ALAN v35n2 - From the Editors

Volume 35, Number 2
Winter 2008

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

From the Editors

As fall has shifted to winter and the 2007 ALAN Workshop has come and gone, it doesn’t mean that the valuable presentations and discussions must fade. With this issue of The ALAN Review, we return to some of the key issues generated by the workshop’s theme of “Helping Teens Develop a Sense of ‘Place’ and ‘Self’ through Young Adult Literature.” In this issue, we revisit some favorites from the New York City workshop, while also offering some new insights.

We begin this issue with Honor Moorman’s discussion of “Finding a ‘Place’ in the World of Books, developing a Sense of ‘Self’ as a Reader: A Case Study of a Ninth-Grade Student in an Upward Bound Summer Program.” Next, Wayne Brinda takes a look at nonfiction literature and the answers that genre provides to adolescents’ questions regarding war.

Educator and author Alan Lawrence Sitomer, one of the featured presenters at the fall workshop in NYC, provides his lively approach to hip-hop. In his article, he demonstrates how hip hop and classic poetry can combine for success in the language arts classroom.

The scene shifts to Hawaii as Thomas W. Bean discusses “The Localization of Young Adult Fiction in Contemporary Hawai'i.” Kenan Metzger and Wendy Kelleher continue that call for more voices to be heard, focusing on Indigenous Peoples.

LeAnna Madill focuses on gender, with her article, “Gender Identities Explored: The Lord of the Rings as a Text of Alternative Ways of Beings,” while Catherine S. Quick examines obesity and body image as addressed in young adult novels.

Focusing on exploration of another sort, Carolyn Lott and Stephanie Wasta have authored “Lessons Learned from Hobbs, London, and the Yukon Gold Rush.” And The ALAN Review co-editor James Blasingame tells of “From Wellpinit to Reardan: Sherman Alexie’s Journey to the National Book Award.” Alexie was another of the crowd favorites as a featured speaker at last fall’s workshop.

Steven T. Bickmore makes a case for finding a place for Inexcusable in the classroom, while husband-and- wife team Gerrit W. Bleeker and Barbara S. Bleeker offer “Literary Landscapes: Using Young Adult Literature to Foster a Sense of Place and Self.” They wrap up this issue with an examination of six young adult novels that show how the literary landscapes, in the physical, social, and cultural sense—shape the lives of the works’ protagonists.

And, finally, be sure to explore 31 new young adult books featured in the Clip and File. Reviews are written by supporters of young adult literature from across the country. And don’t forget to check out this issue for the upcoming deadlines for our themed issues, as well as the various grants and awards available. You’ll want to mark your calendar so you don’t miss out on these opportunities.

With a journal crammed with research, interviews, and reviews, we’re sure the conversation started in November in the Big Apple will continue, and you’ll continue to understand that your “place” is with young adult literature and the ALAN family.

We hope you enjoy the articles—and a chance to help teens find greater understanding of themselves through their connection with YA literature.

Ps. From Jim Blasingame (Lori doesn’t know I’m sneaking this in here!): Congratulations to my coeditor, Lori Atkins Goodson, for winning the 2007 NCTE Edwin Hoey Award for Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts. You can read all about her wonderful work at Wamego Middle School at