FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2022
Santa Fe, N.M. – The New Mexico State Library (NMSL) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 New Mexico Letters About Literature competition.
Letters About Literature encourages young readers in grades 4 -12 to read a book and write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book changed or shaped their perspective on themselves or the world. NMSL believes that the lives of our state’s young readers are enriched when they are asked to reflect on literature in this way. Students may write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and participate across three levels according to their grade level. Cash prizes are awarded to first, second, and third place winners in each competition level and Collected Works gift cards are given to honorable mentions.
The winners of 2022’s contest are Stella Marin, Lily Muller, and Madison Rae Edwards.
Stella, a fifth-grade student in Albuquerque, is the Level I champion. Stella wrote her letter to Lupita Nyong’o about her book, Sulwe. Sulwe is a children’s fiction book which follows the story of a young girl who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter. The story is ultimately about colorism and learning to love oneself, no matter one’s skin tone.
Lily, a seventh-grade student in Albuquerque, is the Level II champion. Her letter is addressed to Terry Irwin who is the author of Steve and Me. This book is a biographical account of Terri Irwin’s life with her late husband, the zoo owner and television personality Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, in which she recounts the unforgettable adventures they shared wrangling venomous snakes, saving deadly crocodiles from poachers, and swimming among humpback whales. A uniquely gifted naturalist, Steve was first and foremost a wildlife warrior dedicated to rescuing endangered animals.
Madison, an eleventh-grade student in Aztec, is the Level III champion. Madison wrote her letter to Tara Dairman about her book, All Four Stars. All Four Stars is a deliciously sweet novel, which revolves around the life and love for cooking found within an adorable sixth grader named Gladys.
This year, 169 New Mexico students entered the Letters About Literature contest, and judging occurred in three rounds across the different competition levels. A panel of judges, comprised of librarians, authors, and book professionals from across the state, helped select the winners. From the twenty-seven finalists, a list of first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention writers were collected. Many New Mexico schools and home-schooled students from around the state participated in the competition. Additionally, NMSL also appreciates the support of teachers, librarians, and parents for Letters About Literature.
Letters About Literature is made possible by NMSL which is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. This is the ninth year NMSL has sponsored the competition. To read the three winning letters or learn more about the New Mexico Letters About Literature competition please visit https://lettersaboutliterature.nmculture.org/.