Thursday, July 16, 2009

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.


Anonymous said...

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.

Roger Sutton said...

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.

Amanda K Allen said...

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!