Alessio, Aronson receive 2009 YALSA/VOYA/Frances Henne Research Grant

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

YALSA Communications Specialist



For Immediate Release

February 10, 2009

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), named Amy Alessio, teen coordinator at the Schaumburg Township (Ill.) District Library and Marc Aronson, author, editor and blogger for School Library Journal, the 2009 recipients of the YALSA/ VOYA/Frances Henne Research Grant.

In 2009, the grant increased to provide $1,000 in seed money for small-scale projects that encourage research that responds to the YALSA research agenda, as outlined in YALSA’s strategic plan.

Alessio and Aronson’s project aims to determine what nonfiction literature teens enjoy reading and why. Teens are reading and buying nonfiction in all forms, from graphic novels to puzzle books to how to manuals, yet it is a small part of readers advisory resources,” Alessio said. “Marc and I look forward to working with libraries and staff in diverse settings on finding what nonfiction teens are finding to enjoy and how they are finding it.”Â

Aronson hopes to better highlight the role nonfiction plays in teens’ reading habits. “When we say YA literature, all too often we mean YA fiction and we assume that YA nonfiction is assigned reading, textbooks, school work,” Aronson said. “Amy and I hope to learn what kinds of nonfiction — from the most prosaic how-to that would enable them to fix something, change a look, beat a game to the most searching philosophical questioning — teenagers read for pleasure. We are thrilled that YALSA is helping us to map this crucial, and almost unknown, part of teenagers' reading lives.”

Members of this year’s Frances Henne Award Jury are: Jana Fine, chair, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library; Jane Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, Painted Post, N.Y.; Judy Nelson, Pierce County Library, Tacoma, Wash.; Tracy Reid Sumler, Washington, D.C.; and Louise Svehla, Plainfield (Ill.) Public Library District.

Applications for the 2009 Frances Henne YALSA/VOYA Research Grant are available from the YALSA Web site at Applications for the grant are due in the YALSA Office by Dec. 1.

For 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about these awards or for additional lists of recommended reading, go to For more information about YALSA, please contact us via e-mail,, or by phone at 1 –(800) 545-2433, ext. 4390.