is doing a book giveaway for girls on her blog! Girls who post a comment about what makes them amazing will be entered to win an autographed copy of the book. The contest runs through July 7th and girls can enter here.

Woohoo for positive change!