State winners in the Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing program, were recognized with a reception and awards ceremony Saturday, April 7, in Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the campus of The University of Alabama.
The event was sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book.
The program asks young people in grades 4 through 12 to write to an author (living or dead) about how his or her book affected their lives.
Children’s author, Kerry Madden, was the guest speaker. Madden applauded and encouraged the students by sharing her life story and explained how everyone has something to write about.
Six hundred students from across the state of Alabama participated in this year’s contest and wrote to authors as diverse as Jeff Kinney author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever”; S. E. Hinton author of “The Outsiders”; and Gustave Flaubert author of “Madame Bovary.”
Sixty-four students were selected as state semi-finalists and were invited along with their families and teachers to the awards ceremony. Each semi-finalist received a certificate.
The top letters in each competition level were announced: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). First place winners received a $50 Target GiftCard, $100 from the Alabama Center for the Book and a journal. Second, third and honorable mention winners received cash awards from the Center and journals.
The three first place winners will now advance to the national competition sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target. Winners will be announced later this month.
Two national winners in each competition level will receive a $500 Target GiftCard and will designate a favorite library that he or she wishes to receive a $10,000 grant from Target.
The four national honors recipients from each competition level designate a library to receive a $1,000 Target grant; those students each receive a $50 Target GiftCard.
Madden is the author of the Smoky Mountain Trilogy: Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana Song and Jessie’s Mountain. Gentle’s Holler received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was a New York and Chicago Public Library Pick. Her picture book about Charlie Lucas and Kathryn Tucker Windham, Nothing Fancy About Charlie & Kathryn, will be published next year with her daughter, Lucy, illustrating the text.
The Alabama Center for the Book (http://alabamacenterforthebook.lib.ua.eu) works with many organizations, individuals and agencies to promote reading, literacy, publishing, and other book-related activities. The Alabama Center for the Book is the Alabama Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is housed in the University Libraries at the University of Alabama. The Center is located at 711 Capstone Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL, in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, room 201.
Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to supporting education and early childhood reading. Target recognizes the integral role that reading plays in shaping a child’s future, because reading is the foundation for lifelong learning and success.
Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The Center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.
Letters About Literature winners 2012
Teacher Cita Smith and speaker Kerry Madden
Letters About Literature crowd
The 2012 Alabama winners included:
Level 1 (Grades 4-6)
First Place Caleb Clarke, Spanish Fort Middle School
Second Place Hannah Soloff, The Montgomery Academy
Third Place Francie Hill, The Montgomery Academy
Honorable Mention Julia Coccaro, Spanish Fort Middle School
Level 2 (Grades 7-8)
First Place Chenna Christoffer, Tuscaloosa Academy
Second Place Rupa Palanki, Phillips Preparatory School (individual entry)
Third Place Mario Madrigal, Oxford Middle School
Level 3 (Grades 9-12)
First Place Claudia Mitchell, Randolph School
Second Place Sara Jane Kachelman, Florence High School
Third Place Claire Oldfather, Providence Classical School
The 2012 Alabama semi-finalists included:
Shelby Lloyd Advent Episcopal School
Sophia Higgs Advent Episcopal School
Anthony Minopoli Berry Middle School
Adnan Reddy Berry Middle School
Andrew Gedgoudas Berry Middle School
Kristen Smith Berry Middle School
Tuba Khan Berry Middle School
Megan Seidel Highlands School
Anna Lisa Goodman Highlands School
Ada Cohen Highlands School
Bisola Adediji The Montgomery Academy
Sujin Lee The Montgomery Academy
Tara Katz The Montgomery Academy
Catherine Updegraff The Montgomery Academy
Mary Jane McConnell The Montgomery Academy
Madelyn Clark Providence Classical School
Hannah James Spanish Fort Middle School
Lana Stringer Spanish Fort Middle School
Hunter Langham Spanish Fort Middle School
Madison Fabber Spanish Fort Middle School
Raleigh Bruce Advent Episcopal
Ellie Gorman Advent Episcopal
Tomeka Frieson Advent Episcopal
Olivia Minor Advent Episcopal
Harper Johnson Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Brittney Hudson Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Kara Moncrief Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Zachary Fitzgerald Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Mary Frances Lembke Highlands School
Lauren Curry Oxford Middle School
Aidan Lambrecht Providence Classical School
Mary Katherine Givhan Providence Classical School
Drew Lindley Providence Classical School
Addison Harrison Tuscaloosa Academy
Chelsea Alan Tuscaloosa Academy
William Henson Tuscaloosa Academy
Isabella Janice Roland individual entry
Gabrielle D’Arcy Florence High School
Caroline Lentz Florence High School
Hannah Wright Florence High School
Teena Patel Florence High School
Kaitlin Moon Pelham High School
Paige Knight Pelham High School
Stormy Womack Pelham High School
Ashley Brown Pelham High School
Belle Griffin Pelham High School
Emily Rames Pelham High School
Alexis Lang Pelham High School
Joshua Daniels Providence Classical
Matthew McDavid Providence Classical
Olivia Miller Providence Classical
Savannah Silver Providence Classical
Faith Buckley Providence Classical
Elizabeth Cummings Providence Classical