Press contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302

June 12, 2008

Library of Congress Announces National and State Winners in Letters About Literature Program

One hundred fifty young readers across the country were honored with state and national awards for their achievements in this year’s Letters About Literature (LAL) writing contest, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Six national winners received cash awards and also earned for their community or school library a $10,000 LAL reading promotion grant. Twelve national honorable mention winners were also chosen, receiving cash awards and earning for their community or school library a $1,000 reading promotion grant.

The national reading promotion program, with funding provided by Target, challenges young readers to write a personal letter to an author, describing how that author’s work somehow changed their view of the world or of themselves. More than 59,000 children in grades 4 through 12 participated this year. Students compete in one of three competition levels: elementary school, grades four through six; middle school, grades seven and eight; and high school, grades nine through 12.

On the state level, the program is sponsored by affiliate state centers for the book. State and national judges include published authors, editors, publishers, librarians and teachers.

For information about the program and a list of previous winners, visit www.loc.gov/letters/. For further details, contact the national program director at lal@epix.net.

Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to supporting education and early childhood reading. Target recognizes the integral role that reading plays in shaping a child’s future, because reading is the foundation for lifelong learning and success. Since opening its doors, Target has given five percent of its income to organizations that support education, social services and the arts. Currently, the sum donated is $3 million every week.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to use the resources of the Library to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its programs, publications and reading-promotion partnership networks, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/.

The six national winners, the 12 national runners-up, and the state winners are listed below by competition level, along with the author and the author’s book or piece of writing chosen by each winner.

NATIONAL WINNERS
McKenzie Dent, Puyallup, Wash.; Alice Mead, "Soldier Mom"
Hunter Hastings, Springfield, Ore.; Lawrence Taylor, "Taylor"
Anna Rodis, Farmington, Conn.; Paul Showers, "The Listening Walk"
Dana Vigue, Maine; Janet Shaw, "Meet Kaya"
Maggie Tighe, Frederick, Md.; Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World"
Ayesha Usmani, Memphis, Tenn.; Amy Tan, "The Joy Luck Club"

NATIONAL HONORABLE MENTION
Michael Hampton, East Longmeadow, Mass.; Greg Mortenson, "Three Cups of Tea"
Sarah Jenkins, Kaunakakai, Hawaii; Mildred Taylor, "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
Anne Le, Staten Island, N.Y.; Rafe Martin, "Birdwing"
Sara Startz, Johnston, Iowa; Barbara Park, "The Graduation of Jake Moon"
Micaela Gerhardt, Bismarck, N.D.; Sharon Creech, "Walk Two Moons"
Daniel Le, Great Neck, N.Y., Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Anna Priore, Kenyon, Minn.; Clarence K. Larson, "A Long March Home"
Laura Wang, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series
Marissa Brogger, Rumson, N.J.; Sue Monk Kidd, "The Secret Life of Bees"
Courtney Hartnett, King George, Va.; Laura Hillenbrand, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend"
Ryan Heffrin, Marblehead, Mass.; Jodi Picoult, "Nineteen Minutes"
Gabrielle Sclafani, Barrington, R.I.; Wally Lamb, "She’s Come Undone"

ALABAMA
Erin McKee, Decatur; Cynthia Lord, "Rules"
Darsey Wegrzyn, Huntsville; Lemony Snicket, "A Series of Unfortunate Events"
Shejuti Paul, Florence; Cormac McCarthy, "The Road"

ALASKA
Garrett Rutherford, Fairbanks; Avi, "Ereth’s Birthday"
Sarah Frankl, Anchorage; Lois Lowry, "The Giver"
Nikki Wray, Anchorage; Shel Silverstein, "The Giving Tree"

ARIZONA
Creighton Morfitt, Scottsdale; Jerry Spinelli, "Maniac Magee"
Shannon Green, Lakeside; Scott Westerfeld, "Uglies"
William Johnston, Gilbert; Chaim Potok, "The Chosen"

ARKANSAS
Valeria Herrera, Batesville; Nicholasa Mohr, "Felita"
Ashley Crossman, Searcy; Naoko Takeuchi, "Sailor Moon"
Hattie Felton, Story; Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"

CALIFORNIA
Augustine Chemparathy, Danville; James Herriot, "All Creatures Great and Small"
Francesca Libutti, Upland; Patricia McCormick, "Sold"
Sarah Zarrin, Saratoga; Alex Haley, "Roots"

COLORADO
Douglas Lesher, Aurora; Katherine Paterson, "Bridge to Terabithia"
Amanda Coopersmith, Greenwood Village; Sarah Dessen, "The Truth about Forever"
Melanie Brown, Centennial; Walter Farley, "Little Black, A Pony"

CONNECTICUT
Emma Koether, Southport; Ann M. Martin, "A Corner of the Universe"
Anna Rodis, Farmington; Paul Showers, "The Listening Walk"
Jennifer Ky, Hartford; Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

DELAWARE
Connor Driscall, Middletown; C.S. Lewis, "The Last Battle"
Chloe Dye, Milton; Mitch Albom, "Tuesdays with Morrie"
Emilee Maroun, Middletown; Don Piper, "90 Minutes in Heaven"

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Sydney Harris; Sue Monk Kidd, "The Secret Life of Bees"
Ayodele Akosile; Walter Dean Myers, "Bad Boy"
Michael Walker; John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men"

FLORIDA
Courtney Andexler, DeBary; Elisa Bartone, "Peppe, the Lamplighter"
Xianlu Wang, Wesley Chapel; Blue Balliet, "Chasing Vermeer"
Alexis Vanlaningham, Hollywood; Rachel Simon, "Riding the Bus with My Sister"

GEORGIA
Katie Williamson, Atlanta; Jodi Lynn Anderson, "Peaches"
Shaina Sayeed, Savannah; Charles Dickens, "Oliver Twist"
Fred Dong, Lilburn; Edgar Allen Poe, "Alone"

HAWAII
Sarah Jenkins, Kaunakakai; Mildred Taylor, "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
Ben White, Kailua; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
Roy Franco, Waimanalo; Albert Camus, "The Plague"

IDAHO
Lessa Mansfield, Meridian; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series
Katie Mondada, Boise; Daniel Keyes, "Flowers for Algernon"
Lindsey Evans, Pocatello; Wally Armstrong and Ken Blanchard, "The Mulligan"

ILLINOIS
Nikki Rhum, Buffalo Grove; Dan Millman, "Peaceful Warrior"
Joey Romano, Norridge; Betsy Byars, "Summer of the Swans"
Amy Nathan, Skokie; Mitch Albom, "Tuesdays with Morrie"

INDIANA
Emma Alexander, Columbus; Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"
Mathew Voorhees, Battle Ground; Ben Mikaelsen, "Touching Spirit Bear"
Yasamin Oloomi, Fort Wayne; Azadeh Moaveni, "Lipstick Jihad"

IOWA
Sarah Startz, Johnston; Barbara Park, "The Graduation of Jake Moon"
Laura Wang, Cedar Rapids; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series
Mythili Prabhu, Ames; William Easterly, "The White Man's Burden"

KANSAS
Jamie Yearout, Stilwell; Ann M. Martin, "A Corner of the Universe"
Corinne Andresen, Overland Park; Madeline L'Engle, "A Swiftly Tilting Planet"
Ammarah Usmani, Wichita; Firoozeh Dumas, "Funny in Farsi"

KENTUCKY
Elizabeth Guthrie, Bowling Green; Pam Muñoz Ryan, "Esperanza Rising"
Braden Deifel, Louisville; Wilson Rawls, "Where the Red Fern Grows"
Lydia Pope, Danville; Chris Bohjalian, "Midwives"

LOUISIANA
Mary Beth Oliver, Metairie; Gail Giles, "Dead Girls Don't Write Letters"
Danielle Sermon, Boyce; Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun, "Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust"
No level III winner

MAINE
Ben McKenna, Appleton; Gary Paulsen, "The Voyage of the Frog"
Dana Vigue; Janet Shaw, "Meet Kaya"
Mike Weber, Auburn; Alex Sanchez, "The Rainbow Boys"

MARYLAND
Karina Sharma, Cumberland; Pam Muñoz Ryan, "Esperanza Rising"
Kaley Booth, Salisbury; Ann M. Martin, "A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray"
Maggie Tighe, Frederick; Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World"

MASSACHUSETTS
Michael Hampton, East Longmeadow; Greg Mortenson, "Three Cups of Tea"
Ja-Lene Scott-Dottin, Somerville; Sharon Draper, "Copper Sun"
Ryan Heffrin, Marblehead; Jodi Picoult, "Nineteen Minutes"

MICHIGAN
Phoebe Brown, Birmingham; Sarah Miller, "Miss Spitfire"
Gabrielle Montesanti, Howell; Jesse Stuart, "Come to My Tomorrowland"
Katelyn Wright, Battle Creek; Gerda Weissman Klein, "All But My Life"

MINNESOTA
Eliza Edwards, St. Paul; Mother Goose, "My Very First Mother Goose"
Anna Priore, Kenyon; Clarence K. Larson, "A Long March Home"
Rachel Finkbeiner, Ramsey; F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

MISSISSIPPI
Gabriel Phillips, Coldwater; Dav Pilkey, "Captain Underpants"
Andrew Scott Wiggins, Laurel; Orson Scott Card, "Ender's Game"
Niah Jamerson, Starkville; William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"

MISSOURI
Tyler Hall, Mathews; Mark Twain, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
Sharon Han, Creve Coeur; Gabrielle Zevin, "Elsewhere"
Michael Musgrave, Maryland Heights; Stephen Hawking, "A Brief History of Time"

MONTANA
Meranie Vercio, Great Falls; Katy Pistole, "Morning Glory"
Mariah N. Wearley, Choteau; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
Leah Bryan, Roundup; Louisa May Alcott, "An Old Fashioned Girl"

NEBRASKA
Ellen Friesen, Lincoln; Lois Lowry, "Number the Stars"
Itachi Sanchez, Lincoln; Charles Finn, "Please Hear What I'm Not Saying"
Andrew Squires, Lincoln; Leonard Peltier, "Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance"

NEVADA
Jamyka Robinson, Las Vegas; Alan Lawrence Sitomer, "Hip Hop High School"
Amanda Marks, Las Vegas; Scott Westerfeld, "Uglies"
Suzette Smart, Winnemucca; Hal Borland, "When the Legends Die"

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Angela Wang, Nashua; Beverly Cleary, "Ramona the Pest"
Sydnie Spencer, Lee; Carolyn Mackler, "The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things"
Livie Lane, Dover; Jodi Picoult, "My Sister's Keeper"

NEW JERSEY
Chris Farkouh, Rumson; Elie Wiesel, "Night"
Courtney La Costa, Berkeley Heights; Paula Danzinger and Ann M. Martin, "Snail Mail No More"
Marissa Brogger, Rumson; Sue Monk Kidd, "The Secret Life of Bees"

NEW MEXICO
Meagen Lin, Cedar Crest; Deepak Chopra, "Keeper"
Shaquelle Pettes, Las Cruces; Thomas J. Dygard, "The Backfield Package"
Julia Ottenstein, Albuquerque; Arthur Golden, "Memoirs of a Geisha"

NEW YORK
Anne Le, Staten Island; Rafe Martin, "Birdwing"
Daniel Lee, Great Neck; Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Christina Troitino, Clifton Park; Khaled Hosseini, "The Kite Runner"

NORTH CAROLINA
Amber Parker, Matthews; Lisa Yee, "Millicent Min, Girl Genius"
Leah Howard, Apex; Scott Westerfeld, "Uglies"
Richard Deans, Rocky Mount; Malcolm Gladwell, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference"

NORTH DAKOTA
Savannah Husebye, Bismarck; O. T. Nelson, "The Girl Who Owned a City"
Micaela Gerhardt, Bismarck; Sharon Creech, "Walk Two Moons"
Liz Collin, Bismarck; Jon Krakauer, "Into the Wild"

OHIO
Lilah Kalfus, Orange; Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black, "The Spiderwick Chronicles"
Sterling Streb, Columbus; Lisi Harrison, "The Clique"
Sunia Arif, Strongsville; Mariane Pearl, "A Mighty Heart"

OKLAHOMA
Haydn Kirkpatrick, Edmond; Richard Bach, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"
Monica Glover, Moore; Jack Canfield, "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul"
Jesse Walton, Washington; Dave Pelzer, "A Man Named Dave"

OREGON
Hunter Hastings, Springfield; Lawrence Taylor, "Taylor"
Jesse Turner, Portland; Barbara Robinson, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
Maya Lim, McMinnville; Anne Lamott, "Bird by Bird"

PENNSYLVANIA
Maddie Roach, Malvern; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series
Carly Houlahan, Rosemont; Dr. Seuss, "Oh, The Places You'll Go"
Samantha Weber, Freeport; Elie Wiesel, "Night"

RHODE ISLAND
Julia Zubiago, East Greenwich; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
Nolan McHale-Rossi, Barrington; Mary Roach, "Stiff"
Gabrielle Sclafani, Barrington; Wally Lamb, "She's Come Undone"

SOUTH CAROLINA
Lindsay Pollard, Clemson; Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, "How I Came To Be a Writer"
Sinead Rose-Innes, Greer; Laurie Halse Anderson, "Speak"
Rhett Ricard, Pomaria; Pat Conroy, "My Losing Season"

SOUTH DAKOTA
Peyton Sanders, North Sioux City; Simon Adams, "World War II Eyewitness"
Denai Likness, Watertown; John Grogan, "Marley and Me"
Amanda Jones, Claremont; Khaled Hosseini, "The Kite Runner"

TENNESSEE
Abby Glover, Milan; Pat Brisson, "Sky Memories"
Megan Lee, Memphis; Wendelin Van Draanen, "Flipped"
Ayesha Usmani, Memphis; Amy Tan, "The Joy Luck Club"

TEXAS
Elaine Parizot, Houston; Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, "Sang Spell"
Danielle Strasburger, Austin; Henning Mankell, "Secrets in the Fire"
Charlie Caplan, Houston; Robert Jordan, "Knife of Dreams"

UTAH
Quinn Howe, Murray; Malka Drucker and Michael Halperin, "Jacob's Rescue"
Lindy Hughes, Salt Lake City; Markus Zusak, "The Book Thief"
Mary Lauren Harris, Layton; Anne Frank, "The Diary of Anne Frank"

VERMONT
Katherine (Lydia) Ham, Sheffield; Elizabeth Winthrop, "Counting On Grace"
No level II winner
No level III winner

VIRGINIA
Zach Rieman; Gerald Morris, "The Squire, His Knight and His Lady"
Brain Desgrosiellier, Palmyra; Andy McNab, "Traitor"
Courtney Hartnett, King George; Laura Hillenbrand, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend"

WASHINGTON
McKenzie Dent, Puyallup; Alice Mead, "Soldier Mom"
Jessica Jang, Olympia; Richard Adams, "Watership Down"
Alayna Chamberland, Olympia; Wally Lamb, "She's Come Undone"

WEST VIRGINIA
Laken Autrey, Princeton; Kimberly Willis Holt, "My Louisiana Sky"
Alexandra Flanigan, Morgantown; J. R. R. Tolkien, "Lord of the Rings"
Rachel Hoffpauir, Paden City; Scott Westerfeld, "Uglies"

WISCONSIN
Matthew Stokdyk, Sheboygan Falls; Edgar Allen Poe, "Evening Star"
Taylor Kurowski, Green Bay; Wendelin Van Draanen, "Runaway"
Tracy Haack, Clintonville; J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series

WYOMING
Gabriella LaBazzo, Cody; Ruth White, "Buttermilk Hill"
Lila Jackson, Encampment; Frewin Jones, "The Faerie Path"
Christopher Guiden, Worland; Ben Mikaelsen, "Petey"

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PR 08-111
06/12/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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