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Student "Letters About Literature" Writers Win Accolades and National Awards!Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395Agency: Education
May 10, 2011 LANSING – The Michigan Center for the Book announced Michigan's award winners and finalists for the national Letters about Literature contest today.
For the first time, Michigan has a national winner – Ashli Bynum of Ada, who wrote to author Marge Piercy about the poem "Barbie Doll." Bynum's letter spoke of how she hopes society can begin to accept those who do not meet a physical ideal.
"Every person has something to offer this world, no matter who they are or what they look like," Bynum wrote. "After all, even though a can is damaged, it still holds the same contents as an undamaged can."
Michigan Center for the Book Coordinator Karren Reish said, "We received so many letters from students that reflected their understanding of the issues in the books they read and the impact and value reading has for them. The program vividly demonstrates the power of books to engage the minds of young people. Letters about Literature gives students a chance to learn that literature can change their lives."
• State Level I winner (grades 4-6) – David Carpenter of Clarkston ($300 Letters About Literature Reading Promotion Grant to Sashabaw Middle School), who wrote to author Louis Sachar about the book Holes.
In his letter, David spoke about how reading the novel taught him about the true meaning of friendship. "Real friends are the types of friends that take a stand and do what's right."
• State Level II winner and National Honor Award Level II winner (grades 7-8) – Heather Wiggins of Kalamazoo ($1,300 Letters About Literature Reading Promotion Grant to the Mattawan High School Library Media Center), who wrote to author Sara Holbrook about the poem "Finals."
Heather gained perspective on a death in her family through reading Holbrook's poem. "Because of your words I've learned what it feels like to move on but never forget...you still saved me..."
Teacher of the Year Shelley
National winners receive a $500 Target gift card and a $10,000 Target Reading promotion grant for the library of their choice. National honor award winners receive a $100 Target gift card and $1,000 Target Reading promotion grant for the library of their choice. State winners receive a $50 Target gift card and $300 Target Reading promotion grant for the library of their choice. State finalists receive a $20 gift card to Schuler Books & Music courtesy of the Michigan Center for the Book.
The Michigan Center for the Book (MCFB) organizes Letters about Literature at the state level. A program of the Library of Michigan and the center's affiliates, MCFB encourages and produces local and statewide programs and resources that promote books, reading, authors and libraries. Funding comes solely through grants and membership dues. For more information about the Michigan Center for the Book and its programs, visit www.michigan.gov/mcfb.
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