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Rise of the Undead Redhead, the first tween roller-derby book, rolls out today

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So, you've got a kid, huh? Whether it's your own rambunctious preschooler or the bratty nephew you've been charged with keeping alive for the next five hours, the most important thing is leaving your house where valuables are liable to be destroyed and seeking refuge on somebody else's property. In this series, we'll be exploring fun, local, and quirky spots that are kid-tastic and adult-friendly, too.

Roller derby, the fastest-growing sport in the world, is not just for grownups anymore. In fact, thousands of young girls across the globe are playing roller derby, benefiting from the powerful messages of teamwork, body confidence and strength that derby delivers. As the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls celebrate ten years of rolling strong, teammate and debut author Meghan Dougherty, who goes by Undertaker's Daughter in the rink and works as a PR professional by day, is launching the first book in a young-adult (designed for ages nine to twelve) series that's all about the wild world of roller derby.

See also: Boulder's Meadow Music offers a fun way for families to connect with nature and each other

Rise of the Undead Redhead, by Dougherty, illustrator Alece Birnbach and co-writer Karen Windness, hits the Tattered Cover and local Barnes & Noble stores today, as well as Amazon. In lieu of a traditional book signing, they're celebrating their new paperback with a bona fide roller-derby adventure on Saturday, July 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Taxi.

The star of Rise of the Undead Redhead is an eleven-year-old girl who ends up living with her kooky, hearse-driving granny after mom decides to go to Nashville for fame and fortune. When the protagonist discovers that her grandmother is a former roller-derby star, she begins collecting a motley crew of companions, and the unlikely story of their roller-derby success unfolds in a hilarious, heartwarming manner.

The story isn't so far-fetched. Remember Dougherty's roller-derby name? The writer's dad is a mortician, and she spent lots of time in the funeral home during her formative years. "I used to pick up dead people for money in high school," she recalls, admitting that, in many ways, the novel is autobiographical.

The second title in the series will be Woe of Jade Doe. In both books, the female characters take "what could be considered their negative assets -- things people tease them about -- and make them empowering," Dougherty says. The girl who is bigger than the others, for example, is called "Thunder Thighs" by peers. "So she takes that and makes it into her derby name: Rolling Thunder," Dougherty notes.

"I don't mind the little princess books," the author continues, "but this is sort of a hodgepodge of all types of girls, and roller derby is like that, too, because you don't have to be a certain type of person to play."

If your adolescent or tween likes to roll -- skates, blades, scooters or boards -- they'll love the one-of-a-kind book-signing for Rise of the Undead Redhead, which is also a community skate party and equipment swap. "Bring anything you roll on, minus bikes, and any equipment you don't use anymore," says Dougherty. Whatever isn't traded will be donated to the local branch of Girls Inc. and to the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks, the junior derby league for kids ages seven to fifteen.

A few of the adult skaters from the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls will make appearances at the event, and one will have a free face-painting and roller-derby make-up station. Dougherty is hoping to have a food truck on hand, too. "We're also going to block off some areas at Taxi so people can skate," adds Dougherty. Of course.

For more information on the book and the signing, visit Dorothy's Derby online or follow the action on Facebook or Twitter.

Follow Jamie Siebrase on Twitter.

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