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Letters About Literature 2015

The Letters About Literature awards ceremony took place on Friday, May 8 in the rotunda of the Round House in Santa Fe. Secretary Veronica Gonzales, for the Department of Cultural Affairs, welcomed everyone and awards were then presented to the three New Mexico state champions who read their letters aloud, the three second place winners, the three third place winners, and the honorable mention letter writers.

Kayla Ayala, a sixth grade student at Tularosa Intermediate School, is the Level 1 champion.  Kayla wrote her letter to Janet Shaw about her book The Silent Stranger.


Arielle Foxx Moosman, an eighth grade student in Ramah, is the Level 2 champion. Arielle wrote her letter to Katherine Paterson about her book Bridge to Terabithia.


Michaela Bluedorn from Lovington, who is a senior student at Lovington High School, is the Level 3 champion. Michaela wrote her letter to Erin Hanson about her poem The Storyteller.


Each of the state champions received a certificate acknowledging their achievement, $150 from the State Library, and a $25 gift card to Collected Works Bookstore. The second and third place winners also received a certificate and a $25 gift card for Collected Works Bookstore.  All of the honorable mention letter writers received a certificate of accomplishment.  The three New Mexico champions' letters were sent to the Library of Congress for the national competition. The winners of the national competition will be announced in early May.

There were 586 New Mexico students who entered the 2015 contest.  Of those 586 entries, 88 semifinalists advanced to round two state judging.  In Level 1, there were 137 entries with 25 letters advancing to round two.  In Level 2, there were 169 entries with 32 letters advancing to round two.  In Level 3, there were 280 entries with just 31 letters moving on to round two.  All of the state semifinalists who advanced to round two state judging were sent an award certificate in the mail. 

Our special thanks to the New Mexico judges:

Level 1
  • Veronica N. Gonzales, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe
  • Michael DeLello, Interim State Librarian, New Mexico State Library, Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe
  • Ben Wakashige, Retired State Librarian, Rio Rancho
Level 2 
  • Angelina Manfredie, Head of Youth Services, Mesa Public Library, Los Alamos
  • Ken Dayer, Assistant Director/Public Services Manager, Silver City Public Library
  • David L. Caffey, Chair, New Mexico Library Commission, Clovis
Level 3
  • Veronica Beckett, Co-Owner Coas Books, Las Cruces
  • John W. Byram, Director, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque
  • Michael McGarrity, Novelist, Santa Fe
Letters About Literature encourages young readers to read a book and write a letter to the author about how the book changed their view of the world. 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.

This is the third year New Mexico State Library has sponsored the competition.

For more information about New Mexico’s Letters About Literature contest, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Lori Thornton at 505-476-9717.

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 participated in New Mexico's Letters About Literature program. Keep reading and writing!