Nine students have won the state round of the 2019 Letters About Literature competition, sponsored in part by the Texas Center for the Book. This national reading and writing program, initiated by the Library of Congress, encourages 4th-12th graders to write to an author (living or deceased) about how his or her book has affected their lives. Nationally, almost 30,000 students wrote letters this year, and since 1997, over one million students have participated.
This year’s Texas winners responded to a diverse set of authors.
Level 1 (grades 4-6):
- Asha Blewett of Addison wrote to Deborah Ellis.
- Chloe Nguyen of Addison wrote to Sharon Draper.
- Lukas Palys of Addison wrote to Jeanne DuPrau.
Level 2 (grades 7-8):
- Danielle Weatherwax of Dallas wrote to Sarah J. Maas.
- Rachel Herskovits of Dallas wrote to Eleanor Schick.
- Simon Sy of Edinburg wrote to Victor Hugo.
Level 3 (grades 9-12):
- Evelyn Wilson of Houston wrote to John Green.
- Haley A. Jústiz of Austin wrote to Jennifer L. Armentrout.
- Colby Menefee of Buffalo wrote to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
A total of 1,617 Texas students participated this year and shared their personal connections to literature. One hundred and sixty-one letters advanced to the third round of judging at The Texas Center for the Book, an office of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Judges scored the letters based on organization, idea development, language and emotional connection.
On April 16th, first place winners will read their letters and be honored at the Texas Association of School Librarians meeting at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Austin. These winning letters are now submitted for competition at the national level.
“Students made such profound connections with the written word,” commented Rebekah Manley, Coordinator of the Texas Center for the Book. “This opportunity takes words off pages, creates a heart connection to story and organically cultivates life-long readers.”
For a complete list of winners and their letters, visit: www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. The Texas Center for the Book is one of 50 state centers affiliated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, TCFB promotes books, literacy, and reading through various activities.