ALAN Online News December 2015
At the 2015 ALAN Workshop in Minneapolis
Photo by Noah Schaffer

View from the hot seat
We do HEART our authors!
Minneapolis: At the ALAN Breakfast we cheered as Lois Lowry accepted the ALAN Award, and cj Bott received the Hipple Service Award. We wept with Chris Crutcher as he told us about a troubled  student who faced truly extraordinary challenges and who gratefully acknowledged the teachers who saved her life.

The 2015 Workshop, planned by 2015 ALAN President Daria Plumb was simply outstanding. From the keynotes by Kwame Alexander and Jandy Nelson through all the panels, breakout sessions, conversations, and booktalks, to the handing over of the gavel to incoming president Jennifer Buehler, the ballroom was a hive of energy. Teachers, librarians, professors, and students listened, snapped photos, swapped books, and stood in autograph lines. 

Thanks to ALAN President Daria Plumb and the workshop committee for making it all come together. Thanks also to the volunteers who staffed the book exchange tables and the autograph lines, and who served as timekeepers during panels. 

Noah Schaffer, husband of ALAN member Jennifer Ansbach served once again as official photographer for the workshop and was invaluable. The workshop photos you see here in the newsletter are all courtesy of Noah, and we're very grateful to him for his work. 

Anne McLeod, Editor

Our Thanks to the Goddess
Teri Lesesne's Term as Executive Director Comes to a Close
For the last five years ALAN has received the many blessings of the Goddess of YA Literature, Teri Lesesne. Teri is stepping down in January at the end of her five-year term. 

As Executive Director, she managed the day-to-day affairs of ALAN, ensuring that committees were formed and had their marching orders, handled the logistics of the grants applications, and set up elections each year for President-elect and new board members.

Teri also answered an extraordinary number of questions from officers, members, and potential members of ALAN. I know because I asked a great many of those questions when I came on board as editor of the newsletter. Her replies were always swift, helpful, and to the point. A prolific writer, Teri was presented at the 2015 Workshop with  The ALAN Review’s  first ever Editor’s Award for excellence in writing and contribution to the field for her column, “The Tip of the Iceberg.”
James Blasingame, ALAN's New Executive Director

I am absolutely thrilled to follow in the footsteps of Teri Lesesne, Gary Salvner, and Ted Hipple, and big footsteps they are. If I can serve even half as nobly as they did, I will be pleased. Due to their efforts and the efforts of all the members and leaders of ALAN, the field of young adult literature has come light years from where it was when I began teaching high school English in 1976 and Robert Cormier’s Chocolate War was a relatively new book. One thing has not changed, however, and that is the important role literature plays in the lives of young people, providing them with a means for making sense of their lives.

Our role as the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English is to facilitate young readers in finding and engaging with the very best books and authors, the ones that help them figure out who they are. We understand the power of literature to help young adults recognize their own priceless value in the world, make the most of their own lives, and value and serve those around them to make the world a better place.
Call for Proposals for ALAN 2016

Innovators, Visionaries, and Rebels:
Celebrating Risk Takers in Young Adult Literature

ALAN Workshop 2016
November 21-22, Atlanta, GA

Innovation, vision, risk, rebellion—these distinguish our most noteworthy young adult books and our most effective ways of promoting and teaching them. They pave the way for literary excellence, creativity, and resistance to the status quo. At the 2016 ALAN Workshop, we’ll celebrate authors, editors, teachers, librarians, critics, and teen advocates who have pushed our field forward through their risk-taking work with YA lit.

We welcome breakout sessions that will spark conversation and inspire new possibilities for reading, writing, teaching, and sharing young adult literature. Proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • Who are the authors, editors, or publishers who offer innovative approaches to writing and storytelling? What have their books added to teens’ reading lives, your teaching, or your research? What questions do their books raise? What conversations do they make possible?
  •  What are you doing in your classroom or library to share YA lit in rebellious or risky ways? How are you working with or against established traditions? How have teens, colleagues, parents, and supervisors responded? What do we gain from taking risks in our reading and teaching? What do we lose?
  • How do we call others to join us in developing a bold vision for our work with YA lit and the teens who read it? What can we imagine for the future of YA reading, writing, publishing, and teaching? What do we want? What do we need
Taking Our ALAN Experience into the World
Steve Bickmore of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, featured a collection of reflections and perspectives on the ALAN Workshop as a post on his YA Wednesday blog. 

Staci Cox describes the almost overwhelming experience of being a first-time attendee in a series of three posts in the Puffin, the newsletter of the Alaska Association of School Librarians. 

Recruit new ALAN attendees with the Animoto video Anne McLeod created, using photos Noah took at the workshop, including some you see here in the newsletter. 
Scenes from the 2015 Workshop in Minneapolis
Election Results
Thanks to the elections committee, Mark Letcher (chair), Barb Dean (past chair 2014), Ricki Ginsberg (past chair 2013), Danielle King, Barb Ward, and Rick Williams recruiting the slate of candidates for President-Elect and the next three-year term for Board of Directors. 

President­-Elect: Laura Renzi

Board of Directors (term 2015­-2018):
Bryan Gillis
Cindy Minnich
Kellee Moye

Real Quick Picks
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte, 2015)
Madeline is confined to her home with a rare immune disorder that renders the world toxic to her. When Olly and his family move in next door, she is immediately entranced by him and ready to risk everything to have him in her life. Romance, family drama, suspense, and medical mystery make this a brilliant debut novel. - Anne McLeod

  Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (Balzer+Bray, 2015)
Willowdean is a self-described fat girl and is fine - mostly - with her body image till her co-worker's romantic attentions throw her for a loop. The local beauty pageant, organized by her mom, gives Will a chance to leave her comfort zone, redefine ideas of beauty, and come to terms with the recent death of her beloved aunt Ruth. Set in small town Texas, this big-hearted story will leave you cheering and maybe humming a few Dolly Parton tunes. -  Anne McLeod
Calls for Manuscripts
The  ALAN Review
Story and the Development of Moral Character and Integrity,  Volume 44: Issue 2 (Winter 2017)
We invite contributors to consider the complex moral interactions that might occur when adolescent readers enter a text, particularly one intended for them as young adults. Can young adult literature (YAL) foster opportunities for readers to assess what might be right and what might be wrong—and who decides? Can YAL provide avenues for exploring dark, forbidden paths? Can YAL reinforce or challenge belief systems contradictory to those grounded in democratic values of equity and social justice? Can YAL foster more empathetic and nurturing dispositions and behaviors among young people? Or are we overestimating the power of story? As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to Submissions due July 1, 2016

The  ALAN Review
Rethinking “Normal” and Embracing Differences,  Volume 44: Issue 1 (Fall 2016)
In this issue, we invite you to consider how language, woven through story, can invite exploration of difference centered on (dis)ability, sexual identity or orientation, gender, race, nationality, culture, age, and/or physical appearance. How might young adult literature help readers consider their own and others’ uniqueness? How might it challenge deficit perspectives of the other that are too often forwarded by the dominant narrative? What difficulties result from such attempts at engagement in educational settings? How can we help adolescent readers understand that “[A] person is so much more than the name of a diagnosis on a chart” (Sharon M. Draper,  Out of My Mind, p. 23) and ask themselves, as they grow up in a labels-oriented world: “You’re going to spend more time with yourself than with anyone else in your life. You want to spend that whole time fighting who you are?” (Alex Sanchez,  The God Box, p. 139)? We also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to Submissions due March 1, 2016

Read more     
A New Look for the Newsletter
Last month's ALAN Essentials, which provided information about about workshop events, was actually a sort of soft opening for a revamping of the ALAN Online News. Because well over 30% of our readers open their email on a mobile device, it made sense to move to a mobile-friendly template. 

Another advantage of the shift is that many of the pieces from the newsletter are linked on ALAN website, thus generating traffic for the website. Our webmaster, Jon Ostenson, has helped coordinate the change. 

We hope that the new format is easy on your eyes, no matter how you're accessing it. We welcome your feedback and ideas. 
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