The 2002 ALAN Breakfast and ALAN Workshop, held in November in conjunction with the NCTE Annual Convention, were—as always—wonderful opportunities for participants to hear and talk with authors of YA literature. Virginia Euwer Wolff gave a stirring talk at the breakfast, reminding us of the power of literature to question, challenge and heal. Paul Zindel was recognized as the recipient of the 2002 ALAN Award for his many contributions to the field of YA literature. Terry Borzumato, Director of School and Library Marketing of Random House, was recognized as the winner of ALAN's Hipple Service Award for her work on behalf of ALAN. Chris Crutcher offered his take on the importance of "connections" in the opening address for the Workshop. Here is a glimpse at what a few of the other authors had to say:
"Writing is a form of magic."
"I was background, like elevator music."
David Lubar: "I hope that all the hard work is invisible to the reader."
Orson Scott Card: "You must know the way the world works so you can vary from it in some way."
Ann Rinaldi: "Reading is its own reward."
Jeanette Ingold: Adolescents approach historical fiction: "...as if they are stepping into an adventure."
Kevin Crossley-Holland: J.R.R. Tolkien was "my mentor" and W.H. Auden was "my warm advisor."
Robert Jordan: Fantasy is "going beyond what can be extrapolated from reality."
During the fall convention, two terrific new co-editors were selected to take responsibility for The ALAN Review when my terms ends with the spring/summer issue. The newly-named pair, Jim Blasingame and Lori Goodson, bring a wonderful balance of university and secondary school perspectives to the journal.
Jim Blasingame comes to The ALAN Review with a healthy mix of experiences as an educator, including everything from teaching a daily summer school class on Louis L'Amour to troubled youth at Boys Town High School, in Boys Town, Nebraska, to driving a school bus on the gravel roads of rural Madison County, Iowa, to starting a middle school newspaper in Tempe, Arizona. Jim began his career in secondary English in 1976 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa and spent eighteen years in assorted classrooms in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah before becoming a high school administrator. For the last seven years he has been working at the university level, first as a graduate assistant at the University of Kansas, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2000, and then at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, where he is an assistant professor.
Jim currently teaches English methods classes at Arizona State University and supervises student teachers. He also operates an experimental writing center at Sam Fees Middle School in Tempe, where he and his methods students experiment with a variety of writing activities and instructional strategies.
His past work with literature for adolescents includes a number of journals and books. He has managed the "Books for Adolescents" section of the International Reading Association's Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL), as well as reviewing YA literature for VOYA and English Journal. He has also written YA author profiles for Writers for Young Adults: Supplement 1, and The Writing Conference Presents Series, and has published interviews with young adult authors in JAAL and also in The Writer's Slate. He has given presentations on using young adult literature for conferences in Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Montana and Iowa.
Lori Atkins Goodson is a teacher of English, reading, and technology at Wamego Middle School, Wamego, Kansas. She received a Master of Arts degree at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and is completing her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. She is married to Todd Goodson, an associate professor at Kansas State University, and has two children, Annie, 13, and Carrie, 5. In describing her connections to YA literature, Lori told me:
I became interested in young adult literature through the graduate courses of John Bushman at the University of Kansas. Today, as a seventh-grade language arts teacher, I use young adult literature extensively. My classroom library now consists of approximately 1,700 books. I have seen firsthand what quality YA books can do for students. I've had several confess that before I handed them Monster by Walter Dean Myers, they'd never finished a book. Students fall in love with the works of Lois Duncan, Caroline B. Cooney, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Christopher Paul Curtis, Gary Paulsen, and others. I'm excited about the opportunity to share the works with my students, and as co-editor of The ALAN Review, I hope to share that enthusiasm with others interested in YAlit.
I heartily welcome Jim and Lori, and look forward their leadership as you, readers of and contributors to The ALAN Review, continue to make ours the leading journal in young adult literature.