Letters About Literature

May 4, 2018

Letters About Literature: Read. Be Inspired. Write Back.

Each year St. Augustin Catholic School Middle School students participate in the Letters About Literature reading-writing program sponsored by the Library of Congress.  The students write a letter to the author of a book that has changed their view of themselves or their world. 

Congratulations to Danny Pierick, Reese Lovell, Robbie Wengert, and Charlotte DeAngelis who were honored among the top eighteen students in the state of Iowa for their works of writing in this prestigious national literary contest.  Mrs. Hogan and Mrs. Lone accompanied the students at the 2018 Letters About Literature awards ceremony presented by The Iowa Center for the Book.

Please read the press release from the State Library of Iowa below.



DES MOINES—The Iowa Center for the Book honored 18 student readers from across Iowa as winners and honorable mentions for the 2018 Iowa Letters About Literature awards program at a ceremony on Friday, April 27 at the Urbandale Public Library.

Award-winning Iowa author Michelle Edwards gave an address to the attendees about storytelling and read her first children’s picture bookChicken Man. The students received their award certificates from Edwards and Michael Scott, State Librarian of Iowa.

“I am so impressed by these students and their creative ability to show how reading a special book led to a meaningful life experience,” said Scott. “We congratulate them on their accomplishment and know they are bound for great things.”

Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the prestigious national literary contest has student readers write a letter to an author of a book that has changed their view of themselves or their world.


Download images from the awards ceremony. 

For the 2018 program 1,750 Iowa students submitted letters, a 9 percent increase from 2017, with 159 passing the first round of review and returning to Iowa for further judging. First place winners in each level are submitted to the Library of Congress from each of the 52 participating states and territories to compete at the national level. In 14 years of participation, Iowa has had five national winners.

The winners and honorable are listed belowread the students’ letters in full.

Level I (Grades 4 - 6)

First Place: Danny Pierick
Author/Book: H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds
School: St. Augustine Catholic School, Des Moines
Second Place: Emily Scherle
Author/Book: Jo Knowles, See You at Harry's
School: Southeast Elementary, Ankeny
Third Place: Seattle B.
Author/Book: David McPhail, Sisters
School: Hoover Elementary School, Dubuque
Honorable Mention: Anthony Utterback
Author/Book: Annie Thiel, Cosmos’ Mom and Dad are Moving Apart
School: Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community Schools, Reinbeck
Honorable Mention: Reese Lovell
Author/Book: Marissa Meyer, Cinder
School: St. Augustin Catholic School, Des Moines
Honorable Mention: Eve Brumbaugh
Author/Book: Joan Bauer, Close to Famous
School: Sidney Elementary School, Sidney


Level II (Grades 7 - 8)

First Place: Anthony Shamrell
Author/Book: Tim Green, Lost Boy
School: Pleasant Valley Junior High, LeClaire
Second Place: Megan M.
Author/Book: Wilson Rawls,W here the Red Fern Grows
Third Place: Robbie Wengert
Author/Book: James Dashner,The Maze Runner
School: St. Augustin Catholic School, Des Moines
Honorable Mention: Aniruddha Desai
Author/Book: Jason Reynolds, All American Boys
School: Pleasant Valley Junior High, Le Claire
Honorable Mention: Charlotte DeAngelis
Author/Book: R.J. Palacio, Wonder
School: St. Augustin Catholic School, Des Moines
Honorable Mention: Eleanor B.
Author/Book: Malala Yousafzai,I  am Malala
School: West Des Moines


 Level III (Grades 9 - 12)
First Place: Joseph Fisk
Author/Book: William Ernest Henley, Invictus
School:Carlisle High School, Carlisle
Second Place: Emily Pottebaum
Author/Book: John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
School:ADM High School, Adel
Third Place: Alyssa Enderton
Author/Book: Susan Beth Pfeffer,Life As We Knew It
School: Carlisle High School, Carlisle
Honorable Mention: Samantha Schepers
Author/Book: Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House
School: ADM High School, Adel
Honorable Mention: Paul Linville
Author/Book: Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
School: Washington High School, Cedar Rapids
Honorable Mention: Emma Brewer
Author/Book: Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
School: Carlisle High School, Carlisle

Find out more about the Letters About Literature program

For additional information, contact:
Helen Dagley
Iowa Center for the Book
(515) 281-3063 or iacenterbook@iowa.gov 

About the Iowa Center for the Book

The Iowa Center for the Book is a program of the State Library of Iowa and an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Founded in 2002, ICB's mission is to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries.

About the State Library of Iowa

The State Library of Iowa actively champions libraries. Our two roles are improving library services in Iowa and delivering specialized information services to state government and to Iowans.

-Press Release May 4, 2018