Letters About Literature 2010 Deadline is Dec. 12

The deadline for New Hampshire’s 2010 Letters about Literature competition is fast approaching. Entries must be postmarked by December 12, 2009.

Letters about Literature is a national reading promotion program that awards cash prizes and Target giftcards to winning participants, and may also bring as much as $10,000 to their school or community library. Readers 9 years of age or older in grades 4 through 12 are eligible. Participating students write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or of themselves.

In New Hampshire, the program is coordinated by the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library. The state’s winning entries in three grade-determined categories advance to the national competition.

For complete contest rules and to download the required entry coupon, visit the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library’s website, and click on “Letters About Literature.”

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library was founded in 2003 to celebrate and promote reading, books, literacy, and the literary heritage of New Hampshire and to highlight the role that reading and libraries play in enriching the lives of the people of the Granite State. It is the New Hampshire affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Information on the Center is available at http://nhbookcenter.org.

In 2006,  one of the winning letters said:

Dear Natalie Babbitt,

Before I read your book, The Search for Delicious, if Gaylen asked me to choose the food I believed to be the most delicious, I would have chosen chocolate or chicken noodle soup. And, I imagine that people all around the world would choose foods from their own culture. Maybe Indians would choose curries and maybe the Japanese would choose sushi. But, I never would have guessed that the search for the definition of “delicious” would be so controversial; that it would even start a war. Reading your book Search for Delicious, changed the way I thought about the word “delicious.”

I realized that no matter what food I chose, someone somewhere would disapprove of my choice. If I classified a pastry or a cake as “delicious,” all those who do not like those foods would not agree with me. If I decided that vegetables or fruits were “delicious,” the pastry people would argue with me. I definitely would not consider rotten vegetables to be “delicious,” but maybe they are some odd kind of delicacy, somewhere far away. If I picked rotten vegetables to be “delicious,” most people would probably throw a lot of them at me.

However, these arguments are only for those people who have food. They have enough food so that they can argue about what they think are the most tasty and appetizing foods. The Prime Minister said, “Delicious is a drink of water when you’re very, very thirsty.” After I finished your book, I understood that if someone is thirsty or hungry, they would think that the most “delicious” food is whatever is available. After Hurricane Katrina, people in New Orleans did not worry about finding their favorite foods, they just wanted food and some were even willing to fight about it.

Now I would still pick chocolate or chicken noodle soup, but I am more aware that I should be grateful that I am able to have a choice. And, I feel more strongly that people who do not have food should not just have the basics, but should also be given sweets to help them get through hard times.

Izzy Starr

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