Get Ready for the Youth Writers Challenge

Lola Zola wants everyone to know about the Youth Writers Challenge coming up this August.

Writers in grades 4 through 12 are invited to submit their poems and stories to by June 15, 2015.

More information can be found here Youth Writers Challenge and here Youth Writers Challenge Event.

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Listen Up! Live on the Radio!

Lola Zola authors, Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz will be on “Authors Talk Live” on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from 12:25 to 12:50 pm PST.  They’ll be interviewed by show host Patricia Johnson, along with Victoria Christopher Murray, prolific author and co-founder of Brown Girls Publishing. Authors Talk Live will also feature Brown Girls Publishing authors Candy Jackson and Gregory Marshall beginning at 11:00 am PST (Authors Talk Live is from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm PST each Sunday). You can listen here:  Enjoy!

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Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush (Kindle edition) is an Amazon Big Deal!

Lola ZolaLola Zola and the Lemonade Crush from Brown Girls Publishing is always a big deal for us (the authors) and our readers. So we are counting our lucky stars and thanking ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray of BGP that Amazon has chosen to feature Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush, Kindle edition as a Big Deal (you’ll have to check out Amazon to see how big) from now through January 25.

Tween girls love reading about Lola Zola, a self-assured, goal oriented, eleven year-old who tries her best to support her laid-off parents and her tuxedo cat Bowzer by going into business selling “magical” lemonade rumored to zap wrinkles and promote world peace. Trouble arises when her rich class rival, Buck, aka Slime Bucket, opens a competing ‘limo-nade’ stand out of the back of his father’s Cadillac limousine right across the street from Lola’s house! Intrigue and spy organizations run amok until closely kept secrets are revealed and Lola must decide what it means to win.

*** *** ***

Boys enjoy reading Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush, too!

“I hate saying this, but I even liked the tad bit of romance-twist at the end of the story (romance – *yuck*). This is a book that I think kids, boys and girls, will enjoy.

I give Lola Zola 5 out of 5 bookworms!”  ~ from a Erik, a boy with his own book review blog — “This Kid Reviews Books



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More Lola Zola!

2014-10-17 12.28.26

Hooray! Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush is out from Brown Girls Publishing (November 11, 2014) and is available on and Barnes and Noble on line. But wait, there’s more!

Follow the authors of Lola Zola @Tweenorama on Twitter and on Jackie’s Pinterest Board: Lola Zola’s Tween Favorites.

Ocean Park LibraryMarcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz, the authors of Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush are booking school and library visits for 2015. If you are a librarian, teacher or parent of a young reader and would like an author visit please contact us at: 4literacynow(at)gmail(dot)com

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BGP Publishes “Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush”

2014-10-17 12.28.26We are proud to announce that Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush has been acquired by the amazing Brown Girls Publishing.

Publication date is November 11, 2014.

Hooray for tween readers everywhere, for the sequel New Girl on Salt Flat Road will be published by BGP in early 2015.

Brown Girls Publishing was created by Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley, two gifted prolific author/entrepreneurs published by Simon and Schuster with over 45 books between them.

Lola Zola authors, Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz, can’t wait to visit schools and libraries to meet their readers and have fun doing “Lola Zola Readers Theater.”

Posted in author event, Brown Girls Publishing, children's books, fifth grade book, fourth grade book, library, library event, Lola Zola, middle grade fiction, publisher, readers theatre, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, sixth grade book, tween fiction, urban tween fiction, Victoria Christopher Murray | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush by Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz

Marcy and Jackie:

Check out this terrific review from Erik The Kid.

Originally posted on This Kid Reviews Books:

lola Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush

By Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz

209 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on July 28, 2012

Lola Zola’s family is in a fix – both of Lola’s parents have gotten laid-off of work. They need money. But, how can Lola help? After all, she’s only a 6th grader! But, what if she sold lemonade? Lola and her best friend set up a lemonade stand to help raise money for her family. But, the thing is, the no-good, horrible, rich kid Buck has set up a stand across the street from them! And, he has a bunch of cool things like a limo, a famous basketball player, and much more, to attract buyers! Lola decides she has to make her lemonade even better. When Lola adds a special ingredient that makes people think that her lemonade has magical qualities, sales rocket! But Lola soon figures…

View original 203 more words

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“Dear Marcy and Jackie” What about reading to Bowzer?

“Dear Marcy and Jackie” is a column by two teacher/writers (us!) that runs on the Huffington Post. Check out what a parent asked us about encouraging her son to read. Can reading to a dog, or (excuse us, Bowzer) a cat help with reading skills? What do you think?

Q. My son, who is in second grade, struggles with reading in school. When I ask him to read at home, he says he doesn’t like to read. My sister told me her daughter improved by reading to dogs at her school. Have you ever heard of this? My son loves animals, especially our two cats. Do you believe reading to pets could help him?

Read our answer to this questions and others here.

Bowzer’s brother Sunnyman is waiting for you to read him a story!

Sunnyman in a chair

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Great News for Tweens

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush is a free Kindle book for just this week! Be sure to get your copy here Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush for Kindle

A free book, me-wow!

A free book, me-wow!

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Book Two of the Lola Zola Series is coming soon…

Lola Zola and Queen Pauline

Lola Zola’s 11 year-old life turned upside down like a monkey the day “Tween Queen Pauline” and her glittery bangles clanged into town, special delivery from Malibu.

“I wonder if she plays ping pong or soccer,” mused Lola, sticking her head out the upstairs window in her best friend’s bedroom.  Melanie’s décor was bubble gum pink, not exactly the color of a soccer uniform or ping pong paddle.  Way feminine.

Life on Salt Flat Road was usually  …



dullsville but today the newcomer’s arrival in the city of Mirage caused tweens to pop their heads out windows. Lola’s neck hurt from popping out so much.

“I don’t think she’s a soccer jock, “said Melanie, cranking her head out the same window.  “Check out her rhinestone tiara. Oh my God, oh my God, she’s like all sparkly and princessy.” ~ from page one of Lola Zola and Queen Pauline

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Students Were the Stars at El Marino School’s Literary Night

El Marino School's Literary Night

Last Friday night the library at El Marino Language School in Culver City was filled to capacity with students and parents, there to participate in the “Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush” Readers Theater. It was the school’s Tenth Annual Literary Night, and the culmination of a fabulous week-long book fair.

What fun! The authors, Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz, read from the first chapter of their middle grade novel and then… students volunteered to act out the roles of 11 year-old Lola Zola, her best friend Melanie Papadakis, Lola’s rival-in-chief – sometimes crush Buck Wembly, his side-kick Hot Dog Hernandez, brainy fellow classmate Samantha, and teacher Mrs. Rosenberg. The audience chimed in for lively chants of “Lola Zola for class president,” and the requisite “boo’s” and “yay’s.” Some of the students gathered for a photo at the end of the raucous reading before heading off to the cafetorium for lemonade and a book signing.

Special thanks go to Rosanne Giza, an amazing parent-volunteer who organized the Lola Zola authors’ event!

The Authors

The Authors

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Literary Night at El Marino School April 19, 2013

Literary Night at El Marino


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Lola Zola Visits Wildwood School

Wildwood School Students

Wildwood School Students

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Is it real or is it magic…

Eleven-year-old Lola Zola panics when her parents announce…lola-zola-and-the-lemonade-crush1-e1339630934348 “We were laid-off.”


“Not fired, Lola, laid-off—from the auto plant.”

Either way, it’s bad news. How will Lola rescue her parents and tail-less cat Bowzer from the jobless blues? Then the idea of all ideas hits her square in the noggin like a lemon seed spit at one hundred miles per hour: a lemonade stand!

Lola goes to work with the squirt and slurp assistance of her best friend, freckle-counting Melanie Papadakis. When Lola’s class rival — Charles Wembly III aka, Slime Bucket—hears what the twister sisters are up to, he opens his own limo-nade stand out of the back of his father’s limousine — right across the street from Lola. It’s bad enough Lola’s mother might go to work for Slime Bucket’s father — Mr. Stinky Breath. Now, Buck is stealing her customers with an aggressive ad campaign.

A serious game of one-upsmanship, “corporate” chicanery, and worker rebellion ensues—turning the town of Mirage upside down and sideways. One exaggerated claim leads to another until word spreads that Lola’s lemonade has secret powers. Can it really erase wrinkles, cure allergies, and promote world peace?

Intrigue and spy organizations run amok until closely kept secrets are revealed and Lola must decide what it means to win. Just when Lola is about to declare victory, she discovers Buck isn’t the enemy after all, and may even be a friend — if not a crush! Is this possible?

Let’s just say anything can happen in a desert town called Mirage.

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We Love Thank You Notes!

We received some fabulous hand-made thank you cards from students at Santa Monica Alternative School. Take a look!20130127_232128Thank You Card Smash Core 2

Thank You Card Smash Core 3

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Genie Hwang and studentsGenie Hwang, 6th grade teacher at Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) and Core 3 students.

Thank you SMASH school teachers and librarian Diane Greenseid in Santa Monica for inviting Lola Zola into your classrooms. We enjoyed the Readers Theater and the Q & A with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders curious about our writing process. (Marcy wrote the first draft of Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush; Jackie revised it.) During the mock election for 6th grade Class President, boys playing Buck sauntered down the aisle, passing out glossy campaign literature; girls pretending to be Lola gave heartfelt speeches about eco-quality and justice for all sixth graders. Like a chorus, the students shouted, “LO LA LO LA LO LA!” until teacher Genie Hwang (pictured above) announced they’d have to read the book to find out who wins the class election.

SMASH StudentA Readers Theater actor and literary-minded SMASH student in the SMASH Library





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Lola Zola at the Kate Kate Tween Fair

Lola Zola at the Kate Kate Tween Fair

Young entrepreneurs Nika and Elena Palombo of Pure and Natural California Beauty schmoozing with Lola Zola while promoting jasmine scents at the Kate Kate Tween Fair in Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica yesterday. Marcy and Jackie autographed their copy of Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush – “Lola would enjoy being friends with you.”

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“Tween Us” from Chicago!


tween us

A big thank you goes to Shannan Younger who writes about everything tween. Here’s what Shannan posted on her amazing Tween Us blog about Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush.

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush Makes a Sweet Holiday Gift

by Shannan Younger

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush is a  novel by Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz aimed at middle grade students.  My tween very much enjoyed the novel that features sixth grade heroine Lola Zola who sets up a lemonade stand to make money when both her parents are laid off from their jobs. Although the subject matter is serious and true life, the book is not heavy or sad. The novel is very funny, and my tween and I both recommend it. It would make a great holiday gift.

Lola relies on some pretty fantastical claims to sell her lemonade. Charles Wembly III (a.k.a. Buck or Slime Bucket), Lola’s rival for class president, opens a competing “limo stand” out of the back of his father’s Cadillac. He challenges Lola and her friend Melanie on their claims about the power of their lemonade. Eventually, many thirsty people flock to the kids’ desert town of Mirage.

The book addresses circumstances of a tough economy but with pluck and humor that keep it fun, and flat out funny. I admit to worrying that my daughter would find it sad, or get worried about our employment situation.  Apparently I forgot that she’s a tween.  She was fine with it and said, “It’s part of the story, Mom. You deal. It happens.” And while that isn’t the sole message of the book, it is a very valuable one. My daughter mentioned that the last book she read that featured a parent losing a job was Ramona Quimby in Ramona and her Father, and that although Lola is older and more sophisticated than Ramona, both girls were scared but found a way to help the family. I agree that, like the Ramona books, Lola Zola has a neat combination of addressing current themes with a timeless approach that will not be dated. Lola is a character that certainly stands on her own, with pluck and humor, and will do so for years to come.

My tween was a big fan of the dialogue in the book, something she’s never singled out as a highlight in other books she has read.  She told me, “The characters all talk like kids really, actually talk.  It seemed like the characters were more real than in other books because they say things that my friends say.” She also liked the symbolic communication system that Lola developed with her best friends, Melanie, and said that it was something she’d want to do with her best friend. My tween and I both agree that the book would be good for either boys or girls.

You can buy Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush on Amazon here.

The book would make a great holiday gift.  While it alone is fun, tweens are always happy to get receive a gift that goes with the book, and this book presents a lot of matching gift options. My tween  recommended a parrot phone or a hamster, which are important to the plot, but she also approved of easier to find options.

Those options include the literal approach and giving a variety of lemonade-themed accompaniments, arming the tween recipient with the items necessary for an actual lemonade, like a plastic pitcher or juicer.  You could also assemble a reading care package that includes some sparkling lemonade, lemon cookies and a sunny fleece blanket. Alternatively, some fun yellow accessories would go nicely. For girls, this fun beret for $12.50 at Claire’s, or this ruffle shirt from Lands End would be great.  Boys might like a long sleeve v-neck from Gap Kids.

Find out more information about Lola Zola, the authors and starting a lemonade stand at her website here.

* Fine print: I received a copy of the book to review.  All opinions are my own, or my tween’s. (and we all know you can’t control a tween’s opinions!) We were not compensated in any way.  All the gift suggestions are my own, too, no compensation for those, either, although I did learn that checking out yellow items is a fun way to brighten a dreary day.
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Morning of Literary Fun with Lola Zola in the John Muir School Library

Principal Tristan Komlos, 4th grade teacher Kim Griffin, author Marcy Winograd

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush authors Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz want to thank the wonderful 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who participated in the Lola Zola Readers Theater at John Muir Elementary School in Santa Monica Monday morning.

Students cheered “LO-LA LO-LA LO-LA” during Lola Zola’s speech for Sixth Grade Class President, showing full appreciation for Lola’s promise to extend recess five minutes for rehydration.

A few boos, however, could be heard coming from the friends of Lola’s campaign rival —  Buck or Slime Bucket. When the Buckster (played by various talented students) sauntered over to the imaginary podium to deliver his speech, he flashed an impish grin at the crowd before promising to cut down on his farting during music lessons.

Co-authors Marcy and Jackie appreciated the excellent questions raised by fifth graders wanting to know more about the writing process.  Oh, and the lemon juggling was fantastic, with one student juggling two lemons at once.

Before the morning was over, students sipped lemonade, ate delicious chocolate chip cookies (thank you Melissa Tarsky, Sarah and Elizabeth’s mom) and wrote in Lola’s diary:

“Lola, you seem like a very great personality and a great reader.”

It’s true, Lola Zola is a great reader. In fact, she’ll even be able to read this entry after we translate it into Pig Latin!

Sarah, 3rd Grade


Authors Jackie Hirtz and Marcy Winograd with 3rd grade teacher Joe Ramirez

Thank you also, 3rd grade teacher Joe Ramirez, librarian Diane Greenseid, the 4th and 5th grade teachers including Kim Griffin, and principal Tristan Komlos.

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Lola Zola Comes to John Muir Elementary School in Santa Monica

Thanksgiving week, just before students break for the long weekend holiday, Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz will visit the Title I public school where literacy is prized, readers abound, and budding writers are finding their voice. The authors will bring copies of their new middle grade book, Lola Zola and Lemonade Crush and 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will read passages aloud, discuss the story, the characters and the situations they face, and offer predictions on how the novel will turn out.

Students, get ready to catch lemonade fever, guess the secret ingredient, find out Lola’s plan to help her family, and dramatize the lemony story about a sixth grade girl who turns lemons (double lay-offs) into lemonade.  Meet Lola, her BFF Melanie, Lola’s class rival Buck, and Lola’s tail-less tuxedo kitty who says, in Mew language, “This secret lemonade recipe is purr-fect.”


Send an email to to invite the authors to your school.

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Lola Zola’s Readers Theater Rocked at the Library

Yesterday in Los Angeles, we experienced a change in the weather — from warm and sunny earlier in the week to suddenly chilly with rain. Would any tweens show up after school for the Lola Zola Readers Theater at the Ocean Park Library in Santa Monica?


Sixteen tweens enjoyed listening to authors Marcy Winograd and Jackie Hirtz read from Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush. Everyone laughed, nibbled on cookies, discussed some of Lola’s issues (such as how she felt when her parents lost their jobs on the same day) and of course, drank delicious lemonade. All the guests were wonderful, including some parents who came with their kids, and contributed to a fun Lola Zola afternoon. Each tween went home with a copy of Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush and a recipe for… lemonade!

Our thanks go to Wendy Chen, the amazing children’s librarian at the Ocean Park Library who made this event happen! And many thanks to Mr. Ramirez, teacher at John Muir Elementary School, Maxine Meltzer, Melissa Tarsky, and everyone who helped get the word out about Lola Zola Readers Theater.

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