Since 2000, CCAS' Young Adult Literature Conference has demonstrated how the combination of compelling books combined with engaging learning strategies, provides a powerful learning experience for middle and high school students.

About the Conference 

The YAL Conference is an overnight professional development experience open to all educators. Teachers will participate in interactive workshops featuring exciting books and immediately useful teaching strategies.

Each year the CCAS literacy team chooses books for young adults that exhibit a respect for diversity and social justice. These books are a window into a young person's life and are excellent reads, with interesting stories and engaging characters that  your students will love.

Teachers from our partnership schools may apply to our Units for Books Mini-Grant Program and receive a classroom set of books in exchange for writing a unit featuring young adult literature and best practice literacy strategies. 

October 18-19, 2019

Q Center

1405 N. 5th Ave.

St. Charles, IL 60174

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Conference At-A-Glance

Friday, October 18, 2019

Conference Registration

3:00 pm - 7:00 pm


5:30 pm - 6:45 pm

Opening Session

7:00 pm - 7:35 pm

Teacher Unit Presentations

7:40 pm - 8:40 pm

Connected Learning Partner Workshops

8:45 pm - 9:45 pm

Saturday, October 18, 2019


6:30 am - 8:30 am

YAL Book Workshops AM Sessions

8:45 am - 10:35 am

Networking Sessions

10:45 pm - 11:30 am


11:30 am - 12:50 pm

YAL Book Workshops PM Sessions

1:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Closing Session | CPDUs Distribution

(Participants must attend all sessions)

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm


General Registration

for non-partnership schools.


Partner School Members

Must work with eligible

grade levels in

Chicago GEAR UP


Registration includes entry to this two day conference, two books, three meals, and an overnight stay in a private room at the Q Center.

Earn Professional Development Credits
2019 YAL Books

NEIU Staff and

NEIU Students


Friday YAL Teacher Unit Presentations


"More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves..." 

Presented by Mark Janka (formerly of Clark High School)

Creating Access through Multicultural Literature 

Presented by Karen Mariscal (Curie High School)

Immigration Stories 

Presented by Susana Yépez (Roosevelt High School)

Lit Circles in Gender Studies 

Presented by Charlotte Piowar (Solorio Academy High School)

Mindfulness and Literacy 

Presented by Tricia Rodriguez (formerly of Curie High School)

The Power of Stories: Using Lit Circles and Short Stories to Engage Students 

Presented by Kevin O'Laughlin (Roosevelt High School)

I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Morton’s District Reading Initiative 

Presented by Gina Gamboa and Morton High School District Teachers

Friday YAL Connected Learning Partner Workshops

Are you a Colorist? How to Recognize Skin Color Bias in the Classroom Presented

by Stephanie Gates-Lionel - Hampton Fine and Performing Arts School

ChiTeen Lit Fest: A Storytelling Festival for Teens, By Teens 

Presented by Jen Steele - ChiTeen Lit Fest & Chicago Public Library YOUmedia

Facing Freedom Then and Now 

Presented by Megan Clark - Chicago History Museum

Hexacago: Participatory Design and Game-Based Learning 

Presented by Ci3 - University of Chicago

An Introduction to News Literacy: A tool for navigating the information ecosystem in an age of misinformation 

Presented by Michael Spikes - Center for News Literacy @ Stony Brook University

Welcome to the Weston Game Lab 

Presented by Ashlyn Sparrow- University of Chicago Media Arts, Data, and Design (MADD) Center

Zine Making for Teachers 

Presented by Lupita Carrasquillo - Brown and Proud Press

Saturday YAL Book Workshops

La distancia entre nosotros; rompiendo con los mitos de la construcción de la imagen del “Otro"

Presentado por Dr. Luis Valenzuela Ríos (La Distancia Entre Nosotros by Reyna Grande)                                

(NOTE: Book and presentation in Spanish/ NOTA: Libro y presentación en español)

Teaching the Past to Understand our Present and Confront our Future

Presented by Susan Garr and Chris Johnson (A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfeld)

Countering Anti-Muslim Racism in Schools

Presented by Nicole Nguyen and Hafsa Siddiqui (Interment by Samira Ahmed)

Poetic Freedom in The Poet X

Presented by Germania Solórzano (The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo)

Do you want to know a secret?

Presented by Tina Peano (Secret Lives of Men and Women: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren)

Storytelling and Self-Publishing as Cultural Resistance

Presented by Polly Mills with Brown and Proud Press (Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine)

Earn Professional Development Credit


Full participation will receive eight Clock Hours | Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) through Northeastern Illinois University, recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

About the Q Center

For more than 40 years, Q Center has been in the business of making meetings and events matter more. Beginning as a corporate training headquarters for a renown professional service firm, Q Center has graduated into so much more than

a full-service conference venue. 

Q Center

1405 N. 5th Ave.

Saint Charles, IL 60174


About the Q Center
Contact Us

Susan Garr

Professional Development Manager




770 N. Halsted St., Suite 420

Chicago, Illinois 60642


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