ALAN Picks

ALAN Picks

The new ALAN Picks is seeking articles that analyze teaching strategies designed to increase student engagement with YA texts in middle, secondary and university classroom and library communities. On this page, you’ll find information on manuscript guidelines, upcoming calls for manuscripts, and author guidelines.

Note: The previous version of ALAN Picks, featuring selected YA reviews and author interviews, can be found below.


Members of the YA community, e.g., authors, librarians, students, and middle school, secondary, and university educators are invited to submit online manuscripts for review and potential publication. Manuscripts must revolve around YA texts that are either current advanced reader copies or less than a year old at the time of submission. We strongly encourage submissions by two or more authors as well as submissions that focus on “embracing human diversity and demonstrating sensitivity to the concerns of people historically underrepresented or marginalized.” Please review the ALAN Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion below before submitting.

Submissions must include:

  • a comprehensive review of the text
  • a rationale for including the text in school curricula and/or libraries
  • culturally responsive and sustaining teaching strategies, activities, and/or assessments for use with the selected text
  • Optional: a written or video-recorded author interview that includes the following: discussions on writing process, crafting decisions, inspiration or motivation, or Q&A. This recording can be arranged following acceptance of the publication, but should be noted in the submission.
Title: A Novel Concept
Submissions Due: March 1, 2021

A new year and a new online concept for ALAN Picks lend themselves to the first call of 2021: a debut work by an author. This call is open to works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, short story collections, or other under-the-radar genres that might be added to a reader’s TBR list that are ARCs or have been published within the last year.

Leslie Jamison and Ayana Mathis, in The New York Times article Why Do Debut Novels Command So Much Attention?, compare debut novelists to rising stars in the NBA with their “pageantry of promise.” Debut novelists possess hope and a level of excitement in the belief that a new novel will eventually move “in some meaningful way from … imagination to … life.” What is the appeal of a debut novel? How might a new author appeal to young readers? How are debut novelists handling diversity in their text? In this month’s column, we seek to expose readers to debut works of literature.

We invite submission of completed manuscripts. In addition, we’ve generated a partial list of questions to consider:

  • How are debut novels providing insight into the genre of young adult literature? How are these new novels positioned among works by better known YA authors with established readership bases?
  • What is the range of genres within debut novels during the past year? What accounts for the popularity of some genres over others? What topics and issues are explored in debut novels and why? Are certain topics taboo for young adult readers?
  • In the vein of #disrupttexts, how might debut literature be used in the classroom to not only decolonize the canon but to promote civic engagement and foster youth activism?
  • Since 2015, there has been an increased awareness of the lack of diversity in children’s literature with the We Need Diverse Books and #OwnVoices movements. How have are debut novels being used within these movements? How is diversity addressed within debut books?
  • How do we account for the popularity or staying power of a new author?
Title: Body, Mind, and Soul
Submissions Due: June 1, 2021

Body image, idealized images of beauty, mental illness, mental health, and aspects of human nature are common topics in young adult literature. How are these issues dealt with in contemporary YA lit? This call is open to any genre of literature that is an ARC or has been published within the last year.

With summer upon us, it’s a prime time to examine questions of body positivity. What books during the past year offer images of beauty? What are the beliefs about body image? How does society view different types of bodies through young adult literature?

In addition to images of the body, stories dealing with mental health have seen a resurgence in recent years. Mental health issues and struggles with teens are not new topics. What current young adult books address the issues and concerns of mental health? What belief systems are challenged or reinforced?

Teens are often driven by their hearts. What makes us love? What makes us human? How can the YA genre be used with young people to consider such important questions?

We invite completed manuscripts. In addition to the questions posed earlier, here’s a partial list of questions to address issues of body, mind, and soul:

  • How can YA literature be used to spread positive messages about our bodies and body image?
  • How are racialized bodies described or presented in the genre?
  • How do representations of the adolescent body in the YA genre position mental illness or health; gender, able bodies, and/or trans identities?
  • Who is allowed to love?

Many of the individual members of ALAN are classroom teachers of English in middle and high schools. Other readers include university faculty members in English and/or Education programs, researchers in the field of young adult literature, librarians, YA authors, publishers, reading teachers, and teachers in related content areas.

Preferred Style
Manuscripts should typically be no longer than ten (10) double-spaced, typed pages, not including references. A manuscript submitted for consideration should deal specifically with literature for young adults and/or the teaching of that literature. It should have a clearly defined topic and be scholarly in content, as well as practical and useful to people working with and/or studying young adults and their literature. Stereotyping on the basis of sex, race, age, etc., should be avoided, as should gender-specific terms such as “chairman.”

Manuscript Format
Manuscripts should be double-spaced throughout, including quotations and bibliographies. The names of submitting authors should not appear anywhere in the manuscript to allow for peer review. Short quotations, as permitted under “fair use” in the copyright law, must be carefully documented within the manuscript and in the bibliography. Longer quotations and complete poems or short stories must be accompanied by written permission from the copyright owner. YA author interviews should be accompanied by written permission for publication in ALAN Picks from the interviewed author(s). Interviewers should indicate to the author(s) that publication is subject to review of an editorial board. Original short tables and figures should be double-spaced and placed on separate sheets at the end of the manuscript. Notations should appear in the text indicating proper placement of tables and figures.

ALAN Picks uses the bibliography style detailed in the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Please adhere to that style when including in-text citations and preparing reference lists.

Submitting the Manuscript
Authors should submit manuscripts electronically to In the subject line, please write: ALAN Picks Manuscript Submission. All manuscripts should be written using a recent version of Microsoft Word and use APA bibliographical format. Complete submissions include the following documents: 1) An abstract of no more than 150 words; 2) A manuscript without references to the author(s) and with name(s) removed in the Properties section under the File menu to ensure the piece is blinded; 3) A title page with names, affiliations, mailing addresses, and 100-150 word professional biographies for each submitting author, as well as a brief statement that the article is original, has not been published previously in other journals and/or books, and is not a simultaneous submission.

Review Process
Each manuscript will receive a blind review by the co-editors, unless the length, style, or content makes it inappropriate for publication. Typically, authors should expect to hear the results within six weeks. Manuscripts are judged for the contribution made to the field of young adult literature, scholarly rigor, the clarity of writing, and the extent to which the manuscript meets the Call for Manuscript Submission Guidelines.

Publication of Articles
ALAN Picks assumes that accepted manuscripts have not been published previously in any other journals and/or books, nor will they be published subsequently without permission of the editors. Should the author submit the manuscript to more than one publication, he/she should notify the editors of ALAN Picks. If a submitted or accepted manuscript is accepted by another publication prior to publication in ALAN Picks, the author should immediately withdraw the manuscript from publication in ALAN Picks.

Manuscripts that are accepted may be edited for clarity, accuracy, readability, and publication style. Publications will appear online, typically within 3 months of acceptance. ALAN Picks will publish approximately four columns each year (depending on response) on the ALAN Picks page of the ALAN organization’s website and will be shared in the newsletter and on the social media platforms.

Tiffany Rehbein
Tiffany Rehbein

Editor of ALAN Picks

ALAN Picks Archives