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Kellee's NCTE:ALAN Reflection

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference followed by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) workshop is a must for my teacher soul. It is the time I get to completely immerse myself in education and books. It truly recharges me each year, and I cannot imagine missing it.

This year was a bit different for me though. I usually attend all 4 days of NCTE and both days of ALAN, but this year I wasn’t able to attend all of NCTE (only Saturday). Unfortunately, this meant fewer sessions for me, but I was lucky enough to bring Trent and Jim with me and spend some family time (with my sister, too!) on Sunday.

I was able to attend both days of ALAN though. These two days are just so special. It is pure immersion into book culture.  Like Ricki said yesterday, please consider joining this amazing assembly. I love being part of an organization that truly believes in getting good books into the hands of kids.

  • Teaching Graphic Novels panel
  • Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award presentation
    • I was the 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award chair, so that meant I had the honor of presenting the award as well as participating in a panel with ALL FIVE of the recipients. All five honorees had not attended ALAN in years, so I was super excited to have them all there. Although I was a bit nervous, I really think it went well! I loved working with and speaking with the five amazing authors, and I specifically tried to have an intense focus on why their books were honored for the award. If you want to learn more about the Walden award visit here. If you haven’t read these books yet, you definitely should!
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  • Meeting authors
    • Each year one of the biggest highlights is being able to meet the best authors in children’s/middle grade/young adult literature. This year was no different! I love chatting with them and sharing my (or my students’) love for their books.  Here are photos of some of the authors I saw. I wasn’t able to get photos of everyone including Gareth Hinds, Meg Medina, Marissa Moss, Trudy Ludwig, Steve Sheiken, George O’Connor, Kekla Magoon, Chris Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, G. Neri, Sylvia Whitman, Marie Rutkoski, E. Lockhart, Adele Griffin, and Laurel Snyder (I cannot believe I didn’t get photos with/of all of these great authors! But you get talking, and then it is over. Or the photo is blurry. *sigh*).
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    • (Top to bottom; left to right): Andrew Smith, Heidi Stemple & Jane Yolen, Patrick Flores-Scott, Sarah Mlynowski, Cory Doctorow, Raina Telgemeier, Matt de la Pena, James Dashner (with letter from my students), Ann M. Martin (yes, I cried!), Cynthia Lord, Melissa Sweet, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Neal Shusterman and his son Brandon, Coe Booth, Christopher Paul Curtis, Rainbow Rowell, Bill Konigsberg, Jon Klassen, Jon Sciezska, David Lubar, and Kwame Alexander!
  • ALAN 
    • Keynote by Libba Bray: Libba threw down the gauntlet. Her keynote addressed gender in publishing, in books, and gender stereotypes. It was powerful.
    • Panel about music in books: This panel featured Mary Amato, Frank Portman, and Len Vlahos, and they cracked me up while also focusing on the power of music.
    • Panel about online fandom, gaming, and social networking: I loved that ALAN decided to have this as a panel because it is so current and something that we really need to be thinking and talking about. The panel included Melissa de la Cruz, C.J. Farley, and Sarah Mlynowski.
    • Panel about nonfiction texts about transgendered teens: This panel consisted of 2 transgendered teens (Arin Andrews, author of Some Assembly Required and Katie Hill, author of Rethinking Normal) , their mothers. This panel was touching, impacting, and so special.
    • Exchange table: I love talking books, and the exchange table gives me a chance to help teachers find the best books for their classroom. It also allows for me to organize things which I also love.
      • (I know at this point it seems like I am copying Ricki, but the things she highlighted were a wonderful part of my experience as well.)
  • Reconnecting with Friends
    • This is the one time of the year where I get to see many of my education/book/blog friends face to face. It is like a family reunion! This year was a bit difficult to really hang out since I didn’t arrive until late Friday and I had Trent with me, but I am so glad that I got to see many of my friends. I tried really, really hard to get more photos this year than I have in the past, and I succeeded, but still did not get photos with everyone. I missed getting photos with Lee Ann Spillane, Beth Scanlon, Lee Corey, Beth Shaum, Cindy Minnich, Karin Perry, Teri Lesesne, Lois Buckman, David Gill, Sarah Gross, Alyson Beecher, Cynthia Alaniz, Susan Dee, Paul Hankins, Terri Suico, Gary Anderson, Chris Lehman, Katherine Sokolowski, Tony Keefer, Teresa Bunner, Jen Vincent, and many more! Here are just some of the friends I did get photos with:
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      (Top to bottom, left to right): Jen Vincent, Jennifer Shettel, Kim McCollum-Clark, Donalyn Miller, Cathy Blackler, Jennifer Fountain, Mark Lechter, Sarah Anderson, Brian Wyzlic, Gigi McAllister, Jillian Heise, and Jen Ansbach (Sorry for some of the bad quality! Selfies and bad lighting don’t always equal a good photo.)
  • Books!
    • What more do I have to say?! Books galore! I cannot wait to dive into the new books I learned about!
  • Last, but so not least: RICKI AND HENRY!
    • I got to see Ricki and Henry!!! *happy dance*
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I am so sad that NCTE/ALAN 2014 is over, but I’m already looking ahead to next year where I cannot wait to see my book family, meet more authors, and continue learning to be the best teacher I can be!

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2 Responses to Kellee’s NCTE/ALAN Reflection

  1. Catherine Stetson says:

    I love seeing all the photos (who cares about quality!! :P) I am seeing faces to go with names I have come to recognize. Trent and Henry look like they have known each other for forever! I teared up too when I saw that you met Ann Martin! If I told 13 year old Kellee that she would meet the woman who wrote her favorite books, she would have looked at me like “How?” You made it happen!! I am so proud!! You are beyond amazing!! <3

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