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2015 AEW Award Winner

ALAN Online News - August 2015

Years ago at NCTE, I (Anne) picked up a name tag ribbon from a vendor that said, "Read Irresponsibly." For the last year, it's decorated the circulation desk at my school media center and has probably generated more questions from our middle schoolers than any of the decor except for my giant lead pencil. 

"What does that MEAN?" After all, they are encouraged to read for meaning, to read at their Lexile range, to read a chapter book, to read in fact for just about any other purpose in the world than irresponsibility. 

So we talk about how it's okay to read what you like, even while you're reading everything we make you read. Don't forget that reading is fun. Read widely, read to satisfy your curiosity - that's why the library has that book on spontaneous human combustion because it's certainly not part of the standards. 

Having guilty pleasures and then tossing away the guilt is one of the best ways to insure that kids and all the rest of us keep reading. 

As we get geared up for the new school year, we hope you all enjoyed some irresponsible reading this summer!

- Anne McLeod and Kacy Tedder, Editors
In This Issue
AEW Award and Finalists
Vote Now!
Grant Applications Due
ALAN ED Search
YA Links in the News
Real Quick Picks
Missing your issue of TAR?
Please email Membership Secretary Karin Perry.

2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner & Finalists Announced
A.S. King's Glory O'Brien's History of the Future 2015 Winner

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers  of English ( NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the finalists for the 2015 Amelia   Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. Established in 2008 t o honor the  wishes of young adult author Amelia Elizabeth Walden, the award allows for the sum of $5,000 to be presented annually to the author of a young adult title selected by the ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee as demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit. 

The 2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award winner is: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King ( Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

The 2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists are:
Diamond Boy by Michael Williams 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Cinco Puntos Press

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Penguin Young Readers Group

Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy) by Deborah Wiles
Scholastic Press


All Walden Award titles will be identified by an award sticker-gold for the winner and silver for the four finalists. The winning title and finalists will be honored on at the 2015 ALAN Workshop on Monday, November 23rd at 4:25pm in Minneapolis, MN, and authors will be invited to participate in a panel discussion.

The 2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee would like to thank: the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Foundation, the ALAN Executive Council, the ALAN Board of Directors, NCTE, and the thirty-six publishers who submitted titles for consideration.

The 2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee considered nearly 300 young adult titles throughout the process. The committee was comprised of eleven members representing the university, K-12 school, and library communities. They are: Lois Stover, Committee Chair,  Dean - School of Education and Human Services,  Marymount University, Arlington, VA;  Kellee Moye, Past Committee Chair,  Teacher/Reading Coach,  Hunter's Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL;  Cathy Blackler,  English/Journalism Teacher,  Santana Alternative High School, La Puente, CA;  Nancy J. Johnson,  Professor, Children's/YA Literature and English/Language Arts Education,  Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA;  Sara Kajder,  Assistant Professor English Education,  University of Georgia, Athens, GA;  Mark Letcher,  Assistant Professor English Education,  Lewis University, Romeoville, IL;  Joellen Maples,  Associate Professor, Graduate Literacy Program,  St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY;  Suzanne Metcalfe,  Librarian,  Dimond High School, Anchorage, Alaska;  Beth Scanlon,  Teacher,  Cypress Creek High School, Orlando, FL;  Lisa Scherff,  English Teacher,  Cypress Lake High School, Fort Myers, FL;  Jessica Lorentz Smith,  Librarian,  Bend Senior High School, Bend, OR.

For more information on the award, please visit ALAN Online: The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents.

Online Voting Continues in ALAN Elections  

It's not too late to cast your ballot in ALAN's 2015 elections. You will need your membership number, which can be found to the left of your name on the mailing label of your copies of
The ALAN Review. 
Vote for one of the two candidates for  President-Elect: Melanie Hundley and Laura Renzi.

Vote for three of six candidates for the Board of Directors: Bryan Gillis, Jillian Heise, Nancy Johnson, Cindy Minnich, Kellee Moye, and Kelli Venier.  


Candidate bios are posted on the ALAN website. Ready? Set! Click and vote!  

Grant Applications Due
Gallo Grant: Are you a new teacher who would like to attend the ALAN Workshop for the first time this year? If you have been teaching less than five years and would like to become more involved with ALAN, please apply for the Gallo Grant. The award winner will receive free registration to this year's ALAN Workshop in Minneapolis. Deadline for applications is September 1.

ALAN Foundation Grant:  Do you have a literacy-based research project that you would like to pursue in your classroom or library? If so, you may be interested in an ALAN Foundation Grant, which is awarded to a member of ALAN for research related to YA literature. The grant recipient can receive up to $1,500 and will be announced at this year's ALAN breakfast at the NCTE convention in November. Applications are due September 15.

Find out more about both of these grant opportunities on the ALAN website.  

ALAN Searches for a New Executive Director

I will retire from the Executive Directorship of ALAN after 5 years of service. The ALAN Executive Committee has appointed a committee, headed by former Executive Director, Gary Salvner, to interview applicants for my successor. What exactly does the Executive Director do, you might ask. I serve as the liaison between NCTE and ALAN, I help coordinate the business of ALAN, and I function as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors charged with maintaining the organization. An annual stipend is given to the Executive Director. 

Here is the job description from the Policy and Procedure Manual:"As described in the Constitution, the Executive Director shall be responsible for advising and assisting the Executive Committee in carrying out its responsibilities; informing officers and committee members of their responsibilities; distributing copies of the Constitution to new officers and committee chairs;  managing the  business of the ALAN Foundation, which includes publicizing the program and  awarding yearly grants; and coordinating ALAN activities with NCTE, with the  approval of the ALAN Executive Committee. The Executive Director shall also be  responsible for maintaining up-to-date records of all decisions made by the Board,  including file copies of minutes, copies of the Constitution, copies of committee  correspondence and reports, lists of past officers and award winners, and records of  special events and activities sponsored by ALAN, including the ALAN Workshop and  ALAN Foundation grant program."

Interested persons should submit a letter of application (due no later than October 1, 2015) as well as the following:
  1. A statement of vision for the organization;
  2. A vita;
  3. A letter of support from the applicant's employer, indicating the level of support to be made available;
  4. A summary of the applicant's previous involvement with ALAN and evidence of the applicant's involvement in the field of young adult literature;
  5. A statement of availability to assume the position on January 1, 2016.
Applications - in electronic form (Word attachment, please) - should be sent to:

This position is an excellent opportunity to give back to ALAN. I have appreciated the chance to serve in this capacity for 5 years and look forward to helping the new ED build an even stronger, better ALAN.

- Teri Lesesne, Executive Director

YA Links in the News  

Jenny Han, known for her series The Summer I turned Pretty and To All The Boys I've Loved
 discusses the successes andshortcomings of the young adult genre, how things are  changing, and how to live in the moment.

Ann Bausum, an author whose books for young people often include a focus on social justice, has a new book out . STONEWALL: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights examines Stonewall riots during 1969 in New York City when members of the gay community fought back in response to a police raid on a gay bar. Bausum paints a vivid picture of three nights of rioting that became the vocal point for activists. Read more about Stonewall in this interview with Bausum that appeared on
John Green explains why he has not written a young adult novel since The Fault In Our Stars
published in 2012.

Marie Jaskulka's novel in verse The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl  and Random Boy takes on the topic of  abusive relationships. The book is in free-verse poems written by two teenagers that explore the whys and hows of an  abusive teenage relationship with honesty.

ALAN member and San Jose State University professor Mary Warner was interviewed last fall by KQED about aliteracy and teens and this summer by SJSU's alumni magazine about YA literature.  

Dana Walrath, author of LIKE WATER ON STONE, went to Armenia for the premiere of an animation of Like Water on Stone as well as speaking about her book in Beijing. Chinese audiences knew nothing about the Armenian genocide but were well versed in the government suppression of history. The animation is quite lovely.


Thanks to Cynthia Dawn Martelli, Mary Warner, and Joan Kaywell for their contributions to YA Links in the news. 
ALAN Real Quick Picks   
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (Disney Enterprises, 2014)

Deep Blue blends fantasy in the "Mer world," romance, and eco-literature in compelling read.  Serafina starts the day believing it holds her "Dokimi," the ceremony determining whether or not she is heir to the Miromaran throne and her betrothal with the crown prince of Matali, the Mer realm of the Indian Ocean.  By evening, Serafina is struggling for her life and grieving the near destruction of everyone and everything in her world.  Very subtly, Donnelly manages to incorporate teen mermaid protagonists who are the only ones able to save the world's existence. 
 - Mary Warner

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi, Philomel Books, 2014.
Fatima, a Hazara girl from the worker class, grew up playing with Pashtun children, including Samiullah.  The Pastun landowner class cannot marry Hazara; so when Fatima and Sami fall in love, they endanger themselves and their families.  Add to the mix, Rashid, cousin of Sami, who has fallen under the influence of corruption in the Madrassa, the Islamic religious school that Sami leaves when he discovers the hypocrisy there.  A gripping contemporary story of love that defies family, tradition, and religion -- it would make a great pairing with  Romeo and Juliet .
-Mary Warner

Crossover by Kwame Alexander (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014)
Told in verse from one twin's perspective, Jordan, he and his brother are basketball stars in junior high school coached since they were toddlers from their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons and with the strict, but loving support of their mother, their assistant principal: "In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart." The twin brothers begin growing apart for the first time as Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh struggles keeping his feelings of abandonment and jealousy in control. The twins realize that growing up on and off the court can be a game-changer for the entire family.
- Cynthia Dawn Martelli

Calls for Papers and Proposals 


The ALAN Review

Summer 2016 Mediating Media in a Digital Age  

Submissions due November 1, 2015

Today's young adult readers access and generate young adult texts in myriad forms. Through multimedia platforms, television and film adaptations, fan fiction, and social media, they engage with stories in ways that extend beyond the originals. These opportunities for connection are rich in potential and complication. Do media enrich our interactions with others and our world-or is there a falseness in this seeming linkage? Consider the perspective of Rainbow Rowell's narrator: "There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact" (Fangirl, p. 147). We wonder if all readers are inspired by techie texts or if some, in fact, imagine life as "an analog girl, living in a digital world" (Neil Gaiman, American Gods, p. 332). For this issue, we encourage you to ponder and explore the ways in which you use young adult literature to help young people mediate media: How do you foster innovative engagement with media in your professional setting? What are the challenges of teaching and learning in the digital age, and how might they be mediated? How do digital communities invite and/or exclude young people today? What role does/can YA literature play in successfully navigating life in the "digital age"? As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to prior to November 1, 2015. Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines.



The ALAN Review

Fall 2016 Rethinking "Normal" and Embracing Differences

In this issue, we invite you to consider how language, woven through story, can invite exploration of difference centered on (dis)ability, sexual identity or orientation, gender, race, nationality, culture, age, and/or physical appearance.  How might young adult literature help readers consider their own and others' uniqueness?  How might it challenge deficit perspectives of the other that are too often forwarded by the dominant narrative?  What difficulties result from such attempts at engagement in educational settings? How can we help adolescent readers understand that "[A] person is so much more than the name of a diagnosis on a chart" (Sharon M. Draper, Out of My Mind, p. 23) and ask themselves, as they grow up in a labels-oriented world: "You're going to spend more time with yourself than with anyone else in your life. You want to spend that whole time fighting who you are?" (Alex Sanchez, The God Box, p. 139)? As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme.  All submissions may be sent  prior to March 1, 2016.  Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines..



ALAN Online News

Items needed for this newsletter: ALAN organizational news items, YA Links in the News, The Book That Changed My Life, Real Quick Picks, candidates for Spotlight on an ALAN Member, feature articles about programs in your area that promote teen reading or young adult literature. Photographs are welcome as well. Send to Anne McLeod or Kacy Tedder. Deadline for the October newsletter is September 15, 2015.  

Reading Revolution Swag Available on CafePress!

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