Washington's Letters About Literature 2008-2009

Letters About Literature

Washington’s fourth Letters About Literature Award Ceremony was held April 3, 2009 in the Legislative Building in Olympia.  Washington’s Level I and II state champions, Laura Claypool and Austin Horjus, read their letters in the State Reception Room.  The Level III Champion, Michael Bouterse, was unable to attend, but sent a video reading of his letter to be played at the ceremony.

Fifty five students and their families attended the awards ceremony and reception in the Capitol Rotunda.  These students picked up their certificates and were recognized by Secretary of State Sam Reed and State Librarian Jan Walsh.  Please click on the link above to see pictures of the Letters About Literature Award Ceremony.  View the video of the ceremonies at TVW, Washington State’s Public Affairs TV network.  Letters About Literature certificates were mailed to semifinalists who could not attend the ceremony.

Washington's Letters About Literature 2008-2009 Champions

Laura Claypool, a 6th grader at Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue, is the Level I champion.
Laura wrote her letter to Sharon Creech about the book Bloomability.

Austin Horjus, an 8th grader at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Vancouver, is this year’s Level II champion.  Austin wrote his letter to Harper Lee about To Kill a Mockingbird.

Michael Bouterse, an 11th grader at Gig Harbor High School in Gig Harbor, is the Level III champion.  Michael wrote his letter to Sophie Scholl about the book At the Heart of the White Rose:  the Letters and Diary Entries of Hans and Sophie Scholl.

2,379 Washington students entered Letters About Literature 2008-2009.  There are 167 semi-finalists at all three levels.  At Level I, there were 1, 043 entries with 61 semi-finalists selected.  At Level II, there were 966 entries with 65 semi-finalist selected.  And, at Level III, there were 370 entries with 41 semi-finalists selected.  All semi-finalists will receive an award certificate.

From the 167 Washington semi-finalists, the judges selected three champions and 29 honorable mentions.  The three champions’ letters have been forwarded on to the national level competition.  The judges were impressed by the sincerity and quality writing of all the semi-finalist letters.

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
Kathryn Hamilton Wang, retired, Washington State Library, Olympia
Ken Mochizuki, Author, Maple Valley
Jean Tarascio, Youth Services Librarian, Port Townsend Public Library, Port Townsend

Level II
Lindsey Reiswig, Children's Manager, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane
Marlys Rudeen, Deputy State Librarian, Washington State Library, Olympia
Josh Westbrook, Prescott Library Manager, Walla Walla County Rural Library District, Walla Walla

Level III
Matt Becvarov, Director, Pend Oreille County Library District, Newport
Pam Griffith, Project Cataloger, Washington State Library, Olympia
Jan Hanson, Youth Services Librarian, Longview Public Library, Longview

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 fourth 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 - National Home Page
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
Washington's Letters About Literature program 2007-2008

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