May 29, 2018 Library of Congress Announces Reading-Writing Competition Winners

Students Wrote to Authors as Diverse as Margot Lee Shetterly, Rick Riordan, Helen Keller, Tim Howard and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: Kathleen McGuigan (202) 707-8545
Website: Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature, a Library of Congress national writing competition, has announced its winners for 2018. The national program, now in its 26th year, asks young people in grades 4-12 to write to an author about how his or her work affected their lives.

More than 46,800 young readers from across the country participated in the annual initiative, which aims to instill a lifelong love of reading in the nation’s youth and to engage and nurture their passion for literature. The contest is promoted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress through its affiliated state centers, state libraries, state humanities councils and other organizations.

“Letters About Literature provides an authentic writing experience for students to reflect on their own reading and connect with an author,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “As a librarian, I know first-hand how important the link is between reading and writing. Children who read will write better and children who write will read more.”

This year, more than 1,500 educators and 1,200 schools implemented the Letters About Literature program in their classrooms. The contest reached students in 70 percent of U.S. congressional districts.

This year’s winners come from all parts of the country. They wrote to authors as diverse as Margot Lee Shetterly, Rick Riordan, Helen Keller, Tim Howard and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Top letter-writers are chosen for each state and in each of three levels: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). For each level, a National Prize winner and two National Honor winners are chosen.

Following are this year’s winners:

Level 1 National Prize

Akosua Haynes of Chicago, Illinois, wrote to Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race.”

 

Level 1 National Honor Award

Ainsley Carr of Parker, Colorado, wrote to Gill Lewis, author of “White Dolphin.”

Adam Kesselman of Addison, Texas, wrote to Tim Howard, author of “The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard.”

 

Level 2 National Prize

Rylee Paige Johnson of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, wrote to Gabrielle Zevin, author of “Elsewhere.”

 

Level 2 National Honor Award

Riya Sharma of Redmond, Washington, wrote to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of “The Confidence Code for Girls.”

Baxter Lowrimore of Austin, Texas, wrote to Rick Riordan, author of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.”

 

Level 3 National Prize

Malavika Kannan of Oviedo, Florida, wrote to Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author of “Slaughter-House Five.”

 

Level 3 National Honor Award

Maya Mau of Plainsboro, New Jersey, wrote to Helen Keller, author of “The Story of My Life.”

Sukanya Barman of Memphis, Tennessee, wrote to Laurie Halse Anderson, author of “Catalyst.”

 

The national program is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book.

Letters About Literature is a dynamic educational program that promotes lifelong readers and helps develop successful writers. It is the Library’s signature national outreach program to young people. More than 1 million students have participated in the writing contest since it began a quarter of a century ago.

An online teaching guide uses proven strategies for improving reading and writing proficiency and is aligned with the learning objectives recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Literacy Association. Learn more about the contest and read current and past winning letters at read.gov/letters/.

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit read.gov.

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. 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 18-054
2018-05-29
ISSN 0731-3527