ages 11-18

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"Modern Creation," The Whigs: Hailing from Atlanta, the Whigs are one of the solidest rock bands working today. They didn't quite break the big time with their great 2010 release, "In the Dark," but they've gone right on cranking out fun and unfussy records. The Whigs used to have more punk-inspired fire in their blood, but the band has eased up its average tempo a little to create more laid-back hooks that make for perfect summer driving jams. This record's lead single, "Hit Me," is a standout example of that formula. And if you like this one, check out the band's excellent 2012 release, "Enjoy the Company," also recently added to AADL's catalog!

"Teeth Dreams," The Hold Steady: With their sixth LP, the Hold Steady continue to prove themselves America's most literary (and, perhaps, all-around best) bar band. The big guitars and catchy riffs are great, but if you're not paying attention they can also be deceptively simple. Frontman Craig Finn is a true poet, spinning incisive, wistful and funny tales of barflies, townies and scenesters. Dig the amusing portrait of a girl you just can't take seriously in "Big Cig," or the anthemic "Spinners," which exhorts the weary-hearted to "get back out there" and find love. The songs are great rockers at surface level, but they're shot through with a distinguishing sense of humanity and positivity.

"Tomorrow's Hits," The Men: The Men got their start about five years ago with some pretty wild punk records, but they've since refined their sound to incorporate poppier hooks and some elements of classic Americana. That's still not to say the group is particularly polished; drummer Rich Samis botches a fill within the record's first 30 seconds, and the production is far from slick. But the band makes up for technical precision with sheer energy, recalling Crazy Horse's thundering majesty on "Dark Waltz," the Band's Southern shuffle on "Sleepless" and the shaggy charm of the Replacements in pretty much every track. Behold the piano- and horn-led momentum of "Another Night," and just try to resist.

Find more great new CDs here.

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

Summer and no school is just around the corner, and this giant book is full of ways to keep you busy with a variety of subjects. While the book features "serious fun," it's written more on the funny side. It has a great cover and great illustrations, which totally nudge me to like certain books more.

Unbored gives you big ideas and how to start them, including how to grow a science garden, make your own games, zines, and LED graffiti You can also learn how to perform kitchen experiments, blog, fix your bike, and lots more.

The book also features some fun lists! Including a list of banned books you should read, secret history of young adult novels, best ever sports movies, best ever stop-action movies, best ever animal movies, best ever DIY fiction, and the best ever clean hip hop songs.

There’s also informational bits thrown into the book. Learn some weird facts about condiments, or browse a list of kitchen cures, and learn how to train your grownup to be a ninja.

UNBORED! That’s what you’ll be at the end of the book. Be sure to check out the book preview to see examples of what's inside. And check out the awesome website for the book! There is a TON of great stuff to look at.

"It's All Write!" 2014 FINAL RESULTS

If you weren't able to attend the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, the official list of the 2014 Winners of the "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest is now posted! Finalists and winners that were absent from the ceremony will receive their awards in the mail.

Thank you to all who participated and those who support the writers of Ann Arbor and beyond!

Looking for cool writing events to attend now that the school year is almost over? Check out the upcoming Emerging Writers Workshops with Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang on May 15 and June 5!

Happy writing!

Tonight!: Hike @ Barton Nature Area

The first of our nature walks this season will be this tonight, May 8 at 7:00pm at Barton Nature area! The nature walks that AADL hosts throughout the summer are made possible by our partnership with Natural Area Preservation and are lead by a representative from NAP.

Barton Nature Area is a 102-acre park in northwest Ann Arbor. The part that we will be hiking in is known as the oxbow, and connects to Argo Nature Area. There is a lovely smaller part of Barton Nature Area as well, the Foster area, which is only accessible by boat via crossing Barton Pond. On our hike we will see lots of beautiful spring vegetation as well as a variety of landscapes. The oxbow area, where we will hike, includes wet meadow and shrubland, prairie and old field, mesic forest and emergent marsh.

We will meet at the parking lot off Huron Drive just north of the intersection with Bird Road. Make sure to dress for walking and bring water if needed! Arrive a few minutes early to make sure you don't miss the beginning of the hike. It's a beautiful warm day out, so come join us!

Meet the "It's All Write!" Guest Speaker: K.A. Barson!

Kelly ‘K.A.’ Barson published her first novel, 45 Pounds (More or Less) in July 2013. She has always loved reading and writing, and even teaches writing at Spring Arbor University. According to Me, My Shelf, and I, Barson loves spearmint Chapstick, wears sweatpants while writing, and likes to dye her hair all different colors. She is also a local author hailing from Jackson, MI!

If you’re near the Downtown branch this Saturday, May 10, be sure to stop by the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest Awards Ceremony! Barson will discuss her thoughts on writing, sign copies of her book, and award the top nine writers of the contest!

To learn more about K.A. Barson, check out her website and blog.

Stay tuned to find out the Winners of the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest!

May 14 John Corey Whaley Event Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the author visit on May 14 with John Corey Whaley has been cancelled. AADL is sorry that this event couldn't happen, as is Mr. Whaley himself.

However, there will be several other author events in the coming months, including the"It's All Write!" Contest Awards Ceremony with K.A. Barson and two Emerging Writers workshops with Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang.

Looking for other educational teen events for the coming months? Learn basic HTML and web design on May 11 from EMU computer scientists, join local scientists on May 31 at the 3rd Annual Scientists Fair, or learn about the culinary arts with Michelle Krell Kydd on June 11.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #11: Ben Stroud

Are you ready to hear about the last author to round out the entire team of this year’s judges? Introducing: Ben Stroud!

Ben Stroud recently published his first book, Byzantium, in 2013. He is best known for writing literary short stories, as featured in several anthologies, Harper’s Magazine, Boston Review, and The Literary Review. He has lived in Texas and Ann Arbor, and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Toledo. In an interview with One Story, he gave the following advice to other writers: “There’s so much we can’t control as writers, no matter what stage we’re at…We can sit down, we can work, we can write our stories. If we remember that, and remember why we started doing this in the first place—not for all those other things but for that magical feeling of stringing words together into a story—then the rest will take care of itself.”

Stay tuned for more information about the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest and the upcoming Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 10!

Teen Fiction Picks: Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

Have you ever dreamed of being related to a celebrity? Riding in limos and mingling with the glitterati? Abby Spencer never has, until now. But it’s not a dream -- it’s reality. In Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj, thirteen-year-old Abby bugs her mom to contact her father, who she’s never even met, to track down her medical history after nearly dying from a surprise allergy. When she finds him, she discovers that her dad is a Bollywood film star in Mumbai, India! It isn’t until he asks her to come visit him in Mumbai that Abby’s life starts getting flipped upside down. Join Abby, a hilariously witty character, for a crazy adventurous summer dodging paparazzi and experiencing Indian culture in ways she had never dreamed of.

Teen Fiction Picks: How My Summer Went up in Flames

How My Summer Went up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is about a girl named Rosie whose summer is not off to a great start. Her boyfriend cheats on her, resulting in her accidentally setting his car on fire when she tries to burn a box (full of all of the mementos he has ever given her during their nine-month relationship) in his driveway. This results in a temporary restraining order. Naturally, Rosie is depressed and still hung up on her ex. As a result, her parents get the bright idea of sending her out on a road trip with her nerdy best friend Matty and two of his equally-nerdy friends who are all obsessed with Star Wars. Despite Matty’s friends’ interests, Rosie starts to think that tagging along on this roadtrip might not be so bad afterall, as a new budding romance starts to take shape…

In this hilarious coming-of-age story, Rosie is obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, who despite being a terrible human being for cheating on her, is still the object of her affection. She’s just so caught up in their romance that she feels lost after their break-up. Fortunately, Rosie is a smart girl with lots of spark, and throughout the roadtrip, her eyes open and she comes to know herself better, regaining the strength and self-confidence she needs to get over this relationship.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #10: Douglas Trevor

Douglas Trevor has been writing throughout his entire life. As a child, Douglas Trevor wrote stories about a caveman named Cowwow Bowwow and has since achieved great success as an author and professor.
Trevor’s short stories have appeared in several publications, including Fugue, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Paris Review. He is best known for his work of short stories, A Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space, which received the Iowa Short Fiction Award. He recently published Girls I Know, his first novel.

Trevor currently teaches creative writing and poetry at the University of Michigan, and resides in Ann Arbor. He is a fan of the Denver Broncos, Joyce’s Dubliners, and studied in France.

Stay tuned to find out who is the 11th and final judge for to the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest!

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