Letters About Literature
contest winners announced
Three students have been selected as Illinois winners of the annu-al
Letters About Literature contest, presented by The Center for the
Book in the Library of Congress in partnership with Target Stores
and sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book.
Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest
for students in grades 4 through 12. Participants read a book and
write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book
changed their views of the world or themselves. Students may
select authors, living or deceased, from any literary genre — fic-tion
or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. The Illinois Center for
the Book appointed judges who selected the top essayists in three
Level I, grades 4-6: Julia Ilhardt, Avery Coonley School in
Downers Grove, for her letter to Nancy Farmer, author of A Girl
Level II, Grades 7-8: Rachel Baruck, Maple School in Northbrook,
for her letter to Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Level III, Grades 9-12: Eryca Campbell, PORTA High School in
Petersburg, for her letter to Cherie Bennett, author of Life in the
“These three talented young readers were among nearly 4,600
Illinois students who entered this year’s contest,” said Secretary of
State Jesse White, who serves as honorary chair of the Illinois
Center for the Book. “I am proud of all the students who took part
because they are developing a lifelong love of reading and learn-ing.”
An awards ceremony will be held later this year for winners,
their families and teachers.
The winning students will receive a $200 check from the Illinois
Center for the Book, a $50 Target gift card and a plaque from
Secretary White. The winners’ teachers also will receive a $50
check from the Center for the Book to be used for their school or
classroom library. The three winning Illinois letters have been sub-mitted
for national judging. National winners will receive a
$10,000 grant from Target and honorable mention winners will
receive a $1,000 grant for reading and writing programs at their
school or classroom library.
The Illinois Center for the Book is a not-for-profit organization
established in 1985 as an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the
Library of Congress. The Illinois Center for the Book works to nur-ture
and connect readers and writers, and honor Illinois’ rich liter-ary
Target Stores, along with its parent company Target Corporation
(NYSE:TGT), gives back more than $2 million a week to its local commu-nities
through grants and special programs. Since opening its first store in
1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team
members to help meet community needs.
Secretary White salutes
“National Library Week shines a well-deserved
spotlight on our libraries, and I am proud to be
part of the outstanding Illinois library community.”
Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White saluted
Illinois librarians and other members of the library com-munity
during National Library Week, April 13-19.
“As State Librarian I am extremely honored to be associat-ed
with so many outstanding men and women in the
Illinois library community,” said Secretary White. “I enjoy
visiting our libraries throughout the state and seeing first-hand
that librarians and library staff are some of our most
dedicated, hard-working and knowledgeable public ser-vants.
Our libraries are very important to our communi-ties,
and I always urge citizens who use and enjoy
libraries to thank their local librarians and library staff for
all their good work.
“Illinois has a strong network of more than 5,000 academ-ic,
public, school and special libraries and regional library
systems that are unquestionably the finest in the nation.
Whether they are looking for books, magazines, videos,
CDs, answers to reference questions or free Internet
access, library users know they can count on librarians
who have the training and skills to meet their needs.”
“ESSAYS ABOUT LINCOLN” WINNERS — Secretary of State
Jesse White hosted an awards ceremony at the State Library for
winners of the “Essays About Lincoln” contest. The contest was
sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book along with the
Illinois State Library, the State Archives and the State Board of
Education as part of Abraham Lincoln Birthday Bicentennial cele-brations.
Students were to compose a modern-day version of
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 300 words or less. Pictured with
Secretary White are the nine student winners: (back row) Evan R.
King, Bryce Peters, Teresa Cooper, Emiko Gomez, Kate Pond,
(front row) Grace Elizabeth Moran, Sara Serritos, Summer Wu and
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