According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, “survive” means to continue to live or exist after coming close to dying or being destroyed, or after being in a difficult or threatening situation.
This issue is all about survival. We survive in a troubled and challenging world. We survive each day using essential tools to aid us through the heights and depths of work and life. An integral component or tool that connects us to the teens we work with and advocate for is literature. Books? How so, you might ask. Young Adult (YA) literature has long been known for its “bibliotherapeutic” qualities. We, as professionals, know that in some cases a novel or informational book on a sensitive topic may be the only way to reach a teen, to help them survive in a cruel atmosphere. We also know that getting information to teens to help them cope is essential, in whatever form of programs help them to find inventive ways to enrich their own lives through creative writing, poetry, or new/old/favorite literature.
As you read the wonderful speeches from Nancy Garden, Aidan Chambers, Jack Gantos, Nancy Farmer, and Garret Freymann-Weyr; as you scan the quotes from twenty-three YA authors on survival; as you peruse the positive survival skills of three protagonists in Coretta Scott King Winner books; and as you digest the survival techniques of pop culture, ponder these questions: how do you survive by using books, and how can you help the teen populace that you work with endure and thrive in today’s world using the depth and breath of literature available?
Ah, yes—I almost forgot. I know a number of you were not able to travel to Toronto and join in on all the wonderful and fascinating programs there. In this issue we have added some highlights of the Annual Conference programs for your reading pleasure. l