Entry deadline is January 11, 2016. Download entry guidelines here.
Books can change your world: how you view it and how you view yourself. A book can take readers to places of new understanding. How did an author's work change your view of the world or yourself?
Letters About Literature (LAL) is a writing contest encouraging students in grades 4–12 to write a personal letter to an author (living or dead) of a fiction or nonfiction book, a short story, poem, essay, or speech (sorry, no song lyrics) you have read and about which you have strong feelings. It might be a book that helped you through a difficult time or it might be a book that simply touched your heart or inspired you.
Your letter should explore these feelings and reflect why you reacted the way you did during or after reading. It's a great way to get young people to think critically about something they're reading right now or something they've already read.
Recommended letter lengths: Entries for Level 1: 100-500 words; Level 2: 300-1,000 words; Level 3: 600-1,500 words.
Letters About Literature satisfies Tennessee English/Language Arts Curriculum and Common Core Standards. If you'd like more information on ways you can adapt this program to Common Core Standards for Writing, download this teacher's guide from the national Letters About Literature office.
Prizes: Humanities Tennessee has its own panel of judges who select the top entries in the state. State Winners at each level will receive a cash award from Humanities Tennessee (1st at each level receives $100 and advances to the national judging, 2nd place receives $50, and 3rd place receives $25) and a certificate. The 1st place winner on Level 3 will also be awarded a full scholarship to attend the TN Young Writers' Workshop in July 2016.
National Prizes: First place winners advance to the national level judging. A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one National Honor per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.
If you have questions about this year's LAL contest, contact Lacey@HumanitiesTennessee.org or call 615.770.0006 x19. The program is presented by Humanities Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Center for the Book in affiliation with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Thank you to each of the 1,461 students who entered the 22nd Annual Letters About Literature Writing Contest. We are thrilled to announce the state winners! Congratulations to these students:
Level 1 (4th-6th grades)
1st place: Sophia Floyd, 6th grade, White Station Middle School, Memphis
Read Sophia's letter to Clare Vanderpool about Moon Over Manifest
2nd place: Molly Yuan, 6th grade, White Station Middle School, Memphis
Read Molly's letter to R.J. Palacio about Wonder
3rd place: Jennifer Chiu, 5th grade, White Station Elementary School, Memphis
Read Jennifer's letter to John Green about The Fault in Our Stars
Level 2 (7th-8th grades)
1st place: Ansley Stamper, 8th grade, Hutchison School, Memphis
Read Ansley's letter to Wendy Mass about A Mango Shaped Space
2nd place: Carly Ferrell, 8th grade, Christiana Middle School, Christiana
Read Carly's letter to J.R.R. Tolkien about The Hobbit
3rd place: Bailee Stump, 8th grade, Christiana Middle School, Christiana
Read Bailee's letter to Jay Asher about Thirteen Reasons Why
Level 3 (9th-12th grades)
1st place: Kelsey Bowen, 12th grade, White Station High School, Memphis.
Read Kelsey's letter to Lois Lowry about The Giver
2nd place: Lana Singer, 11th grade, White Station High School, Memphis
Read Lana's letter to Khaled Hosseini about A Thousand Splendid Suns
3rd place: Hannah Piecuch, 11th grade, White Station High School, Memphis
Read Hannah's letter to Gail Collins about When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
Past National Letters About Literature winners from Tennessee
- 2010: Siori Koerner for her letter to J.D. Salinger about Catcher in the Rye. Siori earned Christiana Middle School in Christiana a $10,000 reading grant from Target.
- 2010: Malli Swamy won a National Honorable Mention for her letter to Paolo Coelho about The Alchemist. Malli earned White Station High School in Memphis a $1,000 reading grant.
- 2009: Caroline Hoskins for her letter to Cynthia Lord about Rules. Caroline earned St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis a $10,000 reading grant.
- 2008: Ayesha Usmani for her letter to Amy Tan about The Joy Luck Club. Ayesha earned White Station High School in Memphis a $10,000 reading grant.
- 2006: Martha Park for her letter to J.D. Salinger about Catcher in the Rye. Martha was invited to read her letter at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
|LAL Teaching Booklet 2014-2015.pdf||1.16 MB|
|LAL16 guidelines.pdf||7.9 MB|