The Maine Humanities Council, which partners with the Library of Congress for the annual Letters About Literature competition, announced the contest’s state winners for 2011:
• Charlie Budd of Mary Snow School in Bangor, Level I, grades four to six, “Elijah of Buxton” by Christopher Paul Curtis.
• Libby O’Brien of Cape Elizabeth, Level II, grades seven to eight.
• Kirsten Page of Scarborough, Level III, grades nine to 12.
For the Letters About Literature contest, students in Maine and around the country were asked to write to an author — living or dead — explaining how that author’s work changed their view of the world or themselves or how it made a difference in their lives.
Teachers play an important role in the competition, using it as an assignment and helping students further refine their thoughts and improve their writing skills. More than 1,300 students from Maine submitted letters for the 2011 competition, organized nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Target Stores is a national sponsor, and in Maine, the David Royte Foundation supports the program.
“Letters About Literature invites students to examine how authors, stories and characters have had an impact on their lives and encourages their love of reading and writing, hopefully for years to come,” said Erik Jorgensen, executive director for the Maine Humanities Council. “As we have been each year, we were amazed by the honesty, cleverness and genuine emotion expressed by Maine students in their submissions to the 2011 competition.”
Other local honorees were:
• Third place: Kailey Smith, grade six, Leonard Middle School, Old Town, “Hoot” by Carl Hiassen.
• Honorable mention: Andrew Vaillancourt, grade six, Leonard Middle School, Old Town, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
• Third place: Allison Rowe, grade 11, Bangor, “The Last Song” by Nicholas Sparks.
• Semifinalist: Tyler Bilodeau, Camden-Rockport Middle School, Camden.
• Semifinalist: McKenna Baker, Fairmount School, Bangor.