Note from the Editor
There are several variations on a popular collaborative classroom activity that combines literature study with composition. In one version of the activity, students are asked to imagine hosting a dinner for all of the characters of a novel they have recently read. In another version, students are asked to visualize a party in which popular writers---those whose literary works they have studied during the course of a semester or year---are gathered. In both variations, students are then asked either to write a script of the conversation that they imagine would occur at the dinner table or the party, or they are instructed to dramatize one of the scenes.
In preparing this issue of The ALAN Review, I feel like I have had the opportunity to gather together a wonderful group of writers for young adults, much like the host of a party---a soiree that celebrates the guests' exceptional contributions to the body of art that we refer to as "young adult literature." I visualize the party this way: Anne C. LeMieux and Nancy Garden are standing at the punch bowl, having an energized conversation about the identity issues with which many adolescents are grappling, and about the value of reaching out to those adolescents through sensitive literature that speaks honestly to them. Upon overhearing them, I think of books like All the Answers and The Year they Burned the Books. Will Hobbs, Deb Vanesse, and Steven Gould are standing in a corner, discussing the ways they grab and hold young readers' attention through the use of intense action and challenging settings. They agree that they are pleased when reluctant students become hooked as readers after The Maze or Wildside or A Distant Enemy is put in their hands. The conversations, like the artists' words within this issue, are mesmerizing.
Also mingling at the party is Connie Zitlow, the 2000 President of ALAN; I hear her discussing the artistic use of images in YAL with Edgar Herb Thompson, who reflects on what he has learned about artistry while interviewing Will Hobbs, and through his conversations about teaching Bearstone with his co-author, Dorothy Sluss. David Gill reveals the results of a survey that demonstrates that multicultural YAL is not making its way into many teacher-preparation courses, but is encouraged when Judith Bentley and Peter Midgley present information on young adult books from South Africa, while Donna Niday and Dale Allender offer possibilities that draw on border studies to suggest new additions to a multicultural YAL-anchored curriculum.
Meanwhile, Jeff Kaplan is smiling, looking at a table on which are propped the new YA books that his team of reviewers have read and written about for the current issue. The reviewers are abuzz with the news that our "Clip and File" section is now part of the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database, which Children's Literature company president Marilyn Courtot calls, "a new Web-based service that greatly speeds and simplifies the process of locating information about children's books," and which offers "full text search capability of approximately 300,000Érecords that have children's headings assigned, as well as more than 15,000 critical reviews of thousands of children's [and young adult] books." Through our relationship with Children's Literature, our book reviews are licensed to BarnesandNoble.com. The review team suggests that readers of our journal visit HYPERLINK http://www.childrenslit.com for more information.
Like the conversations I imagine these YA writers and enthusiasts having, each article and review in this issue can contribute to our understanding of the potential impact of YAL on adolescent readers' lives.
I hope that you enjoy the party; serving as your host is an honor.
Please consider accepting one or both of these invitations:
- At the November, 1999 NCTE Convention, YAL Commission Chair Joan Kaywell, who is the Immediate Past-President of ALAN, asked Commission members to define "young adult literature. The responses were so varied and intriguing that I would like to extend an invitation to you, as readers of The ALAN Review, to define "young adult literature" and to submit your brief definitions to me. I will be eager to publish those definitions, and to pass them along to the NCTE YAL Commission as a source of information, with your permission. My address is Sissi Carroll, Editor, The ALAN Review, 209 MCH, Florida Sate University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4490.
- If you have students who are reading young adult books, in or outside of class, please ask them to write short "book bubbles." Please then collect and submit the bubbles to us for publication in The ALAN Review (please see page 64 for examples). Each short "bubble" needs to include the student's name, book title and author's name, and your school's name and location. Bubbles can be sent to Gail P. Gregg, Assistant Editor, The ALAN Review, 7441 SW 175th Street, Miami, FL 33157. We look forward to hearing from you.
Reference Citation: Carroll, Pamela Sissi. (2000) "A Note from the Editor." The ALAN Review, Volume 27, Number 2, 3.