2022 ALAN Breakfast Speaker Announced

2022 ALAN Breakfast Speaker Announced

The 2022 ALAN Breakfast speaker will be Angeline Boulley!

Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Her debut YA novel Firekeeper’s Daughter is the winner of the 2022 Printz Award, Morris Award, Walter Award, Edgar Award, and a American Indian Youth Literature Award Young Adult Honor Book. It was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, a TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All Time selection, and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club YA pick. Firekeeper’s Daughter is being adapted for Netflix by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground. Angeline’s second novel Warrior Girl Unearthed will be available on May 2, 2023.

Press Release: ALAN Award 2022

Press Release: ALAN Award 2022

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) is pleased to announce Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop as the recipient of the 2022 ALAN Award. The award is given to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature. Join us at the ALAN Breakfast to celebrate Dr. Bishop’s achievements. 

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop is Professor Emerita of Education at The Ohio State University, where she has taught courses on children’s literature.  Dr. Bishop is often referred to as the mother of multicultural literature and is the author of several books including Shadow and Substance: Afro-American Experience in Contemporary Children’s Fiction (1982), Presenting Walter Dean Myers (1990), Kaleidoscope: A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8 (1994),  Wonders: The Best Children’s Poems of Effie Lee Newsome (1999), and Free within Ourselves: The Development of African American Children’s Literature (2007). Shadow and Substance provided a framework for analyzing cultural authenticity in children’s books, which remains today a standard in the field.  Dr. Bishop’s essay, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (1990)” focused on the need for black children to see themselves in the books that they read. The metaphor continues to be widely referenced by educators, librarians, academics, textbooks, conference presentations and academic journals; it’s also the subject of TEDx talks, podcasts, and blogs.  Dr. Bishop’s work was used to inspire the We Need Diverse Books movement, an organization devoted to promoting, celebrating and supporting diverse representations in publishing and youth literature.    

Dr. Bishop received the distinguished 2017 Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Library Association (ALA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Outstanding Educator in English Language Arts Award, and the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Arbuthnot Award. She was the chair of the Coretta Scott King Award Jury and has been on the selection committee for both the Newbery and Caldecott Awards. Also, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) , a division of ALA, selected Dr. Bishop to give the 2021 Lecture. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s work has been pivotal in the change in publishing trends, public and school library collections, teaching practices at all levels, and the lives of children and adolescents who have had access to books with increased diversity. 

Dr. Christina Dorr will provide remarks on behalf of Dr. Bishop at the upcoming ALAN breakfast to be held on November 19 during The 2022 NCTE Conference in Anaheim, CA.  ALAN Award Committee members are Chair Lisa Morris-Wilkey, Dr. Rob Bittner, Jewel Davis, Shalonda Foster, and Morgan Jackson.

Nominate for the 2022 Bill Konigsberg Award

Nominate for the 2022 Bill Konigsberg Award

ALAN is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature. This award is presented annually to someone who advocates for marginalized youth through the creation, teaching, funding or other form of promotion of young adult literature. Nominations are open through September 15th, 2022.

Click here to submit a nomination.

ALAN Picks (August 2022)

ALAN Picks: Call for Reviewers

Attention College Educators & Instructors

You can support ALAN Picks by sharing this Call for Reviewers with your current and future Education students. As a new semester approaches, please consider sharing this column and submission instructions with your students and encourage them to submit to ALAN Picks. It’s a great way for future educators to gain exposure to Young Adult and Middle Grade books as well as work on ideas of how they could use those books in the classroom. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at richetta.tooley@gmail.com

Become a Reviewer

Have you thought about becoming a book reviewer for ALAN Picks? Now is the time to take that step! Have you read a really great book this summer? If it is a newly released or soon-to-be released middle grade or young adult novel or nonfiction book that you think would work in the classroom, contact ALAN Picks to submit your review! 

We are always looking for book reviews to feature in the monthly ALAN Picks column. If there is a title you are interested in reviewing, just send an email to richetta.tooley@gmail.com. You can submit reviews as often as you like. You can even partner with another educator and write a review together! It’s up to you!

Need ideas on what books to read and review? Here are a few: 

How to Submit A Review

It’s pretty straightforward. 

  1. Check out the format for past reviews written in 2022.  ALAN Picks Submission Guidelines 
  2. Let Richetta know what title you are interested in reviewing. 
  3. Write your review.
  4. Email it to ALAN Picks Editor, Richetta Tooley at richetta.tooley@gmail.com. Rolling deadline: Submit by the 15th of the month for inclusion in the next month’s issue.

ALAN Picks (July 2022)

ALAN Picks: Midyear Highlights and Call for Reviewers

2022 Book Review Highlights

This month ALAN Picks is highlighting the books reviewed so far in 2022 by ALAN members. As you take time to rejuvenate yourself this summer, check out these unique reviews written by your fellow educators that include lesson and assessment ideas. They might be a nice fit in your own classroom with your students. Click on the link embedded in the month to read the reviews. 

Become a Reviewer

Have you thought about becoming a reviewer for ALAN Picks? Now is the time to take that step! If your summer reading TBR (To Be Read) list has a newly released or soon-to-be released middle grades or young adult novel or nonfiction book on it that you think would work in the classroom, contact ALAN Picks to submit your review! 

We are always looking for book reviews to feature in the monthly ALAN Picks column. If there is a title you are interested in reviewing, just send an email to richetta.tooley@gmail.com. You can submit reviews once a year or once a month. You can even partner with another educator and write a review together! It’s up to you!

Need ideas on what books to read and review? Here are a few: 

If you are looking for new books for your classroom and engaging ways to use them with students, then check out the new ALAN Picks! Book reviews by educators for educators! 

–  Richetta Tooley, ALAN Picks Editor

Submit a Review: Would you like to submit a review? Check out ALAN Picks for submission guidelines and email ALAN Picks Editor, Richetta Tooley at richetta.tooley@gmail.com with the book title you are interested in reviewing. Rolling deadline: Submit by the 15th of the month for inclusion in the next month’s issue.


June 2022

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon. 
Reviewed by: Chaslyn Waldrop, Student Teacher studying at University of Tennessee Knoxville

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Reviewed by: Marissa Inman, senior at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Secondary Education graduate candidate, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer
Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida.


May 2022

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan
Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida.


April 2022

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida. 

Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators by Sneed B. Collard III
Reviewed by: Rick (Richard A) Williams, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH


March 2022

Pony by R.J. Palacio
Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida. 


February 2022

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida.

 

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo 
Reviewed by: Daniel (Danny) Samelson, Student Teacher studying at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

 

ALAN Picks (June 2022) w/ Exclusive Author Interview!

ALAN Picks: Fact and Fiction w/ Exclusive Author Interview!

This month’s ALAN Picks features reviews of both nonfiction and fiction young adult books. Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon is a history exploring the legacy of the social justice group. Debut novel Legendborn by Tracy Deonn adds a new twist to the Arthurian Legends with Black protagonist Bree Matthews. Brigid Kemmerer brings back an old character to establish a new series in Forging Silver into Stars. Check out the exclusive interview with Kemmerer included in the review!

If you are looking for new books for your classroom and engaging ways to use them with students, then check out the new ALAN Picks! Book reviews by educators for educators! 
–  Richetta Tooley, ALAN Picks Editor

Submit a Review: Would you like to submit a review? Check out ALAN Picks for submission guidelines and email ALAN Picks Editor, Richetta Tooley at richetta.tooley@gmail.com with the book title you are interested in reviewing. Next deadline: June 15


Social Justice Education: Including the Story of The Black Panther’s Promise

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon

Book Details
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: Nov. 8, 2021
Page Count: 400
ISBN: 9781536214185
Genre: Nonfiction


Find on Bookshop

Synopsis: Likening the lifespan of revolutionary efforts to that of a fire, Kekla Magoon details the response offered by the Black Panther Party to the racial injustices faced by Black Americans. Beginning with the spark then acknowledging the kindling, the book describes the formal uprising of the party and the contextual relevance of history. The book continues with an expansive history of the social, legal, and political impacts that the Panthers had by detailing specific events that took place before the party’s dissolution in 1982. The book concludes with the Black Panther Party’s legacy and the connections to modern day movements towards racial justice. 

Review

Magoon discusses the reality of Black American life given the historical context of racial injustices and responses to such. This book is a comprehensive and easily digestible history of the Black Panther Party’s origins, values, and influences upon current day. The book also includes student-friendly accompanying materials like a timeline of progress and backlash; a listed description of key people; a glossary of terms and abbreviations; and additional reading. Incorporating Magoon’s book into the classroom can allow for students to observe different cultural representations through factual historical events and social activism while also becoming more familiar with reading nonfiction texts that are effectively adapted for an adolescent audience.

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Jigsaw Activity

  • Student-student interaction
  • Peer support
  • Time efficiency
  • Guided discussion

A jigsaw reading activity may be a helpful way to assist students in reading, digesting, and critically thinking about a nonfiction text such as this one. I recommend that teachers begin teaching this book by first introducing it and reading the first chapter altogether. Then, students can be placed into five groups where each group will be assigned four chapters which they are required to read and report about to the whole class. Students can be given teacher-created questions and points of emphasis to guide their reading before creating their own summary and analysis of the chapters for which they are responsible.

Formative/Summative Assessments

Formative:  Have students submit answers to a set of reading questions which correspond with their assigned chapters. Questions can ask for information regarding factual event details as well as personal connections to the text.

Summative: In their reading groups, students will create a presentation in which they will summarize the content of their assigned reading and make a critical connection between the reading and 1-3 key terms of racial literacy such as anti-Blackness, equality, implicit bias, microaggression, systemic racism, etc. Additional terms can be found here

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Higher order thinking
  • Social, legal, and political awareness
  • Historical literacy

Reviewed by: Chaslyn Waldrop, Student Teacher studying at University of Tennessee Knoxville


An Arthurian retelling that is a fusion of modern, mystery and fantasy

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Book Details
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date: September 15, 2020/ February 2022 (paperback)
Page Count: 544 pages
ISBN: 978153444613
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy


Find on Bookshop

Synopsis: Bree Matthews is a 16-year-old teen whose life turns upside down and inside out after her mother dies in an accident. She wants nothing to do with her old life, family, or childhood home; she escapes at UNC-Chapel Hill. On the first night, Bree witnesses something unexplainable, something impossible: the magical attack of a flying demon who is defeated by a mysterious man who attempts to wipe her memory of the whole ordeal. But Bree Matthews does not forget. She spirals into a world of magic where all the stories are true. She goes to UNC-Chapel Hill to escape her past, but she only falls deeper into it as she uncovers the truth about her mother’s life and death. 

Review

This novel is a gripping mystery that will leave all readers on their toes. Legendborn takes themes of romance, mystery, grief, and self-discovery to a new level. Tracy Deonn does an excellent job of representing people of color and the LGBTQIA+, which is a strong point of the novel. The action-packed scenes make the book fly by. There are short, fast paced sentences that reflect the spellbinding scenes that are skillfully crafted. Deonn also refreshingly retells Arthurian legends. She leans into racial issues faced by Black people daily. The novel also explores other vulnerable themes like grief and self-discovery in a comprehensive and relatable way. The book is reminiscent of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series but in a more inclusive and socially aware execution. 

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Thematic Analysis

This story is loaded with themes that are explored with finesse that makes even the most difficult themes a breeze to discuss. Some themes that Deonn explores throughout the novel include: 

  • The Social Hierarchy 
  • Self-Discovery
  • Microaggressions
  • Female Empowerment
  • Familial Identity
  • Power & Corruption
  • The Power of Grief

Essential Questions

  • How might we go about self-discovery?
  • How does the past impact the future?
  • Who benefits in the social hierarchy?

Teaching Strategies and Activities to Use:

  • An overview of Arthurian legends, with pre-reading questions for students to consider. 
  • Discussion and research into Black history and microaggressions. This might include what microaggressions look like with examples.
  • A close reading of paired texts (poems, short texts, nonfiction) that relate to Black culture, self-discovery, and/or identity.

Formative/Summative Assessments

Formative: Students keep a reading journal and reflect on each passage that they read. Students’ journals will be guided by teacher-led discussion questions that engage student reading. Journals should include important quotes or memorable moments that students can use to fuel their discussion and in-class assignments. These journals should closely follow a character so they can analyze their actions as they develop throughout the novel.

Summative: Students can create an “inside scoop” newspaper or Twitter trending page on the uncovered secrets at the college. The newspaper could be divided into groups; each group oversees a different section. Each section covers a major plot point in the novel. They interview characters by using textual evidence to support how they might respond. They can use reading journals that they kept throughout their reading to supplement their group sections.

Reviewed by: Marissa Inman, senior at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Secondary Education graduate candidate, Knoxville, Tennessee.


Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

Book Details
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Page Count: 560 pages
ISBN:  978-1-5476-0912-3
Genre: Fantasy/ Suspense/ Romance/ LGBTQ+/ YA Lit

Find on Bookshop

Synopsis: Forging Silver into Stars spotlights Tycho, a character from Brigid Kemmerer’s beloved Cursebreaker series, and launches him into his own series where he is a lead character acting as a private messenger between the two kingdoms of Emberfall and Shyll Shallow. It is important to note that this book is an entry point for a whole new series that readers can immerse themselves in with or without having read the Cursebreaker series. In this new series, readers follow Tycho as he learns to navigate trust, magic, friendship, and love. We are also introduced to a whole new cast of characters including Callyn, a young woman who owns a bakery and finds herself locked in a treasonous plot against the royal family, and her friend Jax who runs his father’s forge despite his father’s abuse. 

Review

This tightly woven, multi-layered narrative leaves readers anxiously turning pages, creating a captivating read that is as much a relatable experience as it is a romp with escapism. Readers will fall in love with Brigid’s new lead characters while remembering all the best parts of Tycho from the Cursebreaker series. Readers will be reminded time and again why they enjoyed his character so much to begin with. 

While beloved Cursebreaker characters like Grey, Rhen, and Harper fill these pages and help shape the narrative, they do not get their own chapters and voices as they did in the previous series. The alternative chapter viewpoints all belong to Tycho, Callyn, and Jax, as if this new series is being dedicated to the younger generation of brave voices.

In typical Brigid fashion, the sentence-level analysis that can be done on this book is beyond comparison. Brigid has a way of crafting sentences and building tensions that deserve re-reading and close study. The important life topics that she is able to address in this book, including burgeoning love, consent, equality, and reference to sexual abuse and miscarriage are all handled in a tactful way that leaves readers feeling seen within the pages of the story. This book truly is a mirror where readers can see themselves and a window where readers can look out into the world beyond themselves and develop empathy.  

While this isn’t a book that should be read out loud to a class of students in its entirety (there are some passionate scenes that would be awkward to read aloud), this book is catered to a high school audience and is recommended by the publisher for ages 14+, which makes it the perfect book to allow students to read for independent study or small group study if student-selected. The tensions created between characters and within themselves make this story a rich, endearing read as characters learn so much about themselves and each other. Readers will find themselves wishing they were in Briarlock with these characters and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. 

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Thematic Connections & Analysis

The themes discussed in this book include those that readers, both young and old, will relate to. While this is not an exhaustive list of thematic topics addressed in this text, it offers teachers a starting point for analysis and discussion.

Some thematic topics explored in this novel include:

  • Learning how to trust others
  • Trusting your instincts
  • The power of friendship
  • The price of desperation
  • Class struggle and power dynamics
  • Leaving room for consent and choice 
  • The powerful draw of love 
  • Tragedy and loss

Essential Questions

  • How do we know who we can trust?
  • How far will we go to protect ourselves and those we love?
  • How can we overcome the trauma of our pasts and build new futures?

Student Engagement Activities:

First Chapter Friday: This book would lend itself nicely to having the first chapter read aloud for First Chapter Friday. The goal of First Chapter Friday is to read the first chapter of a new book to students and then, if students are captivated, they pick up the book on their own to continue reading. Students will be captivated. The first chapter of this book is full of action and heart, which makes it the perfect candidate for this classroom or library experience. 

Tracking Tensions: While this book would not be ideal for reading out loud in its entirety because of the more passionate romantic scenes, it would be ideal for students to read as an independent choice novel, which means we can still tie academic content to the reading experience. If students are reading this as a choice novel for class, a great exercise is to have students track the tension both between characters and inside characters. 

A way to do this is with a simple chart, like the one below, that students update as they read. Students should keep track of what the tensions are, what we learn about the characters from these tensions, and when they resolve (if ever), and what that reveals. An example from chapter one has been completed. 

Which character are we focusing on?Who does this character have tension with? (Themselves or others)What is the tension? Provide examples.What do we learn about the character(s) from the tension?Do the tensions resolve and what does that reveal?
CallynThe massive “peaceful” crowd gathered for the protest/riot in chapter one. Callyn doesn’t want to be at this large protest, but she went because her father told them to and also to protect her younger sister.We learn that Callyn is more interested in protecting her sister than she is in the protest against the king and his magic.This tension does not resolve in the first chapter, indicating she will carry this tension with her into future chapters.

An Interview with Brigid Kemmerer 

1. When you are writing, how do you balance the tension between some characters and the easy camaraderie those same characters have with others? 

When I’m writing, I always strive to make my characters as well-rounded as possible, and this often means giving them goals and motivations that are sometimes in conflict. Sometimes the best character development comes when someone’s internal need (for example, Tycho’s desire to spend more time with Jax) is in complete opposition to their external goal (Tycho’s duty to serve the king and discover who is plotting against him). When you add other characters to the mix, they are each going to have their own goals and motivations in play, which are also going to point in varying directions, so when characters interact, I’m always thinking about their own personal desires as I write their dialogue. For aspiring authors, I remind writers to make sure that side characters don’t just serve to forward the plot for the main protagonist. Readers should be able to imagine the side character on a journey of their own, even if we don’t see their entire story in the book. Once you imagine everyone having their own story, it becomes easy to bounce characters off each other, just like in real life. Everyone we meet throughout the day is balancing different emotions, just like we are, right?

2. Which character-pairing did you have the most fun writing in this book?

Oh my goodness, what a hard question! All of them! I love characters. I loved exploring Tycho’s gradual maturity as he began to realize that Grey – who’d always been a bit of an older brother figure – wasn’t perfect. I loved that Callyn was so independent, yet so desperate to find someone who would respect and appreciate her – to the point where she might have made a mistake in trusting the wrong man. I loved writing about Tycho and Jax and the way they navigated their own past traumas. I just loved all of them!

Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida.

2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner & Finalists Announced

2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner & Finalists Announced

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction winner and finalists. Established in 2008 to 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 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award winner is:

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
(Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House)

The 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists are:

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
(Algonquin Young Readers / Algonquin Books)

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vásquez Gilliland
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
(Random House Graphic / Random House Children’s Books)

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
(Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The winning title and finalists will be honored at the 2022 ALAN Workshop on Monday, November 21st in Anaheim, CA and the authors will be invited to participate in a panel discussion.

The 2022 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 many publishers who submitted titles for consideration.

The 2022 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: 

Jodi Blair, Committee Chair
Librarian
Alcoa High School, Alcoa, TN

Sarah Mulhern Gross, Past Committee Chair
Teacher
High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ

Edith Campbell
Associate Librarian
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN

Alison Daniels
English Teacher/11th Grade English Team Leader
Long Reach High School, Columbia, MD

Maria Goff
Secondary ELA & Social Studies Facilitator 
Renton School District, Renton, WA

Morgan Jackson
English Teacher
Bishop Gorman High School, Las Vegas, NV

Jung Kim
Associate Professor of Literacy
Lewis University, Romeoville, IL

L.E. Oldham
English Language Arts Content Specialist
Deming Public Schools, Deming, NM

Elizabeth Parker
Professor/Lecturer
University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI

Shannon Schilling
Teen Librarian
Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH

Julia Torres
ELA Teacher
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College/Denver Public Schools, Denver, CO

For more information on the award, please visit ALAN Online: The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents: http://www.alan-ya.org/awards/walden-award/.

2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Finalists Announced

2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Finalists Announced

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction finalists. Established in 2008 to 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 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists are:

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
(Algonquin Young Readers / Algonquin Books)

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vásquez Gilliland
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
(Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
(Random House Graphic / Random House Children’s Books)

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
(Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The winning title will be announced May 11th. The winner and finalists will be honored at the 2022 ALAN Workshop on Monday, November 21st and the authors will be invited to participate in a panel discussion.

The 2022 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 many publishers who submitted titles for consideration.

The 2022 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee considered almost 300 young adult titles throughout the process. The committee included ten members representing the university, K-12 school, and library communities. They are: 

Jodi Blair, Committee Chair
Librarian
Alcoa High School, Alcoa, TN

Sarah Mulhern Gross, Past Committee Chair
Teacher
High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ

Edith Campbell
Associate Librarian
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN

Alison Daniels
English Teacher/11th Grade English Team Leader
Long Reach High School, Columbia, MD

Maria Goff
Secondary ELA & Social Studies Facilitator 
Renton School District, Renton, WA

Morgan Jackson
English Teacher
Bishop Gorman High School, Las Vegas, NV

Jung Kim
Associate Professor of Literacy
Lewis University, Romeoville, IL

L.E. Oldham
English Language Arts Content Specialist
Deming Public Schools, Deming, NM

Elizabeth Parker
Professor/Lecturer
University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI

Shannon Schilling
Teen Librarian
Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH

Julia Torres
ELA Teacher
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College/Denver Public Schools, Denver, CO

For more information on the award, please visit ALAN Online: The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents: http://www.alan-ya.org/awards/walden-award/.

ALAN Picks (May 2022)

ALAN Picks: Poetry & Environmentalism

This month’s ALAN Picks features a review of a July 2022 arc (advanced release copy) of the novel in verse Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan. A story that features climate activism, romance and the importance of home.

If you are looking for new books for your classroom and engaging ways to use them with students, then check out the new ALAN Picks! Book reviews by educators for educators! Click on the archives to see previous editions. 

–  Richetta Tooley, ALAN Picks Editor

Submit a Review: Would you like to submit a review? Check out ALAN Picks for submission guidelines and email ALAN Picks Editor, Richetta Tooley at richetta.tooley@gmail.com with the book title you are interested in reviewing. Next deadline: May 15


A Verse Novel About Environmentalism & Love

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Book Details
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.
Publish Date: July 19, 2022
Page Count: 400
ISBN: 978-1-5476-0916-1
Genre: Realistic Fiction/ Environmental Activism/ Romance/ YA Lit
Find on Bookshop

Synopsis: This story is set on the New Jersey shore which is recovering after a major hurricane ruined countless houses and lives. Eliza and her family are rebuilding, but still feeling the trauma of the hurricane even five years later. When other families couldn’t rebuild, land developers swooped in and bought up the vacant properties, tore down the hurricane-wrecked homes, and built mansions, reshaping the island from what it once was. Eliza and her friends work together to protect what is left of their home while also trying to enjoy their summer before senior year. Eliza, leading the environmental movement, never expects the flood of emotions that threaten to devour her when she meets Milo, who is new to town and represents so much of what she despises about the world outside her beloved island. 

Review

This novel written in verse is a love song for the peninsula of New Jersey and also an anthem for all young people who have wanted to make a change but have felt stifled in their efforts. It is a celebration of the power of community and activism despite hardship, and it is also a celebration of love, friendship, and forgiveness. Each poem within this novel brings us closer to Eliza and her family and reveals multi-layered characters who are relatable and realistic. All readers may not live on the New Jersey shoreline with Eliza, but they will be rooting for her and her friends throughout the story.   The poems are lyrical and rich with imagery and characterization. 

Young adult readers will enjoy the exploration and complexities of friendship and family that are built within the pages, just as educators will appreciate the opportunity to explore poetry in an approachable way that will open doors to so many research opportunities connected to climate change, environmental activism, and the depletion of natural resources. 

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Thematic Analysis

This novel in verse explores themes that are relatable to both students and educators, making this text not only enjoyable, but decidedly teachable. 

Some thematic topics explored in this novel include:

  • The need for environmental activism
  • The loyalty of family
  • Beauty found in nature 
  • The value of trust
  • Recovery from trauma
  • The power of forgiveness
  • The value found in friendships 
  • The power of community
  • Power and corruption

Essential Questions

  • What are we willing to risk to protect who and what we love most?
  • How does our sense of self develop from where we live and where we grow up?
  • What happens when we feel powerless and incapable of making change? How do/should we respond?

Student Engagement Activities: Favorite Poems

Before reading, give each student 10 post-it notes with the following task: 

“As you read, place a post-it note marking your ten favorite poems. These might shift as you continue reading, but you cannot mark more than 10 favorites. After we finish reading, you will be asked to explain WHY you chose those particular poems as your favorites.”

This activity forces students to stay engaged in the reading of the novel beyond just focusing on characters and plot. It asks students to consider the craft of the writing and to make judgment calls. 

Formative/Summative Assessments

Formative: Once students finish reading the book, they should have determined which of the 10 poems they marked as their favorites. 

Now, ask students to revisit each of those 10 poems and list five reasons they chose it on each post-it note. Ask them to be specific, so rather than writing, “I like this poem because it is pretty,” encourage students to write, “The imagery in this poem allows me to value the setting as much as Eliza does.” 

Then, once students have listed their 5 reasons on each of their post-it notes, have them decide which three poems are their TOP favorites out of the 10. Then ask students, for each of those three poems, to pull out specific lines that they feel capture the essence of that poem. 

Distribute a chart that looks like this and have students fill it in:

Copy the lines and the page number from the book:What is it about these lines that stand out to you the most?How do these lines relate to a character in the story? Be specific.How do these lines relate to the overall meaning of the novel, or a theme, within the story?






Once students complete the chart, they should share out with a partner or even with the class. This chart could then be used as the jumping-off point for an essay.

Reviewed by: Heather Garcia, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Secondary ELA and Media, Charlotte County, Florida.