Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My JEM Interview: “Roxy Rumbles” for Literacy



Imagine if you couldn’t read.

You’d miss out on connecting with friends at Facebook, couldn’t check your bank account (though at times you’d rather not), never be able to write a grocery list (can’t forget the chocolate chip cookies), check out the menu board at Starbucks for the latest latte sensation.

Or read the fabulous posts here at Naughty Author Chicks.

Hard to imagine that at one time in history being “literate” meant that a person could sign his name. It later evolved to mean that you could read Latin. During the early days of Queen Victoria, close to fifty percent of all women signed their marriage certificate with their “mark” on their wedding day because they couldn’t write.
It wasn’t until later in the nineteenth century that books became affordable to everyone.
Yet literacy is still a problem. According to a story in USA Today by Greg Toppo, a study in 2009 estimates that “…32 million adults in the USA—about one in seven—are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle.”

More than ever, it’s important to read, read, read. It spurs our imagination, educates us and gives us the opportunity to explore new and exciting worlds.

Reading books is just as important today as it was when I wrote a cartoon script for the girl band series JEM and the Holograms called “Roxy Rumbles.”

(Story editor for JEM: Christy Marx)

Roxy, the “bad girl,” can’t read, which gets her into all kinds of trouble.

You can see the first part of my “Roxy Rumbles” episode here (next 2 parts are listed on this same page):

I am delighted to discover that JEM is still popular--and my message about reading more important than ever.

I was recently interviewed by Steve Savicki on his website devoted to JEM.





14 comments:

Michelle Polaris said...

Wow, I did not know this about you Jina. I love it! Literacy is such an important issue. We take so much for granted. Driving, getting and keeping a job, filling out healthcare forms. Everything. Thanks for sharing both an interesting part of your writing life and reminding us about the topic.

Cara McKenna said...

I know this post is about literacy, primarily, but I can't get over the fact that you wrote for Jem! I had such a crush on Rio… Sorry. JUst reverted to my seven year-old self.

Wynter Daniels said...

Very cool! You have all sorts of tricks up your sleeves;-) Literacy is a pet cause of mine. My RWA group does a huge yearly signing to support our local literacy league. I can't imagine how tough life would be without the ability to read.

Steve Savicki said...

Thanks for posting this. It was fun.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Literacy is a pet project of mine also. My September book THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE has a heroine who can't read and her error causes a huge mistake for the hero. I came up with the idea because of my husband's uncles. The entire family is dyslexic in varying degrees. When his uncles were young, no one knew what that was, so they just thought they were dumb. They're all super intelligent, though they can't read a road map or the newspaper. Think of all the thousands of that generation who suffered the same fate! By the way, I can't get over the fact you wrote for JEM either. LOL

Jina Bacarr said...

You're welcome, Michelle. Your points re: reading are well taken. Even though our lives have turned digital, the basics still involve reading what you see on the screen.

Jina Bacarr said...

JEM was so ahead of its time, Cara, with fashion and music and what Christy Marx (the story editor) and I hoped were good, solid stories that would last.

It seems they did...

Jina Bacarr said...

You're so right, Wynter, about how hard it is when you can't read. I love RWA's commitment to literacy. Every year at the RWA conference, the line for the literacy signing is a long and winding one!

Jina Bacarr said...

Thankz for having me on your site, Steve! You did an amazing job of preparing the questions and assembling the photos and art work for JEM. Very artistic and fun.

Jina Bacarr said...

Caroline, your comment is very thoughtful and poignant...thank you for sharing your story about your family and your book, The TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE. Sounds like a wonderful read!

Writing for JEM and other cartoons and kids' shows was super fun for me because of my love of comics. I was fortunate to be there in that biz at the right time with a video game script I had written for another company as my calling card.

Savannah Stuart said...

I can't imagine not being able to read. My whole world changed when I discovered books...Thanks for such a thoughtful post. I gotta say, I remember Jem and I used to own the coolest doll of her. Her pink earrings lit up and I would take that thing everywhere. My mom hated it, lol. I wish I'd saved it!

Savannah Stuart said...

P.S. Jina, you're seriously awesome. The more I learn about you, the more intrigued I am :)

Jina Bacarr said...

Thankz for your kind words, Savannah. I've had a varied career...

Dalton Diaz said...

OMG, I totally remember Jem! She rocked!

If there is one thing I could never imagine, it would be a world where I couldn't read. It's one of my greatest pleasures. I love that RWA holds so many signings for literacy, and I'm proud to take part.