Friday, March 27, 2009

For the Older Sibling: North of Beautiful

As we approach the end of March we recommend North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley for the teen sibling of your totz. With three starred reviews, this work will challenge you to talk about the concept of beauty with your adolescent.

Terra plans to leave her small town in the Northwest and escape to college, but she is under the thumb of her controlling father. As she searches to define herself with a facial birthmark, an accident places Terra in Jacob’s path, and the Goth boy tests her beliefs about herself, beauty, and life. With a visit to China, Justina's characters journey to find their own north of beautiful.

Justina is offering a Find Beauty Challenge wherein she will donate $10 for cleft palate surgeries for each video entry that defines beauty. Here's the one I created!

And here's Justina's:

Challenge yourself and distill your thoughts on beauty. Help totz around the world smile with confidence!

I asked Justina a few questions, and here are her answers:

Lorie Ann: Justina, NOB is our pick for teen siblings of totz. I myself have a brother ten years my junior. Are you from a family with a wide age span between children?

Justina: There's a 10-year age gap between my oldest brother and my little sister. Interestingly, my brothers (both older than me) share the same birthday.

Lorie Ann: How many totz do you have?

Justina: I have 2 amazing, wonderful, beautiful, not-so-small-anymore totz.

Lorie Ann: Are there any totz in your novel?

Justina: I snuck in a few totz in my novel: the first to appear is Jacob's little brother. I took inspiration for him from my son at that age, 3 or 4. Then there's a pivotal scene in the novel set at a Chinese orphanage filled with totz. One in particular had a life-changing impact on Terra, the protagonist.

Lorie Ann: Terra travels to China in NOB. Have you traveled extensively with your totz?

Justina: Luckily, my kids inherited a sense of adventure. I've been fortunate to be able to take them to Japan, Europe, China, Canada, and around the country here at home.

Lorie Ann: What discussions might you hope to engage between parent and teen as they read NOB?

Justina: I hope NOB sparks discussions about the meaning of true beauty, the elements of a good relationship, honesty and tough decisions, separating from parents, standing on our own.

Lorie Ann: Can you tell us a little more about the Find Beauty Challenge that is going to aid many totz?

Justina: I tie community service to every book I publish. So with North of Beautiful, I decided to host the Find Beauty Challenge, asking people to tell the world in a 90 second video what true beauty means. For every uploaded video, I'm donating $10 (up to $1000) to fund reconstructive surgeries for kids with cleft lips in the third world. The videos people have created are powerful statements about beauty. I'm inspired!

Lorie Ann: Thank you so much for your time, Justina. Here's to true beauty!

North of Beautiful
by Justina Chen Headley
Little, Brown, 2009


Joan Holub said...

I LOVE this challenge, Justina. And I love the fact that you tie a community service to every book you create. I can't wait to read North of Beautiful. Congratulations on 3 starred reviews. That's fantastic!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

It is so wonderful!