IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Dan Wells


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Dan Wells.

An avid reader and rabid gamer, Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thrillers. He grew up in the United States and spent copious amounts of time at his local library as a child. Although he didn't read much horror and didn't expect to write it, Wells somehow ended up doing just that, evidenced in his first book about teenage sociopath John Cleaver in I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (2009). He is also the author of the young adult dystopian science fiction series called the Partials Sequence, starting with PARTIALS(2012) and followed by and FRAGMENTS and RUINS (2014). This series follows the teenage medic-in-training Kira Walker, who lives on the ravaged eastern seaboard of the US after a war between humans and an engineered race of organic beings that look human devastates the globe. North American survivors of the war and of the weaponized virus RM have gathered on Long Island to recover, but time is running out. Immunity to the virus has not been born into the human race in over a decade, and their numbers are dwindling. Kira must take it upon herself to save her people, discovering secret connections along the way between humans and Partials. PARTIALS ultimately must ask: What does it mean to be human?

Wells co-hosts (with author Brandon Sanderson, webcomic creator Howard Tayler, and author/puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal) a weekly podcast about writing called "Writing Excuses." A list of his favorite things includes the movie Mary Poppins, the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind, and the word "defenestrate."

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Elizabeth Wein

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Elizabeth Wein.

Wein's name may be familiar to you, or at least her big hit CODE NAME VERITY (2012) might be. An Edgar Award winner and a Printz Honor Book, CODE NAME VERITY is about a WWII-era spy codenamed "Verity," whose plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, where she is captured by the Gestapo. To save herself from a grisly end, she agrees to confess her mission, and draws out her life story and the deep friendship with the pilot Maddie that led her to this point. The second book in the series is ROSE UNDER FIRE (2013), and the third book, out later this year, is BLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN (2015). In BLACK DOVE, 1920's stunt pilots Rhoda and Delia perform masterful feats in the air together but face mounting prejudice, as one of them is black and the other is white. When Delia dies, Rhoda takes her own child, Em, and Delia's child, Teo, to Ethiopia in an attempt to live a normal life. When Italy threatens an invasion of Ethiopia, the emperor calls on the famous pilot for help, and the children find themselves swept up in the crisis. Wein has also written a series of books (available now as ebooks) called THE LION HUNTERS, which draws on Arthurian legend and the historical Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum.

Wein has lived in New York, England, Jamaica, Pennsylvania, and most recently in Scotland. She is intensely interested in flying (a theme you may pick up from her books) and has a private pilot's license. She also has a PhD in Folklore and has published several papers on the topic.

Get to Know the Judges: Len Vlahos


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Len Vlahos.

Vlahos is the father of two boys, an insomniac (those two things related, perhaps?), and a big fan of naps, John Green, the music service Pandora, and indie book stores and record stores. His debut book THE SCAR BOYS came out last year and was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. The book is one that Vlahos calls "quasi-autobiographical" and is the coming-of-age story of Harry Jones and the power of music and friendship to heal wounds. Written as if it were a college admissions, THE SCAR BOYS looks back with humor and heart on Harry's life, starting from the incident when he was eight years old that left him scarred and ostracized, to middle school when he starts up a band with the guy who saved him from bullies, and up through high school when he experiences first love.

Vlahos's second book, HOUSE OF STONE, was recently acquired for publication by Bloomsbury. The tentative publication date is winter 2017.

Get to Know the Judges: Erin McCahan


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Erin McCahan, an author born in our own beloved Michigan (East Grand Rapids)!

McCahan grew up in Ohio and is very proud of her Irish heritage. She's particularly interested in Victorian and Colonial history. Her published works include I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE (2010) and LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS (2014). LOVE is a comedic coming-of-age story in which gifted teenager Josie must contend with the upcoming nuptials of her sister to an insufferable fiance and the mixed emotions involving her boyfriend, her crush, and her best friend Stu. Josie's genius-level IQ can't help her out when it comes to mastering the languages of familial, romantic, or platonic relationships, but one way or another, she has to figure it out.

AADL is an Ann Arbor Film Festival Community Partner

Ann Arbor Film Fest LogoAnn Arbor Film Fest LogoThe Ann Arbor Film Festival is here again, and with it comes another year of films, events, and community partnership. AADL will once again be an official AAFF community partner for Films in Competition 4, on Saturday March 28 at 11 am at the Michigan Theater, which features films especially for viewers and filmmakers age 6 and up.

You can check out the list of films playing and buy tickets on the Ann Arbor Film Fest’s website. Make sure to enter the code AAFF53_AADL for half off your advance ticket – normally $6!

When you come to the screening, you’ll even have a chance to hear the premieres of the film scores participants created in our Making Movie Music workshop, held in conjunction with the AAFF.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. The 53rd AAFF takes place March 24-29, 2015 and presents over 200 films from across the world with dozens of world premieres. For more information, please visit the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s website.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Cyn Balog

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of choosing the top three contenders in each grade. Up first is Cyn Balog, who also writes under the name Nichola Reilly.

Originally from New Jersey but now in Pennsylvania, Balog has written a number of paranormal and post-apocalyptic young adult novels, including FAIRY TALE (2009) and DROWNED (2014). Her books have been translated and published in Germany, Italy, and Hungary.

DROWNED is an unusual post-apocalyptic book (the first in a series) that takes place on an island where the tides routinely swallow up the land, and the only thing that saves the inhabitants is the creaky wooden platform they must stand on for hours at a time until the tides recede. Coe, the one-handed teenage protagonist, has always felt unwelcome among and reviled by her people. When the king who rules them falls ill, however, it's up to Coe to find answers to secrets long buried and to find a way to save everyone before the waters swallow them all whole.

Interesting facts about the author: She's obsessed with all things Disney, she once had a crayfish named Harry as a pet, and her favorite book is Charlotte's Web.

It's All Write: The Countdown Begins!

Short story writers, if you haven't written a story for the 2015 It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest, now's the time to get started! The deadline for submission is March 13, which means you have one week in which to write a totally awesome, amazing, incredible, hilarious, jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, inspired story! Don't have time to write a brand new one? Dust off and spruce up that draft you've got sitting around on your hard drive!

Go to the It's All Write page to find writing guidelines and the submission form.

Happy writing!

Rockin' Paperclip Necklaces

Saturday July 25, 2015: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade 1 to adult

Make a cool and colorful necklace out of paperclips and colored tape!

Friday 2/27 - Last day to submit stories for the "Write On!" Short Story Contest for 3rd to 5th Grade!

Don’t worry - there’s still time! You can submit a story at the Downtown Library Youth Desk (343 S. Fifth Ave) or email it to youngwrite@aadl.org through February 27th! Check out the contest guidelines for details.

Remember, the top three stories will be chosen from each grade and every writer will receive a certificate of participation! Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held on Sunday April 19th, 2015 from 2 - 3 pm in the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room.

Still working on your story? Try some of these writing resources if you need help!

My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman. The author of the “My Weird School” series gives advice on writing, finding your big idea, and provides a checklist to help young writers develop all the important parts of their story!

Just Write: Here’s How by award winning author Walter Dean Myers. Get suggestions for story ideas, characters and plot as well as advice for dealing with helpful criticism.

826michigan
Ann Arbor’s own center for great creative writing workshops. All workshops are free, some require registration. Ages 8 to 18.

Brainfuse Writing Lab
Get live online help from writing tutors 2-11pm, seven days a week. No appointments necessary. Log in to an aadl.org online account and go to http://www.aadl.org/research/browse/studentpapers to use this service for free!

Puffy Paint Rainbow Cards

Tuesday August 18, 2015: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults, teens, and children grade 5 and up.

Decorate and personalize simple cards with brightly colored puff paints, and then send your cool creations on to friends and family!

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