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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 building with LEGO. 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 FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017 @ THE KENSINGTON COURT HOTEL! Participants build their projects at home and bring them to the Kensington 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. Please find the 2017 complete rules & guidelines for the LEGO contest. [:events/legocontest|Check out] the list of winners from every contest and look at all the entries to the [:legocontest/2008|2008], [:legocontest/2009|2009], [:legocontest/2010|2010], [:legocontest/2011|2011],[:legocontest/2012|2012] and [:legocontest/2013|2013] LEGO Contests.

The annual "It's All Write!" Teen Writing Contest is open to students in grades 6-12 in the spring each year. Writers submit an original story to be judged by a panel of published authors, and generous prizes will be distributed among nine winners! There is an awards celebration each year at the end of the contest, featuring a YA author as the guest speaker. To learn more, check out the [|CONTEST PAGE!]

The annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts submissions each spring. All writers are invited to a Story Celebration at the end of the contest featuring a published children's author! The top three stories from each grade will be recognized and each writer will receive a certificate of participation. To learn more, check out the [|CONTEST PAGE!]

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

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YA Authors to Visit Teen Writing Festival 6/4!

We have a fantastic group of published authors ready to give their best advice on writing at the upcoming [|Teen Writing Festival] on Sunday, June 4! All attendees are welcome to bring questions to the Writers' Workshop in the Secret Lab, hosted by former "It's All Write!" Winner [|Mary Gallagher], and the Q&A Author Panel in the Multi-Purpose Room. Read on to find out about our fantastic guest authors!

[|Leah Vernon] hails from Detroit, MI and specializes in multicultural dystopian and science fiction writing. Check out her book [|Impure] or her body-positive [|style blog].

[|David James] wrote the [|Legend of the Dreamer] series, is a former high school teacher, and lives in Michigan. He is a fan of gummy candy and likes traveling to the Upper Peninsula.

[|Patrick Flores-Scott], writer of the award-winning book [|Jumped In], taught high school in Seattle before moving to Ann Arbor. He's currently working on a second book, "American Road Trip."

[|Courtney Allison Moulton] originally lived in Texas before moving to a farm in Michigan. Her first experience participating in [|NaNoWriMo] (National Novel Writing Month) actually led to her first published book, [|Angelfire].

[|K.A. Barson] hails from Jackson, MI and has written [|45 Pounds (More or Less)] and [|Charlotte Cuts it Out]. She often sports purple hair.

The Teen Writing Festival will also feature contestants of the [|"It's All Write!" Teen Writing Contest] reading their work and the "It's All Write!" awards ceremony. See you there!

2017 Teen Writing Festival

AADL is proud to present its first [|Teen Writing Festival] on Sunday, June 4! The tentative schedule is as follows:
1:00 - 2:00 Fiction Writing Workshop with [|The Neutral Zone]
2:15 - 3:15 Q&A Panel with Guest Authors (To Be Announced)
3:30 - 4:15 "It's All Write!" Writers Showcase
4:30 - 5:00 Awards Ceremony & Reception
Any questions may be directed to Kayla at See you there!

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2017 "It's All Write!" Contest Finalists!


The finalists of the 2017 “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest are officially published! [|Check out the list of finalists] to see who will move on to the next round. A panel of published Young Adult authors will read the finalist stories over the next several weeks to choose the contest winners. Congratulations to everyone who chose to participate this year!

All writers and aspiring writers are welcome to attend the "It's All Write!" Awards as part of AADL's first [|Teen Writing Festival] on June 4!

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #10: Rafi Mittlefehldt!


Rafi Mittlefehldt is the tenth and final judge for this year's [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest].

In Rafi's debut novel, [b:1497706|It Looks Like This], Mike is a high school freshman whose family moves from the midwest to Virginia. With a conservative, religious father, Mike feels he’s a disappointment because of his disinterest in sports and reluctance to join the evangelical church. Then Sean appears in French class, and Mike finds someone he can connect with. Too soon, the boys’ relationship becomes the focus of the school bully and Mike must decide what's really important.

Rafi Mittlefehldt was born in Israel but grew up in Texas where he later wrote for a small town newspaper. Today, Rafi lives in Brooklyn with his husband Damien and their dog Betty. He works in book publishing and freelances as a theater critic.

That’s it for this year’s “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest Judges! Thanks to everyone who participated in 2017!

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #9: Brooks Benjamin!


The ninth judge for this year's [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest] and author of the 2016 YA novel [| My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights] is Brooks Benjamin.

[|Brooks Benjamin] describes himself as a reader, writer, teacher, and eater of pizza. He is also a fan of choreographed dance, which lead him to form a New Kids on the Block tribute dance crew in sixth grade. Perhaps this is why his debut novel My Seventh Grade Life in Tights is about Dillon, who wants nothing more than to be a real dancer.

Dillon's Dad wants him to play football, his friends and co-founding members of his freestyle crew think dance studios are for sell-outs, and Dillon just wants to follow his heart. "This first novel is a fun exploration of middle-school friendships and the stigmas that come with certain hobbies...a fresh and winning debut about the power of self-expression." (Booklist)

Stay tuned for more information about “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest 2017 Judges!

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #8: Christian McKay Heidicker!


The eighth judge for this year's [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest] and author of the 2016 debut novel [|Cure for the Common Universe] is Christian McKay Heidicker. In this novel recommended for teen gamers and readers of [|Jesse Andrews] and [| John Green], high school senior Jaxon is sent to rehab for his video game addiction on the eve of his first real date. Jaxon must earn enough points to graduate from the program in 4 days to preserve his date with Serena, or else be forced to recognize that his inability to connect with people can’t be blamed on video games, after all.

Learn more about Christian McKay Heidicker on his [|website] and stay tuned for more information about [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest] 2017 Judges!

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #7: Sonya Mukherjee!

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The seventh judge for this year's [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest] and author of
[b:1496200|Gemini] is Sonya Mukherjee. In Sonya’s debut novel, Clara and Hailey are seniors at a small town high school with different interests and dreams. The only problem is that Clara and Hailey are conjoined twins. As the girls begin to question their futures, both separately and together, they must decide whether a risky surgery is the right path.

A [|Kirkus Reviews best book of 2016], Gemini “will satisfy curiosity about conjoined humans but goes far beyond that to explore issues of identity and relationships important to all teens.” VOYA (starred review)

Stay tuned for more information about “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest 2017 Judges!

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2017 “Write On!” Short Story Contest Winners!


Congratulations to all of the writers in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade who participated in this year’s [|“Write On!” Contest]. The judges enjoyed reading all of your stories- here are some of their comments:

“Color me impressed!”
“This has been so fun!! I loved reading all of them.”
“It was a pleasure to read these stories!”

[|This year’s contest results] were announced today at the [|Final Celebration] event featuring guest author [a:crilley, mark |Mark Crilley]. Winners accepted their prizes and everyone received a certificate of participation. If you are a writer who couldn’t join us today, AADL will send your prize/certificate in the mail.

Thank you to all of this year’s writers, friends, family, and educators! Please email Kayla at with any contest questions. Keep an eye out for next year’s writing contest, and as always, happy writing!

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #6: Paula Garner!

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The sixth judge for this year's [:events/itsallwrite|“It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest] is Paula Garner. In Paula’s debut YA novel, [b:1498480|Phantom Limbs], readers are introduced to Otis, a 16 year old introverted swimmer dealing with loss and the pressure of competitive sport. Otis must come to terms with the tragedy in his past in order to move forward and tackle the new dreams he has for his future. Phantom Limbs is a [|2017 Illinois Reads Selection] for grades 9-12!

Paula Garner's next novel, scheduled for publication in Spring 2018, Relative Strangers, follows a teen who just discovered she spent part of her youth in foster care. She is determined to find the family who cared for her, but the romantic feelings she develops for her foster brother threaten her new found happiness.

Paula Garner spends most of her time writing, reading, or making good things to eat. Currently, she lives in the Chicago area with her family and a very bad cat. To learn more about Paula check out her [| website] and stay tuned for more information about “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest 2017 Judges!