ALAN v34n3 - From the Editors

Jim Blasingame & Lori Goodson
Photographs of Jim Blasingame and Lori Goodson

From the Editors

Summer has rolled around again, and we have an issue filled with articles, research, and reviews to make the most of any free reading time through the warm summer months.

Jennifer M. Miskec explores the appeal of young adult novels written by young people in “YA by Generation Y: New Writers for New Readers.” The technology-savvy Generation Y provides a unique perspective of young adults’ roles in the world. Allison L. Baer shares the results of her ALAN Grant research project in “Constructing Meaning through Visual Spatial Activities.” In her study, Baer examines how 10 sixth-graders, through various projects, constructed meaning from stories they read.

This issue also features research by Russell Greinke examining a literature program designed to help juvenile offenders use young adult novels to create a better understanding of issues in their own lives.

Meanwhile, Kristen Nichols provides a look at how teen pregnancy is portrayed in young adult literature. She concludes that real-life situations and fictional accounts don’t mesh—especially regarding decisions on abortion and family support. In a similar approach, Sharon Pajka-West explores how deaf characters are perceived in YA lit. Pajka-West’s article looks at six contemporary YA books featuring deaf characters through reader response surveys of adult readers.

Eva Gold, Ruth Caillouet, and Tom Fick tackle the “wholeness” and other word play possibilities and concepts waiting to be discovered in Louis Sachar’s Holes. In another article providing connections between readers and the opportunities provided by young adult literature, Kenan Metzger and Jill Adams offer “Opening Dialogue Amidst Conflict: Utilizing Young Adult Literature in the Classroom to Combat Bullying.” As schools introduce anti-bullying programs, Metzger and Adams suggest a list of books to help students understand various aspects of bullying. Mildred D. Taylor’s The Gold Cadillac takes center stage in an article by Cicely Denean Cobb, who explores Taylor’s narrative style and her characters’ dialogue and storytelling.

In our regular features, Jeffrey S. Kaplan discusses “Recent Research in Young Adult Literature: Three Predominant Strands of Study” in The Research Connection. He discusses three major strands in YA lit—using the literature to help change young people’s lives; the genre’s ability to reveal young adults’ often confusing lives, thus creating opportunities for better understanding of themselves; and how YA lit changes to reflect society, especially regarding sexual orientation.

M. Jerry Weiss, in The Publishers’ Connection, provides several valuable sources for educators promoting young adult literature in the classroom. And, don’t forget to read through Clip and File for a review of 31 of the latest in young adult literature— more reading opportunities to explore this summer.

And, finally, everyone who attended the ALAN Workshop in Nashville received a complimentary copy of Joan Kaywell’s Dear Author: Letters of Hope—Top Young Adult Authors Respond to Kids’ Toughest Issues (Philomel, 2007). We were so impressed by this book, we asked YAL guru Teri Lesesne to write a quick piece about it. Dr. Lesesne chose the form of a letter, which fits the book perfectly. The letter follows. Thanks, Teri, and thanks, Joan.

So, as summer rolls around again, we also say thanks to our ALAN Review readers for continuing to join us in our journey to discover the latest in research and book releases in the world of yound adult literature. Enjoy your summer!