ALAN “How To” for 2022 Workshop

ALAN “How To” for 2022 Workshop

Dear ALAN Members,

On behalf of all of ALAN leadership, I can say that we are incredibly excited to once again gather in person for our 2022 ALAN Workshop!  

The ALAN Workshop is the highlight of ALAN each year.  It’s where you will meet with colleagues from across the country, receive copies of some of the best and newest YA and middle grade books, and get to hear from a host of authors.  The theme for the 2022 workshop is “Come Together: Using YAL to Rise, Overcome, and Forge Ahead Together.”

As it’s been almost three years since we have gathered in person, this letter serves as a reminder for some and as an introduction to an in-person workshop for others.  As always, please reach out with any questions as you review the information below.

Location, Dates, and Times

The ALAN Workshop is held in conjunction with NCTE’s annual convention.  The workshop itself will take place on Monday, November 21 (8am-6pm)  and Tuesday, November 22nd (8am-2pm), in Anaheim, CA.  See details on the Sunday night reception below.

Registering for the Workshop through NCTE

When you register for the workshop, you automatically receive a one-year ALAN membership, which includes three issues of ALAN’s journal, The ALAN Review. 

Steps for Registering:

  1. Registration for the workshop is done through NCTE’s website and can be accessed here.  Click “New Registration.”
  1. Check “Events Only” to register ONLY for the ALAN Workshop.  If you will also be attending NCTE, then select the option that describes your registration preference.  Note: There is no virtual option for the ALAN Workshop. 
  1. Whichever option you choose, the next page will provide you with a choice of which convention/workshop you would like to attend.  Check the “ALAN Workshop” box and click “Continue.”
  1. Enter your personal information on the next two pages.
  1. On the following page, you will have the option to purchase a ticket to the ALAN Breakfast on Saturday morning, November 20th. If you would like to purchase a ticket (we would LOVE to have you, and it’s going to be amazing!), check the box, and then click “Continue.”
  1. On the final page, enter your payment information to finalize your registration. 

ALAN Mentorship Opportunity

A note from ALAN’s Mentorship Committee Co-Chairs, Andrea Glaws and Naitnaphit Limlamai:

This year, the ALAN Mentorship Committee would like to offer attendees who are new to ALAN and/or an in-person Workshop an opportunity to connect with members who have attended previous Workshops. These pairings will provide newer attendees with a go-to person for any questions they have prior to and during the Workshop and build community and connections among ALAN members. If you are a newer attendee who would like to be connected with a more experienced conference attendee or you’ve been to ALAN a time or two (or more!) and would like to support a newcomer, look for the option to be matched with a buddy after you register!

ALAN Booth during NCTE

Be sure to check out the ALAN Booth at NCTE!  There will be fun ALAN swag, author signings, chances to win books, learn about our assembly,  and more!  

ALAN Breakfast Saturday Morning

The ALAN Breakfast will be held the morning of Saturday, November 19th from 7:00-9:15am..  Get excited, because the author speaker at the breakfast is INCREDIBLE!  While not technically a part of the workshop, the breakfast celebrates ALAN for a wider NCTE audience.  You will need to purchase a separate ticket for the ALAN Breakfast, which you can do when you register.

Sunday Night ALAN Reception 

A highlight of the workshop each year is the ALAN Author Reception, and this year will be no different.  Join us at our reception, where you will meet authors, chat with other ALAN members, and enjoy some snacks and beverages among friends!  The reception will be held on the evening of Sunday, November 20th, from 5:30-7:00pm, and everyone registered for the workshop automatically gets an invitation. First time attendees can find ALAN veterans to ask questions about the workshop before it begins on Monday morning.  

ALAN Workshop Monday and Tuesday

The main part of the ALAN Workshop will be held Monday, November 21, from 8:00am-6:00pm and Tuesday, November 22, from 8:00am-2:00pm. So, what does the ALAN Workshop look like?  It will overwhelm you in all the very best of ways (books, authors, and friends, oh my!).  

Books!

When you arrive early Monday morning, you will check in and receive a big box of some of the newest and very best young adult and middle grade books.  These books are generously provided by each of the publishers and are included for each person who registers for the workshop.  There will be ALAN members there to assist you in getting your box to your seat if you would like.  Some attendees prefer to pack their suitcases to fly (or drive) their books home.  However, as you will receive at least 20-25 books, this gets pretty heavy.  For those who would prefer to ship their book boxes home, there will be a FedEx mobile shipping station set up right outside the main room of the workshop for your convenience.  Shipping usually costs around $50+ for the box of books, but can be higher depending on destination (USPS cannot set up a shipping station but if you want to try and find a post office by the convention center to ship book rate, you are welcome to do that).

Authors!

Much of the two days is filled with opportunities to listen to incredible authors speak!  There will be author panels of three authors, conversations with two authors, and some inspiring keynote and individual author speakers.  You’ll sit back, relax, and soak in all of the awesome-ness of being in this space with your colleagues and the authors you love.

Breakout Sessions!

We will have one hour devoted to breakout sessions on Monday.  Each of the sessions will be on the program, and you will get to choose which session you would like to attend.  Each session will feature classroom teacher(s), librarian(s), and/or professor(s) who have prepared interactive presentations with innovative ideas you will be able to bring back to your schools and students. 

Lunch!

This year, in order to reduce the stress and time-constraints of trying to leave the area to find lunch and make it back in time to hear the next authors speak, we will be providing boxed lunches, the cost of which is included in your registration fee.  There will be rooms and spaces available for you to sit, chat, and eat with your colleagues and hopefully some new ALAN friends.  

Traditionally Marginalized Community Luncheon

A note from ALAN’s Traditionally Marginalized Community Committee Chair, Keisha Rembert:

We are excited to offer the first ALAN affinity space for those who identify as traditionally marginalized.  This will be a social hour with an opportunity to build community and connect with new and familiar faces. Please look for more details to come!

I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Anaheim in November, when we can come together and celebrate our passion for the power of books and authors!  

Warmly,

Dani King-Watkins

2022 ALAN President 

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
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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.

ALAN Picks (April 2022)

ALAN Picks: Some Science and Some Fiction

Get ready for some science and some fiction, but not necessarily together… This month we have a young adult book review of Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer that includes an author Q&A that can be used with the student engagement activity. We also have something special for the younger end of middle grades, a review of Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators by Sneed B. Collard III.

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: April 15


A Fantasy that Addresses Class and Survival

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Book Details
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.
Publish Date: September 21, 2021 
Page Count: 443 
ISBN: 9781547604661
Genre: Fantasy/ Suspense/ Romance/ YA Lit


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Synopsis: Kandala is a kingdom separated by class and status that is under siege by deadly fevers, and too often it is only the elite who are getting the medicines they need in order to survive.  Tessa and her best friend Wes work to steal the Moonflower petals that cure the fever and distribute them to those who cannot afford the life-saving medicine. But when an act of betrayal turns Tessa’s world upside down, she has to learn who she can trust and at what cost.

Review

This fast-paced, suspenseful ride through Kandala is led by the narrative voices of Tessa, an apprentice apothecary, and Corrick, The King’s Justice and Prince of Kandala. These two perspectives interchange, allowing readers access to life both within the castle walls and outside them. Tessa and Corrick are authentically written as distinct and immensely likable characters that readers cannot help but fall in love with. Each chapter creates richer characterization than the last and allows the reader to truly experience the story. With a tightly-woven narrative that makes use of every scene, there isn’t a single character who is placed in this book without a purpose. This book is equal parts romance, fantasy, and thriller with sentences that are so beautiful they deserve a re-read. 

High school students will enjoy the action and suspense in this book as well as the deep family bonds that drive so much of the narrative, just as teachers will appreciate the opportunity to do sentence-level close-reads that emphasize various literary devices such as simile, metaphor, and zeugma. Readers will find themselves lured into Kandala time and time again, and as a book that is the start of a trilogy, it is a good thing for fans that there will be more books in the future. Readers will not want to leave Kandala, Tessa, or Corrick at the end of this novel.  

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Thematic Analysis

This story touches on themes that are universal and deeply rooted in the human psyche in a way that is approachable and relatable for both teenagers and adults alike. 

Some thematic topics explored in this novel include:

  • The loyalty of family
  • The importance of trust
  • The power of forgiveness
  • Distinguishing right vs wrong 
  • The influential nature of class and social status
  • Courage in times of distress
  • Salvation in companionship 
  • The line between heroism and rebellion
  • Power and corruption

Essential Questions

  • What are we willing to do to protect those we love most?
  • How can power and status influence our decisions?
  • What role does the power of community play during times of distress?

Student Engagement Activities: Favorite Sentences

One way to keep students engaged while they are reading is to have them create a slideshow of  their favorite lines in each chapter while they are reading. Students may choose a line because it is particularly well written, contains an example of figurative language, demonstrates rich characterization, or is just funny or appealing to the student in some way. Students should keep each sentence on a separate slide so they have a running record of sentences they love. 

Then, after reading the whole book, students should:

  • share their sentences with a partner in class and discuss why they chose each one.
  • choose three sentences that are their top-favorites from the slide decks, write an explanation as to why they chose those particular sentences as their favorites, and then present those to the class. 

Once students finish reading and analyzing their own favorite sentences, share with them this short interview with Brigid Kemmerer to see which sentence is HER favorite and to see what she hopes students learn about themselves and the world once they read her book.

An Interview with Brigid Kemmerer 

1. What is your favorite line in the book and why? 

“I think that very few people deserve what they get, Tessa. For good or for bad.” 

I had to think about this question for a while, because I often have favorite moments in a book, but not necessarily favorite lines. This one jumped out at me, however, because it’s the root of why I wrote the book.

I love existential questions about humanity, because once you start to pick things apart, more questions develop! It’s one of my favorite parts of writing: examining what makes us human. Look at this line in particular. What do we deserve? Are we owed an outcome in life? Do our actions matter? If not, why not? If they do, why? Most people love to see an underdog rise to the top–but once they’re there, do they become a target? Does our station in life predispose us to certain outcomes? Where does privilege fit in? The questions just keep coming!

2. When kids finish reading your book, what message do you hope they gained, either about the world or themselves?

I hope students realize that we’re all fighting secret battles that we never allow others to see. We all wear metaphorical masks – masks that hide our identity, not medical masks – when we need to. People often ask me about the “villains” in my books, and I never feel like there are villains. Everyone is the hero of their own story. Even villains feel like what they’re doing is right. As Tessa and Corrick discuss, the problem is that we all have different ideas of what’s right.

Formative/Summative Assessments

Formative: Students might want to choose Defy the Night as a choice novel for independent reading or read it in a group for literature circles. With either route, tracking character development through both direct and indirect characterization would be a great way to ensure that students are understanding the complexities of the book as they read. This book has MANY examples of characters acting in ways that are counter to what they believe, which makes reading this book an excellent opportunity to practice analyzing characterization. 

Students can set up a journal with the PAIRS acronym going down the left-hand side of each page, and for pivotal scenes, they can explore the elements of the acronym in a journal entry. For this activity, students will write their thoughts explaining why the elements are significant on the right-hand side of the page. A sample template is included below:

PPhysical Description of the character at this moment in the story and what that tells us about that characterJournal narrative explaining why the character’s physical description in this scene reveals more about the character’s inner essence.
AActions that the character is taking and how those influence who that character is at the coreJournal narrative explaining how this character’s actions reflect what they believe (or not) and what those actions reveal about the character and how he or she is perceived by the world around them. 
IInner thoughts can be explored and are particularly rich when they are in contrast with the actions a character is takingJournal narrative explaining how this character’s thoughts reflect what they believe and do (or how they don’t), and why that is important.
RReactions can reveal a lot about a character and are worthy of being notedJournal narrative explaining how this character’s reactions to others in the novel reveal (or perhaps conceal) their nature.
SSpeech is important to note, especially if it is in contrast to what is being said or what is being doneJournal narrative explaining what this character says, especially in times of high tension, and what that reveals about him or her as a character.

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


A Nonfiction Book About Maintaining Balance in Nature

Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators by Sneed B. Collard III

Book Details
Publisher: Millbrook Press, An imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Page Count: 56 
ISBN: 97817284115697 (library binding), ISBN 9781728445397 (ebook)
Genre: Nonfiction/Predatory animals/Parasitology
Audience: Grades 4-6


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Synopsis
Sneed B. Collard III explores the lives of predators, both microscopic and insect-sized, in his latest book, Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators. In nine chapters, the author introduces the subject and offers a glimpse of eight families of these creatures. Each chapter has a ‘catchy’ title, most of which are alliterative, e.g. “Swarming Spiders” and “Carnivorous Combs;” each chapter is contained within four to six pages. Finally, each page offers a layout which is not text dominant; rather, attractive photos, sidebars, and font/color variety are presented.

Review

Collard infuses Little Killers with a finely tuned sense of balance despite the title, subtitle, and cover photography. Collard believes that the balance of nature is threatened if any of these species are hindered or unnaturally abetted in their usual course by society’s use (or abuse) of the resources of Nature. Moreover, a return of that balance depends partly on young readers’ awareness because they are life-long adventurers, life-long travelers of planet Earth, future voters, current junior scientists, and future adult scientists. Collard displays respect for his audience. He is objective in his argument and appeal, rather than alarmist or sentimental.

Suggestions for Curriculum & Classroom Use

Thematic Connections

  • Science and Nature
  • earth’s planetary changes
  • the study of parasites
  • the necessity of parasites
  • our collective and personal effect on our planet 
  • microscopic life

Essential Questions:

1. What is in the ground, right below our feet, as we walk outside?
2. What parasites or “puny predators” might be on the bottoms of your shoes right now?
3. Why are parasites important to the stability of the earth?
4. What is parasitology?
5. What is your favorite/least favorite creepy, crawling critter?

Assessment Possibilities:

Collard’s words, in text, sidebars, and captions, continuously invite the readers to explore in backyard, in schoolyard, or in neighborhood. Thus, formative assessment begins in each young reader’s mind in imagining the subjects of the book ‘underfoot’ everywhere. Summative assessment is evident in Collard’s additions of pronunciation hints, brief definitions, statistical data, and parenthetical information.

Reviewed by: Rick (Richard A) Williams, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

Vote for the 2022 Book Madness Tournament Top 32!

Vote for the 2022 Book Madness Tournament Top 32!

It’s time again for Book Madness! Help us determine the top 32 picks! Complete this Google Form to cast your votes!

For each category, select your favorite book. The top four (4) in each category will move into our Book Madness Bracket. The voting window closes on Monday, 3/21 at 6 PM EST!

Keep a lookout on Twitter (@ALANorg), Facebook (@alanorganization), and Instagram (@TheALANorg) for more info about our Book Madness Tournament.

~The ALAN Social Media Team