Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE

ALAN 2011 Attendees
ALAN Workshop Attendees open boxes Monday morning
Photo by Don Gallo

ALAN Online News - December 2011
ALAN in Chicago!

Didn't we say you'd meet a bunch of your favorite authors and get to know some new ones? And we know we mentioned the books.

If you were in Chicago at the ALAN workshop, you came home with more than books. You got something better - you got stories. If we ever needed a reminder of the transformative power of literature, Matt de la Pe�a's story of his father's unexpected journey to complete his G.E.D., an associate's degree, and finally his bachelor's degree so he could become a teacher offered evidence that books change lives.

Other stories: My students think it's pretty awesome that Sarah Dessen tapped me on the shoulder at the reception Sunday evening and tried to apologize for hitting me in the face while gesturing wildly earlier. Of course, it wasn't me she'd smacked, but hey, it could have been.

Who wasn't impressed when Laurie Halse Anderson delivered her presentation while lying flat on her back when she became ill with food poisoning Monday afternoon?

Who would have expected that John Green, of Brotherhood 2.0  and Nerdfighters fame would remind us that it's the smaller social networks, made up of people committed to social or environmental action that make a real difference in the world.

Actually, for people who, according to the Wall Street Journal, make their living compelling young readers to consider "pathologies that went undescribed in print 40 years ago," the authors were all pretty darn nice.

If you missed the November workshop, this month's newsletter will give you a taste of what happened in the Windy City. Enjoy! Thanks to Don Gallo for sharing his photos.

 Anne McLeod, Editor

ALAN Online News 


In This Issue
Message from Wendy Glenn
Blogs, Prezis, and Tweets
ALAN Photos
Recruitment Pledge
Hipple Award
Nilsen-Donelson Award
InLand YA Theme Issue
President's Advisory Council
Mission Statement
Calls for Manuscripts
Coming in 2012
Look for a new and much-improved website for ALAN in the not-to-distant future as Web Manager David Macinnis Gill re-launches the ALAN website as an integrated social media YA mecca. For a preview, click on the link for the article in the section of this newsletter highlighting the Nilsen-Donelson Award.

Also, there will be a vote on proposed changes to the ALAN constitution. Stay tuned for more details.
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A Message from Wendy Glenn

Dear ALAN Members,
ALAN President Wendy Glenn
Past President Wendy Glenn
Photo by Don Gallo

Thanks again and again to all who made the 2011 ALAN Workshop such a wonderfully fun time!  Such an event doesn't come together without the efforts and support of many.  Although these acknowledgments appeared in the program, I think they're worth sharing again:

*Genuine and heartfelt thanks to the authors, publishers, presenters, participants, and ALAN Board members whose participation and good work made this event possible.

 *Chocolate, hugs, and all good things to Jacqui Joseph-Biddle, Eileen Maley, and Carol Wagner at NCTE Headquarters for conducting their behind-the-scenes magic.

 *Much appreciation to the good folks at Scholastic and Macmillan for providing lovely book bags in each and every book box.

 *Happy-belly gratitude to the publishers who sponsored the ALAN Reception, especially Laura Lutz (HarperCollins) and Laura Antonacci (Simon and Schuster) who took the lead in organizing the event:

Abrams Books for Young Readers
Bloomsbury and Walker Books for Young Readers
Boyds Mills Press
Candlewick Press
Chronicle Books
Disney-Hyperion Books
HarperCollins Children's Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
Listening Library
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Penguin Young Readers Group
Random House Children's Books
Scholastic, Inc.
Simon and Schuster, Inc.

I appreciate your support of ALAN and have genuinely enjoyed serving you; thank you for the opportunity.  Our new ALAN President, cj Bott, is putting together a fantastic program for 2012.  I hope to see you in Las Vegas!


Wendy Glenn
ALAN Past President

Blogs, Prezis, and Tweets - Oh My!
A Sampling of ALAN 2011 through Social Media

One of the best parts of attending ALAN for many workshop participants was being able to share their experiences via Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, and other social media sites. Teri Lesesne (@ProfessorNana), ALAN Executive Secretary and Young Adult Goddess tweeted from the back row of the ballroom.  Smart phones held aloft paid tribute to the rock stars of the YA world as fans captured and shared images with their friends and colleagues back home. Laurie Halse Anderson would put a call out on FaceBook for any pictures of her delivering her talk as she lay on the floor behind the speakers' tables in the front of the ballroom.

Here are just a few of the many online offerings from ALAN 2011:

ALAN 2011 Prezi by Ricki Ginsberg: Join ALAN Board member Ricki Ginsberg as she chats with  authors in Chicago.

YouTube video of Laurie Halse Anderson: Gaenglishteacher posted a video clip of Laurie Halse Anderson's all-too memorable presentation. I hope your hits on the video on turn up  this ALAN member's name! The video begins just after Laurie decided to continue presenting despite feeling horrible.

A blog post by Jay Asher: NCTE/ALAN is super-busy for authors too, as they pack multiple events into a short period of time. Jay's latest book, The Future of Us, co-authored with Carolyn Mackler, tells about two teens in 1996 who stumble into 2011 online and come across a site called "FaceBook."

 ALAN Chirpstory: Here is a capture of some tweets both during and immediately after the workshop. And Matt de la Pe�a made me cry too.

ALAN 2011 Photos by Don Gallo

Keynote Speaker M.T. Anderson
Keynote Speaker M. T. Anderson discusses the future of narrative

Sharon Draper
ALAN Award Winner
Sharon Draper speaks
at ALAN Breakfast
Francisco X. Stork
Francisco X. Storks Accepts Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award

The Recruitment Pledge
Joan Kaywell, ALAN's Membership Secretary, asked those at the workshop to pledge to recruit a new ALAN member in the coming weeks. Here's a membership form to share as you spread the word. Also, if you paid to attend ALAN, you do not have to renew your membership, as the workshop comes with a year's membership.
2012 Workshop Break-out Session
Call for Proposals: 19 & 20 November 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada

The theme for the 2012 ALAN workshop is "Reaching Them All, ALAN Has Books for Everyone"--books for boys, books for girls, for challenged readers, brilliant readers, LGBTQ teens, teens in other countries, teens from other countries who now live here, Christian kids, Jewish kids, Muslim kids, non-believing kids, kids with problems at home--alcoholism, illnesses, incest, divorce--as well as kids from happy, fun-loving home, homes with two moms or two dads or one mom or one dad or one of each or grandparents, teens who live in cyberspace, teens who can't afford a computer--YOUNG ADULTS, ALL YOUNG ADULTS.

The 2012 ALAN Workshop will feature a slightly different format, with all Educator Break-outs Monday afternoon and all Author Break-outs Tuesday afternoon. 

All applicants must be ALAN members. Please send electronic submissions to cj bott. Please use ALAN Breakout in the subject line.

Proposals are due no later than midnight of Friday, JANUARY 6, 2012. If you prefer, you can submit proposals by hard copy.  Mail your proposal to cj bott, 34540 Sherbrook Park Drive, Solon, Ohio 44139, no later than Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

For more information, see Call for Proposals - ALAN 2012.  

Gary Salvner
Hipple Award Winner
Gary Salvner
Photo by Don Gallo
2011 Ted Hipple Service Award
Gary Salvner
Each year since 2000, ALAN has given the Ted Hipple Service Award to honor former ALAN President and Executive Secretary Ted Hipple for his many years of dedication to the organization. Before his death in November 2004, Ted was Professor of Education at the University of Tennessee and had also taught at the University of Florida. 

This year's Hipple Award winner is Gary Salvner.
Gary is a past President of ALAN and served as Executive Secretary for 10 years. He is chair of the Department of English at Youngstown State University in Ohio and a former elementary and secondary school teacher.

The 2011 Ted Hipple Service Award was announced at the  annual ALAN Breakfast on Saturday morning at NCTE.  

2011 Nilsen-Donelson Award
"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Adult" by Connie Zitlow and Lois Stover
This year ALAN awarded its first Nilsen-Donelson Award, an award funded by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don Nilsen to recognize the best article published that year in The ALAN Review. Alleen Pace Nilsen and Ken Donelson of Arizona State University are longtime leaders of ALAN and authors of Literature for Today's Young Adult, now in its 8th edition The authors of the winning article, Connie S. Zitlow and Lois T. Stover, collaborated on "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Adult: Who Is the Real Me?" published in the Winter 2011 TAR. Their article discusses books in which young artists explore identity through their art and how these books might be used in classrooms to help all students, whether they self-identify as artists or not, to better understand themselves as well as the artists among them.

You mentioned in the article that you'd both participated in musical ensembles and theater. How did these experiences affect you personally and influence the writing of the article?

Lois: I was involved for years in church choirs, my high school chamber singers, regional chorus, high school orchestra, even state orchestra (played the harp, which nobody else did, so though I wasn't very good, I got to go to the state orchestra :) ).  And, I was involved in theater - musicals and straight dramas - for all my years of high school.  Being a part of those groups gave me a sense of community and identity that I'd otherwise have found hard to create in a high school of 2200 students (10th-12th grade); participation in music and drama gave me an outlet for my emotional ups and downs and ensured I didn't bury myself too deeply in my books. 

I got to college and realized, as so many students do, that I didn't have the talent and drive to pursue either music or theater, but when I thought about why I valued those experiences, I focused on the sense of belonging they provided and determined to help my future students have those same opportunities, so certified in English and theater.  But as a teacher, more so than as a student myself, I also realized the stereotypes that non-theater/music students impose on their artistic peers.  And I realized I had little understanding of the thinking and ways of being in the world that students involved in the various visual arts experience, and found that reading books about kids who identify as artists helped me get that perspective - and thought having such books in the classroom would, therefore, help my artistic students find themselves in the pages of books and would possibly break down misconceptions.

Connie:  Music has always been a major part of my life, beginning when I was in 3rd grade and began taking private piano lessons. I continued studying piano through high school and college where I majored in music. In college I studied  both piano and pipe organ with piano as my major instrument. Throughout my elementary, high school, and college years, I performed in many solo recitals, judged competitions, and accompanied the high school choral groups. As part  of my undergraduate requirements, I perfomed a extensive senior recital. I also sang in several choral groups, both small (such as Madrigal singers) and the large touring choir. When I was in high school, I also served as the church assistant organist. From the time I was a child, I have always sung in church choirs. I graduated from undergraduate with certification in both music and English and taught both subjects in public schools. One year I was the director of the musical Oliver. For over 20 years, I also taught private piano lessons. I continue to sing in an church choir that has performed in Europe and recently sang a piece we commissioned for the celebration of our directors' 30 years in the position. I serve on several music-related committees at our church.
Being a part of music groups and being a music student, taught me the value of working hard at something that mattered and the discipline of learning, memorizing and performing. I know that I gained a better sense of who I am because of music. It helped me gain confidence and poise in challenging situations and certainly gave me a sense of belonging and doing something that mattered both to me and others. There would be a huge void in my life without music.
Lois mentioned the stereotypes that are a part of being a musician (or other artist). I was certainly aware of that in my school days, particularly in as a music major in college. I think to prove that I didn't fit some of the stereotype, I was active in a social organization and focused on much of my academic work in other classes. As a music teacher and teacher educator, I know the difficulty music teachers face in schools with shrinking budgets. Yet I also know the value of being sure all students have opportunities to experience the arts.

For those of us who are working on articles with other writers, can you give some practical tips about what makes for a successful collaboration?

Lois: Work with Connie!!  We've written together for at least 15 years at this point, and I think it works because we often start by doing a conference presentation, and that gives us a structure for writing.  Then, we're able to talk through an overall vision, one of us will sketch the outline for an article or chapter, we'll each fill in some of the pieces, and then we edit for each other.  Connie's got a great editor's eye for detail and she's very attuned to a writer's use of language, so she often finds great quotes.

Connie: And I say "Work with Lois!!" She is brilliant and creative, generates marvelous ideas, writes the best proposals, and is very well read. It helps that we both have a passion for the arts, for teaching and learning, love literature, and enjoy each other personally. Lois is an amazing teacher educator who is humble and caring. Because of the countless students we have taught, mentored, and supervised, we have great respect for teachers and what they do in often very challenging situations. I think our respect for teachers and our concerns about public education are always in our minds as we write.

I'd like to hear more about the classroom activities you described in the article and how you used them with your students.

Lois: I used the crayons-in-a-bag bridge this fall when teaching the whole concept of "bridges" to future teachers of all disciplines, not just English teachers.  In one group, my lone future art teacher was working with a future math teacher and a future social studies teacher.  The art teacher began using terms like "tint" and "shade" in describing the differences in the colors, all of which the group originally just labeled "orange."  They came up with some lovely names for their colors - "River Sunset" was one (our college is on a river, and the sunsets we experience are extraordinary); "Peach Smoothie" was another that I remember. 

The art teacher commented that even she wasn't used to looking at others' colors in quite this way, trying to isolate the differences in mood and tone evoked, and the math teacher commented that she was amazed at how much she could see once she was guided to do close observation.  The social studies teacher asked the art teacher about how medieval artists created that deep, deep blue so characteristic of their paintings.  The group ended up liking their color names better than the names Crayola had given the crayons, and the art teacher asked if she could steal the activity to use with her middle school art students - she modified it so that after she read them the passage from Skin Deep, she had them, in groups, use the colors in their baggies to complete sentence starters modeled on the passage, including, "Breathe like the air is scented with. . .; See like . . .; and Hear
like . . ."

Connie:  In the article, I referred to some activities I did in the section about bridging out of literature. The activity of having students draw or describe one vivid image that comes to their minds after reading a work like Make Lemonade  always led to amazing discussions about imagery in literature and deepend their understanding of the story. I would sometimes tell students I was going to read a picture to them -- again as a way to focus on the beautiful imagery in literature, both the pictures and sounds words can bring to mind. I had an article in the Winter 2000 ALAN about "Sounds and Pictures in Words." My music background was a big part of what led to that piece.

In my teaching, particularly in the course in content area literacy , I often used both music poetry, and visual art to make connections in other subject areas --- something that has been a focus for both Lois and me in our work with teacher education students.

What else would you like to share?
Connie: My work at Ohio Wesleyan involved not only my primary responsibility of working with English majors in the teacher education program, but also placing and supervising student teachers in other content areas. I worked with many theater, fine arts, and music majors and their professors. The connections between literature and the arts were often part of our work and our discussions. I learned a great deal about the various personalities, and sometimes struggles, of the students in the arts and also about many diverse approaches to learning and teaching.

Lois: One of the things that pulled us together is the fact that we're English educators housed in small Departments of Education who teach generic methods courses and supervise, as Connie notes, across the entire spectrum of content areas.

InLand, Idaho's NCTE Affiliate Journal, Publishes Final Issue
Young Adult Literature the Theme of Spring/Summer 2011 Issue

InLand, for over two decades, exemplified what NCTE affiliates can do best: collaborate, convey, and create an inclusivity between English Language Arts teachers and leaders in local and regional school settings, K-College. A collaboration between the Idaho Council of Teachers of English (ICTE) and Inland Northwest Council of Teachers of English (INCTE), the journal served thousands of educators throughout Idaho and eastern Washington, offering curriculum, explaining and encouraging research about reading and writing, and, perhaps most importantly, providing a venue for secondary teachers (as well as their students) to contribute to the ongoing discussion of issues that affect instruction in deep and abiding ways.

In many of its themed issues, InLand published articles on integrating Young Adult (YA) literature into the curriculum to motivate reluctant readers and to supplement the literature curriculum. We felt it was long overdue to focus an entire issue on the topic, to insert our region (home to Chris Crutcher, Terry Davis, Terry Trueman, and others, and setting to Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) into the vibrant national conversation about YA.

- Crag Hill, Editor 


From Anne: Many thanks to Crag and InLand for making it possible to share this last issue of their wonderful journal.  

The President's Advisory Council (PAC)

This year has seen a number of changes for ALAN, and as we welcome new members after the annual workshop, we are including information about the assembly's mission statement and about the President's Advisory Council (PAC) formed earlier this year. Incoming president cj bott suggested that an ad hoc committee set up the council to ensure that the institutional memory and expertise of previous presidents would be available to the Board of Directors as they make decisions.

The PAC selects one member to serve as a non-voting representative to the board and another to serve as the council's chair. Sissy Carroll is the PAC's first representative to the board and will serve until November 2013. In order to have preserve continuity, the term of the first chair, Ginger Monseau, will be one year only, ending in November of 2012.

The ALAN PAC representative will attend the board meeting held each year at the NCTE convention. Responsibilities will include advising the ALAN board on behalf of the PAC  and reporting the proceedings of the board meetings to the PAC Chair electronically within a month after the convention.

The Chair of the ALAN PAC will notify council members of issues that require their attention as requested by the ALAN Board. Other responsibilities include fielding responses to the various issues and concerns; keeping a record of business conducted; overseeing elections for PAC officers; forming any subcomittees necessary to conduct PAC business; and being available to the subsequent Chair to answer questions and ease transition into the position.


The 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.

March 8, 2011

Calls for Manuscripts


The ALAN Review  

Fall 2012 Theme:  Poetry and Young Adult Literature - Deadline: March 1, 2012. Submission guidelines available online at  The ALAN Review. 



Spring/Summer 2012 Theme:  On the Cutting Edge: Pushing the Boundaries of Genre - Deadline: February 1, 2012. Contact for more information.  



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