ages 11-18

New Teen Nonfiction: This is NOT a Writing Manual, by Kerri Majors

Kerri Majors was once a teen writer, fantasizing about the day when her book would be published. She'd be featured on "Oprah," and smile politely to her friends with a hidden smirk of pride. But one day she realized that writing was not what she had expected: it really was difficult to face the naysayers and her more successful friends, and she really did need to find a job in addition to her first calling.

Majors has come a long way since then, and her new memoir serves as inspiration to passionate young adult writers with a dream. This is Not a Writing Manual exposes the harsh realities as well as the glorious triumphs that Majors faced as an emerging writer. She does not impose strict grammar rules or stiff writing advice. She simply writes honestly, providing "therapy for writers."

Kerri Majors is best known for her creation of YARN, an online writing magazine for teens. She loves reading YA novels, identifies herself as a California girl, and lives in Massachusetts with her family. To learn more about Kerri, visit her website.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #3: Roland Smith

Roland Smith is a prolific author of teen and youth fiction as well as youth nonfiction. He started writing on a typewriter when he was just five years old in Portland, Oregon. In college he stumbled across the opportunity to work at a children’s zoo, which opened his eyes to the beauty of nature and wildlife. As an animal keeper he traveled the world and worked with animals for over 20 years! He now writes full time, and still expresses his interest in animals through his nonfiction books for children.

Smith just published the fourth book in his I, Q mystery series, I,Q: The Alamo in July 2013. He is well known for his novel Peak, which won the National Outdoor Book Award in 2007, several state awards, and was listed on ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults.

If you would like to find out more about Roland Smith, visit his website or his blog.

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

Game Start Festival: Saturday, March 1st at Menlo Innovations

Curious about making games? Know any kids or teens who aspire to be future game-makers?

Local organization GameStart is throwing a party at Menlo Innovations (505 East Liberty LL500, Ann Arbor, MI 48104) on Saturday, March 1st, 10am-2pm and everyone is invited! GameStart is an organization that offers classes using games to inspire interest in art, math, science, and programming.

For their event on March 1st, they'll have games to play and give a preview of their upcoming classes for this year, including: Game Mechanics and Design, Minecraft Programming, Computer Animation, and Video Editing. Although there is a fee for many of their classes, this event is free and open to all (and particularly recommended for students in grades 3-8).

AADL will be there with a table of fun stuff, along with other guests from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Maker Works, Backyard Brains, AHA! and the Youth Arts Alliance. Stop in to check things out and celebrate the power of interactive learning!

Later that day, 3-5pm, the GameStart staff will also be offering a no-fee class on Storytelling with Computer Animation at the downtown AADL!

New Teen Nonfiction: Expressing the Inner Wild

Expressing the Inner Wild, a new addition to AADL's teen nonfiction collection, showcases some of the most extreme self-decorators of the world. Gordon covers everything from hair to jewelry to tattoos, and includes eye-catching photos on every page. Although perhaps not considered "wild" as indicated by the title, many sections discuss cultural practices throughout the world, including piercings in Ethiopia and face painting in Papua New Guinea. Amazing holders of the Guinness World Record also make appearances. Teens interested in fashion and pop culture will love this collection of status symbols and design.

Fun With Die-Cuts: Using the Sizzix Big Shot

Wednesday, February 19 | 6:30-8pm | Downtown – MPR | For grades 6th through Adult

Join us for an evening of paper craft fun. We will be using Sizzix Big Shot die-cut machines to create an assortment of paper die-cuts that can be use in making cards. There will be instruction on how to use the machine, and we’ll have all the paper and cards on hand for you to get creative with.

Soon several Sizzix Big Shot Machines will be joining AADL’s new collection of Art Tools that will circulate! This is a chance for you to explore all that the Sizzix Big Shot can do for your paper craft projects before it goes into circulation.

This event is for teens and adults, grade 6th and up.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #2: Rebecca Donovan

Rebecca Donovan started writing when she was trapped inside during a blizzard, and is still loving it years later. She is best known for writing the bestselling “Breathing” series, including Reason to Breathe, which she originally self-published online. Donovan is not only #15 Most Popular Teen Author, but also #81 Most Popular Author overall on Amazon.com. She has a massive online fanbase and contributes regularly to her personal blog.

Before becoming an author, Donovan majored in psychology with a minor in sociology. She’s a devoted optimist and loves attending concerts whenever she can. To find out more about Rebecca Donovan, check out her website.

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

MUSIC TOOLS @ AADL! Play the Theramin!

It is the only musical instrument that you play without touching it. Invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin, the Theremin's distinctive "otherworldly" electronic sound infuses such famous movie soundtracks as the original The Day the Earth Stood Still and Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. (A cousin of the Theremin, the Electro-Theremin creates "that sound" on The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations.) And if you watched the FX show American Horror Story: Coven, one of the witches on the show, Myrtle, played by the formidable and fantastic, Frances Conroy, played the Theramin on the show a few times. Wonder if you can play the instrument yourself? AADL is now offering a Moog Etherwave Theremin for checkout as part of the Music Tools collection, complete with User's Guide and the "Mastering the Theremin" DVD. Music Tools can be checked out for a week, are not renewable and not requestable. You can find them on the shelves next to the Downtown Library Circulation Desk.

Learn more about Leon Theremin's unusual life in the documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey and explore other electronic instruments in the Music Tools collection such as the Stylophone and the Monotron.

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.

"You Were Right," Brendan Benson: You may already know Royal Oak native Brendan Benson from his work alongside Jack White in the Raconteurs. But Benson has been churning out terrific, twangy power-pop of his own since 1996, and his sixth solo full-length is another fine addition to his catalog. The record includes jammy earworms like "It's Your Choice" and "Long Term Goal," but Benson also proves his maturity as a songwriter. The bittersweet ballad "Oh My Love," describing a loving relationship that just doesn't have a future, is an affecting standout.

"Are We There Yet?," The Verve Pipe: Brendan Benson isn't the only Michigan star with a new record in the AADL catalog. East Lansing alt-rockers the Verve Pipe have returned with their second foray into the world of children's music. You may know them for radio hits like "The Freshmen," but their kids' tunes are just as listenable (if not more so). Parents are quite likely to find just as much entertainment and humor in tunes like "When Grandma Says No" and "My Principal Rocks" as the kids do. And catchy pop melodies recalling the hooky bombast of Weezer make this one of those rare children's albums that parents won't mind playing for the millionth time.

"Wig Out At Jagbags," Stephen Malkmus: Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has had a robust solo career since Pavement parted ways in 1999, and his latest release is among his best. Clocking in at around 40 minutes, it's one of Malkmus' more focused sets of songs; there's more hooks, clearer songwriting, and less psychedelia here than anything he's done in a while. And while Malkmus may now be a dad pushing 50, he's got a great sense of humor about his aging hipsterdom; check out the tuneful and hilarious "Rumble At the Rainbo," where he cracks wise about "slam dancing with some ancient dudes."

Find more great new CDs here.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #1: Carrie Ryan

The “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest has officially begun, so it’s time to introduce our phenomenal panel of judges!

Carrie Ryan, bestselling author of the “Forest of Hands and Teeth” series, loves to write fiction for young adults. In addition to her popular book series, she has written two short stories set in the zombie-ridden world of “Forest of Hands and Teeth” and has contributed to several anthologies. Keep an eye out for the “Forest of Hands and Teeth” movie, which is currently in the pre-production stage.

Carrie is a true Renaissance woman: she has lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts. She has played multiple sports including soccer, field hockey, cheerleading, lacrosse, hiking, and cycling. Growing up, Carrie also showed her leadership skills through student government and a local renovation project. After moving on to become a litigator, she now writes full time.

To learn more about Carrie Ryan and her thoughts on writing and life, visit her website and her blog.

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

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!

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