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>Blast from the Past

>Jen Robinson alerted me to the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for YA fiction, new to ALAN/NCTE but not to me. Years ago, Walden offered this award to YALSA, which turned it down because of her insistence that the winning book demonstrate “a positive approach to life.” We (I was on the board then) didn’t want to get into the position of deciding somebody else’s road to happiness. That said, it’s nice to see Walden get some recognition again–back in the 50’s-60’s she wrote several crypto-lesbionic sports novels notable for their fearless female main characters and basketball play-by-plays as exciting as anything penned by the boys.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >I read all of Amelia's books as a teen and am not sure what your commentary means. Just because some of her heroines were good at sports doesn't mean they were lesbians. Her non-sports books were about aspiring actresses, teachers, and some books were about spies. If you read her books, you would recall that she celebrates the femininity of her characters, regardless of their sports prowess (or other skills).

    One I remember was about a girl who was partly Hungarian. Her mother was the housekeeper for a rich family so she had to cope with being an immigrant and being confronted by a rich spoiled girl her own age.

    Walden had more versatility than some current authors whose books read like an abused teen of the week.

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >What I meant was that gay kids could find themselves in her books, that the intense alliances between her female characters could, should one so desire, be construed as having romantic overtones.

  3. Amanda K Allen says:

    >I'm currently studying Walden's novels, and I have to admit that I was rather surprised (and intrigued) by what seem to be possible gay and lesbian overtones. Interestingly, the lesbian overtones are often related to the young characters, while the friendly, advice-giving adult male characters tell stories of losing male lovers in the past (I'm thinking particularly about Walden's _Three Loves Has Sandy_, in which Fred, the wise old owl character, admits to having lived with another man and, frankly, still seems rather heartbroken over losing him.)

    Thanks, Roger, for posting about the award!

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