The 2017 celebration for New Jersey’s winners in the national Library of Congress program, Letters About Literature, took place on Wednesday, May 17, 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 150 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. We were honored to have a National Honor Award winner at Level One this year, Mark Leschinsky, Joyce Kilmer Elementary School, Mahwah.

In addition to celebrating the Letters About Literature winners, the Center presented the Literary Landmark Award to the Star Ledger newspaper for its outstanding contributions to the literary landscape of the state.  Accepting the award on behalf of the Star Ledger was Rosemary Parrillo, Managing Editor.  The Center also acknowledged its recent Miss Rumphius award winner, Amanda Winter, Youth Services Librarian at the Livingston Public Library. Guy Lamolinara, Communications Officer at the Library of Congress and national Center for the Book Coordinator provided remarks from the Library of Congress.

Click on the links  below to see the individual winning essays and the list of all the winners and honorable mentions.


Mark Leschinsky, Joyce Kilmer Elementary School, Mahwah, winning Level 1 and National Award winner’s (Grades 4-6) letter to Lisa Genova author of Still Alice 

Read Mark’s letter here

Corinne Coakley’s, Pennington School, Pennington, winning Level 2 (Grades 7-8) letter to Garth Stein author of The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Read Corrine’s letter here

Julia Dobel’s, Kenilworth, winning Level 3 (Grades 9-12) letter to Markus Zusak author of The Book Thief.

Read Julia’s letter here

Read the list of all winners and honorable mentions here




Letters About Literature