Saturday, April 14, 2012

‘You Can Do It!’ Booktalk for teen girls

The Lake County Office of Education is hosting workshops on April 28 for girls in grades six to 10 to explore non-traditional careers for women. My boss, the managing editor of a news company, is one of the presenters.

I decided to use this real-life scenario as the (fictitious) backdrop to a booktalk for my Cuesta College class, LIBT 118: Connecting Adolescents to Literature and Libraries. With this booktalk, I hope to inspire girls to pursue their dreams to the fullest.

I’m a costumed superhero of league-bowling dream come true.

I wear my “Killer Bees” bowling team shirt, hand-beaded and fringed, and bring my bowling ball. Maybe even the Etonic Youth PDW Dragonzilla Jr. bowling shoes I’m ordering — black with yellow dragons — if they’ve arrived by then.

Have you ever wanted to travel? Perform on stage? Join a rock band? Learn a foreign language?
Maybe you, like Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas did, want to write a book.
On Sept. 11, 2001 Lauren was flying home from her grandmother’s funeral on United Airlines Flight 93:
“Already a hero to all who knew her, she became another kind of hero on that horrible day. As the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported, ‘The nation owes a debt to the passengers of United 93. Their actions saved the lives of countless others and may have saved either the U.S. Capitol or the White House from destruction’” (Grandcolas xi).
Lauren imagined a book that would help women “achieve their goals, realize their dreams and embrace life’s joys and challenges to the fullest” (Grandcolas x). After her death, her family worked to make her vision — her book — a reality.
Lauren saw this book as a way to re-create the feeling of accomplishment and community that she felt as a Girl Scout earning badges with her troop.
Each dream is broken down step-by-step with a mentor to guide your way.
Earning the badge — yes, there are badges — is only the beginning. Each dream includes suggestions for carrying it further once you’ve accomplished it.
Maybe your dream isn’t specifically mentioned — like mine: join a bowling league. Not a problem, the book encourages you to apply what you’ve learned toward whatever your heart desires.
“Invite your dreams to come out and play.
“Commit your dreams to paper.”
“Entertain the possibilities.”
“Picture yourself living the dream.”
And “Let your dream take shape.”
(Grandcolas 2-5)

Grandcolas, Lauren Catuzzi. You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2005. Print.

To enroll a girl in the (real) free workshop on April 28, visit or call 262-4162. The event is funded by Mendocino College and LCOE Career Technical Education.

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