Letters About Literature Contest winners announced

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book has announced the Pennsylvania winners of the 2011 Letters About Literature contest, a nationwide event sponsored by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and Target Stores. The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading.

The contest invited students in three grade categories to write letters to authors -- living or dead -- explaining how the author’s words affected them or their worldview. Nicole Baldy of Murrysville won the Level I award, grades four through six, writing to Cynthia Lord about "Rules;" May Wang of Holland won the Level II award, grades seven and eight, writing to Ji-Li Jiang about "The Red Scarf Girl;" and Katie Wingert of Lebanon won the Level III award, grades nine through 12, writing to Laura Ingalls Wilder about "The Long Winter." The winners received a $150 cash prize and a $50 Target gift card at a luncheon honoring them and their families in State College, Pa., on April 9.

Level I honorable-mention winners were: Alexis P. Clifford of Huntingdon writing to Katherine Hannigan about "Ida B;" Nicholas Feffer of Boalsburg writing to James Thurber about "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty;" Ceci Markley of Export writing to Max Lucado about "With You All the Way;" Olivia Mosley of Quakertown writing to Jerry Spinelli about "Stargirl;" Joshua Narrow of Hazleton writing to Carol Matas about "Daniel’s Story;" and Christine A. Troll of Somerset writing to E.B. White about "Charlotte’s Web."

Level II honorable-mention winners were: Jerrica Jamison of Apollo writing to Suzanne Weyn about "The Barcode Tattoo;" Rachel Craft of Enola writing to Sue Monk Kidd about "The Secret Life of Bees;" Anna Kustenborder of Huntingdon writing to Erin Dionne about "The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet;" Abigail Caldwell-Gatsos of Williamsport writing to Anonymous about "Smile;" and Emily Augustine of Pittsburgh writing to Jodi Picoult about "House Rules."

A Level III honor of high distinction, which includes a cash award of $50, went to Benjamin Fait of Danville, writing to Douglas Adams about "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy." Level III honorable-mention winners were: Kyle Dixon of Taylor writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about "Speak;" Maya Craig of Pittsburgh writing to Jhumpa Lahiri about "The Namesake;" Danielle Feffer of Boalsburg writing to Linda Pastan about “To a Daughter Leaving Home”; YingYing Shang of Paoli writing to Amy Tan about "The Joy Luck Club;" Anisah Rafi of Upper St. Clair writing to Marina Budhos about "Ask Me No Questions."

Letters About Literature contest judges were Dotty Delafield, librarian, Mount Nittany Middle School, State College Area School District, of Boalsburg, Pa.; Anna M. Eichner, student at Grove City College, of Tarentum, Pa.; Cindy Pimental, fourth grade teacher at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, Shippensburg University, of Shippensburg, Pa.; Barbara A. Marinak, assistant professor and graduate program coordinator for Literacy Education, Penn State Harrisburg, of Middletown, Pa.; Thomas Sherwood, II, founder and president of BioLexia, a literacy consultancy, of State College, Pa.; and Suzanne Fisher Staples, author, of Nicholson, Pa.

For more information about the contest and awards, please contact Caroline Wermuth, outreach coordinator, at 814-863-5472. Visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website at http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/ online.

Last Updated May 13, 2011