Calls for Manuscript Submissions

Calls for Manuscript Submissions

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How We Play the Game:

YA Literature and Sport

Volume 46: Issue 2 (Winter 2019)

 Submissions due: July 1, 2018

Sport, culture, identity, and power are intimately related. Sport can both reaffirm and challenge societal beliefs, strengthening and calling into question existing ideologies related to gender, race, and class. While it might be true that “it’s a long race and you can always outwork talent in the end” (Matthew Quick, Boy 21, p. 8), the relationship between sport and socioeconomics, for example, is real: sport is an industry driven by profit, and young people pay to play. Working hard sometimes isn’t enough to gain access, leading us to wonder who gets to participate and if and how such issues are addressed in YA literature.

Sport can also unite and divide people—with real consequences. It’s true that the team element of sport can connect people in memorable ways, as “it’s amazing how two thin pieces of clothing can hold such deep memories. Laughter, pain, victory, defeat, friendship, fatigue, elation… they’re all there, but only to the person who’s worn the uniform” (Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream, p. 187). But it’s also true that sport can perpetuate inequities across people across time, as evidenced by this scene from Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven: “Last night I missed two free throws which would have won the game against the best team in the state. The farm town high school I play for is nicknamed the ‘Indians,’ and I’m probably the only actual Indian ever to play for a team with such a mascot. This morning I pick up the sports page and read the headline: INDIANS LOSE AGAIN. Go ahead and tell me none of this is supposed to hurt me very much” (p. 179).

For this issue, we invite you to consider the presentation of sport in YA titles and how YA sports literature might be used to foster a more nuanced understanding of the game and its players, its history and institutional norms, and its impact on life on and off the court.


As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to Please see the ALAN website ( for submission guidelines.



The Psychology of YA Literature:

Traversing the Intersection of Mind, Body, and Soul

Volume 46: Issue 1 (Fall 2018)

 Submissions due: March 1, 2018

Mental illness, trauma, the effects of violence, and other psychological issues permeate the lives of the young people with whom we work and the families and friends who exist around them. Young adult authors have taken up these topics in their writings, providing space and opportunity for readers to find solace and support and to develop understandings that complicate their existing assumptions and beliefs.

In this issue, we invite you to consider how YA authors explore, for example, what it means to feel lost, to be in that “moment when I know that I should scream. But screaming would be hard. And blackness would be easy. Black picks me” (Exit, Pursued by a Bear, E. K. Johnston, 2016, p. 47). Or to feel worn out, to have “no emotions left: I was a candle that’d burned all the way down” (Enter Title Here, Rahul Kanakia, 2016, p. 181). Or to want something you can’t have due to forces out of your control: “I want to grab your hand, allow you to pull me through, to take us wherever you want to go, fill my calendar with your smile and laugh the way we used to” (If I Ever Get Out of Here, Eric Gansworth, 2013, p. 12).

As educators, we invite you to describe your efforts in using YA literature in the classroom. Perhaps your work might help students build richer understandings of the mind, body, and soul and learn to challenge, as noted by David Levithan, how “some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over. I know how wrong this is” (Every Day, 2013, p. 119). We wonder how your work can offer hope. Yes, it is a “hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again” (Every Day, pp. 119–120).

As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to Please see the ALAN website ( for submission guidelines.