Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at NCTE

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

I loved this book so much. It's fresh and original and unexpected. It's an amazing book that was entertaining and engaging. It has characters I wanted to be friends with, lines of text that I read repeatedly because I wanted to soak up and remember them, a uniquely original world built upon a science fiction/supernatural base that reads like a contemporary, a layered storyline being told of two divergent paths that are interrelated, twists that kept me on my reader toes, and a writing voice that I connected with and felt comforted by and made me want to keep spending time enveloped in this prose. PIVOT POINT is the debut novel by Kasie West (who is repped by Michelle Wolfson, the same agent as Kiersten White and Daisy Whitney, whose new books I also love), and it is one that I think teens are going to love. I know I did. This is the kind of book that left me still thinking about it the next day wondering what was happening in those character's lives next and wanting to go back and reread it again right away.

One of the details Kasie West included that I really loved in PIVOT POINT was the way that Addie loves books so much, and all kinds of books, but real paper books. There are many times throughout the story it comes up, and it made me happy to read it each time. Addison also has the kind of personality that I love in my main characters - a little bit spunky and sassy, with an intelligence and caring behind all she does. Her attitude is great, and there were many moments throughout where I laughed out loud at something she said. In regards to gym class in a new school: "Nobody should be forced to do physical exercise on Mondays." Him: "My bookcase is all yours." Her: "I've just decided those are my five favorite words in the world." And many, many more that I wanted to hold onto to remember on another day. *All lines quoted from an uncorrected proof.

Another element that is incredibly strong is the twistedness of the plot and the way the two directions the story goes are interwoven together. The links are there to see how it might go with either choice in the same situations, and the alternating chapters stop at just the right point every time. There is a history to this world that is intriguing and fully thought out, but that still seems to have more to discover. There is also a depth to this story that delves into the true repercussions of choices we make and the path to get to what we may want might not always be easy. It's about figuring out who is meaningful and necessary in her life, and what she can do to keep them there. And I can't talk about this book without mentioning the boys. Duke and Trevor both have their charms, and they were written in such a way as to make the reader adore both of them, and not be sure which way you want the story to go yourself. Which is exactly how we should be feeling because that's how Addie would be feeling. I also claim this book has one of the best first kiss scenes ever, but everything stays clean enough that I could hand it to my middle school students without a concern. In fact, I think they'll love it, too.

This is the kind of book that leaves you contemplating at the end because either choice has its good sides and its bad, so it's hard to know which one you'd want the character to choose. It does end with a definite decision and ending; however, I found out there will be a sequel, so I'm very excited to get to spend more time with these characters in this world and read more of this fresh voice in YA. Please go get PIVOT POINT in February, or preorder it now, and read Kasie West's debut novel. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Blog Tour: THE CARPENTER'S GIFT Guest Post & GIVEAWAY

Title: THE CARPENTER'S GIFT: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree
Author: David Rubel, illustrated by Jim LeMarche
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Number of Pages: 48
This new classic Christmas gift book "brings together two great traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity." Opening in Depression-era New York City, The Carpenter's Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers building Rockefeller Center and celebrate together. Through the kindness of the construction workers and neighbors, Henry gets his wish for a nice, warm home to replace his family's drafty shack. He plants a pinecone from that first Rockefeller Center Tree. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone. After bringing joy to thousands as the Rockefeller Center tree, its wood will be used to build a home for another family in need.

Written by children's nonfiction author David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Gorgeous illustrations crafted by Jim LaMarche.
Behind the Scenes: The Making of THE CARPENTER'S GIFT
You can check out all four of the Habitat for Humanity and THE CARPENTER'S GIFT videos here.
Because The Carpenter’s Gift is my second project with Habitat for Humanity, people
sometimes think the two books are linked. They’re both about Habitat, right? But that
isn’t how I see them. The first book I wrote is about Habitat and the people who work
with it; but The Carpenter’s Gift is about something else. It’s about me, and maybe it’s
about you, too.

My association with Habitat began in 2008, when I received a call out of the blue asking
me whether I’d like to collaborate on a book celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of
the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. I had heard of Habitat, of course,
but I really knew very little about the organization beyond its association with housing.
As a presidential historian, however, I knew quite a bit about Jimmy Carter, and it took
me only about thirty seconds to recover and say yes. The result was If I Had a Hammer:
Stories of Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity, published in the fall of

In researching If I Had a Hammer, I had an important early decision to make: should I
volunteer as part of my research or not? After some back-and-forthing, I decided against
volunteering because I didn’t want my experience to color the stories that other people
were telling me about their experiences with Habitat. So I waited until after the book
was written before traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to volunteer with the 2009 Carter
Work Project. Having talked to so many people about the Carter builds, I thought I knew
what to expect. But there is still a great difference between listening to a description of a
rollercoaster ride and taking the plunge oneself.

It turned out to be a good thing that I postponed volunteering, because my experience in
Thailand gave me a lot to think about. Working hard for ten or more hours a day with two
thousand other people, building a community of eighty-two homes that didn’t exist the
week before, is so thrilling while it’s happening that it inevitably raises the question, Why
can’t my life be like this every day?

Returning from Thailand, I took advantage of the Thanksgiving break to collapse on the
living room couch for a few days. While I dozed, my young children watched holiday
television. One night, they turned to the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Having grown up in Manhattan, I’d visited the tree many times, and from my Habitat
research I knew that since 2007, Tishman Speyer, the owners of Rockefeller Center, had
donated lumber milled from each year’s tree to build a Habitat home. As I watched the
lighting with my kids, I thought about this remarkable gift and realized that it could be
the touchstone for a different kind of story about Habitat—one that expressed what I had
thought and felt in Thailand.

When I interviewed President Carter for If I Had a Hammer, he told me something that
has stuck with me ever since. He said that the distance between the haves and the have-
nots in our society is so great that no single person can span it by himself. The president
called this gap a “chasm,” and he said that the only way to cross it was over a bridge. He
started the Carter Work Project, he said, because Habitat provides exactly this kind of
bridge, allowing people from both sides to come together and connect with one another in 
a mutually redeeming way.

President Carter’s insight helped me to make sense of my own experience with Habitat
and thereby inspired The Carpenter’s Gift, which is fundamentally a story about giving
and receiving. Material resources change hands in the story, and they’re certainly
important, but much more important are the feelings that pass between the characters.

For me, the great joy of writing is the opportunity it gives me to express myself. Because
I write primarily history, most of what I express in my work are ideas—intellectual
constructs that attempt to make sense of what has happened and explain why events tend
to take the course they do. With The Carpenter’s Gift, however, I had a chance to express
something else—a feeling, which is altogether different from an idea.

I’ve often thought that people become attached to books for one of two reasons: either
the book teaches them something they don’t know, or it reminds them of something they
already know but have forgotten. Whichever is true, beloved books inspire readers to
become better people. It’s my hope that The Carpenter’s Gift can have a similar effect,
helping young readers learn something they may not know about giving and receiving
and helping older readers remember something they may have forgotten.

Thanks to Random House Children's Books, you can win a copy of THE CARPENTER'S GIFT of your own just in time for the holidays! Enter below.
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Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the Holiday Blog Tour!
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012:
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012:
Friday, November 23rd, 2012: The Book Maven’s Haven
Saturday, November 24th, 2012:
Sunday, November 25th, 2012: {Eat the Book}
Monday, November 26th, 2012: Maestra Amanda’s Boohkshelf
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012:
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
·         Nerdy Book Club
·         Watch. Connect. Read
·         SharpRead 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reflecting on NCTE & ALAN 2012

One of my absolute favorite events that I get to go to in my entire year was last week, and I was lucky enough to be able to have a family, staff, and administration that understand how important this is to me and facilitate my being able to go. It was the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention followed by the two day Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE (ALAN) Workshop. This was my second year going to the NCTE Convention and my fifth year attending the ALAN Workshop. If you haven't been, I'm not sure I can adequately express how amazing and reinvigorating and refreshing and exhausting attending these events are, but if you're an English or reading teacher or librarian, I highly encourage you to find a way to join us in Boston next year.

My journey all started during last year's NCTE, when I met my twitter friend, Sarah Andersen (@yaloveblog) in person for the first time. Sarah is a high school teacher in Michigan, and we knew we got along really well, and after spending every meal together in 2011, we became official "convention buddies" and concocted our Super Secret Plan to submit a proposal to present at NCTE 2012. We recruited two other twitter teacher friends, Danielle (@MyMercurialMuse), a high school teacher in New Jersey, and Mindi (@mindi_r), a middle school literacy coach in IL, to join in our planning. We were all really excited to find out back in the spring that our proposal had been accepted and we would be presenting at NCTE 2012 in Vegas! Our session was titled Facilitating Choice Within Curriculum Constraints (you can find the slideshow here if you're interested) and we had a nice size audience in attendance on Friday afternoon and heard good feedback about our presentation. Special shout out to Chris Lehman (@ichrislehman) who tweeted out a bunch of our highlights from our session, and it was so great to meet him in person for the first time. I'm now hooked and have already started the gears in motion for Super Secret Plan #2 with Sarah, which we hope will culminate in presenting in Boston in 2013.
Because of this, most of my focus this year was on my presentation. I arrived early on Thursday and attended an incredible pre-session (one of four offered) by Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, and Jim Burke. If you're a teacher, you know these are powerhouse names in our field. Hearing them talk about reading and writing instruction validated much of what I do and encouraged me to go further in taking those next steps to improving what I do in the classroom and making it even more meaningful and beneficial for my students. One of the best part of hearing them talk was that I got to do it with some of my twitter teacher friends, some who I had met last year, and some who I was meeting for the first time this year. I have to say that one of the most meaningful parts of this convention for the past two years, for me, has been getting to meet so many of my twitter PLN in person, and continuing our conversations well beyond the sessions and onto the exhibit floor and our meal times beyond. I think I almost had more great Professional Development during meals with teacher and librarian friends as we talked and challenged each other about our classroom practices. It's so true-get smart teachers together who are knowledgeable about best practices, and we create our own best PD - that's pretty much the entire NCTE experience.
Special shout out to my awesome PLN I got to hang out with this year and learn and grow from throughout the six days we were together: Brian Wyzlic, Sarah Andersen, Jennifer Fountain, Lea Kelley, Beth Shaum, Mindi Rench, Danielle Kulawiak, Sherry Gick, Donalyn Miller, Kellee Moye, Jen Vincent, Cynthia Alaniz, Teresa Bunner, Alyson Beecher, Cindy Minnich, and Niki Ohs Barnes. 
I have to give a special mention to my convention buddies and hotel buddies group from this year. Just about every meal was spent with these amazing people, and I am so thankful to call them all friends, especially ones who I can spend almost all day with for six days straight and not get sick of at all! :) Sarah, Lea, Jennifer, and Brian (and sometimes Sherry) Also, they challenge me and inspire me and build me up int he way only another teacher/librarian can, and I thank them for it. Can't wait to convention together again next year!
This is how we spend our time between sessions in Vegas! Books and Twitter
I better not forget to mention one of the absolute best parts of the first day - getting to meet my amazing sister classroom teacher, Brian Wyzlic (WyzReads), in person for the first time. Although we had previously Skyped, emailed, called, texted, facebooked, twittered, and communicated in every other way about our various Sister Classroom Project adventures, and already felt like bonus siblings, it was our first time getting to meet in person. Definitely a highlight.
Another highlight? Getting to see and talk with Michelle Hodkin again, who is the author of one of my all-time favorite series, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER and THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER. She's the sweetest person and I got to introduce her to some of my friends and get a second copy of Evolution signed by her to put into my classroom (because as much as I adore the first copy she signed for me, I can't put it in my classroom, so Lea gave her a little reminder before signing this one). She also grabbed me to introduce me to Eliot Schrefer, author of ENDANGERED, a book that I was raving about a couple of weeks ago. He was super nice also and it was so great to meet him in person after loving his book so much. Thanks to Michelle for making that introduction happen by yelling, "Jillian, stop!" as I was walking out of the exhibit hall to get lunch.
Another great part of the NCTE Convention is the exhibit hall. Last year I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed by the generosity of the publishers giving teachers books that I vowed to be a little more selective this year. I still ended up with almost 70 books, but every single one of them is one that I was on the lookout for, or wanted to get signed by the author, or was booktalked to me by the publisher reps and sounded like something I or one of my students would love to read. I can't wait to see the excitement on my students' faces when they walk into my classroom and see all of these books spread out on tables for them to do a book pass and see which books to add to their "Want to Read" lists. It was also great to see some of the awesome School & Library department reps from the publishing houses who are always so generous to us teachers at these conventions.
Special shout out to the awesomeness in reading material, booktalking, and author signings provided by: HarperCollins, Little Brown, Sourcebooks, Simon & Shuster, Penguin, Disney Hyperion, Scholastic, Macmillan, and Bloomsbury

But, wait, the fun and excitement is not over yet! After the craziness of NCTE, things wind down, (and I headed down to Encore for an amazing much-needed massage and few hours of relaxation thanks to my mom), and then ALAN begins starting with the cocktail party on Sunday night. This is basically all of us mingling with all of the authors who will be presenting. In other words, a whole bunch of introverts trying not to gush and create awkward silences with each other. But there's mutual love between teachers/librarians and authors, so it's always a fun time. I always feel like I'm just surrounded by my rockstar heroes. Then I went into two days of hanging out with the Nerdy Book Club group who stayed for ALAN. It's always so much fun to go in the first morning and see everyone acting like it's Christmas morning as they tear open their boxes of 30 or more books and start stacking piles of what they want to keep, what they want to get signed, and what they want to trade with others. And then the negotiations begin. Being surrounded by books and bookish people and authors is definitely a room where I want to hang out for two days - and I did. We heard some amazing authors speak about inspiring things, had a brilliant keynote from Teri Lesene (@Professor Nana - if you're not following her, why not?!) who I want to be when I grow up, and lots of lines for silent signings in the back of the room after the authors spoke on their panels.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for them to open the doors for ALAN
The ALAN Nerdy Book Club contingent
Already adding titles to my goodreads list!
So that's it. I'm exhausted and exhilarated and rejuvenated and ready to go again next year. Tuesday was a sad day as I had to say goodbye to friends I'd spend the whole six days with - it was a bit like summer camp ending, but I know I get to talk to them on twitter all the time and just because we again scattered across the country, I know we're all still supporting each other every day. Plus, NCTE 2013 in Boston is only 11 months away, and I'm sure it will come up much faster than we think.

Thanks again to all of my friends who I got to spend time learning and talking and laughing with, to the publisher reps who were so overly generous and supportive, and to the authors who allowed me to gush over them and their writing and never looked at me like I was too crazy. See you next year!

Monday, November 19, 2012

LOST IN PARIS Blog Tour - Guest Post & Giveaway

Author: Marissa Moss
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 224
Mira is shocked when she receives a postcard from her missing mother from Paris. Her father decides it's time for a trip to France to search for her. While visiting Notre Dame, Mira touches a gargoyle and is whirled into the past. There she meets the famous painter Degas and catches a brief, shocking glimpse of her mother. Mira begins to suspect that her mom didn't run out on them but is a prisoner of the past. Can one family on an incredible worldwide adventure stop a plot in time?
Around the World
by Marissa Moss
I've lived in Paris and Rome, each a wonderful experience. Living in a foreign city broadens your sense of who you are and how you want to live in ways that are delightfully unpredictable. In both cities, I explored the cultural riches in a way you can't during a brief visit, but more than that, I learned the rhythm of a different lifestyle. There's no such thing as rushing in Rome, no sense of urgency – or, frustratingly – of efficiency. You learn the Italian shrug of acceptance.

Travel in general demands that kind of flexibility. Planes are delayed. Connections are missed. A drive into the Amazon jungle that was supposed to take five hours ends up taking ten because roads have been washed out. But being open to what happens during travel mishaps means you end up having tea with Bedouins in Petra or are invited into a house-raising for a newly married couple in Vietnam. I love the expected parts of travel, the amazing sites, the great art, but I also love the completely unplanned, the moment you have to be open to in order to experience it.

I've been to more than 30 countries. The ones that have been the most difficult, have also been the most rewarding – India, Peru, Vietnam, Jordan, Egypt. I hope I can keep adding to this list. I'd love to see Indonesia, South Africa, Namibia, anywhere new. But the place I keep going back to, the city that has my heart, is Rome. Must be the gelato.
Guest post generously provided by Sourcebooks.
Sourcebooks has been generous enough to offer a book for giveaway through this blog tour. Enter below for your chance to win your own copy of MIRA'S DIARY: LOST IN PARIS!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Secrets & Lies Blog Tour, Guest Post & GIVEAWAY (THE LIAR SOCIETY)

I'm so excited to be a part of the Secrets & Lies Blog Tour because I adored Kate and her story in THE LIAR SOCIETY last year. Now that the sequel, LIES THAT BIND, is out (and is also great fun like the first book), Lisa & Laura Roecker have a little bit to say about what's going on.
Author: Lisa and Laura Roecker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 320
Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace--who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?
The One Way to Keep a Secret is by Using a Dead Language
by Lisa & Laura Roecker
     There are three girls in the Roecker family and when each of us turned thirteen, we were sent to board at an all-girls’ school in upstate New York. It was within these prep school’s walls where we first fell into secret-society-like all-girls’ clubs. This experience is no doubt the inspiration behind not only Pemberly Brown, but the secret societies as well.
     Just kidding.
     All of us graduated from Solon High School. Picture scuffed tile floors, institutional grey walls and those uncomfortable chair/desk units that make your butt fall asleep. Solon was a fabulous school system and we were more than prepared for college, but we wore regular clothes, hung out with regular people and learned regular things (Latin? Um…no). We weren’t exactly infiltrating secret societies in order to solve the mystery of our best friend’s death. More like applying concealer to the gigantic pimple on the tip of our nose.
     But that’s the whole point. Pemberly Brown is for all the girls (and boys!) out there who go to those boring high schools. Anything can happen at PB and every time we write a new story, the school grows larger and a bit more magical. Kate stumbles upon the Sisterhood and Brotherhood in THE LIAR SOCIETY because we wanted to play around with sororities and fraternities at the high school level as well as hazing and competitiveness.  The societies stand for everything Kate wants to destroy because they inadvertently killed her best friend, but you’ll see in THE LIES THAT BIND, the struggle she faces when she’s not sure who to trust. She gets it wrong. She’s not perfect. And even though she’s fighting much greater problems than we faced in high school, she’s relatable and fun. Plus, she makes us thank our lucky stars we weren’t sent away to that boarding school in upstate New York.
Guest post generously provided by Sourcebooks.
Thanks to Sourcebooks (love them!), I get to giveaway one copy of THE LIAR SOCIETY: LIES THAT BIND. Enter below.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ALTERED by Jennifer Rush

Author: Jennifer Rush
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Number of Pages: 336
Source of Book: ARC requested from publisher
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened ALTERED by Jennifer Rush; I just knew that the summary sounded really good. I had just finished two other incredible books, so I was hesitant to start one I hadn't heard much about yet for fear I would be disappointed, but I had no reason to be worried with ALTERED. I was hooked on this heart-pounding story from the first page. Once I started, I didn't want to stop reading. This was a one day read for me because it was so action-packed and surprising that I just wanted to keep going to find out what was actually happening until the very end. ALTERED has all the best of the medical alterations sci-fi intrigue, secret organization, on-the-run types of stories, with a uniquely interesting backstory of how these boys and Anna got there.

ALTERED is an addictively good, completely intriguing story. I loved the journey I was taken on from the start of learning about the lab, to the escape, to being on the run, to the mystery of their past, to the unexpected reveals, to the relationships built and broken and repaired, to the place the characters are left at the end. Jennifer Rush has given the reader an exciting blend of family drama, relationship building, hot boys, guns and weapons, action-packed fighting sequences, mystery, suspense, and outmaneuvering of the organization chasing them. There were several scenes when I literally gasped out loud. The whole group of core characters has a dynamic that is endearing, and their interactions are so engaging. Love those boys! ALTERED is a twisty novel full of gasp-worthy moments, action, loveable characters, and a little bit of a romance to tie it all together.

I'm so glad to hear that there will be another book following this one! There is a definite ending, so I wasn't sure because it could have been that this story is complete, but it is left at a spot that had me hoping there would be more time with these characters and more to discover at this point in their story. I'll be anxiously awaiting the follow-up book from Jennifer Rush to spend more time with Anna, Sam, and the boys!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ALAN Workshop Anticipation

So I just want to talk for a minute about a little thing called the ALAN Workshop. ALAN stands for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English). Their motto? Connecting the Young Adult Literature Community...One Book at a Time.

It's an organization I've been a member of since I started teaching eight years ago. In two weeks I will in the final moments of attendance at my 5th ALAN Workshop. It is one of my most anticipated events of every year, and it is the one that energizes and reinvigorates me heading into the gray of winter. Why? Because I'm surround by my kind of people - bookish people! I get to sit with librarians and teachers and educators from around the country while listening to authors and editors talk about what we all love: books and connecting them with adolescents.

Thanks to the amazing support of the publishers, this year ALAN Workshop attendees will be seeing these authors: Shan­non Hale, Mag­gie Stief­vater, Rae Car­son, Kristin Cashore, Char­lie Price, Paul Grif­fin, Todd Strasser, Robin Wasser­man, David Lubar, Seth Rudet­sky, Joe Schreiber, Joan Bauer, Xavier Garza, Amy Gor­don, Stacey Kade, Sharon G. Flake, Emily M. Dan­forth, Ilike Merey, Julie Anne Peters, Leslea New­man, Sonya Sones, Patri­cia McCormick, Deb­o­rah Ellis, Eric Wal­ters, Beth Ann Bau­man, Deb­o­rah Cooner, Deb­o­rah Blu­men­thal, Gabrielle Zevin, Ben­jamin Alire Saenz,  Barry Lyga, Dan Wells, Derf Back­derf, Faith Erin Hicks, Mark Siegel, Dave Roman, Raina Tel­ge­meier, Gaby Rodriguez, Anita Sil­vey, Eric Gre­it­ens, Nell Beram, Marissa Meyer, Malinda Po, Beth Revis, Scott West­er­feld, Lois Lowry, Mike Mullin, Kat Falls, Isamu Fukui, Marie Lu, Jessi Kirby, Cor­rine Jackson, E.M. Kokie, Trish Dol­lar, Kate Elli­son, Jo Knowles, Blue Bal­li­ett, and Susan Vaught

And breakout sessions will be offered from these authors: Ann Angel, Var­ian John­son, Peter Mar­ion, J.L. Pow­ers, David Macin­nis Gill, Robin Wasser­man, Alan Gratz, Jen­nifer Lynn Barnes, Isamu Fukui, Mary Pear­son, Kat Falls, JJ John­son, Stephen Mess­ner, John Claude Bemis, Jen­nifer Har­rod, Kate Mess­ner, Blue Bal­li­ett, Jody Feld­man, Rebecca Stead, Jo Knowles, Fran­cisco X. Stork, Donna Fre­itas, Deb­o­rah Heilig­man, Cather­ine Ryan Hyde, Steve Brezenoff, Sharon G. Flake, David Levithan, Frank Port­man, and E. Lock­hart 

I hope to always have the opportunity to be able to attend the ALAN Workshop. It's become so important to my professional development life as a language arts and reading teacher. The information and words I'm able to bring back to my students, right from the authors' mouths, is invaluable. And the box of books sure ups the excitement for them as well. The number of authors I've been able to see and hear speak, and the strong memories I have from this yearly event provide so much inspiration and motivation. I distinctly remember the 2011 ALAN Workshop when David Levithan challenged us all to become an Army of Empathy and when Laurie Halse Anderson, after getting light-headed on stage, proceeded to give her speech while lying on the ground, among many other moments.

I, for one, can't wait! And, hey, if you're part of the young adult literature community, why don't you join us? Becoming a member of ALAN is not very expensive, and you can be a part of a wonderful organization supporting books, authors, teachers, librarians, and readers.