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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Let's go to the Library!

Ever since I was a little girl, my weekly trip to the library was perhaps my most favorite thing to do. This was my moment, when I could choose any book I wanted and escape into a whole new world. I would bring home a big stack of books and finish reading them in time to return them to the library. It was a chance for me to explore biographies (really enjoy), science fiction (not my favorite), the classics (Pride and Prejudice & Wuthering Heights totally rocked), romance (okay), historical fiction (love it), fairy tales (bring it on), and mysteries (Nancy Drew was my favorite).

Reading brings me such joy. It feeds my soul and provides me with much nourishment when I simply want to read, need a little bit of inspiration or just want to run away and find a new life. I'm one of those people who can get totally immersed in a good book. It doesn't matter what chaos there is in the background or how many people are around. If the book truly interests me, the book and I are the only ones in the room. I hope to give my children the same love of reading. We go to the library at least twice a week--I do research for my writing, my kids carefully choose their books and movies, and then we hang out and read some stories. The best thing is when A, my 3 year old asks, "Can we go to the library?" or "When are we going to the library?" or even better "Let's go to the library!" I think I'm raising a book lover! How cool is that?

So here it is, the day after Christmas. I had hoped the kids could play while I started cleaning up after all the Christmas festivities. What do you know, 2 of my kids thought it would be a good idea to go to the library. You'd think the kids would be more interested in playing with their newfound treasures from Santa. Well, why not? I'd rather be in the library than cleaning the kitchen.

Some children's books we chose:
Monkey Lost by Ed Heck
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Arthur and the School Pet by Marc Brown
Junie B. Jones, Mushy Gushy Valentine by Barbara Park
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Rotten School, The Big Blueberry Barf-off! by R. L. Stine

Go the library and open up your world. I dare you to add this to your New Year's Resolutions. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Miss USA = Not Fired???

I am outraged. It appears that Miss USA will NOT be fired from her remaining reign for her underage drinking, drug and party binges. Overall, I could care less about what is happening in the beauty pageant world and what Miss USA does in her spare time; however as a mom of young girls, I have to say, it is hardly a vote of confidence for the public role models out there. Rather it is an indication that things still haven't changed, that beauty is exalted above all else. No matter what. In an age where girls are constantly getting visual feedback on the importance of appearance in the media, what message does this send?

There was a glimmer of hope when the fashion industry made waves about ultra thin models just a few months ago. Girls hopefully saw that beauty does not necessarily mean starving yourself to death. But now, with Miss USA given a second chance--which will incidentally catapult Miss USA's "shame" into fame--girls will get the message that it's okay to be bad as long as they are beautiful. Not only is it okay to misbehave, but by the way, you'll get rewarded too.

I'm surprised that the sports industry hasn't taken offense to this. In a business where titles and medals are taken away, honor at the physical cabilities, spirit and human endurance is of paramount importance. Where is thy honor, Miss USA?

I am by no means a total feminist. I believe in having doors held open for me and being treated like a woman. I enjoy dressing up and knowing that men find me attractive. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone is treated equally, regardless of what they look like. Because it's a pathetic fact, beautiful people are treated better.

Sure we all make mistakes. Most of us learn from them and end up paying a price for them. I have no doubt that Miss USA is a good person. Maybe she's just a bit immature, reckless with her newfound fame and joy in the opportunities created from the adulation of her beauty. I'm sure she's sorry for the mistakes she made and for the mess she created. But what great publicity. People sure know who she is now. However, I don't think it should excuse Miss USA's behavior. She entered a freakin' competitive beauty contest that is supposed to exemplify good will, scholarship and who knows what else. The winner is supposed to be a public role model for 1 year and in return, will find doors open to her in millions of ways. This is a dream for many contestants and a chance to make it as the "IT" girl. Okay, a sarcastic view, but you tell me what you think. Many former Miss USA's hook up with famous and wealthy men, find jobs as actresses or models, and start out enjoying some great dream we can all envision. And it all starts with beauty and agreeing to be a public role model. A simplified view, I know. Sure they work hard for it. But as a public role model, the holder of the Miss USA title is held to a higher standard and should be held accountable for her actions. There are girls are out there just watching, imitating and waiting for the chance to be just like her. There are so many extraordinary women out there. For once, I'd like to see a great public role model who young girls can truly look up to. I'm waiting.