Every year tens of thousands of students across the nation send their letters to the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Writing a letter to your favorite author might not sound like something you’d get an award for, but for several students at High Meadows School in Roswell GA, that’s exactly what happened.
This year High Meadows 6th and 7th graders participated in Letters About Literature, an annual Library of Congress national competition where young writers can express themselves to an author who’s had an impact on their lives. Several High Meadows’ students received letters back from authors, including Sharon Creech, Kate DiCamillo, and Ann Martin, who all took the time to respond to these budding writers. Three of these students were honored along with other state winners on Saturday May 5th and were able to read their letters as part of the ceremony. The following High Meadows’ students won awards at the state level, and the two first place winners will now advance to judging at the national level:
Aviv Newman received the first-place award after writing his letter to Chris Grabenstein, author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Aviv expressed how he would love to spend time in Mr. Lemoncello’s library and received a response back from the author that felt like the author was sitting across the table from him.
Ella Schultz received a first-place award and wrote her letter to Phoebe Gilman, author of Jillian Jiggs. Ella moved to the United States in second grade and could not speak, read or write English. In her letter, Ella described how the book, read and re-read over and over by her soon-to-be-best-friend, aided her growing understanding of English.
Kate Hurd won second place for Fish in a Tree, Lynda Mullaly Hunt.
Those judging the letters include authors, publishers, librarians and educators. This competition challenges students through the process of crafting letters that reflect their personal responses as readers, directly back to the authors they admire most. By encouraging personal reader response and reflective writing, the contest facilitates a program which helps to enhance purposeful reading that promotes successful writing. The day’s ceremony is a testament to the abilities achieved by these young writers.
This article originally appeared in Herald Newspapers.