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

Visit the Letters About Literature page here.

For teachers, the National Center for the Book has provided a Teaching Guide (PDF).

More Information About the Contest

How to Enter in 7 Easy Steps

How to Enter in 7 Easy Steps

1. Select a Book that you have read and about which you have strong feelings.

2. Imagine sitting down with the author of this work and sharing your personal thoughts. Your letter should be personal and sincere, more like a private conversation than book report or fan letter.

3. Share specifics details both about the book and about your reaction to the book.

4. Keep in mind that this is a reflective writing contest and that means you need to think about what you read and the meaning you gleaned from the author’s words.

5. Type your entry.

6. Submit your submission online.

New this year is a submission portal. Students are asked to submit their entries electronically. Permissions will also be requested at that time. The electronic submission portal will be open on November 1st.

More information on the submission portal and instructions to come!

7. Download participation certificate at


All Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

Round 1:

Audience: Is the essay in letter format and does is address the author of the work? Entries that are not letter format and are written about the author, rather than to the author, will be eliminated.
Purpose: Does the essay address the contest theme of how an author’s work changed the reader’s of self or the world? Is personal reflection evident in the letter? Entries that are book summaries or fan letters will be eliminated. Letters that meet these criteria will advance to round 2.

Round 2:

Grammatical conventions: Is the essay written in a clear and organized way with specific details to support the essay’s main idea? Single-paragraph letters and those with significant grammatical errors will be eliminated.

Originality: Does the essay express ideas creatively, communicating a unique or powerful point of view? Letters are formulaic without evidence of a writer’s voice will be eliminated. Letters that meet these criteria advance to state-level judging.


Judges selected by the Affiliate Centers for the Book choose the top letters in each competition level for their state. Once the state’s winning letters have been selected, the first-place state-level winners advance to the national-level judging.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress selects a panel of judges to evaluate the first place winners and select National Winners and National Honor Winners.

Each state recognizes its semi-finalists and winners in various ways. In April 2017, Wisconsin held an awards ceremony in Green Bay in conjunction with the city’s Untitled Town Book Festival.



Wisconsin Center for the Book Letters about Literature Awards include a framed certificate, books and financial awards of:

$100 for First Place
$50 for Second Place
$25 for Honorable Mention

The Library of Congress will announce all National and National Honor Winners and will publish all state-level winners on its website.

National Winners in each competition level will receive a $1,000 cash award

National Honor Winners in each competition will receive a $200 cash award

Check for details on state awards and ceremonies

How to Submit on the Electronic Submission Portal

How to Submit on the Electronic Submission Portal:

Opens November 1st.

More information to come!


For our 2018-2019 Press Release and Informational Flyer please click the links below:

Letters About Literature Press Release
Letters About Literature Informational Flyer

Wisconsin Winners

Take a look at our previous Letters About Literature winners from Wisconsin

2017-2018 Winners

2017 – 2018 Winners

Level 1
Grades 4, 5 and 6

1st Place: Devin Cass,Glen Hills Middle School,  Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

2nd Place: Sharv Jani, River Crest Elementary School, Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Honorable Mention: Emerson Ellenwood, Whitewater Middle School, Divergent by Veronica Roth

Level 2
Grades 7 and 8

1st Place: Joyce Essuman, Glen Hills Middle School, Divergent by Laurie Veronica Roth

2nd Place: Samantha Soens, Glen Hills Middle School, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Honorable Mention: Katherine Kloth, D.C. Everest Junior High School, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell  by Chris Colfer

Level 3
Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12

1st Place: Charlie Bock, Oshkosh North High School, Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert

2nd Place: Caroline McCance, Hartland, The Women to Named Things by Cynthia Rylant

Honorable Mention: Paige Wilson, Oshkosh North High School, Wonder by R. J. Palacio

2016-2017 Winners

2016 – 2017 Winners

Level 1
Grades 4, 5 and 6

1st Place: Hannah Mei-en Hippe, Milwaukee, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

1st Place: Allison Frangiskakis, Horace Mann Middle School, Wausau, A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson

Honorable Mention: Sophia Frioui, Glen Hills Middle School, Glendale, Pax by Sarah Pennypacker

Level 2
Grades 7 and 8

1st Place: Abby Scott, Oostburg Middle School, Oostburg, I am Coyote by Geri Vistein

2nd Place: Joyce Essuman, Glen Hills Middle School, Glendale, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Honorable Mention: Gianna Molini, Kenosha, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Level 3
Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12

1st Place: Olivia Fox, Aquinas High School, La Crosse, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover

2nd Place: Dakota Mertz, Hilbert High School, Hilbert, The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Copp, Aquinas High School, La Crosse, Looking For Alaska by John Green

2015-2016 Winners

2015 – 2016 Winners

Level 1
Grades 4, 5 and 6

1st Place: Joyce Essuman, Glen Hills Middle School, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

2nd Place: Lauren Sagmeister, South Park Middle School, Paper Towns by John Green

Honorable Mention: Mia Keifer, Glen Hills Middle School, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Level 2
Grades 7 and 8

1st Place: Mei-en Hippe, Milwaukee, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

2nd Place: Eli Shlimovtiz, Madison County Day School, The Illiad by Homer

Honorable Mention: Megan Nielson, Templeton Middle School, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Level 3
Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12

1st Place: Holly McFarlane, Poynette, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

2nd Place: Chia Lee, Wausau, Cinderella by Walt Disney

Honorable Mention: Logyn Steinmann, Judah High School, The Fault of Our Stars by John Green