A Note from the Editor:
My parents thought I would be a pharmacist. When I phoned, years ago, to say that I'd decided to be a teacher of middle and high school English, they responded with silence. The long silence of a scream turned inside out. I pictured Mom and Dad in the kitchen, staring across the telephone receiver they'd been leaning into together, wondering what could be wrong with their youngest child. A teacher? That was twenty years ago. They know that, for me, the decision to teach was the right one.
While sitting in Nashville, Tennessee, during the fall NCTE Conference and the ALAN Workshop that followed, I was reminded of why I am so happy with a teaching career. I have an opportunity to talk with teachers of middle and high school English, language arts, and reading about what is working in their classrooms, and about what their students are interested in and concerned about today. I have chances to spend part of each week in middle and high school classrooms, learning first hand what it means to live, move and have being as an adolescent today. I also have access to the work of researchers---professionals who are helping shape our understandings about what it means to "know" a literary work in this postmodern world. And I have the time to ponder the immense value of that kind of knowing.
During conferences and though reading books, I also have the opportunity to become acquainted with writers for young adults. Recently, I have been reminded that writers for young people can be incredibly generous human beings. Michael Cadnum, Graham Salisbury, and Christopher Paul Curtis have donated gifts---their words---to the readers of this issue of The ALAN Review. Cadnum provides us with the metaphor of his internal eye, one that cannot lie, in "The Eye Under Oath." Salisbury describes his writer's journal as a "safe" in which he protects his (and others'!) ideas in "This Writer's Safe." Curtis remarks on the popularity of The Watsons Go to BirminghamÉ, and in doing so, reminds us that writers do care about what happens to their books, once those books reach classrooms and adolescent readers. It is a joy to bring these writers' gifts to readers of The ALAN Review.
It is also a pleasure to present readers of this winter issue with a focus on the place of young adult literature in the middle grades. This focus is most apparent in the Middle School Connections column, by editor Rita Karr and middle school colleague Leslie V. Julian, the Professional Connections column by editor Kathleen M. Carico, and in these article contributions: Glenn's attention to Brock Cole's balanced literary works, Winkler's interview with author Patrice Kindl, George and Comer's suggestions for using The WatsonsÉin interdisciplinary middle school classrooms, and Gill's emphasis on books that appeal to reluctant adolescent male readers.
In addition to the focus on ya literature in the middle grades, there are featured articles that address a wide range of issues within these pages: Keeling's description of Cormier's The Chocolate War as Aristotelian tragedy, Boreen's examination of females in historical ya fiction, , Barnhouse's consideration of elements of medieval literature in ya books that are set in the Middle Ages, West's pairing of novels by Myers and Dunbar,. These articles, when presented alongside the Clip and File YA Book Reviews, by editor Lawrence Baines and his team of reviewers, offer readers the kind of choice that reflects the diversity of young adult literature itself.
I am fortunate to have become a teacher/learner, because the career allows me to spend time in this particular world-with those who write, teach, and read young adult books. I can't imagine wishing to be anywhere else.
Correction to fall, 1998, issue:
In the Table of Contents, the by-line, and the contributor's note following her article, "The Young Adult Literature Course: Facilitating the Integration of Young Adult Literature into the High School English Classroom" (pages 25-30), B. Joyce Stallworth, of the University of Alabama, was incorrectly identified as B. Jean Stallworth. The error was not only inexplicable, but also inexcusable; I deeply regret it.
Reference Citation: Carroll, Pamela Sissi. (1999). "A Note from the Editor." The ALAN Review, Volume 26, Number 2, pp.3.