Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
in association with Missouri Center for the Book
and made possible by a grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation
Contest theme: Write a personal letter to an author whose work (either fiction or nonfiction) changed your view of the world or yourself.
How to Enter
First: determine your competition level. LAL welcomes entries from all readers — reluctant as well as enthusiastic — on three levels of competition. Entrants must be at least 9 years old and fall into one of the following categories:
Level 1 — Grades 4–6 Level 2 — Grades 7-8 Level 3 — Grades 9-12
Second: Select and reflect! Select a fiction or nonfiction book you have read and about which you have strong feelings. Explore those feelings and why you reacted the way you did during or after reading the author’s work. Consider these questions when writing your letter:
Third: Write a persuasive letter stating your opinion and supporting that opinion with specific details. A letter is less formal than an essay or research paper. Write honestly and in your own voice, as if you were having a conversation with the author. Those are the best letters to read and the most fun to write! Keep in mind these two tips:
Fourth: Submit your letter and the required entry coupon by the postmark deadline:
December 2, 2016 Deadline for Level 3: grades 9 – 12
January 9, 2017 Deadline for Level 1: grades 4-6, & Level 2: grades 7 & 8
STATE AND NATIONAL AWARDS
LAL awards prizes on both the state and national levels. Each participating state center has its own panel of judges who select the top essayists in the state. State Winners will receive a cash award and advance to the national level judging. A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one National Honor winner per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.
Need some tips to get started? Not sure how to write a personal letter? Visit read.gov/letters to read winning letters from past competitions.
P.S. Remember, a letter is less formal than an essay or research paper. Write honestly and in your own voice as if you were having a conversation with the author. Those are the best letters to read and the most fun to write!
2014 National Prize winners from Missouri
Jayanth V. Uppaluri’s letter to Sharon Draper, author of "Out of My Mind." Uppaluri is from Clayton, Missouri
Devi Acharya’s letter to George Orwell, author of "Animal Farm" and "1984." Acharya is from University City, Missouri.
Mail your entry to:: For more information contact:
Letters About Literature Competition Level
c/o Cathy Gourley, Project Manager Naomi Williamson
81 Oliver Street Missouri Center for the Book President and
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705 Missouri Letters About Literature Coordinator
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
Catherine Gourley, National Program Director University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
The Missouri Center for the Book is a state affiliate of the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Missouri Center is governed by a board of directors composed of authors, publishers, librarians, educators, and community leaders. The board develops programs and plans activities to stimulate public interest in books and reading across the state.