Birmingham area students won every section of the Alabama Letters About Literature contest.
Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest for students in grades four through 12, according to read.gov. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write a letter to the author about how the work affected their lives.
The letters are divided into three levels and are judged by each state affiliate for the national Center of the Book program. Level 1 is for students in grades 4-6; level 2 is for students in grades 7-8; and level 3 is for high school students. At each level, judges select a first-, second- and third-place state winner. The competition is sponsored by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliates.
The 2016 Alabama Letters About Literature winners are:
- Level 1: Caileigh Moose of Highlands School, Birmingham, first place; Caroline Reddington of Highlands School, Birmingham second place; Jeana Strickland of Chelsea Middle School, Chelsea, third place.
- Level 2: Lexie Fowler of Berry Middle School, Hoover, first place; Ella Russell of Liberty Park Middle School, Vestavia Hills second place; Hunter Grace Fairfax of Berry Middle School, Hoover, third place.
- Level 3: Ariana Cherry of Wenonah College Writer’s Program, Wenonah High School, Birmingham, first place; Victoria Terry with the Wordsmiths Writing Program, Birmingham, second place; Juahmun Sturgeon of Wenonah College Writer’s Program, Wenonah High School, Birmingham, third place.
More than 50,000 letters nationwide were submitted in this year’s competition, said Donna Adcock, director of public relations for University Libraries and director of the Alabama Center for the Book. In Alabama, 429 letters were submitted: 252 in level 1, 102 in level 2 and 75 in level 3.
“We’ll have an awards ceremony for the winners, their families and the semifinalists,” Adcock said. “Parents, teachers are all invited. The semifinalists will receive certificates. First-place winners will receive $100 in cash prizes, second place $75 in cash prizes and third place $50 in cash prizes.”
In level 1, there were 42 semifinalists in Alabama, 20 semifinalists in level 2 and 27 semifinalists in level 3.
Jeff Weddle, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at UA, will speak, Adcock said. Weddle’s stories, poems and essays have appeared in many print and online publications. His latest book is a short story collection, “When Giraffes Flew.” He won the Eudora Welty Prize for “Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press.”
The first-place winners in each state competition will be entered into a national competition where overall winners will be selected in each level. National winners in each competition level will receive $1,000.
The Alabama Center for the Book will honor state winners of the 23rd Letters About Literature competition during a ceremony at 11 a.m Saturday, May 14, at The University of Alabama’s Gorgas Library, room 205.