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Public Information and Communication

April 1, 2014 

Tessa Terry

Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Young Nebraska writers will receive Letters about Literature award certificates from Gov. Dave Heineman on April 9, 2014 at a proclamation-signing ceremony celebrating National Library Week, April 13-19, 2014. Letters about Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program. Nearly 50,000 adolescent and young readers nationwide in grades 4 through 12 participated in this year’s Letters about Literature program, more than 400 of them from Nebraska. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

This annual contest is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in 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. The Nebraska competition is coordinated and sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, and Houchen Bindery Ltd.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:


Brianna Wilson, Big Springs, for a letter to Charles Bukowski about You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense
Sydney Kohl, Lincoln, for a letter to Gary Soto about A Fire in My Hand
Christopher Penas-Hull, Lincoln, for a letter to Jules Verne about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Alternate Winners

Thomas D'Aquila, Elkhorn, for a letter to Art Spiegelman about Maus
Wyatt Liewer, O'Neill, for a letter to Gary Paulsen about Brian's Hunt
Madeline Walker, Lincoln, for a letter to Sharon Draper about Out of My Mind     

The students wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of themselves or the world. They selected authors from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Winners were chosen from three competition levels: upper elementary, middle, and secondary school.

The Nebraska winners will be honored at a luncheon and receive cash prizes and gift certificates. Their winning letters will be placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. They will advance to the national competition, with a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for themselves and their parents. For more information see

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 Library Commission. 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,