Letters About Literature 2017
New Mexico’s Champions Announced!
Raven Callaway-Kidd, a fifth grade student at Turquoise Trail Elementary in Santa Fe, is the Level 1 champion. Raven wrote her letter to Holly Schindler about her book, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky.
Natashia McDonald, an eighth grade student at Des Moines Municipal Schools in Des Moines, is the Level 2 champion. Her letter is addressed to The Fault in Our Stars author, John Green.
Rebekah Hildebrant, an eleventh grade student at Arrowhead Park Medical Academy in Las Cruces, is the Level 3 champion. Rebekah wrote her letter to Rick Riordan about his books The Lightning Thief and The House of Hades.
Letters About Literature encourages young readers in grades 4 -12 to read a book and write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book changed or shaped their perspective on themselves or the world. Students could write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Letter writers compete at three levels: Level I is grades 4-6; Level II is grades 7-8; and Level III is grades 9-12. The writers compete in the state contest to win $150 cash prize per competition level and a $1,000 cash award per competition level in the national contest. One winning letter from each level from each state is entered into the final national competition.
Four hundred and seventy-four New Mexico students entered the 2017 contest. Of those 474 entries, 83 writers advanced to round two. In Level 1, there were 128 entries with 21 letters advancing to round two and 16 to round three state judging. In Level 2, there were 209 entries with 31 letters advancing to round two and 15 of those to round three state judging. In Level 3, there were 137 entries with 31 letters moving on to round two and 21 to round three state judging. All of the writers who advanced to round two will receive an award certificate in the mail.
From the 52 New Mexico state finalists, the state judges selected three champions, three second place writers, three third place writers, and seven honorable mention letters. The three New Mexico champions' letters now advance to the national competition and will be sent to the Library of Congress for the national judging round. The results of the national contest will be released in early May.
Many New Mexico schools and home schoolers from around the state participate in the competition. We appreciate the support of teachers, librarians, and parents for Letters About Literature.
Our special thanks to the New Mexico judges:
Level 1 - Veronica N. Gonzales, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe; Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, State Librarian, New Mexico State Library, Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe; Ben Wakashige, Retired State Librarian, Rio Rancho
Level 2 – Kristina Carter, Youth Services Librarian, Clovis-Carver Public Library, Clovis; Corey Bard, Director, Ruidoso Public Library; Elizabeth Martinez, New Mexico Library Commission, Santa Fe
Level 3 – Susan Beck, Professor and Head of Access Services, New Mexico State University Library, Las Cruces; John W. Byram, Director, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque; Sarah Stark, Author, Santa Fe
To read about the Letters About Literature contest at the national level, please click here:
Thank you to all the students, teachers, librarians, and families who participate in New Mexico's Letters About Literature program. Keep reading and writing!
Letters About Literature, the annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. In New Mexico, the contest is sponsored by the New Mexico State Library, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.