2014 Kick Off: "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest

Become A Short Story Ninja!
Calling all teen writers in grades 6-12, AADL is now officially accepting submissions for the 2014 "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest!

Here are the steps you need to take in order to achieve Ultimate Short Story Ninja Status:
1. Read the guidelines
2. Write a story! (Need some help? Check out these writing resources and inspiration)
3. Check the guidelines
4. E-mail your story to allwrite@aadl.org
5. Receive an e-mail confirming your submission
6. Achieve Ultimate Short Story Ninja Status!

What makes it so "ultimate?" By entering the contest, you could be the winner of fabulous cash prizes of up to $250! Plus all winners and finalists will be published in the official contest booklet, and all writers can meet Kelly Barson, author of 45 Pounds (More or Less) at the awards ceremony on May 10!

Please e-mail allwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions! Submissions will be accepted Jan. 27 through Mar. 14. Happy writing!

New fiction: The Last Days of California is a unique road trip story

The Last Days of California, the highly anticipated debut novel by Mary Miller, puts a new twist on the classic American road trip story. Published just this month, the book tells the story of 15-year-old Jess, who is traveling with her parents and her rebellious (and pregnant) sister Elise to California in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. Along the way, the family evangelizes and passes out apocalyptic pamphlets to people at restaurants, motels, gas stations, malls and truck stops across the southern United States. As the novel progresses, Jess tries hard to share the same religious convictions that her parents do—and that she has been taught to follow her whole life—but finds herself questioning both the beliefs themselves and her life as a whole.

Miller does a fantastic job capturing the thought processes and angst of modern teenage life, while adding the unique storyline of the supposedly impending Rapture to this travel story. The descriptions of the beauty--and lack thereof--of the southern U.S. are also enchanting for readers. This coming-of-age novel, although shelved in the adult fiction section here at the AADL, will surely resonate with readers teenaged and up.

New Baby Board Books!

There are many funny, cuddly, silly, adorable, and beautiful new board books for grown-ups and children to dive into on the shelves at AADL. Board books are durable enough for the youngest hands to hold and often feature bright colors, simple stories, and basic concepts that are great for lap time.

A few beautifully illustrated books written by Jennifer Adams have some familiar titles! The BabyLit series “is a fashionable way to introduce toddlers to the world of classic literature.” Check out the board book versions of these classics:

Wuthering Heights: a weather primer

Sense & sensibility: an opposites primer

Moby-Dick: an ocean primer

Alice in Wonderland: a colors primer

If you like these, be patient, we have more Babylit on order!

ALA's 2014 Reading List Winners - Librarians' Top Picks in Genre Fiction

Congratulations to this year's winners in 8 genre fiction categories, just announced at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. It is great to see among them some first novels. An added value of the Reading List (as opposed to the Notable Books) has always been the inclusion of the shortlists which enriches the readers exploration of the genres.

Adrenaline Winner:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

Short List
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad, a FFF (blog)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, a FFF (blog)
Lexicon by Max Barry
Lost by S.J. Bolton

Fantasy Winner
Vicious by V.E.Schwab. A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

Short List
The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
American Elsewhere by Robert Bennett Jackson
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, a FFF (blog)

Youth & Teen Book Awards Announced!

For at least a year librarians all over the country read, and read, and read and then in the dead of winter in some predetermined location (this time it was Philadelphia) they meet at their annual conference and discuss, and argue and determine the best books, audio and video for children and teens! On Monday, January 27 the ALA (American Library Association) hosted the Youth Media Awards and came up with their best picks. Without further ado find out what books you should start reading NOW! The big three awards are the Newbery, Caldecott and the Printz, but there are many other awards so be sure to look through the whole list!

The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

2014 Winner: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure, by Kate DiCamillo

Honor Books:
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake
Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

2014 Winner: Locomotive, illustrated and written by Brian Floca

Honor Books:
Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

2014 Winner:
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honor Books:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Announcing the 2014 Printz Award for Teen Literature

The 2014 Printz Award Winner is: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick! Midwinterblood is a novel spanning several genres, including drama, mystery, romance and horror. It begins with the story of Eric and Merle, whose path together tragically ends. The following stories unfold backward in time in a gripping tale of love and loss.

YALSA, or the Young Adult Library Services Association, chose four Printz Honor books as well: Eleanor and Park, Kingdom of Little Wounds, Maggot Moon, and Navigating Early.

The Printz Award is given in appreciation of excellence in young adult literature. AADL also has several award winners from previous years.

National Bread Machine Baking Month

January is almost over, but it's not to celebrate National Bread Baking Month.

Whether you're the owner of a new bread machine, or whether you have one that you might want to dust off, Bread Machine Magic can get you started. That book isn't your only choice, you might find something you like in The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking, The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book, or The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.

You don't have to have a bread machine, though, to get into the spirit of bread making.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a great book for those who are interested in making bread at home, but are less interested in developing a mastery of broad bread-making techniques. Jim Lahey's, My Bread is another good book for those who want the bread, but not the kneading.

Vegans and people who can't eat gluten don't need to be left out either! Gluten Free & Vegan Bread is the right book for people with those particular dietary restrictions.

Maybe you're intrigued by the idea of spending some time with grains in the kitchen, but not quite sure that you're ready to take the next step. In that case, you might check out Video Bread Basics. Sometimes a DVD can deliver a blast of information in a short amount of time.

Maybe your bread making adventures will inspire you to embark on a journey to make the perfect loaf. William Alexander did just that, and you can read about it in 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust.

Austenland

Austenland is a new movie based on the novel written by Shannon Hale. The novel’s protagonist is Jane Austen obsessed Jane Hayes. Jane is in her 30's when her great aunt dies leaving her a large amount of money. The catch is that the money must be spent on a vacation involving an English resort that panders to the Austen lovers of the world. During her vacation Jane searches for a Regency era gentleman to fall in love with and hopes to rid herself of her dreams of Mr. Darcy by the end of the vacation. The goal is to return to her life without comparing all men to Mr. Darcy. Will she succeed or will the insanity of this absurd vacation only further her obsession?

The twelve year old girl living inside of me giggled manically when she saw the preview for this movie. It has received mixed reviews and the negative ones are generally written by significant others who were dragged to a screening against their will. It will most likely be overly cheesy, but what can you expect from a movie centered on Jane Austen obsession. At that point isn’t the cheesiness part of the fun?

A Hilarious Pirate Adventure – With Magic!

I am so excited about this new pirate adventure, Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson. Two years ago, I had the chance to hear an excerpt read from the pre-published manuscript and have been looking forward to its release ever since. After reading it, all I can say is this book completely lived up to my expectations. I loved it!

Hilary Westfield wants nothing more than to be a pirate, but when she submits an application to the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, things don’t go quite as planned. After discovering that Hilary is a girl, the league decides to forward her application to Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies. Soon Hilary and her pet gargoyle are packed off to finishing school, but you can bet it isn’t long before they escape to the high seas and join in the hunt for a magical treasure.

Fans of Diana Wynne Jones or Patricia C. Wrede will definitely want to check out this first book in a planned trilogy.

You can find out more about this debut author by visiting her website: http://carolinecarlsonbooks.com/

Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014

Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014Once Upon a Winter's Day 2014

Being caught in the clutches of another polar vortex is no fun. So let's liven things up.
Come to the family storytime Once Upon a Winter's Day, 2014 version. It will be at
the Pittsfield Branch on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
We'll tell snow stories, polka like penguins, sing songs, sip hot chocolate and do a craft that's perfect for our sub-zero
temperatures.
Bring the whole family for an afternoon of winter fun.

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