Letters About Literature contest winners announced

A nationwide event sponsored by the Library of Congress

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book announces the Pennsylvania winners of the 2013 Letters About Literature contest, a nationwide event sponsored by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading.

This contest invites students in three grade categories to write letters to authors — living or dead — explaining how the author’s words affected them or their worldview. Michaela Cameron of Shippensburg wins the Level I award (grades four through six) for writing to John F. Wukovits about “The Importance of Anne Frank,” Sophia Paterno of State College wins the Level II award (grades seven and eight) and Taylor Grace Bean of Harborcreek wins the Level III award (grades nine and 10) writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about “Wintergirls.” Each winner received a $300 cash prize and celebrated at a lunch in their honor with their families on April 27, in State College, Pa.

Level I honorable-mention winners are: Emma Bertolino of Philadelphia, Pa., writing to Kathryn Erskine about “Mockingbird,” Megan Bozzer of Indiana writing to Dorothy Sterling about “Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman,” Kyle Burk of Boalsburg writing to Emily Dickinson about “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?,” Haskel Wiroshan Canagarajah of State College writing to Yann Martel about “The Life of Pi,” Jess Harker of Lafayette Hill writing to J.K. Rowling about the “Harry Potter” series, Gabi Hemsch of Elizabethtown writing to Brian Selznick about “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” Jacob Orr of Blue Bell writing to Jamie McEwan about “Willy the Scrub” and Alysa Ann DiRusso-Krause of Philadelphia writing to Natasha Friend about “Lush.”

Level II honorable-mention winners are: Elijah “Eli” Abo of Pittsburgh writing to Ibtisam Barakat about “Tasting the Sky,” Jacqueline M. Feffer of Boalsburg writing to Jordan Sonnenblick about “Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie,” Joseph Feffer of Boalsburg writing to Dylan Thomas about “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” Nicholas Feffer of Boalsburg writing to Aldous Huxley about “Brave New World,” Caldwell Gregg Holden of Pittsburgh writing to Ken Kesey about “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Ceci Markley of Export writing to John Green about “The Fault in our Stars.”

Level III honorable-mention winners are: Sol Labruna of Presto writing to Sylvia Plath about “The Bell Jar,” Terrance M. Lewis of Philadelphia writing to Paulo Coelho about “The Alchemist,” Kevin Monpara of Pittsburgh writing to Padraic Colum about “The Golden Fleece,” Deepika Narayanan of Pittsburgh writing to Amy Tan about “The Joy Luck Club,” Haley Stefancis of Plum writing to Sylvia Plath about “The Bell Jar,” and Alexis Venturini of Pittsburgh writing to Margaret Peterson Haddix about “Claim to Fame.”

Letters About Literature contest judges were Lynn Cockett, professor of communication, Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.; Megan Gilpin, coordinator of outreach, library learning services, Penn State University Park, Pa.; Barbara A. Marinak, associate professor of education, School of Education and Human Services, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, Md.; Cindy Pimental, fourth grade teacher, G.B. Luhrs University Elementary School, Shippensburg, Pa., and Thomas P. Sherwood, II, founder and president of BioLexia, a lteracy consultancy, State College, Pa.

For more information about the contest and awards, please contact Caroline Wermuth, outreach coordinator, at 814-863-5472. Visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website at

Last Updated June 19, 2013