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Press Release

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The Center for the Book at New Hampshire State Library

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mary Russell, 603-271-2866, mary.russell@dcr.nh.gov
May 12, 2014

2014 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 2014 Letters About Literature competition.

Salina Chadbourne of Pembroke, Anna Meldrum of Milford and Leah Stagnone of Litchfield 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 letters to authors explaining how that author’s work changed their view of the world or of themselves.

This year, there were 50,000 Letters About Literature entries nationwide; 560 were from New Hampshire students. Forty-seven New Hampshire semi-finalists were selected 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 lal.nhbookcenter.org.

Salina Chadbourne, a sixth grader at Three Rivers School, wrote to Patricia Reilly Giffabout her book “Pictures of Hollis Woods.” In her letter, Chadbourne explains how she identified with the character of Hollis and concludes that “It’s amazing what a book can do to change a life and this one changed mine.”

Anna Meldrum, an eighth graderat Milford Middle School, wrote her letter to Ben Mikaelsen. Poet Roger Martin, one of this year’s state judges, said, “Anna Meldrum’s perception of anger and how‘Touching Spirit Bear’enabled her to accept her anger and her responsibility to manage it in a productive manner impressed me most. I sense shenow will stand up for someone being bullied – even a bully who, as she notes, was himself the victim of bullying.”

Leah Stagnone, a senior at Campbell High School, wrote to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” authorStephen Chbosky. One of the New Hampshire judges, writer Eric Pinder said, “Leah’s thoughtful, eloquent letter impressed me with its stark honesty and strong voice. She’s keenly observant, as all good writers must be. Her letter about discovering the right book at the right time shows how powerfully influential the experience of reading a good book can be.” Dr. Mary Kate Donais, a professor at St. Anselm College, was also one of New Hampshire’s judges this year. She said, “In a reflective and shockingly honest way, Leah allows the reader to hear her thoughts about herself, relationships, and life.”

Also serving as New Hampshire Letters About Literature judges for 2014 were Ann Hoey, youth services coordinator at the New Hampshire State Library; Megan Mantell, 7th grade/8th grade special education and language arts teacher at the Northwood School; and writer Sarah Jane Nelson, an instructional assistant and language arts tutor at Pelham High School.

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 lal.nhbookcenter.org.


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