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Posts Tagged ‘ALAN’

 

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From 2003 to 2007 I attended the ALAN Workshop, which is a two-day affair where up to 80 Young Adult Literature Authors give talks, sign books and make themselves available to converse with the 500 teachers and librarians who attend. I looked forward to the ALAN Workshop every year for two reasons.

1. The participants bring home a large quantity of some of the best of the year’s Young Adult Literature provided by publishers. As a teacher, I added these books to my Classroom Library.ALAN Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That’s me on my treadmill desk where I’ve done a lot of writing over the years.

 

 

2. As a writer, it provided inspiration for me to keep plugging away at my own young adult novel manuscripts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash forward eight years and countless rewrites of several manuscripts, and the publication of Surviving Bear Island, and I got an invitation to speak at the conference that provided endless books for my students and ongoing inspiration for me as a writer.

 

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DSCN7094 I was on the Debut Author Panel at the 2015 ALAN Workshop. I was both nervous and excited in the days leading up to the Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But arriving at the Conference and being among all these people who love Young Adult Literature, some new acquaintances and some old friends, I really felt like I had come full-circle, that I had come home as a writer and a teacher after an eight year journey.

 

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Meeting Christine Taylor Butler, author of The Lost Tribes, and another Move Books Author.

Reuniting with Daria Plumb, an amazing Alternative Education Teacher and ALAN President.

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Reuniting with Kelly Sassi, former Fairbanks Teacher who is now a Professor of English and Education in North Dakota. Meeting her son, Max, for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, thanks ALAN for providing a supportive home for writers, teachers, and librarians to return to year after year. We may not all make it there every year, but just knowing that its there, carrying the torch of keeping relevant books in the hands of teens, is reassuring.

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I first heard Paul Volponi speak at the 2006 ALAN Conference as one of the New Voices in Young Adult Literature.

I remember him being passionate about writing realistic books that would connect with reluctant readers. At the time, I was teaching English in a school for kids who had exhausted all their other public school options. Consistently throughout my fifteen year tenure in that school, over ninety per cent of my students were male struggling and reluctant readers. Many of them had been in detention. Most had intense home lives either living with their families, in foster care, or group homes. I was always on the lookout for books that would speak to them.

Paul Volponi’s books did not disappoint me. For six years Paul taught incarcerated teens on Rikers Island to read and write. He’s the real deal and has won a slew of awards for his YA novels.

Here’s a quote from his 2006 presentation: “Books for reluctant readers have to grab you around the throat in the first couple of pages and not let go.”

Paul has authored eight Young Adult novels. I’m giving away three of them. And yeah, they all grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go!

Black and White

Marcus and Eddie are best friends who found the strength to break through the racial barrier. Marcus is black; Eddie is white. Stars of their school basketball team, they are true leaders who look past the stereotypes and come out on top. They are inseparable, watching each other’s backs, both on and off the basketball court. But one decision—one mistake—will change their lives forever.

Rooftop

Cousins Clay and Addison were like brothers, growing up together in the projects, until they were ripped apart by a family argument. When they are reunited in a drug-treatment program, they try to work out their issues like a family. But one night, one wrong decision, leaves Clay shaken and Addison dead. And in the rash of events that follow, the truth of what actually happened on the rooftop of the apartment building is caught up in a clash of politics and racial issues. Will Clay be able to rise above the lies and face the truth?

Rucker Park Setup

Rucker Park—a place where some of basketball’s greatest pro players go up against street legends. Best friends Mackey and J.R. have waited their whole lives to win the basketball tournament here. But when the day of an important game arrives, J.R. is fatally stabbed. And while Mackey didn’t wield the knife, he feels responsible. Now he has a score to settle, but the killer is watching his every move. Caught between two opposing forces, Mackey is determined to finish the final game of the Rucker Park Tournament on his own terms. The question is, can he do it?

Three winners will be chosen randomly.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment by midnight EST June 25th, telling me which book you’d like to win (if you have a preference), and I’ll try to accommodate your choice. 

2. If you can think of one, please leave a title to a book you’ve read that you think would engage a reluctant or struggling reader. You can still enter the contest either way:-)

Thanks for stopping by!

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