Posted by Amy Alessio:

Members of the Margaret Edwards Committee award a YA author for lifetime achievement. Running for the 2008 award committee are: Chris Carlson, Ruth Cox Clark, Erin Downey-Howerton, Kimberley Hrivnak, Kimberly Paone and Kelly Vikstrom

This forum gives members a chance to get to know candidates before voting begins this month. Candidates will introduce themselves here and let readers know why you should choose them for this committee.

6 Thoughts on “Meet the Margaret Edwards ’08 Candidates

  1. Hi Everyone. I am Ruth Cox Clark and am delighted to be on the ballot for the 2008 Edwards Award Committee. I have previously been on literature based committees, including the Printz Award Committee, the Best Books for Young Adults Committee, and the Newbery Award Committee. I have been involved with teens and their reading materials since the mid 1980s while working in various positions in school libraries until I completed my Ph.D. and then moved my love of YA literature into the university classroom environment. I have taught YA and/or Children’s Literature, along with other LS courses, for Texas Woman’s University, Sam Houston State University, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, San Jose State University, and presently I am an Associate Professor in the Library Science and Instructional Technology Department at East Carolina University, in Greenville, NC. I live, eat, and breathe YA literature – just check out my blog at
    I also have written two YA level booktalking books – Tantalizing Tidbits for Teens, and Tantalizing Tidbits for Middle Schoolers – and am working on a second vol. of the HS level one.

  2. erindowney [Member] on March 2, 2006 at 11:48 am said:

    Hi! I’m Erin and I’m excited to be in the running for the Edwards committee.

    I am a relative newcomer to library work, first with a brief stint as a children’s librarian after I got my M.A. and then I spent the next 2 1/2 years as a young adult librarian. Currently, I am the school liaison for the Johnson County Library (KS). Preceding my work in libraries, I spent time mentoring and tutoring high schoolers and new college students while I was at university. Now, I’m working full time while pursuing my MLIS through Florida State.

    I owe quite a bit of my success to YALSA! When I was a newly-minted YA librarian I was lucky to meet a wonderful experienced librarian who acted as my mentor and encouraged me to become active in the field. By contributing to our association, I have felt a great sense of involvement and satisfaction—it really placed all my daily work into a larger context! I was especially pleased to have been chosen to participate in the last YALSA SUS training. Currently, I am a member of the Selected Videos/DVDs committee and chair of the Program Clearinghouse committee.

    Admittedly, my favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy. I have become especially fond of contemporary settings and realism, however, since I set myself the task of “learning the history” of YA literature. Reading backwards and picking up books from the past has been very enjoyable! Being able to contribute to the field by participating in the Edwards committee would be a privilege and an honor.

  3. Hi, everyone!!! First, let me say thanks to Amy for setting us up here on the blog — what a great way to further introduce ourselves to all of you YALSA’ers out there!

    I, too, am VERY excited about running for a spot on the MAE committee… I’ve attended the MAE luncheon for several years now and especially enjoyed meeting last year’s winner, Francesca Lia Block -it would be such a fun and exciting experience to be a part of the process.

    Without getting too mushy about it, I love YALSA and I have had such amazing experiences being a part of the Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs committee, the BBYA committee and (most recently) the 2006 Printz Award committee. The people that I’ve met through YALSA and the exposure I’ve had to incredible books and authors and publishers… I feel SO fortunate to be a part of it all.

    I work in an urban library in Elizabeth, New Jersey and I’ve been here for nearly six years… I wouldn’t trade my job for any other in the world. The teens in Elizabeth are smart and fun and have unbelieveable insights on their world and books. They keep me motivated to do my best for them.

    I’m also really involved with the YA Section of NJLA — it’s a group that I’m also really proud to be a part of.

    Now I feel that I’m rambling on a bit. I thank you for your time (both in reading this and in voting!). : )

  4. Hello All!

    I am Kelly Vikstrom, and I, too, am thrilled to be on the ballot for the Margaret Edwards Committee! And, you all should vote for me! 🙂 Here is why.

    I am currently the Young Adult Specialist at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Library (for those of you who don’t know, this is the home of Margaret Edwards) which also serves as Maryland’s State Library Resource Center (meaning we support libraries and librarians all over the state through training, and ILL). I have been in this position for almost three years now. Before that I was a children’s library associate in two of our branch libraries. But even though I was children’s, I always had a soft spot for the YAs and the YA literature.

    I am a relative newbie to YALSA. My first YALSA activity, aside from my daily reading of yalsa-bk, was to participate in the 2004 SUS training in Boston. That was a great way to get my feet wet and to meet other members of YALSA, new and old. I have since been appointed to the Outreach to Young Adults With Special Needs Committee. I also attended the Teens and Technology preconference at midwinter this year.

    Even though I am a YALSA newbie, I am a veteran of literature committees on the local level. For the past year I have been attending meetings of Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books For Children. I am currently a member of the age 14 and older reading group for that committee. Last year I was a member of the steering committee for the Books For the Beast Conference, a biannual teen literature conference for both librarians and teens. I was also a member of the 2000 Great Books for Kids Committee and the 2003 Great Books for Teens Committee. These committees are organized by the Balimore County Public Library and produce lists of books that are both kid-friendly and high quality. Committee members also facilitate book discussions at the Great Books Celebration each year.

    I read like crazy, and all I read is YA literature (with a grown up book snuck in there every once in awhile). My tastes vary quite a bit, so I don’t really have a genre that I read more of than others. If you pinned me down and made me pick a favorite title, you’d have me pinned for quite awhile because there are so many amazing YA books out there!

    That being said, some of my favorites from 2005 were Heavy Metal and You, Let Me Play, Poison, Ball Don’t Lie, Looking for Alaska (but wasn’t that everyone’s favorite?), Twilight (ditto), Peeps, Uglies and Pretties. In case you didn’t notice, I idolize Scott Westerfeld!

    I haven’t had enough of a chance to dip into 2006 yet to have favorites, I am still catching up on 2005. But the first three books on the top of my pile are Nailed, The Book Thief, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

    So, vote for me! I have the ghost of Margaret Edwards here to help me out. I would love to delve into more of the older authors and titles as part of the committee process. And I have tons of titles new and older already under my belt.

  5. Hi *waves*

    A little bit about me …

    I have been actively involved in working with teens as a librarian since 1997, and have been reading teen literature since I was a tween. The thing I found most interesting along the way was the changing trends of teen literature – and particularly how so many of the authors I read as a teen continued to grow and transform without reinventing themselves. It was always amazing when I would do readers advisory with my teens, and they would talk about the authors they enjoyed … who happened to be some of the same authors I enjoyed.

    I never really stopped reading teen literature, and it was refreshing to have another perspective as I grew older (and perhaps a little more removed from the angst of the age). While the concerns of teens became much more serious and complex, much of the literature responded in kind – and watching the authors respond opened my eyes to the growing role that these books filled in the lives of my teens while giving me perspective on some things that my teens were reluctant to discuss in any depth. The relationship between teens and authors writing for teens is something that has become more dynamic over the last 10 years, with authors growing and stretching to meet the needs of the teens, and the teens growing and stretching to get all they can from the books being written.

    My experience within YALSA – moving from Quick Picks to Alex – has given me a unique view of teen literature. Looking for appeal and quality – from the perspective of the reluctant then avid reader – has allowed me to stretch and grow, and I find myself enjoying books that I might not have considered before. Even now, while serving on Publishers’ Liaison, I continue reading – I don’t want to miss a thing!

  6. Hi, I’m Chris Carlson, and I am excited to be a candidate for the Margaret Edwards Award Committee.
    I think this is a very exciting time to be involved with YA lit. Graphic novels are hot; they are making movies from YA novels; and some YA titles are coming up on the best seller lists. There is a lot of good YA writing out there and it is getting noticed!
    I have been involved with YA lit for over 10 years a librarian and reviewer. I have been matching teens up with good books, beginning with my stint as a YA librarian in the public library, moving on to being a SLMS at the high school and middle school levels. I also have seen the other side of marketing YA lit, as I have most recently worked for a fabulous independent bookstore with a large clientele of teachers and parents who are anxious to find the best stuff for their kids. My involvement with the bookstore has allowed me to interact with publishers and I have met some talented YA authors. In addition, our community has a biennial Literature Fest, and over the years we have brought in authors like Chris Crutcher, Will Hobbs, and Ben Mikaelsen who have talked to our students. The more YA authors I meet, the more I realize how committed these people are to producing a creative and entertaining product that will draw in teen readers.
    Now that I am no longer working in the schools, I have a great amount of time to devote to activities in YALSA and reading YA lit. I would love to direct my energies towards working on the Margaret Edwards, and I know I now have the time to do the research and reading necessary to find a deserving nominee.

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