Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

May 11, 2010

Letters About Literature Reading-Promotion Program Winners Announced

Six Libraries to Receive $10,000 Grants from Target

Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing program that asks young people in grades 4 through 12 to write to an author (living or dead) about how his or her book affected their lives, has announced its 2010 winners.

Approximately 70,000 young readers from across the country participated in this year’s Letters About Literature initiative, a reading-promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target. The number of participants was substantially higher than last year’s total of 55,000.

This year’s winners come from all parts of the country and wrote to authors as diverse as Francisco Jiménez, author of "The Circuit"; Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series; and J.D. Salinger, author of "The Catcher in the Rye."

The top letters in each competition level for each state were chosen. Then, two national winners were chosen from each of the three competition levels: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). National winners each designate a favorite library that will receive a $10,000 grant from Target. The students each receive a $500 Target GiftCard.

The four national honors recipients from each competition level each designate a library to receive a $1,000 Target grant; the students each receive a $50 Target GiftCard.

Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to supporting education and early childhood reading. Target recognizes the integral role that reading plays in shaping a child’s future, because reading is the foundation for lifelong learning and success. Since opening its doors, Target has given 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, social services and the arts.

On the state level, the program is sponsored by affiliate state centers for the book. State and national judges include published authors, editors, publishers, librarians and teachers.

National Winners

Level 1 (Grades 4-6):

  • Lara Bagdasarian, 5th grade, UCLA Lab School, Los Angeles, Calif. She wrote to Francisco Jiménez, author of "The Circuit."
  • Reagan Nelson, 6th grade, Hutton Elementary School, Spokane, Wash. She wrote to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series.

Level 2 (Grades 7-8):

  • Marissa Meier, 8th grade, Bios Christian Academy, Gilbert, Ariz. She wrote to John Bibee, author of "The Magic Bicycle."
  • Siori Koener, 8th grade, Murfreesboro, Tenn. She wrote to J.D. Salinger, author of "The Catcher in the Rye."

Level 3 (Grades 9-12):

  • Anna Wichorek, 11th grade, Anchorage, Alaska. She wrote to Velma Wallis, author of "Two Old Women."
  • Kaitlyn Kressalt, 11th grade, Moscow Senior High School, Moscow, Idaho. She wrote to Dr. Seuss about a variety of his books for children and adults.

National Honor Winners

Level 1 (Grades 4-6):

  • Eliana Khan, Needham, Mass.
  • Imani Jackson, Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Davis Klimek, Pepper Pike, Ohio
  • Sydney Hodgin, Westminster, S.C.

Level 2 (Grades 7-8):

  • Caroline George, Limington, Maine
  • Danile Flores, Cushing, Okla.
  • Thanh Nguyen, Lancaster, Pa.
  • Stephen Hitchcock, Woodinville, Wash.

Level 3 (Grades 9-12):

  • Michael Egan, Wilton, Calif.
  • Austin Helmink, Spencer, Iowa
  • Amy Grant, Big Lake, Minn.
  • Malli Swamy, Memphis, Tenn.

The complete winning letters are available in the "News" section at (external link).

For information about the program and a list of previous winners, visit For further details, contact the national program director at

The Center for the Book ( was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center also oversees the new website, with its exclusive "Exquisite Corpse Adventure" serialized story.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,740 stores in 49 states nationwide and at (external link). Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946 the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.

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PR 10-107
ISSN 0731-3527

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