Washington's Letters About Literature 2017

Washington's 2017 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 12th in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  WA Letters About Literature Coordinator and Deputy State Librarian Crystal Lentz and Deputy Secretary of State Greg Lane welcome everyone and State Librarian Cindy Aden presented the honorable mentions and runners up with their award certificates.  State Librarian Aden also introduced the state champions, invited them to read their letters, and presented them with their award certificates and $125 cash prizes.

Mia Widrow, a fourth grade student at Lincoln Options Elementary School in Olympia, is the Level 1 champion. Mia wrote her letter to Laura Ingalls Wilder about her book Little House on the Prairie.

Annabelle Melton, an eighth grade student at Amboy Middle School, is the Level 2 champion.  Annabelle wrote her letter to John Green about his book Looking for Alaska.

Julia Wang, a ninth grader from Sammamish, is the Level 3 champion. Julia wrote her letter to Rudolfo Anaya about his book Bless Me, Ultima.

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 May.  TVW's TV schedule is available on their website.

Runners Up and Honorable Mentions

The Level 1 runner up is Julian Peinado. The honorable mentions are Meghan Doyle, Will Ferrari, Ava Fry, Minoo Jang, Emily Clara Ko, Aaryan Pawar, Kathy Shao, Sadie Strunk, and Luke Wade.

The Level 2 runner up is Isabella Foreman-Warner. The honorable mentions are Claire Camacho, Faith Graf, Evelyn Hootman, Leo Romans, Aava Sikchi, Henry Stelle, Jessica Stone, Ruby Sullivan, and Kaiden Waxham.

The Level 3 runner up is Tyler Mudaliar. The honorable mentions are Stella Brown, Aliza Diepenbrock, Matti Glasser, Willow Klug, Lizzie Schneider, Miles Vilkin, and Cayli Yanagida.

State Semifinalists

The champions, runners up, and honorable mentions were selected by our state judges from 82 semifinalist letters. There were 30 semifinalists in Level 1, 29 semifinalists in Level 2, and 23 semifinalists in Level 3. All state semifinalists will be mailed an award certificate signed by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and State Librarian Cindy Aden.


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

Cathy Cavness, retired teacher, Centralia
Lenora Rain-Lee Good, author, Kennewick
James Rosenzweig, Assistant Professor and Education Librarian, Eastern Washington University Libraries, Cheney

Level 3

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

Washington Entries

2,994 Washington students submitted letters for the 2017 contest. 2,917 letters advanced to round 2 judging and 82 semifinalist letters returned to WA for round 3 state judging. From the 82 semifinalist letters, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 25 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.

71 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
1100 1058 30 1 1 9

Level 2 (grades 7-8)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
1529 1505 29 1 1 9


Level 3 (grades 9-12)

WA Entries Round 2 Judging Round 3 Judging (State Semifinalists) Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
365 354 23 1 1 7


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.

The 24th annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.  This is the twelfth year that the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, has sponsored the contest as part of Washington Reads.

To learn more about the Letters About Literature contest at the national level, visit the Letters About Literature national homepage on The Center for the Book's website.

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

Washington's Letters About Literature 2015-2016
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