The Indiana Center for the Book, a program of the Indiana State Library, recognized 78 semifinalists and 12 finalists at the Letters About Literature awards ceremony held at the Indiana State Library on Saturday. Over 200 students, teachers, and their guests attended the ceremony which was headlined by Margaret McMullan – an award-winning young adult author and University of Evansville English Professor. To enter, students in grades 4-12 wrote a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves.
The 12 finalists, including the author to which they wrote, are as follows:
Level I (grades 4-6)
1st place – Jack Horn, Zionsville (Deborah Wiles, Each Little Bird that Sings)
2nd place – Eric Wasson, Columbus (Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken”)
3rd place – Lauren Cross, Zionsville (Karen Cushman, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple)
Level II (grades 7-8)
1st place – Emily Beckman, Jasper (Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper)
2nd place – Kendra Lechleidner, Auburn (Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows)
3rd place – Chelsea Risser, Ligonier (Darrell Scott, Rachel Smiles)
Hon. Mention – Alyssa Cheng, West Lafayette (Ray Bradbury, The Drummer Boy of Shiloh)
Hon. Mention – Tonya Summerlin, Avon (Jordan Sonnenblick, Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie)
Level III (grades 9-12)
1st place – Lacy Bush, Salem (Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting)
2nd place – Ariel Demoret, Crawfordsville (Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried)
3rd place – Ava McBride, Jasper (Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle)
First place winners received $100 and a $50 Target GiftCard. Second place winners received $75, and third place winners received $50. Honorable Mention winners received a $20 Target GiftCard. All finalist and semifinalists received an award certificate, a frameable copy of their letter, and a copy of Margaret McMullan's award-winning young adult book, When I Crossed No-bob. In addition, students in attendance on Saturday had an opportunity meet Professor McMullan during an exclusive book signing following the awards ceremony at the Indiana State Library.
The Indiana Center for the Book also honored Crawfordsville High School English Teacher, Dr. Helen Hudson, with its inaugural Letters About Literature Instructor of the Year Award. Dr. Hudson had a state record 12 students chosen as state semifinalists in 2009. One of her students, Ariel Demoret, took second place overall in the high school level of the competition.