Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #6: Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg has a long history in writing prior to authoring teen novels. As an avid sports fan, Konigsberg covered the New York Mets and other teams as a sports writer and editor for the Associated Press and ESPN.com. He also contributed a fantasy baseball column to several newspapers countrywide. Since writing his award-winning article in 2001, Konigsberg has been a strong advocate for homosexual awareness in sports.

In addition to his debut teen novel, Out of the Pocket, Konigsberg published Openly Straight in May 2013. Openly Straight, featuring a student looking to shed gay labels and stereotypes, was listed on YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and was recently awarded the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor.

To learn more about Bill Konigsberg, visit his website and blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Reminder to all “It’s All Write!” participants: The deadline to submit your story is today, March14! Submissions will be accepted until midnight. Please make sure you have followed the guidelines, and happy (last-minute) writing!

March into a Book Club to Go!

Over the next few weeks the AADL will be rolling out six new Book Clubs to Go. There will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction that will include Amy Tan’s newest book, The Valley of Amazement and Robert K. Massie’s best-seller, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Keep your eyes open for the following titles:

Fiction:
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
Exiled to an equestrian boarding school in the South at the height of the Great Depression for her role in a family tragedy, strong-willed teen Thea Atwell grapples with painful memories while acclimating to the school's strict environment.

The Round House by Louis Erdrich
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a 'Virgin Courtesan' at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world.

Non-Fiction:
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity

"Rooftoppers" is Exciting, Enchanting Youth Novel

The opening line of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, sets the scene: "On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel." The baby is Sophie, now an adolescent with a vague recollection that her mother was in the channel, too, waving for help after a shipwreck. Sophie's eccentric guardian, Charles, tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive. But for Sophie and Charles, "almost impossible" leaves room for "still possible" and they believe that one should never ignore something that just might be possible.

Because Sophie is a young lady in the care of a single man (Charles), British welfare officials begin pursuing them. The two flee to Paris. With only the address of the maker of her mother's cello, Sophie launches a search for her mom. She is aided by young Matteo and the Rooftoppers, a band of children living in hidden spaces above Paris. Philip Pullman, author of the wonderful series His Dark Materials, praises Rooftoppers as "the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination." I found the book absorbing and delightful.

March is National Craft Month!

There is no better time to celebrate your inner crafter than National Craft Month. The snow is staring to melt (and will be back again soon) but the knitting needles are still on your coffee table next to a stack of movies to watch. It’s time to grab your knitting needles, jewelry pliers, embroidery floss, and scissor and get making.

Whatever your craft, AADL has you covered for books to get you started. The 700s contain many books on a variety of topics, including: jewelry making, sewing, crocheting, origami, felting, scrapbooking, quilting, and more.

If you're looking to get crafting but don't know where to start, join us at AADL for one of the many craft programs we regularly host! We host SO MANY great craft programs that are always free of charge for anyone to attend. There are folks to guide you and supplies to work with. Keep an eye on the schedule for upcoming hands-on events for all ages.

Humorous Travel Audiobook

Fans of P. G. Wodehouse and other classic British humorists will want to know about Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Jerome K. Jerome.

Published in 1889, this nonfiction account of Jerome’s ill-fated boating trip down the river Thames is a wonderful example of travel writing. Anyone who has ever gone on vacation will likely relate to Jerome’s packing woes and travel exhaustion. Jerome manages to tell the tale in typically dry British style that had me laughing out laugh more than once.

The audiobook is expertly narrated by Hugh Laurie, whom Wodehouse fans may also remember starred as Bertie Wooster in Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster miniseries.

Kid SPOTlight - NEW Concept Book

We found COLORS by Sophie Pelham on the NEW shelf.
After we discussed the book's visual virtues for about ten minutes ... we decided it was a thoughtfully concieved concept book for young children who want to count things together with someone older.
It's a visual charmer, in my opinion.

I added COLORS to my Thoughtful Picture Books for Kids list, just because it made me think.
pssst ... there's a great rainbow in it!

Youth Nonfiction: The Mad Potter

A new book found on the Art Shelf in the Youth Department downtown is The Mad Potter: George E Ohr, Eccentric Genius. Part of the Ladies Library Collection, The Mad Potter is also an ALA Notable Book, 2014 Sibert Honor, 2014 Best Book of the Year via Booklist, 2014 Best Book of the Year via School Library Journal.

Who was this eccentric genius? He crafted thousands of ceramic sculptures and took them to art fairs and shows but nobody was buying any of this oddly shaped pieces. After his death over 5,000 pots were discovered, and he had boasted that no two were alike. The authors of the award-winning Ballet For Martha have brought us a curious biography about a curious artist. Be sure to also check out their other artist biographies!

Weasels: What do they do?

Synopsis: Overcaffeinated weasels and world domination. Need we say more?

Weasels, by Elys Dolan. Adorable, hilarious and brand new to AADL in the Youth room. Please consider putting it on your list.

Only ONE WEEK left to submit a story to “It’s All Write!”

The “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest has already received over 90 submissions, and we are excited to see even more arrive in the next week! If you’re thinking about entering the contest, you still have time to send a story before Friday, March 14, which is one week from today!

Maybe you’ve already written a story, but it needs some editing. The Writing Tips for Teens list features AADL materials focused on story details, grammar tips, and how to get published.

Or maybe you've written five stories and can't decide which one to submit. Consider publishing your other work online! Check out the “It’s All Write!” Writing Resources page. Magazines like Teen Ink and Polyphony H.S. encourage teens to get involved in writing and editing.

If you have questions about the contest, feel free to email Kayla at allwrite@aadl.org or call the Downtown Youth Desk at 734-327-8301.

Stay tuned for future “meet the judge” blog posts, and happy writing!

Maps for All Ages to Enjoy

Not your average geography book, Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski is a beautiful book with amazing illustrations. The full page maps include images of cultural and historical interest in addition to famous natives and specific places within each country. It’s such a visual treat! This large book is great for anyone who is into maps, places, illustration, or design, and would be a great coffee table book when it's not on a child's bookshelf. The other titles by the same author are also beautiful.

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