Every fall I take my academic chick trip to the annual NCTE\ALAN convention. It's the one place and time of the year that I can be my true authentic teacher learner self unhampered by the demands of my personal and work life. I get to immerse myself in learning, listening to experts in my field, talking to newbies, and meeting authors, publishers and teachers from all over the country. Another plus is that I get to hang out with my teacher friends who live near and far as well as check out a new city. I've been to Chicago, Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Louis, Las Vegas and I can't remember. For vacation, I wouldn't choose to go to those cities, because I would rather been outdoors in the ocean, mountains or woods. The most important part of the process is that I come back to my real life both work and personal recharged and ready to do better.
For the past four years, I've had the privilege to serve on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award committee. This committee reads books to choose award the book of the year that has literary merit, a positive approach to life and widespread appeal. As a member, it has been amazing reading and talking about books with fellow YA lovers across the country for the entire year as we determine the winners.
This past year I served as committee chair this and was invited to share titles at NCTE's first Build Your Stack Sessions. I shared titles that I thought would make great companion reads to the 2018 award winners. I know that once you hook kids with a book, it is always a challenge to figure out what to hand them next. There are so many amazing books released each year and we just have to keep feeding out readers. I hope you enjoy my picks.