Thanks to the Goddess

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Photo by Noah Schaffer

For the last five years ALAN has received the many blessings of the Goddess of YA Literature, Teri Lesesne. Teri is stepping down in January at the end of her five-year term. As Executive Director, she managed the day-to-day affairs of ALAN, ensuring that committees were formed and had their marching orders, handled the logistics of grants applications, and set up elections each year for President-elect and new board members. Teri also answered an extraordinary number of questions from officers, members, and potential members of ALAN. I know because I asked a great many of those questions when I came on board as editor of the newsletter. Her replies were always swift, helpful, and to the point. A prolific writer, Teri was presented at the 2015 Workshop with The ALAN Review’s first ever Editor’s Award for excellence in writing and contribution to the field for her column, “The Tip of the Iceberg.” It’s been an honor and a joy to work with you, Teri. Thank you for everything. – Anne McLeod

Here are tributes from the ALAN presidents who worked with Teri Lesesne during her term as Executive Director:

  • When I attended my first ALAN Workshop in 2005, I watched Teri and other ALAN luminaries, many of whom I knew and respected from reading their books and articles, from afar. I loved that these folks were in the same room and showing the same excitement as I was. Never in a million years could I have imagined that I would someday have the opportunity to work alongside them. Since my days as an ALAN newbie, I have had the pleasure of working with Teri in several capacities.Teri is one of the busiest, most outspoken, best-read advocates for teens I’ve ever met. She is active in several professional organizations (though we all know which is her favorite *wink*). She is devoted to furthering her education even though many of us would kill to know even a fraction of what is already stuffed into her brain. And even when it’s not the middle of a semester at Sam Houston State University, she is always teaching and sharing her knowledge with others. She is one of my professional role-models, and I am grateful for the chance to know and work with her and I am appreciative of her devotion to ALAN. – Daria Plumb, ALAN President 20014-2015
  • Here’s the thing–Teri is really a goddess; not just in name, but in deed. Her dedication to ALAN and her ability to swiftly get to the heart of a matter made my term as ALAN President so much smoother than it had any right to be. She is wise, insightful, strongly opinionated (and right 98% of the time), and the first to admit it if she is wrong. I’d follow her anywhere! – Walter Mayes, ALAN President 2013-2014
  • Teri Lesesne is the epitome of young adult literature. She is sharp,funny and wise. This “Goddess of Young Adult Literature” has devoted her career to getting good books into the hands of good kids. Tirelessly, effortlessly and joyously, Teri barnstorms the country – whether it be at state workshops, national conventions and/or national and international committees and/or in many professional articles and texts – advocating her love for young adult books – knowing full well that when a young person finds a book that speaks to them, their life changes. – for words beget feelings and feelings beget passion and passion begets hope – hope for the future and hope for young readers. Simply, good books resonate with our souls. Teri never lets anyone forget that – indeed, her life mission has been to make that happen. That’s what Teri brought to ALAN. She will continue to do it for the world. – Jeffrey Kaplan, ALAN President 2012-2013
  • No one reads, listens to, or absorbs more teen books than Teri Lesesne. During her term, ALAN grew so much that her title was changed from Executive Secretary to Executive Director. She pushed for a Policies and Procedure document, created monthly Skype meeting for the Executive Council, expanded ALAN’s web presence, supported the creation of the Presidents Advisory Committee, the ALAN Mission Statement as well as the ALAN Merchandising Committee. She did all this while giving ALAN a place on social media from her back row seat during the ALAN Workshop. Teri, thank you! – cj Bott, ALAN President 2011-2012
  • I must confess that I have developed the Teri Lesesne habit!  If I can’t remember a YA author’s name or a book title from almost any subgenre or reading level, I contact Teri. If I have been asked to find someone to serve on an important board that will do great things for kids, I contact Teri. If I want to know what’s new and good and just now hitting the bookshelves, I read Teri’s blog.  If I need to figure out a literacy problem or figure out how to plant the seed for joy in reading in a young person’s heart, I refer to one of Teri’s books. And sometimes if I just feel beaten down from fighting  the same old battles against people who don’t seem to have the best interest of our kids at heart, I just go and vent at a conference or conference call to Teri, who always understands and always has an encouraging word. Actually, It’s not such a bad habit to have! – Jim Blasingame, ALAN President 2010-2011



3 Responses

  1. Libby Lesesne latham

    Well done ! That would be the job of a mentally well endowed Goddess , right? . I would think so anyway. It’s difficult to hide a bright teacher in a dark place , they will eventually find their way out and eluminate the dark corners of ya literature .

  2. What a wonderful tribute. I am so proud of my big sister.

  3. Barbara Ward

    Thank you, Teri! Thank you for all that you have done as a tireless–but never tiresome–supporter of ALAN and the YA books we all love. You are knowledgeable, passionate, and caring, and your snarky observations about life always bring a smile to my lips because you are, above all, so real and so genuine. Your constant dedication to getting the word out about yet another book that needs to be read and leading the way in addressing challenges to books by would-be censors stand as inspiration to the rest of us. Yours has been a lifelong love affair with reading, and you never let us down in constantly and firmly reminding everyone of the joys of getting lost in a book. You truly are a goddess, and just about every word you utter is, indeed, a pearl! I have appreciated all the various ways you have served our organization so well. I’m sending loving and appreciative thoughts your way.

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