Celebrating Idaho's 2016 "Letters About Literature" Award Winners

photo of 2016 Letters About Literature Award Winners

The twelve Idaho students who won at the state level of the 2016 “Letters About Literature” Contest were honored Friday, May 6, during an Awards Luncheon in the Capitol Dining Room of the Statehouse. State Librarian Ann Joslin congratulated the students and thanked them for their thoughtful and heart-felt letters. She also expressed appreciation to family members, teachers, and librarians for supporting the students’ love of literature and providing encouragement in their writing.

Award-winning author Chris Crutcher was the keynote speaker. The event was also attended by Diann Roberts, English Language Arts/Literacy Coordinator with the Idaho State Department of Education. Each of the Idaho winners received a Visa gift card; a framed personalized certificate signed by the State Librarian; a new hardbound book; and a copy of Crutcher's “ill-advised autobiography,” King of the Mild Frontier, which he signed after the event.

This year’s winners are:

Level I, Grades 4-6:
• 1st Place— Elise St Clair, 5th grade, I.B. Perrine Elementary School, Twin Falls
• 2nd Place— Thomas Quarve, 5th grade, St. Paul’s Catholic School, Nampa
• 3rd Place— Amaya Fischer, 5th grade, St. Paul’s Catholic School, Nampa
• Honorable Mention— Ethan Johnson, 5th grade, St Paul’s Catholic School, Nampa

Photo of left to right: Thomas Quarve, Amaya Fischer, Ethan Johnson, Elise St Clair
Left to right: Thomas Quarve, Amaya Fischer, Ethan Johnson, and Elise St Clair

 

Level II, Grades 7-8
• 1st Place— Talia Walsmith, 8th grade, River City Middle School, Post Falls
• 2nd Place—Mya Klein, 7th grade, Idaho Falls Public Library. Idaho Falls
• 3rd place— Laurel Hicke, 7th grade, Individual Entry, Moscow
• Honorable Mention— Moriah Godwin, 8th grade, River City Middle School, Post Falls

photo of Moriah Godwin, Laurel Hicke, Mya Klein, Talia Walsmith
Left to right: Moriah Godwin, Laurel Hicke, Mya Klein, and Talia Walsmith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level III, Grades 9-12
• 1st Place— Ashlyn Yevchak, 10th grade, Timberline High School, Boise 
• 2nd Place— Alexa Swanstrom, 10th grade, Timberline High School, Boise 
• 3rd Place— Emma Elizabeth Clark, 11th grade, Individual Entry, Moscow
• Honorable Mention— Ryan Clements, 10th grade, Fruitland High School, Fruitland

photo of Ryan Clements, Emma Elizabeth Clark, Alexa Swanstrom, Ashlyn Yevchak
Left to right: Ryan Clements, Emma Elizabeth Clark, Alexa Swanstrom, and Ashlyn Yevchak

Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion coordinated and funded by the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Idaho Commission for Libraries is a state-level partner.  Students in grades 4–12 read a book from any genre and write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book changed their views of the world or themselves. Two rounds of initial judging were conducted at the Center for the Book in Washington D.C. and the entries were forwarded to the Idaho Commission for Libraries, where they were further narrowed down. From there, three Idaho professors  selected the top essayists on each competition level. The three 1st place letters from Idaho advanced to the National Competition, where a panel of national judges select one national winner and one second place winner per competition level.

“We are delighted to honor these talented young readers, who were among 423 Idaho students participating in this year’s contest,” said Jeannie Standal, school library consultant at the Commission. “We are proud of all of the students who took part, because they are developing a lifelong love of literature, reading, and learning.”

Special thanks to our 2016 Idaho judges—Dr. Stan Steiner, Boise State University, (grades 4-6); Dr. Susan Swetnam, Idaho State University, (grades 7-8); and Dr. Ronald McFarland, University of Idaho, (grades 9-12)—who volunteered their time and expertise to read and rank the Idaho entries.

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