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Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers, 2013 ALAN Breakfast Speaker

ALAN Online News - June 2013
It's not too early to start making plans for this year's ALAN Workshop and 40th birthday celebration. I'm already seeing Facebook posts from friends scouting out flight information and possible roommates for Boston. The list of authors who will speak at this year's workshop is almost complete, so expect more details in the next newsletter. In the meantime, look forward to keynotes by Jack Gantos and Chris Crutcher. The following have also confirmed: 
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Ellen Hopkins
  • Caroline Cooney
  • David Klass
  • Neal Shusterman
  • Gene Yang
  • Lauren Myracle
  • Meg Rosoff
  • Alan Sitomer
  • Tamora Pierce
  • Nancy Garden
  • Tanya Lee Stone
  • Robert Lipsyte

In addition to the breakfast and two-day workshop, ALAN hosts a reception Sunday evening for authors and workshop registrants. If you have never attended before and would like to meet and mingle with YA all-stars, go to the NCTE website and register for ALAN, an NCTE post-conference workshop. You do not have to attend or be a member of NCTE to register for ALAN. I hope I'll see you in November!


Anne McLeod
Editor, ALAN Online News
In This Issue
Walter Dean Myers, ALAN Breakfast Speaker
Happy 40th!
Help Wanted
Election News
Applications for AEW Committee
Speak Loudly
Book That Changed My Life
Grant Deadlines
What We're Reading
Hipple Update
Missing your issue of TAR?
Please email membership secretary Karin Perry.

Monster  Autobiography of My Dead Brother  Lockdown


National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, 

Walter Dean Myers, to Kick Off 2013 ALAN Events in Boston


ALAN President Jeffrey Kaplan announced recently that the speaker at the annual breakfast event on Saturday morning will be award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. One of the most prolific writers in children's and young adult literature, his work includes poetry, nonfiction, picture books (several of which have been illustrated by his son Christopher Myers), and fiction for young adults and middle grade students. The Library of Congress named him National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2012-2013. 


Walter Dean Myers won the Printz Award in 2000 for Monster, a novel in which a teen on trial for murder writes an account of his trial and the events that led up to it in the format of a movie script. Scorpions and Somewhere in the Darkness were recognized as Newbery Honor winners. Myers won the Coretta Scott King Award for The Young Landlords, Motown and Didi: A Love Story, Fallen Angels, Now Is Your Time: The African American Struggle for Freedom, and Slam. Five other of his titles, Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff

Somewhere in the Darkness, Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, Monster, and Lockdown have been Coretta Scott King Honor Books. Three have been finalists for the National Book Award: Monster, Autobiography of My Dead Brother, and Lockdown


As a writer whose career began not long before ALAN's inception, Walter Dean Myers speaks to the changes in YA literature over the last four decades.  If you have attended the breakfast before, you know it's well worth the price of admission and the early morning wake-up call. So join us as we begin ALAN's 40th birthday celebration, and make plans now to attend. The breakfast will be Saturday morning, November 23, before the workshop begins on Monday, November 25.

Happy 40th Birthday, ALAN!
Join the Celebration This Fall

ALAN will celebrate our 40th birthday at the 2013 workshop in Boston!  The celebration will include activities such as reflections by past presidents on great authors we have lost, and displays such as a timeline of ALAN's evolution.  

While some celebratory events will not cost attendees any money, donations are welcome to support other aspects of the party that are being planned, such as a lapel pin gift and a birthday cake or cupcakes for the 500 or so ALAN members expected to be in attendance. 

Note that any excess funds received will be given to the ALAN Research Grant program.  Please send checks made out to ALAN to treasurer Marge Ford at ALAN, attn: 40th Celebration, PO Box 234, Campbell, OH 44405-0234. 

- Connie Zitllow, for the ALAN 40th Birthday Celebration Committee


Help Wanted: Editor, The ALAN Review

Call for Applications


ALAN, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE, is seeking applicants for the position of editor of their journal, The ALAN Review.  To apply, interested persons should submit the following: a letter of application detailing qualifications for the position and the applicant's vision for the journal, a current vita, one sample of published writing, and a letter of general support from appropriate administrators at the applicant's institution. Classroom teachers are eligible and encouraged to apply.


Applications should be sent via email, using the subject line, ALAN Editor, to Teri Lesesne, Executive Director of ALAN ( 


Please send files as Word attachments. Applications must be received no later than October 1, 2013. Finalist interviews will be conducted at the NCTE conference in Boston. 




Further information about the position from ALAN's Policy & Procedure Manual. 


The ALAN Review Editor(s)


Job Description and Term of Service: The ALAN Review editor is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the publication of The ALAN Review. The editor (or co-editors) of The ALAN Review shall be chosen by the Executive Board and appointed for a term of five years, renewable for up to five years by agreement with the Executive Board.


Qualifications: The ALAN Review Editor (or co-editors) must be members of ALAN. As ex officio members of the ALAN Board of Directors, they must also be members of NCTE.


Major Tasks and Duties:


Administrative and communications work

  • Manages manuscripts as they come in, including coordinating the manuscript review process and deciding on acceptances, rejections, or needed revisions.
  • Creates a mailing list of contributors for each issue; each writer and author features receives two complimentary copies of The ALAN Review.
  • Maintains contact with the following individuals involved in the publication of The ALAN Review: experts who submit articles; regular columnists; editorial review board; YA authors and publishers; publication liaison at NCTE.

Editorial work

  • Edits manuscripts and works with writers.
  • Coordinates submissions from column editors.
  • Selects topics for theme issues.
  • Creates the cover art.
  • Prepares the issue manuscript.
  • Works with NCTE, our publishing liaison, on page proofs. 

Additionally, the journal should advance the mission of the organization.


ALAN Mission Statement


The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English:

  • Defines young adult literature as works in a wide variety of genres and forms, including multi-media formats, with topics relevant to the interests and needs of young people in middle and high school.
  • Promotes the inclusion of young adult literature as a bridge to other curricular works and as a stand-alone curricular selection in both the English language arts program and across the curriculum.
  • Supports educators and librarians in their use of the literature, advocates the right to read the literature, and defends freedom of choice for independent reading, inclusion in classrooms, presence in library collections, and in book clubs.
  • Provides opportunities for teachers, librarians, teacher educators, and others involved in the use of young adult literature to enhance their practice and teaches the educational community and general public about the value of this literature.
  • Celebrates the ever-changing nature of the field and welcomes artistic innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking by authors, publishers, and others involved in the creation of young adult literature.
  • Evaluates young adult literature on its individual merits and in the context of larger bodies of literature as appropriate and engages in ongoing rethinking of the literary canon.
  • Cooperates with other organizations that advocate similar goals and objectives.

ALAN Merchandise

ALAN Election News
Slate of Candidates Announced

ALAN is pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the 2013 election.  Thanks to Ricki Ginsberg and her committee for all their hard work putting this excellent slate together.  Biographical statements from each candidate will be posted at the ALAN website:  Balloting will be done electronically this year for the first time, but members can request a paper ballot by emailing Teri Lesesne, the Executive Director of ALAN at


Voting will be open in August and September; a link will be published in a future newsletter.  In order to vote, you will need to include your ALAN Membership number.  That number is on the mailing label of any issue of THE ALAN REVIEW just to the left of your name.    


Here are the candidates:


President-Elect (select ONE)

  • Pam B. Cole
  • Daria Plumb

Board of Directors (select up to THREE)

  • Marshall George
  • Susan Groenke
  • Danieille King
  • Katie Mason
  • Lisa Muller
  • Cleo Rahmy

 - Teri Lesesne, ALAN Executive Secretary


Call for Applications for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Committee of ALAN

Do you love reading YA books?  Have a keen understanding of YA literature?  Can you make time to read MANY books?  If you answered YES to these questions, we invite you to apply to serve on the 2014 AEWA Committee.   


The committee is filling three vacancies. We need one teacher, one librarian, and one university educator for these positions. 


The application form is located on the ALAN website, and the deadline is September 15, 2013.  Applications may be sent to Teri Lesesne, the ALAN Executive Director at

Speak Loudly

Resources for Protecting Students' Freedom to Read


What do the following young adult titles have in common?

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  • What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
  • ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

Yep, you guessed it.  These are books that adolescents have come to love and devour.  These are books that encourage young people to (re)consider their perspectives and grow as future citizens preparing to participate in our shared democracy.  These are books that have allowed readers to connect and find solace in the reality that they are not alone-in fiction and in life.  And, despite these benefits, these are books that are commonly challenged in classrooms and school and public libraries around the United States.  

Each title appears on the list of Top Ten Challenged Books (2001-2012) published by the American Library Association, one of our sister organizations in the fight to preserve the freedom to read.  


With the arrival of school's end comes additional time for leisure and, we hope, opportunities to read, read, read.  As you add books to your nightstand and beach chair and Adirondack chaise lounge this summer season, we encourage you to explore some of the titles in this collection.  You can see the entire list here: 

As we've advocated in columns published this year, we urge you to enjoy the texts for what they are but also consider why an individual or group might call a particular title into question and, perhaps more importantly, contemplate the necessary arguments you might generate to defend the inclusion of the text in a curriculum or library.  We know that any book can be challenged by anyone at anytime; as a result, we're sometimes caught off guard by an attack on a title in which we see nothing questionable.  However, anticipating potential concerns might prove an effective method for alleviating them.
While we enjoy a slower pace conducive to contemplation, this summer might also be an appropriate time to work with colleagues to ensure that your school community is prepared to both avoid and address any attacks on titles in the coming year.  We've shared some of these resources in earlier columns but thought you might appreciate having them readily available as you begin these conversations:


NCTE Rationales for Teaching Challenged Books (


Support for Dealing with Library Challenges (Office of Intellectual Freedom, ALA)



Sample policy for handling challenges to texts: Miami-Dade County, FL (see Letter C, Use of Instructional Materials)


Sample policy for handling challenges to texts: Orange City, OH (select 9000; select 9130)     

And, as always, if you would like more personalized support in your attempts to bring relevant, meaningful, and sometimes controversial texts to your students, please don't hesitate to reach out to our committee.  You can begin by sending any questions or concerns to the Committee Chair at           
Speak up, speak often, speak loudly-all summer long. 

- Wendy Glenn, on behalf of ALAN's Anti-Censorship Committee


The Book That Changed My Life
A New Column in  ALAN Online News


If you've been to the ALAN Workshop or have had just had conversations with many of the people deeply involved in young adult literature, you've heard it: "Books change lives." Or "Books save lives." Here we invite you, the reader, to tell how a book changed your life - write a short piece (3-4 paragraphs) about how a book profoundly affected your life. 
Send via email as an MS Word attachment or share a Google Doc with  The deadline for the next newsletter is July 10th.This will be a regular feature, so expect to see this call for articles in each newsletter in the coming months.
I look forward to hearing from teachers, librarians, authors, professors, publishers, and other YA advocates about the texts that set you on the path you're on. Thanks to Barb Dean for being willing to step up first!
These two simple words signal profound life-changing events or
moments. My before and after moment can be attributed to a book that the librarian at the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia public library placed in my pre-teen aged hands. I no longer remember the title, author, or many of the details of the story, but I will never forget how reading that book made me feel. I felt something come alive deep within  me - something that gave new meaning and purpose to my life. 
On closing the book I announced to my parents that I would be a children's librarian when I grew up so that I would have the opportunity to pay forward the gift that librarian had given me. In my many years as a youth librarian I have had the privilege of witnessing the  powerful impact a YA story can have on our inner being. 
ALAN keeps me in touch with authors who write books that connect readers to their hearts and spirits. I also meet teachers and librarians who share my passion for books written for youth. And I hear speakers that acknowledge that we cannot know exactly what will collide within a reader. There is mystery in the reading act - too bad our politicians and decision  
makers don't attend an ALAN conference to witness this aspect of literacy. Let's  
invite a few to Boston for the 2013 ALAN workshop!
- Barb Dean, ALAN Board of Directors

Deadlines for ALAN Foundation and Gallo Grants
ALAN Foundation Grant for research in young adult literature: Applications due September 15th.

Gallo Grants for early career educators to attend ALAN Workshop for the first time: Applications due September first. 

Find more information about both grant programs on the website at ALAN Foundation Grants and Don Gallo Grants

ALAN Real Quick Picks

No relation to ALAN Picks, published on the website and edited by James Blasingame and Bryan Gillis, ALAN Real Quick Picks features three-sentence reviews of readers' recommended titles. Send a short blurb for your most recent favorite to to share in ALAN Online News. 
Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo, Candlewick Press, 2013.

The main character is Fat Angie, she even calls herself that, and she is the only one in her family who still believes her war-hero-captive sister is still alive. She tries everything to keep that belief going, eating her self into "Fat Angie", trying to kill herself at school, and deciding she will win her sister's position on the high school basketball team. Spoil alert--your heart will break.

 - c.j. Bott


The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna, Red Deer Press (Canadian Publisher), 2012.  Michael L. Award Printz Honor Book.

Taylor Jane is nineteen, has Asperger's Syndrome, and believes she is going to France to work as a personal assistant for thirteen-year-old Martin Phoenix,who has cerebral palsy. Brenna has allowed the reader into Taylor's mind, memories, and conversations with her mother. I learned so much, mostly about A.S.

 - c.j. Bott


Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff, Little, Brown 2013.

Zack is a teenage hit-man, in his new assignment, he is Benjamin and has been given four days to kill the mayor of New Work City. But things quickly change. This is a fast read and of course, set up for a series.

 - c.j. Bott 


The Ballad of Jesse Pearl by Shannon Hitchcock, namelos 2013.

Fourteen-year-old Jesse Pearl, a young woman in rural North Carolina with plans to become a teacher, puts aside her dreams to care for an older sister with tuberculosis as well as all the males in the household - her father, her sister's husband, and her newborn nephew. To further complicate matters, Jesse has real feelings for a local boy and also has a nemesis who gets her nose in Jesse's business in more ways than one.  This little book exposes readers to family life and traditions in the early 1920s and is packed with  much to think and talk about.

- Joan Kaywell


Anya's Ghost written and illustrated by Vera Brosgol, Macmillan 2011.

A modern-day ghost story AND a graphic novel - no wonder I can't keep it on the shelves. Anya, a Russian immigrant trying hard to assimilate into American culture, falls down a well and makes a new friend in Emily the ghost. After the initial scary bit, it's all good - or is it? 

- Anne McLeod

Hipple Collection
Hipple Collection includes various editions of S. E. Hinton's "The Outsiders"
Update from the Hipple Collection
The  Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature, housed at the University of South Florida Library in Tampa, FL, has just broken the 3,000 mark.  The collection, named in honor of former ALAN president Ted Hipple, was assembled with financial support and donations of books from ALAN members. We collect manuscripts, advance reader copies (ARCs), first editions, and subsequent paperbacks - all autographed - so people can see the life of a book.  I say that because there are many things a researcher can study.  The photo of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders shows how many covers it has had over the years, each suggesting what was valued by society at the time it was published.  



The following is a list of authors whose papers are part of the Hipple Collection. Hipple Collection at the University of South Florida in Tampa:  Katie Alender, Kwame Alexander, Derek Benz & J.S. Lewis, Edward Bloor (some at Kerlan Collection), Deb Caletti, Sneed B. Collard III (some at Central Missouri State University), Carl Deuker, Barry Deutsch, William Durbin (some at Kerlan Collection), L.M. Elliott, Alex Flinn (some at Kerlan Collection), Adrian Fogelin, Gayle Forman, Isamu Fukui, K.L. Going, Nancy Grossman, Wendy Hauver, Justina Chen Headley, Shannon Hitchcock, Gloria Houston, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Rosa Jordan, Joan F. Kaywell, Lyn Miller-Lachman (some at Curbstone Press Collection at the University of Connecticut in Storrs), Lisa Luedeke, Ben Mikaelsen, Greg Neri, Julie Anne Peters, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Marilyn Reynolds, Ann Rinaldi, Alex Sanchez, Suzanne Selfors, Medeia Sharif, Linda Joy Singleton, Alan Sitomer, Fran Cannon Slayton, Tammar Stein, Eleanora Tate, Susan Vaught, Denise Vega, Ned Vizzini, Jessica Warman, Tad Williams & Deborah Beale, Sara Zarr, and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.


- Joan Kaywell, for the Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature

Calls for Papers and Proposals 


From The ALAN Review

Summer 2014 Theme: How to Teach Young Adult Literature in an Age of Censorship and Common Core?

In a time of extreme criticism and scrutiny of texts that are being used in the classroom, what are proponents of young adult literature to do? This issue seeks to address that question with submissions that offer very practical ways of incorporating (or continuing to incorporate) young adult literature in the classroom. What ways are you teaching young adult literature? How are you using young adult literature to meet or exceed what is being required in the common core? What experiences have you had with censorship, and how have you dealt with them? How can beginning teachers approach the inclusion of YAL in their classrooms to take advantage of the power of young adult literature to improve reading skills and foster a lifelong love of reading?

Submission deadline: November 1, 2013.


Fall 2014: Open Call

The last 40 years have seen an explosion of young adult literature novels. From vampires to zombies, biographies to poetry, video games to movies, YAL is a considerable force in the world of publishing and media. This issue is an open call issue so we ask you to consider young adult literature writ large. What is it that we know and can say about this field? Who are the authors and texts that are shaping the current and next generations of readers? What has changed or stayed the same about young adult literature? What are the trends, themes, or topics that capture the attention or imagination of adolescent readers? This theme is meant to be open to interpretation, and we welcome manuscripts addressing pedagogy as well as theoretical concerns. General submissions are also welcome. Submission deadline: March 1, 2014.


Stories from the Field

Editors' Note: Stories from the Field invites readers to share a story about young adult literature. This section features brief vignettes (approximately 300 words) from practicing teachers and librarians who would like to share their interactions with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators around young adult literature. Please send your stories to:


ALAN Online News
Items needed for this newsletter: ALAN organizational news items, YA Links in the News, Book That Changed My Life, What We're Reading, candidates for Spotlight on an ALAN Member, feature articles about programs in your area that promote teen reading or young adult literature. Photographs are welcome as well. Please make sure to have media permission of the subjects and send a photo credit. Send to Deadline for next newsletter is July 10, 2013. 

Adapting Frankenstein: The Monster's Eternal Lives in Popular Culture

We propose to edit a  book of new essays on the general subject of the many ways Frankenstein has been adapted in popular culture, including films, television, radio, graphic novels, comic books, newspaper cartoons, music, the stage, novels, short stories, children's and adolescent literatures, new media, and so forth. We are interested in what has made Frankenstein's monster so indestructibly fascinating to the public mind through the many generations since his inception in 1818-almost 200 years ago! We are interested in essays that explore the creature's versatile ability to appear as threatening monster or sympathetic high school loser, as Milton the Monster or Frankenweenie, as eternal outsider refined in a Tibetan monastery or as a cloned sheep. We are also interested in indirect adaptations: Edward Scissorhands, The Stepford Wives, The Golem, The Colossus of New York, Godzilla and other spawn of the atomic age, as well as zombies and the various replicants, androids, robots, and re-animations.  Paper proposals should be around 300-450 words and should reflect current inter-textual approaches in adaptation theory. They might ask such questions as how an adaptation engages its source(s), our culture, and, perhaps, other adaptations; the relevance of a particular adaptation in the context of its time and culture; the significance of the monster's role as cultural icon or matrix figure; how an adaptation changes our view of the source text, etc. Studies on adaption such as Hutcheon, The Theory of Adaptation, Leitch, Film Adaptation and its Discontents, Perry and Sederholm, Adapting Poe: Re-Imaginings in Popular Culture, and Albrecht-Crane and Cutchins,  Adaptation Studies: New Approaches provide model adaptation studies and theory along the lines we suggest. We expect that successful articles will be rigorous and scholarly, but accessible to a more general audience.  Send proposals to Professors Dennis R. Perry (  or Dennis Cutchins ( before June 30, 2013.


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