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The Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s state Letters about Literature program. A. Morgan Gentry, of Ayer, received recognition for her outstanding letter, being awarded Honors in Level 3 for her letter to William Shakespeare about 130 Sonnet.

In partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Target Stores, and the Calderwood Writing Initiative at the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Center for the Book through the Letters About Literature program invites readers each year in grades 4 through 12 to read, be inspired and write back to the author whose work has somehow changed their views of the world or of themselves.

“We love reading the letters that come in each year, not only because we learn so much about what’s uppermost in the minds of the students but also because we know that when students reflect on the connections between their reading and their world they are laying the foundations for lifelong literacy,” says Sharon Shaloo, executive director of the Massachusetts Center for the Book. “Students are making meaningful connections between books and their lives, and we learn so much from them.”

More than 54,000 young readers nationwide participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program; Massachusetts ranked second among the 50 states in the number of students writing letters. Judges recognized achievements at three levels–Top Honors, Honors and Honorable Mention–in each of the age-level categories – Level 1, grades 4 through 6; Level 2, grades 7 and 8; and Level 3, grades 9 through 12. The one top honors letter from each level advances to the national committee where they are considered for additional recognition.

Students and their guests took tours of the Statehouse before and after the event, further linking their reading with their larger community and making books a vehicle to civic engagement on many levels.

You can read more about the program and view the wonderful letters about literature written by this year’s award winners at, the web site of the Massachusetts Center for the Book, where you will also find information about other Center programs.