Washington's Letters About Literature 2013





Washington's 2013 Letters About Literature

The Letters About Literature awards ceremony for this year's state champions, runners up, and honorable mentions was held on Friday, May 24 in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  Central Library Services Program Manager Steve Willis welcomed everyone and First Lady Trudi Inslee spoke to the assembled guests.  Steve presented the Level I, II, and III honorable mentions with their award certificates and Secretary of State Kim Wyman presented the Level I, II, and III runners up with their certificates.  Secretary Wyman then introduced each state champion and invited her to read her letter. 

Cora Tessaro, a fifth grade student at Daniel Bagley Elementary School in Seattle, is the Level 1 state champion.  She won $125 from the State Library.  Cora wrote her letter to Eric Schlosser about his book Chew on This.

Julia Batson, a seventh grade student at Woodward Middle School on Bainbridge Island, is the Level 2 state champion.  She won $125 from the State Library.  Julia wrote her letter to Randa Abdel-Fattah about her book Ten Things I Hate About Me.

Jordyn Tonkinson, a ninth grade student at Hockinson High School in Brush Prairie, is the Level 3 state champion.  She won $125 from the State Library.  Jordyn wrote her letter to Garth Stein about his book The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Secretary Wyman hosted the state champions 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.

Letters About Literature encourages young readers to write letters to their favorite authors, competing at the national level to win a $1,000 cash award.  This is the eighth year the Washington State Library has sponsored the competition as part of Washington Reads.

Readers in grades four through ten 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 1 is grades 4-6; Level 2 is grades 7-8; and Level 3 is grades 9-10.  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 Washington Reads.  Letters About Literature is also sponsored by The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

There were 3,377 Washington letters in round 1 judging and 722 of them advanced to round 2 judging.  There are 325 semifinalists who advanced to round 3 state judging.  At Level 1, there were 1250 letters in round 1, with 279 advancing to round 2, and 112 moving on to round 3 state judging.  At Level 2, there were 1713 letters in round 1, with 351 advancing to round 2, and 150 moving on to round 3 state judging.  At Level 3, there were 414 letters in round 1, with 92 advancing to round 2, and 63 moving on to round 3 state judging.  All state semifinalists who advanced to round 3 state judging were sent an award certificate signed by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and State Librarian Rand Simmons. 

From the 325 Washington semifinalists, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 21 honorable mentions.  The three champions' letters were sent to the Library of Congress for the national competition.  The results of the national judging were announced earlier this month.

Many Washington 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.

Our special thanks to this year's judges:

Level I

Kelly Milner Halls, author, Spokane
Melisa Sevall, Reference Librarian, Washington State Library, Olympia
Mark Wessel, Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, Seattle

Level II

Susan Austin, retired middle school librarian, Chehalis
Betty Gard, retired university librarian, Seattle
Patrick Roewe, Branch Services Manager, Spokane County Library District, Spokane

Level III

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

To learn more about the Letters About Literature contest at both the state and national levels, please see:
Letters About Literature - National Home Page

Washington's previous contests:
Washington's Letters About Literature 2005-2006
Washington's Letters About Literature 2006-2007
Washington's Letters About Literature 2007-2008
Washington's Letters About Literature 2008-2009
Washington's Letters About Literature 2009-2010
Washington's Letters About Literature 2010-2011
Washington's Letters About Literature 2011-2012

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