ALAN v31n2 - From the Editors

Lori Goodson & Jim Blasingame

Lori Goodson Jim Blasingame

From the Editors

For a 30th birthday party, it couldn’t have been a bigger or better celebration. In our first official ALAN event as co-editors, we definitely struck it rich in San Francisco, as did hundreds of other fans of young adult literature, for the 30th annual ALAN workshop. And we hope that many of you were along for the celebration, as well.

But who says a celebration has to come to an end? We’ve decided to continue the festivities with this issue of The ALAN Review. We’re especially proud of the authors and experts you’ll find within these pages—in a themed issue we’re calling “Meeting the Challenge.” And who better to lead the way in such an issue than two authors who continue to take us through exciting adventure after adventure. Again and again, their characters meet their challenges and find their own lives renewed by their courageous efforts. And we, the readers, are right beside them, absorbing a little of their courage along the way—courage that will help us meet our own challenges.

Gary Paulsen, complete with fresh stories of his own challenges that were truly Paulsen-esque— hilarious one minute, terrifying the next, not only took the stage at the workshop as a keynote speaker, but was kind enough to share more tales—of the outdoors, book-writing, sailing, and sled dogs (in no particular order) in an interview following his address.

Then there’s Will Hobbs, who, with his gracious wife, Jean, made a special effort to slip us into his busy conference schedule. We were able to share quite some time with both of them—and be reminded, once again, why he, like Paulsen, is considered one of the best storytellers around. As educators, we’ve seen adolescent readers pledge their disgust regarding books, only to be swayed by the escapades that fill Paulsen’s and Hobbs’ books. And, after our personal visits with them, we continue to be even more impressed.

In this issue we also visit Valerie Hobbs, whose books have recently dealt with meeting the challenge of disability ( Stefan’s Story), as well as the challenge of war ( Sonny’s War). Valerie gave us a delightful interview.

Speaking of the challenging and delightful, Jack Gantos has agreed to provide “a school appropriate” version of his ALAN breakfast speech in our next issue. For those of you who missed that, please know that we were laughing so hard the tears rolled down our cheeks during Jack’s speech. The print version will be almost as good but only if readers can picture Mr. Gantos in person delivering it.

But we can’t overlook some of the other wonderful developments at the workshop. For example, there was the announcement that Don Gallo, continually one of young adult literature’s strongest allies, has opened another avenue to introduce educators to young adult literature. He is now providing a $500 grant to help pay expenses for an educator to attend his or her first NCTE conference and ALAN workshop (specifics follow this column). This is a wonderful opportunity to kick-start someone’s interest in the genre and all it can accomplish in the classroom.

As co-editors, we’re thrilled with being a part of such a successful workshop—and to see the enthusiasm of attendees toting their books and visiting with teachers, authors, librarians, and others about how to make the most of young adult literature for the young people in their lives. All of that enthusiasm carries back to our classrooms and our libraries and motivates us to push ahead with young adult literature because we know it’s a key ingredient to our success in encouraging young readers.

Yes, we truly struck it rich in San Francisco, and we’ve extended the celebration in this issue of the journal. Fortunately, with young adult literature, there’s really no end to the celebration—and the wealth of intriguing stories we can fall into at any time, just by grabbing a book off our shelves. Thank you, Mr. Paulsen, Mr. Hobbs, and all the other talented individuals who made last fall’s workshop so successful and invigorating. ALAN may have gotten another year older, but it’s certainly not showing its age.

Gallo Grants

The Gallo Grants were established in 2003 by former ALAN Award and Hipple Award recipient Don Gallo to encourage educators in their early years of teaching to attend the ALAN Workshop for the first time. The grants provide funding—up to $500 each—for two classroom teachers in middle school or high school each year to attend the ALAN Workshop. (The amount of a grant may be less than $500 if the applicant lives within commuting distance of the convention location where airfare and housing would not be necessary.) The Workshop is held at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving Day. Applicants must be teaching full-time; must have been classroom teachers for less than five years prior to the year in which they are applying; and must not have attended an ALAN Workshop previously. Membership in ALAN is not required for consideration, though applicants are expected to become ALAN members if they receive this grant.

Thank you, Mr. Paulsen,
Mr. Hobbs, and all the
other talented individuals
who made last fall’s work-
shop so successful and
invigorating. ALAN may
have gotten another year
older, but it’s certainly not
showing its age.

Each applicant must fill out the attached grant application form and submit an essay of no more than 750 words explaining their interest in Young Adult Literature, what they hope to gain by attending this year’s ALAN Workshop, and how they hope to use the experience in their classrooms in the future. A letter of support must also come from the applicant’s school system. The deadline for submission is September 1. Applicants will be judged on their ability to articulate their understanding of the value of Young Adult Literature as well as their explanation of how they intend to use YA books and the information they gather at the Workshop in their own classrooms.

For further information about this grant, contact ALAN Executive Secretary Gary Salvner at or 330-941-3414. Information about the ALAN Workshop may be obtained from the ALAN Website— Information about the NCTE Convention may be obtained on the NCTE Website——or by writing to NCTE Headquarters at 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801.

2004 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Boulder, Colo.—The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes announces the launch of its 2004 awards. The prize, founded by author T.A. Barron and named in honor of his mother, honors outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Barron Prize winners each receive $2,000 to be applied to their higher education or to their service project.

Since 2001, thirty young heroes have been selected as Barron Prize winners, representing great diversity from all across the country. Half of the winners have focused on helping their communities and fellow human beings; half have focused on protecting the health and sustainability of the environment.

Examples are Kyle Alderson, nominated by his public librarian for creating Project READ, a reading mentorship program based in his town’s public library; Barbara Brown, who started the “Don’t Be Crude” motor oil recycling program in her Texas county; Ryan Hreljac, who created a non-profit group that has provided clean drinking water wells for over 70 African villages; and Joying Brescia, who has cleaned up South Carolina’s beaches with her “No Butts on the Beach” campaign.

Barron explains, “Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world. And we need our heroes today more than ever. Not celebrities, but heroes—people whose character can inspire us all. That is the purpose of the Gloria Barron Prize: to share positive examples of heroism with as many young people as possible.”

To nominate a young hero, or to download a “Bibliography of Heroes” or a Reader’s Guide to The Hero’s Trail, visit or or contact:

Lori Fox
Account Supervisor
Linhart McClain Finlon Public Relations
2340 Blake Street
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 383-4610
Barbara Ann Richman
Executive Director
Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Call for Manuscripts

Please consider the following themes when preparing manuscripts for submission. Themes are meant to be flexible enough to allow for many possible approaches; however, submissions need not fit one of the themes to be considered for publication in The ALAN Review.

2004 Fall theme: Borders and Bridges (Deadline July 15)
Submissions to this issue might include articles about young adult literature dealing with borders and bridges, both literal and/or figurative, between nations, cultures, ideologies or groups of any kind, between YA literature and canonical works, between disciplines. Border cultures could also serve as a topic or any creative approach to the theme.

2005 Winter theme: The Art of Young Adult Literature (October 15)
Submissions for this issue will follow the theme of the 2004 ALAN Workshop in Indianapolis. More information on this theme will be forthcoming in the next issue of The ALAN Review.