|The room for ALAN was huge! I think I overheard someone say that 500 people attended.|
I have been hearing about the ALAN workshop at NCTE for years. It has always sounded like a great day, but I've never been able to attend. This year, listening in on Twitter conversations of @donalynbooks, @ProfessorNana and @PaulWHankins and all of the great YA books they were reading, I realized how behind I was on my YA Reading. So, this year, I attended ALAN for the first time and I think I am addicted. I was excited to see so many authors who write YA as well as middle grade fiction. I knew more of them than I had expected. I have always loved YA literature and today reminded me of that.
ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents) is an assembly of NCTE. Each year, they sponsor a 2-day post-conference workshop featuring YA authors. The day was incredible. I am finally a member of ALAN too and will begin to receive The ALAN Review. James Blasingame, ALAN's president, received several rounds of applause today for all of the work in putting this together. I cannot thank the planning group and the publishers enough for such an amazing day.
|My 35 pound box of books!|
My friend told me to arrive early in order to "organize my books". I understood what she meant when I arrived. At 7:30 am, I arrived to a giant (and quite heavy) box of books. At first, I thought about leaving it taped up and opening it when I got home. That thought lasted about 1/10 of a second. I cannot leave books untouched so I opened the box and dug in. Inside were about 40 books of all kinds. Some were books I had heard of. Others were new to me. I looked around to see what others were doing. People had quite a system for organizing their books in front of them. 500 people X 40 books. That is a lot of books thanks to so many generous publishers. I spent about $38 to ship the books home (all but the 4 I couldn't part with). What a great bargain day!
I tried to keep count. By mid afternoon, we had heard about 30 authors speak. Authors spoke for 10-15 minutes each and I was amazed at the power of what each said in that amount of time. Each was brilliant and gave such insight into their writing.
Following each speaker, a huge line formed at the back of the room for autographing. Anyone that wanted a book autographed could stand in line and quietly wait. From the line, they listened to other authors speak.
This day felt like a party. It was full of energy, fun and important work. From the day, I wanted to decide to dedicate a year to YA reading. I know that is impossible. I can't give up the other reading I love. But I did put lots of new books on list of books to read soon. Most are from authors we heard. Some are from the books I saw. We all got different books in our boxes so I spent lots of time looking at other people's piles to see what they were excited about. Here are the ones that I added to my To Be Read Pile from the day (in no particular order):
|Multitasking at its best: Waiting for an autograph|
from one author while listening to another!
GIMME A CALL by Sarah Miynowski
HOW I, NICKY FLYNN, FINALLY GET A LIFE (AND A DOG) by Art Corriveau
THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK by Laura Resau
NINTH WARD by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Teri Lesesne, The Goddess of YA Lit, tweeted that everyone should read this book and that means we should all read it!)
VIRUS ON ORBIS by PJ Haarsman (This one has a great additional online piece that the author shared that sounds like something I want to check out.)
PAPER DAUGHTER by Jeanette Ingold
MARTY MCGUIRE by Kate Messner-Due out May 2011 --(This one is not YA, but I saw Teri Lesesne with it today and took a peak. Looks great for middle grade readers!
DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS by Beth Kephart
ATHENA:GREY-EYED GODDESS by George O'Connor (a graphic novel)
HEREVILLE: HOW MIRKA GOT HER SWORD by Barry Deutsch
SHINE by Lauren Myracle
IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizzini
WARP SPEED by Lisa Yee
BLACK HOLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill