Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is urging students in grades four through 12 to enter the 2021 “Letters About Literature in Illinois” ─ a statewide reading and writing competition offered by the Illinois State Library’s Illinois Center for the Book.

“Letters About Literature in Illinois” invites students to read a book of their choice and write a letter to the author about how the work changed their life or view of the world. Students can enter on their own or through their schools, libraries or other youth organizations, according to a press release from the Secretary of State's Office.

“Every year, thousands of students in Illinois enjoy participating in this inspirational competition,” White said. “Anyone who has read past letters can see how literature inspires and touches the lives of our young people. I encourage all our students to take part in the competition and I hope their participation leads to a lifetime of reading.”

There are three levels of participation: Level 1 for grades 4-6, Level 2 for grades 7-8 and Level 3 for grades 9-12. The deadline to enter the competition is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, for all levels.

One winner will be selected from each group and receive a cash award and a plaque signed by Secretary White. Teachers of the winning students will receive a certificate and a cash award for their school to purchase books for the library.

Winners will be formally announced in May 2021. All runners-up will receive certificates in May prior to the end-of-the-year award ceremonies.

For more information about the competition, contact Bonnie Matheis at (217) 558-2065 or Information also is available at:

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