Calls for Manuscript Submissions

Calls for Manuscript Submissions

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“All” in the Family: Conceptions of Kinship in Young Adult Literature

Volume 45: Issue 2 (Winter 2018)

 Submissions due: July 1, 2017

The idea of family is complicated by the reality of life. While some may envision family as consisting of those to whom we are related by blood, others might hold a more inclusive definition. Family might be associated with home and safety and tradition and love or connected to feelings of betrayal and loss and loneliness and anger. Although our unique experiences with family might conjure differing definitions and perceptions along the continuum, we all likely have some type of emotional response to the concept.

We wonder how YA literature might influence how young people make sense of their own families. How is family perceived and depicted—conventionally? contemporarily? What roles do parents and guardians, extended family members, siblings, neighbors, teachers, caregivers, etc. play in defining family? Is it true that “Everyone plays a purpose, even fathers who lie to you or leave you behind” (Silvera, p. 84)? We are curious, too, as to how YA titles might help readers consider the moral obligation to stand by family. Is the family bond immutable, or can/should we cut ties and under what circumstances? Do we agree that “[N]o matter what, we’re still family, even if we don’t want to be” (Quintero, p. 168)? As educators, we want to know how you have reached out to families to foster young people’s reading and engagement with stories. How and why have you valued and celebrated the funds of knowledge and lived experiences of those in our students’ families?

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.

Advocacy, Activism, and Agency in Young Adult Literature 

Volume 45: Issue 1 (Fall 2017)

 Submissions due: March 1, 2017

Given their age and perceived lack of power in an adult-run world, adolescents can experience helplessness and cynicism, frustration resulting from not being able to address issues that anger or frustrate them or to evoke change in the face of obstacles over which they have little to no control. As teachers, however, we recall moments of insight and passion and optimism displayed by our students in response to literature. We believe that stories can empower readers, and we wonder just how far-reaching such empowerment can extend, especially in classrooms and libraries that invite young people to question, to argue, to imagine what is possible—and what they can do to achieve it.

For this issue, we encourage you to share examples of how you promote advocacy, activism, and agency among students (and/or their teachers, families, etc.) using young adult literature. How are these efforts depicted and advanced by authors? How do readers witness and respond to such efforts? How might YAL be used to inspire action in the classroom and larger community? Can story serve to better our world and the lives of those who live here?

As we ponder, we hear the voice of Emil Sher’s teen protagonist when he chooses to take responsibility for a challenging dilemma before it becomes too late for action: “I wanted to clean up the mess…. The mess would keep spreading like those huge oil spills that turn blue water black and leave birds so covered with oil they never fly again” (Young Man with Camera, p. 108). We recognize the challenges inherent in advocating, acting, and assuming agency but find hope in Kekla Magoon’s reminder: “The river moves, but it follows a path. When it tires of one journey, it rubs through some rock to forge a new way. Hard work, but that’s its nature” (The Rock and the River, p. 283).

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.