Letters about Literature contest winners announced

May 10, 2010

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book announces the Pennsylvania winners of the 2010 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. Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its national reading initiative, "Ready. Sit. Read!," which is aimed at fostering a love of reading among children at an early age. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.

This contest invites students in three grade categories to write letters to authors—living or dead—explaining how the author’s words affected them or their worldview. Lucy Zhang of Center Valley won the Level I prize, grades four through six, writing to Jung Chang about "Wild Swans;" Thanh Nguyen of Lancaster won the Level II award, grades seven and eight, writing to Barbara Park about the "Junie B. Jones series;" and Adam Snyder of Pittsburgh won the Level III award, grades nine through 12, writing to Agatha Christie about "And Then There Were None." 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 17.

In addition to winning the Level II state award, Thanh Nguyen also won an honorable mention in the national Letters about Literature contest. She will receive a $100 Target GiftCard and a $1000 Target grant for the library of her choice, which is Lincoln Middle School Library in Lancaster. Thanh said, “I hope that by donating this amount of money, Lincoln is able to afford new books for the benefit of many students and their love for reading.”

A Level I honor of high distinction, which includes a cash award of $50, goes to James Dal Santo of Kingston, writing to Jerry Spinelli about "Stargirl." Level I honorable-mention winners are: Nick D’Ambrosio of Doylestown writing to Jordan Sonnenblick about "Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie;" Chirag Agarwal of Plymouth Meeting, writing to Shane Osborne about "Born to Fly;" Hannah Entwistle of Lafayette Hill, writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about "Fever 1793;" TaMyra Starks of Philadelphia, writing to Maya Angelou about “Still I Rise”; Savanna Lattanzi of Yardley, writing to Alida E. Young about "Is My Sister Dying?;" and Ari Trey-Masters of Philadelphia, writing to Wendy Mass about "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life."

Level II honorable-mention winners are: Laura Steininger of Middleburg, writing to Mary Beth Miller about "Aimee;" Jeannie Deininger of Hatfield, writing to Yaacov Peterseil about "Princess Alopecia;" Seolin Park of Bryn Mawr writing to Shannon Hale about "The Goose Girl;" and Joseph Dal Santo of Kingston writing to Brian Jacques about "Redwall."

Level III honorable-mention winners are:  Drevon Carter of Beaver Falls writing to Daniel Keyes about "Flowers for Algernon;" Shelley Attadgie of Newtown writing to J.K. Rowling about her Harry Potter series; Austin Spears of Sharpsville writing to Elie Wiesel about "Night;" Cooper Irons of Pittsburgh writing to Gregory Maguire about "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West;" Suraj Sundar of Upper St. Clair writing to Yann Martel about "Life of Pi;" Catherine Troll of Somerset writing to Charles Dickens about "A Tale of Two Cities;" and Alexander Schaffer of Holland writing to Khaled Hosseini about "The Kite Runner."

Letters About Literature Pennsylvania contest judges were Nancy Leuschner, retired English and humanities teacher from Harrisburg; Kara Robertson, internet librarian at Vivisimo, Inc. in Pittsburgh; Maggie Herb, teaching associate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana; Anna Eichner, a student at Grove City College, Grove City; Cindy Pimental, fourth grade teacher at G.B. Luhrs University Elementary School, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg; Barbara A. Marinak, assistant professor and graduate program coordinator for literacy education, Penn State Harrisburg in Middletown; and Suzanne Fisher Staples, author from Nicholson.

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 www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu.

Last Updated May 11, 2010