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The View from #ALAN14
Photo by Noah Schaffer
ALAN Online News - December 2014

At the recent Board meeting Teri Lesesne told of several instances when she had expounded on the merits of ALAN and was then asked, maybe a little tentatively by her puzzled listener, "But who IS ALAN?"

"I want to say, 'I'm ALAN,'" she told us. And right there a hashtag was born: #IamALAN. 

There are many, many of us out there who are ALAN because we are passionate about books for teens and realize the impact the right book at the right time can have on a young adult. We're teachers, students, librarians, teacher educators, authors, editors, parents, and we all are ALAN.

Thanks to Walter Mayes for putting together an outstanding workshop program and challenging us to test boundaries. There will be more about DC in the January newsletter, but you can get the flavor of the overall experience by going to the links in the article below about social media. 

If you were there and would like to share your thoughts via the newsletter, please email us. We'd love to hear from you.

- Anne McLeod and Kacy Tedder, Editors
In This Issue
Election Results
Real Voices
Register Today
Speak Loudly
2015 AEW Award Committee
Real Quick Picks
Calls for Papers
Missing your issue of TAR?
Please email membership secretary Karin Perry.

Autograph Lines
Photo by Noah Schaffer

ALAN14 - Storified!
The Workshop as Glimpsed through Social Media  

The tweets flying out of the Gaylord National Harbor Resort came fast and furious. We were, for a time, trending on Twitter. Not bad for a few hundred YA fans. 

Social media tell the story of our times, and thanks to Karin Perry and Storify, we have these collections of tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos from ALAN14. 

Day One, November 24 Part OnePart Two

Photo by Noah Schaffer

To listen to the stream of Tweets, as told through Adobe Voice, click on the link below:

Author Andrew Smith
Photography by Noah Schaffer

To see more photos from the ALAN14 Workshop, please join our Facebook page! Thanks to Noah Schaffer for serving as the official photographer. 

Transgender Youth and Literature:
Real Voices, Real Lives

One of the most powerful moments from the ALAN Conference this year was the statement from Arin Andrews's mothers, Jazzlyn Reid.  During the panel discussion on transgender authors and youth, Jazzlyn remembers her son sharing his decision to be transgender, " don't have time to think about accept me now!"  Arin followed up to this statement, acknowledging that if his mother had not accepted his choice to be transgender, then he would have committed suicide.

Autograph Table
Authors Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews
Photo by Noah Schaffer

The vivid honesty of Arin and his mother demonstrates just how important the role of transgender literature is in our classrooms and libraries. If students, just as Arin, are contemplating suicide, then as educators we need to ensure that we provide resources that can help students navigate through their personal feelings, as well as the feelings of their communities.  Although this issue may affect only a small group of teens at the present time, by providing access to literature that surrounds the topic, more students may be encouraged to come forward.  Also, this serves as an opportunity to provide literature that can promote empathy and understanding to non-transgendered teens.
Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews, is a memoir of a transgendered youth fighting for acceptance and understanding and serves as a must-have read in every library and classroom.

-Kacy Tedder 

Viva la Reading Revolution!

Submit Your Proposal for 2015 ALAN Workshop


November 23-24, 2015

Minneapolis, Minnesota

In a time when educational reform and mandates are pushing pleasure reading out of classrooms and the emphasis on test scores has companies selling "quick fix" programs to boost reading achievement, we here in ALAN still know that the best formula for turning kids into successful readers is to give them: a caring, professional adult who knows good books; time to read; choice; and access to a variety of titles. This shouldn't be considered revolutionary, but unfortunately in this day and age, it is.

Lead a breakout session and help your colleagues build an arsenal of tools and ideas that will help them to become leaders in the teen reading revolution and to push back against programs that do little to foster true reading engagement. Proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • What are you doing to be a leader of the teen reading revolution?

  • How are you helping to create readers and build a culture of readers?

  • What research are you using (or doing yourself) to support your methods?

  • What challenges have you encountered in planning for and/or enacting your revolutionary approach?  How have you mediated these?

  • What books and authors are you recommending to the teens in your area?

  • What books and authors are your teens recommending to you?

  • What does a revolutionary professor, librarian, teacher, or teen reader look like?


  • Breakout sessions will be 50 minutes in length.

  • Preference will be given to those who did not present in 2014.

  • All applicants must be members of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN).

  • Electronic submissions are due no later than midnight (ET) on Friday, January 16, 2015 and should be sent

  • Proposals submitted by mail should be postmarked by Wednesday, January 14, 2015 and sent to: Daria Plumb, 3238 S. Custer Rd., Monroe, MI 48161. Click here

    for a PDF of the complete session proposal form. 


Call for Column Editors for The ALAN Review

Dear ALAN Members,

We are excited to announce an open call for column editors for The ALAN Review. For  each of our three columns, a regular Column Editor partners with us for one year to write
and/or solicit contributions and support authors through the publication process. For this
round, columnists will serve from December 2015 to December 2016.

The column descriptions follow:

Book in Review: A Teaching Guide. To ensure that constituents across our organization
are provided access to high quality teaching materials, we maintain a theory into practice
review column that offers instructionally grounded ideas designed to increase the use of
young adult literature in classroom communities at many levels. Columns feature
reviews, teaching suggestions, and resources for 1-4 new, quality titles in each issue.

Layered Literacies. To draw upon the ever-increasing presence of Internet-based learning
opportunities in the lives of educators and their students, we maintain an online resources
column that exposes readers to a variety of materials that might prove useful in their
teaching of young adult literature. Columns might highlight the use of social networking
as a tool to foster sharing and conversation among classroom readers or the use of social
media (Twitter, blogging, Skype, etc.) to help educators rethink and build upon their
current practices.

Right to Read. To help readers better understand, prevent, and prepare for potential acts
of censorship in their classroom, school, and library communities, we maintain an anti-
censorship column. Columns create both opportunities for conversation surrounding the
motives of those who choose to deny young people access to texts and to provide
practical tools and suggestions to help ensure that materials remain readily available to
those who wish to read them.

You are invited to review past columns here

If you are interested in applying, please send your CV to and
complete the application form before February 15, 2015.

Most sincerely,

Wendy, Ricki, and Dani
The ALAN Review Editors

2015 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee

Each year, ALAN presents the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, which is named for the writer whose novels published in the mid 20th century were among the first to be
 recognized as literature for young adults. In a bequest to ALAN, Walden specified that the award go to a book that has literary excellence and widespread appeal and that portrays a positive approach to life. The winner of the 2014 award  was 
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. 

The committee to select the finalists and winner of the 2015 AEW Award includes: 
2014 AEW Award
Photo by Noah Schaffer

Lois Stover, Committee Chair, Dean - School of Education and Human Services
Marymount University, Arlington, VA

Nancy Johnson, 

Children's/YA Literature and English/Language Arts Education
Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

Kellee Moye, 
Past Committee Chair

Hunter's Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL
Teacher/Reading Coach

Cathy Blackler, Teacher

Santana Alternative High School, La Puente, CA

Sara Kajder, Assistant Professor 

English Education
University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Mark Letcher, Assistant Professor English Education
Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN

Joellen Maples, Associate Professor, Literacy Development
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, Teacher
Estero High School, Fort Myers, FL

Jessica Lorentz Smith, 

Bend Senior High School, Bend, OR


ALAN Real Quick Picks 
Hit Count by Chris Lynch (Algonquin Young Readers, May 19, 2015)
One of the great books at this year's ALAN workshop was Chris Lynch's Hit Count. In this offering, Lynch continues to provide a rugged portrayal of an adolescent's relationship to sports. Through the novels central character, Arlo, Lynch explores an adolescent's relationship to his family, his girlfriend, and his sport - football. Central to the novel's concerns are the dangerous consequences of concussions that continue to be a point of discussion and controversy in contact sports at the amateur and professional levels.
- Steven Bickmore

Death Coming Up the Hill by Chris Crowe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

A verse novel written in 976 haiku, Death Coming Up the Hill tells the story of Ashe, a seventeen-year-old who falls in love with Angela, even as his parents' troubled marriage unravels in the turbulent year 1968. The war in Vietnam weighs heavily on both families - Ashe could be drafted if he does not get a college deferment, and Angela's brother is in the worst of the fighting. So much story is packed into spare 17-syllable stanzas that it is staggering to reach the end and to remember each syllable represents one of the 16,592 American soldiers who died in Vietnam in 1968.

- Anne McLeod

Tell Me by Joan Bauer  (Viking Juvenile, 2014) 

Anna may only be 12 years old, but when she sees another girl her age being roughly escorted to the bathroom, her instincts scream that this girl needs help.  Readers familiar with Cheryl Rainfield's Stained, will appreciate a complementary first-person narrative that is milder in delivery regarding child abduction but just as important.

- Joan Kaywell

Positive by Paige Rawls (HarperCollins, 2014) 

Every high school student and their teachers should be required to read this memoir.  Paige is a popular middle school cheerleader who has a wonderful mother and best friend until things go south when Paige mentions she is HIV positive to that friend.  Paige describes her emotional demise as she becomes a victim of bullying and harassment by those at her school.  This book shows bullies the effects of their ridicule, and shows victims what it takes to get back to being positive again.

- Joan Kaywell


Revolution by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic, 2014)

Nonfiction pictures, music, and news events of the Sixties during Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project where blacks were registering to vote, complement the fictional account of two twelve year olds who relay their interpretation of life as they see it during that tumultuous time.  On one hand, Sunny who's white, sees the Northerners as "invaders;" whereas, Raymond who's "colored" wants to be able to go to the same places as white children get to go like the swimming pool, baseball field, and movies.  The Random House audiobook offers a wonderful alternative experience replete with spirituals, the Motown sound, radio broadcasts and Southern accents.

- Joan Kaywell


Calls for Papers and Proposals 


The ALAN Review

Fall 2015  Beyond Borders: Partnering Within and Across Schools and Communities

Submissions due March 1, 2015

In this issue, we encourage you to share collaborative efforts involving students, colleagues, and communities in creating spaces for YA literature to flourish.  How have you generated ideas and implemented projects in the same building, in the building next door, or in settings across the globe, in person or virtually?  How have you designed interdisciplinary curricula with those who study or teach subjects outside your areas of expertise?  How have you looked beyond your own walls to foster partnerships with community outreach programs, created shared reading opportunities across neighborhoods and towns, worked with parents and guardians to acquire their wisdom, or invited young people to identify, explore, and propose potential solutions to problems they see in their communities?  Regardless of the form these efforts take, and the complications and complexities they present, we are convinced that, "If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing" (Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian). 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 March 1, 2015.  Please see the ALAN website for submission guidelines.


The ALAN Review

Winter 2016  Adolescence and Adolescents: Defining the Culture of Youth 

Submissions due July 1, 2015

In this issue, we invite you to consider how young adult titles (and those who write, teach, and promote them) might offer, challenge, confirm, or critique conceptions of adolescents or adolescence.  How do authors present the young people they describe? How do readers respond to these representations? How do educators envision the young people in their care-and how does this vision influence how they care for them? How might stories help readers navigate adolescence (as defined through any lens) and work though the complexity expressed by David Levithan and John Green: "My face seems too square and my eyes too big, like I'm perpetually surprised, but there's nothing wrong with me that I can fix" (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)?

As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme.  Click here for more information. All submissions may be sent to prior to July 1, 2015.  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. If you attended the ALAN Workshop, please submit reflections or informational items. Photographs are welcome as well. Send to Anne McLeod or Kacy Tedder. Deadline for next newsletter is January 10, 2015.  

Peter Lang Publishing
Call for Book Length Manuscripts and Proposals
Focus: Young Adult and Adolescent Literature
Under the editorial guidance of series editor, Dr. Nancy St. Clair, Peter Lang Publishing, an international academic publisher, is pleased to invite submission of book length manuscripts and book proposals, inclusive of edited collections, for its book series: Between Two Worlds: Adolescent Texts and the Literary Abyss. The series represents a growing group of important books on the genre, culture and theories of young adult literatures. The series is inclusive and open to a wide variety of approaches. We welcome scholarly literary studies and interdisciplinary studies from the perspectives of genre, theme, gender, censorship and religion, representations of adolescence and adulthood, and approaches to interpretation. Particular interest includes new approaches to adult expectations, broadening perspectives, peer relationships, disillusionment and alienation, coping with family dynamics, emergent voices, and overcoming obstacles. Click here for more information and email Michelle Salyga if you have additional questions. 

ALAN Marketplace 2013  

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