August 28, 2015 National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest Winners Announced

Rising 5 th and 6 th Graders Shined and Shared “A Book That Shaped Me”

Press Contact: Lola Pyne (202) 707-3128
Public Contact: Bryonna Head (202) 707-3073

The Library of Congress today announced the winners of its "A Book That Shaped Me" Summer Writing Contest, a program that asks rising fifth- and sixth-graders to reflect on a book that has made a personal impact in their lives.

More than 200 young readers submitted essays to participating public libraries in the Mid-Atlantic region in this fourth year of the contest. Launched in 2012 with the D.C. Public Library, "A Book That Shaped Me" expanded with the help of public libraries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The local libraries offered the contest as part of their summer-reading programs.

Five finalists per state were chosen in an initial round of judging. The finalists each will receive a $50 gift-card prize.

That judging was conducted by members of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The AASL works to ensure all elementary- and secondary-school librarians participate as collaborative partners in the teaching and learning process.

The grand-prize judging round, which selected state and grand-prize winners from the pool of state finalists, was conducted by a panel assembled by the Library of Congress that included educators, children’s authors, and Library of Congress staff.

Each state winner will receive another $50 gift-card prize. The first-, second-, and third-place grand-prize winners will be awarded additional gift-card prizes in the amounts of $200, $150, and $100 respectively.

Grand-prize winners will read their essays during the "A Book That Shaped Me" presentation at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. The contest presentation will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 at 12:40 p.m. in the Teens Pavilion.

Grand Prize & State Winners

1st Place Grand Prize and Virginia State Winner

Alexia De Costa, Arlington Public Library, who wrote about "Rules" by Cynthia Lord

2nd Place Grand Prize and Pennsylvania State Winner

Allison Templeton, Bucks County Free Library, who wrote about the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

3rd Place Grand Prize and Maryland State Winner

Maria Lemma, Enoch Pratt Free Library, who wrote about "Homesick" by Jean Fritz

Delaware State Winner

Megan Korwek, New Castle County Libraries – Kirkwood Library, who wrote about "The Brightest Star!" by Kathleen Maresh Hemery

Washington, D.C. Winner

Mason Gray, D.C. Public Library - Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, who wrote about "A Guide to Giving Back" by Claire O'Neal

West Virginia State Winner

Declan Mungovan, Martinsburg-Berkleley County Public Libraries – Main Library, who wrote about "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" by Tom Angleberger

State Finalists (winners indicated by asterisks)

District of Columbia Finalists

Mason Gray*, DC Public Library – Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Isha Iyengar, DC Public Library – Chevy Chase Library
Naomi Johnson, D.C. Public Library
Maya Lall, D.C. Public Library
Savannah Wright, D.C. Public Library

Maryland Finalists

Olivia Fuller, Carroll County Public Library
Emma Jernigan, Carroll County Public Library
Maria Lemma*, Enoch Pratt Free Library
Rahmah Majeed, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System – New Carrollton
Julie Walsh, Carroll County Public Library

Virginia Finalists

Anya Ambarish, Prince William Public Library – Central Community Library
Alexia De Costa*, Arlington Public Library
Elaine Li, Arlington Public Library
Joshua Lim, Dumfries Neighborhood Library
Patrick McMahon, Mary Riley Styles Public Library

Delaware Finalists

Dean Greenfield, New Castle County Libraries – Elsmere Library
Megan Korwek*, New Castle County Libraries – Kirkwood Library
Donnie Morton, New Castle County Libraries – Brandywine Hundred Library
Bridget Catherine Sweeney, Wilmington Institute Library
Lauren R. Woods, New Castle County Libraries – Hockessin Library

Pennsylvania Finalists

Alia C. Bell, Berks County Public Library System, Exeter Community Library
Robert Gardner, Free Library of Philadelphia – Central Library
Maura Eloise Johnson, Chester County Library – Oxford Public Library
Allison Templeton*, Bucks County Free Library – Yardley-Makefield Library
Kristina Trojak, York County Library System – Paul Smith Library of Southern York County

West Virginia Finalists

Emily Bennett, Southern Area Public Library
Gwynedd Ellis, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Main Library
Anna Monson, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Main Library
Declan Mungovan*, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Main Library
Emma Samples, Southern Area Public Library

The detailed list of current and previous winners along with more information about the “A Book That Shaped Me” program is available at For further details, contact

The Library of Congress National Book Festival, now in its 15th year, will gather 175 authors for readers of all ages to offer talks, Q&A, and book-signings. The festival will be presented free of charge at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. For more information, go to

The National Book Festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Board Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor and has pledged funding for the festival for five more years. Charter Sponsors include AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsors, The James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Contributor-level sponsors are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, The Junior League of Washington, Jacqueline B. Mars, National Geographic, PBS Book View Now, Scholastic Inc. and WAMU 88.5 FM; and, in the Friends category, Australia Council for the Arts, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., The Embassy of Peru in the United States of America, Georgetown University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams, the Inter-American Development Bank, The Jefferson Hotel, Susan Carmel Lehrman, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute with support from board chair Roger A. Strauch, the Mensa Education & Research Foundation, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham, the National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR, Small Press Expo and Split This Rock. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at


PR 15-151
ISSN 0731-3527