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Press Release

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For Immediate Release: May 2, 2013

Contact: Mary Russell, Center for the Book at the NH State Library
mary.russell@dcr.nh.gov, (603) 271-2866

2013 Letters About Literature N.H. winners announced

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library has announced the state’s winners in the 2013 Letters About Literature competition.

Elizabeth Ross of Nashua, Jillian Perriello of Meriden and Maddie Brown of Grantham will each receive a cash prize. Additionally, their letters were sent on as entries in the national Letters About Literature competition.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress which is coordinated in New Hampshire by the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library. To enter, young readers wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or of themselves.

This year, there were 48,000 Letters About Literature entries nationwide; 612 were from New Hampshire students. Judges selected 46 New Hampshire semi-finalists across three competition levels: Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School. State winners were selected from this group of outstanding letters. A full list of New Hampshire semi-finalists is available at http://lal.nhbookcenter.org.

Upper Elementary winner Elizabeth Ross, a fifth grader at Infant Jesus School, wrote to Rick Riordanabout his book “The Son of Neptune.” One of the New Hampshire judges, the poet Grace Mattern, said, "Elizabeth Ross clearly describes how ‘The Son of Neptune’ changed her thinking and taught her the important lesson of not judging people by their appearances. The letter displays self-awareness and growing understanding through descriptions of Elizabeth's own thoughts and an example of how what she learned changed her actions. The letter is direct, honest and reveals a strong connection between Elizabeth as a reader and changes in her own life.”

Middle School winner Jillian C. Perriello, an eighth graderat Plainfield Elementary School, wrote a her letter to Nicholas Sparksabout“The Last Song.” Author Rebecca Rule, one of this years’ judges, said, "Jillian's piece seemed to me in a category of its own – the trauma she suffered and the way she handled it and the stark honesty with which she wrote was impressive.”

High school winner Maddie Brown, a sophomore at Lebanon High School, wrote her letter to “RedBadge ofCourage” authorStephen Crane. Angela Moser, an eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Auburn Village School who served as one of the New Hampshire judges, said, “The letter written by Madeline Brown is articulate and thought-provoking. Her voice is strong, and she writes with conviction. She makes a clear connection between the events in ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ and the current state of our world at war. The letter is moving without being overwrought. Overall, it is a stellar piece of writing, and I'm only sorry that Stephen Crane can't read it himself.”

Additional New Hampshire Letters About Literature judges for 2013 were Ann Hoey, youth services coordinator at the New Hampshire State Library; Peter Gaucher, English Department chair at Pinkerton Academy; and author Toby Ball.

The mission of the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library is to celebrate and promote reading, books, literacy and the literary heritage of New Hampshire and to highlight the role that reading and libraries play in enriching the lives of the people of the Granite State. Participating in the national Letters About Literature program gives the Center for the Book an opportunity to celebrate the role of reading, and writing, in the lives of the hundreds of New Hampshire students who submitted letters across all three competition levels.

For the full text of the winning Letters About Literature entries, visit http://lal.nhbookcenter.org.

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