Letters About Literature Essays Examples

Letters About Literature (LAL) is a national reading-writing program sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.  The Iowa Center for the Book is the Iowa sponsor.

LAL 2018 Program 

The 2018 Letters About Literature program has been announced! 

The deadline for Levels 1, 2, and 3 is January 12, 2018!

About LAL

2017 Winners and Honorable Mentions

To enter, students in grades 4 through 12 write a letter to an author explaining how that author’s work changed their way of thinking about the world or themselves. Readers respond to the work they have read by exploring the personal relationship between themselves, the author, and the book's characters or themes.

Letters can be written about works from any genre, fiction or nonfiction by authors from the present or the past.  Students can write about a book, short story, poem, or speech.  But no matter what the subject of the work is, the letter should show the impact it had on the student.

There are three competition levels:

  • Level 1 for students in grades 4 through 6
  • Level 2 for students in grades 7 and 8
  • Level 3 for students in grades 9 through 12.

All letters are submitted to the national Letters About Literature office. Letters from all participating states are read by national judges. Semifinalists' letters are returned to the state sponsors. In Iowa, a panel of judges for each competition level reads the semifinalists' letters and chooses first, second, and third place winners and three honorable mentions.

Entries must be submitted to the national office and all levels must be postmarked by January 12, 2018. Iowa winners are announced in April; national winners are announced in May.

Iowa first place winners win a $75.00 cash prize. Second and third place winners win a $50.00 cash prize. All Honorable Mention winners win a $25.00 cash prize.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one National Honor per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Ownership/copyright: All entries become the property of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Center for the Book in the Library of Congress: The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established by public law in 1977 to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries, as well as the scholarly study of books. Since its founding, the Center has established affiliate centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Center also places special emphasis on young readers through reading and writing contests, the Read.gov website and the new Young Readers Center in the Thomas Jefferson Building on Capitol Hill.

Letters About Literature Winners

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Letters About Literature National Winners — 2017

See State Winners »

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Level I Grades 4-6

Claire JuipRead Claire's letterMichiganWonderR. J. Palacio
Claire Juip of Michigan wrote to R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder
Mark LeschinskyRead Mark's letterNew JerseyStill AliceLisa Genova
Mark Leschinsky of New Jersey wrote to Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

Isabella ReichardRead Isabella's letterNew HampshireThis Star Won't Go OutEsther Earl
Isabella Reichard of New Hampshire wrote to Esther Earl, author of This Star Won't Go Out

Level II Grades 7-8

Maria CheriyanRead Maria's letterMichiganSalt to the SeaRuta Sepetys
Maria Cheriyan of Michigan wrote to Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea
Madison A. KelleherRead Madison's letterPennsylvaniaLove You ForeverRobert Munsch
Madison A. Kelleher of Pennsylvania wrote to Robert Munsch, author of Love You Forever

Sam OpinskyRead Sam's letterMissouriOut of My MindSharon Draper
Sam Opinsky of Missouri wrote to Sharon Draper, author of Out of My Mind

Level III Grades 9-12

Apoorva ChauhanRead Apoorva's letterNevadaThe Perks of Being a WallflowerStephen Chbosky

Apoorva Chauhan of Nevada wrote to Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Brice JansenRead Brice's letterMissouriLittle House SeriesLaura Ingalls Wilder
Brice Jansen of Missouri wrote to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House Series

Samantha Lynn KissRead Samantha's letterVirginiaBoy Meets BoyDavid Levithan
Samantha Lynn Kiss of Virginia wrote to David Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy
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