ALAN v32n1 - From the Editors

Volume 32, Number 1
Fall 2004

Jim Blasingame & Lori Goodson

Jim Blasingame Lori Goodson

From the Editors

W e've all seen it happen. Topics in literature can help young people not only see beyond their own groups—their own borders, but possibly take that bold first step to cross the bridge to true understanding of others.

Such an understanding helps make the world not only a smaller place, but also a much more caring and cohesive environment, whether it's the son of a Missouri farmer feeling the intensity of the trial in Walter Dean Myers' Monster or the urban teenager understanding the adventure in Gary Paulsen's Brian's Hunt .

With that in mind, we've themed our fall issue Borders and Bridges, with the concept that quality young adult literature can serve to bridge so many facets of students' lives—spiraling outward from their families to their communities, cultures, nations, and beyond.

And in this issue, you'll find a variety of articles that demonstrate that theme—including a column by Bill Broz and Virginia Broz on how the use of small-press and self-published books about World War II can help bridge generations by helping students connect to the everyday people who became heroes during that historic time. At a time when some literature of that period may seem somewhat disconnected to the young adult audience, the authors share how these literary finds have enriched class units on World War II.

Jena Boreen's article on Cornelia Funke demonstrates how the author effectively blurs the line between fantasy and reality. In an in-depth interview, Vivian Vande Velde, another author who powerfully blurs those lines, shares how her own love of reading triggered her passion for writing.

Susan Carlisle visits with Francisco Jiménez, author of popular YA works available in both Spanish and English which cross borders both literally and figuratively.

Other articles, such as Shelley McNerney's and John H. Bushman's discussion of young adult literature and morality, Alex Sanchez's personal narrative of crossing two borders and Betsy Nies's study of Parrot in the Oven , provide other examinations of the borders and bridges that exist in this genre of literature.

Whatever our age, we can all benefit from bridges that young adult literature helps us cross. It's up to us as professionals to help young people find the courage to look beyond their own borders. At a time when more and more borders continue to emerge to provide a potential limiting of students' worlds and their understanding of others, creating a connection among people becomes more valuable than ever before.

We hope you'll enjoy exploring along with us the variety of borders and bridges we present in this issue.

STOP THE PRESSES!! We literally held up production when this pleasant surprise was made possible—Kay Smith visits with Christopher Paul Curtis about his new novel, Bucking the Sarge . Read what Christopher has to say about his new work and Kay's review on page 70.