Letters About Literature Illinois Center for the Book
Letters About Literature is a national reflective writing competition sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and presented in association with the Illinois Center for the Book and other affiliate State Centers for the Book. The contest is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the 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 and/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 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.
2019-2020 Contest Information and Resources:
The forms and guidelines for the 2019-2020 competition will be available in the fall of 2019. The deadline to enter will be in December 2019. Winners will be announced in May 2020.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Letters About Literature Supports Common Core State Standards
- Letters About Literature Supports National Language Arts and Reading Standards
- National Letters About Literature WebsiteTeaching Guide
- Video Guides
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.