Children's Literacy Round-Up: May 1
Dystopian Book Challenge

Readergirlz Honor National Mental Health Month

A new issue of the Readergirlz newsletter is now available. In honor of National Mental Health Month, the Readergirlz divas (Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley) are focusing on The Phoenix Dance by their own Dia Calhoun. In the newsletter you can find information about the book, a "while you read" playlist, and information about mpower, musicians for mental health, and their spokesperson Lindsay Rush. There are also suggested actions that readers can take to fight the stigma of mental illness, recommended supporting reads, book party ideas, and book discussion questions. Clearly, the Divas have spent a lot of time putting this package together. And just as clearly, they have a genuine interest in lessening the stigma of mental illness and depression, and in providing teens with a safe forum for discussing these issues.

I'm reading The Phoenix Dance right now. It's a fantasy, set in a magical kingdom, in which the main character suffers from vast up and down mood swings. The fantasy elements of the story provide enough of a buffer to make the blunt discussions of Phoenix's mental problems accessible and non-threatening. While people who have experienced bipolar disorder will certainly recognize the symptoms, Phoenix is genuine enough that other readers should identify with her also.

(Full disclosure: I'm one of five Postergirlz for Readergirlz, and will be helping them by recommending future book titles, though I had no input into this issue.)