Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE
Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld, Featured Author at the 2012 ALAN Breakfast
Photo by Samantha Jones
ALAN Online News - October 2012

For the last eight years, I've worked as a school librarian in Athens, Georgia. I love my job, and I really love the people I work with. Like everyone in public education just now, they're implementing new initiatives while facing challenges like super-sized classes and decreased funding.

So each year, when Banned Books Week rolls around, as it has this week, September 30-October 6, I'm amazed at how they find the time and enthusiasm to participate in activities sponsored by the media center.

It seems to be a magical combinations of books and buttons, as in ALA's Banned Books Week Buttons. Every year I purchase the latest version of the BBW buttons and give them to teachers and students willing to answer trivia questions or read from a challenged book for a Virtual Read-Out  video posted to YouTube, as we've done the last two years. Kids always enjoy it, but my colleagues demonstrate unexpectedly fierce competitive streaks. Once they secure the BBW button of the year, they pin them proudly to their lanyards and wear them year-round.

Just the other day we had our first student reader, who chose The Color Purple by Alice Walker. After his teacher thanked him for reading and explaining why the book was on the list, he spoke up, "Wait, I gotta finish the page." And he proceeded to do so.

I hope you'll join us in the Virtual Read-Out. Celebrate your right to read and read a banned book today!

Anne McLeod, Editor
ALAN Online News 


In This Issue
ALAN Breakfast
Author Breakout Sessions Tuesday
Speak Loudly
Hipple Collection Update
Spotlight on an ALAN Member
TAR Article Wins Virginia Hamilton Essay Award
Sneak Peak of Fall 2012 TAR
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Upcoming Newsletters
Next month's newsletter will be a short update on ALAN Essentials - the who, what, when, where for ALAN Workshop events, from the ALAN breakfast to the receptions, and workshop sessions.

The December newsletter will focus on highlights of the workshop. Have photos, links, stories you'd like to share? Email Anne McLeod at

ALAN Breakfast 2012 in Las Vegas
Get Ready to Rumble with an All-Star Line-Up
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents will kick off its 2012 events with the ALAN Breakfast in the Grand Ballroom of the MGM Grand on Saturday, November 17, from 7:00 till 9:15 AM. The breakfast traditionally recognizes members of the YA community who have been particularly influential, and this year's line-up is an exciting one, with honorees from publishing and education, as well as bestselling author Scott Westerfeld


George Nicholson, recipient of of 2012 ALAN Award, was an editor at Viking Press who, in the mid-1960s, spotted a manuscript submitted by a 16-year-old. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton would become a timeless classic, with generations of teens enthralled by the tragedies of Johnny, Dally, and Ponyboy. It was also a book that changed the course of literature for young people, ushering in the New Realism in literature for children and young adults. George Nicholson has nurtured other acclaimed authors, including Richard Peck and Joan Bauer and served as Editor in Chief at Delacorte in the 1970s. Hear his unique perspective on those decades when YA literature first came into its own. Thanks to ALAN Award Committee members, Jennifer Buehler, Chair; Lori Goodson; Pam Cole; Karen Hildenbrand; and Jeff Harr.     

ALAN's Ted Hipple  Service Award this year goes to Joan Kaywell, Professor of English Language Arts Education at University of South Florida, Tampa, and past Membership Secretary and past President of ALAN. Her belief that "Books save lives" inspired a career dedicated to ensuring that all teens, as well as their parents and teachers, would have access to books and knowledge about the choices available to them.  The Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature, created in honor of her mentor, Ted Hipple, is one of Joan's many  outstanding acts of advocacy for literature for young people. This special collection is part of the library of the University of South Florida, Tampa, and contains many autographed first editions and authors' manuscripts and papers. (The Hipple Collection has been supported by ALAN members since its founding. Please see the latest update below on what's going on at the Hipple.) 
Scott Westerfeld, author of the Leviathan series, will be the featured speaker and appears courtesy of Simon & Schuster.  About Leviathan, the New York Times said, "Wouldn't it be cool if the First World War had been fought with genetically engineered mutant animals, against steam-powered walking machines? And the answer is, Yes, it would." This steampunk trilogy also includes Behemoth and Goliath.  Another of Scott's series is Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, novels set in a world in which physical perfection is the norm, thanks to surgery everyone undergoes at the age of sixteen.  The determination to keep one's own face becomes an act of rebellion in these tales of adventure and betrayal.  Scott Westerfeld is a prolific writer whose other books include Peeps, the Midnighters series, the Risen Empire series, So Yesterday, and other books, among them a few ghost-written with some Very Famous People He Can't Name. He and his wife, author Justine Larbalestier, divide their time between New York City and Sydney, Australia.  


Author Breakout Sessions

This year for the first time, ALAN has an all-author breakout session AND the authors are bringing 25 copies of their books. Get to these Tuesday sessions early for a seat and a copy of the speakers' latest works!           
Issues on Social Justice
  • Ann Angel, chair, Courtesy of Abrams
  • Varian Johnson, Courtesy of  Random House Children's Books
  • Peter Marino, Courtesy of Holiday House
  • J.L. Powers, Courtesy of Cinco Puntos
Writing for the Child in the Mirror
  • David Macinnis Gill, chair, Courtesy of HarperCollins
  • Robin Wasserman, Courtesy of Random House Children's Books
  • Alan Gratz, Courtesy of Scholastic
  • Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Courtesy of Egmont
Why Teens Love Science Fiction
  • Mary Arnold, chair, Public Services Supervisor, Maple Heights Library, OH
  • Isamu Fukui, Courtesy of TOR
  • Mary Pearson, Courtesy of HenryHolt/Macmillian
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson, Courtesy of Scholastic
Adverb Fight Club: Strengthening Writing through Critique
  • JJ Johnson, chair, Courtesy of Peachtree
  • Stephen Messner, Random House Children's Books
  • John Claude Bemis, Random House Children's Books
  • Jennifer Harrod, card-carrying member, Adverb Fight Club
Creating Ripples: Writing for Kids in the Middle
  • Kate Messner chair, Courtesy of Scholastic and Walker/Bloomsbury
  • Blue Balliett, Courtesy of Scholastic
  • Jody Feldman, Courtesy of HarperCollins
  • Rebecca Stead, Courtesy of Random House Children's Books Children's Books
  • Jo Knowles, Courtesy of Candlewick
Religion: The Last Taboo of YA Literature
  • Francisco X. Stork chair, Courtesy of AAL/Scholastic
  • Donna Freitas, Courtesy of Knopf
  • Deborah Heiligman, Courtesy of Random House Children's Books
Questioning Why LGBTQ Is Absent in ELA Classrooms
  • Joan Kaywell, co-chair, University of South Florida
  • Paula Taylor-Greathouse, co-chair, University of South Florida
  • Catherine Ryan Hyde, Courtesy of Random House Children's Books Children's Books  
  • Steve Brezenoff, Courtesy of Carolrhoda LAB/Lerner Publishing
In My Own Mirror
  • Lynne Alvine, chair, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
  • Sharon G. Flake, Courtesy of Scholastic
  • Lisa Luedeke, Courtesy of Simon and Schuster
Smells Like Teen Spirit--Teenage Angst and Alienation in Realistic YA Fiction
  • Steve Bickmore, chair, Louisiana State University
  • Kate Youngblood, co-chair, Louisiana State University
  • David Levithan, Courtesy of Random House Children's Books Children's Books

Speak Loudly
Sponsored by the ALAN Anti-Censorship Committee
The school year has started, and we hope your classroom is filled with the sounds of students talking thoughtfully, creatively, and passionately about the books they are reading. We hope your shelves are lined with titles that will inspire, challenge, and engage the young people in your care. And we hope that your school community embraces the right to read and is prepared to address any potential challenges to this necessary freedom.

To that end, this issue's column features a rationale, recommendations, and resources for drafting censorship-related review policies in your school and/or district. Please feel free to share these with colleagues, administrators, and others who might serve as allies in the defense of texts and the readers for whom they are written.

Why have a review policy?

*A review policy ensures a transparent process for submitting and responding to attacks on texts and helps to eliminate surprises.

*A review policy creates a consistent process that helps to ensure fairness.

*A review policy fosters an educative process that honors the voices of multiple stakeholders and allows for mature and well-informed discussion of differences.

What might a review policy contain?
A review policy will likely contain several key elements, including:
*An expectation that those issuing the attack-and those responding (ie. administrators, librarians, and teachers)-will have read fully the text under consideration before any decisions are made.

*Delineation of a well-defined review process that 1) begins with a conversation between those challenging the text and the teacher or librarian using the text and, if necessary, 2) the formal submission of a written explanation for the challenge presented by those initiating the challenge.

*An exigency that the teacher or librarian using the text in question will provide a written rationale that clearly and thoughtfully justifies use of the text in the school setting.

Where can I go for more information?
The following sites offer examples of supplementary materials and suggestions for preparing for and dealing with censors:

1) Here you can see these ideas in action in a policy statement generated by the Hudson, New Hampshire, school district: Sample District Policy on Censorship and Instructional Materials.

2) Here you can find additional information on what we might do to decrease the likelihood of challenges, as well as suggestions for dealing with them after they arise: NCTE Guideline on Censorship: Don't Let it Become an Issue in Your Schools .

3) Here you can read descriptions of best practices in facing a challenge in the school library context: Censorship Issues in School Libraries.

We wish you well as you continue to build relationships with your readers and trust in their abilities to tackle complex and worthwhile texts. As a friendly reminder, should you or a colleague face a challenge this year, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources provided by the ALAN Anti-censorship Committee. Members can work with you to determine effective ways to best defend your choices. For more information, please contact Committee Chair, Wendy Glenn.

- Wendy Glenn, Chair, ALAN Anti-Censorship Committee

An Update from the Hipple Collection

The Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature was born of Joan Kaywell's wish to honor her mentor Ted Hipple (1935-2004), one of ALAN's founders, who had also served as the organization's President, Executive Secretary, and Membership Secretary. He was a professor at the University of Florida before moving to the University of Tennessee and was a much revered voice in the field of YA literature.  
Ted had remarked on the tendency of many YA books to go out of print too quickly, and in 2006 Joan began soliciting from ALAN members  titles of their best loved books that were no longer in print. Copies of some of these out-of-print treasures, along with autographed first editions of other YA novels, formed the basis of the Hipple Collection, which opened in 2007 at the University of South Florida, Tampa.  
Today, the Hipple Collection, part of the University of South Florida Libraries, houses over 1800 books, many  donated by ALAN members. The collection also includes manuscripts, advanced reader copies, first editions, and paperbacks of young adult novels.

Joan is delighted to keep ALAN apprised of the collection's development, and so this is the first of what we hope will be many updates about new acquisitions and events at this archive of some of YA literature's best and brightest.

Among the most recent additions to the Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature are manuscript materials for Ned Vizzini's new book, The Other Normals. Not due out until September 25, 2012, Special Collections is excited to get a sneak peak at this new novel about fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert and his adventures in The World of the Other Normals (which, before a surprise discovery at camp, Perry had always thought was confined to his favorite epic role-playing game, Creatures & Caverns).

Ned is most noted for his YA novel It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was made into a film and released in 2010.  For more information and to see some photos of his manuscripts, please go to

- Joan Kaywell
ALAN trip Chicago 2011
New ALAN Members on their Chicago road trip 2011,
From left to right, Lauren Synowiec, Trisha Tonge, Gordon Van Dyke, and Amanda Shepard

Spotlight on an ALAN Member
Trisha Tonge, Athens, Georgia

I met Trisha Tonge when she subbed recently for a parapro at my school and was assigned to the library during lunch. Trisha browsed the shelves, complimented the collection, and mentioned that she was glad to see all the Laurie Halse Anderson titles. "I met her last year, and it was so cool." It turned out she'd been at ALAN in Chicago, which led to even more happy fan chat about YA literature and authors and, of course, ALAN. Trisha is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI, and recently moved to Athens, Georgia, where she works for the University of Georgia's Disability Resource Center and hopes to find a job teaching language arts.

It sounds like you had an amazing young adult literature course at CMU. What kinds of things did you do in the course?

Let me start off by saying that Dr. Susan Steffel is a wonderful professor. She is so knowledgeable and caring. Her class, ENG 580: Literature for Young Adults, was one of the most challenging and
rewarding courses that I have taken. I read 35 YA novels that semester. For each novel, and every chapter of our textbook, our task was to write at least two pages of response to the reading. Class time was used to discuss the assigned books and share what we had read independently. The challenge was getting all of the work done while balancing other classes; the joy was being exposed to so many new YA books and being able to call it homework. Before this class, I wasn't terribly sure what constituted YA lit. What I found is that the books that I had cherished when I was a young
adult, the ones that had made me feel like part of something bigger and like I was not alone, were YA. When I was in school I craved books that I could connect to, but I had a difficult time tracking them down. My class with Dr. Steffel showed me that there are plenty of those books out there, and my goal is to make YA books available to my students. My classroom library continues to grow; now I just need a classroom.

I understand you wrote a young adult novel as part of your program. Do you hope to eventually publish it?

The novel I wrote was more of an exercise in thought than something I
planned to publish. It was my capstone project for the Honors Program at CMU. I have never been a creative writer, but I decided that writing a piece of YA fiction would help me better understand the genre. I wrote a dystopian YA piece because I like the focus dystopias place on society and the truly weird things that we consider normal. An author can take one aspect of our culture and hyperbolize it so that the reader can see how truly arbitrary, and sometimes dangerous, these cultural norms are. My novel started with thoughts about the nature of gender and power, and from there it became a story about autonomy and sacrifice. It was fun to write, but it is in need of some serious editing.

Please tell us about the trip to Chicago and your first ALAN.

A professor mentioned that the ALAN conference was going to be in Chicago and that it would be a great experience for students. I did some research and started planning. Three other students and I
traveled by train from Michigan to Chicago for ALAN. I cannot say enough good things about the experience. I will never forget some of the moments that I had there. For example, I must have started to walk up to John Green five times before I gained the courage to say something, but I am so glad that I did. I also got the chance to tell Laurie Halse Anderson how much her writing meant to me as a teen, which is something I always dreamt of doing, but I never thought I would have the opportunity. I enjoyed learning about authors I had not read, and I left with a new, long list of must-read books, not to mention the giant box of books that each of us received. It was better
than Christmas morning! ALAN was an English nerd's dream, and I wish that I could make it to Las Vegas this year.

Why should preservice teachers become involved in ALAN? 

I encourage preservice teachers to join ALAN. I think that more
professors should promote it in their classes. Attending the conference is a great way to connect with the network of passionate teachers that are currently in the field. Being exposed to that atmosphere was a great supplement to my teacher education classes, and by starting early a preservice teacher can look forward to a long
career as part of the ALAN community. College students do have tight budget constraints, but the great thing about being in college is that every institution has money set aside for students to go to conferences. If you plan in advance and do some research, you will find that there are plenty of grants devoted to that purpose. In the past three years I have been fully funded by my university to present at conferences in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans. It takes time, but it is worth it. I paid for ALAN out of pocket, but by going with a group and splitting travel expenses the trip was very affordable. Attending the ALAN conference was a great opportunity for me to interact with the network of teachers and authors out there, and I believe more college students should have that experience.

TAR Article Wins 2012 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award
Ruth Caillouet Honored at Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature
Congratulations to Ruth Caillouet, associate professor of English education at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, who received the 2012 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award for her article, "To Be Young, Gifted, Black, and Lesbian: Wyeth and Woodson, Models for Saving a Life," which appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The ALAN Review (39)1, 28-36.  

The Hamilton Award is given "for a journal article published in a given year which makes a significant contribution to professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth." The award was established in 1991 and is given each year at the Virginia Hamilton Conference sponsored by the School of Library and Information Science and the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services and through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.  

The ALAN Review Fall 2012
A Sneak Preview: "Looking into and beyond Time and Place"

The fall issue of The ALAN Review will be in mailboxes soon, but in the meantime, here's a preview of the upcoming article "Looking into and beyond Time and Place: The Timeless Potential of YA Lit in a Time of Limited Opportunity" by Wendy J. Glenn and Marshall A. George.

An introduction by author Wendy Glenn: In response to pervasive external forces that encourage unnecessary simplification and scripted approaches to reading instruction, this paper advocates for and advances approaches toward using young adult fiction to inspire complex, complicated, even contentious, dialogue, discussion, and contemplation among students in the classroom community and discusses how young adult literature set in the past, present, and future can be incorporated into classrooms beyond inclusion by convenience. The piece draws upon texts that have been well-received by middle and high school students and teachers in various regions of the United States, as well as recently-published titles that are perhaps less familiar but equally compelling. The paper references multiple texts; highlights Touchstone texts and related essential questions and/or big ideas that might guide instructional units centered on these texts; and provides sample activities that encourage exploration of these essential questions and big ideas within the English language arts classroom.

Calls for Manuscripts and Proposals


The ALAN Review  

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:    




Spring/Summer 2013 Issue
Theme: Exploring Differences: Helping Students Read from Multiple Perspectives
In Critical Encounters in High School English, Deborah Appleman (2000) makes a case for
including critical lenses in helping students respond to texts in high school English classes
because "multiple ways of seeing have become vital skills in our increasingly diverse classrooms
as we explore the differences between and among us, what separates us and what binds us
together" (3). You may or may not deliberately integrate critical theory into your literature
studies with students, but likely you engage them in responding critically to young adult
literature through various strategies and techniques. What do you do to help your students use
young adult texts to "explore the differences between and among us, what separates us and
what binds us together"? What strategies have proved successful with your own students? We
want to hear about the ways in which you critically engage students with young adult texts and
push them to question the world around them and to view it through multiple lenses. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to Deadline: Feb. 1, 2013

Fall 2013/Winter 2014 Theme: Celebrating the Newest Voices in YA Literature

Guest Editor: Toby Emert, Agnes Scott University
An article in The Atlantic, published in August 2011, calls young adult literature the market's "hottest genre." The number of titles published each year has exploded, and the audience for YA fiction has likewise expanded, with adult readers rapidly becoming part of the audience for popular novels with young protagonists. In 2009, proceeds from YA books topped $3 billion, an extraordinary feat, considering the rhetoric of the late 1980s, when some predicted that YA lit was dying. Cynics sometimes suggest that the proliferation of titles has diluted the quality of the stories being told, though book lovers would likely disagree. The field is attracting new authors, whose first novels offer indelible messages about the struggle to negotiate the developmental chasm that links childhood and adulthood. What are the most compelling stories being told in novels published by new YA authors? What themes seem most resonant, surprising, reminiscent, or ground-breaking? Whose voices are emerging as clearly memorable and important? In this guest-edited issue, we invite pieces that focus specifically on the work of first-time authors. We welcome research, reflections, interviews, autoethnographies, and reviews that address literature, either written by an author who has recently been published for the first time or by an author who has chosen to write for the YA market for the first time. What impact are the new voices in the field likely to have on the future of YA lit? Challenges in teaching them in a traditional English Language Arts classroom? What exciting possibilities do they offer? Are students more adaptable readers than we sometimes give them credit for being?Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to Deadline: September 1, 2013. 




Bookbird - Special Issue  - Queerness and Children's Literature

The international children's literature journal Bookbird invites submissions for a Special Issue on queerness and children's literature.  Over past two decades in particular, interest in the intersection between the representation of children and queerness has been steadily growing.  In the past several years, several volumes have stimulated this growth: Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children edited by Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley ((2004), The Queer Child by Kathryn Bond Stockton (2009), Over the Rainbow edited by Michelle Ann Abate and Kenneth Kidd (2011), and Innocence, Heterosexuality, and the Queerness of Children's Literature by Tison Pugh (2011).  The editor and guest editor invite proposals for articles of 4000 words which explore queerness and children's literature.  Suggested topics might include (but are not limited to): Nation, empire, queerness; queerness and cultural difference; national children's literature and queerness; translation and queerness; homophobia, violence, and/or bullying; "innocence" and queerness, gender, nation, queerness; censorship and sexuality. Titles and abstracts of 250 words should be sent to both editors by January 15, 2013: Roxanne Harde and guest editor Laura Robinson.

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