Letters About Literature: Ohio

Ohio Letters About Literature: 2018

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

The Library of Congress Center for the Book, 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.

Letters About Literature: Ohio. Each year the contest is planned and coordinated by Mr. Timothy Phillips, Subject Department Librarian and Ms. Amy Dawson, Manager, Literature Department/Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library (CPL). A total of 3,110 students throughout Ohio submitted an entry into the 2017/2018 Letters About Literature contest. Of that total, 1,107 students (representing 23 counties and 42 sponsors) were in Grades 4, 5, or 6 (Level I); 1,231 (representing 20 counties and 47 sponsors) were in Grades 7 and 8 (Level II); and 862 (representing 32 counties and 31 sponsors) were in Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 (Level III).

On Saturday, May 12, 2018, Ohio Center for the Book held its annual Letters About Literature awards ceremony. Special guest speakers included journalist/editor Linda Feagler and award-winning author Mindy McGinnis, who joined students, their family and teachers in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium at Cleveland Public Library (CPL) for the highlights of the awards ceremony: the reading of winning letter by each student. The following are Ohio’s Letters About Literature 2018 winners and honorable finalists for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Click here to download the Letters About Literature Commemorative Booklet 2017-2018.  Check out images, on the OCFB Facebook page, of past winners and ceremonies: 201220132014201520162017

Level I Winners (Grades 4, 5 & 6)

First Place: Sara Goodlive (Grade 6: Saint Brigid of Kildare, Dublin, Ohio: Jill Cecutti, Sponsor) Letter to author Cynthia Lord concerning her book Rules

Second Place: Anna Mancino  (Grade 5: Dover Intermediate School, Westlake, Ohio: Donna Dieterich, Sponsor) Letter to author Audrey Penn concerning her book The Kissing Hand

Third Place: Charlotte Musselman, (Grade 5: Kensington Intermediate School, Rocky River, Ohio: Monica Standring, Sponsor) Letter to author Catherine Ryan Hyde concerning her book Pay It Forward

Honorable Finalist: Justice Duerk (Grade 6: North Ridgeville Academic Center, North Ridgeville, Ohio. Sponsor: Tamara Belko) Letter to author and playwright J. K. Rowling, concerning her book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Honorable Finalist: Madison Petty (Grade 6: Central Intermediate School, Wadsworth, Ohio. Sponsor: Shannon Schmitt) Letter to author Lynda Mullaly Hunt concerning her book, Fish in a Tree.

Honorable Finalist: Airel Page (Grade 5: Moreland Hills Elementary School, Pepper Pike, Ohio: Kate Allard, Sponsor) Letter to author and graphic designer Raquel Jaramillo Palacio (aka R. J. Palacio) concerning her book Wonder

Honorable Finalist:  Grace Sugaski  (Grade 5: Dover Intermediate School, Westlake, Ohio: Donna Dieterich, Sponsor) Letter to author “Erin Hunter” (authors Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Gillian Philip, Inbali Iserles, Tui T. Sutherland, and Rosie Best) concerning Bluestar’s Prophecy

Level II Winners (Grades 7 & 8)

First PlaceLauren Kelly (Grade 7: Saint Michael School, Canton, Ohio: Amy Krajeck, Sponsor) Letter to author Natalie D. Richards concerning her book We All Fall Down

Second Place: Sophia Hudson (Grade 8: Hastings Middle School, Upper Arlington, Ohio: Vincent De Maria, Sponsor) Letter to author Sharon Draper concerning her book Out of My Mind

Third PlaceLillie Forbes (Grade 7: Lee Burneson Middle School, Westlake, Ohio: Sara Latkowski, Sponsor) Letter to author Shelley Pearsall concerning her book Crooked River

Honorable Finalist: Laura Flaker (Grade 7: Wadsworth Middle School, Wadsworth, Ohio: Jason Ball, Sponsor) Letter to author Lauren Oliver concerning her book Before I Fall

Honorable Finalist: Thomas Gorenc (Grade 7: Birchwood School of Hawken, Cleveland, Ohio: Lorraine Tzeng, Sponsor) Letter to author Kate Di Camillo concerning her book The Tiger Rising

Honorable Finalist: Paul Abou Haidar (Grade 7: Birchwood School of Hawken, Cleveland, Ohio: Lorraine Tzeng, Sponsor) Letter to author S. E. Hinton concerning her book The Outsiders

Honorable Finalist: Shelby Tupcaiuskas (Grade 7: Anthony Wayne Junior High School, Whitehouse, Ohio: Steve Varga, Sponsor) Letter to author Lynda Mullaly Hunt regarding her book One For the Murphys

Level III Winners (Grades  9-12)

First Place: Sandy Shen (Grade 11: Solon, Ohio: Self-entered) Letter to author Celeste Ng concerning her novel Little Fires Everywhere

Second Place: Thalia Soto (Grade 11: Dublin Scioto High School, Dublin, Ohio: Linda Roth) Letter to author Ashley Rhodes-Courter concerning her novel Three Little Words

Third Place: Grace Watkins (Grade 11: Maplewood High School, Cortland, Ohio: Dr. Christen Clemson, Sponsor) Letter to author Holly Goldberg Sloan concerning her novel Counting By 7s

Honorable Finalist: Makiyah Brown (Grade 12: Westerville Central High School, Westerville, Ohio: Jim Grannis, Sponsor) Letter to author Matthew Quick concerning his novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Honorable Finalist: Maria Burdjalov (Grade 10: Orange High School, Pepper Pike, Ohio: Vikas Turakhia, Sponsor) Letter to author Alexander Pushkin concerning his Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (Сказка о рыбаке и рыбке)

Honorable Finalist: Sylvia Nica (Grade 10: Cincinnati, Ohio: Self-entered) Letter to author Margaret Mitchell concerning her novel Gone With the Wind

Honorable Finalist: Allison Roberts (Grade 11: Middletown, Ohio: Self-entered) Letter to author Lou Ann Walker concerning her book A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family

The staff of the Ohio Center for the Book would like to express our deepest thanks to each and every teacher and parent who sponsored a student. We also thank the judges of this year’s contest: Linda Feagler, Senior Editor of Great Lakes Publishing’s Ohio Magazine; Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Youth Services Consultant at the State Library of OhioTodd K. Masuda, attorney with Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bel and Mindy McGinnis, Edgar Award-winning author.  Finally, we thank Becky Clark and the staff of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, Kathleen McGuigan, National Program Director, Letters About Literature, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and Cleveland Public Library Foundation for their support.