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LAL is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and Target. Each state has the opportunity to participate. All statewide winners are also entered in the national contest. Participation guidelines are available at the Library of Congress Web site.

Winners for 2014

winners 2012

Christopher Troll, Linda Wen, and Veronica Mautner

Veronica Mautner won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to Jerry Spinelli about Stargirl.  Christopher Troll won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, for his letter to Herman Melville about Moby Dick.  Linda Wen was awarded the Level III award for her letter to Amy Chua about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Level I honorable mention winners were Sarah Devan of State College, writing to Lois Lowry about Number the Stars; Megan Flanagan of Lafayette Hill, writing to Rick Riordan about The Heroes of Olympus; Jessica Schneider of Meadowbrook, writing to Rick Riordan about The Lightning Thief; and  Courtney Smith of Rockwood, writing to Shel Silverstein about The Giving Tree.

Level II honorable mention winners were Ellie Cassel of Coopersburg, writing to Rodman Philbrick about Freak the Mighty; Grace Lemke of Pine Grove Mills, writing to John Green about Looking for Alaska; Danielle Rice of Sharpsville, writing to Uri Orlev about The Island on Bird Street; and Chenming (Angel) Zheng of State College, writing to Frances Hodgson Burnett about The Secret Garden.

Level III honorable mention winners were Anna Atwell of Jamison, writing to Jeanette Walls about The Glass Castle;  Uma Balaji of Kennett Square, writing to Margaret Mitchell about Gone with the Wind;  and Chelsea Steffes of Moon Township, writing to Albert Camus about The Stranger.

 

Winners for 2013

winners 2012

 


Michaela Cameron won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to John F. Wukovits about The Importance of Anne Frank. Sophia Paterno won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight. Taylor Grace Bean won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Laurie Halse Anderson about Wintergirls.

Level I honorable-mention winners were Emma Bertolino of Philadelphia, writing to Kathryn Erskine about Mockingbird ; Megan Bozzer of Indiana, writing to Dorothy Sterling about Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman; Kyle Burk of Boalsburg, writing to Emily Dickinson about “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?”; Haskel Wiroshan Canagarajah of State College, writing to Yann Martel about The Life of Pi; Jess Harker of Lafayette Hill, writing to J.K. Rowling about the Harry Potter series; Gabi Hemsch of Elizabethtown, writing to Brian Selznick about The Invention of Hugo Cabret; Jacob Orr of Blue Bell, writing to Jamie McEwan about Willy the Scrub; and Alysa Ann DiRusso-Krause of Philadelphia, writing to Natasha Friend about Lush.

Level II honorable-mention winners were Elijah Eli Abo of Pittsburgh, writing to Ibtisam Barakat about Tasting the Sky; Jacqueline M. Feffer of Boalsburg, writing to Jordan Sonnenblick about Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pi; Joseph Feffer of Boalsburg, writing to Dylan Thomas about Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night; Nicholas Feffer of Boalsburg , writing to Aldous Huxley about Brave New World; Caldwell Gregg Holden of Pittsburgh, writing to Ken Kesey about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; and Ceci Markley of Export, writing to John Green about The Fault in our Stars.

Level III honorable-mention winners were Sol Labruna of Presto, writing to Sylvia Plath about The Bell Jar; Terrance M. Lewis of Philadelphia, writing to Paulo Coelho about The Alchemist; Kevin Monpara of Pittsburgh, writing to Padraic Colum about The Golden Fleece; Deepika Narayanan of Pittsburgh, writing to Amy Tan about The Joy Luck Club; Haley Stefancis of Plum, writing to Sylvia Plath about The Bell Jar; and Alexis Venturini of Pittsburgh, writing to Margaret Peterson Haddix about Claim to Fame.

Winners for 2012

winners 2012

Jordyn Donnelly, Joseph Feffer, Emma Casey


Joseph Feffer won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for his letter to Robert Frost about the poem "The Road Not Taken". Emma Casey won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to to Rick Riordan about The Lightning Thief. Jordyn Donnelly won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Jodi Picoult about My Sister's Keeper. The Level I honor of high distinction winner was Jackie Saleeby, writing to Scott Westerfeld about Uglies.

Level I honorable-mention winners were Christine Troll of Somerset, writing to Gail Carson Levine about Cinderellis and the Glass Hill; Emily Stuck of Middleburg, writing to Andrew Clements about The Janitor’s Boy; and Fayla Sarkissian of State College, writing to Ruta Sepetys about Between Shades of Grey.

Level II honorable-mention winners were Siobhan Greene of Wynnewood, writing to Kathryn Erskine about Mockingbird; April Shaffer of Dover, writing to Barbara Parks about the Junie B. Jones series; Eric Mi of Wexford, writing to Orson Scott Card about Ender's Game; and Paige E. Miller of Pottstown, writing to Coleen Murtagh Paratore about The Wedding Planner’s Daughter.

Level III honorable-mention winners were Eli Williams of Mountain Top, writing to Patricia MacLachlan about All the Places to Love; Kimberlee M. Roberts of Ephrata, writing to J.D. Salinger about The Catcher in the Rye; Jamie Atherton of Mountain Top, writing to to Mitch Albom about Tuesdays with Morrie; and Erin Serre of Lilly, writing to John Green about Looking for Alaska.

Winners for 2011

winners 2011

Katie Wingert, May Wang, Nicole Baldy


Nicole Baldy won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to Cynthia Lord about Rules . May Wang won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to to Jiang Ji Li about The Red Scarf Girl. Katie Wingert won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Laura Ingalls Wilder about The Long Winter. The Level I honor of high distinction winner was Ben Fait, writing to Douglas Adams about Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Level I honorable-mention winners were Ceci Markley of Export, writing to Max Lucado about With You All the Way; Olivia Mosley of Quakertown, writing to Jerry Spinelli about Stargirl; Nicholas Feffer of Boalsburg, writing to James Thurber about "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"; Alexis P. Clifford of Huntingdon, writing to Katherine Hannigan about Ida B.; Joshua Narrow of Hazleton, writing to Carol Matas about Daniel’s Story; Christine A. Troll of Somerset, writing to E.B. White about Charlotte’s Web.

Level II honorable-mention winners were Jerrica Jamison of Apollo, writing to to Suzanne Weyn about The Barcode Tattoo; Rachel Craft of Enola, writing to Sue Monk Kidd about The Secret Life of Bees; Anna Kustenborder of Huntingdon, writing to Erin Dionne about The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet;Abigail Caldwell-Gatsos of Williamsport, writing to Anonymous about Smile; and Emily Augustine of Pittsburgh, writing to Jodi Picoult about House Rules

Level III honorable-mention winners were Kyle Dixon of Taylor writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about Speak; Maya Craig of Pittsburgh, writing to Jhumpa Lahiri about The Namesake; Danielle Feffer of Boalsburg, writing to Linda Pastan about “To a Daughter Leaving Home”;YingYing Shang of Paoli, writing to Amy Tan about The Joy Luck Club; and Anisah Rafi of Upper St. Clair, writing to Marina Budhos about Ask Me No Questions.

Winners for 2010

winners 10

Lucy Zhang, Adam Snyder, and Thanh Nguyen


Lucy Zhang, won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to Jung Chang about the story "Wild Swans". Thanh Nguyen won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to Barbara Park about the Junie B. JonesSeries. Adam Snyder won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for his letter to Agatha Christie about And Then There Were None. The Level I honor of high distinction winner was James Del Santo, writing to Jerry Spinelli about Stargirl.

Level I honorable-mention winners were Nick D’Ambrosio, writing to Jordan Sonnenblick about Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie; Chirag Agarwal, writing to Shane Osborne about Born to Fly; Hannah Entwistle, writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about Fever 1793; TaMyra Starks, writing to Maya Angelou about Still I Rise; Savanna Lattanzi, writing to Alida Young about Is My Sister Dying?, and Ari Trey-Masters of Philadelphia, writing to Wendy Mass about Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.

Level II honorable-mention winners were Laura Steininger of Middleburg, writing to Mary Beth Miller about Aimee; Jeannie Deininger of Hatfield, writing to Yaacov Peterseil about Princess Alopecia; Seolin Park of Bryn Mawr writing to Shannon Hale about The Goose Girl; Joseph Dal Santo of Kingston writing to Brian Jacques about Redwall; and Emma Stejbach writing to Jodi Picoult about My Sister's Keeper.

Level III honorable-mention winners were Drevon Carter of Beaver Falls writing to Daniel Keyes about Flowers for Algernon; Shelley Attadgie of Newtown writing to J.K. Rowling about her Harry Potter series; Austin Spears of Sharpsville writing to Elie Wiesel about Night; Cooper Irons of Pittsburgh writing to Gregory Maguire about Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West; Suraj Sundar of Upper St. Clair writing to Yann Martel about Life of Pi; Catherine Troll of Somerset writing to Charles Dickens about A Tale of Two Cities; and Alexander Schaffer of Holland writing to Khaled Hosseini about The Kite Runner.

Winners for 2009

winners08

Gregory Miller, Xio Torres, and Aiden Giles


Aiden Giles, won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for his letter Alfred, Lord Tennyson about "The Charge of the Light Brigade". Gregory Miller won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to Gary Paulsen about Hatchet . Xio Torres won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Randa Abdel-Fattah about Does my Head Look Big in This? The Level I honor of high distinction winner was Jordan Emily, writing to Jack Gantos about Joey Pigza Loses Control

Level I honorable-mention winners were Rachel Aluise, writing to Douglas Wood about Old Turtle and the Broken Truth; Lennon Mullen, writing to Kate DiCamillo about The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane; Abigail Opher, writing to Judy Blume about Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Amarra Rosania, writing to Kate DiCamillo about Because of Winn-Dixie; and Aislinn Slaugenhaupt, writing to Walt Whitman about "I Sing the Body Electric".

Level II honorable-mention winners were Philip Barboza, writing to Gordon Korman about Schooled; Samantha Bristow, writing to Melvin Burgess about Billy Elliot; Brielle Brown, writing to Debbie Allen about Dancing in the Wings; Timothy McAuliffe, writing to David McKee about Elmer; Allyson Miller, writing to John Grogan about Marley: A Dog Like No Other; Jeanne Shi, writing to Andrew Clements about Things Not Seen; Elisa Trucco, writing to Meg Cabot about How to be Popular, and Megan Walton, writing to an unnamed author about an unnamed poem about grief.

Level III honorable-mention winners were Mawunyo Akabua, writing to Loung Ung about First They Killed My Father; Ebtesam Al-Thowaini, writing to Harper Lee about To Kill a Mockingbird; Genevieve DiSpirito, writing to Elizabeth Cady Stanton about Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions; Emmalee Hagarman, writing to Sue Monk Kidd about The Secret Life of Bees; Allison Isaacs, writing to Susanna Kaysen about Girl, Interrupted; Derek Lichtner, writing to T.S. Eliot about "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"; and Joshua Wortzel, writing to John Steinbeck about The Grapes of Wrath.

Winners for 2008

winners08

Maddie Roach, Samantha Weber, and Carly Houlahan


Maddie Roach, won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, fpr her letter to J.K. Rowling about the Harry Potter books. Carly Houlahan won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to Dr. Seuss about Oh, The Places You'll Go! . Samantha Weber won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Elie Wiesel about Night.

The Level I honor of high distinction winner was Claire Lacon of Blue Bell, writing to Judy Blume about Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. 

Level I honorable-mention winners were Amanda Allred of Thorndale, writing to Jane Langton about The Fledgling; Alicia Schapire of Media, writing to James Bradley about Flags of Our Fathers; Dean Ward of Media, also writing to James Bradley about Flags of Our Fathers; Hannah Tobin of Pittsburgh, writing to Wilson Rawls for Where the Red Fern Grows; and Anna Jane Williams of West Chester, writing to Jean Fritz about Homesick: My Own Story

Level II honorable-mention winners were Alexandra Richardson of Moon Township writing to Lisa See about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan;Beverly A. Wagner of Middleburg, writing to C.S. Lewis about The Chronicles of Narnia; Lindsay Hummell of Harleysville, writing to Kate DiCamillo about Because of Winn-Dixie; Amanda Armstrong of Coatesville, writing to Khidhir Hamza about Saddam’s Bombmaker: The Daring Escape of the Man Who Built Iraq’s Secret Weapon; and Virginia Small of Rosemont, writing to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings about The Yearling

Level III honorable-mention winners were Courtney Robel, writing to Christie Pettit for Starving: A Personal Journey Through Anorexia; Rachel Lohr of Newtown, writing to Henry David Thoreau about Walden; Joseph Arguelles of Dingmans Ferry, writing to Orson Scott Card for Ender’s Game; Jane Brendlinger of Swarthmore, writing to Ian McEwan about Saturday; and Esha Karki of New Castle, writing to S.E. Hinton about Tex.

Winners for 2007

winners07

Kui Murage, Josh Burd, and Sadie Katarina Eichner

Josh Burd won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for his letter to Scott Adams about Dilbert. Kui Murage won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, writing to Sue Monk Kidd about The Secret Life of Bees. Sadie Katarina Eichner won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Ray Bradbury about Fahrenheit 451.

Level I honorable-mention winners were Lucy Sedor-Franzak of Bethel Park, writing to Shel Silverstein for The Giving Tree, Skyler Yarroll of Bethel Park, writing to J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Teresa Morin of Mercer, writing to Mitch Albom about For One More Day, Emily Waggoner of Hummelstown, writing to Chris D’Lacey for The Fire Within, Hollis Mermelstein of Pittsburgh, writing to Gail Carson Levine for The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Logan Hanning of Honey Brook, writing to J.K. Rowling about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Level II honorable-mention winners were Haluk Akay of Sewickley, writing to Dr. Benjamin Carson for Gifted Hands, Hannah Lugg of Lock Haven, writing to Karen Cushman about The Loud Silence of Francine Green, Jordyn Turner of Plymouth Meeting, writing to George Orwell about Animal Farm, Adam Lewis of Yardley, writing to Charles Dickens about A Christmas Carol, Brooke Henderson of Cranberry Township, writing to Davida Wills Hurwin about A Time for Dancing.

Level III honor of high distinction goes to Lynn Detwiler of Ridgway, writing to Billy Collins about Nine Horses.

Level III honorable-mention winners were Alexis Perrine of Wallingford, writing to Dr. Seuss for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Jelyn Waltz of Greencastle, writing to Elie Wiesel for Night, Jonathan Y. Du of Mars, writing to Richard Adams for Watership Down, Courtney Robel of New Kensington, writing to Tomie dePaola for The Clown of God, Gabrielle Augustine of Palmerton, writing to Markus Zusak for The Book Thief.

Winners for 2006

winners06

Chris Cox, Jenny Uehling, and Natasha Kumar

Chris Cox won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for his letter to Temple Grandin about Emergence Labeled Autistic. Jenny Uehling won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, for her letter to Jerry Spinelli about Stargirl. Natasha Kumar won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Lois Lowry about The Giver part 1, part 2, part 3 .

Level I honorable-mention winners were   Kieryn N. Ziegler of Boalsburg, writing to Judy Blume for Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself and Avery Gosselin of Cheswick, writing to Eric Nylund for Halo, The Fall of Reach. 

Level II honor of high distinction went to Samantha Weber of Freeport , writing  to Avi for Crispin, The Cross of Lead. Level II honorable-mention winner is Jessica Bomm of Malvern, writing to Peter Benchley for Shark Life. 

Level III honorable-mention winners were:  Kristina Smith of Conshohocken, writing to Shel Silverstein for Where the Sidewalk Ends,  Moriah Huggler of Ridgway, writing to Christopher Pike for The Midnight Club,  Abbigail C. Gregg of Beaver Falls, writing  to Charlotte Bronte for Jane Eyre, Joseph Firoozmand of Cleona, writing to J. R. R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings, Andrea Munyan of Lafayette Hill, writing  to Ben Mikaelsen for Petey , and Daisy Willis of Fountain Hill, writing  to Vivian Vande Velde for The Rumpelstiltskin Problem: Straw Into Gold.

 

Winners for 2005

Erik Dill, Target Stores representative, Kristen Soforic, Luke Edmondson, Anna Eichner, Steven Herb

Luke Edmondson won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for his letter to Louis Sachar about Holes. Kristen Soforic won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, for her letter to Madeleine L'Engle about A Wrinkle in Time. Anna Eichner won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to J. M. Barrie about Peter Pan.

Kristen Soforic, Luke Edmondson, Anna Eichner, Steven Herb

High Honor of Distinction awards were given to Natasha Kumar in Level II for her letter to Mitch Albom about Tuesdays with Morrie and in Level III to Thomas Williams for his letter to Friedrich Nietzsche about The Antichrist.

Judy Smith, LAL judge, Kristen Soforic, Luke Edmondson, Anna Eichner, Susan Campbell-Bartoletti, LAL judge

Luke is a 6th grader at Mount Nittany Middle School in State College, PA, Kristen is a 7th grade homeschooled student from Mt. Pleasant, PA and Anna is a 10th grade homeschooled student from Tarentum, PA. They received their awards at Penn State's Children's Literature Matters Conference on April 9, 2005 at the Penn Stater Hotel in State College, PA.

Winners for 2004

Meghan Harrison won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to C.S. Lewis about Perelandra.* Natasha Kumar won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, for her letter to the Dalai Lama about Freedom in Exile.* Kumar not only won Pennsylvania, but placed in the top six in the country as well. Cory Merrill won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Allen Ginsberg about Howl.*

Kumar, a seventh grader at Hershey Middle School in Hershey, Merrill, a twelfth grader at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, and Harrison, a fifth grader at Springside School in Philadelphia, received their awards at Penn State's Children's Literature Matters Conference on May 8, 2004, at the Penn Stater Hotel in State College.

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Winners for 2003

Pauline Holdsworth won the Level I prize, covering grades four through six, for her letter to Tamora Pierce about Alanna - The First Adventure. Kaylyn Koberna won the Level II award, covering grades seven and eight, for her letter to Pearl S. Buck about Imperial Woman, and Alison Wall won the Level III award, covering grades nine through twelve, for her letter to Pearl S. Buck about The Good Earth. Additionally, Ravi Pandit's letter to Lemony Snicket about The Bad Beginning received honorable mention for Level III. Kaylyn Koberna (our Level II winner) also received an honorable mention distinction in the national contest.

Winners for 2002

The 2002 winners are Geoffrey W. Locher of the Richland Elementary School for his letter to Stephen Crane and Michael J. Shafer of the Palmerton Area High School for his letter to Henry David Thoreau. The winners received their recognition in April at the Children's Literature Matters Conference in the presence of noted authors Janet Wong, J. Patrick Lewis, Uri Shulevitz, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Anthony Browne, Jack Gantos and Paul Janeczko.

2002 Letters About Literature Winners

Steven Herb, Michael Shafer, Geoffrey Locher and Dan Hade

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Winners for 2001

In 2001, Kayla Sargeson from the Seneca Valley Middle School won the Level I competition for her letter to Anne Frank. The Level II award was presented to Laura K. Smith-Gary from Wyalusing Valley Junior/Senior High School for her letter to George Orwell.

History of the Contest

From 2001 - 2012, this nationwide writing event was sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in partnership with Target. Still sponsored by the Center for the Book today, this contest invites students in three grade categories to write letters to authors—living or dead—explaining how the author’s words affected them or their worldview.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading.

http://www.read.gov/letters/

 

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