September 8, 2016 National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest Winners Announced

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.

Nearly 300 young readers submitted essays to participating public libraries in the Mid-Atlantic region in this fifth year of the contest. Launched in 2012 with the DC 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.

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. This year’s guest author judge was Jason Reynolds, recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, who will also be a presenter at the 2016 National Book Festival.

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" awards 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. 24, 2016 at 3:20 p.m. at the Children I Stage and will be emceed by Eun Yang, NBC4 Washington television anchor.

Grand Prize & State Winners

1st Place Grand Prize & Delaware State Winner
Rachel Smookler, New Castle County Libraries – Brandywine Hundred Library, who wrote about “Jack and Louisa: Act 1" by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead.

2nd Place Grand Prize & Maryland State Winner
Julia Lucy Grumet, Montgomery County Public Libraries – Bethesda Library, who wrote about “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan.

3rd Place Grand Prize & Pennsylvania State Winner
Mikayla Phasupong, Citizen’s Library, who wrote about “The Sneetches” by Dr. Suess.

Virginia State Winner
Isla Rodriguez, Richmond Public Library – Ginter Park Library, who wrote about “March” by John Lewis.

Washington, D.C. Winner
Abigail Kelso, DC Public Library – Chevy Chase Library, who wrote about “Wonder" by R.J. Palacio.

West Virginia State Winner
Alexia Rahl, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg Public Library, who wrote about “Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry.

State Finalists (winners indicated by asterisks)

District of Columbia Finalists
Atalia Berger, DC Public Library – Southeast Library
Noah Antonio Dooley, DC Public Library - The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library
Lila Easton, DC Public Library – Northeast Library
Mason Gray, DC Public Library – Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
* Abigail Kelso, DC Public Library – Chevy Chase Library

Maryland Finalists
Zoe Antonishek, Montgomery County Public Libraries – Poolesville Library
Thomas Preston Berry-Mike, Montgomery Public Libraries – Aspen Hill Library
* Julia Lucy Grumet, Montgomery County Public Libraries – Bethesda Library
Grace Harvey, Montgomery County Public Libraries – Bethesda Library
Swathi Sevugan, Montgomery County Public Libraries – Quince Orchard Library

Virginia Finalists
Alexia De Costa, Arlington Public Library
Shelly Dimri, Arlington Public Library
Malayeka Khan, Prince William Public Library – Chinn Park Regional Library
* Isla Rodriguez, Richmond Public Library - Ginter Park Library
Viktor Vollen, Mary Riles Styles Public Library

Delaware Finalists
Molly Amerling, Frankford Public Library (of Sussex County Department of Libraries)
Emily Carpenter, Dover Public Library
Lucy Goodwin, New Castle County Libraries – Hockessin Library
* Rachel Smookler, New Castle County Libraries – Brandywine Hundred Library
Lauren Woods, New Castle County Libraries – Hockessin Library

Pennsylvania Finalists
Lindsey Baldwin, Western Pocono Community Library
* Mikayla Phasupong, Citizen’s Library
Brenna Pipkin, Chester County Library System
Gabrielle Stawski, Wissahickon Valley Public Library System
Sebastien Weaver, Montgomery County- Norristown Public Library

West Virginia Finalists
Sierra N. Deibert, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg Public Library
Christien Janvier Morel, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg Public Library
Declan Mungovan, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg Public Library
Nessan Mungovan, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg Public Library
* Alexia Rahl, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries – Martinsburg 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 loc.gov/bookfest/kids-teachers/booksthatshape/. For further details, contact [email protected].

The Library of Congress National Book Festival, now in its 16th year, will gather 120 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. 24, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit loc.gov/bookfest/.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private and public sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter Sponsors are 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 FedEx, The Junior League of Washington and Scholastic Inc.; and, in the Friends category, Centro Primo Levi, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., GEICO, the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of Latvia, the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Arts Council, the Embassy of Uruguay, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams, Mensa Education and Research Foundation, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Lissa Muscatine & Bradley Graham, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Small Press Expo, SPAIN arts & culture and Split This Rock. Media Partners are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, PBS Book View Now and NPR. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at [email protected].

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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PR 16-158
2016-09-08
ISSN 0731-3527