ALAN Book Logo  
Laurie Halse Anderson, center, at ALAN reception 
with fans Cynthia Minnich and Anna Russell
Photo by Don Gallo

ALAN Online News - December 2013
Scenes from ALAN's Big 4-0 in Boston
The photo above of award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson, flanked by two registrants, illustrates the excitement surrounding the ALAN Workshop experience. Each event, from the breakfast to the reception to the Workshop itself, offers opportunities to meet and to chat with authors whose work we've admired for years. Here we also get to know writers who are just starting out in YA literature but who are already making their mark. It's an unforgettable experience. 

Kudos to ALAN's past president, Jeffrey Kaplan, who, along with the workshop committee, assembled a wonderful group of talented authors and paid tribute to those who've shaped the last four decades of the assembly and the genre of young adult literature. I hope that the words and images of this newsletter inspire you to join us next fall in Washington, DC, for ALAN 2014. 

Speaking of images, thanks as always to Don Gallo, whose photos appear here. Unless otherwise indicated, all the pictures are his. He's graciously shared his workshop pictures each year for the newsletter, And if you would like to see all Don's shared photos of ALAN 2013, go to our website where Jon has uploaded the entire slideshow. 

I hope you have a peaceful holiday season, filled with good times and good books. 

Anne McLeod
Editor, ALAN Online News

P.S. If you or someone you know left ALAN 2013 thinking, "I need to get involved with this group because they have way too much fun," let us know. Email me, President Walter Mayes, or Executive Secretary Teri Lesesne, and we'll let you know which committees are in need of members or about other opportunities as they arise. 
Missing your issue of TAR?
Please email membership secretary Karin Perry.

In This Issue
Reflections on ALAN's 40th Anniversary
Scenes from Boston
Workshop Tweets
Judy Blume
Rick Williams Receives Hipple Award
Call for ALAN 2014 Breakout Proposals
Walter Unleashed
New TAR Editorial Team
YA Links in the News
Real Quick Picks
ALAN 2012-13: Our 40th Anniversary
Reflections from Jeffrey Kaplan
As ALAN President (2012-13), I want to thank everyone who contributed so much to make this year's ALAN Workshop a joyous event. From celebrating our 40th Anniversary to renewing old friendships and kindling new ones, the ALAN Breakfast, Author Reception and Workshop proved once again to be fertile ground for memories that last long after the last author has spoken and book has been signed. 
This year was particularly poignant. Our 40th Anniversary evoked many 'movie moments' - moments that will last a lifetime inside our minds - as they underscored how special ALAN is in the lives of so many of our members. How delightful to have so many authors and educators in one room - all sharing with us their wisdom about why reading and writing and thinking and laughing (we cannot forget laughing) - are so essential to the health and well-being of young people (And old, too!).
In an age, where, unfortunately, standardized curriculum and high-stakes testing have become the 'go-to-mantra' of education officials everywhere, where what kids remember from their reading is considered more important than how kids feel about their reading (or not reading), it is a welcome relief to know that there is a safe place to go where individuals talk about the pleasure of reading for pleasure's sake - not testing, not book reports, not reading comprehension questions - - and that place is, naturally, ALAN. 
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents is the hallmark of academic and personal excellence for the advancement and popularization of good books for kids all across this country. And how fitting that we should hold our 40th Anniversary in one of the birthplaces of our nation's beginnings, Boston. This past year, for me and so many others, has been a welcomed journey towards self-discovery - planning our workshop, reviewing policy and procedures, and discussing future plans - and always, dreaming of how we can expand our reach and make smart things happen for kids, teachers and authors alike. 
With that in mind, I would like to invite you to join an initiative where we expand our ALAN base by inviting our ALAN members to establish ALAN chapters so they can be formally recognized for the good work they do to make young adult novels the hallmark of any young person's education. As Joan Kaywell says, "Books save lives." Let's work together to make sure that we spread the word far and near that ALAN means bringing the pleasure of reading and the joy of memory to all the lives we touch. 
My thanks to Teri Lesesne, Walter Mayes and cj Bott for their untiring devotion to making the ALAN 2013 Workshop a memorable occasion and to all our teachers, librarians, media specialists, authors, editors, and publishers, a heartfelt appreciation for all you do to make ALAN a special place in the hearts of all who value good books and good cheer. 
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year one and all.
-Jeffrey Kaplan, ALAN Past President 2012-2013
Scenes from Boston and ALAN 2013

Walter Dean Myers, speaker at ALAN Breakfast

Author Robert Lipsyte at opening reception

Science Fiction Panel at Work

Nancy Garden, author of Annie on My Mind

Joan Bauer, author of Almost Home
Keynote speaker Jack Gantos
with ALAN's webmaster Jon Ostenson

So many authors, so little time: Autograph tables
Don't have time to stand in the autograph line? Need books hauled off? Find Collin Larke and your problem is solved.

ALAN 2013 in Tweets, Courtesy of Chirpstory

If, during ALAN 2013,  you were sitting at home as some of us were, feeling a little meepish and wishing you were in the ballroom with the rest of the party, here are some Chirpstories and Storified tweets to commemorate those two glorious days. Wherever you are, barricade yourself behind a wall of books with a cup of caffeine in hand and enjoy these collections drawn from the many tweets that flew out of the Convention Center November 25 and 26. 
Chirpstory Day One by Anne McLeod   Storify Day One by Karin Perry
Chirpstory Day Two  by Anne McLeod  Storify Day Two  by Karin Perry
Jennifer Buehler introduces
Judy Blume
Photo by Joan Kaywell
Judy Blume: An Introduction by Jennifer Buehler
2013 ALAN Award Presentation


Author Judy Blume has reached an astounding number of young readers over her career. At this year's breakfast, Jennifer Buehler, charged with introducing the 2013 ALAN Award recipient, wrote a letter to Judy Blume, explaining how much her books have meant to her and to so many teens.


Dear Judy,


For days and weeks and months, I have been rehearsing for this moment in my mind.


The soundtrack of my thoughts has gone like this:It's Judy Blume! I am presenting the ALAN Award for significant contributions to the field of young adult literature to Judy Blume! Oh my GOD!


And then it goes like this: Oh my god, what do I SAY?


I told myself, write her a letter. Make it the most heartfelt letter you can write. But Judy, you've been getting letters from readers for over 40 years. What letter could I possibly write that you haven't already received?


Then I told myself, tell her a story. Make it the most earnest story you can tell. About her books and what they mean to you. But Judy, what story could I possibly tell that you haven't already heard?


And now here I am, still tangled up in these thoughts and questions, but full of so much feeling.

Oh, Judy. In this moment it feels like I am Everyman, or Every Reader. Like so many others in this room -- like thousands, probably millions of others across the United States and around the world -- you and your books were the touchstones of my childhood. I read them. I saved my allowance and bought them at my elementary school book fair, and I reread them. And for all these years, I have kept them.

Today they sit on the bookshelf in my study: Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. Iggie's House. It's Not the End of the World. Blubber. Deenie. Tiger Eyes. Forever. When I see them, and when I hold them in my hands, they remind me of who I was as a child.


And they make me remember why I became a reader:

They made me feel seen and heard.

They talked about things that no other grownups in my life were willing to talk about.

They showed me what other kids my age were going through.

And they never, ever talked down to me.


Sometimes they scared me: I really should not have read Forever and Wifey in 6th grade.


But more often they comforted me: they gave voice to my secret worries and fears. They told me I was normal. And they made me feel less alone.


Those things were true when I was 12, and they are equally true today.


When I look at your books, I channel you, and I remember the kind of parent I want to be: one who is open and honest.

I remember the kind of writer I want to be: one who perseveres when the work is hard and who insists on telling a true story.

And I remember the kind of person I want to be: one who is humble, brave, strong, and loving.


Judy, I'm sure everyone in this room has a story to tell about you. Everyone wants their own small moment with you. Your books have changed our lives, our field, and our culture. We are deeply grateful to you. We love you. And so we present you with the 2013 ALAN Award.



Your Reader,


Rick Williams Receives Hipple Award for Service
The Ted Hipple Service Award, named for one of ALAN past presidents, is given annually to a member who has made remarkable contributions to the organization. This year's recipient, Rick Williams, has advocated for many years for young readers, first as a teacher in Hubbard, Ohio, and and later in his work with the English Festival program at Youngstown State University. He's served on the ALAN election and merchandising committees and as a consultant for the ALAN Workshop program. 
Rick Williams, 2013 ALAN Award Recipient 
As Gary Salvner put it in his introduction at the ALAN breakfast, "Rick Williams is not an officer of ALAN, and he hasn't represented us in an official capacity.  All he has done, year after year, is to be the first man available for all those modest but absolutely essential tasks an organization must undertake to operate smoothly.  Who's among the first to show up to set up this ALAN Breakfast each year?  Rick Williams.  Who is there early the first morning of the ALAN Workshop, box cutter in hand, to open pallets of books for distribution while the rest of us gulp coffee and try to wake up?  It's Rick.  When an errand needs to be run or a call made, Rick is always the first one to leave his seat at the workshop, missing the author presentations he has come to hear, to run that errand or make that call ....With all of Rick Williams' generous contributions to our organization, one might think that "ALAN" must be his middle name, and in fact, it is."
When you see Richard Alan Williams at next year's workshop in DC, whether he's helping with sign-in or autograph lines, helping gather together the next panelists, or pointing the way toward the hotel's business center, stop and introduce yourself, and tell him congratulations and thanks.  

Call for Proposals for 2014 ALAN Workshop


The theme for the 2014 ALAN workshop is Is the Sky the Limit? Using Teen Literature to Forge Connections in a World With Disappearing Boundaries.

As our online media world gives us total access to everything all the time, what can we as teachers, writers, librarians, publishers, and students do to remain connected, make new connections, and use literature as a bridge between our respective worlds?


Breakout session proposals will be evaluated on the way they address the issues raised by the above topic and how they offer attendees food for thought, a lively discussion, and practical solutions to the issues and problems faced in the classroom and/or library. A wide range of approaches and topics is hoped for.


Please note: The 2014 ALAN workshop breakout sessions will not include authors. Authors interested in speaking at the workshop must submit their interest through their publisher. Breakout proposals that include authors will not be accepted.


The deadline for electronic submissions is January 17, 2014. Email to If you submit hard copy applications, please mail by January 15.


Walter Unleashed
 Walter Mayes, 
2013-2014 ALAN President
Photo by Don Gallo
Allow me to introduce myself! I am Walter M. Mayes, your new ALAN President. I'm the guy who has been running the autograph lines at recent workshops. I've been an ALAN Board Member and have been coming to and presenting at NCTE and ALAN since the late 90s.

I have been involved in the world of books and teens since I was a teen, first working in bookstores, then as a publisher's sales representative, then as a middle school librarian for the past twelve years. I am a professional storyteller, known as Walter the Giant Storyteller, and have made presentations at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, and fairs for nearly 30 years. I am co-author of VALERIE & WALTER'S BEST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: A LIVELY, OPINIONATED GUIDE and have spoken and keynoted at many state teacher, library, and reading conferences. I've served on committees for the Michael L. Printz Award, the Odyssey Award, the William C. Morris Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
My vision for ALAN in the coming year is to shake things up a little bit, expanding our reach via multiple media platforms, and becoming more prominent as a major voice for teens and reading. I'll be using this forum and others to explore some of my ideas and to solicit your input. I'm planning a few significant changes to the ALAN workshop next November and am really looking forward to seeing all of you there.
Let me know your thought. I can be reached at  
New Editorial Team at TAR
Wendy Glenn, Ricki Ginsberg, and Danielle King to Head Journal 
The Board of Directors recently named Wendy Glenn, Ricki Ginsberg, and Danielle King as co-editors for The ALAN Review. They replace Steve Bickmore, Jacqueline Bach, and Melanie Hundley whose term ends in 2014. Wendy, who will serve as the journal's lead editor, is a past president of ALAN and an associate professor at the University of Connecticut where Ricki and Danielle are doctoral students. Look for more about their plans for the journal in the next newsletter. 
YA Links in the News


CNN traces the growth of YA literature from Maureen Daly's Seventeenth Summer up through contemporary blockbusters like the Hunger Games trilogy. Thanks to Joan Kaywell for the link. 


Neil Gaiman speaks about literacy, empathy, imagination and the invaluable contributions of libraries.


ALAN 2011 workshop registrants will never forget Matt de la Pena's story about how his father took GED classes after being laid off from his job at the zoo and then went on to complete his degree. In this NPR interview, Matt tells the story and talks about his latest book, The Living.


Time for a neologism: Read any YA cli-fi novels lately? Think After the Snow by S.D. Crockett, Ashfall by Mike Mullin, and The World as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer.   


From the Atlantic, The Eight Habits of Highly Successful Young Adult Fiction Writers offers advice from Veronica Roth, John Green, Rainbow Rowell and other ALAN Workshop regulars. 


Finally, news we never want to read: Reports today of the death of author Ned Vizzini, at the age of 32. His book "It's Kind of a Funny Story," was one of the books in my first ALAN box, and his presentation at the workshop in 2010 was one of the most memorable. He was honest about his struggles with depression, but also terribly, terribly funny. Our sympathy to his family and many friends.


ALAN Real Quick Picks
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. 
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (Tor Teen, 2013)
Members of the Greek pantheon battle for power as their influence wanes among humans. Athena and Hermes, facing the wrath of Hera, seek the involvement of Cassie, a seemingly normal teen unaware of her status and power. Adventure, intrigue, romance, and thoughtful reference to ancient myths abound. 
Wendy Glenn
The Here and Now by Ann Brasheares (Delacorte, April 2014)
Future and present collide when Prenna James travels back in time to flee the chaotic and dangerous reality of the early 2090s. As an immigrant in this new world of 2010, Prenna must learn to adapt while keeping her community's secret hidden. This becomes increasingly difficult when she meets and falls in love with Ethan, a forbidden young man.  
Wendy Glenn
More Than This by Patrick Ness (Candlewick, 2013)
Seth should be dead but instead finds himself all alone in a bizarre, lifeless version of his childhood home; as he seeks to understand where he is and why, he must confront grief and loss is is ultimately given a chance at redemption. 
Jon Ostenson
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)
The voices of a generation lost to AIDS, a Greek chorus of bittersweet wisdom, narrate this moving story of seven contemporary gay teens. Their first-person plural voices speak to the power of family and community like those supporting Harry and Craig who attempt to break the world record for longest kiss.  Two other couples enjoy the dance of new and existing relationships while another careens down a path of self-loathing and anger. 
Anne McLeod 
Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf (Arthur A. Levine, January 2014)
Translated from German, this picaresque tale features Mike Klingenberg, a self-described "complete nobody, a walking sleeping pill," and Tschick, his volatile new classmate who may or may not have Russian mob connections and who draws trouble like flies. With Mom off to rehab yet again and Dad off with his sexy assistant, Mike is home alone, but not for long. His wild ride with Tschick in a stolen Lada (heading generally toward Romania) won't end happily, but it will end well. 
Anne McLeod
And three National Book Award Finalists from Teri: 
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Knopf, 2013)
What if you could hear the ghost of Jacob Grimm in your head? Could he free you from captivity before you die?  
Teri Lesesne
True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2013)
Take two raccoons, a giant snake, a cousin of the Yeti, and a young boy desperate to save his swamp. Mix them together with care. Perfect recipe for adventure. 
Teri Lesesne
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (Putnam, 2013)
Mila travels from England to America to help her father connext with an old friend. Finding his old friend turns into a bit of a mystery combined with a road trip as Mila discovers more about her father's younger years. 
Teri Lesesne
Calls for Papers and Proposals 


The ALAN Review

Fall 2014: Stand Your Ground: Fostering Independent Thought and Action

We believe that, as educators, we sometimes need to be our own best allies as we fight to teach in ways we know to be good and right and true-and increasingly uncommon in an age of commonality.  We need to know how to defend our selection of materials and our practices as we stand our ground in the face of scripts and censors, standards and accompanying tests.  In this issue, we invite educators to band together and unite around our shared commitment to kids and stories, to offer our own evidence-based support for the innovative work we do in our classrooms and libraries, to celebrate the ways in which we encourage our own students to think independently and act in good conscience, even when the odds feel daunting. Please send manuscripts to: General submissions are also welcome. Submission deadline: March 31, 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, 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 Deadline for next newsletter is January 30, 2014.  

ALAN Marketplace 2013
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