by Elizabeth Bleacher
Author Joan Bauer’s latest young adult novel, Almost Home, was released in September 2012 to critical acclaim. Kirkus’s review of the novel suggested that Bauer had “created one of her strongest young women yet,” but the success of Almost Home won’t come as much of a surprise to Bauer fans. Her previous novel, Close to Famous, was the recipient of the ALA's Schneider Family Book Award, the Christopher Award, the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, and was a YALSA/ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick.
Her novels’ true-to-life themes and uplifting resolutions have made Bauer a favorite with young readers and teachers alike. Bauer is the featured presenter at the Young Adult Literature Luncheon at IRA’s Annual Convention on Sunday, April 21, 2013. During the session, the award-winning author will talk about some of her writing inspirations and the importance of laughter in young adult literature.
Bauer was inspired to write her first novel, Squashed, after a serious car accident left her with a lot of time and a lot of healing. The novel touches on the power of agriculture and the challenges that unite families with the help of a uniquely unrelenting humor. Bauer makes it clear that “the laughter in Squashed” was a critical factor in her recovery.
Despite the fact that much of Bauer’s writing explores serious issues, she is still able to instill her novels with a sense of wit and hope. Many of her novels serve as great introductions to important topics, like resilience and honesty. Bauer makes implementing her work in the classroom easy with a number of teaching guides and activity resources.
Registration for IRA’s 58th Annual Convention is open and tickets for the Young Adult Literature Luncheon with Bauer on Sunday, April 21st are available on a first-come basis. The Annual Convention will take place in San Antonio, Texas from April 19 to 22. Visit www.iraconvention.org and the iPlanner Program Grid and Event Search for details.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications department intern at the International Reading Association.