The Alaska Center for the Book launches “Letters About Literature 2016”

A new national writing contest based on writing letters about literature has opened for students in grades 4 through 12. Sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in partnership with Target Stores, To enter, students must write a letter to an author — living or dead — explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves.

Each letter must be accompanied by an official entry coupon or copy of one. Entry coupons will be available at local libraries or online at www.alaskacenterforthebook.org. Guidelines and teaching supplements are available for teachers, parents, or librarians at the site.

The contest has three competition levels: Level 1 is open to students in grades 4 through 6; Level 2 is open to students in grades 7-8; and Level 3 is open to grades 9-12. Contest deadlines are Dec. 4 (Level 3) and Jan. 11 (Levels 1 and 2).

Alaska state winners at each level will receive a $100 cash prize. They also advance to national competition. Runners-up receive $50 cash. Six national winners (two per competition level) and 12 national honorable mentions (four per competition level) will be selected. National winners in each competition level will receive a $1,000 cash award, and national honor winners in each competition level will receive a $200 cash award.

The 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a 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.

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