In which the author blushes and stammers


This is one of those “out of body” things. One of those weird turns on the path of life that you don’t see coming, and it’s really fun, but at the same time you keep doubting it’s real, then you feel dumb for doubting, because, after all, they are very smart people, and yes, they did choose you – ME! – and so you had better just stop being silly and bask in it all.

I’m not sure how to phrase this, so I’ll quote from the press release: “…the ALAN Award Committee has voted to honor Laurie Halse Anderson with the 2008 ALAN Award.”

If you don’t know what ALAN is, hang on a sec and I’ll explain. If you do know, then you understand why this feels glorious and overwhelming and has rocked me to the core. It’s a darn good thing they made the announcement five months before I accept the award and give a speech, because it’s going to take me all that time to figure out how to convey my gratitude properly.

You can read more about it here.

Still wondering why I am so befuddled? They’ve given this award to many of my heroes: Teri Lesesne, Jerry Spinelli, Jacqueline Woodson, Patty Campbell, S.E. Hinton, Mildred Taylor, Walter Dean Myers, Chris Crutcher, Don Gallo, Gary Paulsen, Richard Peck, Cynthia Voigt, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, and The Big Guy: Robert Cormier. Now do you see why this is overwhelming?

::pauses for a brief attack of the vapors::
::nearly swoons::
::rouses self with great difficulty::

“But, Laurie, what is ALAN?” you ask.

ALAN is where all the best English teachers hang out. The acronym stands for The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. In a nutshell, ALAN is the collection of brilliant English teachers, along with the college professors who taught them, and the authors and editors who are in awe of the work they do. If you teach English, literature, or reading to teens, I beg of you, please join. (Very inexpensive!) You’ll get a kick-butt journal with terrific reviews and articles about real-world classroom challenges, and you will connect with some incredible peers.

If all the world is a high school, then ALAN is the cool kids’ table for English teachers; the nice ones who are always scootching down to make room for new people. Especially the new ones who still feel fourteen and gawky.

Thank you very, very much, my kindred spirits.

Loving the Mitten State

What a great way to start the week – TWISTED has been selected as one of the 2008 Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award honor books. THANK YOU, MICHIGAN!! Woooooooo!

::runs around office, tripping over stacks of books::

(I’ll post a link to the complete list as soon as it is available.)

The weekend flew by. We had our last group run in preparation for next week’s race. It was disgustingly hot and humid, but we didn’t die, so I guess it worked out. After a dash home, a quick shower, and a long drive to Skaneateles, I had a great book signing at Creekside Books there.

“And where are the photos, Laurie?” you ask. “You always post photos about these things. Come to think of it, you promised us video, too. Whatever happened to that, huh? Huh?”

Yeah, about the photos. We are experiencing technical difficulties trying to get my new Nikon Coolpix S550 to talk to my operating system, Mac OS X 10.5.3. The Office Mouse will be hunting down the right driver today, but if any of you guys know anything about this configuration, please let us know in the Comments.

Office Mouse is also setting up a listserv for any of you would like direct notification about new books or when I might be showing up at a bookstore or conference near you. Details later in the week.

How is prom season going? Check out the Readergirlz site where we are talking about my book PROM all month long. I have started to spill the stories behind the stories in the forum. Go read and share your own prom tales of woe or wonder!

To give you a photo fix for the day, here is a shot of the PROM book signing I had at river’s end bookstore in Oswego a couple of years ago. The store turned the event into a prom, complete with band and punch. And they sent a limo for me and my date!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We had a blast.


Yesterday was a very, very intense day. Wonderful, every single minute of it, but wicked intense. I feel like an apple that was peeled with a dull knife and left on the counter overnight.

It’s weird because I used to be a profoundly shy person, and then I learned how to be brave and extroverted, and now I actually love hanging out at conferences and meeting hundreds of people, but then I have moments like this when I feel shy again. Balance, I guess, is the key.

The highlight of yesterday was booksignings, an hour at Anderson’s Bookstores booth, and then an hour at the PermaBound booth, where the line stretched forfreakingever.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I was thrilled when Ms. J. from Hawaii showed up! I met her on my MySpace page when she wrote asking some questions her students had about the symbolism in SPEAK. Her MySpace photo has her sticking her tongue out, so it seemed appropriate.

Old friends, strikers, and desserts

For your reading pleasure

It’s time to close tabs, back up the hard drive, and get ready for the train. I don’t want to leave you stranded so here are some reading noshes.

Jen Robinson’s Book Page (excellent, excellent resource) is now sending out a Growing Bookworms email Newsletter. It is very easy to read – you should probably subscribe to it.

Two great announcements via Cynthia Leitich Smith:
1. The Brown Bookshelf showcases the “best and brightest in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are “flying under the radar.”” Be sure to check out their wonderful blog and their 28 Days Later project. I don’t do this very often, but I bookmarked the blog for my daily reading.

2. The Texas Library Associations YA Tayshas List is out.

It sure sounds like Christopher Hitchens made last night’s NBA readings more interesting than usual. And Sherman Alexie was the voice of reason. (scroll down a bit to find the conflict.)

Oh, duh. It’s Children’s Book Week. (I am glad they are moving it to May!)

And this in from our Plains reporter, Aunt Barb: Oklahoma celebrates its centennial on Friday. Happy Birthday!

TWISTED love & SPEAK on the stage

Thank you, elves at! TWISTED was named one of their Best Teen Books of 2007!!

::dances on the crust of snow frozen over the fallen maple leaves::

SPEAK is coming the stage in Central New York this weekend!! It is premiering at one of my alma maters, Fayetteville-Manlius High School, and in a few weeks it will be onstage at my almost-mater, Nottingham High School. All details here. (Note: the production is not suitable for little kids – get a babysitter, please.) The director, Steve Braddock, is the fellow who brought FEVER 1793 to the stage a couple of years ago. I am very excited to see his adaptation, and see what the actors have done with the material.

Post Standard reporter Laura Ryan attended a rehearsal and has some great quotes from Steve (and a couple from me).

The Syracuse New Times has an article, too, and photos of rehearsal. One note – I did not attend Nottingham, as the article says, but if we hadn’t moved the summer before high school started, I would have.

In closing – what would Charles think?