Washington's Letters About Literature 2010-2011

Washington's 2010-2011 Letters About Literature 

The Washington state Letters About Literature awards ceremony took place on Friday, May 6 in the office of the Secretary of State in Olympia.  Secretary Sam Reed and State Librarian Rand Simmons presented awards to the three state champions who read their letters.  You may view or purchase a copy of the entire ceremony at TVW, Washington's public affairs television network.

McKenna Conlin, a sixth grader at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Kirkland, is the Level 1 champion. She won $125 from the State Library and a $50 gift card from Target.  McKenna wrote her letter to Sherman Alexie about his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Abby Bateman, a seventh grader at Snoqualmie Middle School in Snoqualmie, is the Level 2 state champion and one of four national honor award winners.  She won $125 from the State Library, a $150 gift card from Target, and a $1,000 Reading Promotion grant which Abby has given to the Mount Si High School Library.  Abby wrote her letter to Katherine Paterson about her book Bridge to Terabithia.

John Kang, an eleventh grader at Lakeside School in Seattle, is the Level 3 champion.  John won $125 from the State Library and a $50 gift card from Target.  John wrote his letter to Mary Paik Lee about her book Quiet Odyssey:  A Pioneer Korean Woman in America. 

There were 3376 Washington students who entered the 2010-2011 contest.  There are 173 semifinalists at all three levels.  At Level 1, there were 1255 total entries with 57 semifinalists selected.  At Level 2, there were 1587 total entries with 81 semifinalists selected.  At Level 3, there were 534 total entries with 35 semifinalists selected.  All semifinalists were sent an award certificate signed by Secretary of State, Sam Reed and State Librarian, Rand Simmons.

From the 173 Washington semifinalists, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 14 honorable mentions.  The three champions' letters were sent to the Library of Congress for the national competition.  The results of the national judging were annouced in late April.

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
Erica Bauermeister, author, Seattle
Sydney Stevens, retired teacher and author, Oysterville
Josh Westbrook, Prescott Library Manager, Walla Walla Rural Library District, Walla Walla

Level II
Karen Cushman, author, Vashon Island
Betty Gard, retired University Librarian, Seattle
Patrick Roewe, Branch Services Manager, Spokane County Library District, Spokane

Level III
Brent Hartinger, author, Seattle
Lorena O'English, Social Sciences Reference and Instruction Librarian, Washington State University, Pullman
Shirley Lewis, Acquisitions Librarian, Washington State Library, Tumwater

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

Readers in grades four through twelve 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 9-12.  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 The Center for the Book, Library of Congress, and the Target company.

To learn more about the Letters About Literature program at the both the state and national levels, please see below:

Letters About Literature - National Home Page
Letters About Literature - Center for the Book - Library of Congress

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

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