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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

Students earn recognition for letters

May 08, 2014
PHOTO SUBMITTED Fairfield Middle School student Megan Higgins is congratulated by Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Center for the Book coordinator Robin Martins. Higgins was a second-place winner in the Letters About Literature program.

Two Fairfield Middle School students were Level II honorees in the 2014 Letters About Literature program.

Megan Higgins was a second place winner for her letter to author Veronica Roth about her book “Divergent.”

Devika Pharasi was an honorable mention for her letter to author Chris Van Allsburg about his book “The Polar Express.”

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was this year’s guest speaker at an awards ceremony for winners and honorable mentions April 25 at the Des Moines Public Library.

To enter, young readers write a personal letter to an author explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves. Readers can select authors from any genre — fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. The students’ letters can be written to an author from the past or present. The contest theme encourages young readers to explore his or her personal response to a book and then express that response in a creative, original way.

The national Letters About Literature office read all 50,000 entries in the 2014 contest and returned the top letters to each state. A panel of Iowa judges for each of the three division levels met to discuss the finalist entries and select Iowa’s first-, second- and third-place winners and three honorable mentions in each division.

The 50,000 entries submitted from across the country included 1,931 submitted by Iowa students.

At Level I for fourth through sixth grades): 703 students entered. There were six winners, 29 finalists and 17 semi-finalists

At Level II for seventh and eighth grades: 954 students entered. There were six winners, 29 finalists and 34 semi-finalists.

At Level III for ninth through 12th grades: 274 students entered. There were six winners, 29 finalists and four semifinalists.

The first-place prize winning letter in each category has been sent back to Washington, D.C., to be considered in the national competition.

“Iowa continues to be at the forefront in promoting the reflective reading and writing required by this contest,” said Robin Martin, coordinator for the Iowa Center for the Book. “Iowa is among the top five participating states.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with the Iowa Center for the Book. The mission of the Iowa Center for the Book is to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries.

For more information and to read the winning letters, visit www.iowacenterforthebook.org/letters.

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