Letters About Literature contest winners announced for 2015

Students from grade four through 12 penned letters to famous authors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Center for the Book has announced the Pennsylvania winners of the 2015 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 world view. Maxwell Brenneman of Huntingdon won the Level I award (grades four through six) for writing to C.S. Lewis about “The Magician’s Nephew, Christine Anna Troll of Somerset won the Level II award (grades seven and eight) for writing to George Orwell about “Animal Farm” and Alison Dalafave of Newtown won the Level III award (grades nine through 12) writing to J.K. Rowling about “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Winners received a $300 cash prize and enjoyed lunch with their families and representatives from the Pennsylvania Center for the Book at the Nittany Lion Inn at Penn State University Park on May 23.

Level I honorable-mention winners are: Charlotte Borger of Malvern, writing to R.J. Palacio about “The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story,” Sophia Bradburn of Port Matilda, writing to R.J. Palacio about “Wonder,” Sarah Devan of State College, writing to J.R.R. Tolkien about “The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again,” Liza Escuadro of Huntingdon, writing to Patricia Reilly Giff about “Pictures of Hollis Woods,” Nathaniel McClain of Huntingdon, writing to Patricia Reilly Giff about “Pictures of Hollis Woods,” Fiona Mulley of Pennsylvania Furnace, writing to Trenton Lee Stewart about “The Mysterious Benedict Society,” Gabriella Quinones of State College, writing to Bobbie Pyron about “The Dogs of Winter,” Jennifer Waldron of Mount Joy, writing to John Green about “Paper Towns,” and Kate Wojeck of Erdenheim, writing to Phillip Hoose about “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.”

Level II honorable-mention winners are: Danica Barnes of Williamsport, writing to Jerry Spinelli about “Stargirl,” Melanie Bertges of Apollo, writing to Gayle Forman about “If I Stay,” Angela Campbell of Springfield, writing to Dave Pelzer about “A Child Called ‘It’: One Child's Courage to Survive,” Alexandra Flagg of Wexford, writing to Stephen Hawking about “A Brief History of Time,” Aidan Gallagher of Springfield, writing to Roald Dahl about “Boy: Tales of Childhood,” Cassidy Glunt of Apollo, writing to Kristin Levine about “The Lions of Little Rock,” Makayla Schmid of Center Valley, writing to Suzanne Collins about “Mockingjay,” Kaitlin Siddons of Springfield, writing to Albert Espinosa about “The Yellow World,” and Brian Ward of Springfield, writing to Derek Jeter (with Jack Curry) about “The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams.”

A Level III honor of high distinction, which includes a cash award of $50, goes to Jackie Feffer of Boalsburg for writing to Nadege Fleurimond about “Haiti Uncovered: A Regional Adventure into the Art of Haitian Cuisine.” Level III honorable-mention winners are: Caroline Bremner of Erie, writing to Tim O'Brien about “The Things They Carried,” Amy Chai of Pittsburgh, writing to John Green about “Paper Towns,” Sarah M. Gawron of Cranberry Twp., writing to George R.R. Martin about “Game of Thrones,” Kira Nicholson of Scottdale, writing to J.K. Rowling about “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Maria Schultheis of Alverton, writing to Shel Silverstein about “The Giving Tree,” Grace Vivio of Scottdale, writing to Laurie Halse Anderson about “Wintergirls,” Brian Waryck of Indiana, writing to Laura Hillenbrand about “Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” and Sarah Zarpentine of Indiana, writing to Lauren Oliver about “Delirium.”

Letters About Literature contest judges were Lynn Cockett, professor of communication, Juniata College, Huntingdon; Megan Gilpin, coordinator of outreach, Library Learning Services, Penn State University Park; Theresa M. Hoover, assistant professor of education, Wilson College, Chambersburg; Linda Oatman High, author of books for children and teens/journalist/playwright, Narvon; and Pat Hughes, author of books for children and young adults, Narberth.

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

Last Updated June 01, 2015