Washington State's Letters About Literature 2005-2006

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 first year Washington State Library has sponsored the competition as part of Washington Reads.

Readers in grades 4-12 wrote 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 essayists 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.

More than 1,500 students in Washington State entered letters in Letters About Literature 2005-2006. Washington had 136 semi-finalist letters selected - click here to see a list of all semi-finalists, the authors they wrote to, and the books they wrote about. From the 136 semi-finalists, three winners and 33 honorable mentions were selected.

Washington State Letters About Literature 2005-2006 Winners

Zach Minnerly, a 6th grader from Moran Prairie Elementary School in Spokane won for Level I. Zach wrote his letter to Jerry Spinelli about the book Loser. (Zach's Letter)

Clare Kane, an 8th grader from NOVA School in Olympia won for Level II. Clare’s letter was to Lucy Maude Montgomery about the Anne of Green Gables series. (Clare's Letter)

Carly Houser, a 10th grader from Camano Island who attends Stanwood High School, won for Level III. Carly wrote to Sylvia Plath about the collection of poetry entitled Ariel. (Carly's Letter)

Washington State Judges - Letters About Literature 2005-2006

Level I:
Lorna Kropp, Library/Technology Teacher, Discovery School, Spokane
Dean Marney, Director, North Central Regional Library, Wenatchee
Jan Walsh, State Librarian, Washington State Library, Olympia

Level II:
Linda Hunt, author of Bold Spirit, Spokane
Regan Robinson, Director, Stevens County Library District, Loon Lake
Martha Shinners, Consultant, Library Development, Washington State Library, Olympia

Level III:
James M. Celto-Vache, Professor, Gonzaga Law School, Spokane
Gerry L. Alexander, Chief Justice, Washington State Supreme Court, Olympia
Kathryn Hamilton-Wang, Northwest & Historical Collections Outreach Coordinator, Washington State Library, Olympia

The judges were delighted with the well-written, thought-provoking letters received which made their decision difficult. Semi-finalist letters came from students throughout Washington, and the variety of books read was remarkable.

The Washington State Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony was held on April 18, 2006 in the Capitol Rotunda in the Legislative Building in Olympia. Secretary of State Sam Reed and Washington State Librarian Jan Walsh greeted guests and presented the winners with their awards. Over 200 people attended the ceremony where many semi-finalists picked up their certificates.

» Photo gallery of awards ceremony
» View a list of 136 semi-finalists

After the ceremony, there was a reception with light refreshments in the Secretary of State’s Office. Any semi-finalists that could not attend were mailed their certificates.

To read about the Letters About Literature at the national level and for information on the 2006-2007 program, please click here:

Letters About Literature - Center for the Book - Library of Congress

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.

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