The 2016 celebration for New Jersey’s winners in the national Library of Congress program, Letters About Literature, took place on Thursday, May 19, at the Livingston Student Center on the Livingston Campus of Rutgers University, 84 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway NJ 08854 from 2:00 to 5:00. The Authors’ Alley and exhibits opened at 2pm, and the awards ceremony began at 3pm. Nearly 200 individuals, including the winners, their families, teachers, administrators, and friends attended.

We congratulate all the NJ winners: the first place and second place winners for each of the three levels, and the Distinguished Honors winners. All received a Governor’s Certificate of Achievement. The names of all winners appear on the list below.

In addition to celebrating the Letters About Literature winners, the Center also recognized the authors and illustrators of “The Jersey Trackers and the Imagination Tree Mystery,” our recently released online serial, with an Honorary Membership in the NJ Center for the Book. The following authors and illustrators of the e-serial attended and displayed their books in the Authors’ Alley: Trinka Hakes Noble, Pat Brisson, Wil Mara, and Wendy Mass.

The event also commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Center’s partnership with Rutgers School of Communication and Information in concert with the 250th anniversary of the University. Dean Emeritus, Gus Friedrich, was presented with the Founder’s award in recognition of his leadership and support of the Center for the last 15 years. An exhibit of the Center’s literacy initiatives over the last 15 years was mounted in the auditorium. The centerpiece included the works of Walter Dean Myers, a revolutionary thinker who redefined the young African American male in literature for young readers.

2016 NJ Letters About Literature Winners

The full text of the First Place winning essay for each level may be found by clicking on the entry.

Level 1 – Grades 4, 5, 6

2016 First Place Winner Level I
Amrita Sutradhar, Grade 6, Edgar Middle School, Metuchen
2016 Second Place Winner Level I
Lavanya Jasra, Grade 6, St. Helena School, Edison

2016 Distinguished Honors Level I

Jane Boni, Grade 6, Readington Middle School, Whitehouse Station
Kayla Bullock, Grade 4, Bobby’s Run School, Lumberton
Sahil Chatiwala, Grade 5, Theunis Dey Elementary School, Wayne
Ethan Cheon, Grade 6, Readington Middle School, Whitehouse Station
Eunice Chi, Grade 5, Albert Payson Terhune School, Wayne
Grace Core, Grade 6, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Emily Frech, Grade 5, James Fallon Elementary, Wayne
Stephanie Ge, Grade 6, individual, West Windsor
Perry Howe, Grade 6, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart
Jessica Lee, Grade 5, Packanack Elementary School, Wayne
Mark Leschinsky, Grade 4, individual, Mahwah
Oliver Li, Grade 5, Village School, Princeton Junction
Grace Liu, Grade 6, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Molly Malague, Grade 6, Edgar Middle School, Metuchen
Bret Mandler, Grade 5, Packanack Elementary School, Wayne
Rachael Prokap, Grade 6, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Sasha Rtishchev, Grade 6, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Serena Sethi, Grade 5, Village School, Princeton Junction
Rebecca H. Shin, Grade 5, Wemrock Brook School, Manalapan
Fox Shreiber, Grade 6, Readington Middle School, Whitehouse Station
Lilliel Shun, Grade 5, St. Bartholomew School, East Brunswick
Lexi Tenenbaum, Grade 6, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Alan Wu, Grade 6, Edgar Middle School, Metuchen

Level 2 – Grades 7 & 8
2016 First Place Winner Level II
Nathan Tang, Grade 8, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Fair Lawn
2016 Second Place Winner Level II
Alexandra Maizys, Grade 8, Pequannock Valley Middle School, Pompton Plains

2016 Distinguished Honors Level II

Tommy Barone, Grade 7, Little Falls School #1, Little Falls
Remi Bass, Grade 7, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Fair Lawn
Meaghan Buckley, Grade 8, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Benjamin Cook, Grade 8, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Selina Crawford, Grade 8, Memorial Middle School, Fair Lawn
Janny Gao, Grade 8, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Emily Huang, Grade 8, Thomas R. Grover Middle School, West Windsor
Joseph Janssen IV, Grade 7, Little Falls School #1, Little Falls
Anastasia Kutuzov, Grade 7, Memorial Middle School
Laura Liao, Grade 7, individual, Princeton
Mitch Linefsky, Grade 7, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Fair Lawn
Pamela Mandala, Grade 8, Long Valley Middle School
Mariana Meriles, Grade 8, Lewis F. Cole Middle School, Fort Lee
Lucas Ort, Grade 8, The Pennington School, Pennington
Catherine Park, Grade 7, individual, Ridgewood
Ava Reiner, Grade 8, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights
Amita Reka, Grade 8, Thomas R. Grover Middle School, West Windsor
Robert Santos, Grade 8, Long Valley Middle School
Jiahn Son, Grade 7, individual, Old Tappan
Sophia Trigub, Grade 7, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Fair Lawn

Level 3 – Grades 9 -12
2016 First Place Winner Level III
Kristopher Kulick, Grade 11, Freehold Township HS, Freehold
2016 Second Place Winner Level III
Julia Sullivan, Grade 10, East Brunswick, individual entry

2016 Distinguished Honors Level III

Sarah Bacha, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen
Ally Carlos, Grade 9, Northern Valley Regional HS Old Tappan
Genesis Cevallos, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen
Cali Gilmartin, Grade 11, Freehold Township High School
Brook Jiang, Grade 12, individual, Bridgewater
Haram Esther Jung, Grade 10, Dream Acts Academy, Cresskill
David Kim, Grade 10, Dream Acts Academy, Cresskill
Sohee Kaity Kim, Grade 9, Northern Valley Reg. HS Old Tappan
Anna Landre, Grade 11, Freehold Township High School
Nicole Lee, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen
Caitlyn Lubas, Grade 12, Indian Hills High School, Oakland
Emily Malone, Grade 12, Kingsway Regional High School, Woolwich Township
Kevin Marien, Grade 11, Freehold Township High School
Megan Regiec, Grade 12, Indian Hills High School, Oakland
John Ross, Grade 11, Freehold Township High School, Freehold
Shai Silberberg, Grade 9, Northern Valley Regional HS Old Tappan
Natalie Skibniewski, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen
Andrew Tran, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen
Zhixiu Zheng, Grade 9, High Tech High School, North Bergen

Letters About Literature