Washington State's Letters About Literature 2006-2007

Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature encourages young readers to write letters to their favorite authors, competing at the national level for an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. This is the second year Washington State Library has sponsored the competition as part of Washington Reads.

Readers in grades 4-12 write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work shaped their perspective on the world or themselves. Students could write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. State judges selected the top letter writers in Washington, who then advance to the national competition.

Letter writers compete at three levels: Level I is grades 4-6; Level II is grades 7-8; and Level III is grades 9-12. One letter from each level from each state is entered into the national competition.

2,174 students in Washington State entered letters in Letters About Literature 2006-2007, an increase of 610 more than last year. Washington had 230 semi-finalist letters selected- view the list of all semi-finalists, the authors they wrote to, and the books they wrote about.From the 230 semi-finalists, three champions and 34 honorable mentions were selected.

Washington State Letters About Literature 2006-2007 Champions

Christopher Waite, a 4th grader from Ordway Elementary School on Bainbridge Island wrote the Level I champion letter. Chris wrote to Kenneth Hall about his book Asperger Syndrome, the Universe and Everything. Read Christopher's letter.

Ben Boyle, an 8th grader from St. Monica School on Mercer Island wrote the Level II champion letter. Ben's letter was to John Howard Griffin the author of Black Like Me. Read Ben's letter.

Janita Harris, a 10th grader from Bellarmine Preparatory in Tacoma wrote the Level III champion letter. Janita wrote to Virginia Euwer Wolff about her novel True Believer. Read Janita's letter.

A special thank you to this year's judges:

Washington State Judges - Letters About Literature 2006-2007

Judges Level I:
Tim Mallory, Adult Services Coordinator, Timberland Regional Library
Dean Marney, Director, North Central Regional Library, Wenatchee
Karen Spence, Community Libraries & Outreach Manager, Yakima Valley Regional Library

Judges Level II:
Sherry Hokanson, Director, Fairchild Air Force Base Library
Brian Soneda, Directory, Mount Vernon Public Library
Jan Walsh, State Librarian, Washington State Library, Olympia

Judges Level III:
Scott Blume, Head of Children's Services, Bellingham Public Library
Kathryn Hamilton-Wang, Northwest & Historical Collections Outreach Coordinator, Washington State Library, Olympia
Sarah Rich, Reading Programs Manager, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

The judges were impressed with the many thought-provoking letters. The judges at all levels enjoyed reading the students genuine, intriguing reactions to the books they had read. Semi-finalist letters came from students throughout Washington, and the variety of books read was remarkable.

The Washington State Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 6, 2007 in the Capitol Rotunda in the Legislative Building in Olympia. Secretary of State Sam Reed and Washington State Librarian Jan Walsh will present awards and all semi-finalists present will be acknowledged.

Letters About Literature is sponsored by the Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State, as part of the Washington Reads program. Letters About Literature is also sponsored by The Center for the Book, Library of Congress and Target stores.

To read about the Letters About Literature program at the national level, please click here:

Thank you to all the students, teachers, and families who participated in Washington's Letters About Literature program. Keep reading and writing!