Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

April 23, 2009

Letters About Literature Reading-Promotion Program Winners Announced

Six Libraries to Receive $10,000 Grants from Target

Letters About Literature, a program that asks young people in grades 4 through 12 to write to an author (living or dead) about how his or her book affected their lives, has announced its 2009 winners.

Approximately 55,000 young readers from across the nation participated in this year’s Letters About Literature initiative, a reading-promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target.

This year’s winners come from all parts of the country and wrote to authors as diverse as Rudyard Kipling (regarding his poem "If") Linda Pastan (regarding her poem "Caroline"), L.M. Montgomery ("Anne of Green Gables") and Blake E.S. Taylor ("ADHD & Me").

The top letters in each competition level for each state were chosen. Then, two national winners were chosen from each of the three competition levels: Level 1 (Grades 4-6), Level 2 (Grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). National winners each designate a favorite library, which then receives a $10,000 grant from Target. The students each receive a $500 Target GiftCard.

The four National Honors recipients from each competition level can name a library to receive a $1,000 Target grant; those students each receive a $50 Target GiftCard.

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 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, social services and the arts.

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.

National Winners
Caroline Hoskins, Collierville, Tenn. (grade 6); "Rules" by Cynthia Lord
Taaja Draughn, Robersonville, N.C. (grade 6); "Forged by Fire" by Sharon Draper
Corie Anne Mazer, Birmingham, Ala. (grade 7); "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
Kailey McCoy, Temecula, Calif. (grade 8); "ADHD & Me" by Blake E.S. Taylor
Josh Tiprigan, Northvale, N.J. (grade 11); "If" by Rudyard Kipling
Amelia Leuer, St. Michael, Minn. (grade 12); "Caroline" by Linda Pastan

National Honorable Mention
Clare Arlington Boyle, Newtown, Conn. (grade 5); "Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery
Carolyn Propst, Atlanta, Ga. (grade 6); "The Clique" by Lisi Harrison
Reigner Kane, Sulphur, La. (grade 4); "Redwall" by Brian Jacques
Cameron Fitzgerald, Severna Park, Md. (grade 4); "White Fang" by Jack London
Eliza Dach, Bentonville, Ark. (grade 8); "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson
Jared Dauman, Bedford, N.Y. (grade 7); Address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention by Barack Obama
Abby Tillotson, Bismarck, N.D. (grade 7); "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli
Erikka Potts, Portland, Ore. (grade 8); "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer
Xinyue Ye, Plano, Texas (grade 11); "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nilesh Raval, Saginaw, Mich. (grade 11); "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri
Y Thien Hoang, Portland, Ore. (grade 12); "Across the Plains in 1844" by Catherine Sager Pringle
Xio Torres, Reading, Pa. (grade 10); "Does My Head Look Big in This?" by Randa Abdel-Fattah

"I absolutely loved your book ‘ADHD & Me’ because I am growing up with ADHD and this book really helped me to accept the fact that I have it," wrote national winner Kailey McCoy to author Blake E.S. Taylor. "Your book helped me to see that there are other people like me out there who have done some of the crazy things I have."

Joshua Tiprigan, a national winner, told Rudyard Kipling, who wrote "If": "Ever since the death of my mother, I have felt alone. … Yet I remained silent, remembering the golden words: ‘If you keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you … You’ll be a Man, my Son.’"

"Congratulations on your victory to become the 44th president," wrote Jared Dauman to Barack Obama, who, at the time, was president-elect. "Your story proved to me that anyone can achieve success if they work hard enough."

"Roll calls make me apprehensive," wrote honors winner Nilesh Raval to author Jhumpa Lahiri. "Every time an announcer scrolls down to my name I can predict there will be an uncomfortable pause and a startled expression as they attempt to pronounce it. … After reading your culturally enlightened novel, ‘The Namesake,’ I have realized the importance of my name in Indian culture."

The complete winning letters and list of state winners are available in the "News" section at www.lettersaboutliterature.org.

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.

The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its programs, publications and national reading-promotion networks, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/.

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. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions on myLOC.gov.

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PR 09-085
04/23/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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