Chris Crowe, Editor
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
ALAN Election Results
Kylene Beers, Chair of the ALAN election committee (Pam Cole, Ted Fabiano, Terry Ley, Sharon Stringer, and Connie Zitlow) are pleased to announce the results of the 1997 ALAN election:
The new officers assumed their responsibilities after the ALAN Workshop in November, replacing Charlie Reed as past-president and board members Chris Crowe, Connie Zitlow, and Ann Wilder, who have completed their three-year terms.
ALAN Award Winner
The ALAN Award Committee has voted to honor Mildred D. Taylor with the 1997 ALAN Award. Taylor, winner of the 1977 Newbery Award for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and author of seven other novels, is the 25th recipient of the award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of young adult literature. The award was officially announced and presented at the annual ALAN Breakfast on November 22 in Detroit.
Two Recent English Journal Issues Worth Rereading
In case you missed them, the February and March 1997 issues of English Journal are classics for YA literature specialists, teachers, and librarians.
The February issue focuses on censorship and features 12 articles on various aspects of censorship in general and in schools in particular. ALAN member Ken Donelson’s "‘Filth’ and ‘Pure Filth’ in Our Schools–Censorship of Classroom Books in the Last Ten Years," reviews surveys of books banned from 1986 to 1995. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men wins the prize with 29 incidents. YA classics The Chocolate War and The Catcher in the Rye also rated highly for the number of censorship attacks.
Young adult literature was the theme for the March issue, and the table of contents reads like a Who’s Who in ALAN, with articles by Ted Hipple, Pamela Sissi Carroll, John Bushman, Ken Donelson, Richard Abrahamson, Lois Stover, Betty Carter, Louann Reid and Ruth K.J. Cline, Alleen Pace Nilsen, and others. Filled with well-written articles by some of the leaders in our field, this issue is a treasure trove of material for YA specialists. If you haven’t read it yet, dig it up and read it. If you read it last year, dig it out and reread it.
U.S. Board on Books for Young Readers
As a specialist in YA literature, you probably already know about International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and its United States’ affiliate, USBBY. If you’re not familiar with either organization, visit the USBBY website.
"Kids Love a Mystery" Week
YA mystery author, Joan Lowery Nixon, is the new president of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA). In an effort to help reluctant readers get hooked on reading by reading mysteries, the MWA designated February 23 through 28, 1998, as "Kids Love a Mystery Week." Information is posted on the MWA website.
Month of the Young Adolescent October 1997
The National Middle School Association, along with twenty-nine other organizations, launched a national campaign in October to celebrate young adolescents. This major initiative to raise awareness of the characteristics and needs of young adolescents emphasizes the importance of building strong partnerships among families, schools, and communities so that all 10- to 15-year-olds will reach their potential. For more information fax 1-888-FAX-NMSA or see the NMSA website.
YA Books on the Silver Screen
In recent years, popular YA novels have been adapted as screenplays with some success, including Ivy Ruckman’s Night of the Twisters and most recently Lois Duncan’s thriller, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which, since its release in mid-October, has ranked among the top-earning films in the U.S. Coming soon to your local theatre is Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty, which is scheduled for a April 1998 release. It’s nice to see Hollywood discovering what we ALANers have always known: that some of today’s best stories are being written by YA authors.
Electronic Book Reviews
Wendy Betts, a prolific reviewer of children’s and YA books, produces a regular electronic book review column, "Notes from the Windowsill." Her regular (weekly or more often) batch of e-mail book reviews are a wonderful way to keep track of new books in our field. Subscription instructions: send mail here with "subscribe [your full email address]" in the body of the message. The website for "Notes" is http://www.armory.com/~web/notes.html.
ALAN Foundation Research Grants
Members of ALAN may apply to the ALAN Foundation for funding (up to $1000) for research in young adult literature. Proposals are reviewed by the five most recent presidents of ALAN, and awardees are announced annually at the ALAN Breakfast. Grant applications may be obtained from Ted Hipple, College of Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37966. The application deadline is September 15, 1998. To see a list of recent successful ALAN Foundation projects, go to the ALAN Homepage.
Gary Paulsen Wins Margaret A. Edwards Award
In February, the American Library Association (ALA) announced that Gary Paulsen, author of more than 130 books, is the 1997 winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring an author’s lifetime contributions in writing books for teenagers. The award was announced February 17 at the 1997 Midwinter Meeting of the ALA in Washington, D.C. Paulsen will receive $1,000 cash and a citation at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco June 27 through July 3, 1997.
Edwards Committee Chair Helen Vandersluis of the Miami-Dade County (FL) Public Library System said: "From quiet introspective memoirs to edge-of-the-seat adventures, Paulsen grabs and holds the attention of his readers. The theme of survival is woven throughout, whether it is living through a plane crash or living in an abusive, alcoholic household. The six books the committee cited exemplified different aspects of Paulsen’s central theme.
"With his intense love of the outdoors and crazy courage born of adversity, Paulsen has reached young adults everywhere. His writing conveys a profound respect for their intelligence and ability to overcome life’s worst realities. As Paulsen himself has said, ‘I know if there is any hope at all for the human race, it has to come from young people.’"
The Margaret A. Edwards Award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the ALA, and sponsored by School Library Journal. Other members of the 1997 awards committee are Christine Allen, Riverside (CA) Unified School District; Audra Caplan, Harford County (MD) Public Library; Bonnie Kunzel, New Brunswick (NJ) Free Public Library; and Evelyn Walker, Evansville Vanderburg County (IN) Public Library.
Paulsen was the featured speaker at the 1997 ALAN Breakfast in Detroit in November.
Nicholasa Mohr Wins 1997 Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature
Nicholasa Mohr, author of El Bronx Remembered, received the 1997 Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, presented by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Mohr, along with five other Hispanic Americans prominent in the arts, sports, political, and social work fields, accepted her medallion in September in a ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. These awards are presented annually to Hispanic Americans who "have made a significant contribution to our nation."
Katherine Paterson Gives Anne Carroll Moore Lecture in New York
Award-winning author Katherine Paterson delivered the annual Anne Carroll Moore Lecture at the New York Public Library’s Donnell Library in November. About 250 librarians and other adults who work in the children’s book field attended the event. Among Paterson’s recent books are Parzival : The Quest of the Grail Knight (1998) and Marvin’s Best Christmas Present Ever (1997).
Writers Remembering Reading
The Children’s Book Council has published Books Remembered: Nurturing the Budding Writer, a collection of essays by many children’s and YA authors recalling their early reading experiences. Contributors include Joan Aiken, Roald Dahl, Lee Bennett Hopkins, M.E. Kerr, Patricia MacLachlan, Laurence Yep, and others. The book costs $25 and may be ordered by calling 800-999-2160. It may make a good companion reader to Steven Gilbar’s The Open Door: When Writers First Learned to Read (1989) that contains excerpts from the writings or speeches of famous writers ranging chronologically from Benjamin Franklin and Charles Dickens to Stephen King and Annie Dillard.
Survey of YA Literature Courses
While a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Melissa Comer (now on the faculty of Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky) surveyed 87 university professors who teach YA literature courses. Here are some of her findings:
YA literature courses attempt to familiarize students with YA literature and/or serve as a teaching methods course. The majority of professors report using core novels, with the five most popular novels being Lowry’s The Giver, Cormier’s The Chocolate War, Paterson’s Jacob Have I Loved, Hinton’s The Outsiders, and Myers’ Fallen Angels . Most professors also use a textbook, with Donelson and Nilsen’s Literature for Today’s Adolescents being the most popular choice. While core novels are used in most courses, 64% of the respondents reported that they required supplemental reading as well in one of the following three ways: 1) student’s choice; 2) a variety of books, articles, and handouts; 3) books copyrighted 1990 or later.
Journals Dealing with Children’s and YA Literature
Last summer on the Child_Lit listserv, Wally Hastings asked listserv members for input on a list of journals in children’s literature. Here are the results of his survey:
African Journal of Children’s and Youth Lit
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Canadian Children’s Literature
Children’s Literature Abstracts
Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
Children’s Literature in Education
Journal of Children’s Literature
Lion and Unicorn
Marvels and Tales
New Review (University of Loughborough)
School Library Journal
TALL (Teaching and Learning Literature with Children and Young Adults)
Use of English
VOYA: Voices of Youth Advocates
Hastings writes: "The one thing the list certainly shows is the wide variety of journals published in this field, and the wide range of things that people on child_lit read. I would note that there appears to be a significant difference in what parts of the child_lit community define as ‘critical’ journals — literary scholars tend to think of refereed, academic journals that contain longer, footnoted articles dealing with books that (usually) have been out for quite some time; those whose involvement in children’s literature comes through libraries or publishing tend to identify journals that contain book reviews of current children’s books; and those who are involved with K-12 teaching tend to favor pedagogic books. Though these characterizations aren’t exact, they somewhat conform to what I would have hypothesized."
1997 National Book Award Finalists
The National Book Foundation announced its 1997 National Book Award Finalists, including five finalists in the Young People’s Literature category:
Brock Cole, Facts Speak for Themselves
Adele Griffin, Sons of Liberty
Mary Ann McGuigan, Where You Belong
Han Nolan, Dancing on the Edge
Tor Seidler, Mean Margaret
The National Book Awards ceremony was held Tuesday, November 18, 1997, at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Winners of a National Book Award receive $10,000 cash award and a crystal sculpture. For more information about the National Book Foundation, contact Ellen Ryder or Lydia J. Voles at 212-226-6563.
1997 Edgar Allan Poe Award Winners
The Mystery Writers of America have announced their 1997 prize books. The Best Young Adult Mystery Award went to Willo Davis Roberts for Twisted Summer. Dorothy Renolds Miller won the Best Juvenile Mystery Award for The Clearing.
Hawaii’s List of Suggested Titles for the 1998 Nene Award
The following books are on Hawaii’s list of Suggested Titles for the 1998 Nene Award (pronounced nay-nay, the award is named for the Nene goose, which is endangered and is Hawaii’s State Bird).
Bauer, Joan, Sticks
Bawden, Nina, Humbug
Clements, Andrew, Frindle
Coerr, Eleanor, Mieko and the Fifth Treasure
Conford, Ellen, Dear Mom, Get Me Out of Here
Conly, Jane L., Crazy Lady!
Creech, Sharon, Walk Two Moons
Cushman, Karen, Ballad of Lucy Whipple
Cutler, Jane, Rats!
DeFelice, Cynthia, Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker
Duffy, James, Graveyard Gang
Fletcher, Ralph, Fig Pudding
George, Jean C., Julie
Grove, Vicki, The Crystal Garden
Hahn, Mary D., Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story
Hesse, Karen, Letters from Rifka
King-Smith, Dick, The Cuckoo Child
Kirschner, David, The Pagemaster
Levy, Elizabeth, Keep Ms. Sugarman in the 4th Grade
Lowry, Lois, The Giver
Namioka, Lensey, Yang the Youngest & His Terrible Ear
Nixon, Joan Lowry, Search for the Shadowman
Paterson, Katherine, Jip: His Story
Peters, Julie Anne, How Do You Spell Geek?
Robinson, Barbara, The Best School Year Ever
Rylant, Cynthia, Missing May
Salisbury, Graham, Under the Blood-red Sun
Seabrooke, Brenda, The Dragon that Ate Summer
Swanson, Helen, Angel of Rainbow Gulch.
Every year since 1964, fourth, fifth and sixth graders throughout the State of Hawaii vote for the book they think is best. A list of suggested titles in compiled by librarians and teachers and the students themselves. Last year over 7,000 children in Hawaii participated. The 1998 Nene Award Winner will be anounced in April 1998. The Award is co-sponsored by the Hawaii Library Association and The Hawaii Association of School Librarians. For more information contact Janet Yap.
1998 Heartland Award
The Writing Conference is pleased to announce the second round nominations for the Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Students in grades 6-12 voted on the best book.
The 1997 winner of the Heartland Award is Sharon Creech for Walk Two Moons. Information about this award may be received by contacting John H. Bushman, The Writing Conference, Inc., PO Box 664, Ottawa, KS 66067; (785) 242-0407; E-mail: email@example.com
Nebraska’s 1998-99 Golden Sower Award Nominations
Here are the nominees in the Young Adult category for Nebraska’s 1998-99 Golden Sower Award:
Eve Bunting, SOS Titanic
Margaret Haddix, Running Out of Time
Will Hobbs, Far North
Rob MacGregor, Hawk Moon
Walter Dean Myers, Slam!
Katherine Paterson, Jip: His Story
Colby Rodowsky, Remembering Mog
William Sleator, Night the Heads Came
Jerry Spinelli, Crash
Carol Lynch Williams, True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson
The 1998-99 Golden Sower Award program begins in Fall 1998 and voting by students for their favorite books on this list will take place in Spring 1999. This award program is sponsored by the Nebraska Library Association. For more information, write to the chair, Penny Urwiler, 3700 Calvert, Lincoln, NB 68506
New Jersey’s 1998 Garden State Children’s Book Award Nominations
Here are the fiction titles New Jersey librarian nominators "considered to be the best published in 1995."
Betsy Byars, Tarot Says Beware
Joanna Cole, Gator Girls
Paula Danziger, Amber Brown Goes Fourth
Sid Fleischman, The 13th Floor
Ralph J. Fletcher, Fig Pudding
Luli Gray, Falcon’s Egg
S. E. Hinton, Puppy Sister
James Howe, The New Nick Kramer
Lois Lowry, Anastasia Absolutely
Barbara Park, Mick Harte Was Here
Richard Peck, Lost in Cyberspace
Daniel Pinkwater, Mush, a Dog from Space
Louis Sachar, Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
Gary Soto, Summer on Wheels
Jerry Spinelli, Lizzie Logan Wears Purple Sunglasses
Erika Tamar, Junkyard Dog
Mildred D. Taylor, The Well
Bill Wallace, Watchdog and the Coyotes
Laurence Yep, Lator, Gator
New Jersey children voted for their favorites among the books on the ballots in January 1998. The authors of winning books will be invited to accept their awards at the Garden State Book Award Luncheon on April 30, 1998, during the New Jersey Library Association Conference. This award is sponsored by the NJ Library Association. Further information may be obtained from Linda Simpfendorfer, Chair, Passaic Public Library, 195 Gregory Ave., Passaic, NJ 07055; 201-779-0474.
Top 10 Quick Picks for Young Adults 1997
The following books are the top ten books for reluctant readers recommended for young adults ages twelve through eighteen. The full list can be seen on the American Library Association’s website.
Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen
Dog Breed Handbook Series by Bruce Fogle
Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
Hard Time: a Real Life Look at Juvenile Crime and Violence by Janet Bode
Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms Inside the Body by Anita Ganeri
Small Steps: the Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret
The Ultimate Spy Book by H. Keith Melton
William Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream adapted by Bruce Coville
Yuck! A Big Book of Little Horrors by Robert Snedden
Quick Picks were selected by a committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The complete list of 1997 Quick Picks can also be found in ALA’s Guide to Best Reading 1997, an interdepartmental project of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of the American Library Association, and Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.
18th Annual Children’s Literature Conference, Northern Illinois University, March 13-14, 1998, at the Holmes Student Center in DeKalb, Illinois. Speakers include Marion Dane Bauer, Mary Downing Hahn, Ester Hershenhorn, Gloria Houston, Brian Jacques, Kathryn Lasky, Walter Dean Myers, Peter Sis, and Patricia Rae Wolff. For information, contact NIU’s Office of External Programs by phone (815-753-6926) or e-mail.
Conference on Young Adult Literature, a part of the Youngstown State University English Festival, May 1-3, 1998, Youngstown, Ohio. Speakers include Sue Ellen Bridgers, Bruce Brooks, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, and M. E. Kerr. For information, contact Betty Greenway, Department of English, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH 44555 or by e-mail.
Symposium on Books for Young Readers, July 17-18, 1998, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Speakers include Joanne Cole, Angela Shelf Medearis, Jon Scieszka, Janet Stevens, and Carol Lynch Williams. Susan Cooper is tentatively scheduled to appear. For information, write to Books for Young Readers Symposium, 348 Harman Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602-1532; or call (801) 378-2568; or fax (801) 378-8165; or check out the Symposium webpage .