Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about
Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author
(living or dead) from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author’s
work changed the student′s view of the world. The 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made
possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from
gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its
affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations. This reading and writing
promotion is sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Library Commission,
and supported by Houchen Bindery Ltd. and Chapters Books in Seward.
Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The Nebraska Center for the Book’s panel of
judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in a proclamation-signing ceremony
at the state capitol during National Library Week in April 2016. Their winning letters will be placed in
the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. Nebraska
winners will receive state prizes, and then advance to the national judging.
A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National
Winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12)
to receive a $1,000 cash award, to be announced in May 2016. The judges will also select one National Honor
winner on each competition level to receive a $200 cash award.
Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing,
along with contest details and entry forms, at
. Nebraska-specific information (including lists
of Nebraska winners of past competitions) is available at
Listen to Nebraska winners, Ashley Xiques and Sydney Kohl, read and talk about and their winning letters to authors
that meant something to them in their own lives on NET Radio’s All About Books (http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/all-about-books
Submissions from Grades 9-12 must be postmarked by December 4, 2015. Submissions from Grades 4-8 must be postmarked by January 11, 2016.
For more information contact
Mary Jo Ryan
, 402-471-3434 or 800-307-2665.
The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and
brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers,
printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting
programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the
written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska
As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission
is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans.
The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development,
and coordination of library and information services—bringing together people and information.
The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library
Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,