Letters About Literature

Sponsored in association with Affiliate State Centers for the Book

Center for the Book

Letters About Literature 2015 Contest Rules and Guidelines

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 that 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 Letters About Literature reading and writing contest. Here are the Rules and Guidelines. Here is a Teaching Guide. The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities teachers can use to guide 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 national standards for teaching reading and writing as well as Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.

“Dear Rudyard Kipling,

‘My dad is a six-foot tall, deep-voiced, husky eastern European rock of a man. In fact, all the men on my dad's side of the family are a bunch of Romanian macho hunks with bulging biceps and visages as stony and solemn as a statue. Genetically, I have these same features yet, because of my mother's influence, I am much softer on the inside. Instead of wrestling or boxing at family gatherings, like my cousins so often do, I would much rather ...”

Read this winning letter by Joshua Tiprigan, National Winner from New Jersey's North Valley Regional High School in Old Tappan

Is there a favorite book or poem that changed your life? Why not write to that author and tell him or her just how important it was? Letters About Literature, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, encourages students to write to authors. Winners receive national recognition.

Envelope Art!The colorful envelopes we receive as part of the Letters About Literature contest have become a treat for us at LAL Central, as well as for our postal clerks in Woodbridge, VA. We love to see your enthusiasm for reading represented on the envelopes and have showcased a few of our favorites from past years below. This year's envelope art will be uploaded to the "Envelope Art!" page and also on our Facebook page!

River of Words

River of Words

Look around you. See how your environment shapes the way you live and how you think about the world. Then write a poem or create a piece of art on what you discover. River of Words is an international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of Watersheds. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live and to express themselves through poetry and art. The contest is open to any child in the world, 5-19 years of age.

A Book That Shaped Me Summer Writing Contest

If you are a rising 5th or 6th grader and would like a chance to participate in the National Book Festival, think about entering the A Book That Shaped Me Summer Writing Contest, which encourages kids to reflect on a book that has made a personal impact on their lives. The contest is administered through local public library summer reading programs, and top winners are honored at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September on the National Mall.