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Contest helps students understand literature

Several participants in this year’s Letters About Literature contest decorated their envelopes. Images: Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is using the mail to help young people learn more about literature.

The library’s annual Letters About Literature contest asks students in grades 4-12 to write to an author — living or dead — about how his or her work affected the reader’s life.

More than 43,700 readers across the nation mailed letters in this year’s contest. Top letter writers are chosen from each state, along with several national honorees.

One of the national winners, Apoorva Chauhan of Las Vegas, wrote to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” author Stephen Chbosky.

“When I was 10 years old, my parents died in a car accident,” Apoorva wrote. “Your book … helped me learn how to participate and live and feel again.”

Claire Juip of Grosse Pointe, MI, another national winner, wrote to R.J. Palacio, author of “Wonder.”

Claire explained that she has a physical deformity like the main character in Palacio’s novel.

“I really hope everyone in the world will read your book,” she wrote. “I want people to be nice to me, and I think your book teaches people that.”

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