Category: News

2011 National Book Festival

An unprecedented 112 authors, poets and illustrators spoke and met with their readers at the 2011 National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress. The event held Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 on the National Mall offered more authors and activities for young readers than ever before.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the first lady, were the honorary chairs of the event. The distinguished benefactor of the event, David M. Rubenstein, co-chaired the National Book Festival Board with Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress.

The Alabama Center for the Book was represented at the Pavilion of the States tent. Posters, bookmarks and brochures providing information about our state’s writers and the Alabama Center for the Book were given to thousands of young people and their parents. Each state along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories was represented.

In addition, a poplar pavilion feature was “Discover Great Places Through Reading”. A free map of the United States was presented at each table for an appropriate state sticker or stamp. A reading list of 52 books for young people with recommendations from each state was located on the back of the map. Alabama’s selection this year was To Kill a Mockingbird. Youngsters and adults alike were thrilled to receive a bright shinny silver sticker with a picture of a mockingbird.

2012 Letters About Literature State Winners and Semi-Finalists

EACHERS/LIBRARIANS: Please note that funding for the 2012-2013 program has not yet been approved. Once this happens, LAL will be uploading the new contest guidelines on their website.

We anticipate some significant changes in who may be eligible to enter, so do please review the new guidelines once they become available.

This national reading and writing program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and presented in partnership with participating affiliate state centers for the book.

State winners in the Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing program, were recognized with a reception and awards ceremony Saturday, April 7, in Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the campus of The University of Alabama.

The event was sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book.

The program asks young people in grades 4 through 12 to write to an author (living or dead) about how his or her book affected their lives.
Children’s author, Kerry Madden, was the guest speaker. Madden applauded and encouraged the students by sharing her life story and explained how everyone has something to write about.

Six hundred students from across the state of Alabama participated in this year’s contest and wrote to authors as diverse as Jeff Kinney author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever”; S. E. Hinton author of “The Outsiders”; and Gustave Flaubert author of “Madame Bovary.”
Sixty-four students were selected as state semi-finalists and were invited along with their families and teachers to the awards ceremony. Each semi-finalist received a certificate.

The top letters in each competition level were announced: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). First place winners received a $50 Target GiftCard, $100 from the Alabama Center for the Book and a journal. Second, third and honorable mention winners received cash awards from the Center and journals.

The three first place winners will now advance to the national competition sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target. Winners will be announced later this month.

Two national winners in each competition level will receive a $500 Target GiftCard and will designate a favorite library that he or she wishes to receive a $10,000 grant from Target.

The four national honors recipients from each competition level designate a library to receive a $1,000 Target grant; those students each receive a $50 Target GiftCard.

Madden is the author of the Smoky Mountain Trilogy: Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana Song and Jessie’s Mountain. Gentle’s Holler received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was a New York and Chicago Public Library Pick. Her picture book about Charlie Lucas and Kathryn Tucker Windham, Nothing Fancy About Charlie & Kathryn, will be published next year with her daughter, Lucy, illustrating the text.

The Alabama Center for the Book (http://alabamacenterforthebook.lib.ua.eu) works with many organizations, individuals and agencies to promote reading, literacy, publishing, and other book-related activities. The Alabama Center for the Book is the Alabama Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is housed in the University Libraries at the University of Alabama. The Center is located at 711 Capstone Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL, in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, room 201.

Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to supporting education and early childhood reading. Target recognizes the integral role that reading plays in shaping a child’s future, because reading is the foundation for lifelong learning and success.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The Center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

List of Alabama Winners 2012

Level 1 (grades 4-6)

First Place
Caleb Clarke
Spanish Fort Middle School
Second Place
Hannah Soloff
The Montgomery Academy
Third Place
Francie Hill
The Montgomery Academy
Honorable Mention
Julia Coccaro
Spanish Fort Middle School

Level 2 (grades 7-8)

First Place
Chenna Christoffer
Tuscaloosa Academy
Second Place
Rupa Palanki
Phillips Preparatory School (individual entry)
Third Place
Mario Madrigal
Oxford Middle School

Level 3 (grades 9-12)

First Place
Claudia Mitchell
Randolph School
Second Place
Sara Jane Kachelman
Florence High School
Third Place
Claire Oldfather
Providence Classical School

The 2012 Alabama semi-finalists included

Level 1

Shelby Lloyd Advent Episcopal School
Sophia Higgs, Advent Episcopal School
Anthony Minopoli, Berry Middle School
Adnan Reddy, Berry Middle School
Andrew Gedgoudas, Berry Middle School
Kristen Smith, Berry Middle School
Tuba Khan, Berry Middle School
Megan Seidel, Highlands School
Anna Lisa Goodman, Highlands School
Ada Cohen, Highlands School
Bisola Adediji, The Montgomery Academy
Sujin Lee, The Montgomery Academy
Tara Katz, The Montgomery Academy
Catherine Updegraff, The Montgomery Academy
Mary Jane McConnell, The Montgomery Academy
Madelyn Clark, Providence Classical School
Hannah James, Spanish Fort Middle School
Lana Stringer, Spanish Fort Middle School
Hunter Langham, Spanish Fort Middle School
Madison Fabber, Spanish Fort Middle School

Level 2

Raleigh Bruce, Advent Episcopal
Ellie Gorman, Advent Episcopal
Tomeka Frieson, Advent Episcopal
Olivia Minor, Advent Episcopal
Harper Johnson, Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Brittney Hudson, Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Kara Moncrief, Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Zachary Fitzgerald, Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet Middle School
Mary Frances Lembke, Highlands School
Lauren Curry, Oxford Middle School
Aidan Lambrecht, Providence Classical School
Mary Katherine Givhan, Providence Classical School
Drew Lindley, Providence Classical School
Addison Harrison, Tuscaloosa Academy
Chelsea Alan, Tuscaloosa Academy
William Henson, Tuscaloosa Academy

Level 3

Isabella Janice, Roland individual entry
Gabrielle D’Arcy, Florence High School
Caroline Lentz, Florence High School
Hannah Wright, Florence High School
Teena Patel, Florence High School
Kaitlin Moon, Pelham High School
Paige Knight, Pelham High School
Stormy Womack, Pelham High School
Ashley Brown, Pelham High School
Belle Griffin, Pelham High School
Emily Rames, Pelham High School
Alexis Lang, Pelham High School
Joshua Daniles, Providence Classical
Matthew McDavid, Providence Classical
Olivia Miller, Providence Classical
Savannah Silver, Providence Classical
Faith Buckley, Providence Classical
Elizabeth Cummings, Providence Classical

2013 Letters About Literature National Winners

Letters About Literature

2013 Competition National Prizes

Level 1 

National Prize:
Alessandra Selassie’s letter to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of The Little House in the Big Woods.
Alessandra is from DC, and is a fifth grade student at the Basis DC Charter School.

National Honor:
Rose Yuanhong Benas’s letter to Steven Mosher, author of A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy.
Rose is from Naperville, IL, and is a 6th grade student at the Avery Coonley School.

National Runner-Up:
Dalton Vassallo’s letter to Jerry Spinelli about his novel Stargirl.
Dalton is a 6th grade student at the Derby Academy and lives in Hingham, MA.

 

Level 2 

National Prize:
Matilda Berke’s letter to Amy Tan about her novel The Joy Luck Club.
Matilda is an 8th grade student at the Chandler School in Pasadena, CA.

National Honor:
Elizabeth Chambers’ letter to J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit.
Elizabeth is an 8th grade student at Jackson Hole MS, in Jackson Hole, WY.

National Runner-Up:
Shannon Chinn’s letter to Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451.
Shannon is a 7th grade student at St. Pius X/St. Leo School in Omaha, NE.

Level 3 

National Prize:
Elizabeth Chambers’ letter to J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit.
Elizabeth is an 8th grade student at Jackson Hole MS, in Jackson Hole, WY.

National Honor:
Claire Fieldman’s letter to Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Claire is a sophomore at Monte Vista HS in Danville, CA.

National Runner-Up:
Grace Mitchell’s letter to Karen Kingsbury, author of Unlocked.
Grace is also a sophomore at Pecos HS in Pecos, TX.

2013 Letters About Literature State Winners

130425, Letters About Literature awards presentation and readings by middle and high school students, shot 04-13-13
Letters About Literature awards presentation and readings by middle and high school students

 

Congratulations to the 2013 Letters About Literature State Winners:

Level 1 (Grades 4-6)

First Place
Anna Kate Lembke
Highlands School
Birmingham, AL
Teacher – Garland Darden
Second Place
Frances Carraway
Advent Episcopal School
Birmingham, AL
Teacher -Beverly Miller
Third Place
Martha Ernest
The Montgomery Academy
Montgomery, AL
Teacher- Gene Johnson
Honorable Mention
Patrick Morris
Berry Middle School
Hoover, AL
Teacher -Cheryl Thomas

Level 2 (Grades 7-8)

First Place
Aniekan-Abasi D. Ruffin
Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School
Montgomery, AL
Teacher-Gina Aaij
Second Place
Katherine Tucker
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tuscaloosa, AL
Teacher- Cita Smith
Third Place
Hannah Kindervater
Highlands School
Birmingham, AL
Teacher-Garland Darden
Honorable Mention
Charlotte Anguiano
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tuscaloosa, AL
Teacher- Cita Smith

Level 3 (Grades 9-10)

First Place
Evon Ballard
Individual Entry
Ginny Phillips Ashe – After School Program
Birmingham, AL
Second Place
Aidan Lambrecht
Providence Classical School
Huntsville, AL
Teacher-Katie Fletcher
Third Place
Danielle Killough
Providence Classical School
Huntsville, AL
Teacher- Jon Swanner
Honorable Mention
Charlotte Anguiano
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tuscaloosa, AL
Teacher- Cita Smith

For more event photos please visit our photo gallery.

2014 Letters About Literature Winners and Semi-Finalists

2013-lal-logo
2014 Winners and Semi-Finalists
Level 1
Rafe Jordan- 1st Place
Cragford, AL (Individual Entry)
Maxwell Jones
Fairhope, AL (Individual Entry)
Ridge Lindsey- Honorable Mention
The Montgomery Academy
Jack Cleary
The Montgomery Academy
Virginia Hope
The Montgomery Academy
Alisha Singh
The Montgomery Academy
Garrett Scott
The Montgomery Academy
Laine Martin
The Montgomery Academy
Mary Virginia Huffaker
The Montgomery Academy
Olivia Jones
The Montgomery Academy
Hannah Hollingsworth
The Montgomery Academy
Madi Caddell
The Montgomery Academy
Caroline Strickland
The Montgomery Academy
Level 1
Isabella Hosein
The Montgomery Academy
Jane Grey Battle- 3rd Place
Birmingham, AL
(Individual Entry)
Liliana Chambless
Highlands School
Lilla Carroll
Highlands School
Emma Lembke
Highlands School
Mary Catherine Touloupis
Highlands School
Anja Trierweiler
Highlands School
Joshua Hughes
Berry Middle School
Sophie Mayhew
Berry Middle School
Allie Milham
Berry Middle School
Taylor Slaughter
Berry Middle School
Kamryn Corey
Berry Middle School
Liza Devane
Berry Middle School
Grace Foy – 2nd Place
Berry Middle School
Hayden Carner
Berry Middle School
Kendall Irwin
Berry Middle School
Madison Oakman
Berry Middle School
Kayla Smoot
Berry Middle School
Level 1
Audrey Roller
Advent Episcopal School
Keith Owens
Advent Episcopal School
Jack McCormack
Advent Episcopal School
Lilly Geisen
Advent Episcopal School
Level 2
Caroline Greene
Tuscaloosa Academy
Clara Tenfelde
Tuscaloosa Academy
Shannon Kim
Tuscaloosa Academy
Harrison Neville – 1st Place
Briarwood Christian
O’Niyah Edmonds
Rutledge Middle School
Victoria Terry – 3rd Place
Bragg Middle School
Carlos Weber
Tuscaloosa Academy
Andrew Wade
Tuscaloosa Academy
Elizabeth Vann
Tuscaloosa Academy
Jenna Teesdale
Tuscaloosa Academy
Sarah Stipe
Tuscaloosa Academy
Jon Evan Smelley
Tuscaloosa Academy
Jonas Schanz
Tuscaloosa Academy
Jan Schoger
Tuscaloosa Academy
Level 2
Amanda Riggs
Tuscaloosa Academy
Katie Ray
Tuscaloosa Academy
Mason Palmer
Tuscaloosa Academy
Samuel Morrow
Tuscaloosa Academy
Hibst Mekonnen
Tuscaloosa Academy
Ali Marshall
Tuscaloosa Academy
Sarah Leuthner
Tuscaloosa Academy
Celina Koenig
Tuscaloosa Academy
Cedric Jetter
Tuscaloosa Academy
Ella Huffaker – 2nd Place
Tuscaloosa Academy
Harrison Howell
Tuscaloosa Academy
John Howard
Tuscaloosa Academy
Jack Horton
Tuscaloosa Academy
Lele Goldsmith
Tuscaloosa Academy
Adam J. Fuller
Tuscaloosa Academy
Luis Fuchs
Tuscaloosa Academy
Holly Dunn
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tripp Daniels
Tuscaloosa Academy
Kalin Burt
Tuscaloosa Academy
Level 2
Chase Buford
Tuscaloosa Academy
Hannah Brown
Tuscaloosa Academy
Caroline Bonhaus
Tuscaloosa Academy
Christopher Binder
Tuscaloosa Academy
Avery Anderson
Tuscaloosa Academy

Level 3
Lauren Humber
Childersburg, AL
(Individual entry)
Madison Cash
Fairhope, AL
(Individual entry)
Markayla Goins
Ramsay High School
Malaka Denise Gross
Ramsay High School
Tearra Hargrove – Honorable Mention
Birmingham, AL (Individual entry)
Rupa Palanki
Mobile, AL
(Individual Entry)

Level 3
Abigail Denton
Mobile, AL
(Individual Entry)
Mary Sullivan Benton
Pelham High School
Cameron Liddell
Pelham High School
Rebecca Foushee
Pelham High School
Kaitlin VanDorsten
Pelham High School
Mason Tortorich
Pelham High School
Kaitlin Moon
Pelham High School
Kelsey Trimble
Pelham High School
Becky Fox
Pelham High School
Zach Powell
Pelham High School
Nils Abel
Pelham High School
Dixon Atkinson
Pelham High School
Jacob Squires
Pelham High School
Tristin Sharp
Pelham High School
Gabrielle Mauterer
Pelham High School
Daniel Counts
Providence Classical School
Catherine Ferzoco
Florence High School
Allie Bond
Florence High School
Level 3
Brandon Rieff
Florence High School
Sarah Mathews – 1st Place
Florence High School
Thomas Solomon – 2nd Place
Florence High School
Alex Smith
Tuscaloosa Academy
Conrad Smalley
Tuscaloosa Academy
Julia Schanz – 3rd Place
Tuscaloosa Academy
Timothy Rice
Tuscaloosa Academy
Marianna Block
Tuscaloosa Academy
Carlie Cochran
Tuscaloosa Academy
Ashleigh Tayler Daugherty
Tuscaloosa Academy
Edward Demonbreun
Tuscaloosa Academy
Stephen Golding
Tuscaloosa Academy
Trey Hudson
Tuscaloosa Academy
Maria Apfelbach
Tuscaloosa Academy

2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival

2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival
The Hidden Summer by Alabama Author Gin Phillips Selected to Represent Alabama
Make plans to join the Alabama Center for the Book at the 14th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
 
There is an affiliated Center for the Book in each state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Each year every Center selects a children’s book to represent their state, district or territory.  The 2014 selection for the state of Alabama is The Hidden Summer written by Gin Phillips, a native of Montgomery now living in Birmingham.
 
The Alabama Center for the Book will be represented in the Pavilion of the States. Visitors to the Pavilion are encouraged to pick up a map and visit each state table for a stamp with interesting state symbols.  States will also have information about literacy and reading programs in their areas. This year’s festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite poets and authors, get books signed, hear special entertainment, have photos taken with storybook characters and participate in a variety of activities.
 
To learn more about Gin Phillips and her latest book about self-discovery, family, and friendship visit http://ginphillips.com/.
 
For additional information about the festival including a list of this year’s authors visit http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/ .

2016-2017 Letters About Literature: Reading and Writing Contest

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. If you are in grades 4-12, you are eligible to enter.

The 2016-2017 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 in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

If you are in grades 4-12, you are eligible to enter the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest. You do not have to enter through a class. You can enter on your own. To read more about the contest, learn about the guidelines, and to download an entry coupon, please go to www.read.gov/letters.

Also located on the website is The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide. The guide provides activities teachers can use to direct their students through the book discussion and letter-writing process. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading and writing. Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.

The contest is promoted by the Alabama Center for the Book, a state affiliate of the national Center of the Book.  State winners will be announced next spring at a state award ceremony at Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at The University of Alabama.

For more information about the contest, please contact Donna Adcock, Alabama state coordinator, at dbadcock@ua.edu.

 

A Photographic Display of American Cistercian Abbeys

“My Travels to All 17 Trappist Monasteries in the United States,” a collection of photographs by Kay Barnett of Eufaula, is on display through Oct. 9 in the Pearce Foyer on the second floor of Gorgas Library on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“My only personal goal during my visits was just to capture the people, sights, settings and experiences of my travels,” Barnett says. “For me, this was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk with a very dedicated group of people.”

The exhibit features 41 photographs Barnett took of monks and their dwellings while she visited American Cistercian abbeys from 1996 to 1998. The exhibit also includes books written by monks, including the scholar and theologian Thomas Merton.

In 2001, HarperCollins Publishers, The National Review and Christianity Today all named Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain on their list of the 100 most spiritually significant books of the 20th century. Three other of his books are sometimes included along with his best seller: New Seeds of Contemplation, The Sign of Jonas and No Man is an Island.

Library hours are: Monday -Thursday 7:30 am – 2:00 am, Friday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (exceptions for home ballgames) and Sunday Noon – 2:00 am. 

For additional information contact: Donna Adcock, dbadcock@lib.ua.edu or 205-348-1416.

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame

 

June 8, 2015
Dinner and Induction Ceremony
Bryant Conference Center
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Ticket Sales:  Donna Adcock, 205-348-1416, dbadcock@ua.edu
 
In 2014 two statewide literary arts entities, the Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers’ Forum, announced a joint initiative to launch the state’s first comprehensive Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.
To learn more about the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame including the inaugural class and induction dinner, visit http://www.writersforum.org/hall-of-fame/

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Announces Inaugural Class

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama professor has been selected to the inaugural class of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

Rick Bragg, professor of writing in UA’s College of Communication and Information Services, is a New York Times bestselling author whose memoirs include “All Over But the Shoutin’” and “Ava’s Man.” Bragg is one of 12 Alabama writers selected for induction in June 2015.

“In a state where great writers seem born from the red clay, I am deeply honored and humbled to be included among them in this fine honor,” Bragg said. “My people have discovered many things in that dirt — from coal to iron ore to cotton. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised they raised at least one writer from it.”

The Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers’ Forum have partnered to create the state’s first comprehensive Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Dr. Louis Pitschmann, dean of UA libraries and director for the Alabama Center for the Book, and Jeanie Thompson, executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, said the time has come for significant recognition of the state’s creative literary talent.

“The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame will generate awareness of literary works written in Alabama from the early days of our state to the present,” Thompson said. “The first class includes writers known internationally for their contribution to literary arts across all genres.”

In addition to Bragg, the first class for the hall of fame includes Johnson Jones Hooper (1815-1862), Augusta Jane Evans Wilson (1835-1909), Helen Keller (1880-1968), Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) and William March (1894-1954). Two recently deceased authors, Albert Murray (1916-2013) and Helen Norris Bell (1916-2013), are also being inducted along with additional 20th century authors: Andrew Glaze, Harper Lee, Sonia Sanchez and Sena Jeter Naslund. Lee and Bell graduated from UA, and March attended the UA School of Law.

The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame aims to share the deep literary history of the state. With a rich and diverse list of writers to honor, the Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers Forum have a proactive plan to keep the state’s authors vibrant and relevant in the digital age, organizers said. The first class of honorees is a building block toward the future.

“Other plans for the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame include design and production of a traveling display suitable for a number of public venues, and the development of public programs and educational curricula associated with the hall of fame,” Pitschmann said.

An advisory committee of scholars, writers and arts volunteers met in June 2014 to consider a field of nominees and name the first class of inductees.

The Alabama Center for the Book is the Alabama affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is housed in the University of Alabama Libraries at UA. Starting in 1984, the Center for the Book in the Library began to establish affiliate centers in the 50 states.

Today, there is a state center for the book in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These affiliates carry out the national center’s mission in their local areas, sponsor programs that highlight their area’s literary heritage, and call attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy and libraries.

The Alabama Writers’ Forum in Montgomery is a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. A not-for-profit organization, the Forum promotes writers, literary publishing, and literary arts education statewide. http://www.writersforum.org