Read It: Real Girls' Voices

WriteGirl is one of our favorite things ever. It's a creative writing and mentoring program for at-risk teen girls in Los Angeles, and they're all about empowerment through creativity and self-expression (YES!). Through weekly mentoring, monthly workshops, public readings and performances, these girls come to know their own inner smarts and worth, which of course were there all along, but are sometimes hard to recognize. Beyond Words: The Creative Voices of WriteGirl ($15) is their latest anthology of teen girls' writing, and it's awe-some (plus, proceeds go straight to WriteGirl -- charitable bonus!). The words call out to you as you read through pieces under themes like "Whimsy," "Darkness & Light" and "Love." I have the urge to take colored markers and doodle all over the white spaces, around the pages that contain solitary hit-home lines like, "Scream it; then write it."

There's also a chapter of writing activities, like, "Try writing a journal entry as if you're someone else, like the guy across from you in class, or your worst enemy" and "Write a poem consisting entirely of overheard conversation." How cool are those prompts?

Check out this latest anthology, and some of the previous incarnations of the book. Each one is filled with wonder and hope and pain and energy -- reading these girls' words is a total shot in the arm.

PS-Another great writing organization we love, east-coast style: Girls Write Now!