Learn about the 2019-2020 Letters About Literature Contest!

We wanted to share the following information from our friends at the Texas Center for the Book about the 2019-2020 Letters About Literature Contest. You can find the complete press release here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/pressrelease/LAL2020

Letters About Literature Texas

The Texas Center for the Book has launched the 2019-2020 Letters About Literature Texas contest, a program that invites students to respond to authors of books or poetry who have touched their lives. The contest opened November 4, 2019, and is open to Texas students in grades 4 through 12.

Participants select a book, book series, essay, play poem, short story of speech that has made a lasting impact on their lives. They then write a personal letter to the author that reflects how they have been changed, inspired or motivated by the work they selected. State winners receive $100 and a trip to the 2020 Texas Library Association Conference.
All submissions for the 2020 contest must be submitted on the new online submission platform by December 17, 2019, 5:00 p.m. (CST).  A permission form is required for all students who will be younger than 13 on November 4, 2019.

To learn more about the contest, how to submit and to view winning entries from previous years, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. The website also features an Educator Resources page including printable bookmarks and student handouts, participation certificates, key dates, permission forms, and a step-by-step teaching guide featuring writing prompts. The site also includes a Frequently Asked Questions page, student and teacher submission guidelines, letters from past winner, videos from authors, and the official contest rules.

After administering the contest for 27 years, the Library of Congress (LOC), has decided to give state centers full control over their Letters About Literature programs. In Texas, we are committed to continuing the contest at the state level using the LOC’s rubric, standards and judging framework. Although there will not be a national prize, we will stick with our Texas tradition of awarding a $100 cash prize to winners in all three levels, as well as providing travel assistance to the LAL Texas award ceremony at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference.

For more information on Texas Center for the Book initiatives, a project of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/centerforthebook or contact Ms. Manley at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov or 512-936-2505.

2019 Letters About Literature Contest Winners Announced

Letters About LIterature banner

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):

  1. Asha Blewett of Addison wrote to Deborah Ellis.
  2. Chloe Nguyen of Addison wrote to Sharon Draper.
  3. Lukas Palys of Addison wrote to Jeanne DuPrau.

Level 2 (grades 7-8):

  1. Danielle Weatherwax of Dallas wrote to Sarah J. Maas.
  2. Rachel Herskovits of Dallas wrote to Eleanor Schick.
  3. Simon Sy of Edinburg wrote to Victor Hugo.

Level 3 (grades 9-12):

  1. Evelyn Wilson of Houston wrote to John Green.
  2. Haley A. Jústiz of Austin wrote to Jennifer L. Armentrout.
  3. 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.

Learn about the 2018-2019 Letters About Literature Contest!

Letters About Literature BannerInterested in encouraging your students or patrons to participate in Letters About Literature? The Texas Center for the Book has updated their Letters About Literature website with new submission steps, rules and forms! Visit the website here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature

What is Letters About Literature?

All fourth-12th graders are invited to participate in this contest that invites them to write a letter to an author who moved them. The 2018-2019 contest will open on Nov. 1, 2018, with Texas submissions due to the new online submission platform by Dec. 14, 2018.

Please read the submission steps and official rules from the Library of CongressA permission form is required for all students entering who will be under the age of 13 on Nov. 11, 2018.

If you are interested in reading stellar examples, please check out the 2018 winners here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature/2018winners.


Please contact Rebekah Manley, Coordinator for the Center for the Book of Texas, at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov.

Upcoming Webinar: The Letters About Literature Reading & Writing Competition Made Easy For Educators and Librarians

Do you want your 4-12th grade students to participate in the Letters About Literature this year? Might adding “one more thing” to your curriculum seem daunting? The Texas Center for the Book wants to help educators easily velcro LAL to projects that are already in motion.

When: Tue, Oct 17, 2017 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT

Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3894158310108834307

Mary Powers, Youth Services Supervisor for Midland County Public Libraries, understands the judging rubric and will pair highlights from the Library of Congress’ teaching guide with winning letter examples. Monica Bullock, an English Teacher at Greenhill School, will share their successful method of incorporating Letters About Literature into their school’s memoir writing unit. Rebekah Manley, the Coordinator for the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, administers the Texas portion of this National competition. She will give the overview of the contest, incentives for school participation and a breakdown on the cash and travel prizes for winners.

Check out https://www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature for more information including deadlines, entry details and this brief contest video.

Attendance at the LIVE program qualifies for 1 hour of Texas State Library Continuing Education credit (SBEC provider number 500799). Printed certificates will not be issued. A follow-up email will be sent 2 days after the event to individuals who attended the live Webinar. Attendees are advised to save and/or print the follow-up email as it will serve as proof of attendance for CE purposes. CE credit is available for group viewings of live Webinar events — please follow the Group Webinar Viewing procedure listed at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/workshops/webinars/faqs.html#groups. Viewing of the RECORDED program will not qualify for CE credit unless it becomes part of an online shortcourse.

If you use assistive technology and the format of any material related to this training event interferes with your ability to access the information, please email ld@tsl.texas.gov.

Questions about Letters About Literature? Contact Rebekah Manley at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov

Learn about Letters About Literature!

Have you heard about Letters About Literature, but are not sure exactly what it is or how to help students in your community participate? You’re in luck! The Texas Center for the Book has released a new Letters About Literature information page! This page includes valuable information about the contest, including the following sharable video:

Letters About Literature is a reading/writing contest for 4th-12th graders under the direction of the Library of Congress.

State winners receive $100 and a trip to the Texas Library Association Conference. National winners receive $1,000 and travel assistance to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C.

Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. See this printable handout as a frame of reference for key information.

Questions? More information, including submission deadlines, can be found at the Letters About Literature page at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. You can also contact the Coordinator for the Texas Center for the Book, Rebekah Manley, at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov.