Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Paperback Exchange in Belmar July 8, 2013

Filed under: books,business — lizzloves @ 5:20 pm
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Paperback Exchange, Belmar NJAs I’ve been settling into my new home in central Jersey, near the beach, many family memories have been floating into my mind. One fond one I have is an image of my mom cozied up in a beach chair, with a towel as a blanket. She is happily devouring a paperback novel, with her toes wiggling in the sand.

 

To this day, when I pick up an old paperback book, the smell of the pages reminds me of those summers at the beach with my family. So, it’s no wonder that, when I recently came across Paper Exchange in Belmar, NJ, I was instantly taken back to my childhood. This adorable shop—tucked into a little plaza in this shore community—not only sells used books at a healthy discount, but it also allows customers to trade in their used books for store credit.

 

If you’re a book worm like me, then just walking into this place will bring a smile to your face. The owner, Sharon, is ready with an inviting face and a helping hand. She knows the store like the back of her hand and can easily help you find a book if she has it. From YA novels and children’s books, to classics, thrillers and chick lit, this floor-to-ceiling collection has it all!

 

So, if you’re planning on hitting the Jersey Shore this summer, then make sure you add a visit to this spot to your list of things to bring to the beach:

  • Sunscreen (check!)
  • Chair & umbrella (check!)
  • Snacks (check!)
  • An fun read from Paperback Exchange…(check!)

 

Take my word for it: leave the iPad at home and take it back to the old school with an actual book 🙂 Plus, it can’t hurt to support a local store that has been in the community since the ’80s!

Happy summer reading! 

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LizzLoves Latino Reading for Youth December 10, 2012

Filed under: books,business,culture,parenting,youth — lizzloves @ 5:24 am

maswired.com

A week ago, an article was released in The New York Times that hit home for me. The piece confirmed the sinking feeling I had been having when I looked at the current literary landscape: Latino students are not seeing enough leading characters in the books they read that look, sound and act like them.

 

Despite the ever-growing Latino population in our country, we are still seeing a majority of white characters in main character roles in books that our young people are reading. Some might say, so what—reading is reading, right? Others might argue, why should it matter if characters are Latino or multi-ethnic?

 

Jane Fleming, an assistant professor at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in early childhood development in Chicago, told The New York Times, “Kids do have a different kind of connection when they see a character that looks like them or they experience a plot or a theme that relates to something they’ve experienced in their lives.” And that connection leads to an engaging learning experience.

 

And while this article does address the derth in Latino characters, it also highlights a few authors who are dedicated to giving Latino characters leading roles in their writing, like Pat Muñoz Ryan, Julia Alvarez, Gary Soto, and Alma Flor Ada. And I would personally like to add two others, Malín Alegria and Sofia Quintero, who both create relatable and real teenage Latino characters in their young adult novels.

 

The Times article also points out the importance of creating characters and stories about Latinos in everyday life, not just around holidays like Cinco de Mayo. “It should be as natural reading about these characters as white characters,” Julia Alvarez told the Times.

 

I’m personally very thankful to authors who are already making efforts to organically weave Latinos into their tomes. I smile when I can picture myself, and someday, my children in their stories. I will do my best to support them, and I hope you will, too. And for those of you who are thinking about writing the “great American novel,” remember that Latinos are an important thread in the fabric of our nation’s culture.

 

So this holiday, give the gift of reading to the young people in your life and support Latino authors, who are featuring young Latinos in their works, at the same time. A quick tip for an easy and fun way to find some of them: visit Latino bookstore, La Casa Azul in El Barrio, where you can find an amazing collection of Latino literature, from the classics to up-and-coming voices. Owner Aurora Anaya-Cerda joyfully brings her passion for Latino literature to NYC’s most famous Latino neighborhood.

 

 

LizzLoves Janet Jackson’s True You May 10, 2011

Janet Jackson on her Number Ones tour

I got an email from a concert ticket service the other day that gave me a heads up about Janet Jackson coming to New Jersey in August for her Number Ones tour. My fingers instantly got itchy to go buy a ticket to the show, but the thing is…I just saw her show in March!!

But, listen, Janet put on such an incredible performance, that I would see it at LEAST two more times if I had the funds.

I have been following, and loving, Janet since I was about 9 years old. I can remember when my friend Jessica lent me the Control album…on cassette. I almost didn’t give it back! I loved singing and dancing along to her music, and soon enough, I began to want to BE her. I idolized her and even dressed like her (yes, including a key on one of my hoop earrings!).

I remember feeling so affirmed and validated when I watched Janet dance her butt off in the “Pleasure Principle” video, flipping off boxes and giving a sexy scowl. But while I loved her moves, what really spoke to me in that video was Janet’s physique. She had a real body, slightly thick and athletic, not super skinny like lots of celebs. She made me feel like, despite my chubbiness, I could not only be pretty but, maybe,  even a superstar.

So, on my recent high after seeing Janet bring the house down in Connecticut, I ran to the library and got her new book, True You. I was shocked to find out that, all the time I was loving her throughout the years, Janet could barely look at herself in a mirror because she didn’t like what she saw. It wasn’t until recently that Miss Jackson came to love and accept her whole self. In True You, she traces her journey to happiness and self-awareness.

Janet was not only candid–she was even raw at times. Her humility reminded me that, just like all of us, she too has internal struggles. Her honesty is beautiful. She laid her heart on the line to speak to young girls and women everywhere who are fighting to find peace with their bodies, looks and overall self-esteem.

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your journey with us…

“I am loved, I’m valued, and I’m capable of achieving balance in my life…I can be happy with who I am, not what I should be, or what I might have been, or what someone tells me I must be…”–Janet Jackson, True You