If you haven’t been to the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) convention or ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE) Workshop and you love books, this would be a real treat to yourself. The NCTE convention occurs each November the Thursday through Sunday before Thanksgiving. Then, the ALAN Workshop occurs the Monday and Tuesday following the NCTE convention. Attendees include teachers, librarians, teacher educators, authors, and publishers. I’ve gone every year since 2006, and I absolutely love attending.
I love meeting all of the great, incredible new authors. But this year, I was able to meet two of my childhood icons, Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club series and S. E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders.
Ann M. Martin
S. E. Hinton
The NCTE convention allows us to fulfill our childhood dreams, but it also helps us fulfill adult dreams. This year, I was honored to chair a panel that featured Laurie Halse Anderson, E. K. Johnston, and Amber Smith at the ALAN Workshop. Laurie led the discussion, which was centered on issues of rape and healing. All three authors have phenomenal books that critically examine this topic.
Me, E. K. Johnston, Laurie Halse Anderson, Amber Smith
My first presentation was “Opportunity for Advocacy: Examining Young Adult Literature’s Treatment of Erased Identities and Histories.” I was really proud with how this presentation went! Wendy, Kellee, and I presented different ways that young adult texts erase or deny identities and how this can be used to promote advocacy. Two of the handouts that emerged from this session will be available this Wednesday and Thursday
Me, Kellee, Wendy
I also presented at a roundtable session, “Advocating for Hope: The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and Its Importance in Promoting and Providing a Positive Outlook.” We used the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award books to show different creative ways to help students search for messages of hope. We also discussed how to create text sets of hope.
Advocating for Hope Roundtable
I also presented at a roundtable in the “Culturally Diverse Young Adult Literature: Voices of Advocacy & Community” session. Meg Medina and Kekla Magoon started out the presentation and discussed the importance of culturally diverse literature to promote advocacy. My roundtable featured Kekla Magoon’s How it Went Down. We talked about how interdisciplinary ideas, like dog-whistle politics, could be used to help students analyze perspective and work toward advocacy.
My last presentation was in a paper panel called “Examining Responses to Young Adult Literature in English Education and English Language Arts Classrooms.” Wendy Glenn and I talked about our research study about the ways students labeled as struggling negotiated their reading identities in nontraditional and traditional English courses. The full paper is available in the Research in the Teaching of English‘s August 2016 journal. The article is published here.
I also attended some great presentations about identity, equity, and advocacy (my interests). I learned so much and am very excited to keep rethinking my instruction and research.
From old friends to new, I am always excited by the incredible connections I make at this conference. I am lifted up by the individuals who share this passion for reading and feel so grateful for my NCTE and ALAN families. Thank you all for another wonderful year that invigorated me and made me feel even more alive and excited to begin this next year—for I genuinely believe that reading saves lives.
Until next year, friends! Will I see you there?
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