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Illinois students can send book reviews to their favorite author thanks to a writing contest

Unsplash.com / Vedhas Pathak

Some authors may receive student feedback thanks to anIllinois program that encourages children to read more books.

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is urging children in fourth grade through high school to participate in the 2022 “Letters About Literature in Illinois.”

Henry Haupt is the spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office. He said this program is one of White’s favorites.

“He’s a strong proponent of education,” Haupt explained. “And this is a program that allows students to read their favorite book by their favorite author, and then write about that book, and possibly win an award for it.”

The children are tasked with telling the author how the book they’ve read impacted their lives or changed their outlook of the world.

Haupt said, for many years this competition was backed by the Library of Congress. The Library recently ended its sponsorship but encourages states to keep it going.

Haupt said students should focus on being genuine when they lay their words on the paper.

“We come from all different kinds of backgrounds,” he said. “I've been fortunate enough to be a part of a lot of these award ceremonies. And some of the letters are funny. Some of them are tearjerkers.”

There are three tiers for participation. Each one is based on the child’s grade level.

The submission deadline is December 15th.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.