Illinois Center for the Book
Letters About Literature
2016 winners with Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White.
Letters About Literature is a national reading contest for students sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Illinois Center for the Book and other participating state centers for the book.
The program invites 4th–12th grade students to read a book of their choice, reflect on it and write a letter to the author explaining how the book changed their life of view of the world. Students can enter Letters About Literature on their own or through their schools, libraries or youth organizations.
The are three levels of participation:
- Level I: Grades 4–6
- Level II: Grades 7–8
- Level III: Grades 9–12
One Illinois winner is selected for each level and receives a $200 cash award. Teachers of the winning students also receive $100 to purchase materials for their school library. Additionally, the state winners' letters advance to the national competition. National winners for each of the three competition levels receive $1,000, and national honor winners for each level receive $200.
2017 Contest Information
The 2016-2017 contest is currently in the judging phase. Winners will be formally announced in May. Entry deadlines were as follows:
- December 2, 2016 for Level III (Grades 9-12)
- January 9, 2017 for Levels I and II (Grades 4-6 and Grades 7-8)
Contest guidelines, entry coupon and additional resources:
- Guidelines and Entry Coupon
- Illinois Secretary of State Press Release Urging Participation in Letters About Literature
- Letters About Literature Supports Common Core State Standards
- Letters About Literature Supports National Language Arts and Reading Standards
- National Letters About Literature Website
- Teaching Guide
2016 Illinois Winners
- Level I, Grades 4-6: Emma Blaum of Galena wrote to author RJ Palacio about her book, Wonder. Emma is a student at Galena Primary School, and her letter was submitted by teacher Trista Richard.
- Level II, Grades 7-8: Sarah Huddleston of Inverness wrote to author David Levithan about his book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Sarah attends Quest Academy in Palatine, and her letter was submitted by teacher Jen Fabsik.
- Level III, Grades 9-12: Zachary Kowalczyk of Wheaton wrote to Alex Kotlowitz about his book, There Are No Children Here. Zachary attends Benet Academy in Lisle, and his letter was submitted by teacher Lori Rogalski.
- Secretary of State Press Release Announcing Illinois Winners
- Winning Essays
Past Letters About Literature Winners
For more information about the Illinois Center for the Book, please call 217-558-2065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.