Washington's Letters About Literature 2016


***2017 Letters About Literature Contest News***

Contest deadlines have been announced.

The deadline for Level 3 (grades 9-12) letters is December 2, 2016.

The deadline for Level 1 (grades 4-6) and Level 2 (grades 7-8) letters is January 9, 2017.

Check back in September for more contest information and a link to this year's entry form and contest guidelines.

Washington's 2016 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 20th in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  WA Letters About Literature Coordinator and State Library Central Library Manager Crystal Lentz welcomed everyone and Deputy Secretary of State Greg Lane presented the honorable mentions and runners up with their award certificates.  Deputy Secretary Lane also introduced the state champions, invited them to read their letters, and presented them with their award certificates and $125 cash prizes.

Grace Rivkis, a sixth grader at Pathfinder K-8 in Seattle, is the Level 1 champion.  Grace wrote her letter to Jennifer Roy about her book Yellow Star.

Joe Jacobsen, a seventh grader at Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish, is the Level 2 champion.  Joe wrote his letter to Fredric Winkowski and Frank D. Sullivan about their book 100 Planes 100 Years.

Emily Maxfield, a twelfth grader from Toppenish and a student at Cedar Park Christian School, is the Level 3 champion.  Emily wrote her letter to Sherman Alexie about his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

TVW recorded the ceremony and it can be viewed on their website.  The recording will also be played on the TVW TV station at various times in June and July.  TVW's TV schedule is available on their website.

Runners Up and Honorable Mentions

The Level 1 runner up is Brooklyn Side.  The honorable mentions are Chase Hamdan, Celine Kuru, Coco Leusner, Julia Stebbins, Jessica Stone, Adonis Williams, Kamryn Wilson, and Edward Yu.

The Level 2 runner up is Esther Ziliak.  The honorable mentions are Noor Abdulhameed, Anna Albertson, Sophia Begus, Claire Camacho, Virag Carlile-Kovacs, Olivia Efird, Karli Fitzhugh, Lexy Holden, Ronit Jain, Amina Khan, Jacob Sawyer, 

The Level 3 runner up is a student from Mountlake Terrace.  The honorable mentions are Madelyn Brown, Grace Houck, Emilee Kirkman, Danika Kwak, Michelle Nguyen, Nathan Niemala, Ardelle Ning, and Trang Minh Phan.

State Semifinalists

The champions, runners up, and honorable mentions were selected by our state judges from 151 semifinalist letters.  There were 61 semifinalists in Level 1, 64 semifinalists in Level 2, and 26 semifinalists in Level 3.  All state semifinalists will be mailed an award certificate signed by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Deputy Secretary of State Greg Lane.


Our special thanks to this year's judges:

Level 1

Kelly Milner Halls, author, Spokane
Lorena O'English, librarian, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman
Jan Walsh, former Washington State Librarian, Olympia

Level 2

Susan Austin, retired middle school librarian, Chehalis
Jonathan Potter, Library Director, Spokane Academic Library, Washington State University, Spokane
Lenora Rain-Lee Good, author, Kennewick

Level 3

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

Washington Entries

Approximately 3,262 Washington students submitted letters for the 2016 contest.  852 letters advanced to round 2 judging and 151 semifinalist letters returned to WA for round 3 state judging.  From the 151 semifinalist letters, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 27 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 will be announced in early May.  

80 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
1575 303 61 1 1 8

Level 2 (grades 7-8)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
1397 392 64 1 1 11


Level 3 (grades 9-12)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
290 157 26 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 eleventh 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 2014-2015
Washington's Letters About Literature 2013-2014
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