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National Book Festival

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The Library of Congress and DC Public Library Present: A Book That Shaped Me - Summer Writing Contest 2014

About the Contest

The “A Book That Shaped Me” Summer Writing Contest encourages rising 5th & 6th graders to reflect on a book that has made a personal impact on their lives. The contest is administered through local public library systems in the Mid-Atlantic region, and top winners are honored at the Library of Congress.

When does the contest run?

May 12, 2014 – August 11, 2014

Who can participate?

Rising 5th & 6th Graders (students who will be entering 5th or 6th grade next fall).

How to enter?

Write a short essay on a book that has had a personal impact on your life.

Books have the power to shape us by changing the ways we think and feel. Think about a book that made a difference in your life. It could be your favorite book, one that you read at school or as part of this year’s summer reading program. How did it make you feel? Did it change the way you see yourself, your family or the world? Choose one book – it can be fiction or nonfiction – and write a short essay about how it had a personal impact on your life.

  • Write a one-page essay.
  • Use examples from the book to make your points.
  • Your essay will be judged on content, structure (spelling and grammar) and creativity.
  • Your essay may be typed or hand-written.

Submit your essay in-person by Monday, August 11, 2014 to a participating public library in the Mid-Atlantic region, along with a completed contest entry form containing your parent or guardian’s signature.


1st Grand Prize = $200 gift card (total of $300 in prizes)
2nd Grand Prize = $150 gift card (total of $250 in prizes)
3rd Grand Prize = $100 gift card (total of $200 in prizes)
State Winners = $50 gift cards (total of $100 in prizes)
State Finalists = $50 gift cards

State Finalists, State Winners, and Grand Prize Winners will be honored during a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on October 18, 2014. The Grand Prize winners will also receive travel vouchers and present their essays during the ceremony. All contest entrants can redeem a free ‘contest prize pack’ at the Library of Congress National Book Festival taking place August 30, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.