The Forum: Area students winners in letter competition


BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Center for the Book has announced the award winners in the 2013 Letters About Literature student reading and writing program.

Four Berkshire County students are among the awardees.

Letters About Literature (LAL) is a national reading and writing program sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and its affiliate state centers. LAL asks students in grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors about the books that have made a profound impact on them, that have changed their view of themselves or of the world around them.

Emma Peplowski, a senior at St Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield, was the Top Honors awardee in Level IV (grades 11 and 12) of the program for her letter to Tracy Kidder about "Mountains Beyond Mountains." Peplowski was joined by two classmates from St Joseph's in the Level IV awards: Kaitlyn Boehm received an Honors award for her letter to Kathy Harrison about "Another Place at the Table" and Daniel Garrity received honorable mention for his letter about Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol."

In Level I (grades 4 through 6), Meredith Benjamin, a sixth-grade student at Pine Cobble School in Williamstown, received Honors for her letter to Beverly Cleary about "Ramona's World."

The students attended a state awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House on May 14 where they received congratulations and citations from Sen. Benjamin B. Downing. Students who attended the State House ceremony represented the top 1 to 2 percent of letter writers this year.

This year, 50,000 students wrote letters nationwide and Massachusetts ranked among the top four states for participation. Letters were read and awarded on four levels this year: Level I (grades 4 to 6); Level II (grades 7 to 8); Level III (grades 9 to 10); and Level IV (grades 11 to 12).

The Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) is the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and since January of 2000 has been connecting 21st century readers with books and their authors in libraries, bookstores, and literary heritage sites in Massachusetts.

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