> Press Release
The Center for the Book at New Hampshire State Library
For Immediate Release: May 26, 2016
Mary Russell, Center for the Book at the NH State Library
The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library has announced the state’s winners in the 2016 Letters About Literature competition.
Liliana Pistor of Brookline, Anthony Perriello of Meriden and Kaitlyn Grant of Somersworth will each receive a $100 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 50,000 Letters About Literature entries nationwide; 737 were from New Hampshire students. Judges selected 25 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 the New Hampshire semi-finalists is available at lal.nhbookcenter.org.
Upper Elementary winner Liliana Pistor, a sixth grader at Captain Samuel Douglass Academy in Brookline, wrote to R. J. Palacio about her book “Wonder.” This competition level was judged in New Hampshire by teacher and librarian Nancy Keane and poet Seth Abramson. They commented: “She told of a girl in her class who is different. After she read ‘Wonder,’ she realized there was no reason to be afraid and she started taking to her. She discovered a funny, caring, kind person and became friends. This is just the impact that we hope literature will have on children.”
Middle School winner Anthony Perriello, an eighth grader at Plainfield Elementary School, wrote his letter to Paul Volponi about “Final Four.” State judges Rob Greene, an English teacher at Nashua North High School South, and author Erin Moulton selected this letter because, “For us, Anthony's passion for the book and the connection to the theme was what won out. His essay was cohesive, but it wasn't the writing that dazzled us, rather, it was the heart that we really admired. Anthony didn't seem to be writing for an assignment or trying to fit a rubric, he was being real.”
High school winner Kaitlyn Grant, a senior at Somersworth High School, wrote her letter to poet Neil Hilborn about “OCD.” Ann Hoey, youth services coordinator at the New Hampshire State Library, said of Grant’s letter: “The writer relates her experiences well to the poet’s performance of ‘OCD.’ Her letter captures both her struggles as well as her connection to the spoken poem. The writer’s voice is honest, and she offers concrete examples of how the poem moved and inspired her.”
National Letters About Literature winners will be announced in June by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
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.