Secretary of State Wyman with the three winners, each holding the

Annabelle Yan, a fifth grade student at Medina Elementary School in Medina, is the Level 1 champion.Anna wrote her letter to Grace Lin about her book Dumpling Days.

Riya Sharma, an eighth grade student at The Overlake School in Redmond, is the Level 2 champion.  Riya wrote her letter to Katty Kay & Claire Shipman about their book The Confidence Code.

Amina Khan, a tenth grader from Gig Harbor is the Level 3 champion. Amina wrote her letter to Yann Martel about his book The Life of Pi.

Runners Up and Honorable Mentions

The Level 1 runner up is Heidi Longmeier. The honorable mentions are Anna Peternell, Freja Johnson, Helen McClelland Jones, Iria Perez-Tenessa, Jack McConnell, Kate Herrick, Saanvi Subramanian, and Sarisha Suresh,

The Level 2 runner up is Lien-Huong Nguyen. The honorable mentions are Andrheane Escobar, Evan Chou, Grace Prichard, Jocelyn Crowell, Justice Holden, Katie Treacy, Kimberly Hamp, Lauren Wright, and Riley Broughton. Two more students were awarded an honorable mention but their parents chose to have them remain anonymous.

The Level 3 runner up is Abigail Banta. The honorable mentions are Bridget Wilson, Caroline Antiller, Eden Mercy Williams, Kaley Giboney, Mariam Benazouz, Mia Rodriguez, Nora Anastasi, Rachel Ada Galanti, Vivienne Hunter, and Yuting Park.

State Semifinalists

The champions, runners up, and honorable mentions were selected by our state judges from 92 semifinalist letters. There were 20 semifinalists in Level 1, 47 semifinalists in Level 2, and 25 semifinalists in Level 3. All state semifinalists will be mailed an award certificate signed by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and State Librarian Cindy Aden.


Our special thanks to this year’s judges:

Level 1

Kelly Milner Halls, Author, Spokane
Lorena O’English, Librarian, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman
Jan Walsh, former WA State Librarian, Olympia.

Level 2

Cathy Cavness, Retired teacher, Centralia
Peg Cheng , Author, Seattle
Sam Reed, former WA Secretary of State, Olympia

Level 3

James Rosenzweig, Assistant Professor & Education Librarian, Eastern Washington University Libraries, Cheney
Sharma Shields, Author, Spokane
Mary V. Thornton, Library Manager, Timberland Regional Library, Hoquiam.

Washington Entries

2,418 Washington students submitted letters for the 2018 contest, and 92 semifinalist letters returned to WA for the final state judging. From the 92 semifinalist letters, the state judges selected three champions, three second place runners up, and 29 honorable mentions. The three champions’ letters have been sent to the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress for the national competition. The results of the national judging will be announced in early May.

86 teachers from 63 schools submitted letters written by their students (link) In addition 15 individuals  from around the state entered this year’s contest. We appreciate the support of teachers, librarians, and parents for Letters About Literature.

Level 1 (grades 4-6)

WA Entries Returned to Washington
(State Semifinalists)
Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
1132 30 1 1 9

Level 2 (grades 7-8)


WA Entries Returned to Washington
(State Semifinalists)
Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
856 47 1 1 11


Level 3 (grades 9-12)

WA Entries Returned to Washington
(State Semifinalists)
Champion Runner Up Honorable Mentions
430 25 1 1 9

Letters About Literature encourages young readers to read a book and write a letter to the author about how the book changed their view of the world or themselves. Students can write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Letter writers compete at three levels: Level 1 is grades 4-6, Level 2 is grades 7-8, and Level 3 is grades 9-12. State judges select the top letter writer in each level and those letters advance to the national competition. One national winner per level receives a $1,000 cash award and one national honor per level receives a $200 cash award.

The 25th annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.  This is the thirteenth year that the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, has been part of the contest.  It is also the first year that the contest is sponsored by the Washington Center for the Book (WCB).  The WCB is a new partnership between The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library.  The mission of the WCB is to promote literacy and a love of books, reading, and libraries.

To learn more about the Letters About Literature contest at the national level, visit the Letters About Literature national homepage on The Center for the Book’s website.

To find out about Washington’s participation in past Letters About Literature contests and to read winning letters, please visit this page.