Each year, Kellee and I bounce our way through the NCTE convention and the ALAN Workshop. I always love writing my reflection post immediately following the conference. As you may have ascertained from previous posts, Kellee was called home from the conference, so I am taking one for the team and writing a reflection that will endure on the blog for two consecutive days. 😉
As every year, the NCTE conference and ALAN Workshop were incredible. I went to more sessions than I ever had, and I learned so much! I so enjoy the time I spend with old friends, and I enjoy meeting and making new friends, as well—teachers, teacher educators, librarians, authors, and publishers. This year, based on my work with The ALAN Review, I was able to connect with many of the reviewers and authors of manuscripts. I loved putting names to faces. This is such a wonderful community to be a part of, and for that, I am very grateful.
My favorite part of the conference was the ALAN Workshop. This should come as no surprise to readers. I am a diehard ALAN member. As we say during the workshop, #IamALAN. If you aren’t an ALAN member and love young adult literature, I highly recommend that you join. The assembly is like a family—the members are extremely accepting and their passion shines.
A few of the highlights this year include:
1. A great session that featured many of the authors of major textbooks in the field of Secondary English Education. I teach Kelly Gallagher’s book and have taught Jim Burke’s book, so it was neat to meet them in person!
2. The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award session at NCTE! I was fortunate to participate in this roundtable session with all of the former and the current chairs of the award. We had a great turnout, and the participants were so thoughtful! It was a lot of fun.
3. The Meet the Editors session. This is my second year with this session as a presenter (with The ALAN Review). I love hearing what authors are working on, and this year, I was able to connect with some other graduate students who are doing great things in the field.
4. Getting to dine with some of my favorite bibliophiles and authors. Sarah Dessen made balloon animals at the dinner table. That woman makes me laugh and laugh.
5. The moment when Ruta Sepetys waved to me and said she was worried I might forget who she was. Umm, Ruta, it pained me to wash my arm after you touched it a few years ago. I remember ever conversation we’ve ever had. I will never forget you.
6. The moment when Francisco X. Stork said, “Hey, I remember you!” All of the stars aligned at that moment.
7. Taking a photo with Lois Lowry. I felt a bit like a fangirl, but sometimes we have to resort to these kinds of things to make our lives feel a bit more complete, right?
8. Working the exchange table at the ALAN Workshop. This year was far crazier than extra years due to a surplus of books, and I admit that I got overwhelmed at times. I loved spending time with some of the other ALAN members behind this table, though. I got to know them much better, and it made the overwhelming nature of this table a bit more calm.
9. Chris Crutcher’s ALAN Breakfast speech. I cried and cried. It was very moving. I also really enjoyed Jandy Nelson’s keynote. This year’s ALAN Workshop had four keynotes, and I missed a few because I was volunteering, but thank goodness I didn’t miss Jandy’s!
10. All of the books! I can’t wait to get started on all of the amazing ARCS and new texts that I received this year. I have received one of my two boxes thus far, and I hope the second arrives tomorrow. On that note, I am going to cut this post short. It is time to READ! 🙂