Letters About Literature: 2016


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A National Reading and Writing Promotional Program for Children and Young Adults.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre– fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.

For Letters About Literature 2016, Ohio had 2,428 entrants who spanned the entire length and breadth of the Buckeye state. Overall, Ohio had a gain of 34.2% over its previous year’s total of 1,784 participants. Forty-seven out of the 974 Level I letters were advanced by the staff of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress to state judging; 51 out of the 877 Level II letters and 59 out of the 576 Level III students were also advanced. In all, 147 letters were delivered to the staff of the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library for evaluation. After a preliminary round of judging, a total of 21 letters (7 from each level) were selected and given to a specially constituted panel of four judges. These four judges, who, professionally, reflected the disciplines of journalism and library and information science, utilized a grading rubric to determine each level’s First, Second, Third Place winners and four Honorable finalists.

Level I Winners

First Place: Jaden Stainforth (Grade 5, Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH) Letter to author Kate DiCamillo concerning her book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Second Place: Neena Dzur (Grade 6: Maumee Valley Country Day School, Toledo, Ohio) Letter to author Carole Geithner concerning her novel, If Only

Third Place: Maddie Gentzel, (Grade 6: Dover Intermediate School, Westlake, Ohio) Letter to author Sharon Draper concerning her book, Out of My Mind

Honorable Finalist: Cole Beathler (Grade 6: Hastings Middle School, Columbus, Ohio) Letter to author Cynthia Rylant concerning her novel, Dog Heaven

Honorable Finalist:  Sophia Hudson (Grade 6: Hastings Middle School, Columbus Ohio) Letter to author R. J. Palacio concerning her book, Wonder

Honorable Finalist:  Annabella Mayer (Grade 5: Bay Middle School, Bay Village, Ohio) Letter to author Jerry Spinelli concerning his book, Stargirl

Honorable Finalist:  Cabrini Nguyen (Grade 6: St. Brigid of Kildare, Dublin, Ohio) Letter to author Cynthia Kadohata concerning her book, Kira-Kira

Level II Winners

First Place: Paige Laughlin (Grade 8: Berne Union High School, Sugar Grove, OH) Letter to author Ava Dellaira concerning her book, Love Letters to the Dead

Second Place:  Emma Bhatt (Grade 8: Hastings Middle School, Upper Arlington, OH) Letter to author Rainbow Rowell concerning her book, Eleanor and Park

Third Place: Morgan Clute (Grade 8: Olmsted Falls Middle School, Olmsted Township, OH) Letter to author John Green concerning his novel, The Fault in Our Stars

Honorable Finalist: Allyson Bevins (Grade 8: Berne Union High School, Sugar Grove, OH) Letter to author Eric Wilson concerning his book, October Baby

Honorable Finalist: Erin McIntosh (Grade 8: Garfield Middle School, Hamilton, Ohio) Letter to author Sharon Draper concerning her book, Out of My Mind

Honorable Finalist: Macey Parker (Grade 8: Garfield Middle School, Hamilton, Ohio) Letter to poet Shane Koyczan concerning his poem, “A Letter to Remind Myself Who I Am”

Honorable Finalist: Selin Misirlioglu (Grade 8: Middleton Middle School, Middleton, OH) Letter to author Jandy Nelson concerning her book, I’ll Give You the Sun

Level III Winners

First Place: Richard Sammartino (Grade 11: Boardman High School, Boardman, OH) Letter to poet Robert Frost concerning his poem, “The Road Not Taken”

Second Place: Clara Walker (Grade 9: Madison High School, Madison, OH) Letter to author Amy Reed concerning her novel, Clean

Third Place: Rachel Russo (Grade 9: Brunswick High School, Brunswick, OH) Letter to author Ned Vizzini concerning his book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Honorable Finalist: Luke Conover (Grade 9: Bryan High School, Bryan, OH) Letter to author Isaiah Austin concerning his book, Dream Again

Honorable Finalist: Taylor Frommeyer (Grade 12: Seton High School, Cincinnati, Ohio) Letter to poet Tommi Jo Casteel concerning her poem, “Mama’s Hands”

Honorable Finalist: Tiffany McCutcheon (Grade 12: Westerville North High School, Westerville, Ohio) Letter to author Emily Bronte concerning her novel, Wuthering Heights

Honorable Finalist: Madison Meienburg (Grade 9: Liberty Center Schools, Liberty Center, OH) Letter to author Todd Burpo concerning his book, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back