ALAN Online News February 2016
Gene Luen Yang and Matt de la Peña  with Pauline Schmidt
at the 2015 ALAN Workshop 
Photo by Noah Schaffer
I volunteered to serve as timekeeper at the ALAN Workshop, thinking "How hard could this be?" Watch the time, make subtle signals, hold up a little sign. Easy, right? 

By 10:30 that morning, I realized I'd had to signal various award-winning writers to wind it down, including two Newbery winners. Then in January, it became three, when Matt de la Peña won the Newbery for Last Stop on Market Street. His ALAN co-panelist didn't do so badly last month either: Gene Luen Yang was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress. 

Holding up the red stop sign at 9:25 on November 23 for those two was one of the toughest things I've ever done.

ALAN is like that though, one extraordinary moment after another. If you haven't been to an ALAN Workshop yet, let 2016 be the year you come to Atlanta and hang out - just like Pauline in the photo above - with some of the best in YA literature. 

Anne McLeod, Editor

Two New ALAN Grants 
Smith/Carlsen Grant for Graduate Students
ALAN established the Smith/Carlsen Grant in spring 2015 to support the attendance of a graduate student working in English Education, Literacy Education and/or Young Adult Literature to attend the annual Workshop. The grant honors the contributions of Dora V. Smith and G. Robert Carlsen, whose knowledge of and passion for teacher education contributed to the field of Young Adult Literature.  

The grant offers $500 funding plus complimentary registration toward attendance at the annual 2-day ALAN Workshop. Eligible applicants must be enrolled as full-time graduate students in a program focused on English Education, Literacy Education, and/or Young Adult Literature and must not have attended an ALAN Workshop previously. Membership in ALAN is required for consideration. One Smith/Carlsen Grant will be awarded annually, and each recipient may only receive the grant once.

Applicants should complete the grant application form, which includes submission of an essay of no more than 1,000 words explaining what they hope to gain by attending this year’s ALAN Workshop, how they hope to use the experience in their studies and/or research, and how this experience will forward the work of Dora V. Smith and/or G. Robert Carlsen.

Applicants should also secure a letter from their academic advisor giving support and permission for ALAN Workshop attendance if the grant is received. Applicants are also welcome to secure optional letters of support from colleagues or university faculty members.

The deadline for application submissions is September 1 of the year of the Workshop to be attended, and the recipient will receive notification by October 1.  The application form and more details regarding evaluation criteria can be found at 

Cart/Campbell Grant for Librarians

Are you a librarian working with teens who wants to go to the ALAN Workshop, but just haven’t been able to secure the funding? Consider applying for the Cart/Campbell Grant. This grant honors the contributions of former ALAN presidents Michael Cart and Patty Campbell, both long-time ALAN members and passionate contributors to the field of Young Adult Literature.

ALAN established the Cart/Campbell Grant in spring 2015 to offer a librarian working with teens in a high school, junior high school, middle school, or public library $500 plus free registration to attend an ALAN Workshop. 

Applicants should complete the grant application form, which includes submission of an essay of no more than 1,000 words explaining what you hope to gain by attending the ALAN Workshop and how you hope to use what is learned through the experience in your libraries and/or schools.

Applicants must also secure a letter of support from your library director or school principal acknowledging the application and giving permission to attend the ALAN Workshop if the grant is received. Up to two optional letters of support from school and library colleagues or college faculty members may be included. Additionally, you are encouraged to include one letter from a young adult with whom you currently work.

 The deadline for application submissions is September 1 of the year of the Workshop to be attended, and the recipient will receive notification by October 1. For more information and a link to the application, go to

ALAN Facebook Page: Join the Conversations
Following the feedback from the social media survey, ALAN has worked on building a Facebook discussion group aimed to continue the conversations started at the workshop throughout the year. Any member may post related articles, blog posts, or start a discussion within the group. Please come join us at
- Ricki Ginsberg, Cindy Minnich, Kellee Moye, and Jon Ostenson
Social Networking Team, ALAN Public Relations Committee
Reflections on ALAN Workshop
from a First Time Registrant
Nicole deGuzman of the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School was one of the 2015 recipients of the Gallo Grant from ALAN, which provides funds to assist  early career teachers with travel and registration costs for the workshop in November. Look for information on the 2016 application process here in the newsletter later this year. The deadline for applications is in September.

Here are Nichole's reflections on attending ALAN in Minneapolis:

I received the opportunity to attend ALAN for the first time through the Gallo Grant. In the days leading up to the workshop, after concluding parent-teacher conferences and somehow managing to move the day before my flight, I made it to Minneapolis and embarked on an incredible two days. Those two days turned into a highlight of my entire year. The evening before ALAN began, I connected with old friends from my alma mater of Millersville University, and met some new ones, over a delicious pub dinner on Nicollet Mall. The next morning, we finally lined up, collected book boxes and bags, and basked in the haul! I got a lot of books, "geeked out" over authors old and new, and took many memorable notes that now rest in my notebook on my desk at school.

2015 Ted Hipple Service Award Acceptance Speech
by cj Bott
Past president cj Bott received the Ted Hipple Service Award at the ALAN breakfast in Minneapolis. Thanks to cj for agreeing to share her very personal and poetic remarks here. 

The first sacred place I found all on my own was our local library. I have always been a child of imagination, but the library sent me spinning in so many directions at once I was joyous. A building filled with words--millions, billions, trillions, double quadrillions of words—all waiting for me. I don’t remember learning how to read, which has led me to believe I was born with that skill.

My dad would walk me down to the corner, one block south from our house, and into this magical place. As I grew up, the library was rebuilt one block north of our house and I was old enough to visit on my own. I joined the summer reading club, which gave me an official excuse to have my nose in a book 24/7.  Reading for me was a chance to see outside myself, to question what I believed and discover what I needed to believe. Reading shaped my life as much as any human presence ever has. 

ALA Youth Media Awards
Every January it's exciting to see authors we've met at ALAN Workshops announced as award winners in the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards. This year, as always, there were quite a few familiar faces from ALAN, as well as some we can anticipate meeting at future workshops. 

Matt de la Peña won the Newbery Medal for Last Stop on Market Street, becoming  the first Latino author to win the award given for most outstanding contribution to children's literature. The picture book, which was also named a Caldecott Honor book, was illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by  G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: “The War that Saved My Life,” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and published by Dial Books for Young Readers; the graphic novel “Roller Girl,” written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and published by Dial Books for Young Readers; and “Echo,”  by Pam Muñoz Ryan, published by Scholastic Press.
Laura Ruby's Bone Gap, published by  Balzer + Bray, a HarperCollins imprint, won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. 

The committee named two honor books: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, published by Carolrhoda Lab, and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick, published by Roaring Brook Press

The Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award went to Rita Williams Garcia for  Gone Crazy in Alabama, published by Amistad. 

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, and X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon, published by Candlewick Press.

The Pura Belpré (Author) Award went to Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 

Two Belpré Author Honor Books were named: The Smoking Mirror by David Bowles, published by IFWG Publishing, Inc.; and Mango, Abuela, and Me written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez and published by Candlewick Press.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, written by Steve Sheinkin and published by Roaring Brook Press , won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. 

Four finalists include: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir Margarita Engle; First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race by Tim Grove, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M.T. Anderson, published by Candlewick Press; and This Strange Wilderness:  The Life and Art of John James Audubon, written by Nancy Plain and published by University of Nebraska Press.

David Levithan received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Among his books: The Realm of Possibility;  Boy Meets Boy; Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Every Day all published by Alfred A. Knopf. 

For a complete list of all the American Library Association's Youth Media Award winners, click here
Young Adult Literature in the College Classroom: A Reminder of Why We Love Literature

Kevin Kienholz is an English professor at Emporia State University in Kansas.

As an English professor, I spend every day in the classroom surrounded by students grappling with some of literature’s most challenging and confounding texts – the kind of works written to test, and sometimes defy, even the most capable readers.  In a typical semester, the students in my department analyze lines from Hamlet, they study stanzas from Eliot’s "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and they puzzle through paragraphs from Montaigne.  Fortunate undergraduate students that they are, they found themselves awash in literary greats – up to their ears, if the truth be told.

Why is it, then, that when I asked them about the favorite books they read throughout this past semester, they (more than occasionally) answered with titles like Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese, M.T. Anderson’s post-apocalyptic Feed, and Jacqueline Kelley’s turn-of-the-20th-century historical fiction The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate?  Just why is it that they most often point to Young Adult Literature as their fondest reading experience of the semester?  To be precise, of the 92 novels my students designated as being among their “favorites” of the semester, 76 would be properly classified as Young Adult – a supermajority of just over 82%.  Is it because the stories are exciting and fast-paced?  Perhaps.  Is it because they relate to the situations and conundrums common to young readers?  Maybe? Is it because the vocabulary in these YA texts strikes them as more familiar than archaic?  Well, probably a little.  

Real Quick Picks
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler (Harper Teen, 2015).

I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; although I knew what the end of the book held, I just had to know how the main character, Kate, would handle what she learned. After a student at Kate’s school charges four of the school’s best basketball players with rape during a party, “how will I handle this” becomes the question for each student we meet in the novel. Their answers provide a stark insight into how communities create truths they believe and defend, regardless of what the evidence suggests. 
-Helene Halstead, University of Georgia

                                                 Gray, C. (2015). Star wars: Lost stars. Los Angeles, CA: Disney Lucasfilm Press. 

This novel is a great companion to the Star Wars films past and present, but people can enjoy and appreciate it whether or not they have seen the films. Thane Kyrell, the central male protagonist, and Ciena Ree, the central female protagonist, are both strong and engaging characters. The book is a compelling space adventure story that raises questions about important social issues related to race, gender, and politics. It would be a great choice for high school students and YA literature lovers of any age. 
-Margaret Robbins, University of Georgia

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Press, 2015)

Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On is a combination of a ghost story, a mystery, and a love story. She keeps her style of much talking and kissing but adds many monsters…and one monster looks just like Simon Snow! He is in his eighth year at Watford, a school for magical children. And even though he can barely work his wand, and his girlfriend broke up with him, and he is suspicious of his roommate, Baz, Simon is seen as the Chosen One in the World of Mages, who will deliver them from evil. 
- Cynthia Dawn Martelli, Florida Gulf Coast University

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel Books, 2016) 

Salt to the Sea follows the journey of four narrators (a Lithuanian nurse, a Prussian boy with a secret, a fleeing Polish girl, and a loyal Nazi soldier) through war torn Germany during World War II. The characters' stories intertwine as they make their way to what they hope to be their escape: the  Wilhelm Gustloff; however, the escape does not go as planned and the journey changes their lives (and history) forever. Filled with hope & heartbreak and love & loss, Sepetys once again transports her readers through time to experience history through thorough research, beautiful language, and a brilliant story. 
Kellee Moye,  Hunter's Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL

Tiara on the Terrace (Young and Yang #2) by Kristen Kittscher (Harper Collins, 2016)

Young, Yang, and Bottoms are back and this time there is a murder to solve. Although the police say the death was an accident, the young detectives know that there is something just a bit fishy going on, so they immerse themselves in the best place to learn about what actually happened: undercover as court pages for the Royal Court of the Winter Sun Festival. Kittscher has written a perfect middle grade mystery that will keep the reader guessing until the mystery is revealed. 
-Kellee Moye,  Hunter's Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL

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     
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