From Maryann Haddock, Highlights of the Preconvention Institute
( ALAN Newsletter [Coeditors Alleen Pace Nilsen and Ken Donelson], Winter 1977)
The 1975 workshop with Ray Bradbury as the keynote speaker would have been almost impossible to top, and those expecting this year’s workshop to be as eventful were disappointed. There were, however, some memorable moments: Ken Donelson read a paper which was full of important and exciting information, much of which was lost because of the delivery at warp-10 speeds. He listed his ten favorite writers of honest and real books: Nathaniel Benchley, Bill and Vera Cleaver, Susan Cooper, John Donovan, Rosa Guy, Isabelle Holland, M. E. Kerr, Patricia McKillop, Mary Stolz.
Jean Craighead George delighted the workshop with bits of information about her research for her various books. (She said that biting a wolf [dog] on the nose would show it who was boss, but so far this hasn’t worked with my adolescent boxer.) Nicolasa Mohr read some of her book El Bronx Remembered , the purpose of which she said was to “touch and make aware without browbeating . . . .”
Virginia Hamilton and Jay Bennett were on the same panel, a juxtaposition I found as incongruous as a panel composed of a Picasso and a hack producer of “original” oil paintings (20 cable cars or Golden Gate Bridges a day), sitting down to discuss with an audience how they create.
My absolute favorite presentation of all was the panel with Winifred Rosen ( Cruisin for a Bruisin ), Richard Peck ( Are You in the House Alone? ), and Rosa Guy ( Ruby ) who were discussing three new books which are controversial in that they deal with aspects of sexuality which may not have been presented as frankly in previous adolescent literature. Richard Peck always makes things interesting because he never fails to infuriate every woman in the audience. Wilfred Rosen, for example, had just finished reading a few passages of her book (she read them beautifully—moving the audience to both hilarity and tears), and had noted that the book was indeed based on her own experiences. She said she had concluded that one person’s experience, if it is honest, will reflect everyone’s experience. Richard Peck immediately got up and said that he never put anything of himself into any of his books—in fact, if something interested him, he said he ran from it. Considering the topic of his latest book (rape) and the fact that most of the protagonists are adolescent girls, perhaps this is the only comment he could make. Rosa Guy defended her inclusion of a lesbian relationship in Ruby as part of the human condition—people reaching out to people. However, most of the comments of others about the book seemed to focus on this incidental part.
The book that I heard criticized most often was Judy Blume’s Forever , most people commenting that they couldn’t remember any name except the one given to the penis (Ralph). The book that was praised most was Judith Guest’s Ordinary People .
The workshop continues to be one of the most revitalizing forces for teachers that NCTE offers. The opportunity to interact with the authors and to hear about new books is invaluable.
From Ken Donelson,
“Of Gangs and Pigs and Pregnant Girls, of Trees and Trials
and Barbarians: Recommended Adolescent and Adult Novels”
( Arizona English Bulletin [Editor Ken Donelson], April 1972)
What are the most popular books worth recommending to junior or senior high school students? If a recent poll of junior-senior high school English teachers and professors of English education can be trusted, the three adolescent novels most widely recommended to young people (or teachers trying to stay alert to new and good books) are Susan Hinton’s The Outsiders , Paul Zindel’s The Pigman , and Ann Head’s Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones . The three adult novels most widely recommended were John Knowles’ A Separate Peace , Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird , and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. (p. 65)
From Robert Small, “The Essentials of Education and the Young Adult
Novel with a Look at What Thomas Jefferson Might Have Thought of It All”
( Connecticut English Journal [Editor Donald R. Gallo], Fall 1980)
The great works of literature tempt us to teach them to children and teenagers. Still, we know that they were not written for children and teenagers. George Eliot surely did not have fifteen-year-olds in mind when she wrote Silas Marner ; nor did Dickens when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities . Hawthorne certainly was not envisioning a sixteen-yearold reader when he wrote The Scarlet Letter , and Steven Crane clearly did not have in mind a high school junior when he completed The Red Badge of Courage . But we insist on teaching those books to those inappropriate readers . . . .
If, however, there is an emphasis on people, ideas, and insights in the study of literature in the high school, surely it must concern itself with the books that students can read and understand, books that they can find meaningful, books that they can discuss with other students and with adults. . . . The best books to challenge the ideas of teenage readers, the evidence is clear, are young adult novels like A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (Childress) and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (Blume). Students respond to books by authors like Judy Blume, Alice Childress, Katie Lyle, and M. E. Kerr. Young adult novelists, like the great writers for adults such as Tolstoy and Dickens, emphasize people first, then events. Behind all their works lie insights and profound ideas. . . . (p. 9)
From David Almond,
The Ultimate Teen Book Guide: More than 700 Great Books
(edited by Daniel Hahn, Leonie Flynn, and associate editor Susan Reuben [Walker, 2008], p. vii)
Books. There they are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader, come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates into an unknown city, or opening the lid on a treasure chest. You read the first word and you’re off on a journey of exploration and discovery. When you find your own best books, which might be nothing like the best books for other readers, a kind of magic occurs. The language and the story and your own imagination blend and react and fizz with life and probability. Sometimes it’s like the book was written just for you, as if it’s been waiting just for you, the perfect reader. . . .
From Anita Silvey,
500 Great Books for Teens
(Houghton Mifflin, 2006, p. xii)
Great teenage literature has always addressed the fundamental questions of the teenage years. Who am I? Do I matter? How do I relate to others? In that literature, teens get blown off course by their hormones, just as they do in the real world. Teenage angst and ennui shape many of the characters. All young adult literature explores the problems of separation and empowerment. Sometimes that process can have terrible results—as Robert Cormier demonstrated in The Chocolate War —but usually in coming-of- age stories the movement from childhood to adulthood is inevitable and necessary. Through their angst, the protagonists become adults, separate from parents, and exercise independent judgment from the adults around them.
Hence the very content of this literature sometimes threatens adults; young adult books are the most challenged and censored books in the United States.
From Donald R. Gallo,
Speaking for Ourselves: Autobiographical Sketches by Notable Authors of Books for Young Adults
(NCTE, 1990, p. xiii)
How did Richard Peck get started as a writer? What motivated Anne McCaffrey to write science fiction? How has M. E. Kerr’s writing been influenced by her mother? How is Sue Ellen Bridgers’ life reflected in the settings of her novels? Was Paul Zindel’s teenage life as bizarre as the lives of the teenage characters ion his novels? . . .
This collection is an effort to provide both students and teachers with an inexpensive, readable, and convenient-size collection of information about the most notable authors of books for young adults that can be kept in the classroom or used at home for easy reference. This collection no doubt will be used by librarians who have an interest in young adult fiction. (Some of the authors whose autobiographical remarks are included are: Joan Aiken, Lloyd Alexander, Sandy Asher, Avi, Jay Bennett, Judy Blume, Robin Brancato, Bruce Brooks, Eve Bunting, Alice Childress, Vera Cleaver, James Lincoln Collier, Susan Cooper, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, Maureen Daly, Paula Danziger, Lois Duncan, Paula Fox, Jean Craighead George, Bette Greene, Rosa Guy, Lynn Hall, Virginia Hamilton, S. E. Hinton, Isabelle Holland, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Norma Klein, Godon Korman, Madeleine L’Engle, Robert Lipsyte, Sharon Bell Mathis, Harry Mazer, Norma Fox Mazer, Nicholasa Mohr, Walter Dean Myers, Joan Lowery Nixon, Scott O’Dell, Gary Paulsen, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Kin Platt, William Sleator, Jerry Spinelli, Todd Strasser, Cynthia Voigt, Laurence Yep, Jane Yolen.)
Anonymous. Lucy in the Sky . Simon Pulse, 2012.
Cooner, Donna. Skinny . Point, 2012.
Galloway, Greg. The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand . Dutton, 2013.
Halpern, Julie. Have a Nice Day . Feiwel, 2012.
Lascarso, Laura. Counting Backwards. Atheneum, 2012.
Leavitt, Martine. My Book of Life by Angel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Luedeke, Lisa. Smashed. McElderry, 2012.
Newman, Leslea. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Candlewick, 2012.
Palacio, R. J. Wonder. Knopf, 2012.
Rapp, Adam. Children and the Wolves. Candlewick, 2012.
Scott, Elizabeth. Miracle . Simon Pulse, 2012.
Stahler, David Jr. Spinning Out. Chronicle, 2011.
Trueman, Terry. Life Happens Next. Harper, 2012.
Zhang, Kat. What’s Left of Me. Harper, 2012.
Arcos, Carrie. Out of Reach. Simon Pulse, 2012.
Cochrane, Mick. Fitz. Knopf, 2012. Davis, Tanita S. Happy Families. Knopf, 2012.
Knowles, Jo. See You at Harry’s. Candlewick, 2012.
Kokie, Em. Personal Effects. Candlewick, 2012.
Lynch, Chris. Kill Switch. Simon & Schuster, 2012. </cite>
Patterson, Janci. Chasing the Skip. Holt, 2012.
Avi. City of Orphans. Atheneum, 2011.
Amateau, Gigi. Come August, Come Freedom. Candlewick, 2012.
Coats, J. Anderson. The Wicked and the Just. Harcourt, 2012.
Gratz, Alan. Prisoner B-3087. Scholastic, 2013.
Gregory, Philippa. Changeling. Simon Pulse, 2012.
Lorenzi, Ntalie Dias. Flying the Dragon. Charlesbridge, 2012.
MacColl, Michaela, Prisoners in the Palace. Chronicle, 2010.
Manzano, Sonia. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. Scholastic, 2012.
Marsden, Carolyn. My Own Revolution. Candlewick, 2012.
McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall Down. Balzer & Bray, 2012.
McMillan, Frank N. III. The Young Healer. Charlesbridge, 2012.
Meyer, Carolyn. Victoria Rivals. Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Meyer, Carolyn. The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots. Harcourt, 2012.
Pearsall, Shelley. Jump into the Sky. Knopf, 2012.
Rasheed, Leila. Cinders and Sapphires: At Somerton. Hyperion, 2013.
Rubens, Michael. Sons of the 613. Clarion, 2012
Tregay, Sarah. Love & Leftovers. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012
Voorhoeve, Anne C. My Family for the War. Dial, 2012.
Mystery and Suspense
Barnaby, Hannah. Wonder Show. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
Brennan, Sarah Rees. Unspoken. Random House, 2012.
Brian, Kate. Shadow Lands. Hyperion, 2012.
Burak, Kathryn. Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things. Roaring Brook, 2012.
Carter, Ally. Perfect Scoundrels. Hyperion, 2013.
Cassidy, Anne. Dead Time. Walker, 2012.
Damico, Gina. Croak. Graphia, 2012.
Elston, Ashley. The Rules for Disappearing. Hyperion, 2013.
Gagnon, Michelle. Don’t Turn Around. Harper, 2012.
Henry, April. The Night She Disappeared. Holt, 2012.
Leonard, Niall. Crusher. Delacorte, 2012.
Littlefield, Sophie. Hanging by a Thread. Delacorte, 2012.
McMann, Lisa. Dad to You. Simon Pulse, 2012.
McNeil, Gretchen. Ten. Balzer & Bray, 2012.
Price, Charlie. Dead Girl Moon. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Rosenfield, Kat. Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone. Dutton, 2012.
Sepetys, Ruta. Out of the Easy. Philomel, 2013.
Warman, Jessica. Beautiful Lies. Walker, 2012.
Adler, David. Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Holiday House, 2013.
Ali-Karamali, Sumbul. Growing Up Muslim. Delacorte, 2012 Cheng, Andrea. Etched in Clay. Lee & Low, 2013.
Fradin, Dennis Brindell, and Judith Bloom Fradin. Zora! The Life of Zora Neal Hurston. Clarion, 2012.
Greiten, Eric. The Warrior’s Heart. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
Hunter, Ryan Ann. In Disguise! Undercover with Real Women Spies. Aladdin, 2013.
Jenks, Andrew. My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker. Scholastic, 2013.
Lipsyte, Robert. An Accidental Sportswriter. Ecco, 2011.
Marcus, Eric. What if? Answers to Questions about What It Means to Be Gay and Lesbian. Simon Pulse, 2013.
O’Brien, Anne Sibley, and Perry Edmond O’Brien. After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance. Charlesbridge, 2009.
Reef, Catherine. The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Clarion, 2012.
Sandler, Martin W. The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure. Candlewick, 2012.
Sandler, Martin. Kennedy through the Lens: How Photograph and Televisions Shaped an Extraordinary Leader. Walker, 2011.
Sheinkin, Steve. Bomb. Roaring Brook, 2012.
Caletti, Deb. The Story of Us. Simon Pulse, 2012.
Couloumbis, Audrey. Not Exactly a Love Story. Random House, 2012.
Doller, Trish. Something like Normal. Bloomsbury, 2012.
Eulberg, Elizabeth. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. Point, 2013.
Gobersen, Anna. The Lucky One. Harper, 2012.
Halls, Kelly Milner, ed. Girl Meets Boy. Chronicle, 2012.
Hautman, Pete. The Big Crunch. Scholastic, 2011.
Hubbard, Mandy. Dangerous Boy. Razorbill, 2012.
Walker, Kristin. 7 Clues to Winning You. Razorbill, 2012.
Altenbrando, Tara. The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life. Dutton, 2012.
Amato, Mary. Guitar Notes. Egmont, 2012.
Backes, M. Molly. The Princess of Iowa. Candlewick, 2012.
Bloor, Edward. A Plague Year. Knopf, 2012.
Colosanti, Susane. Keep Holding On. Viking, 2012.
Erlings, Fridrik. Fish in the Sky. Candlewick, 2012.
George, Madeleine. The Difference between You and Me. Viking, 2012.
Scott, Kieran. This Is So Not Happening. Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Voorhees, Coert. Lucky Fools. Hyperion, 2012.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Bodeen, S. A. The Raft. Feiwel, 2012.
Black, Holly. Black Heart. McElderry, 2012.
Bracken, Alexandria. The Darkest Minds. Hyperion, 2012.
Cohn, Rachel. Beta. Hyperion, 2012.
Fisher, Catherine. Obsidian Mirror. Dial, 2013.
Gier, Kersten. Sapphire Blue. Holt, 2012.
Ghislain, Gary. How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend. Chronicle, 2011.
Knutson, Catherine. Shadows Cast by Stars. Atheneum, 2012.
Krumweide, Lana. Freaking. Candlewick, 2012.
Lipsyte, Robert. The Twining Project. Clarion, 2012.
Lore, Pittacus. The Rise of Nine. Harper, 2012.
Lowry, Lois. Son. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
Maas, Sarah J. Throne of Glass. Bloomsbury, 2012.
Moriarty, Jaclyn. The Color of White. Scholastic, 2013.
Roth, Veronica. Insurgent. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012.
Rutkoski, Marie. The Shadow Society. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic, 2012.
Vande, Vivian Velde. Deadly Pink. Harcourt, 2012
Vizzini, Ned. The Other Normals. Balzer & Bray, 2012.
Zevin, Gabrielee. Because It Is My Blood. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Bjorkman, Lauren. Miss Fortune Cookie. Holt, 2012.
Flake, Sharon G. Pinned. Scholastic, 2012.
Graham, Hilary Weisman. Reunited. Simon & Schuster, 2012. </cite>
Grossman, Nancy. A World Away. Hyperion, 2012.
Johnson, Angela. A Certain October. Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Oates, Joyce Carol. Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You. Harper, 2012.