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Be An American Girl All Summer Long With Read-A-Palooza & An Exciting Book Giveaway!


 (Plus you’ll help Save the Children’s U.S. literacy program when you buy American Girl books)

Enter below today for your chance to win a bunch of the best books for summer reading

In conjunction with American Girl’s super summer celebration of reading called Read-a-palooza, Good Reads With Ronna is offering a great giveaway. It’s just the right time to join the millions of girls who’ve grown up with American Girl’s award-winning books and discover the delights of reading all summer long. So get out your beach bag, sunblock, swim suit and some sunglasses and get ready to dive in to a good time

Books shown here do not necessarily reflect titles offered.
Please refer to list on the left.

One winner will receive a selection of summer reading including:  

  • McKenna (A 2012 Girl of the Year book)
  • McKenna Ready to Fly (A 2012 Girl of the Year book) 
  • The nonfiction advice book, Take the Challenge
  • The nonfiction advice book, A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself
  • The Innerstar University Book (these are “choose your own ending” books), Behind the Scenes
  • A Cecile Mystery, The Cameo Necklace

Click here to enter with your name and address, then leave a comment below and remember to
LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook  for your chance to win. Contest ends midnight on Weds., May 30. Scroll down for contest rules. Good luck!

Keep your girls away from electronics and get them into books to sharpen their reading skills and keep them happily entertained while away from school. American Girl’s Read-a-palooza, a summer reading program created for girls ages 8 to 12, is packed with fun activities and incentives that encourage literacy. Read-a-palooza takes place May 1 to September 3, 2012, and also includes a charitable partnership with Save the Children’s U.S. literacy program.

To participate in Read-a-palooza, girls can visit, where they can download colorful bookmarks and free book-related content, such as tips and materials for starting a book club. They’ll also be able to do reading challenges and take fun, interactive quizzes. Starting in June, girls can participate in Read-a-palooza by visiting an American Girl retail store, where free reading events will be offered all summer long.

To further emphasize the importance of reading and to help a great cause during its Read-a-palooza campaign, American Girl is partnering with Save the Children’s U.S. literacy program. From May 1 through September 3, 2012, $1 of every book purchased through American Girl (up to a maximum of $100,000) will support Save the Children’s efforts to raise literacy rates in impoverished communities by providing basic education and equipping schools and teachers with reading materials. In addition, American Girl will make its third donation of books to Save the Children this fall, bringing the value of the company’s total book donation to nearly $1.5 million.

For more information about Read-a-palooza and American Girl’s partnership with Save the Children, visit


TO ENTER – We are giving away 1 prize of 6 assorted American Girl books to include  (2) Girl of the Year books: McKenna and McKenna Ready to Fly, (1) Take The Challenge,(1) A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself, (1) The Innerstar University Book: Behind the Scenes, (1) A Cecile Mystery: The Cameo Necklace worth a total of $49.70.

  1. This giveaway ends at midnight on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 with one winner selected on Thursday, May 31st. Winner will be notified by email so be sure to include your name, address, (no P.O. Boxes please) and phone number in an email to Please write American Girl Giveaway in the subject line.
  2. For a chance to be the winner please leave a comment on the giveaway blog post (no one or two word comments please). Be sure to LIKE  Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook for an additional entry and follow us on Twitter @goodreadsronna for an additional entry to the giveaway, too. If you don’t provide an email where you can be contacted your chance to win is forfeited.

This giveaway will run through midnight on May 30,  2012 (PST). Winner will be chosen using from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us at before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.

American Introduces Read-a-palooza

About American Girl

American Girl Brands is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, (NASDAQ:MAT,, the world’s leading toy company. Since American Girl’s inception in 1986, the company has devoted its entire business to celebrating the potential of girls ages 3 to 12. American Girl encourages girls to dream, to grow, to aspire, to create, and to imagine through a wide range of engaging and insightful books, age-appropriate and educational products, and unforgettable experiences. In meeting its mission with a vigilant eye toward quality and service, American Girl has earned the loyal following of millions of girls and the praise and trust of parents and educators. To learn more about American Girl or to request a free catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005, or visit 

About Save the Children

Save the Children’s U.S. Programs work to break the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of children by ensuring they have the resources they need—access to a quality education, healthy foods, and opportunities to grow and develop in a nurturing environment. When disasters like hurricanes and wildfires strike, Save the Children is among the first on the ground ensuring the needs of children are being met.

Save the Children’s early childhood education, literacy, physical activity and nutrition, and emergency response programs reached more than 147,000 children and families in the United States last year alone. For more information, visit


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Say What?!

Before I stared reading A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say: Finding the Words to Fit Any Situation ($9.95, American Girl, ages 10 and up) by Patti Kelley Criswell, I couldn’t imagine how this book could actually be specific enough to help a slew of different young readers. Wow, was I surprised! In fact, where was this book while I was going through those awkward adolescent years?

This guide is divided into topics, such as, “Asking for what you want,” “Sad times,” “That hurts,” I’m embarrassed,” and others. Within each topic are descriptions of specific situations. For example, on the page entitled, “If a friend lets you down,” there are seven specific possibilities. If your classmates are chatting about a slumber party you’re not invited to, or if your friend takes something you said the wrong way, you’ll know exactly what to say to them.  The book has some colorful cartoon-like illustrations, by Angela Martini, and lots of speech bubbles, making it easy to read.

Obviously no single book can cover every awkward situation that may arise, but this one is sure to give an adolescent girl a good foundation for gracefully handling potentially challenging circumstances. Simply said, it is not only helpful, but it’s also quite entertaining. And let’s face it, even as adults we don’t always find the right words.

There’s a whole bunch of other Smart Girl’s Guides by American Girl, and I bet there are a whole bunch of middle grade readers out there who’d love to read them all.

NOTE: This book, winner of the 2011 National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Honors Award, was reviewed by Debbie Glade.

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Meet Rebecca, The Newest American Girl

Meet Rebecca, An American Girl by Jacqueline Dembar Greene and illustrated by Robert Hunt, with vignettes by Susan McAliley.

jenniferjuliaagresizedToday’s Guest Reviewers are playwright/screenwriter Jennifer Maisel, whose work includes the critically acclaimed plays The Last Seder and There or Here ( and the hit web series Faux Baby, and her almost 7 year old daughter, Julia, a first grader who is a big fan of American Girls, and just may be a singer-songwriter when she grows up.

As a child I was a big fan of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series, about a Jewish family with five daughters living on the Lower East Side of New York at the turn of the century; recently Julia dug up one of my dog-eared copies of the book and we started in, pleased the writing held up for a new generation for readers. It seemed to be a nice synchronicity when the news came of American Girl’s newest history doll launching May 31 – 9 year old Rebecca Rubin, a Jewish girl living on the Lower East side with her four meet-rebeccasiblings in 1914 – and Meet Rebecca landed on our doorstep. And indeed there are marked similarities between the two series, both giving vivid pictures of the life of Jewish immigrant girls, yet not getting too much into the gritty details of the period.

As in other American Girl books, our main character faces a personal moral dilemma that is steeped in the historical milieu of the time. Rebecca’s family has close relatives that need to leave Russia but do not have the money to do so, and Rebecca’s family cannot easily afford to bring them over. Rebecca, however, is most concerned with being considered too young to light the Sabbath candles and searches for a way to stand out amongst her four siblings – something children of any generation can relate to. Rebecca hits on an ingenious way to earn money to buy her own candlesticks, but realizes, as time goes on, that perhaps the objects she longs for will not satisfy her as much as helping others could.

It’s a sweet story and Dembar Greene portrays the inner workings of a nine year old’s mind in a relatable way that kept my daughter eager for the next chapter. Julia thinks the person who thought this character up is our own “Clever Karina” (you’ll have to read the book to find out.) There are a lot of religious and cultural mores that Dembar Greene, for the most part, manages to deftly cover while keeping Rebecca’s journey in the forefront. I wished, however, that she had addressed the generational clash of concerns about the father in the family working on the Sabbath despite the grandparents’ disapproval more extensively – it was covered better in the Looking Back, America in 1914 chapter after Rebecca’s story was completed. But any book that opens my daughter’s eyes to trials her great grandparents went through when they came to this country and gets her slacker parents to celebrate Shabbat (at her insistence) has something going for it.

And for those Mommy fans of All-of-a-Kind Family – there is a doll just for us.
NOTE: This Sat., June 6 at 4:30 p.m. is American Girl at the Egyptian Theater. Call 877-247-5223 for more info.

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