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New Mexico “Letters About Literature” Champions Announced

Grace Logsted, Kate Colson, and Arielle Moosman move on to national competition

(Santa Fe, N.M. – April 6, 2016) ---  The New Mexico State Library has announced the state level champions of the 2016 Letters About Literature competition. This annual writing contest for young readers in grades 4 through 12 is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and is administered nationally by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

Students are asked to read a book, poem, or play and write to that author about how the literature changed their view of the world. The New Mexico State Library manages the state level program and submits a champion to the national competition for each of the three levels.

Grace Logsted, a fifth grade student at the Estancia Valley Classical Academy in Moriarty, is the Level 1 (grades 4-6) champion.  Grace wrote her letter to James Dasher about his series, “The Maze Runner.”

Kate Colson, an eighth grade student at Estancia Valley Classical Academy in Moriarty, won the Level 2 (grades 7-8) competition. Her letter is addressed to “Cry of the Icemark” author, Stuart Hill.

Arielle Moosman, a ninth grade student from Ramah, is the Level 3 (grades 9-12) champion. Moosman wrote a letter to Jerry Spinelli about his book, “Stargirl.”

There were 621 New Mexico students who entered the 2016 contest. Entries were received from nearly 40 schools as well as from home schooled students.  Of those 621 entries, 103 finalists advanced to round two and 55 state finalists advanced to the final round of state judging. All finalists will receive an award certificate. In addition to the three champions, judges named three second place writers, three third place writers, and four students earned honorable mention recognition. Champions will receive a $150 cash prize.

The judging panel was comprised of government officials, librarians, authors, and book professionals from across the state including Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales;  State Librarian, Kathleen Peiffer; Retired State Librarian, Ben Wakashige; State Library Commissioner, Elizabeth Martinez; John Byram, Director of the University of New Mexico Press; Corey Bard, Ruidoso Public Library Director; Angelina Manfredi, Head of Youth Services Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos; Veronica Beckett, Co-Owner Coas Books in Las Cruces; and Anne Hillerman, author.

Champions, second and third place winners, and honorable mention recipients will be honored at the State Capitol on May 6 at 1:30 PM. Secretary Gonzales and State Librarian Peiffer will congratulate the students, and they will read their letters aloud.

The three New Mexico champions' letters have been sent to the Library of Congress for national judging. National champions will win a $1,000 cash award. Winners will be announced in early May.

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