Special to The Bedford Citizen
Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) welcomed more than two hundred guests to the Great Hall at the State House on March 15 to recognize student awardees in the Massachusetts Letters About Literature (LAL) program.
Bedford resident Calla Kahan-‐Fagan, a fifth grader at Lexington Montessori School, was among the top Massachusetts letter writers celebrated at the ceremony. She was commended by Representative Kenneth Gordon (D-‐ Bedford) and read her Top Honors letter to the ceremony attendees.
Calla wrote to author Anne Braff Brodzinsky about “The Mulberry Bird” and will represent Massachusetts in the national competition.
About the Program
Annually sponsored in the Commonwealth by MCB, the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest is sponsored nationwide by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Through their school or local public library, students were encouraged to write a letter to a favored author, sharing the personal impact of a book.
“Putting these reflections on paper provides an opportunity for young readers to assess their stake in reading and the importance of books in their lives,” said Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of Mass Center for the Book. “It helps to lay the foundation for life-‐long literacy habits.”
Author Moying Li addressed the group as the featured Massachusetts author. She underscored a key theme from her memoir “Snow Falling in Spring,” a 2009 Mass Book Award winner, which speaks about the importance of books in her family during China’s Cultural Revolution. Representative Kate Hogan (D-‐Stow), House Co-‐ Chair of the Library Caucus, was the legislative sponsor of the event.
Boasting a third-‐in-the‐nation participation level in Letters About Literature, the Massachusetts program received nearly 3,000 letters. Forty-‐five students from across the Commonwealth, Grades 4 through 12, were selected by a literary panel to be honored for their letters, written to such authors as Elie Wiesel, Sylvia Plath and Philip Pullman. Top honorees in each of three grade levels will move on to represent Massachusetts at the national level.
The 23rd annual Letters About Literature program is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is a public-‐private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.
For more information, contact [email protected] or call 617-‐872-‐3718.