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State Winners Announced in Annual Student Writing Contest

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, May 10, 2019 – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Library of Congress-designated Minnesota Center for the Book, announces the state-level winners of the 2019 Letters About Literature writing contest. The contest is supported locally by Red Balloon Bookshop.

Nearly 30,000 adolescent and young adult readers nationwide in grades four through twelve participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program, which encourages young people to read, reflect, and write to the author who has somehow changed their view of the world or themselves. The number of entries from Minnesota’s students was 1,085, and 173 student letters made it through to the final round of judging in the three levels of competition.

The winners of the Minnesota Letters About Literature competition were selected on three levels: Level I – for grades four through six, Level II – for grades seven and eight, and Level III – for grades nine through twelve.  

The winners are: 

Level I

First Place: Margo Sadler (Grade 6: Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan)
Letter to Margaret Peterson Haddix, Among the Hidden

Second Place: Lucia Gonzalez (Grade 5: Visitation School, Mendota Heights)
Letter to Lois Lowry, Number the Stars

Third Place (tie): John Castro (Grade 5: Visitation School, Mendota Heights)
Letter to R.J. Palacio, Wonder; and

Belle Weng (Grade 6: Parkview Center School, Roseville)
Letter to Grace Lin, Dumpling Days

Level II

First Place: Makayla Persaud (Grade 7: Roosevelt Middle School, Blaine)
Letter to Sharon Huss Roat, How to Disappear

Second Place: Griffin (Roosevelt Middle School, Blaine)
Letter to Drew Brees, Coming Back Stronger

Third Place (tie): Brenna Bellenir (Grade 7: Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Anoka)
Letter to R.J. Palacio, Wonder; and

Maddie Larson (Grade 8: Horizon East Middle School, Moorhead)
Letter to Natasha Friend, Perfect

Honorable Mention: Isabelle McDonald (Grade 8: Horizon East Middle School, Moorhead)
Letter to Veronica Roth, Divergent Series

Level III

First Place: Ren Stokesbary (Grade 11: School of Environmental Studies, Apple Valley)
Letter to Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Second Place: Sridhatri Guntipally (Grade 10: Eagle Ridge Academy, Eden Prairie)
Letter to Sarojini Naidu, “The Bangle Sellers”

Third Place: Kylie Hoffman (Grade 10: White Bear Lake Area High School North Campus, White Bear Lake)
Letter to Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

Honorable Mention: Jessie Proell (Grade 11: Rogers High School, Rogers)
Letter to Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go

Honorable Mention: Alexis (Grade 10: White Bear Lake Area High School North Campus, White Bear Lake)
Letter to Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


Winning letters can be viewed online at www.thefriends.org/letters. More information about the contest, national winners, and free teaching resources to guide students through the reader response and writing process, can be found at www.read.gov/letters/.

About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library:

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library acts as a catalyst for libraries to strengthen and inspire their communities. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Saint Paul Public Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, our Library is a nationally-recognized leader in serving its community. The Friends also serves libraries across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies, and promotes literacy, reading, and libraries statewide as the Library of Congress’s designated Minnesota Center for the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.