Letters about Literature

Letters about literature logo

The Michigan Center for the Book and the Library of Michigan participate in the national Letters about Literature, an annual program from the Library of Congress. This national reading-writing contest invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors of books that have changed their lives. This program gives students the opportunity to reflect deeply on a book. As readers, they come to understand how literature is more than assignment, but also a life changing experience.

2017 Results: Congratulations to our 2017 winners, finalists and semi-finalists and all the students who wrote outstanding letters about how the books they read deeply affected their lives. 

  • State Level I Winner (grades 4-6) – Claire Juip of Grosse Pointe, who wrote to author Raquel J. Palacio about her book, Wonder. In her letter, Claire tells how the book “taught me it was OK to feel the way I was feeling and that helped me go through my life in a positive way when I found out I had a chromosomal disorder like Auggie.”
  • State Level II Winner (grades 7-8) – Maria Cheriyan of Farmington Hills, who wrote to author Ruta Sepetys about Salt to the Sea. Maria said, “Your book has inspired me to volunteer with a refugee resettlement agency, and do my part to remember and write the unwritten stories of the people who have taken refuge in my state."
  • State Level III Winner (grades 9-12) – Kathryn Marentette of Middleville, who wrote to author Leo Tolstoy about his novel, War and Peace. She tells Tolstoy, “From the beginning, the seemingly endless chapters had become a desperately needed source of comfort. I clung to the characters and their hardships, because I saw myself in their shoes, but at the end of the journey that was reading such a beautiful monstrosity of a novel, I had grown just as much as your characters.”
  • State Finalists:

Judging: Letters are reviewed by the National LAL staff, who select semi-finalists. Volunteer teachers and librarians from Michigan select state finalists and a winner for each level from the semi-finalists and a state teacher of the year. Volunteer judges at the national level select national winners from the state winners.

*Semi-Finalists receive a letter of recognition from the State Librarian.
*Finalists receive a letter of recognition from the State Librarian and a $20 Schuler Books & Music gift card.
*State Winners receive a letter of recognition from the State Librarian, a $50 Schuler Books & Music gift card and a $250 grant in his/her name for a community or school library.
*National LAL Second Place Winners receive an additional $150 cash award.
*National LAL Winners receive a receive an additional $1000 cash award.

All prize funds were donated by the Library of Congress and the Michigan Center for the Book.

Please contact Cathy Lancaster at LancasterC5@michigan.gov or 517-335-8129 with any questions.

Updated 06/01/2017