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In 2019-2020, 1,317 Texas students entered the Letters About Literature Contest. Congratulations to all the winners. First place winners advanced to national judging. Two Texans received honorable mentions!
All fourth-12th graders are invited to participate! Read a book or poem, and write a letter. You could be on this list! For more information about the contest, see the Letters About Literature page.
Teachers, librarians, parents, neighbors, and beyond— please share this opportunity and cultivate a love of reading. As you will read in the winners’ entries, this contest takes words off pages, creates a heart connection to story, and organically cultivates lifelong readers.
Level I - Grades 4 Through 6
1st Place Winner: Avinash Kumar - from Austin, TX
Read Avinash's letter about "The Super Life of Ben Braver" by Marcus Emerson
"I picked up your book, The Super Life of Ben Braver, at a book fair, and I turned it over to read
the synopsis like people usually do before buying a book. The first words I saw were: “It all started with a
peanut butter cup”. I love peanut butter cups so you had me there.”
2nd Place Winner: Adelaide Cowden - from Austin, TX
Read Adelaide's letter about "Chains" by Laurie Halse Anderson
"Usually, I forget a book within the same week that I read it, but this one was different. Your book Chains completely changed my view of what an eleven year old girl is like, proving to me that we all are unique, and at some point we all face challenges."
3rd Place Winner: Nylah Qureshi
Read Nylah's letter about "The Night Diary" by Veera Hiranandani
"One day I was at the library just wandering around, not sure which book to choose. That’s when a certain dark blue book caught my eye, it was called The Night Diary. I pulled it off the shelf and opened it to the first page. As I finished the first paragraph, it was time to leave the library. I shut the book, fighting against myself to continue reading, as if trying to pull two strong magnets away from each other."
Level II Grades 7-8
1st Place Winner: Sarah Rose - from Lubbock, TX
Read Sarah's letter about "The Running Dream" by Wendelin Van Draanen
"Your book is an epitome of inspiration and motivation to me. You bravely deal with real issues, bringing
them out into the open. Unfortunately, I didn’t see those issues as real."
2nd Place Winner: Elisa John - from Edinburg, TX
Read Elisa's letter about "A Dog's Purpose" by Bruce Cameron
"For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people say that animals don’t have feelings. They aren’t intelligent enough to comprehend difficult situations, to possess emotions, or worse, to have any real purpose in life. I’ve strongly disagreed, but I never realized just how similar animals are to humans until I read your book."
3rd Place Winner: Jasmine Jeremiah - from Austin, TX
Read Jasmine's letter about "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
"Stay quiet. Avoid conflict. Make no facial expressions. Before I had
read your book, The Hate U Give, those were just a few of the many
things I would tell myself when faced with a problem I didn’t agree
with. But little did I know, that would only make matters worse."
Level III Grades 9-12
1st Place Winner: Gabrielle Avena - from Driftwood, TX
Read Gabrielle's letter about " A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara
“I had always known my sister would attempt suicide. The night she tried, after the police were gone and we were sure she was getting medical attention, I got out my journal and started to write. My first words were this: It wasn't a question of if so much as when.”
2nd Place Winner: Ella Johnson - from Austin, TX
Read Ella's letter about "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine
"Hi. My name’s Ella. Not a rare name, but not quite a common one. The first time I ever saw my name in any piece of media was in Ella Enchanted. I love every one of your books, but Ella Enchanted is my favorite to this very day, and not just because of the name."
3rd Place Winner: Cecilia Longoria - from Mission, TX
Read Cecilia's letter about " Looking for Alaska" by John Green
"I never liked the idea of vulnerability. But I love how Alaska proudly wore it on her sleeve."