Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author (living or dead) from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s view of the world. The 25th annual reflective writing competition is sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and presented in association with affiliate State Centers for the Book with funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Letters About Literature is coordinated an sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from Houchen Bindery, Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.
Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The Nebraska Center for the Book’s panel of judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in a proclamation-signing ceremony at the state capitol during National Library Week in April 2018. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. Nebraska winners will receive state prizes, and then advance to the national judging.
A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12) to receive a $1,000 cash award, to be announced in May 2018. The judges will also select one National Honor winner on each competition level to receive a $200 cash award.
Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing, along with contest details and entry forms, at www.read.gov/letters. Nebraska-specific information (including lists of Nebraska winners of past competitions) is available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL.html. Get inspired by listening to Nebraska winners, Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl, read and talk about and their winning letters to authors that meant something to them in their own lives, see NET Radio’s All About Books (http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/all-about-books). Submissions must be postmarked by December 9, 2017. For more information contact Mary Jo Ryan, MaryJo.Ryan@nebraska.gov, 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.