Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE
2011 ALAN Workshop in Chicago - Sign In and Book Box Pick-Up
Photo by Don Gallo

ALAN Online News - June 2012
I hope this summer you have a chance to catch your breath and discover some new and amazing authors. Remember when you were a young teen and read a book that made you sit back and think, "I've never read anything like that before"?

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was an author who did that for me. The Internets credit Peter Graham with the quip, "The golden age of science fiction is twelve." Though this remark might be construed as a putdown of the genre, I believe it captures the potential of a writer to lay claim to an adolescent reader's heart. I was twelve when I read the short stories in Bradbury's The October Country and quickly followed them with The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and later Fahrenheit 451.

While science fiction/fantasy didn't remain my genre of choice, Ray Bradbury continues to hold a special place in my heart to this day, compelling me to purchase new editions of his books for the media center, grab impressionable middle school students, and ask them, "Have you read this yet?" all the while hoping they'll not just read Bradbury but experience his work in that fresh and exciting way that can leave lasting impressions.

Thanks to Ray Bradbury and all the other writers, teachers, and librarians who appreciate the power of writing for young people.

Anne McLeod, Editor

ALAN Online News 


In This Issue
Panel Preview
ALAN Seeks Webmaster
Speak Loudly
Going "Lesesne" in OK
Grant Deadlines
Bookends Program
Like us on Facebook
ALAN Membership
Make a colleague happy - give an ALAN gift membership. Here's a Membership Form to help.

Coming in November 2012
A Preview of Two Panels Planned for ALAN Workshop in Las Vegas

The 2012 ALAN Workshop "Reaching Them All: ALAN Has Books for Everyone" in Las Vegas this coming November is filled with authors. Here are two of the fascinating and intriguing panels.  Read on and then make your ALAN workshop reservations through NCTE at


Monday morning
: Fantasy Panel, Chair - Karen Hildebrand

  • Shannon Hale, Princess Academy, Bloomsbury
  • Rae Carson, The Girl Of Fire And Thorns, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
  • Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys, Scholastic
  • Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue, Penguin
Do not judge Shannon Hale's Princess Academy by its title: It is not trite or pink or frou-frou (phoo-phoo?) and was named a Newbery Honor book. After the king's ministers unexpectedly predict that the kingdom's next princess will come from the country's poor stone quarry region, Mount Eskel, Miri, age fourteen, joins all the other Mount Eskel girls of marriageable age at the newly created Princess Academy.  There they will be properly prepared for the possibility of marrying the prince. Like other boarding schools, it brings challenges to each girl that she would not face in the safety of her tiny village.  No, this is not a pink-lit book, but an adventurous coming of age story speaking to issues of of social class and economics, as well as the value of a true education.

In The Girl of Fire and Thorns Rae Carson presents Elisa, the younger, less polished, chubby princess who has never stood out in any particular way even though she was born with the god stone embedded in her navel,making her the chosen one of the century. Now on her sixteenth birthday, she marries King Alejandro de Vega and becomes his queen. The king seems to ignore her and keeps their relationship a secret, but others outside the castle know of her god stone. Rebels fighting their own cause kidnap Elisa whose struggles will win over readers. With an inner determination, a new sense of purpose, and a growing connection to the rebels, Elisa survives experiences that a lesser person would crumble under to becomes worthy of the title the god stone carries - the chosen one.

Stiefvater gives us the start of another great fantasy series with The Raven Boys. Two threads  are quickly woven together as she presents to her readers sixteen-year-old Blue Sargent, living in a family of women psychics who have warned her since she was quite young that if she were to kiss her true love, he would die. Not a hopeful thing for a young girl to hear, much less a teenager. On April 25, St. Mark's Eve, a day only the dead remember, Blue, whose presence strengthens the psychic connection although she herself is a non-seer, stands with her clairvoyant mother and aunt watching for the dead. This year, there is a teen boy whom Blue not only sees but talks with - Gansey. He and his friends are looking for Ley Lines - a perfectly straight supernatural energy path that connects spiritual places. The two story lines connect beautifully, and I flew through this book which will be released this coming September. 

Having been a huge fan of Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire, an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award winner, I could not wait to get Bitterblue and I was not disappointed. Queen of Monsea, Bitterblue begins to realize she is really not much of a queen. Her father's advisors run the kingdom behind her back, hiding all the cruelties of her father's psychotic reign. When Bitterblue realizes she lives in a very lovely sheltering prison, she decides to act. Dressed as a peasant, she leaves her castle late at night to find truths in the streets outside. During the day, she explores parts of the castle she had forgotten or never knew existed. Living in two worlds, the realism of the streets at night and the fantasy of the castle during the day, she uncovers the secrets of her viciously cruel father, her powerless yet protective mother, and far too many advisors who believe keeping secrets will protect them all.  Bitterblue must find a way for her kingdom both escape and heal from its terror-filled past.


Tuesday Morning: Fascinated with Serial Killers -  Jeff Harr, chair                

  • Barry Lyga, I Hunt Killers, Little, Brown
  • Dan Wells, The John Wayne Cleaver trilogy: I Am Not A Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want To Kill You, TOR 
  • Derf Backderf,  My Friend Dahmer, Abrams

In I Hunt Killers, Barry Lyga introduces seventeen-year-old Jazz, son of Billy Dent, a convicted double-digit serial killer who is serving several consecutive life sentences. Billy had trained his son from early childhood in every skill and thought pattern needed to carry on the family profession. Jazz fights this early training, but when a murder happens in his town, he is drawn to solving it. Jazz recognizes the early signs of a serial murderer, but fails to convince Sheriff Williams. Using everything he learned from papa, Jazz soon realizes he is tracking a killer who is repeating Billy Dent's killing history in Jazz's hometown, and no one knows that history better than Billy.

Called "An unabashedly gory gem" by Kirkus Reviews, Dan Wells' serial killer series starts with I am Not a Serial Killer (2010) when he introduces us to John Wayne Cleaver, fifteen years old when we first meet him. His mother and her sister are the morticians in their small town, and John, having grown up in a funeral home, often and very willingly helps with the cleaning and embalming of the bodies, adding a fascination with death to his fascination serial killers. His mother wisely finds John a therapist.  During their sessions John explains his set of strict rules that he believes will keep him from acting on his urges. As he searches for the vicious, supernatural "Clayton Killer", John must hold very tightly to those rules.

In Mr. Monster , the second book in Wells's trilogy, John Wayne Cleaver fights his ever present need to kill. In this book,  a  "colleague" of the first book's serial killer is murdering in John's town which intensifies his drive to kill.  In the third book, I Don't Want to Kill You, John challenges the latest monster to a face-to-face takedown. DO NOT MISS JOHN WAYNE CLEAVER!

My Friend Dahmer is a nonfiction graphic novel in which Derf Backderf writes about his high school days with fellow classmate, Jeffrey Dahmer, who Backderfer categorizes as a threatened loner who lived in his personal demented world of escape. Dahmer could also be rational, comical, kind and at same moments extremely clever. On a school trip to Washington D.C., Dahmer called the White House from a payphone and managed to get himself and his buddies a tour of Mondale's office while the Vice President was working.  Imagine Dahmer and Mondale in the same space. However, that was not the norm for Dahmer. Usually the book tells of Dahmer's limited home-life with his mother and her debilitating physical seizures, a missing father, and his own fascination with body parts from living or dead specimens. Backderf says, "What struck me most about Dahmer was that stony mask of a face, devoid of any emotion." By the end of high school, he had started butchering road kill and small animals, but he was progressing. 

From Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon, get ready to escape into the world of young adult literature for an awesome 46 hours - done like only ALAN can do it!

- cj Bott, ALAN President

ALAN Seeks Webmaster

ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English) is seeking a Web Services Manager for its ALAN Online Connected Community, the premiere Web 2.0 presence for professionals who teach, promote, study, and advocate for young adult literature. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2012.

The Web Services Manager is responsible for designing, arranging, and administering the online community, including processing access requests and creating and maintaining forums, libraries, and blogs. In addition, the Web Services Manager serves as a member of the Public Relations Committee, which is charged with promoting social media connections.

List of Qualifications:

1.  Excellent verbal and written communications skills and a self-motivated personality.
2.  Experience in web publishing and administration.  No coding experience is required, but experience--or a willingness to gain experience--with the Higher Logic Connected Community content management system is required.
3.  Experience with file uploading, documents processing, email, etc. is required.
4.  Ability to delegate, recruit moderators and other volunteers, and manage a variety of contributors.
5.  Ability to work with the ALAN Executive Committee, ALAN Board, contributors, moderators, and members.
6.  Willingness to seek and establish marketing relationships to support the growth of the ALAN Connected Community.

General Responsibilities:
    *    Communicate with the ALAN Executive Committee on a regular basis regarding content, tasks, marketing, sponsorship strategies, and community management.
    *    Work with the Public Relations Committee and ALAN Executive Committee to promote a strong social media presence.
    *    Design and arrange for various committees, groups, microsites, and forums for ALAN committees and special interest groups.
    *    Attend and report to the ALAN Board of Directors meeting at NCTE each November.
    *    Coordinate with platform provider, Higher Logic, to improve the community and to solve any technical issues.
    *    Work with other ALAN publications and editors to post content, announcements, and materials.
    *    Follow all established policies and guidelines according to the ALAN Constitution.

The Web Services Manager will be appointed by the ALAN Executive Committee by November 1, 2012.  The term of the appointment is three years beginning in November.  The Web Services Manager does receive an annual stipend and complimentary registration to the ALAN Workshop each year.

Interested applicants should send a letter detailing experience and qualifications to ALAN Executive Director, Teri Lesesne, at by October 1, 2012.  

Speak Loudly: A Column Sponsored by the ALAN Censorship Committee 

Action Update

Members of the ALAN Censorship Committee appreciate your willingness to solicit our support by seeking varied forms of guidance relative to matters of censorship. Over the past month, committee members collaborated with one classroom teacher to design and evaluate curriculum materials for planned use of the novel, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Additionally, members engaged in conversation with a school librarian to generate and discuss possible responses to a challenge involving the writings of Sonya Sones. If you or someone you know needs support, please feel free to contact Committee Chair Wendy Glenn.

SpeakLoudly Microsite

A wide array of resource materials is posted on the SpeakLoudly microsite accessed via the ALAN Online Community. Please take a peek, and let us know if there are any items you wish to add.

In the Spotlight: The National Coalition Against Censorship

Now that summer has arrived and brought along a bit of extra time to read, reflect, and learn, we want to highlight an excellent resource worth exploring. The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is comprised of fifty-two partner organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), American Library Association (ALA), International Reading Association (IRA), and Children's Literature Association (CLA). The coalition is dedicated to protecting free expression and access to information.

The organization supports several programs, including the  Kids' Right to Read Project, a central element of the Youth Free Expression Project. The KRR project aims to work with community leaders to provide support, education, and advocacy for those facing challenges in a variety of settings. The
efforts of this group have resulted in the defense of over 250 challenged titles in 31 states in the U.S.

NCAC also sponsors a website that includes news of recent censorial attacks, including challenges in Tennessee to John Green's Looking for Alaska, and a variety of resource materials useful to classroom teachers, librarians, and other educators. We are particularly impressed by the Book Censorship Toolkit and, in light of recent legislation in North Carolina, LGBTQ Right to Read Resource.


- Wendy Glenn
ALAN Censorship Committee

Going "Lesesne" in Oklahoma
Sequoyah Reading Teams Interview Teri Lesesne for Podcast

Last month teachers participating in Oklahoma's 2014 Sequoyah Reading Teams were treated to an interview with Dr. Teri Lesesne (rhymes with "insane") author of Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Naked Reading: Uncovering What Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers, and Reading Ladders: Leading Readers From Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be.

ALAN's Executive Secretary, Teri Lesesne is also a professor at Sam Houston State University in Austin, TX, teaching children and young adult literature in the Department of Library Science. Dr. Lesesne speaks at conferences and meetings across the country book talking about children's and young adult books, current trends in young adult lit and matching books to reluctant readers. She taught middle school for 13 � years, she's "made it her job in life to find a book that [a boy or girl] will like." To achieve this you have to "know the kids, know the books, and know the strategies to connect the two."


The interview was conducted in the style of Inside the Actor's Studio with James Lipton. The interviewers had purple note cards and a microphone and covered topics ranging from Accelerated Reader, working with reluctant readers, the origin of "Professor Nana" and how she got 3,600 middle schools kids to be riveted by a book talk about Grimm's Fairy Tales and forget all about the candy in their pockets.


The interview was recorded and is available for download, streaming or subscribing to the feed in iTunes on the CYA: Children and Young Adult Book Review Podcast. You can find previously discussed books in the Podcast Reviews archive.

- Adrienne Butler
Youth Services Consultant
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
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 at 



Book Ends Program
Photo from Poudre School District Channel 10

Bookends Program Receives National Award
Collaboration between Public Library, School District Promotes Teen Reading

From 305 applications submitted, the Board of the National Book Foundation, the same organizations that sponsors the National Book Awards, has given its fourth annual Innovations in Reading Prizes to five individuals and organizations that are demonstrating passion, creativity, dedication, and leadership in the service of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. One of them is Bookends, a television program for teens who like to read, a collaboration that began in 1999 between the Poudre River Public Library District, its library teen advisory group called the Interesting Reader Society (IRS), and Poudre School District Channel 10.

With two Teen Services Librarians from the library district, past ALAN President Diane Tuccillo and Sue-Ellen Jones; one Director & Video Production Coordinator from the Poudre School District's
Channel 10, Herb Saperstone, plus assistant and video producer Matt Gohl; and the IRS teens, the program documents reading-related information and activities for viewers of Channel 10 and also via the Internet (you can view some of the shows on the library district's Teen Lounge and Channel 10's Bookends page, as well as on You Tube).

The IRS Bookends shows, hosted and presented by the teens themselves, allow teens to share reviews of favorite books and interview local YA authors. The aim of the IRS Bookends shows is to promote reading among their peers through a forum to which fellow teens can relate. Parents, teachers, librarians, and other adults can also learn what teens are reading through the show and use it to promote teen reading in schools and beyond.

To learn about the other four 2012 prize winners, go to the Innovations in Reading Prize 2012 web page.

Each winner receives $2,500, a framed certificate, and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to attend a special luncheon at the Ford Foundation, where they will present their work to funders, other people in the field, and reporters, as well as attend the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on November 14, 2012. Diane Tuccillo and one of the IRS teens involved in Bookends will be making this trip. Diane will be doing a breakout session on Bookends during the ALAN Workshop the following week.

- Diane Tuccillo
Teen Services Librarian
Harmony Library
Poudre River Public Library District


Calls for Manuscripts and Proposals

The ALAN Review  


Winter 2013 Theme: Flash Back-Forge Ahead: Dynamism and Transformation in Young Adult Literature

In her Fall 2011 President's Column, Wendy Glenn reflects that our field manages to "successfully shift and sway with time and changing elements, while maintaining a core commitment to young people and the books written for them." For this call, we wonder, like Glenn, what topics, voices, and forms have shaped our field and what we anticipate those future ones will be. What titles endure and why? Which ones are poised to become readers' favorites? As we pursue the next trend in young adult literature, what should we be careful not to lose? What will our future roles as young adult literature advocates be and with whom should we be forging relationships? 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: July 1.


Summer 2013 Theme: 40th Anniversary Issue  

While we will be soliciting articles from past ALAN presidents and editors as well as influential young adult authors, we welcome submissions that reflect on the past 40 years of ALAN. Submission deadline: November 1, 2012.   


The ALAN Review: 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:    





Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Theme:  In Defense of Young Adult Texts: Common Core State Standards and the Demand for Increased K-12 Text Complexity - Deadline: September 1, 2012. Contact for more information.    




Volume IV of Fastitocalon: Studies in Fantasticism Ancient to Modernis  

Our goal in Volume IV of Fastitocalon: Studies in Fantasticism Ancient to Modernis to offer a sustained reflection upon the nexus of crime and the fantastic. We encourage submissions that explore manifestations of crime, punishment and justice in and through the frame of the fantastic in all its current and historical media. Contributions to our Crime and the Fantastic issue may focus on individual works, authors, genres, series or adaptations. They may discuss the development and transformations of the various crime topoi or explore the literary-theoretical aspects connected with them in the context of, among others, class structures, social inequalities, war and international conflicts, representations of criminal justice or legal systems, ecology, politics, imperialism, sexuality, ethnicity and gender.  Essays accepted for inclusion in the volume must range between 6000 and 8000 words and will be due on April 30, 2013. Fastitocalon: Studies in Fantasticism Ancient to Modernis a peer-reviewed journal. Abstracts and/or full papers submitted will be reviewed by the editors and members of the advisory board. For more information about the journal, including listing of previously published articles, go to Fastitocalon. Abstracts (300-450 words) accompanied by a brief biographical note (100-150 words) must be sent in to editors Dan Hade and Marek Oziewicz electronically at and by December 31, 2012.




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