"Write On!" - Let's Get Started!

Thinking about entering this year’s “Write On!” Short Story Contest for 3rd-5th grade, but not sure where to start? What are short stories supposed to be about, anyway?
Good news! That's the fun part about writing - YOU get to decide. It can be scary, funny, silly, or sad. All you need is an idea! Now... where can you find one of those?!

These short story collections should get you thinking:
Ribbiting Tales: Original Stories About Frogs
Sports Shorts: An Anthology of Short Stories
Breaking the Spell: Tales of Enchantment

For some spooky ideas, try:
That’s Ghosts for You: 13 Scary Stories
Beware! : R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories

To find out more about the "Write On!" Short Story Contest, check out the contest home page!

February is Black History Month

Signal of LibertySignal of LibertyThe best way to celebrate and honor Black History Month is to delve into history. What better place to do that than the Library?

This February, AADL has several events and resources to help you mark Black History Month by honoring those who came before, their traditions, and our hopes for the future.
EVENTS:
April Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House has just released a new book, The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of race relations as it relates to the White House. She will be at the Downtown Library on Monday, February 16 at 7 pm to discuss the book, her career, the three presidents she’s covered, and her experiences.

The Sankofa Ensemble takes their name from a word that means “to retrieve the goodness from the past”. They will teach us about the traditions of Ghanaian and West African music and play authentic instruments from Ghana. Families will especially enjoy being able to get up and dance to the music, and learning more about traditional African dancing. The Sankofa Ensemble will perform on Saturday, February 21 at 2 pm in the Downtown Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

The last very special Black History Month event features the relatives of a prominent Civil Rights figure: Rosa Parks. Sheila McCauley Keys is Rosa Parks’ niece, and she and her siblings grew up very closely with their aunt when she moved to Detroit. They have recently released a new book of memories of their aunt, Our Auntie Rosa: the Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons, and Sheila will visit the Downtown Library on Tuesday, February 24 at 7 pm. She will talk about her new book and her Auntie Rosa, and she will take questions from the audience.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Of course, libraries are fantastic resources for more than just events. Here at AADL, we have the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County’s Living Oral History Videos. These are recorded interviews with local African-Americans discussing what they witnessed and experienced and their perspectives relating to race, gender, education, equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure in our area. These amazing videos show what a historical resource our own people are, and make learning about history as easy as a conversation with your grandparents.

Newspapers are also great historical resources. AADL has digitized copies of local abolitionist newspaper Signal of Liberty which was started in April 1841 and published almost every week from an office on Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. Issues featured local and national news, anti-slavery poems, interviews with emancipated slaves, minutes from anti-slavery meetings, and stories by abolitionists about helping people escape from slavery. Reading these articles helps us to understand issues surrounding slavery, why people opposed this dark part of our past, and how ordinary people participated in the fight for freedom.

Whatever part of history you are interested in, your library is a resource for research, learning, and commemorating.

Let the "Write On!" Contest Begin!

All third, fourth, and fifth grade writers may now submit their stories to the third annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest! Just type up your story and either send it to youngwrite@aadl.org or bring it to the Youth Desk at the Downtown Branch! Story submissions will be accepted 2/9-2/27. Check out the guidelines and contest website for more information!

If writing a story straight from your head seems tough, try out a couple of these goofy story-starters to get your ideas flowing!

The only thing worse than stepping in grape jelly is...
This morning I woke up and thought, "Aw pickles."
Dragons don't make very good pets...
When I walked into science class today, I didn't expect...
Something sounded like two million cats practicing karate...

Happy writing!

Join us for Kundalini Yoga on Saturday morning!

This Saturday, February 7th, at the Downtown AADL location from 10-11:30AM, local yoga instructor Victoria Duranona will lead a kundalini yoga class geared towards reducing stress and improving sleep. Victoria will teach participants how to become aware of stressors and how they influence communication, relationships, and performance. She will then lead yoga and meditation exercises intended to help release stress.

"Kundalini" is a term that refers to a "spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine." Kundalini yoga aims to activate this force through yogic breathing exercises.

This event is intended for teens and adults. It is advised to bring a bottle of water, not eat for two hours before you come, and dress comfortably. Also, please bring your own mat.

Venerable Van Gogh

Wednesday August 12, 2015: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades 3-8

Learn about the late 19th century Post-Impressionist work of the amazing Vincent Van Gogh and about the fantastic brush strokes he used to create his famous pieces.

Then, create a self-portrait of your own in the style of Van Gogh!

Community Vinyasa Yoga

Saturday August 15, 2015: 10:00 am to 11:30 am -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grades 6 and up

Yoga is a fun way to gain strength, flexibility and balance, while decreasing stress and tension. Come learn some of the basics of the Vinyasa style of yoga, which integrates breath with movement.

Certified yoga instructor Raina LaGrand of A2 Yoga and Amandla Energy Works, will be teaching. Participants should dress ready to work out and bring a mat if they have one!

All levels welcome, but participants should be able to move comfortably from the floor to standing.

Sensational Cezanne

Wednesday July 15, 2015: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for Grades 3-8

Learn about the wonderful Post-Impressionist paintings of the late 19th century French artist Paul Cezanne, and about the techniques he used to create his hundreds of still life pieces.

Then, create a still life of your own in the style of Cezanne!

Community Vinyasa Yoga

Saturday June 27, 2015: 10:00 am to 11:30 am -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grades 6 and up

Yoga is a fun way to gain strength, flexibility and balance, while decreasing stress and tension. Come learn some of the basics of the Vinyasa style of yoga, which integrates breath with movement.

Certified yoga instructor Raina LaGrand of A2 Yoga and Amandla Energy Works, will be teaching. Participants should dress ready to work out and bring a mat if they have one!

All levels welcome, but participants should be able to move comfortably from the floor to standing.

Magnificent Matisse

Thursday June 25, 2015: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for Grades 3-8

Learn about the amazing 20th century artist Henri Matisse, and about his unique, vibrantly colored paintings and cut-paper art!

Then, create an art piece in the style of Matisse!

The "It's All Write!" Contest Is Now Accepting Submissions!

The 23rd "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest has officially begun! Writers in grades 6-12 may enter their short story today through Friday, March 13.

Whether you are new to the contest or are a returning writer, you may find these Frequently Asked Questions helpful:

Q: Can I use a story that I've already written in class?
A: Yes, as long as it is not already published in print or online.

Q: Do I have to write about a certain topic or theme?
A: You can write about whatever you would like!

Q: How do I start writing a story?
A: The writing resources guide features several websites to help you get started.

Q: Is this contest just for Ann Arbor students?
A: The "It's All Write" contest is for any teen writer who wishes to enter, even if they live in another state or country!

Q: Who are the contest judges?
A: The judges change every year, so keep an eye on our website to find out who is on this year's panel.

For more information, please visit the contest website! Happy writing!

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