Letters About Literature National Reading-Writing Contest

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Stores and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author explaining how that author's work changed the reader's way of thinking about the world or themselves. There are three competition levels: Level I for grades 4 through 6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III, grades 9 - 12. Winners, announced in the spring of each year, receive cash awards at the national and state levels. National winners also earn for their school or community library reading promotion grants worth thousands of dollars! Deadline for our next competition is December 6, 2008.

Contest Update: September 8, 2008

At first, students were stymied about how not to write a fan letter. Continual coaching, encouragement, and your excellent guidelines and teaching files helped them correspond with authors in a revelatory way. This was a new way of writing for them. Their initial intensity about wanting to win became redirected as we practiced applying your lesson-plan ideas. —Kate Denault, Mountainside, New Jersey

Books have wings. You can't see them, but they are there just the same. On books' wings, readers can soar to new places where they meet intriguing characters and experience exciting adventures. But a book's wings can also help a reader rise above difficult situations, like peer pressure, bullying or prejudice, or to cope with disappointment and loss. Have you ever felt the power and lift of literature? Has one book, or perhaps one author, inspired you to change your view of yourself or of your world? If so, we encourage you to enter this year's Letters About Literature writing competition. It's easy. All you have to do is write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work affected you.

LAL isn't your ordinary book report assignment! We eliminate all letters that just summarize the book's plot. Why? Because you are writing to the author and the author already knows what happened, right? Instead, we look for letters that are personal (that means, about you, your thoughts, your feelings), conversational, and informative!

Entry guidelines and "official rules" are also available on the LAL page at the Libary of Congresss Website at this URL: http://www.loc.gov/letters. Meanwhile, browse our site using the menu at the left and read some of the great winning letters from this year's competition! We look forward to receiving your letter this year!

Florida Book Awards

2008 is the third year of the Annual Florida Book Awards Competition. Go to http://www.fsu.edu/~ams/bookawards/ to see information about the competition, the juries, this year's and previous years' finalists and award winners, book entry rules, and important dates.

The Florida Book Awards, coordinated by the Florida State University Program in American & Florida Studies -- and co-sponsored by the Florida Center for the Book, the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Historical Society, the Florida Humanities Council, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, the Florida Library Association, “Just Read, Florida!,” the Governor’s Family Literacy Initiative, the Florida Association for Media in Education, the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Friends of the Florida State University Libraries, and the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America -- is an annual awards program that recognizes, honors, and celebrates the best Florida literature published in the previous year.

In early March, medals will be announced in each of the eight categories. Gold Medal Award winners will be acknowledged at the Historic and Cultural Awards Ceremony sponsored by the State of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs at the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee. All FBA medalistswill be acknowledged at a banquet hosted by the Florida Library Association at its annual conference in early May.

Winning books and their authors are featured in the Summer issue of FORUM, the statewide magazine of the Florida Humanities Council. Visit the FORUM website to learn more about the authors and to buy the 2007 award-winning books.