Washington's Letters About Literature program 2007-2008

Letters About Literature


McKenzie Dent, a 6th grader at Zeiger Elementary School in Puyallup, has been selected as one of two national Letters About Literature award winners at Level I.  McKenzie will receive her award in a special presentation at Zeiger Elementary School in June.  She wins a $500 Target gift card and a $10,000 grant for Glacier View Junior High School Library.  Glacier View Jr. High is currently under construction and will open September 2008.  McKenzie will attend Glacier View in the fall.  McKenzie wrote her letter to Alice Mead, the author of Soldier Mom.  To read McKenzie’s letter, see below.

2,574 students in Washington State entered letters in the Letters About Literature 2007-2008 contest, an increase of 400 more than last year.  Washington had 181 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 181 semi-finalists, three champions and 23 honorable mentions were selected by Washington’s judges.

Washington State Letters About Literature 2007-2008 Champions

McKenzie Dent, a 6th grader at Zeiger Elementary School in Puyallup, wrote the Level I champion letter.  McKenzie wrote to Alice Mead, the author of Soldier Mom.  Read McKenzie’s letter

Jessica Jang, a 7th grader at NOVA School in Olympia, wrote the Level II champion letter.  Jessica wrote to Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down.  Read Jessica’s letter
  Alayna Chamberland, a 10th grader at Capital High School in Olympia, wrote the Level III champion letter.  Alayna wrote to Wally Lamb about his novel, She’s Come Undone.  Read Alayna’s letter

The Washington State Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony took place on Friday, April 4, 2008 in the Capitol Rotunda in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  Secretary of State Sam Reed and Washington State Librarian Jan Walsh presented awards and acknowledged the 81 semi-finalists who were present.  Certificates were mailed to all the semi-finalists who were not able to attend.

Our thanks to this year’s judges:

Washington State Judges - Letters About Literature 2007-2008

Judges Level I:
Ken Mochizuki, Author, Maple Valley
Jean Tarascio, Youth Services Librarian, Port Townsend Public Library
Jan Walsh, State Librarian, Washington State Library, Olympia

Judges Level II:
Kathryn Hamilton-Wang, Northwest & Historical Collections Outreach Coordinator, Washington State Library, Olympia
Pam Griffith, Project Cataloger, Washington State Library, Olympia
Tim Mallory, Adult Services Coordinator, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater

Judges Level III:
Jan Hanson, Youth Services Librarian, Longview Public Library
Brian Soneda, Director, Mount Vernon Public Library
Karen Spence, Community Libraries Manager, Yakima Valley Regional Library, Yakima

Letters About Literature encourages young readers to write letters to their favorite authors, competing at the national level to win a $500 Target gift card and $10,000 for their community or school library.  This is the third 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.

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 see below:
Letters About Literature - Center for the Book - Library of Congress

Washington’s previous programs:
Washington’s Letters About Literature program 2005-2006
Washington’s Letters About Literature program 2006-2007

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