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!
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 Juip||Read Claire's letter||Michigan||“Wonder”||R. J. Palacio|
|Claire Juip of Michigan wrote to R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder|
|Mark Leschinsky||Read Mark's letter||New Jersey||“Still Alice”||Lisa Genova|
|Mark Leschinsky of New Jersey wrote to Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice|
|Isabella Reichard||Read Isabella's letter||New Hampshire||“This Star Won't Go Out”||Esther Earl|
|Isabella Reichard of New Hampshire wrote to Esther Earl, author of This Star Won't Go Out|
Level II Grades 7-8
|Maria Cheriyan||Read Maria's letter||Michigan||“Salt to the Sea”||Ruta Sepetys|
|Maria Cheriyan of Michigan wrote to Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea|
|Madison A. Kelleher||Read Madison's letter||Pennsylvania||“Love You Forever”||Robert Munsch|
|Madison A. Kelleher of Pennsylvania wrote to Robert Munsch, author of Love You Forever|
|Sam Opinsky||Read Sam's letter||Missouri||“Out of My Mind”||Sharon Draper|
|Sam Opinsky of Missouri wrote to Sharon Draper, author of Out of My Mind|
Level III Grades 9-12
|Apoorva Chauhan||Read Apoorva's letter||Nevada||“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”||Stephen Chbosky|
Apoorva Chauhan of Nevada wrote to Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
|Brice Jansen||Read Brice's letter||Missouri||Little House Series||Laura Ingalls Wilder|
|Brice Jansen of Missouri wrote to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House Series|
|Samantha Lynn Kiss||Read Samantha's letter||Virginia||“Boy Meets Boy”||David Levithan|
|Samantha Lynn Kiss of Virginia wrote to David Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy|