Letters About Literature 2016-17 Winners Named

May 10, 2017

The Wyoming State Library has named top honors in state-level competition in the 2016-17 Letters About Literature Contest, a program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The WSL awarded 5th grade student Connor Klindt of Laramie first place in Level 1 (grades 4-6). Kris Balstad, an 8th grader at Thermopolis Middle School in Thermopolis, took first place in Level 2 (grades 7-8), and Laramie 9th grader Arundathi Nair took first in Level 3 (grades 9-12). The full list of winners is below.

Wyoming’s entries were judged by A. Rose Hill, a former Poet Laureate of Wyoming (Level 1); Mary Billiter, a romance author and award-winning weekly newspaper columnist with the Casper Star-Tribune (Level 2); and Laurel Shelley Reuss, a comic artist and writer of graphic novels, webcomics and tabletop role-playing games.

Level 1 (grades 4-6):

  • 1st place: Connor Klindt, 5th grade, Afton
    Who Was Alexander the Great? by Kathryn Waterfield and Robin Waterfield
  • 2nd place: Padmalakshmi Ramesh, 4th grade, Spring Creek Elementary, Laramie,
    The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
  • 3rd place: Camden Hanson, 5th grade, homeschool, Moorcroft,
    Lincoln’s Last Days by Bill O’Reilly
  • Honorable mention: Rowyn Birdsley, 4th grade, Spring Creek Elementary, Laramie,
    Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
  • Honorable mention: Lillian Murfitt, 4th grade, Spring Creek Elementary, Laramie
    The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

Level 2 (grades 7-8):

  • 1st place: Kris Balstad, 8th grade, Thermopolis Middle School, Thermopolis
    The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • 2nd place: Jonathon Mitchell, 8th grade, Sheridan
    A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
  • 3rd place: Braidon Bryant, 8th grade, Wheatland
    Left Behind by Tim LaHaye
  • Honorable mention: Allison Grimm, 8th grade, McCormick Jr. High School, Cheyenne
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Level 3 (grades 9-12)

  • 1st place: Arundathi Nair, 9th grade, Laramie
    Yassmin’s Story by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
  • 2nd place: Chancelor Foutz, 11th grade, Lander
    Skate by Michael Harmon
  • 3rd place: Isiac Hines, 9th grade, Worland
    Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

All three first place winners advanced to national competition and will receive a $150 Amazon gift card from the Wyoming Center for the Book. Second place winners will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and third place winners will receive a $50 card.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year.

The 2016-2017 Letters About Literature contest for young readers 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, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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