Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Minneapolis: Most Literate City in US

I just came across the study on “America’s Most Literate Cities of 2008” by Dr. John W. Miller of Central Connecticut State University. Much to my delight, Minneapolis is ranked #1, tied with our snowbound (currently) friends in Seattle. This is our second year in the #1 spot!

I’m proud to share that the girls on our New Moon Girls Editorial Board & Launch Board certainly do their part in contributing to the high literacy rate. One member, Holly, lives in Minneapolis, and other members live in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. We benefit daily from their exceptional creativity, foresight and dedication to girls' creativity, reading and writing.

The girls' interest in literacy is also reflected in the larger membership community of NewMoonGirls. I was delighted that so many girls listed books as their most-desired holiday gift during our recent holiday poll. It's inspiring to be reminded by girls themselves that a great book is as wonderful a gift as the latest tech gizmo.

So, even though I’m a teensy bit biased as a Twin Cities resident, I want to end 2008 by giving a strong shout-out to the New Moon Girls Editorial & Launch Boards, whom we thank for their efforts to continually spread the word about the good literary work being done by girls their own age around America and all over the world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here We Go Again: Another “Imperfect” Movie Star

A big thanks to Cynthia Hart Werry for drawing my attention to the latest example of media frenzy about women’s bodies in Hollywood. This time the subject is Jessica Alba, the twenty-something starlet who gave birth to her first child five months ago and has been digitally "slimmed down" for her appearance in the newest round of ads for Campari. New York magazine gives all the details and images .

There has been much celebrity media ado about Hollywood’s baby boom, and unbelievably thin new mom actresses. Alba herself was interviewed toward the end of her pregnancy and expressed discomfort about her changed body and the challenges ahead for returning to her post-baby shape. I remember reading that interview and feeling sad that she was so worried about her appearance in addition to worrying about having a healthy baby.

But it turns out she was right to be so worried. Apparently her image as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful women, wasn't enough for the agency for Campari. When I look at the before and after pictures provided by New York, it's astonishing to me that anyone could think the before photos needed "perfecting." But her appearance is her career in some ways.

Of course, people will disagree with me about that. No one is physically perfect. But I'm not interested in getting into a discussion of what is beautiful enough. That conversation will only lead us down the path of comparing our bodies to other women's bodies. And, in the age of PhotoShop, comparing our bodies to artificially perfected bodies.

That's exactly what all our daughters need us to STOP doing. Stop buying in to the myth of appearance perfection. Stop talking about how new moms should try to look as though they never had been pregnant. Stop striving to look like a few genetic outliers who meet this year's standard for physical beauty. Stop criticizing our own appearance in casual comments that litter conversations with friends and acquaintances.

Our daughters absorb the message that they should hate their own appearance every time we do any of those things. It's hard to stop - believe me, I know that firsthand. But it's worth the effort. For many ways to help your daughter learn to love her body check out "101 Ways to Help Your Daughter Love Her Body" by Brenda Lane Richardson and Elaine Rehr. And for a great read about how to help us adult women learn to love our bodies check out "The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to be Perfect" by Margo Maine, PhD and Joe Kelly. The two books together would make a wonderful New Year's present for mom and daughters.

So, even though I doubt it's the case, here's hoping that Alba doesn't see herself, and her new daughter, as anything besides beautiful. After all, her body gave birth this year, which is an incredible physical and emotional achievement. An achievement far more important than appearing "perfect" in a Campari ad will ever be.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nancy Needs Your Help


How to Explain New Moon Girls

I need your creative brains to help me find new ways to tell more parents and teachers about New Moon Girls magazine and online. Girls love NewMoonGirls but we need a lot more people to give it a try and see what it’s all about.


I’m looking for the best ideas and words to motivate parents and teachers to click an online ad.  Please reply to this email or send an email to and tell me how you describe why you love New Moon as a parent or teacher – in 12 words or less. Why should parents/grandparents/aunt/uncles get a membership for a girl. What do you think is New Moon’s strongest selling point?

Here’s some of the wording and themes we’re using in ads now – let me know if you like or dislike these:

1. NewMoonGirls lets Girls Discover, Create, and Share
2. You can Trust NewMoonGirls because of its commitment to privacy and quality
3. Both your girls and you will love NewMoonGirls (Moms & Dads because of the quality, girls because they can connect and create)
4. NewMoonGirls enables your daughter to grow stronger and confident
5. NewMoonGirls inspires your daughter to tap into her creativity

Please share your thoughts on what works and what does not. What other themes and words should we try using? 


Thanks so much for your help with this – I’ll keep you posted on the results and the new ads we are developing.

All About Family starting Dec 13

Features include Amber and Heidi’s foster family in “We Belong Together,” mother-daughter communication tips from Maddy and her mom Sally in “Making Myself Clear,” and how to make a memory book in “Thanks for the Memories.” Girls can also share their favorite family stories with us at the Spotlight hub at all this week!

New Moon Girls Gift Ideas

New Moon Girls has some great new gifts this holiday season! We’ve got New Moon Girls notebooks, hoodies, messenger bags and more! You can buy a few New Moon Girls gift online at Café Press, and visit the New Moon Store for even more!

Welcome, Malia and Sasha Obama!

The deadline for letters, artwork, videos, and everything else girls are creating to welcome Malia and Sasha to the White House is coming up fast! Upload her creations to the “Your Stuff” section on, submit them to the Sister to Sister hub, or email them to by December 15th, 2008.


We’ll put all your wishes for Malia and Sasha together in a package that will be sent to them with their first issue of New Moon Girls magazine!


This message was sent from Nancy Gruver to It was sent from: New Moon Girl Media Inc, New Moon Girl Media 2 West First Street #101 , Duluth, MN 55802. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below. Email Marketing Software

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My Daughters/My Self

This morning I read Judith Warner’s NY Times blog post “My Daughters/My Self.” I’ve always enjoyed reading Warner’s columns, blog posts and books, and was surprised by her subject today. She usually writes about the high-pressure culture of motherhood in the U.S., and the anxiety felt by mothers to raise “perfect” children. Today’s subject was herself, and how she has noticed herself becoming emotionally enmeshed with her daughters in a way she wasn't when they were younger.

I've been there. I found it comforting to read Warner's thoughts. And they triggered me to reflect again on something related to but different from Warner's perspective.

It's that being a parent has taught me more about myself than I've learned in any other way. From their infancy, my daughters' personalities, actions and feelings fascinated me as I sought to know and honor them as individuals separate from me. Still, as they grew up, I often felt emotionally linked to myself at their age.

It was an unexpected bonus that my keen observation of their developing selves also shed a bright new light on my childhood and how I developed into myself. Sometimes it felt as though I was looking through a one-way mirror at my younger self, understanding and accepting truths about myself in a new way. A few times it even helped me to forgive myself for childhood actions I was guilty about.

But the most learning happened when they broke through my sense of the one-way mirror and brought me back to the present moment in their lives. Kids have a way of persisting until we notice their needs and focus on them. When that happened, it linked who I was as an adult and parent to who I had been as a girl. It felt deeply satisfying, like the completion of a circle I didn't even know I was drawing. And it gave me the freedom to set aside my past and focus on the here and now.

If you have the time, I highly recommend reading Warner’s post and the corresponding comments. It's so good to hear other parents' thoughts, too. One comment recited a favorite quote of mine from Khalil Gibran: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and the daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you they belong not to you.”

It's a good reminder that even as parents, we must first be ourselves, continuing to grow and develop as human beings. It's wondrous to me that our children can help us do that just by being themselves, different from who we are.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Human Rights Day

Although we’ve been talking about and celebrating Human Rights Day all week at New Moon Girls, yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the day the United Nations Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The history of Human Rights Day is rooted in post-World War II commitment to equal rights for all, and can be read about at the U.N. Web site.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is more important today than ever, especially as we continue to see acts of genocide like the ones being committed in Darfur, and acts of violence against women in countries around the world. To find out how you can help, visit Amnesty’s Global write-a-thon to support political prisoners like Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi – more than 191,000 letters have been written so far to protect people around the world from human rights violations!

Girls can also participate in this advocacy and will learn a great deal about the situation of girls' and women's rights around the world that way. Please consider taking a moment and adding your voice to the growing chorus. And introducing a girl to the definition of human rights. Now more than ever, it’s essential that we all speak up and help each other obtain and maintain our rights as human beings and citizens of this planet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Serve our Nation and Each Other

Barack Obama's inauguration is just about a week away. I'm excited and can't wait to watch this historic event unfold. Many parents tell me that they are preparing their children to understand the significance of the day.

Here's an idea that could help. With the huge challenges we face as a nation and as individuals, how about joining others for a day of service on January 19th, Martin Luther King Day? It's fun and a great way to show our children the true meaning of citizenship the day before the inauguration of our 45th president.

I can't wait to hear the stories of how you all celebrate on the 19th & 20th - the parties will be fun and the service will add heart and depth to this memorable passage for all Americans. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Children’s Flu Vaccine - Check it Out

A quick reminder passed along from the Centers for Disease Control that today is Children’s Flu Vaccination Day.

I know that vaccines can be a controversial topic. What I didn't realize is that a surprising number of children die from the flu every year. I always thought it was a disease that mainly affected the elderly. While I can't tell you how to weigh the pros and cons for your children, it's definitely something to give serious consideration to. One of our daughters had a bout of pneumonia in 3rd grade and the next fall her doctor recommended that we all get flu vaccines which we've done every year since.

The CDC recommends that kids ages six months to nineteen years be vaccinated annually, as well as pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older and healthcare workers. To get this year’s flu vaccine, reach out to your primary care physician or pediatrician to set up an appointment.

In addition to the vaccine, you can protect your kids and family from flu germs by washing hands very often, teaching kids to sneeze into their elbow instead of their hand, staying away from sneezers and coughers and getting plenty of rest. To learn more, visit the CDC’s Seasonal Flu website.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Note to Pepsi: Suicide Isn't Ad Material

Following the recent uproar about Motrin’s ad suggesting that baby slings “hurt” moms, it was beyond discouraging to see yet another ad - this time from Pepsi - that challenged the health and well-being of consumers. In this case the group I was concerned about was teen girls and the issue was much more serious than whether or not baby slings create aches.

Pepsi Max, the one-calorie soda from Pepsi, launched a new campaign depicting a lonely “Calorie” cartoon character exploring different ways to commit suicide. Matt Creamer wrote about this ill-conceived campaign in AdAge, and at left is an example from his article.

The teen girls I know drink diet soda and are also very tuned in to advertising run by huge brands like Pepsi. And, needless to say, suicide attempts are a serious concern in the teen age group. That's why I think these ads were much worse than the Motrin ads.
Teenagers are already navigating difficult changes in their lives. They often experience loneliness and even depression. So it's shocking when an ad that is partly targeted to teen girls presents suicide as a humorous "solution" to feeling lonely.
Both Pepsi and their ad agency were seriously out of touch with the needs of their customers in putting out such a cynical and insensitive campaign. Fortunately, many customers voiced their disgust and disapproval, and Pepsi pulled the ad.
We need to be constantly aware to hold companies accountable and to keep our kids safe from these kinds of harmful messages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Online Safety ABC's

If you’re looking for a simple set of rules to set for your daughter’s online time, FEMA (of all places - not sure how this qualifies as a FEMA responsibility, but it is good advice!) offers six must-remember points. These include basics, such as never giving out personal information or pictures, and never agreeing to meetings with strangers met online. They also include a rule that kids must always let their parents know who they’re meeting online.

For younger children, the FBI offers age-specific guidelines for grades K-5. These include letting an adult know if something or someone online makes girl uncomfortable or scared, in addition to the basics about never sharing personal information. Regular, casual conversations about feeling comfortable and safe online is a great way to guide and monitor your daughter’s online experience, no matter how old she is.

As with any really important influence in her life, it's most important that you actually know and experience what she's doing online. That means spending time at the same sites she does both with her and on your own. Get engaged in what she's doing online as a fun thing to share, not a way to spy. You'll learn a lot about her and her peers in the process (like the conversations you overhear when driving the carpool). Just "listening," or watching (in the case of the web) will teach you a lot.

Last but not least, be totally above-board and open with her about the age-appropriate boundaries you set for her web use. You can create an “online contract” with her input that includes the things you feel are most important. Involving her in writing the contract is particularly effective in providing the opportunity to talk with her about your concerns in an non-threatening way.

Let me know how you negotiate this new media arena with your daughters - share your tips so we can all learn from each other.