SFJHS Students Advance in Letters About Literature Contest

Taylor Gull, Holley Larsen, David Riding

According to the Library of Congress website, Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year.

Recently, we had three participants advance to state-level judging, Taylor Gull, Holley Larsen, and David Riding. Taylor wrote to author Brandon Mull about his book Fablehaven and how she read it as a young person.  Holley informed author Lois Lowry who wrote The Giver that her world view shifted, and David Riding who read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair expressed his change in perspective on capitalism and working conditions in the early 1900s. Their full reactions follow:

Taylor writes, “For the Letters About Literature contest I chose to write to the author Brandon Mull. He is one of my favorite child/teen novel writers. Specifically, I chose to write to him about his book Fablehaven. I chose to write to this author about this book because it has a special place in my past as being the root of why I love reading. This book was the first novel I ever read, and it gave me the right start I needed to learn to enjoy literature. Fablehaven is a fantasy novel, and right from the start I fell in love with the magic and wonder it brought. Brandon Mull gives great descriptions in his work that captured my young imagination. I wanted to write to Brandon Mull and tell him about how strong of an influence this book has had on my life. I have greatly admired his work ever since reading Fablehaven in elementary school. I wanted to write my letter for the contest to an author whose work I look up to and admire."

Holley expounded on her letter to author Lois Lowry about her book, The Giver, “I explained how I loved the relatedness of her book and characters. I personally related to Jonas in many ways. In fact, most teenagers can relate to him while experiencing the world that they have just stepped into. I also mentioned in my letter how The Giver helped change my view on the world and inspire me to be more aware of it. Overall I expressed my love for The Giver and the morals it teaches.”

David expressed his gratitude for the life he has now by saying, “I wrote my letter about literature to Upton Sinclair because of his book, The Jungle. I chose this book because of the powerful message Upton Sinclair brings as he exposes the harsh reality of capitalism in the early 1900s. This book changed my perspective as it described the awful conditions of the people coming to America in search of new opportunities and a chance to direct their lives for the better. The Jungle showed me how much I truly have to be grateful for as I read about what kids my age and even younger had to endure through just to survive day by day.”

Thank you to Taylor, Holley, and David for sharing your thoughts and congratulations on advancing to the next level of competition in the Letters About Literature contest. Best of luck to all of you!