Letters About Literature


Each year the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in partnership with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4-12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves. There are three competition levels: Level I for children in grades 4-6; Level II for grades 7 & 8, and Level III, grades 9–12.

Information for Students and Teachers

  • Submissions from all competition levels must be postmarked by December 9, 2017.
  • You do not have to enter through a class. You can enter on your own. Here are the Guidelines and Entry Coupon.
  • 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 curriculum for teaching, reading, and writing. Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.
  • State winners receive cash prizes provided by the South Carolina State Library Foundation.

Find out more about the program and how your school or individual child can get involved. You can also view photos from the 2016-2017 awards ceremony on our Flickr account.