Teri S. Lesesne

[Editor’s note: Teri is a long time member of the VOYA Editorial Advisory Board and the writer for VOYA‘s column of audiobook reviews, Audio Talk.]

It is when I start writing about my experiences with teens and books and reading that I realize how long it is that I have been in this business (translation:  how OLD I am!).  I started as a middle school English teacher in the 70s.  YA literature was still new, but it found its way into my classroom, onto my bedside table, and into my heart.   I read aloud to my eighth graders.  I nagged (um, kept talking to) teachers on my team to set up a time after our students returned from lunch that became our daily silent reading time.  Eventually, this crazy idea (of giving kids time to read, having books in the classroom, sprawling on the floor) caught on and we had school wide silent reading every day.

As I continued my education, I thought it might be fun to teach literature for children and young adults at the university level.   I completed my doctorate and landed a job in the Department of Library Science at Sam Houston State University.  Here I was, an English teacher by training with a new doctorate in literature for children and teens, working with folks who had been school librarians before coming to the department.  Instead of feeling like a duck out of water, these librarians welcomed me into their world and allowed me to work with preservice and inservice teachers and librarians. I am now a twenty year veteran of the department and still love what it is that I do:  I talk about books and reading and connecting kids to books.  Wow!

Along the way I have been fortunate to become active in organizations dedicated to books and reading and connecting kids to books.  I am a Past President of ALAN (the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English).  A few years ago, ALAN was kind enough to bestow on me the ALAN Award for my contributions to the field of YA literature.

Teri with Aileen Pace Nilsen and Joan Bauer celebrating the ALAN Award.

I also became active in YALSA and have served on the 2010 Printz Committee, the Margaret Edwards Committee, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and the first ever Odyssey Committee to recognize excellence in audiobook production.  After serving on the Odyssey, I was asked to take over Pam Spencer Holley’s audiobook column for VOYA.  I jumped at the chance.   I enjoy books and reading in all of its incarnations and forms:  listening to audiobooks, reading books on my Kindle, iPod, and iPad, and of course curling up with a good book the old-fashioned way as well.  Thankfully, I have a husband and one teen granddaughter still at home who share my passion for books.  We can often be found sitting reading quietly in different rooms on a stormy Saturday.

In addition to reading up a storm, I also write.  I write reviews and my audiobook column for VOYA. I have also written three professional books:  Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time and Naked Reading: Uncovering what Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers have both been named to VOYA’s Extending the Five Foot Professional Bookshelf list.  My latest book is called Reading Ladders:  Leading Readers from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be. I also write in short bursts on Twitter (ProfessorNana) and on Facebook and Goodreads, too.    My PLN (personal learning network) continues to grow and change and assist me in the work I do at the office and in my personal life, too.

My job has afforded me the chance to meet many talented authors. Here I am with Julie Andrews and a host of fabulous teachers and librarians at a conference in San Antonio, TX, a few years ago.

Teri S. Lesesne, September 29, 2010



  1. Lisa Kurdyla says:

    Very interesting bio! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tabatha Perry says:

    Teri is the reason I became a librarian….had her class in my Elementary Ed undergrad coursework at SHSU…Thanks Teri for inspiring me!

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