Illinois Center for the Book

Letters About Literature

2016 Letters About Literature winners
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:

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:

Contest guidelines, entry coupon and additional resources:

2016 Illinois Winners

Past Letters About Literature Winners

For more information about the Illinois Center for the Book, please call 217-558-2065 or email