A Note from the Editor
Summertime. How many of us will spend the summer months moving a little less frantically through our days, moving a little more deliberately toward pleasures ---relaxing into a good book, for example? In this issue of The ALAN Review, which has a focus on YA literature for interdisciplinary reading, you will find a broad selection of books and an eclectic group of authors that you might like to get to know, or become better acquainted with, during the coming months.
It has been my pleasure to work with YA authors David Lubar, Janet Bode, and Martin Waddell, in preparing this issue. Many of us were introduced to David Lubar and his wonderfully bizarre sense of humor at the 1998 ALAN Workshop in Nashville, Tennessee. The essay he wrote for this issue reflects his humor; the excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Hidden Talents,provides us with a glimpse of David Lubar as a writer whose comic talent is matched by his ability to write with sensitivity and power about adolescents. Janet Bode has written many books of nonfiction for and about adolescents; her topics include the ways teens cope with death, issues of juvenile crime and violence, oral histories of immigrant teens, and eating disorders among preteens, and more. In her essay for this issue, Janet Bode challenges teachers of English, and of all subjects, to find ways to incorporate nonfiction into our classrooms, to use nonfiction as a means of reaching all students, especially those who are "coming of age in chaos." Martin Waddell, who lives and writes in Northern Ireland, was also a keynote speaker at the 1998 ALAN Workshop in Nashville. His words there encouraged us to think carefully about the vulnerabilities of our students as we make teaching decisions. In his essay for this issue, Martin Waddell explains the principles that guide his writing: honesty and "the window of hope."
Teachers and teacher educators have also provided us with ideas to ponder during the summer months, and beyond. Cynthia G. Unwin and Brian Palmer team up to suggest ways that Paulsen's Hatchet can be used across the curriculum, through a focus on survival. Gail P. Gregg and Dyanne Knight show how the experiences of adolescent female immigrants can be studied through YA books. John S. Simmons, a long-time NCTE voice against censorship, provides teachers with a model plan of action that will help teachers be prepared when "the next book-banner's shoe" drops. Angela B.. Johnson, Lauren G. McClanahan, and Maia P. Mertz challenge us to read, study, and teach YA poetry with a critical eye toward gender representation.
Two columns make their first appearance in this issue: Marjorie M. Kaiser's Nonprint YAL Column, and Jim Brewbaker's Interdisciplinary Connection. We happily welcome these fine additions. Lawrence Baines and his team of reviewers of YA books have given us another group of YAL choices to consider in the Clip and File YA Book Reviews section; Jean E. Brown and Elaine C. Stephens bring us news from recent research in YA literature, straight from the researchers themselves.
I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the talented people who have contributed to this issue. All of the articles, columns, and reviews, and the fiction remind us of the power of books. After a school year in which we were shaken by unprecedented tragedy, the greatest wish I can offer is that each of us finds a little peace this summer, and in the months after. Books will not solve problems, but perhaps they will help us --- and the adolescents with whom we work --- examine and endure them, and look toward the future.Copyright 1999. The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ISSN #0882-2840). Permission is given to copy any article provided credit is given and the copies are not intended for resale in any form.
Reference Citation: Carroll, Pamela Sissi. (1999). "A Note from the Editor." The ALAN Review, Volume 26, Number 3, pp 3.