National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest Winners Announced

by September 13, 2013 0 comments

The “A Book That Shaped Me” Library of Congress National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest, a program that asks rising 5th and 6th graders to reflect on a book that has made a personal impact in their lives, has announced its 2013 winners.


More than 300 young readers submitted essays to participating public libraries in the Mid-Atlantic region in this, the second year of the contest. Launched in 2012 with the D.C. Public Library, “A Book That Shaped Me” expanded with the help of public libraries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The local libraries offered the contest as part of their summer reading programs.

Five finalists per state were chosen in an initial round of judging. The finalists each will receive a $50 gift-card prize. That judging was conducted by members of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The AASL works to ensure all elementary- and secondary-school librarians participate as collaborative partners in the teaching and learning process.

The grand-prize judging round, which selected state and grand-prize winners from the pool of state finalists, was conducted by a panel assembled by the Library of Congress that included educators, children’s authors, and Library of Congress staff.

Each state winner will receive another $50 gift-card prize and have travel costs covered to attend the Library of Congress National Book Festival. The first-, second-, and third- place grand-prize winners will be awarded additional gift-card prizes in the amounts of $200, $150, and $100 respectively.

Grand-prize winners will read their essays during the “A Book That Shaped Me” presentation at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. The contest presentation will take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 at noon in the Special Programs Pavilion.

Grand Prize & State Winners

1st Place Grand Prize & Virginia State Winner

Sofie Dalton, Arlington Public Library who wrote about “The Penderwicks” by Jeanne Birdsall

2nd Place Grand Prize and Washington, D.C. Winner

Jessica Holloway, DC Public Library – Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library, who wrote about “Jefferson’s Sons” by Kimberly Bradley

3rd Place Grand Prize and Delaware State Winner

Julian Jackson, II, Brandywine Hundred Library, who wrote about “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis

Maryland State Winner

Gavriel Eagle, Enoch Pratt Free Library, who wrote about “The Mozart Season” by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Pennsylvania State Winner

Victoria Sullivan, Abington Township Public Library – Abington Free Library who wrote about “Electric Dreams” by Caroline Kettlewell

West Virginia State Winner

Shelby Rayne Freeman, South Charleston Public Library, who wrote about “Ten Rules for Living with my Sister” by Ann M. Martin

State Finalists (winners indicated by asterisks)

Washington, D.C. Finalists

Anu Hansa Desai, DC Public Library – Palisades Library

Grace Dodd, DC Public Library – Southeast Library

Jessica Holloway *, DC Public Library – Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library

Eleanor Holt, DC Public Library – Southwest Library

TaKayla Keys, DC Public Library – Capitol View Library

Maryland Finalists

Naomi Barnett, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System – Upper Marlboro

Gavriel Eagle*, Enoch Pratt Free Library

Madison Mohan, Enoch Pratt Free Library

Isaiah Olujide, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System – Upper Marlboro

Catherine Jing Troaino – Prince George’s County Memorial Library System – Hyattsville

Virginia Finalists

Sofie Dalton*, Arlington Public Library

Gabriella Handford, Fauquier County Public Library

George Layton, Prince William Public Library System – Nokesville Neighborhood Library

Abigail Spigarelli, Arlington Public Library

Elizabeth Sullivan, Prince William Public Library System – Bull Run Regional Library

Delaware Finalists

Sarah Gessner, Brandywine Hundred Library

Julian Jackson, II*, Brandywine Hundred Library

Rebekkah Kehoe, Brandywine Hundred Library

Ryan McCrea, Dover Public Library

Nicole Ng, Brandywine Hundred Library

Pennsylvania Finalists

Clara Allem, Chester County Library System – Chester County Library

Tom Broadhurst, Parkland Community Library

Jaime Elizabeth Daniels, York County Libraries – Red Land Community Library

Mallika D. Pal, Bethlehem Area Public Library

Victoria Sullivan,* Abington Township Public Library – Abington Free Library

West Virginia Finalists

Shelby Rayne Freeman*, South Charleston Public Library

Cheyene Hitchcock, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library

Addie Hughes, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library

Finnian Mungovan, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library

Justin Roberts, Roane County Library

The detailed list of current and previous winners along with more information about the program is available at For further details, contact [email protected]

The Library of Congress National Book Festival, now in its 13th year, gathers more than 100 authors for readers of all ages to offer talks, Q&A, and book-signings.  The festival, which drew more than 200,000 fans in 2012, will be presented free of charge on the National Mall on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 22 from noon to 5:30 p.m.  For more information, go to

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through its website,

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