May 25, 2012 Letters About Literature Winners Announced

Six Libraries to Receive $10,000 Grants from Target

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing program that asks young people in grades 4 through 12 to write to an author (living or deceased) about how his or her book affected their lives, has announced its 2012 winners.

Tens of thousands of young readers from across the country participated in this year’s Letters About Literature initiative, a reading promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target.

This year’s winners come from all parts of the country and wrote to authors as diverse as George Orwell, author of “Animal Farm”; Sharon Draper, author of “Out of My Mind”; Emily Dickinson, author of the poem “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?” and Jon Krakauer, author of “Into Thin Air.”

The top letters in each competition level for each state were chosen. Then, two National winners were chosen from each of the three competition levels: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). National winners each designate a favorite library that he or she wishes to receive a $10,000 grant from Target. The students each receive a $500 Target GiftCard.

The four National Honors recipients from each competition level designate a library to receive a $1,000 Target grant; the students each receive a $50 Target GiftCard.

Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income – which today equals more than $3 million a week – to communities. Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to education. Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 to help kids learn, schools teach and parents and caring adults engage.

On the state level, the program is sponsored by affiliate State Centers for the Book. State and national judges include published authors, editors, publishers, librarians and teachers.

National Winners

Level 1

  • Margaret Lim, Searcy, Ark., grade 6, wrote to Sharon Draper, author of “Out of My Mind"
  • Darius Atefat-Peckham, Huntington, W.Va, grade 5, wrote to Mark Doty, author of “Dog Years”

Level 2

  • Diana Lanni, Fairbanks, Alaska, grade 8, wrote to Robert Service, author of “The Three Voices”
  • Abbie Beaver, Hot Springs, Ark., grade 8, wrote to George Orwell, author of “Animal Farm”

Level 3

  • Amber-Nicole Watty, Grantville, Ga., grade 12, wrote to Jay Asher, author of “Thirteen Reasons Why”
  • Alexandra McLaughlin, Minneapolis, grade 12, wrote to Tim O’Brien, author of “The Things They Carried”

National Honor Winners

Level 1

  • Tekyiah Sandford, Winder, Ga., grade 6, wrote to Sharon Flake, author of “The Skin I’m In”
  • Ella Frantzen, Lafayette, La., grade 5, wrote to Fred Gipson, author of “Old Yeller”
  • Erica Langan, Cincinnati, grade 6, wrote to Emily Dickinson about her poem “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?”
  • Clare Doran, Seattle, grade 6, wrote to Jamie Ford, author of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”

Level 2

  • Ian Tindel, Newhall, Calif., grade 8, wrote to Piers Anthony, author of “On a Pale Horse”
  • Abigail Taylor, Iola, Kan., grade 8. Author’s name and book title withheld by request; Abigail Taylor’s letter is also withheld by request
  • Everest Fang, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, grade 8, wrote to Jon Krakauer, author of “Into Thin Air”
  • Sam Smith, Port Townsend, Wash., grade 8, wrote to Julie Ann Peters, author of “Keeping You a Secret”

Level 3

  • Paw Soe, Fort Wayne, Ind., grade 10, wrote to Cynthia Kadohata, author of “Kira-Kira”
  • Ida Behreini, Bayonne, N.J., grade 9, wrote to Suzanne Collins, author of “The Hunger Games”
  • Lucia Hadella, Talent, Ore., grade 12, wrote to Derrick Jensen, author of “A Language Older than Words”
  • Oliver Reed, Spokane, Wash., grade 10, wrote to William Ernest Henley, author of “Invictus”

The complete national winning letters are available in the “News” section at External.

For information about the program and a list of previous winners, visit For further details, contact national program director Cathy Gourley at [email protected].

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at more than 1,763 stores across the United States and at The company plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit External.


PR 12-110
ISSN 0731-3527