Washington's Letters About Literature 2014


 Washington's 2014 Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony

The Letters About Literature awards ceremony for this year's state champions, runners up, and honorable mentions was held on Friday, May 9th in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  State Librarian Rand Simmons welcomed everyone and First Lady Trudi Inslee spoke to the assembled guests.  Secretary of State Kim Wyman presented the honorable mentions and runners up with their award certificates and then she introduced each state champion and invited them to read their letters.

Peter Baumer, a fourth grader from Port Orchard, is the Level 1 state champion.  He won $125 from the State Library.  Peter wrote his letter to Laura Ingalls Wilder about her book Farmer Boy.

Owen Bernstein, a seventh grader at Eastside Catholic Middle School in Sammamish, is the Level 2 state champion.  He won $125 from the State Library.  Owen wrote his letter to Orson Scott Card about his book Pastwatch.

Cindy Kuang, a tenth grader at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, is the Level 3 state champion.  She won $125 from the State Library.  Cindy wrote her letter to Jerry Spinelli about his book Smiles to Go.

Secretary Wyman hosted the state champions and their families in her office for a brief visit prior to the ceremony and both she and Mrs. Inslee posed for photos with each group of winners.

TVW recorded the ceremony and it can be viewed on their website.

Runners Up and Honorable Mentions

The Level 1 runner up is Ellie Spencer.  The honorable mentions are Tristan Blair, Samuel Elliot, Hunter Hall, Elise Hebert, Anna Helton, Jade Kowalski, Iris La, Daniel Lim, and Daphne Matter.

The Level 2 runner up is Sophie Engle.  The honorable mentions are Ryan Chu, David Kim, Dharshana Lakshiminarayanan, Lauren McDonagh, Ardelle Ning, Brandi Reynold-Meyer, Audrey Snedecor, Isabella Walrath, and Olivia Wilkinson.

The Level 3 runner up is Brynn Landwehr.  The honorable mentions are Madison Brown, Melanie Flint, Audrey House, Jasmine Koss, Jessica Lunceford, Pete Sidhu, Phoebe Stern, and Emma Tanner.

State Semifinalists

The champions, runners up, and honorable mentions were selected by our state judges from 210 semifinalist letters.  There were 78 semifinalists in Level 1, 86 semifinalists in Level 2, and 46 semifinalists in Level 3.  All state semifinalists were mailed an award certificate signed by Secretary of State Wyman and State Librarian Rand Simmons.


Our special thanks to this year's judges:

Level 1

Kelly Milner Halls, author Spokane
Melisa Sevall, office assistant, Olympia
Mark Wessel, Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, Seattle

Level 2

Susan Austin, retired middle school librarian, Chehalis
Betty Gard, retired university librarian, Seattle
Patrick Roewe, Deputy Director, Spokane County Library District, Spokane

Level 3

Sam Reed, former Secretary of State, Olympia
Mary V. Thornton, Library Manager, Timberland Regional Library, Hoquiam
Sharma Shields, author, Spokane

Washington Entries

Approximately 4,245 Washington students submitted letters for the 2014 contest.  1,030 letters advanced to round 2 judging and 210 semifinalist letters returned to WA for round 3 state judging.  From the 210 semifinalist letters, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 26 honorable mentions.  The three champions' letters have been sent to the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress for the national competition.  The results of the national judging were announced June 2nd.  Unfortunately, our champions' letters did not place at the national level.

Many schools from around the state had students enter this year's contest.  We appreciate the support of teachers, librarians, and parents for Letters About Literature.

Level 1 (grades 4-6)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
2,248 430 78 1 1 9


Level 2 (grades 7-8)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
1,549 468 86 1 1 9


Level 3 (grades 9-12)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
448 132 46 1 1 8


Letters About Literature encourages young readers to read a book and write a letter to the author about how the book changed their view of the world or themselves.  Students can write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.  Letter writers compete at three levels: Level 1 is grades 4-6, Level 2 is grades 7-8, and Level 3 is grades 9-12.  State judges select the top letter writer in each level and those letters advance to the national competition.  One national winner per level receives a $1,000 cash award and one national honor per level receives a $200 cash award.  

This is the ninth year the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, has sponsored the competition as part of Washington Reads.  Letters About Literature is also sponsored by the The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.  

To learn more about the Letters About Literature Contest at the national level, please click here: Letters About Literature - National Homepage

To find out about Washington's participation in past Letters About Literature contests and to read winning letters, please click on the links below:

Washington's Letters About Literature 2012-2013
Washington's Letters About Literature 2011-2012
Washington's Letters About Literature 2010-2011
Washington's Letters About Literature 2009-2010
Washington's Letters About Literature 2008-2009
Washington's Letters About Literature 2007-2008
Washington's Letters About Literature 2006-2007
Washington's Letters About Literature 2005-2006