Hope Katz Gibbs

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Kids Today / USA Today

Shannon Miller’s Shapely Advice: Get Moving [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
July 30, 1995

Spring sports are over and fall activities are still a few months away, but that doesn’t mean your body gets the summer off. The best athletes train all year round, says superstar gymnast Shannon Miller, who has won 60 medals in the last five years. The first thing she does every morning is get down on the floor for some stretches. “Splits are my favorite because they keep me really limber, the 18-year-old says. She says most kids can get the same results with a partial split. (That’s where you sit and stretch with your legs in a wide V-shape, rather than push your legs down into a full split). “In time, their flexibility will increase.” Learn more from and about Shannon Miller …

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Acting Up: Broadway Kids Share Stage Tips [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Feb. 18, 1996

Soon, spring plays will be performed in schools across the country. That means right about now, you may be getting ready for, or are in the middle of, play tryouts. If you have butterflies in your belly just thinking about it, don’t worry. Kid stars on Broadway get stage fright, too. Here are some of their tips …

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Sell Anything to Anybody [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Nov. 26, 1995

If you are like a lot of American kids, sometime in your life you have walked around school or your neighborhood with a knapsack filled with candy bars, cookies, or order forms for rolls of wrapping paper, trying desperately to sell them. Sometimes you did. Sometimes you didn’t. One man who never has any trouble making a sale is someone you may have seen on TV: Ron Popeil. He started selling newspapers when he was 8. Now he’s 60 and has spent his life perfecting his pitch. So far so good. His 40-plus products have made more than $1 billion. His infomercials are almost as famous as his products—which include Mr. Microphone, the Automatic Pasta Maker and the Pocket Fisherman. During a recent phone interview, he shared some of his tricks of the trade with Kids Today …

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Sitting on Big Bucks [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Aug. 13, 1995

If you are one of the 125 million kids who have read The Babysitters Club books, there is some good news for you. The Babysitters Club Movie opens Friday at theaters nationwide. There’s still more good news: You and your friends can take the cue from Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and other girls who make up the Stoneybrook baby-sitter gang, and start your own baby sitters club. More than 1,000 clubs have already popped up around the country, says Scholastic Inc., the publisher of the BSC series. Most of the chapters have four to seven members between 11 and 13 years old, and most members have been baby-sitting for one or two years. “If the members are responsible, arrive on time, and take good care of the kids, they can make some money,” says Ann M. Martin, author of the popular books.

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Sci Fi at Warp Speed [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Oct. 22, 1995

Do you “trust no one?” If you are like millions of other kids around the country, you know that’s the slogan for Fox’s super-popular X-Files. Of course, the spooky X-Files isn’t the only science fiction TV show that’s taking over the imagination of the nation. There is also the X-Men, Star Trek: Voyager, Sliders, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Fox’s Space: Above and Beyond. Ever since H.G.Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” books about an alien invasion, Americans have been fascinated by science fiction stories. In fact, when War was read on the radio in 1938, millions of people believed it was true. In the late ’50s, the creepy Twilight Zone had folks glued to the tube. And again during the late-‘70s, thanks largely to the Star Wars movies, sci fi took off like the Millennium Falcon. There is a similar surge today. Why?

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School’s (not) Out for Summer [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
July 16, 1995

While most kids are spending their summer at the beach, at camp, or just hanging out, some kids are already back in school. That’s because they go to a year-round school. Like all American kids attending public school, students on the year-round schedule go to school 180 days a year. But instead of having a three-month summer break, they are in class for 45 days at a time, with three 15-day breaks. Most year-round schools start in early August. “It’s really great,” says Jessica Wall, an eighth-grader on the year-round plan at West Lake Middle School in Apex, N.C. “My friends who are on the regular schedule tease me about it, but I think it’s better because I don’t get burned out. There is always a break to look forward to. And, I am getting better grades (straight As!) because there is less time to forget what I’ve learned.”

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What's With School Prayer [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Feb. 19, 1995

You may have been hearing a lot about a new constitutional amendment that would allow schools to start the day with a prayer. It’s a controversial issue. Some adults think that if students pray in school it will reinforce their morals and make them less likely to drop out, do drugs or get pregnant. In the least, they say, school prayer won’t make these problems any worse. Others think it’s a bad idea. These opponents include leaders from about 20 religions. They say there is plenty of religion in our lives already. They point to statistics that show about 155 million Americans—63% of the population—practice more than 100 religions in the United States. So which prayer would a school choose?

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Cyber Cheating [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
May 7, 1995

When technology leads to trouble

Jack knew he could get away with it. He quietly picked up Megan’s class work disk, slipped it into the computer, copied it, and typed his name over hers. He was sure to pass the assignment now. But he didn’t count on one thing: Mrs. Birecki. She had a precise filing system and within a day caught Jack. His punishment: Stay after school for a week and do the work again, for no credit. “He said he did it because he could,” says Wynette Birecki, the computer teacher at Sun Valley Elementary School in Peoria, Ariz. The disk story (a true tale with the names changed) is an example of the trouble kids can get into with technology.

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The V-Chip and You [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
May 12, 1996

How free will you be when you watch TV?

Congress, the President and TV executives all agree that it is important to control the amount of violence and other offensive programming on television. Now, they are debating the best way to protect kids from these types of shows. Recently, Congress passed and the President signed a law that will require TV makers to put a “V-chip” into all televisions they produce starting in 1998. The tiny computer chip would let viewers, like your parents, block out shows they don’t want to watch based on ratings each show would be given. Television executives have agreed to voluntarily create this ratings system, which will begin in January.

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Hanging with the ‘rents … Bonus or Bogus? [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
April 23, 1995

You used to love it when dad volunteered in your class. Now you cringe when he chaperones a dance. You used to show off mom at science fairs, now you hope she’ll be too busy too attend. Around middle school, your feelings get mixed up. You want your parents in your life, but you also have new friends and interests and want some privacy. Can you have it both ways?

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The Next Trial of the Century [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Nov. 12, 1995

So you think the trial of the century is over? Actually, it begins May 17 in Lawton, Okla. Well, prepare for the next one, when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols head to the courtroom. They have been accused of setting off a bomb in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, that killed 169 people. They have different lawyers, and may ask for separate trials. No matter if you think they did it, both are innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to a trial in front of a jury of 12 peers. In May, the lawyers and the judge will pick jury. Then, the trial (or trials) will start. Most of the attention has been on Timothy McVeigh, the first man arrested in the case. The prosecuting attorney, Pat Ryan, is trying to convict McVeigh—and his defense attorney, Stephen Jones, has a big job ahead of him. After all, McVeigh is suspected of making a fertilizer bomb, planting it in a truck and blowing the whole thing up in front of the County Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

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Popularity: Why kids think it’s cool to rule [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
April 9, 1995

Some kids seem to always wear the right clothes, say the right thing, make the right squads and get all the right awards. They’re popular. Maybe you hate them. Or maybe you idolize them. Heck, maybe you are one of them.

Popularity is strange. You can’t touch it, smell it, buy it or sell it, but at school it’s something almost every kid wants. Especially at this time of years, when school elections and tryouts are going on, you may hear over and over, “It’s just a popularity contest.” But what is popularity? Why do kids let it consume their lives?

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Bucking the System [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Dec. 3, 1995

Liliana Romero was paid $1.50 for every book she read over the summer. She finished 10 and got enough cash to buy a new CD. This summer, she plans to read 30 more. Knowing I am going to get paid makes me want to read more and more,” says Romero, 11, who is in sixth grade at Edmondson Elementary in Norwalk, Calif. “It’s amazing how much I am learning.” Romero, her school, and the company that sponsors the reading program all like the idea if paying kids to learn. But other kids and educators say students should read because they want to—not because they’re given money. One big supporter of being paid to learn is Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Boy Unearths Big Bucks [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today

Lawrence Shields had quite summer. While sifting through a bucket of dirt, he found a sapphire worth at least $37,000. The 10-year-old was visiting his great-grandparents in Asheville, N.C., and asked if the family could go to a mine that lets you dig for a fee. His mom and grandparents sat on a porch while Shields and his dad went through three buckets of through, which cost $10 each. “When we got to the last bucket, that’s when I found it,” says Shields, who is going into fifth grade fifth grade at View Elementary School in Fairfax, Va. “It was big, about the size of a tennis ball. And it was black with some brown spots the color of mud. I want kids to know what it looked like in case they go digging for gems.” Shields thought the rock was magnetite—a rock he had studied in science. But when went into the mine’s jewelry store for confirmation, the gemologist gave him the good news. It was a 1,061-carat sapphire.

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But I Am Old Enough! [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Jan. 15, 1995

Sometimes being a kid can be a real drag. You are 11 or 12and kids just a few year’s older are getting to do cool things like drive, date and stay out late. Matthew Lee Anderson, 12, of Purvis, Miss., says if he was just 15 (the age many states let you drive with an adult) he could take his dad’s silver Chevy truck for a spin. For now, he’s only allowed to take it up and down the driveway when it’s his turn to take out the garbage. “I have a really long driveway,” he says. In fact, of all the things kids look forward to doing, most put driving at the top of the list. Jenny Leazer, 11, of Fort Collins, Colo., says, “It would be fun. I could go to the mall.”

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Happy Campers [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
April 2, 1995

About now, when homework and exams begin to pile up, kids start thinking about summer. For many, the hot months mean bug spray and beaches. But for about 5 million American kids, summer also means camp. If you’ve never been to summer camp, you might not know where to start looking for the one right for you. After all, there are more than 8,000 camps in the United States, including private and specialty camps. There are also low-cost general interest camps run by the YMCA, YWCA, and Scouts, day camps and overnight camps, camps for city kids, and camps for country kids. How do you choose?

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Noteworthy LOVE [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
May 26, 1996

“I think of you always, Snookums! I can’t live without you, Peachy Sweetie Pants! Your cutie, little sugar smile makes me squishy, Sweet loverdums!”

Imagine you wrote this to the unbearably cute classmate you would like to date. Now, imagine your very loud best friend found it and read it to the school. Yes, love can be painful. But don’t fret, says Omaha, Neb., psychologist and author Pat Hudson. Love letters still are one of the best ways to profess your affection for someone. You just need to mix a bit of rational thought into the swirling, irrational emotion of infatuation. “It’s tough, but you’ve got to step away from your emotions,” Hudson says. One solution: Write a love letter.

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More Kids Today / USA Today Articles


"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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