Letters About Literature in Illinois Illinois Center for the Book
Letters About Literature in Illinois is a statewide reflective writing competition sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Center for the Book. The program invites 4th–12th grade students to read a book of their choice, reflect on it and write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book changed their views of the world or themselves.
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 winner is selected for each competition level and receives a $200 cash award. Teachers of the winning students also receive $100 to purchase books for their school library.
2019-2020 Contest Information
The forms and guidelines for the 2019-2020 competition will be available in the fall of 2019. The deadline to enter will be December 16, 2019. Winners will be announced in May 2020.
- Entry Form and Guidelines
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Letters About Literature Supports Common Core State Standards
- Letters About Literature Supports National Language Arts and Reading Standards
- Secretary of State Press Release Inviting Students to Enter
- Teacher/Student Checklists
- Teaching Guide
2019 Illinois Winners
- Level I, Grades 4-6: Ava Smithwick of Huntley wrote to Robert Munsch, author of Love You Forever. Ava is a student at Heineman Middle School in Algonquin. Her letter was submitted by her teacher and stepmom Beverly Smith.
- Level II, Grades 7-8: Sharanya Rao of Hawthorn Woods wrote to Ali Benjamin, author of The Thing About Jellyfish. Sharanya attends Lake Zurich Middle School North in Hawthorn Woods. Her letter was submitted by her teacher Alba Pollak.
- Level III, Grades 9-12: Amatullah Mir** of Hickory Hills wrote to Sana Amanat and G Willow Wilson about their Ms. Marvel book series. Amatullah attends Aqsa School in Bridgeview. She entered the competition on her own.
- Secretary of State Press Release Announcing Illinois Winners
- Winning Letters
** Amatullah Mir was also chosen by the Library of Congress as a National Prize winner.