Library of Congress Announces Reading-Writing Competition Winners

Letters About Literature, a Library of Congress national writing competition, has announced its winners for 2019. The national program, concluding its 27th year, asks students in grades 4 to 12 to write to an author about how his or her work affected their lives.

More than 29,000 students from across the country participated in this year’s initiative. The contest is promoted by the Library’s Center for the Book through its affiliated state centers, state libraries, state humanities councils and other organizations.

Top letter-writers are chosen for each state and in each of three levels: Level 1 (grades 4 to 6), Level 2 (grades 7 to 8) and Level 3 (grades 9 to 12). National Prize recipients receive a $2,000 award and National Honor Award Prize recipients receive a $500 award. The following are this year’s winners:

Level 1 National Prize

Xander Sanchez of Honolulu, Hawaii, wrote to Theodore Gray, author of “The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe.”

Level 1 National Honor Award

Evan Kotick of Seville, Ohio, wrote to Michael Lewis, author of “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.”

Llaria Luna of Washington, D.C., wrote to Marsha Skrypuch, author of “Stolen Child.”

Level 2 National Prize

Yael Epstein of Carmel, Indiana, wrote to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of “Infidel.”

Thea Millenson-Wilens of Mount Tremper, N.Y., wrote to Gayle Forman, author of “If I Stay.”

Level 2 National Honor Award

Saimaa Widi of Cheyenne, Wyoming, wrote to Olivia Vella, author of “Why Am I Not Good Enough?”

Level 3 National Prize

Amatullah Mir of Hickory Hills, Illinois, wrote to Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson, authors of “Ms. Marvel Series.”

Level 3 National Honor Award

Colton Schons of Spokane, Washington, wrote to Paul Murray, author of “Skippy Dies.”

Tejal Pendekanti of Westlake, Ohio, wrote to Gloria Anzaldua, author of “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.”

The 2018-2019 Letters About Literature contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book.

The Library’s Center for the Book, a unit of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement, was established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. A public-private partnership, the Center for the Book sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library. For more information, visit .

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *