Welcome to the Contests Page!

AADL sponsors a variety of contests for kids and teens. Each contest offers participants the opportunity to show off their creativity from writing to graffiti. Our annual contests include...

The LEGO Contest is for ages preschool through adults. This annual event happens every August. This year's contest is on THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014 @ THE KENSINGTON COURT HOTEL! Participants build their projects at home and bring them to the Kensington Court Hotel on a designated date (address in link below) for judging. Prizes are awarded in the form of gift certificates and award ribbons during a large awards ceremony on the evening of the judging. The top three winners in each age category and the people's choice winners each get a custom made LEGO trophy too. For more information take a look at the LEGO Guidelines for the 2014 contest. Check out the list of winners from every contest and look at all the entries to the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,2012 and 2013 LEGO Contests.

The Annual "It's All Write!" Short Story Writing Contest includes generous prizes to be distributed among nine winners! The contest is open to students in grades 6-12. Submissions are accepted January through March (specific dates & details in the guidelines below). Writers submit an original short story to be judged by a panel of published authors. The Awards Ceremony was held at the Downtown Library in May. Check out the list of 2014 WINNERS and read the winning stories from the 2008-2013 contests. To learn more, take a look at the 2014 contest guidelines.

The 2nd Annual Short Story Challenge for Grades 3-5 accepts submissions April through May, (specific dates & details in the guidelines below). All writers are 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 receive a certificate of participation. The official results of the 2014 contest are posted! To learn more, take a look at the contest rules and guidelines.

The Graffiti Art Contest is held annually during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs for grades 6-12. All supplies, including paint and painting surfaces, are provided. Participants work on site within a structured time period. Judging occurs the same day and prizes are awarded in the form of gift certificates. All artwork will be displayed for one month at the Ann Arbor District Library. Check out the list of winners and look at all the artwork created for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 contests.

The Manga Drawing Contest was for grades K-12. The library no longer hosts an annual Manga Drawing Contest. The last contest was in 2009. For more information on past contests see rules and guidelines. Check out the list of winners and look at all the drawings entered in the 2008 & 2009 contests.

The Make It Happen in Ann Arbor Photo Contest is new in 2010, but we hope to make it a yearly event! Kids and adults are invited to submit photos of what summertime in Ann Arbor means to them. The top photos in each age group will receive gift cards and bragging rights. All participants will have their work displayed in the exhibit area of the Downtown Library and on aadl.org. Take a look at the rules and guidelines for more information and start thinking about your picture of summer today!

Read the blog posts below for more information on upcoming and past contests....


9th Annual AADL LEGO Contest and Awards Ceremony Slideshow

Media Player

August 7, 2014 at Kensington Court


File NameSizeType
aadl_events_20140707-lego-240.mp415 MB240p Video
aadl_events_20140707-lego-480.mp433 MB480p Video
aadl_events_20140707-lego-720.mp461 MB720p Video

Did you attend the 9th Annual AADL LEGO Contest? Take a look at our highlight reel and see what you missed. Then start planning your own project for next year's contest--or just remember to mark your calendar to go and check out all of the amazing LEGO creations that will be there!

Rights Held By: 
Ann Arbor District Library

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:


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"

Letters About Literature Contest

Has one book — or maybe one author — inspired you to change your view of yourself or your world? If so, we encourage you to enter this year’s Letters About Literature writing competition. All you have to do is write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work affected you. If it was me, I might write to Judith Ortiz Cofer, Gary D. Schmidt, or Brian Selznick.
Letters About Literature is a national reading promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target and affiliate state centers for the book.
Click here to read letters from past competitions.
Grades 4 - 12. The deadline for submitting a letter is January 6th, 2012.

2010 It's All Write! Short Story Writing Contest

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Got an idea for a short story? The timing is perfect if you do, either have an idea you've been thinking about, or put an ending to a story that has a brilliant beginning but you just didn't know how to finish. The 2010 It's All Write short story writing contest for area teens has begun. The last day to turn in stories is Friday, March 19. Click here for complete guidelines.

1st Place ($250), 2nd Place ($150), and 3rd Place ($100) prizes will be awarded in the following categories : Grades 6-8, Grades 9-10, and Grades 11-12.

Need inspiration? You might want to check out last year's winning stories or any of the short story collections edited by Donald R. Gallo.

It's good to be short

While perusing the blog of a Harper Collins marketing coordinator (read about it on muffy’s post), I saw that she invited readers to create six-word memoirs, inspired by the book It All Changed In An Instant : More Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous & Obscure. This got me thinking about how the new kind of mass communication (that is, personal broadcasting) is all about brevity. 140 characters in Twitter and texting, four-word film reviews, six-word memoirs, or 55 fiction, the personal tale is trending to shortness.

The cynic in me might attribute this to what seems to be an increasingly shorter attention span in the human animal, but the English major in me knows there’s more to the (short) story: rigid structure and restraint often help us process and speak about things in a more poignant way. Perhaps one of the most moving examples of this phenomenon is W.S. Merwin’s “Elegy,” which can be found in The Carrier of Ladders or The Second Four Books of Poems. Another amazing example of hard-hitting, extremely short poetry is The Really Short Poems of A.R. Ammons.

Other short things I can suggest? The song “Minimum Wage” on the classic They Might Be Giants album Flood is 46 seconds long and contains two (maybe three) words. Kristin Chenoweth is reportedly 4’11,” and has done quite a bit of fun work in music, television, theater and film. Find her song “Taylor the Latte Boy” on your online vendor of choice or check out Pushing Daisies. The Ann Arbor District Library conducts its own short story contest, and the winning stories are a part of the circulating collection. I haven’t gotten around to watching the Pixar Short Films Collection (v.1), but if the shorts you always get to see at the theater before one of their features are evidence of anything, it’s the beauty of simplicity and diminutiveness.

The 4th Annual LEGO Contest Winners are In!


Another summer, another LEGO contest and good times were had by all! This year we had 155 entries and over 300 people attended the Awards Ceremony! The top three winners in each of the five age categories (Preschool, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 & 9-12) received gift certificates to Toys R Us and medals. Special thanks to our hardworking judges: Eli Neiburger, AADL Associate Director of IT and Product Development, Eric Klooster, AADL IT Application Developer and finally Langel Bookbinder, Founder and Proprietor of battleofthebits.org. The judges needed every second of their three hours of deliberation to make the hard decisions this year!

Congratulations to all of our winners! And see you next year!

Click read more to see all of this year's winners.

7th Annual Teen Graffiti Art Contest

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Celebrate Art Fair! We'll provide the paint, supplies, canvases and easels. Three winners will receive gift certificates for art supplies at Michigan Book and Supply ($75, $50, $25). All art will be in a summer exhibit at AADL. Finished pieces will be judged by local artist, Joanie Newberry. Look here for last year's winners.
Friday, July 17 | 11:00 AM-1:00 PM | Downtown/Staff Parking Lot | Grades 6-12

2009 Judges for the Teen's Short Story Writing Contest!

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Janet Lee Carey is the award-winning author of Stealing Death, Dragon's Keep and The Beast of Noor. www.janetleecarey.com

Steven Lee Climer is a professor of English at Baker College of Allen Park, MI. He has sold the motion picture rights of his novel ‘Demonesque’ to After Dark Productions, and is the recipient of several honors including the Darrell Award, Eppie for Best Horror Novel 2000, and 1997 finalist for Best First Novel from the International Horror Guild. Steve has published eight adult horror/fantasy novels, three works for children/Young Adults, a short story collection of horror stories, and over 20 short stories in various magazines.

John Coy writes picture books, middle-grade novels, and YA novels. His latest is Top of the Order, the first book in a series about four fifth-grade friends. He lives in Minnesota.

2009 Short Story Teen Writing Contest WINNERS!

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CONGRATULATIONS and applause to all 216 teens who used their creativity, talent and courage and entered this year's short story writing contest. Below are listed the top three winning writers in the 3 grade categories:
(stay tuned for the list of finalists and bio's of this year's judges. . .)

1st Place - Christy Choi - "Stynkchro Boy"
2nd Place - Christina Bartson - "Four Rolls of Toilet Paper"
3rd Place - Hannah Clague - "Brothers, Calendars, and Lies"

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