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Breaking News!
2015 ALAN Keynote Speakers Announced
Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander, Printz Award Winner Jandy Nelson Confirmed for Monday Keynote 
ALAN Online News - April 2015

We have LOTS of news this month about what's coming up in the November workshop, so read and enjoy. 

In the meantime, despite organized, persistent, and extremely well-funded efforts to turn April into National Destroy-Kids'-Love-for-Learning-by-Forcing-Them-to-Take-Illogical-and-Poorly-Constructed-High-Stakes-Assessments Month, April does, in fact, remain National Poetry Month. 

But it won't be for long unless we step up our own efforts to help children and young adults make real connections with the spoken word. Poems are not meant to lie there on the page. They must be spoken, whispered, shouted, bellowed.

Poetry is for all students,  especially those marginalized in the one-size-fits-all approach we too often take to literacy. Don't tell me a student can't read until you've put some poems in front of him and let him pick the one he wants to share with his class. 

Don't tell me that the students eagerly marking up their copies of their poems for choral reading aren't learning because they're smiling and look like they're (gasp) having fun. 

And please don't tell me that poetry doesn't count because it's not prose and there's not a Lexile assigned to it. 

Make this the month when you pass out poems to teens to put in their pockets, booktalk some novels in verse, or host a poetry coffeehouse. We promise you'll have whole hours at a time in which you don't think of The Test at all. 

- Anne McLeod and Kacy Tedder, Editors
In This Issue
Lois Lowry To Receive 2015 ALAN Award
Searching for ALAN's Next Executive Director
Hipple Service Award Goes to cj Bott
ALAN 2015 Breakout Sessions
New Column Editors for TAR
YA Links in the News
Book Giveaway by Ruta Sepetys
Missing your issue of TAR?
Please email membership secretary Karin Perry.

Lois Lowry Recipient of 2015 ALAN Award

The ALAN Award honors those who have made outstanding contributions in the area of adolescent literature.  ALAN is proud to announce that author Lois Lowry is the award recipient for 2015.  Her works include   Newbery Medal Award-winners  The Giver  (1993) and  Number the Stars (1989), as well as  A Summer to Die   (1977) and many, many more.  Her books have touched students, teachers, educators and avid readers, and her ability to evoke emotion and empathy is timeless.  Her work plays an integral part of our literary lives and will treasured for years to come.

Lois Lowry will be honored at the ALAN annual breakfast on Saturday, November 21, 2015, in Minneapolis.
Search Committee for ALAN's Next Executive Director
As a result of Teri Lesesne's pending resignation after five years as Executive Director, ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teacher of English) is accepting applications for the position. This position is a 5-year term which is renewable for a second 5-year term upon approval of the Executive Committee.  Among the varied duties of the Executive Director are serving on ALAN's Executive Committee and overseeing the fiscal and administrative health of the organization; preparing election information and ballot for annual elections; serving as ALAN's liaison with NCTE in administrative matters and as representative to the NCTE Board of Directors; making arrangements for the annual ALAN breakfast; and completing other duties as specified in the position description, which is available on request from Gary Salvner, Search Committee Chair.

Interested persons should submit a letter of application (due no later than October 1, 2015 ) as well as the following:  


  1. A statement of vision for the organization;

  2. A vita;

  3. A letter of support from the applicant's employer, indicating the level of support to be made available;

  4. A summary of the applicant's previous involvement with ALAN and evidence of the applicant's involvement in the field of young adult literature;

  5. A statement of availability to assume the position on January 1, 2016.

Applications - in electronic form (Word attachment, please) - should be sent to: .
Interviews will be conducted during the NCTE Convention, which will be held in Minneapolis in November. Applicants should plan to be in attendance at NCTE. A final decision is to be made and announced at the ALAN Workshop. 

The stipend for this position is fixed at $2,000 per year.  Additionally, the Executive Director receives complimentary registration for the ALAN Workshop and the ALAN Breakfast. 

2015 Ted Hipple Service Award Goes to cj Bott

Congratulations to this year's recipient of the Ted Hipple Service Award, cj Bott. A high school English teacher for 30 years, cj retired from Shaker Heights High School in Ohio and hasn't slowed down yet. 

She has served on ALAN's board of directors and was president of ALAN for the term 2011-2012. During her term she was instrumental in establishing the ALAN mission stateme nt and the President's Advisory Committee. She also founded  Under the Radar, an ALAN web site column that brings attention to teen books published by smaller publishers. 

cj was the r ecipient of the 2003 NCTE/SLATE Intellectual Freedom Award and is the author of  The Bully in the Book and in the Classroom and  More Bullies in More Books. She has published in a number of  journals, including  TAR, The English Journal, VOYA, and others. Her website is

The Hipple Award will be presented at the ALAN breakfast on November 21. 
Breakout Sessions for 2015 Workshop

It's not too early to start planning your ALAN schedule. Thanks to Daria Plumb who  shared with us the line-up and descriptions of the wonderful breakout sessions taking place at the workshop. 

A Revolution in LGBTQ Books

Michael Cart, Booklist Magazine columnist, Columbus, IN
Dr. Christine Jenkins, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 
Nationally known experts on LGBTQ literature Christine Jenkins and Michael Cart will share and booktalk a selection of outstanding new young adult titles with LGBTQ content, as well as describe recent trends in this literature, including fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. Discussion will include (1) criteria for selecting books with LGBTQ content for individual teen reading interests and for classroom use, and (2) ideas and tools for supporting and proactively defending the inclusion of these books in secondary school classrooms and libraries.

AUDIENCE: Secondary; College Teachers

KEYWORDS: LGBTQ Literature; Young Adult; Booktalks; Criteria

Building Reading Communities in the Classroom

Kim Arroyo, Gavit Middle School,  Hammond, IN

Mark Letcher, Purdue University,  Calumet Hammond, IN

Jannette Vehrs-Snelson, Griffith Middle/High School, Griffith, IN

Nick Trottier, Gavit Middle/High School,  Hammond, IN

In this era of Common Core State Standards, as well as revised state standards that borrow heavily from CCSS, there is a greater emphasis on reading across disciplines. Literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers and no longer falls exclusively on the ELA teacher. The panelists feel it is vital that students learn to appreciate reading in all of their classes, avoiding reader disengagement, as some of the panelists themselves experienced in their own middle and high school years.  At their respective school sites, the presenters on this panel have taken steps to address reading instruction within their classrooms, as well as on a school-wide basis.
AUDIENCE: Teachers (all levels); Collegiate Faculty; Media Specialists

KEYWORDS: Reading Culture; Community; Engagement; Choice Reading 

Finding Funding to Fuel Our Passion for Teaching and Reading

Cassie Cox, Two Rivers High School, Ogden, UT

If you are brimming with ideas about your classroom shelves stuffed with new books and supplies or want to sweeten your school year with author visits and field trips, then this is one breakout session you don't want to miss! This workshop will equip educators with resources for revolutionizing classroom, schools and communities. Cox is an award-winning educator known for her motivational, inspiring, and entertaining approach to inspiring educators and is driven by the motto "Ask Until the Answer Is Yes" --come fill your bag with possibilities to fund your passion for teaching and reading.  
AUDIENCE: Classroom Teachers (all levels); Librarians; Administrators

KEYWORDS: Grants; Books; Authors; Libraries

Cataloging & Books on Wheels: Organizing by Genre & Satellite Classroom Libraries

Sarah Ressler Wright Rutherford B. Hayes High School Delaware, OH

Are you a librarian perusing bookstore shelves wondering if you too should have a Horror section?  Are you a  teacher questioning why you spend your money on books when the school library already has them? I am a high school English teacher-turned-librarian who has gone rogue by arranging the school library's fiction collection by genre and creating satellite libraries in English classrooms. This presentation will provide easy and practical ways to reshape your classroom/school library, while doubling your checkouts. Downloadable genre shelf cards, genre address label templates, and many more resources will be provided. 
AUDIENCE: Classroom Teachers & Librarians; Middle and High School

KEYWORDS: Organize Fiction by Genre; Partnerships; English Teachers and School Librarians; Classroom Access to Library Books

Reading through the Rhetoric: Using YA Literature as a Critical Lens

Cynthia Minnich, Upper Dauphin Area High School, Millersburg, PA

Sarah Andersen, Fenton Senior High, Fenton, MI

Sarah Darer Littman, Scholastic, Cos Cob, CT

Teenagers live in a world where they are overwhelmed with words - in advertisements, social media, and the news. While teachers and librarians often focus on evaluating sources used for academic research, the fact remains that our young readers of the world are often left unprepared to critically read everything else that gets thrown at them. In a world where the "news" is increasingly becoming driven by what will generate the most clicks, we want to show how YA literature can introduce the concepts of rhetoric and critical reading in real world contexts familiar to teens. By examining YA titles that give insight into"the rest of the story" behind the stories that get shared on social media and in the headlines, we are able to engage with students in safe discussion about the stories they are exposed to every day.
AUDIENCE: Middle School & High School Teachers & Librarians

KEYWORDS: Rhetoric; Critical Reading; YA Literature; Media Literacy

Reel Reading: Using Film as a Bridge into Print Literacy  Timothy Shea,   Millersville University, 
Lancaster, PA How can watching movies help adolescents become stronger readers of print? 

What does the popular ascent of both YA film adaptations and dystopian stories tell us about our world and how teens situate themselves in that world? How can teachers use film and television to pair with YA texts to create rich, thematic connections in their classrooms?  This session will help bridge the gap between student interest in reading and media resources and provide information on how to make these connections happen. 

AUDIENCE: Secondary; Ages 12 - 20

KEYWORDS: Film & Media Literacy; YA Films; TV; Literary Connections

Revolutionary Ways of Teaching Young Adult Novels: Adaptation for Performance

Toby Emert, Agnes Scott College,  Decatur, GA

Julia Watts, Young Adult Author,  Knoxville, TN

In this presentation, Lambda Award winner Julia Watts, author of many young adult novels, and Toby Emert, theatre artist and teacher educator, discuss the process of collaborating to translate Watts' 2001 novel, Finding H.F., for the stage. The breakout session will include an introduction to the work of adapting a young adult novel for the stage, a 20-minute excerpt of the play as a staged performance, and a discussion of the importance of bringing texts with queer characters into the middle and high school English classroom.

AUDIENCE: Middle, Secondary, College

KEYWORDS: Drama; Partnering with YA Authors; LGBTQ Literature; Arts-based Instruction 

Time Well Spent in Graphic Novel Reading Comprehension

Laura JimĂ©nez , Boston University, Boston, MA

This breakout session will provide participants with examples of the ways print-dominant readers experienced making sense of graphic novels, the ways graphic novel readers deal with confusing or conflicting information, and how this evidence helps explain the time spent reading. We will discuss how understanding the time readers spend in graphic novels will enable teachers to help guide students to use their time wisely in these complex and engaging texts.

AUDIENCE: Upper Elementary, Middle and High School; ELL

KEYWORDS: Graphic Novels; Time-on-task; Reading Comprehension; Sense-making

To Ban or Not to Ban-Leveraging Conversations About Censorship to  Increase Student Engagement
Nicole Amato,  Pritzker College Prep High School,  Chicago, IL

Amanda Meyers, Pritzker College Prep High School, Chicago, IL

Teachers frequently self-censor their curriculum by avoiding controversial texts out of fear of parental and administrative backlash. This session will explore the development, implementation, and positive effects of a student-driven unit that confronts the censorship of YA literature. The goal of this session is to empower participants to push critical conversations in their classrooms by providing tangible methods for increasing student engagement. 

AUDIENCE: Secondary; Ages 12-20

KEYWORDS : Censorship; YA lit; Argumentative Writing; Independent Reading

YA [Sports] Lit as a Vehicle to Promote Teen Reading 
Alan Brown,   Wake Forest University,  Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest Students (TBA)

This breakout session will examine the power of sports talk and books, while showcasing an innovative after-school literacy program that uses sports-related young adult literature.   This literacy program seeks to encourage ninth and tenth grade boys to read and write for enjoyment, while learning essential skills required in English/language arts. Attendees will come away with text suggestions, curricular resources, and program development ideas to help engage sports-minded students, particularly reluctant and/or unmotivated readers, through an examination of sports culture and related social issues such as steroids, substance abuse, concussions, bullying, and homophobia. 

AUDIENCE: Middle School; High School

KEYWORDS: Sports; Popular Culture; Out-of-school Literacies; After-School Program

New Column Editors for The ALAN Review

We are thrilled to announce those selected to serve as future Columnists/Column Editors for The ALAN Review! Please help us congratulate the following:

Layered Literacies
Peggy Semingson (vol. 44) and Shelbie Witte (vol. 45)

Right to Read 
Angel Daniel Matos (vol. 44) and Victor Malo-Juvera (vol. 45)

Book in Review: A Teaching Guide
Toby Emert (vol. 44) and Bryan Gillis (vol. 45)

You can find electronic versions of our current and past columns here

Wendy Glenn, Ricki Ginsberg, and Dani King
The ALAN Review Editors

Ever wish you could send a message to your teenage self? You know, that freshman self who was a bit of (or a total) mess and who wondered how things would ever work out for a nerd/jock/homecoming queen/stoner/insert-teen-archetype here with your unique qualities and failings?  On, YA authors share messages to their young selves, the ones struggling to find their places in the world. Get ready to laugh. And to cry, because it does, for the most part, get better. Thanks to Joan Kaywell for sharing the link

YA recently lost two beloved British authors, Terry Pratchett and Mal Peet.   In a fitting tribute inspired by Going Postal, one of his own Discworld novels, Pratchett is being remembered via embedded code in countless websites.  Find out more about GNU Terry Pratchett by clicking here  

Book Giveaway by Author Ruta Sepetys

In honor of Ruta Sepetys' upcoming article in The ALAN Review's "(Re)membering and (Re)living: Probing the Collective and Individual Past" themed issue, she is offering a giveaway of a classroom set of books! 

The winner will receive 30 paperback copies of Between Shades of Gray or Out of the Easy. Ruta's article, "Historical Fiction: The Silent Soldier," will be featured in the Summer 2015 issue of The ALAN Review

The winner will be selected on June 15, 2015 and must be an ALAN member. To enter the giveaway, please go to: .
Reading Revolution Swag Available on CafePress!

Get geared up for the 2015 ALAN Workshop in Minneapolis. Shop the ALAN Marketplace on and show your support for the Reading Revolution. Below are just a few of the items available with this year's workshop logo. 
ALAN Real Quick Picks 

Elena Vanishing by Elena Dunkle (Chronicle Books, May 19, 2015)

After seeing Dunkle at the 2014 ALAN conference, I was interested, yet hesitant, to read the memoir chronicling her darkest struggles with an eating disorder.  I have read a number of books on this topic over the decades, however Elena Vanishing uniquely captures the all-consuming  and competitive nature of this disorder as it becomes a way of life, yet allows the reader to remain detached enough not to be consumed, as well. Dunkle narrates her five-year journey in a way that shows her daily experiences wrestling with the devastating illness, while at the same time being unwilling to break free of its exceedingly strong grasp.
- Helene Halstead

Anything Can Happen by Will Walton (Push Books, May 26, 2015)

Tretch, the main character in this coming-of-age novel, is young, smart, attractive, a good son, grandson, brother and friend.  He is the stereotypical small-town boy who loves his family and...his best friend Matt.  When Matt expresses interest in a girl, Tretch's life is turned upside down.  This debut novel from Will Walton details the account of true love and heartbreak in the lives' of today's teens.   

- Lindy Weaver

Calls for Papers and Proposals 


The ALAN Review

Winter 2016  Adolescence and Adolescents: Defining the Culture of Youth 

Submissions due July 1, 2015

In this issue, we invite you to consider how young adult titles (and those who write, teach, and promote them) might offer, challenge, confirm, or critique conceptions of adolescents or adolescence.  How do authors present the young people they describe? How do readers respond to these representations? How do educators envision the young people in their care-and how does this vision influence how they care for them? How might stories help readers navigate adolescence (as defined through any lens) and work though the complexity expressed by David Levithan and John Green: "My face seems too square and my eyes too big, like I'm perpetually surprised, but there's nothing wrong with me that I can fix" (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)? As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme.  Click here for more information. All submissions may be sent to prior to July 1, 2015.  Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines.

The ALAN Review

Summer 2016 Mediating Media in a Digital Age  

Submissions due November 1, 2015

Today's young adult readers access and generate young adult texts in myriad forms. Through multimedia platforms, television and film adaptations, fan fiction, and social media, they engage with stories in ways that extend beyond the originals. These opportunities for connection are rich in potential and complication. Do media enrich our interactions with others and our world-or is there a falseness in this seeming linkage? Consider the perspective of Rainbow Rowell's narrator: "There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact" (Fangirl, p. 147). We wonder if all readers are inspired by techie texts or if some, in fact, imagine life as "an analog girl, living in a digital world" (Neil Gaiman, American Gods, p. 332).

For this issue, we encourage you to ponder and explore the ways in which you use young adult literature to help young people mediate media: How do you foster innovative engagement with media in your professional setting? What are the challenges of teaching and learning in the digital age, and how might they be mediated? How do digital communities invite and/or exclude young people today? What role does/can YA literature play in successfully navigating life in the "digital age"? 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 prior to November 1, 2015. Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines.


ALAN Online News

Items needed for this newsletter: ALAN organizational news items, YA Links in the News, The Book That Changed My Life, Real Quick Picks, candidates for Spotlight on an ALAN Member, feature articles about programs in your area that promote teen reading or young adult literature. If you attended the ALAN Workshop, please submit reflections or informational items. Photographs are welcome as well. Send to Anne McLeod or Kacy Tedder. Deadline for next newsletter is May 31, 2015.  

Moved recently?
Remember to send a change of address to Membership Secretary   Karin Perry. The postal service does not forward bulk mail, and if ALAN does not have your current mailing address, you will miss issues of TAR.