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Lacey Recommends Halloween Books

Ah, it’s a wonderful time of year — the leaves on the trees are changing colors, pumpkins decorate front porches, the scent of apple cider is in the air … and the mood is just right to curl up with a spooky read! Whether you’re looking for an amusing fright, spine-tingling terror, or some facts about fear, these recommendations will have you covered!


  • Have you ever noticed how, well, CREEPY some fairy tales are? Hansel & Gretel is the perfect read for the season, as it combines scary witches, children lost in a dark woods, and lots of CANDY all in one story. For a new twist on an old favorite, check out Bethan Woollvin’s version, which tells the story from the witch’s perspective. She really is a GOOD witch … but Hansel and Gretel are such NAUGHTY children! Although told in a picture-book with Halloween-colored black, white, and orange illustrations, you can still expect deliciously dark ending!
  • “It was a dark and stormy night …” Few words will put you more in the mood for a cozy, creepy read, and these are the first words of the “oldie but goodie” classic, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. If you haven’t read it, be prepared to find witches, time travel, a giant brain, a man with glowing red eyes, and monsters — but it’s not always clear at first glance which ones you should be afraid of. If you’ve already read it, check out The Library of America’s new edition, which comes in two volumes. The first includes all four books in the “Wrinkle in Time” quartet, and the second includes the four spin-off novels in the Polly O’Keefe quartet. You may start reading on a dark and stormy night, but don’t be surprised if these eight books still have you gripped in their spell when spring rolls around!
  • If you’re looking for something that’s more fun than scary, pick up the most recent book in the previously recommended Bea Garcia series, “Tales of a Scaredy Dog” by Deborah Zemke. In it, Bea tells the story (in doodles) of her relationship with her dog, Sophie. When Bea has to visit her dreadful neighbor, Bert, for a school assignment, she brings Sophie along to protect her. But Bert has a pet of his own — Big Kitty, who scares Sophie so bad that she runs away! Now Bea has to face her biggest fear — not knowing if she’ll find her dog again.

  • Ollie is out on a field trip with her school when things start to go horribly wrong. First, she notices similarities between the farm they are visiting and a ghost story she recently read, and then her watch begins a countdown with the word RUN spelled out on its face. As she and two friends head into the nearby woods, the bus driver warns them to “keep to small spaces” to survive what is to come. Ollie has heard this warning before, from the woman who almost threw away the ghost story with so many similarities to what is unfolding now. Read “Small Spaces” by Katherine Arden if you’re ready for a real spine tingler!
  • When you have a title like Haunt Huntress, you know some spooky times lay ahead. The problem is, 12-year-old Evangeline isn’t sure her “huntress” powers will emerge on her thirteenth birthday so she can follow in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps of hunting monsters in the Louisiana bayou. But when Gran is called to New Orleans on a special case, Evangeline starts noticing signs that death is near — can she save her grandmother AND the city of New Orleans even if she isn’t a real Haunt Huntress? Read “Evangeline of the Bayou” by Jan Eldredge to find out.
  • In “Where the Woods End” by Charlotte Salter, 12-year-old Kestrel lives in a forest filled with beasts at every turn — and the worst of them all are the grabbers, who build their bodies from parts of the forest until they resemble their victim’s greatest fear. Kestrel’s mother asks her to hunt down the grabbers to protect the village — but can she outrun her own grabber to do it?
  • Do you remember the days of being afraid of monsters in your closest? (Don’t worry if you still wonder about that sometimes — I won’t judge!) You can return to that sense of fear and wonder with “The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There” by Roy Schwartz. When her father dies, Lee finds comfort in the complete darkness of her closet, where she also meets four dead companions. Can they guide her safely through the afterlife in search o her father — a place where no live girl should go?
  • Anna loves scary stories. But when she and her brother Max join their father on a business trip and discover a mysterious knife, they are soon drawn into a world of monsters and magic in “The Witching Hours: The Vampire Knife” by Jack Henseleit. Could it be that there is truth in the scary stories their professor father has been telling them?
  • In “Whichwood,” Laylee Layla Fenjoon lives in a frozen land where she has inherited her mother’s job of washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. Trapped in loneliness, she tries to ignore that her hands are stiffening and that her hair is turning silver … until familiar strangers appear to turn her world upside down. A stand-alone companion to the previously recommendedFurthermore,” author Tahereh Mafi says she drew on stories from her Persian heritage to create the imaginary world in her books.

 Real Life

  • Ghosts, werewolves, zombies, witches … you’re probably used to meeting ALL these creatures in stories, movies, costumes, and porch decorations at this time of year. But how much do you actually KNOW about the stories behind the things that scare us most? Whether spiders or vampires give you those tingles of fear, you’ll find out more about them in “Frightlopedia” by Julie Winterbottom, an A-to-Z encyclopedia with facts on the things that scare us most!

What about you? Have you read any of the books above? What will YOU be reading to get into the Halloween spirit this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently an editor for a legal news organization, which means she reads a lot of lawsuits! She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”

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Lacey Recommends Books for Connecting

The theme of the September/October issue of New Moon Girls is “Our Tribe: Connecting Us All,” and this month’s recommendations feature books that just might help YOU feel more connected — whether to the characters in a story, or to the big, wide world!

Flor loves everything about her life working for her family’s petting zoo in a traveling carnival — until she learns that the carnival’s manager wants to replace the zoo with a music show. Flor would do anything to stop the band from pushing her family out of the carnival … until she forges an unlikely friendship with lead singer Miranda in “Flor and Miranda Steal the Show” by Jennifer Torres.12-year-old Crow has always felt she belongs with Osh, the man who raised her when he found her washed up upon his shore, her cat Mouse, and her neighbor Miss Maggie. But when she sees a mysterious fire across the water, it ignites questions about her own past. Where did she come from? Who would be desperate enough to set a newborn adrift in the sea? In “Beyond the Bright Sea” by Lauren Wolk, Crow searches for lost pirate treasure, information about an abandoned leper colony, and most of all, answers to the questions about who she really is.Mayka hasn’t left her mountain since a stonemaker carved her years ago. Forever 12-years-old, the stories carved into her stone are what keep her alive. But now the stone marks on her and her family are beginning to fade, and if she wants to save those who mean the most to her, she must set out to find someone who can recarve them in “The Stone Girl’s Story” by Sarah Beth Durst.

If you’ve ever loved a pet or another animal, you know that we aren’t just connected to other people. In “Elephant Secret” by Erik Walters, 13-year-old Samantha knows it, too. Raised in an elephant sanctuary, she forms a special bond with an extra-hairy baby elephant . . . and discovers a secret plot that could destroy the animal family she and her dad hold dear.

In “Monster Mayhem” by Christopher Eliopoulos, Zoe doesn’t really fit in with kids her own age … but she can forget her loneliness by following her passion for classic monster movies and building robots. Then one day, she puts on a mysterious ring, and the next thing she knows, a monster buddy from her favorite movies is there! But the ring hasn’t just unleashed the GOOD monsters. Now Zoe needs to find some friends, and fast, to help her save the city!

12-year-old Imogene has a pretty good life hanging out with her parents and lots of friends working the renaissance faire in “All’s Faire in Middle School” by Victoria Jamieson. But when Imogene starts public school for the first time after being homeschooled, she falls in with a group of “queen bee” girls, and life suddenly looks a lot different. Can she still find a way to be the hero of her own story? If you enjoy All’s Faire, make sure to check out Jamieson’s other graphic novel, “Roller Girl,” too.

You know how it feels to have that one special friend that can make the whole world seem a little brighter? Millie has found such a friend in Ozy — both are mischievous middle-school foxes living in Seattle. Millie wants to write the great American novel, while Ozy keeps her grounded with ancient wisdom from his adoptive father, a red dragon. Join them on their adventures in “Ozy and Millie” by Dana Simpson, author of the “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” series.


Real Life

Lots of girls find a sense of connection with their teammates in sports or other clubs. If that’s true for you, check out the “Smart Girls’ Guide to Sports & Fitness” from American Girl. It includes advice on talking to coaches and parents, playing with heart, and team-building activities to keep your “tribe” going strong!

Lavinia Warren never grew more than three feet tall — but that doesn’t mean she didn’t find a place where she could fit in. She didn’t let her height stop her from becoming a beloved teacher, world traveler, entertainer, and friend to many. When she joined P.T. Barnum’s show, she met the man who would become her husband, Tom Thumb. Their wedding reception at the White House hosted by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln was just the beginning of their real-life adventures. You can read all about them in “The Big, Bold Adventruous Life of Lavinia Warren” by Elizabeth Raum.

If a feeling of connection makes you want to do something for the world, you have a lot in common with the kids in “Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Overcoming Adversity Around the World” by Garth Sundem. For example, the children of Koh Panyee, who live in a village built on stilts with no place to play soccer, took matters into their own hands and built a floating field! And Soosan Firooz ignored the comments of men in her home country of Afghanistan who called women “not too smart and a little crazy” to become the country’s first female rapper! Even though she receives death threats, she doesn’t stop rapping. “I want to be the voice of women in my country,” she says. These are just a few of the stories in this book that will show you the power of connection throughout all the world.

What about you? What books have helped you feel connected to your tribe — whether that’s your friends, your family, or the whole world? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? What did you think of them? Leave a comment below!


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Connect and Create for Mothers & Daughters


Your desire to feel close to your daughter is very powerful.

It can be so frustrating as she gets older and her time is increasingly taken by her needs with school, friends, sports, hobbies, and private time. Meanwhile you’re juggling just as much between work, family needs, your partner, friends, your personal needs, and more.

It’s sad to feel that you and your daughter aren’t communicating as deeply or easily as you did back when she told you every single feeling and thought she had.

These changes are normal in her development and happen gradually. But then one day you feel too out-of-touch with her. Maybe she says, “You don’t understand anything!” Or even worse, “You don’t care!” 

But of course you do understand–you certainly try to–and you do care!

Megan Armstrong created her Connect and Create course to reverse the gradual deterioration in mother & daughter communication and connection that often happens as your girl grows up.

Megan guides mother & daughter pairs to deeper understanding and communication with each other through a process of individual and shared creative expression. She helps you deepen your connection with your girl and gives you and her tools to help her navigate the inevitable ups and downs of growing up.

Previous Participants in this course say:

“Thank you for a wonderfully challenging experience for my daughter and I. The last two months have been filled with lots of fun, joy, and growth. I am seeing my daughter as a whole person, accepting more of her personality/character and really enjoying all of it. You have been a calm, patient, and positive guide for us as we navigate this mother/daughter path. We feel more connected, which looks like cuddling together, being silly together, and discussing difficult issues with less drama and difficulty. We have a desire to spend time together and we learned how important it is to actually do it.

It’s been a great couple of months and I’m sad to have it end. Thank you so much! ”  — Anastasia

“As a mother, the best part of being in the group was getting to meet on a regular basis with wonderful moms and daughters and sharing common experiences. I really enjoyed the mom time to talk. Megan created a safe place for both mothers and daughters to share, laugh, be vulnerable and be creative. She was a wonderful combination of being supportive and warm and willing to challenge the girls to put themselves out there in order to practice healthy communication. ”  — Willa  

See All the Details about this Course

Enrollment for this pilot is first come, first serve. At this time we only have spaces for two more mother-daughter pairs. 

If you’re interested enroll now for 60% savings off the usual course price.

The information about the course is detailed and includes FAQs that answer the questions we’ve gotten.

It would be great to have you and your daughter join us in the pilot phase while we’re fine-tuning the course for online teaching.

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Lacey Recommends Back To School Books

Wow, it feels like just yesterday I was writing my summer book recommendations column, and now it’s already time to start thinking about going back to school! Whether you are looking forward to or dreading it, these books can help get you “in the mood” for another year of teachers, homework, and classes!

  • Did you know that reading for fun has one of the biggest impacts on whether you’ll do well in school? That’s some school prep I can definitely get behind — and so can Elizabeth Gorcey and Liv Amiri, the mother-daughter team behind Read, Read, and Read, a celebration of all the places books can take you!
  • If your school does science fairs, you probably know the stress and excitement that comes from choosing a project every year. You can find inspiration in How to Be an Engineer, which is full of projects like building bridges, catapults, and even a robot arm! In addition to step-by-step instructions, you’ll find lots of photos and profiles of inspirational engineers, like austronaut Mae Jemison and chemist Stephanie Kwolek. For even more ideas, check out How to be a Scientist in the same series.
  • And what if … your science fair project could send you back in time? That’s what happens to 13-year-old Charley Morton when she attempts to duplicate Leonardo da Vinci’s design for a time machine in Edge of Yesterday by Robin Stevens Payes. You can follow up Charley’s adventures through time in the second book, Da Vinci’s Way, coming soon.
  • Of course school isn’t all about classes and learning. Relationships with your friends and other classmates make up a big part of your school experience, too. If you’re frustrated with cliques and constantly worrying whether you are in the “in” or the “out” group, check out Cliques, Phonies & Other Baloney by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick. This book can help you be true to your authentic self, find friends who are the right “fit” for you, and even get “out” of a bad friendship group. The same authors have also written  Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves, which can help you pinpoint the source of your school (or non-school) stress and make a plan to tackle it.
  • To get to an even deeper level of relaxation, pick up a copy of This Moment is Your Life (and So is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga by Mariam Gates. It includes tons of ideas to help you relax, from exercise moves to journaling to deep breathing, with plenty of illustrations and even space for your own notes.
  • If sports are a big part of the school experience for you, you might enjoy the Zach & Zoe Mysteries by Mike Lupica, which features twins Zach and Zoe solving sports-related mysteries. In the first book in the series, The Missing Baseball, the twins are on the hunt for a missing, signed baseball, and in The Half-Court Hero, they make it their mission to find and thank the mysterious benefactor who is making repairs to their favorite basketball court between practices. If you enjoyed the first two mysteries, you can continue with the third book in the series, The Football Fiasco.
  • Have you ever been homeschooled? In the novel The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, 12-year-old Lucy has been homeschooled since a lightning strike left her with genius-level skills. Even though she’s smart enough for college, her grandma wants her to pass one test first: going to middle-school for one year, where she must also make one friend and join one activity. Check out this book about what can happen when you step outside your comfort zone!
  • In Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, Merci enters sixth grade knowing she’ll be different from her classmates, who have bigger houses than hers and don’t have to do community service hours to make up for their tuition costs. But things really get rocky when her classmate, Edna, targets Merci just because Edna’s crush was assigned to be Merci’s “buddy” in class. Things are hard at home, too, where Merci’s grandfather is starting to forget things he’s always known. Can Merci’s family help her get through the toughest year of school so far?
  • If you’re reading this, you can probably take going to school for granted. But not all girls throughout the world or history have been able to do the same. This Noble Woman: Myrtilla Miner and Her Fight to Establish a School for African American Girls in the Slaveholding South by Michael M. Greenburg spotlights one woman who fought for the right for all girls to get an education. Although she came from a poor family herself, Myrtella was dedicated to establishing a school for African American girls in the South during the time of slavery, and she fended off stonings, arson, and other threats to make her dream a reality!

What about you? Do you have favorite books that get you in the “back-to-school” mood or help get you through the stressful days? Have you read any of the books listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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A Young Feminist Awakening with New Moon Girls

Imagine my delight in checking our Instagram recently and finding this awesome comic drawn by our former reader Kelly Abeln, now a professional artist based in Minneapolis. See more of her fabulous art at .  When I got in touch, she said:

So glad you like my comic, it’s a true story 🙂 I really loved New Moon growing up, and now as an adult I see how important it was and is to have positive media for girls.

Kelly remembers her feminist awakening with an issue of New Moon,  “New Moon opened my eyes to feminism and what sexism looked and sounded like so I could spot it and say NO!”


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Dad’s Favorite Rad Women in Cross-Stitch and Patterns for Them

This guest post is from Mike Reynolds, EverydayGirlDad on his blog, Twitter and Facebook.

In January I started cross-stitching. In February I decided I would learn how to design my own cross-stitch patterns as well. In the months since then I have taken on all kinds of projects. Some have been for friends and the public and some I’ve just kept for myself.

I started what I called the Rad Women in Cross-stitch Form Project and then just kept going.

I have learned two things: One, cross-stitching is really great for management of my anxiety. I can focus my mind on a piece when it wants to go down a road that leads to self-doubt. Having this focus is wonderful. Two, I love cross-stitching and should have started it sooner. I have put off doing too many things for fear of what other might think. Doing this is a harmful way to live a life.

Here’s a collection of some of my favourite pieces, and the patterns I made for them so that you can try them out too if you want!


Maya Angelou – pattern

Hermione – pattern & RGB – pattern


Janelle Monae – pattern


Tess Holliday – pattern