ALAN v36n1 - From the Editors

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

From the Editors

There’s a buzz in the air. You get wind of it in the department store aisles filled with book bags, binders, glue sticks and rulers. It’s fall, and another school year is cranking up.

As students head back to school, this issue of The ALAN Review provides an extensive look at a variety of authors, genres, and contemporary issues in young adult literature.

We kick off this issue with an article by Susan L. Groenke and Joellen Maples on “Critical Literacy in Cyberspace? A Case Study Analysis of One Preservice Teacher’s Attempts at Critical Talk about Monster in Online Chats with Adolescents.” Their study of a Web Pen Pal program shows that adolescents can successfully discuss literary topics on their own, with teachers providing some follow-up support for quality critical discussions.

James Bucky Carter takes another stab at trying to kill the idea of genre related to graphic novels in his article, “Die a Graphic Death: Revisiting the Death of Genre with Graphic Novels Or ‘Why won’t you just die already?’: Graphic Novels and the Slow Death of Genre.” He argues that many individuals continue to refer to such sequential art narration as a genre rather than a form or format, which he believes is a more accurate classification.

Walter Dean Myers, whose award-winning young adult literature is a mainstay of libraries across the nation, takes time out from writing to visit with ALAN Review co-editor Lori Atkins Goodson about his amazing career and his dedication to young adolescents in “Walter Dean Myers: A Monster of a Voice for Young Adults.” He gives credit to a special teacher and to other authors in the field for inspiring him and helping him develop as a writer. Middle school language arts teacher Jennifer Funk joins in with a review of Sunrise over Fallujah, one of Myers’s recent releases.

In “Hearing Nancy Garden Out,” Barbara Ward visits with the author regarding Endgame (2006) and Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope from the 1950s to the Present (2007) and her decades of speaking out for young adults.

For his Research Connection, Jeffrey Kaplan discusses “Perception and Reality: Examining the Representations of Adolescents in Young Adult Fiction.” He examines three studies that show young adult fiction continues to provide a vital reflection of the image of adolescents—and possibly offers some keys for educators regarding how those adolescents learn.

Author Chris Crowe provides a creative, futuristic look at literacy . . . and the National Council of Teachers of Everything in “Fahrenheit 113: A Story.”

“Comparing Middle Grade Teachers’ and Middle Grade Students’ Reader Responses to Newbery Award Winners: A True Teachers’ Lounge Story and the Question it Raised” by Marshall George takes a closer look at how adults and young adolescents respond to the same books.

Judith Hayn and Lisa Hazlett, as co-authors of “Connecting LGBTQ to Others through Problem Novels: When A LGBTQ is NOT the Main Character,” suggest that some recent texts can be used more broadly in the classroom to help all students develop a greater understanding for students with different sexual orientations.

Three notable authors—Joan Bauer, Chris Crutcher, and Gary Paulsen—share a tribute to the 2007 ALAN Award winner Teri Lesesne, followed by a tribute to the 2007 Ted Hipple Award winner Patricia P. Kelly from Robert Small and Kathryn Kelly, past ALAN presidents, and Pam Cole, Associate Dean in the College of Education at Kennesaw State University and former doctoral student of Pat’s.

Diane P. Tuccillo visits with Victoria Hanley in “Reading, Writing, and Victoria Hanley,” as Hanley shares her ideas on helping students create the valuable link between reading and writing.

April Brannon tackles the use of literature to teach about genocide—past and present—in “Teaching They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: An Opportunity for Educating about Displacement and Genocide.”

To wrap up this issue, C.J. Bott interviews Ellen Wittlinger and Toby Davis in “ Parrotfish: A Parrot, a Fish or Something in Between?” We’ve paired that interview with Elizabeth McNeil’s analysis of Parrotfish.

But don’t overlook our regular features—the Clip and File section features 31 reviews of the latest releases in young adult literature. And consider submitting an article for possible publication in the 2009 summer issue, themed “A Different Way: Innovative Approaches to the Writing and/or Teaching of Young Adult Literature,” with a submission deadline of Jan. 15, 2009. See complete details in the Call for Manuscripts in this issue.

With this issue’s quality collection of articles, we think everyone will find something of interest. And, while the kids at the school bus stop are showcasing their new book bags and notebooks, you can relax, knowing you have a new issue of The ALAN Review to thumb through over and over again.