ALAN v43n1 - Call for Manuscripts

Call for Manuscripts

Submitting a Manuscript:
Manuscript submission guidelines are available on p. 2 of this issue and on our website at All submissions may be sent to

Fall 2016: Rethinking “Normal” and Embracing Differences

Submissions due on or before March 1, 2016
“To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing” (Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, p. 324). With these words, Sáenz points to the sacredness of language, particularly as we use that language to build up or tear down those we know—and those we don’t. We use language to discriminate differences and to make sense of and give meaning to our perceptions, but being discriminate can result in unfair judgment—both subtle and overt—when we fail to consider the unique stories of those to whom we assign our assumptions.

In this issue, we invite you to consider how language, woven through story, can invite exploration of difference centered on (dis)ability, sexual identity or orientation, gender, race, nationality, culture, age, and/or physical appearance. How might young adult literature help readers consider their own and others’ uniqueness? How might it challenge deficit perspectives of the other that are too often forwarded by the dominant narrative? What difficulties result from such attempts at engagement in educational settings? How can we help adolescent readers understand that “[A] person is so much more than the name of a diagnosis on a chart” (Sharon M. Draper, Out of My Mind, p. 23) and ask themselves, as they grow up in a labels-oriented world, “You’re going to spend more time with yourself than with anyone else in your life. You want to spend that whole time fighting who you are?” (Alex Sanchez, The God Box, p. 139)?

Winter 2017: Story and the Development of Moral Character and Integrity
Submissions due on or before July 1, 2016

As lovers of literature, we want to believe that, through books, adolescent readers may gather insights and knowledge that support their efforts to make sense of themselves and others. That while accessing worlds they might never know, they broaden their perspectives and experience vicariously decision-making processes that parallel those encountered in their lived realities. And yet, if fiction has the power to achieve this good, might it also have the capacity to engender the bad?

It might be true that “It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered—so many locks not enough keys” (Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key, p. 365). We might “envy the trees/ that grow/ at crossroads./ They are never/ forced/ to decide/ which way/ to go” (Margarita Engle, The Lightning Dreamer, p. 138). But sometimes we need to consider the difficult possibilities, and “sometimes the best way to find out what you’re supposed to do is by doing the thing you’re not supposed to do” (Gayle Forman, Just One Day, p. 125).

We invite contributors to consider the complex moral interactions that might occur when adolescent readers enter a text, particularly one intended for them as young adults. Can young adult literature (YAL) foster opportunities for readers to assess what might be right and what might be wrong—and who decides? Can YAL provide avenues for exploring dark, forbidden paths? Can YAL reinforce or challenge belief systems contradictory to those grounded in democratic values of equity and social justice? Can YAL foster more empathetic and nurturing dispositions and behaviors among young people? Or are we overestimating the power of story?

As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to these themes.