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Public Information and Communication

April 10, 2019

Tessa Terry

Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Nebraska students competed for the twentieth year in the annual Letters About Literature competition. They wrote to tell an author about how books can make a difference in a young person’s life. Young Nebraska writers who wrote winning letters in the Letters About Literature competition received award certificates from Gov. Pete Ricketts at a proclamation-signing ceremony celebrating National Library Week, April 7-13, 2019. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program. Nearly 28,000 adolescent and young readers nationwide, in grades four through twelve, participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program-hundreds 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, with funding from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 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, Houchen Bindery Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:

Payton Boyer, Alliance, for a letter to M. Ruben
Ruby Cunningham, Omaha, for a letter to Ishmael Beah
Gage Boardman, Valley, writing to Becky Albertalli

Alternate Winners
Maren Steinke, Lincoln, for a letter to Paul Griffin
Makenna Miller, Elkhorn, for a letter to J.D. Salinger
Kelsee Moffat, Oshkosh, writing to Nicholas Sparks

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 are honored at a luncheon and receive cash prizes and gift certificates. Their winning letters are 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 about the competition 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, .

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.