Short Story Challenge for Grades 3-5

The 2nd Annual Short Story Challenge for Grades 3-5 will be accepting submissions April 14 through May 5, (specific details in the guidelines below). All writers will be invited to a Short Story Celebration in June at the Downtown Library. The top three stories from each grade will be recognized and each writer will receive a certificate of participation. Award-winning author Lisa Wheeler will be the guest speaker this year!

To learn more and enter the contest, take a look at the 2014 contest guidelines. Wondering how to get started? Take a look at some writing resources for K-5.



2014 Short Story Challenge

Around 100 young writers turned in stories for the 2014 3-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Below is a list of the 2014 winners. To read all entries of the 2014 contest, click here.

3rd Grade Winners:

1st Kaden Thornton "The Magical Book" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Eliza Ann Van Ee "Save the Slaves!" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Emma Li "Dragon Friends!" PDF Text-Only Version

4th Grade Winners:

1st Georgie Branch "Pop" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Karinne Tennenbaum "One Thought after Another" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Fionnuala MacKercher "The White Wolf" PDF Text-Only Version

5th Grade Winners:

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1st Marisa Redding "The Meadow Song" PDF Text-Only Version
2nd Makayla Harris "Hutch McLaw: The Case of the Sparkling Torch" PDF Text-Only Version
3rd Rachel Amanda Eglinton "The Impossible" PDF Text- Only Version


2013 Short Story Challenge

Around 100 young writers turned in stories for the 2013 3-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Below is a list of the 2013 winners.

3rd Grade Winners:

1st Emma Crownover "My Secret"
2nd Alma Moga "The Story of the Talking Hamster"
3rd Mohammed Hamoud "Allians-A True Story"

4th Grade Winners:

1st Arjun Purohit "A Weird Day at the Science Museum"
2nd Abby Dobson "Winston and His Ears"
3rd Anabellee Jones "Blueberry Girl"

5th Grade Winners:

1st Ashlee Freeman "Pastel's Journey"
2nd Krishna Davis "The Boulder Block"
3rd Jenna Allman "Sallie Sweetwater and the Nebraska Disaster"


Writing Inspiration for Teens

Working on or even just thinking about writing a short story for the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest but need some inspiration? AADL has a lot of books with authors’ thoughts on writing:

King of the mild frontier: an ill-advised autobiography comes directly from Chris Crutcher, author of Deadline and Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories (providing fuel for the movie Angus). He shares details of his difficult childhood as well as the cathartic effects of writing.

Hole in my life by Jack Gantos combines harsh truths with aspiring hope. He discusses his 15 months in federal prison and how he turned his life around through writing and attending college. Gantos is well-known for Dead End in Norvelt, Rotten Ralph, and the Joey Pigza series.

Still need more inspiration? Check out this list of inspirational books with writing prompts and other teens’ stories. In honor of yesterday’s “John Green Day” at Mental Floss, you can read some of his quotes on writing.

Amazon Teen Bestseller: Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students

Currently #15 on Amazon's list of bestselling teen books is the Kindle edition of Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students, by Mignon Fogarty. The author is the creator of The Grammar Girl website and Quick and Dirty Tips Network. Here's what School Library Journal said about this book: "“Budding writers will find it invaluable.”

ACT Plus Writing Tips With Kaplan Experts

Tuesday January 14, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

Brainstorming, organizing, and writing an essay in just 30 minutes is a daunting task, and that's just what test takers will face during the ACT Plus Writing test. But don't worry, we've got you covered - at this program, a Kaplan expert will guide you through the process of preparing to write an essay for the March ACT Plus Writing.

This event is intended for teens (grades 9-12).

"It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest 2014

Do you like to write? Do you have an idea that needs to get out of your head, or something already written that could use some editing? Then prepare for the 22nd annual "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest, which will begin accepting submissions on January 27!

Students in grades 6-12 may submit a short story according to the 2014 guidelines from Monday, January 27 through Friday, March 14. Click here to learn more about the contest and view previous contest winners. Judges will choose the top three stories from each category (grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12) to receive cash prizes totaling $1500. Stay tuned to find out who will be on this year's panel of judges!

The speaker for this year's final awards ceremony on May 10 will be Michigan author K.A. Barson! She recently published the popular book, "45 Pounds (More or Less)."

We look forward to reading your story! For inspiration and ideas, check out the writing resources guide for teens.

Arborwiki Edit Night At Arbor Brewing

Wednesday April 23, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Arbor Brewing - 114 East Washington

What's ArborWiki? ArborWiki is the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on local playgrounds.

Since it's a "civic wiki" it's created, edited and maintained by locals. Who are those locals? That could mean you! If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area - parks, history, local happenings - you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor.

Come hang out and grab a frosty beverage at Arbor Brewing (114 East Washington in Ann Arbor), meet some of the current crew of editors, and hop in to edit or create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one one of ours!

Arborwiki Edit Night

Wednesday March 26, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library: aadlfreespace

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 9 and up

What’s ArborWiki? It’s the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on volunteer opportunities for youth and teens. Since it’s a “civic wiki” it’s created, edited and maintained by locals. That could mean you!

If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area—parks, history, local happenings—you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor. Meet some of the current crew of editors and hop in to edit/create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one of ours!

For the Child Learning to Write: Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is a fun, witty picture book about Little Red, a brave little red pencil who sets out to write a story using what she knows about grammar and writing. First, however, she must face the hungry pencil sharpener, the Wolf 3000. Here is a sample of the cleverness of this book: ". . . she found herself writing a sentence that would not end but just kept going and going and running on and on although it had no purpose yet it would not get out of her story or say anything important . . . " School Library Journal named this one of the Best Picture Books of 2013.

National Book Award winners for 2013 have been announced

The 2013 National Book Awards, some of the most coveted of literary prizes, were announced last night at a gala event, held at New YOrk's landmark Cipriani Wall Street.

James McBride, author of The Good Lord Bird, was such an underdog, he had no prepared speech when he accepted the fiction prize. In 1857, abolitionist John Brown kills a slave owner and rescues Little Onion, the narrator of McBride's brilliant novel. Complication the inexorable lead-up to the raid at Harper's Ferry is that Brown mistakenly thinks Little Onion (a.k.a Henry Shackleford) is a girl, a disguise that Little Onion struggles to maintain. Visibly shaken by the award, McBride said the writing of his book saved him during a difficult period of his life when his mother and a much-loved niece died and his marriage fell apart.

George Packer, a staff writer for The New Yorker captured the non-fiction category for his searing examination of the class warfare currently being waged in America. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America is based on dozens of interviews of the mainstays of economic stability have been eroded by the actions of Wall Street and the big banks.

In the poetry category, Mary Szybist won for Incarnadine. Szybist, a professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, is no stranger to the spotlight. Her first collection of poetry, Granted (2003) which was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.

Cynthia Kadohata, a 2005 Newbery Medal winner for Kira-Kira, took home the award last night in the young people's literature category for The Thing about Luck. Twelve-year-old Japanese American Summer and her little brother are left in the care of their old-school grandparents when their mother and father are called away to Japan to care for an ailing relative.

The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community was presented to Maya Angelou by her friend Toni Morrision.In presenting the award, Ms. Morrison said, "Dr. Maya Angelou, you improve our world by drawing from us, forcing from us our better selves."

Each winner received $10,000 and a statue made of bronze.

The Fundamentals of Plot

Saturday January 18, 2014: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for Adults and teens (grade 6 and up)

Many beginning writers are confused about plot and how to put all of their thoughts into a coherent novel. Many writing classes ignore plot altogether. But it is actually the plot—what happens next?—that keeps the pages turning.

Local science fiction writer Margaret Yang discusses how to structure a novel or shorter work; how to see the “big picture” story arc; how to start and end a story in the right place; and how to avoid common writing traps like infodumps and other dull spots.

Participants will make a five-sentence outline that will provide a blueprint for a story. Once writers understand the fundamentals of story structure, they will never again be stuck or wonder “what happens next?”

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