The 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge 2014 has officially begun!

Look! It's a bird... it's a plane... no wait, it's a SHORT STORY SUPERHERO participating in the second annual 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge!

Do you have the grit to become a Short Story Superhero? Astound all your friends and teachers... they'll never see it coming! Vanquish the winter blues with powerful prose and punchy plot!

Here's how to become a Short Story Superhero:
1) Write a story of up to 5 pages (double-spaced) or 1000 words
2) Type it in a Word document, with the story title on top
3) Attach the file to an email and include your personal information OR print it out with an information cover sheet (what information, you ask? check out the guidelines)
4) Send it to youngwrite@aadl.org or bring it to the Youth Desk at the Downtown branch!

Use your x-ray vision on our Jump! brochure to keep an eye out for the final celebration featuring guest author Lisa Wheeler, on June 3!

Please e-mail youngwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions, and happy (super) writing!

2014 "It's All Write!" Contest Finalists!

The finalists of the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest have been decided! This year was particularly difficult for our dedicated readers, who reported that all of the stories were incredibly creative and a pleasure to read. This year was also the most competitive year ever, reaching an all time record of 358 submissions!

Are you ready to find out who will make it to the next round? Finalists’ stories will be passed on to the Panel of Judges, who will carefully select the 2014 Winners. Click here to see the list of finalists!

Congratulations to all of the chosen finalists, and a hearty “THANK YOU!” to all the talented writers who contributed their stories to the “It’s All Write!” Contest this year! Let’s also give a round of virtual high fives to the readers- they put a lot of time into this process, and loved reading each and every story. Stay tuned for more judge blog posts, and see you at the awards ceremony on May 10!

Coming Soon: 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge!

It's almost time for the second annual 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Starting April 14, young writers will be able to submit a typed short story of five pages or less to either to the Downtown Youth Desk or by e-mail to youngwrite@aadl.org. Make sure you check the guidelines before you submit your story! Stories will be accepted from Monday, April 14 until Monday, May 5.

Need help writing a story or finding ideas? Check out this list of books for kids on writing at AADL. You can also visit these recommended websites for writing.

Keep an eye out for the final celebration on Tuesday, June 3 honoring all writers, featuring Lisa Wheeler as the guest speaker!

Please e-mail youngwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions, and happy writing!

"It's All Write!" FAQ

Do you have a burning question about the "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest? Several writers have sent in similar questions about the contest, so hopefully you'll find the answers here. If not, feel free to email allwrite@aadl.org!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: When do I find out if I'm a finalist?
A: Finalists will be announced on or before Friday, April 11.

Q: When and where is the awards ceremony?
A: 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 10 at the Downtown Branch in the Multipurpose Room. The MPR is located downstairs, just past the Friends bookshop and to the left.

Q: When will you announce the contest winners?
A: The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Q: What if I can't come to the awards ceremony?
A: We'd love to see you there, but it's also understandable that life (and sometimes distance) can get in the way. If you're a finalist, we'll let you know the outcome after the ceremony.

Q: Who can come to the ceremony?
A: ANYONE may attend! Bring your friends and family (pets have to stay home, sorry) and whoever else might want to come to enjoy a fun celebration of writing and hard work! More details coming soon!

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #8: James Kennedy

James Kennedy wrote his very first story when he was just seven years old. It was called “The Strange Ship,” which included characters called “money people”, terrifying creatures, and droids. He channeled this creativity into many opportunities, never missing the chance to try something new. Kennedy has lived in Japan, studied physics, joined a band, written a musical, dabbled in computer programming, and taught science in a middle school.

True to his creative nature, Kennedy pioneered the 90-second Newberry Film Festival, a contest that is now in its third year. Kennedy is best known for his published book, The Order of Odd-Fish, which was named a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children in 2008. His writing influences include Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams, and Madeleine L’Engle.

To learn more about James Kennedy, check out his website and blog.

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

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge # 7: Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch has always loved to write, and even attended writing summer camps growing up as a teen in Virginia. He then pursued his interest in theater, and graduated from the University of California, San Diego for playwriting. After becoming inspired by distinguished teen authors, Hirsch found his writing niche.

Hirsch is well known for his first novel, The Eleventh Plague. Readers can preview the first three chapters of his newest release, The Darkest Path, and should keep an eye out for Black River in 2015.

Jeff Hirsch loves to hear from his readers and is a fan of Prince and Tom Waits. Last year, AADL featured his wife, Gertie Hirsch, in a retro sewing program. To learn more about Jeff Hirsch, visit his website.

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

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #6: Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg has a long history in writing prior to authoring teen novels. As an avid sports fan, Konigsberg covered the New York Mets and other teams as a sports writer and editor for the Associated Press and ESPN.com. He also contributed a fantasy baseball column to several newspapers countrywide. Since writing his award-winning article in 2001, Konigsberg has been a strong advocate for homosexual awareness in sports.

In addition to his debut teen novel, Out of the Pocket, Konigsberg published Openly Straight in May 2013. Openly Straight, featuring a student looking to shed gay labels and stereotypes, was listed on YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and was recently awarded the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor.

To learn more about Bill Konigsberg, visit his website and blog.

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

Reminder to all “It’s All Write!” participants: The deadline to submit your story is today, March14! Submissions will be accepted until midnight. Please make sure you have followed the guidelines, and happy (last-minute) writing!

Only ONE WEEK left to submit a story to “It’s All Write!”

The “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest has already received over 90 submissions, and we are excited to see even more arrive in the next week! If you’re thinking about entering the contest, you still have time to send a story before Friday, March 14, which is one week from today!

Maybe you’ve already written a story, but it needs some editing. The Writing Tips for Teens list features AADL materials focused on story details, grammar tips, and how to get published.

Or maybe you've written five stories and can't decide which one to submit. Consider publishing your other work online! Check out the “It’s All Write!” Writing Resources page. Magazines like Teen Ink and Polyphony H.S. encourage teens to get involved in writing and editing.

If you have questions about the contest, feel free to email Kayla at allwrite@aadl.org or call the Downtown Youth Desk at 734-327-8301.

Stay tuned for future “meet the judge” blog posts, and happy writing!

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday March 20, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

A monthly meeting that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing. Considerations for fiction and non-fiction writing will be covered as well.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #5: Catherine Knutsson

Catherine Knutsson published her first novel, Shadows Cast by Stars, in 2012. Shadows Cast by Stars was a finalist for both the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature.

Knutsson proudly celebrates her Métis heritage, which is reflected in her writing. She also loves working with horses, photography, and singing in her free time. When asked for her best advice to new writers, she told Simon & Schuster, “Ignore trends; write the story in your heart, the story that only you can tell!”

To learn more about Catherine Knutsson, you can check out her website or her blog.

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

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