Letters About Literature in Illinois Illinois Center for the Book
Sponsored by Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White, and the Illinois Center for the Book, Letters About Literature is a statewide reading and writing promotion. Students in grades 4 – 12 are invited to read a book of their choice, reflect on it, and write a personal letter to its author explaining the impact this work had on them.
Students can enter individually, or through school, library and youth organizations. There are three writing levels based on the student’s grade in school:
Level I - Grades 4 - 6
Level II - Grade 7 & 8
Level III - Grades 9 - 12.
There is one winning letter selected per Level. Winners receive a cash prize and a plaque from the Illinois Secretary of State. Teachers of the winners receive a certificate and a cash prize for the school to purchase books for the school library.
Runners-Up from each Level receive certificates.
2023 Contest Information
The new entry form and guidelines will be available in the fall of 2022. The deadline to enter is: December 15, 2022. Winners will be announced after May 2023.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Letters About Literature Supports National Language Arts and Reading Standards, and Common Core State Standards
- Teacher/Student Checklists
- Teaching Guide
- Level I, Grades 4-6: Aiden Zhang wrote to Illinois author Shel Silverstein about his book, “The Giving Tree.”.
- Level II, Grades 7-8: Ellie Kim wrote to Illinois author Celia C. Pérez about her book, “The First Rule of Punk.”.
- Level III, Grades 9-12: Joshua Kupietzky wrote to Primo Levi about his book, “Survival in Auschwitz”.
- Winning Letters: