There’s that special chill in the air, your fantasy team is probably already hopeless, and you feel a certain itch to create something new. That can only mean one thing: It’s time for National Novel Writing Month!

Every year, thousands of writers join in the month-long campaign to write a novel (50,000 words) in one month, in a collective burst of creativity that probably registers huge on the Universe’s Richter Scale of Awesome.

If you’re cracking your knuckles, readying to dive back into the NaNo ring, or if you’re a n00b to the whole crazy rigamarole, we want to help fuel your quest for 50K! So we’re bringing back our newsletter, Carpool Lane, a daily offering of inspiration, quotes on writing, resources, and of course .gifs!

Want some examples of the daily goodness we’ll be spittin’ your way? Try this (wam!) or this (pow!) or one of these (kablam!).

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They’re back!   Aiiieeeeee!

I wrote a pep talk letter.




As I’m walking through Target with my little sister, the kid somehow manages to convince me to take a trip down the doll aisle. I know the type - brands that preach diversity through displays of nine different variations of white and maybe a black girl if you’re lucky enough. What I instead found as soon as I turned into the aisle were these two boxes.

The girl on the left is Shola, an Afghani girl from Kabul with war-torn eyes. Her biography on the inside flap tells us that “her country has been at war since before she was born”, and all she has left of her family is her older sister. They’re part of a circus, the one source of light in their lives, and they read the Qur’an. She wears a hijab.

The girl on the right is Nahji, a ten-year-old Indian girl from Assam, where “young girls are forced to work and get married at a very early age”. Nahji is smart, admirable, extremely studious. She teaches her fellow girls to believe in themselves. In the left side of her nose, as tradition mandates, she has a piercing. On her right hand is a henna tattoo.

As a Pakistani girl growing up in post-9/11 America, this is so important to me. The closest thing we had to these back in my day were “customizable” American Girl dolls, who were very strictly white or black. My eyes are green, my hair was black, and my skin is brown, and I couldn’t find my reflection in any of those girls. Yet I settled, just like I settled for the terrorist jokes boys would throw at me, like I settled for the butchered pronunciations of names of mine and my friends’ countries. I settled for a white doll, who at least had my eyes if nothing else, and I named her Rabeea and loved her. But I still couldn’t completely connect to her.

My little sister, who had been the one to push me down the aisle in the first place, stopped to stare with me at the girls. And then the words, “Maybe they can be my American Girls,” slipped out of her mouth. This young girl, barely represented in today’s society, finally found a doll that looks like her, that wears the weird headscarf that her grandma does and still manages to look beautiful.

I turned the dolls’ boxes around and snapped a picture of the back of Nahji’s. There are more that I didn’t see in the store; a Belarusian, an Ethiopian, a Brazilian, a Laotian, a Native American, a Mexican. And more.

These are Hearts 4 Hearts dolls, and while they haven’t yet reached all parts of the world (I think they have yet to come out with an East Asian girl), they need all the support they can get so we can have a beautiful doll for every beautiful young girl, so we can give them what our generation never had.

Please don’t let this die. If you know a young girl, get her one. I know I’m buying Shola and Nahji for my little sister’s next birthday, because she needs a doll with beautiful brown skin like hers, a doll who wears a hijab like our older sister, a doll who wears real henna, not the blue shit white girls get at the beach.

The Hearts 4 Hearts girls are so important. Don’t overlook them. Don’t underestimate them. These can be the future if we let them.

You can read more about the dolls here: http://www.playmatestoys.com/brands/hearts-for-hearts-girls

This is the most amazing thing!  Little sisters heck!  Have you got nieces, granddaughters, cousins, daughters?  Not only girls of color can benefit by having dolls like these, but white girls who are growing up in a world of color!

We have these dolls in Canada too! arealturkeyshoot and I bought one for a little girl we know and her mom almost cried when she saw that a portion of the sales goes to help girls around the world. There are different clothes too so your doll can wear something more traditional or something modern. They aren’t a steryotype, you can dress them however you would dress yourself. I love these dolls and hope to buy more for the young girls in our lives in the future. This company is doing so much good, I hope they never change.