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!

Above all, pursue happinesss, and not more stuff

Tiny houses are, for many Americans, the new “dream house,” and are sprouting everywhere: in the city, the suburbs, backyard, woods and meadows, and on the beach, lakeside and water.

The book, Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century, is not so much the ‘how’ of building a tiny house as a sourcebook of inspiration and delight. Chock full of color pictures of tiny dwellings with such charm, whimsy and practicality as to make you begin to dream about one yourself. (My personal favorite: the hobbit house in Wales, pictured here.) Most have been constructed with a minimum of cost, using found and repurposed materials, and many are energy neutral.

A tiny house is not for everyone. Perhaps you would prefer a tiny apartment, a small house or, at least, a not-so-big house. Imagine having no mortgage, minimal utility bills, little furniture and clutter, and no 'stuff' in the basement and attic. Ah.

To further explore the history and style of ecological houses, made from natural materials and melding into the landscapes in which they are situated, try this dvd, First Earth. Very inspiring.

Kid Bits - Pirates

A Pirate Ship is in the display case @ Malletts Creek Branch .... so kids are asking "Where ARE the pirate books?"

NEW titles are here:
PIRATE'S GUIDE To RECESS
LOOKING For BLACKBEARD'S TREASURE
LEARN To DRAW PIRATES
MAMA HOOK KNOWS BEST
NO BATH! NO CAKE! POLLY'S PIRATE PARTY

You can find many more pirate books in my PIRATES Public List.
To all Scurvy Mates ... AAaargh!

2104 Notable Books - The Fiction List

Here are the winning titles for the 2014 Notable Books List — The American Library Association's annual literary award that identifies 25 outstanding, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader. Again, we are pleased to see a number of first novelists getting the recognition.

Fiction Winners

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The nuances and challenges of race, emigration and cultural identification are explored through the lives of two Nigerian lovers.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. What would happen if death were just a new beginning?

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. A bittersweet fable of modern Haiti told in luminous prose.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey. The fragmented and unsettling perspective of a man grappling with mental illness. (A FFF - blog)

Enon by Paul Harding. A father struggles with the accidental death of his 15 year-old daughter. Grief on paper.

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. Around the world with a charmingly unreliable narrator in this coming-of-age tale. (A FFF - blog)

The Dinner by Herman Koch, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. If they sat next to us in a restaurant, we would do well to simply study our forks.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. An affirmation of life amidst the chaos of war-torn Chechnya. (A FFF - blog)

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. A taut psychological drama of slow-burning anger.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Tokyo meets Sunnyvale and British Columbia through a purple gel pen, a tsunami and a Hello Kitty lunchbox with a side of quantum physics.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. A terrorist bomb blows apart a 13-year-old boy’s world.

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!

New fiction: The Last Days of California is a unique road trip story

The Last Days of California, the highly anticipated debut novel by Mary Miller, puts a new twist on the classic American road trip story. Published just this month, the book tells the story of 15-year-old Jess, who is traveling with her parents and her rebellious (and pregnant) sister Elise to California in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. Along the way, the family evangelizes and passes out apocalyptic pamphlets to people at restaurants, motels, gas stations, malls and truck stops across the southern United States. As the novel progresses, Jess tries hard to share the same religious convictions that her parents do—and that she has been taught to follow her whole life—but finds herself questioning both the beliefs themselves and her life as a whole.

Miller does a fantastic job capturing the thought processes and angst of modern teenage life, while adding the unique storyline of the supposedly impending Rapture to this travel story. The descriptions of the beauty--and lack thereof--of the southern U.S. are also enchanting for readers. This coming-of-age novel, although shelved in the adult fiction section here at the AADL, will surely resonate with readers teenaged and up.

New Baby Board Books!

There are many funny, cuddly, silly, adorable, and beautiful new board books for grown-ups and children to dive into on the shelves at AADL. Board books are durable enough for the youngest hands to hold and often feature bright colors, simple stories, and basic concepts that are great for lap time.

A few beautifully illustrated books written by Jennifer Adams have some familiar titles! The BabyLit series “is a fashionable way to introduce toddlers to the world of classic literature.” Check out the board book versions of these classics:

Wuthering Heights: a weather primer

Sense & sensibility: an opposites primer

Moby-Dick: an ocean primer

Alice in Wonderland: a colors primer

If you like these, be patient, we have more Babylit on order!

ALA's 2014 Reading List Winners - Librarians' Top Picks in Genre Fiction

Congratulations to this year's winners in 8 genre fiction categories, just announced at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. It is great to see among them some first novels. An added value of the Reading List (as opposed to the Notable Books) has always been the inclusion of the shortlists which enriches the readers exploration of the genres.

Adrenaline Winner:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

Short List
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad, a FFF (blog)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, a FFF (blog)
Lexicon by Max Barry
Lost by S.J. Bolton

Fantasy Winner
Vicious by V.E.Schwab. A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

Short List
The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
American Elsewhere by Robert Bennett Jackson
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, a FFF (blog)

Youth & Teen Book Awards Announced!

For at least a year librarians all over the country read, and read, and read and then in the dead of winter in some predetermined location (this time it was Philadelphia) they meet at their annual conference and discuss, and argue and determine the best books, audio and video for children and teens! On Monday, January 27 the ALA (American Library Association) hosted the Youth Media Awards and came up with their best picks. Without further ado find out what books you should start reading NOW! The big three awards are the Newbery, Caldecott and the Printz, but there are many other awards so be sure to look through the whole list!

The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

2014 Winner: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure, by Kate DiCamillo

Honor Books:
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake
Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

2014 Winner: Locomotive, illustrated and written by Brian Floca

Honor Books:
Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

2014 Winner:
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honor Books:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Announcing the 2014 Printz Award for Teen Literature

The 2014 Printz Award Winner is: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick! Midwinterblood is a novel spanning several genres, including drama, mystery, romance and horror. It begins with the story of Eric and Merle, whose path together tragically ends. The following stories unfold backward in time in a gripping tale of love and loss.

YALSA, or the Young Adult Library Services Association, chose four Printz Honor books as well: Eleanor and Park, Kingdom of Little Wounds, Maggot Moon, and Navigating Early.

The Printz Award is given in appreciation of excellence in young adult literature. AADL also has several award winners from previous years.

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