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Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature 2014 winners
Letters about Literature award winners at the April 9, 2014, proclamation-signing ceremony: (l-r) Thomas D'Aquila, Elkhorn; Christopher Penas-Hull, Lincoln; Sydney Kohl, Lincoln; Gov. Dave Heineman; Brianna Wilson, Big Springs; Madeline Walker, Lincoln; and Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. Not pictured: Wyatt Liewer, O'Neill.

Listen to Sydney Kohl, Lincoln, read her submission on NET Nebraska Radio's All About Books.

About

LAL is a national reading and writing promotion program sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and presented in partnership with participating affiliate state centers for the book. Letters About Literature is coordinated and sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission.

To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.

Contest participants compete on three levels:

Letters About Literature awards prizes on both the state and national levels. Each state center has its own panel of judges who select the top essayists in the state. State winners will receive prizes, and then advance to the national competition.

FAQs

Can a library participate by having the kids write the letters, we collect them, and we submit them together? Absolutely! Even though it does look like the form focuses on a “teacher” interaction, please just substitute “library staff” for “teacher” and move forward with the group submission process.
Are the submissions only sent to the national office? Yes. They do not need to send a copy to the state center for the book. After the initial national judging process, the national program forwards a selection of letters to the Nebraska Center for the Book judges.
Is there a way for us to find out in the end who from our community participates? We would love for you to recognize each of the kids locally who submit a letter, whether they are selected or not as a winner. We are not sure if this is possible, due to confidentiality. We will ask the national team if they have any problem with us sharing the list when they send it to us—we’ll address this question by amending this FAQ, when we are clear on the answer. In the meantime, I would suggest that the librarians keep a copy of the entry coupons that they send to the national team. They would then have contact information—which can be difficult to access after the contest is closed.

How to enter

The deadline for submissions for the 2015 contest is Dec. 15, 2014, for Level 3 and Jan. 15, 2015, for Level 1 and Level 2. The Nebraska Center for the Book will notify the winners within Nebraska, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will notify National Winners on or about 5/15/15. View and print the Guidelines and Entry Form for Schools & Libraries  [pdf].

Visit the official website for additional information. You may also contact Mary Jo Ryan for state-specific information and prize details. For more information, call 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.

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2014 Letters About Literature Proclamation
View the Proclamation, which lists the Honorees [PDF]

2013-2014 Winners

Level I: Christopher Penas-Hull, Lincoln; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Level II: Sydney Kohl, Lincoln; A Fire in My Hand by Gary Soto
Listen to her read her submission on NET Nebraska Radio's All About Books.
Level III: Brianna Wilson, Big Springs; You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski

2013-2014 Alternate Winners

Level I: Madeline Walker, Lincoln; Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Level II: Wyatt Liewer, O'Neill; Brian's Hunt by Gary Paulsen
Level III: Thomas D'Aquila, Elkhorn; Maus by Art Spiegelman

2012-2013 Winners

Letters About Literature 2013 winners
Honorees with Gov. Dave Heineman at the April 10, 2013, proclamation-signing ceremony. Also pictured: Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission, and Mary Ellen Ducey, Nebraska Center for the Book.

 Proclamation 2013
View the Proclamation, which lists the Honorees [PDF]

Level I: Sydney Miller, Lincoln; Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Level II: Shannon Chinn, Omaha; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury -- Congratulations to Shannon, also the National Runner-Up this year!
Level III: Young-Joon Park, Elkhorn; Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

2012-2013 Alternate Winners

Level I: William Conrad, Lincoln; David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Level II: Cole Shank, Lincoln; Phantoms in the Snow by Kathleen Benner Duble
Level III: Allie Thompson, Omaha; The Help by Kathryn Stockett

2011-2012 Winners

Level I: Ethan Vanneman, Lincoln; The Legend of Bass Reeves by Gary Paulsen
Level II: Marin Harrington, Omaha; The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Level III: Arash Hamidi, Omaha; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

2011-2012 Alternate Winners

Level I: Taisha Morris, Omaha; My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold
Level II: Tyson Hostert, O'Neill; Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen
Level III: Maria Terrazas, Ansley; Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

2010-2011 Winners

National Library Week Proclamation 2011
View the Proclamation, which lists the Honorees [PDF]

Level I: Grace Doll, Lincoln; My Antonia by Willa Cather
Level II: Megan Brookhouser, Omaha; The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Level III: Arash Hamidi, Omaha; American-born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

2010-2011 Alternate Winners

Level I: Frank Wickizer, Lincoln; The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Level II: Grace Cai, Omaha; Northern Lights (The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Level III: Timarree Speer, Mason City; Annie’s Baby by Beatrice Sparks

2009-2010 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Haylie R. Roberts, Pender; Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Victoria Kolala, Omaha; Think Big by Ben Carson — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Arash Hamidi, Omaha; Torn Between Two Cultures by Maryam Qudrat Aseel

Letters About Literature winners

2009-2010 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Mia Thomas, Bellevue; Devil’s Arithmetic by Lois Lowry — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Megan Brookhouser, Omaha; The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Shawn Gasseling, Alliance; A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini — Letter [pdf]

2008-2009 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Ashley Bowen, Bellevue; Dewey by Vicki Myron — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Maggie Vinton, North Platte; Thirteen Little Blue Notes by Maureen Johnson — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Drew Harsin, Blair; Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls — Letter [pdf]

2008-2009 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Chloe Schwarting, Bellevue; The Giver by Lois Lowry — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Katie Cosman, North Platte; Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Kayleigh Doll, Blair; By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz — Letter [pdf]

2007-2008 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Ellen Friesen, Lincoln; Number the Stars by Lois Lowry — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Itahi Sanchez, Lincoln; Please Hear What I’m Not Saying by Charles Finn — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Andrew Squires, Lincoln; Prison Writings: My Life Is my Sun Dance by Leonard Peltier — Letter [pdf]

2007-2008 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Carol Fisher, North Platte; Eragon by Christopher Paolini — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Wyatt Nelson, Lincoln; Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Amanda Ferguson, North Platte; Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank — Letter [pdf]

2006-2007 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Kassy Pepper, Bellevue — Letter [pdf] to Margaret Peterson Haddix
Level II: Tayler Hough, Omaha — Letter [pdf] to Ann Martin
Level III: Carrie Chen, Lincoln — Letter [pdf] to Louisa May Alcott

2006-2007 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Brooke Klebe, Lincoln — Letter [pdf] to Jeanne Birdsall
Level II: Claire Wiebe, Lincoln — Letter [pdf] to J.R.R. Tolkein
Level III: Katie Kutsenko, Lincoln — Letter [pdf] to Leo Tolstoy

2006-2007 Award of Merit Winner & Letter

Lilyane Sanchez, Lincoln — Letter [pdf] to Harriet Beecher Stowe

2005-2006 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Connor Goecke, Omaha; The Giver by Lois Lowry — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Ellen Muehling, Lincoln; A Rose for Melinda by Lurlene McDaniel — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Sallie Dietrich, Lincoln; I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green — Letter [pdf]

2005-2006 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Julia Stanislav, Omaha; Number the Stars by Lois Lowry — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Melissa West, Omaha; Hawksong by Amelia Atwater Rhodes — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Cody Sedlacek, North Platte; Woodsong by Gary Paulson — Letter [pdf]

2004-2005 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Fiona Loggie, Omaha — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Elizabeth Milan, Herman — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Alexander J. Lin, Lincoln — Letter [pdf]

2004-2005 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Alex Totusek, Omaha — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Amanda Wall, Henderson — Letter [pdf]
Level III: John Welch, Hastings — Letter [pdf]

2003-2004 Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Jackson Fisher, Lincoln; also National Winner — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Molly Keran, Lincoln — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Philip Thraikill, North Platte — Letter [pdf]

2003-2004 Alternate Winners & Their Letters

Level I: Kelsey Springsguth, Saint Libory — Letter [pdf]
Level II: Amber Hoffman, Omaha — Letter [pdf]
Level III: Alexander J. Lin, Lincoln — Letter [pdf]

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