ALAN Online News October 2016
This time last year the two young women in the photograph above, Jenny Broach and Moira McDermott, were looking forward to attending their first ever ALAN Workshop in Minneapolis. College seniors and pre-service English teachers, they were encouraged to register for the workshop by their professor Jennifer Buehler. 

For me, it was my friend Melinda Lundberg Wallace, who assured me that this two-day event in Orlando in 2010 was well worth my time. It wasn't long before I was telling the teachers I worked with that they really did need to check this out. Some have become ALAN regulars, showing up each year even though at this point in the school year they could really use a break. 

We attend the workshop because there is nothing like ALAN for a hard-core devotee of young adult literature. One example: The ALAN breakfast on Saturday, November 19th, will feature author S.E. Hinton, whose book, The Outsiders, was published in 1967. Almost 50 years later, students are as moved by the story of Ponyboy, Johnny, Dally, and the rest of the Greasers as they were when Susan Eloise Hinton wrote it as a high school junior. I know because some of those kids have been in my school library within the last couple of weeks, and they are amazed that these teachers and I will get to hear the author. Frankly, I am too.

If you haven't already signed up for the Saturday breakfast, do it now, as space was available as of last week. ALAN will once again have a booth in the NCTE exhibit hall, so stop by, say hello, and pick up some ALAN swag. A special edition of the newsletter will go out the week before the workshop with information on all ALAN events, including the Sunday night author reception that is included with your registration. ALAN President Jennifer Buehler and the committee have put together an outstanding program you don't want to miss. Thanks to Jennifer and everyone else for all their hard work over the last few months! 

I hope to see you soon in Atlanta!

- Anne McLeod, Editor
2016 ALAN Workshop in Atlanta, November 21-22

The ALAN Workshop is the premier annual event for teachers, librarians, professors, and critics of young adult literature. Held each year on the Monday and Tuesday after the NCTE Annual Convention, the program consists of keynote speeches, moderated panel presentations, and “in conversation” sessions featuring many of today’s most popular YA authors. Breakout sessions, usually scheduled for midday on Monday, provide space for educators and librarians to share the ways they use YA lit with teens. During short breaks between sessions, ALAN members present book talks of new titles by authors who are not on the official program.

Each attendee receives a tote bag and a 40-pound complimentary box of books donated by publishers as part of his or her registration. In silent signing lines after each session, attendees can get their books autographed. Since publishers donate books in different quantities, attendees do not all receive the same books. An exchange table makes it possible for attendees to trade one title for another at certain times during the workshop.

The workshop program typically features 60-70 authors along with a handful of editors, scholars, critics, and teachers of YA lit. The keynote speaker for this year’s workshop is A.S. King. Past keynote speakers include Kwame Alexander, Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Chris Crutcher, Jack Gantos, and Jandy Nelson. As many as 500 people attend ALAN each year. On Sunday night before the workshop begins, all workshop attendees have the opportunity to meet authors in person during an invitation-only reception sponsored by the publishers.

The workshop program is planned by the ALAN President with support from a team of program consultants. Sessions for each workshop are organized around a theme. The theme of this year’s workshop, created by ALAN President Jennifer Buehler with help from program consultants Patty Campbell, Michael Cart, and Scott Filkins, is “Innovators, Visionaries, and Rebels: Celebrating Risk Takers in Young Adult Literature.” Sessions will run from 8-5 on Monday and 8-2 on Tuesday. A Fed Ex shipping station will be available on site so that attendees can ship books home.

For more information about the workshop, including personal testimonials from past attendees, listen to the ReadWriteThink podcast titled “An Invitation to the ALAN Workshop.” For the complete list of authors who will be attending this year’s workshop, visit the ALAN website.  

Jennifer Buehler
ALAN President, 2016

2016 ALAN Election Results Are In

From ALAN Executive Director James Blasingame:

President-Elect: Mark Letcher
Board Members: Lisa Scherff, Donalyn Miller, and Sarah Ressler Wright

These new officers come from a wonderfully wide, and diverse range of backgrounds. Mark Letcher is an assistant professor of English Education at Lewis University, in Romeoville, Illinois. Lisa Scherff has served both as higher education and secondary education faculty at Florida State University, and at Estero High School, in Estero, Florida. Donalyn Miller, also known as "the book whisperer," has taught upper elementary and middle school students in Fort Worth, Texas. Sarah Ressler Wright, 2010 Ohio English Teacher of the Year, is both a former high school teacher and, currently, Hayes High School librarian in Delaware, Ohio.

Many thanks to the ALAN Elections Committee for their work in putting together a brilliant slate of candidates, and many thanks to all the ALAN aficionados who ran for office.

Speak Loudly: Banned Books Week 2016

Every year during the last week in September, Banned Books Week provides readers with an excellent reminder of the importance of being able to have choice in their reading material. This is a freedom that should not be dismissed or taken lightly. The week of celebration is a partnership of book publishers, sellers, and advocates of intellectual freedom, including teachers and librarians. This year, various workshops, displays, and book discussions on censorship took place across the country at bookstores, libraries, and other venues from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

Although I usually write a column prior to the event reminding readers to read a book that has been frequently challenged during the past year and has been listed on the American Library Association’s Frequently Challenged Book List, this year I decided to postpone my missive until after the week had passed as a palpable reminder that books are challenged throughout the year, and as proponents of intellectual freedom, we need to be familiar with them and provide reasons for sharing them with others and cling to the importance of free and open access to information. It is always worth noting that while just about every book published is sure to offend someone, no individual or group should have the power to decide what others may not read. 

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Most of these books are no strangers to the list of challenged books, and their authors are familiar with having their books come under fire from those who would deny others the right to read them. As Banned Books Week for 2016 fades along with the fiery temperatures of summer, do yourself a favor and read one of these books to see what you think or to understand the controversy that sometimes swirls around these titles. Then, decide for yourself whether the book is appropriate for your classroom or your personal collection. Finally, send an email to one of these authors for providing a perspective that might go against the mainstream or encourage others to examine their own beliefs and assumptions about a topic. Yours might be just the right kind of encouragement he/she needs in order to keep writing and exploring issues and points of view that make others uncomfortable.

– Barbara A. Ward, Chair, for the Anti-Censorship Committee

Announcing ALAN's 2016 Grant Recipients 

From ALAN Executive Director James Blasingame: 

Congratulations to Shaina Ray for being selected as the awardee for the first Cart Campbell Grant! Ms. Ray is a librarian at Chesnee High School in Chesnee, South Carolina. She is in her sixth year of service as a librarian. Many thanks to the Cart/Campbell Committee selection committee for their hard work on developing this award, and many thanks, also, to the kind generosity that made this grant possible. This is a grand tribute to two of our favorite people, Patty Campbell and Michael Cart, whose dedication to young readers has been phenomenal. The Cart/Campbell Grant for librarians offers $500 funding plus complimentary registration toward attendance at the annual two-­day ALAN Workshop.

The winner of the first ALAN Smith/Carlsen Grant is Jason Griffith, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Jason is currently a Teaching Associate and PhD Student (English Education) at Arizona State University. Congratulations, Jason! Many thanks to the members of the Smith/Carlsen selection committee for their hard work on developing this award, and many thanks also go to the kind generosity that made this grant possible. This award is a fitting tribute to two pioneers of the Young Adult genre, Dora Smith and Robert Carlsen. The Smith/Carlsen Grant for graduate students offers $500 funding plus complimentary registration toward attendance at the annual 2-day ALAN Workshop. 

Congratulations to Amy Estersohn and Michelle Lauber for being selected as the Gallo Grant Awardees for 2016. Amy has completed two years as a seventh English grade teacher at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, New York. Michelle has completed four years as a tenth grade English teacher, at Alcoa High School, in Alcoa, Tennessee. Many thanks to Dr. Don Gallo for making this possible. The Gallo Grants were established in 2003 by former ALAN Award and Hipple Award recipient Don Gallo to encourage educators in their early years of teaching to attend the ALAN Workshop for the first time. The grants provide funding—up to $750 each—for two classroom teachers in middle school or high school each year to attend the ALAN Workshop.

We are so very grateful to the kind folks who make these grants possible through their gifts.

The ALAN Review Award Winners Announced
The winner of the Nilsen/Donelson Award for the best article in The ALAN Review for the past year goes to Michelle M. Falter. Dr. Falter is an assistnt professor of English Education at North Carolina State University. Her article, “Addressing Assumptions about Adolescents in a Preservice YAL Course,” deals with university courses in YAL for preservice teachers and how to use young adult novels in ways that do not essentialize adolescents. This award is named for two pioneers in YAL, Alleen Pace Nilsen and Ken Donelson, professors emeriti at Arizona State University, who were instrumental in the birth and growth of ALAN and whose textbook on YAL is still the most widely used in the world.

The winners of the annual award for The ALAN Review's best column of the issue year are E. Sybil Durand and James Blasingame, professors at Arizona State University, for their Right to Read article entitled, “Do No Harm,” an examination of who gets hurt when books are withheld from young readers. The award comes with a complementary registration to the two-day ALAN Workshop, in Atlanta, which the columnists are donating to Anthony Celaya, a high school teacher at Dobson High School, in Mesa, Arizona, and a PhD student in English Education at Arizona State University.  

Registering for the ALAN Workshop
The ALAN Breakfast and ALAN Workshop will both be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Registration is open now. For more information about how to sign up for ALAN events through NCTE's registration page, go to our website at    
Registration information is at the bottom of the webpage. 
ALAN Real Quick Picks October 2016
The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely (Simon & Schuster, 2016)
Love is a language that is spoken in so many different ways. Kiely’s book is a love poem to forever love, first love, family love, questioning love, love of music, love of words, and the struggle of love. Beautiful and touching and will fill your heart.
– Kellee Moye

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)
Only David Piper’s two best friends know his secret: the fourteen-year-old identifies as a girl and desperately checks his body for signs of the impending changes that will make him look increasingly masculine rather than feminine. His path crosses with a recent transfer student, Leo Denton, when Leo reluctantly comes to David’s defense during an incident of school bullying. Originally published in Great Britain, this book’s alternating perspectives from Leo and David make it clear that secrets rarely stay secret, and as painful as it might be to reveal the truth about our own identity, it is necessary if we wish to remain true to ourselves. 
 – Barbara A. Ward

Going Geek by Charlotte Huang (Delacorte Press, 2016)
Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at Winthrop Academy, an exclusive boarding school, is a disaster after the revelation of how she spent her summer and her family’s recent economic woes. Her best friend, Whitney, no longer has time for her, and her boyfriend no longer trusts her. After reluctantly being moved to a residence hall whose residents seem socially clueless, Skylar ceases her sulking and puts her unique skills at organizing and publicizing to work. A slacker no more, Skylar realizes that everything she once thought mattered no longer has much importance as she finds acceptance in other places, even among the school’s geeks.
– Barbara A. Ward

The Last Full Measure by Trent Reedy (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2016)
The concluding title in the speculative Divided We Fall series is impressive and packed with emotional scenes as the Second American War, started accidentally by Danny Wright in Boise, Idaho, finally comes to an end. While Danny and others from Freedom Lake seek refuge in the mountains, the various factions responsible for the loss of thousands of American lives finally reach an agreement. The author’s use of lists of casualties and posts and broadcasts describing nuclear war’s devastation highlights shifting priorities as unlikely heroes and villains emerge from the chaos while reminding readers that all of this could happen.
– Barbara A. Ward

Watched by Marina Budhos (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 2016)
Naeem, the son of immigrant parents from Bangladesh, finds it hard to be confined by the expectations of those living in his Queens, New York neighborhood. When his trust in one friend turns out to be unfounded, he lands on the wrong side of the law and begins spying on others in his Muslim community. But as the charming but misguided teen comes to realize, the line between heroism and betrayal is quite slippery.
– Barbara A. Ward

Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler (Simon Pulse, 2016)
Harper never expected to land a summer internship as dating blogger for the trendy teen magazine Shift, especially since her application had been cribbed from the experiences of her best friend Kristina. But she finds herself in the Big Apple with a scary-ruthless boss who lives for clickbait, Aunt Vee, her chubby pug, and a cute dogwalker, plus a sexy hipster who seems to welcome her brave attempts to put dating theory into practice. Smart, funny, and poignant, LBD, LWL offers cutting social satire along with meditations on the responsibilities of friendship after Harper inadvertently betrays Kristina’s most awful secret.
 Anne McLeod

Calls for Manuscripts
The ALAN Review
The World of Young Adult Literature
Volume 44: Issue 3 (Summer 2017)

The world of young adult literature extends beyond the United States. And yet, readers in our nation are not often invited to consider stories published in or written about other lands, cultures, and communities. While the US is rich in diversity, and the field is increasingly recognizing the need to share stories for and about all readers, we are a single nation on a globe inhabited by many. We wonder what might be gained from increased exposure to a wider array of young adult literature that lies beyond our national borders. We wonder, too, what challenges exist in finding, publishing, and teaching such titles and how we might address these with care and humanity. We invite contributors to consider the stories of adolescence that are written around the globe and to tackle questions related to international literature, broadly and narrowly defined. What common experiences, realities, and ways of knowing, doing, and being exist across cultures? What differences might reveal our biases—and enhance our understandings? Are cultural differences ever too big to bridge? Whose stories get published—and whose remain untold to a larger community? What role do translators play in telling stories to new audiences? Can literature unite people across distant places? 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 the editors of TAR prior to November 1, 2016. Please see the ALAN website  for submission guidelines.

The ALAN Review
Advocacy, Activism, and Agency in Young Adult Literature

Volume 45: Issue 1 (Fall 2017)

Given their age and perceived lack of power in an adult-run world, adolescents can experience helplessness and cynicism, frustration resulting from not being able to address issues that anger or frustrate them or to evoke change in the face of obstacles over which they have little to no control. As teachers, however, we recall moments of insight and passion and optimism displayed by our students in response to literature.  We believe that stories can empower readers, and we wonder just how far-reaching such empowerment can extend, especially in classrooms and libraries that invite young people to question, to argue, to imagine what is possible—and what they can do to achieve it. For this issue, we encourage you to share examples of how you promote advocacy, activism, and agency among students (and/or their teachers, families, etc.) using young adult literature. How are these efforts depicted and advanced by authors? How do readers witness and respond to such efforts?  How might YAL be used to inspire action in the classroom and larger community? Can story serve to better our world and the lives of those who live here? 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 the editors of TAR prior to March 1, 2017.  Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines.

English Journal 
Multicultural and Multivoiced Stories for Adolescents

Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns of “The Danger of a Single Story” (TEDGlobal, July 2009). She writes: "The problem with the single story is that it creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. . . . The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar." By weaving multicultural and multivoiced young adult literature (YAL) into the curriculum, teachers can avoid the danger of the single story. Culturally diverse young adult literature invites readers to explore new vistas. These stories engage readers in considering new perspectives to create understandings and build cross-cultural connections. Social media movements such as #weneeddiversebooks recognize and support the roles authors and their stories can play in representing the many voices of our adolescents.

In this issue, we explore how multicultural and multivoiced young adult literature can broaden adolescents’ perspectives and engage classroom communities in meaningful discourse. While the term multicultural texts can refer to readers’ race, ethnicity, gender expression, spiritual belief, sexual orientation, and languages/dialects, and multivoiced texts offer multiple narrative voices and perspectives, we leave both terms open for readers to interpret. In all, such texts both broaden and deepen adolescents’ understandings of themselves and the world. We invite you to share your research-based practices and classroom experiences with teaching multicultural or multivoiced young adult literature. How do we teach and interpret these texts? How do you use YAL to build cross-cultural connections in your classrooms? In what ways do students gain global perspectives through reading culturally diverse YAL? What stories have you used that connect students with the personal and the global? What are the criteria for evaluating a multicultural or multivoiced young adult book? Submission Deadline: January 15, 2017. Publication Date: September 2017. Please direct questions about this issue to Kelly Byrne Bull.

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