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Williamstown Student Recognized in Letters About Literature Awards
12:43PM / Thursday, May 28, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Sabine Guerra of Williamstown, a fifth-grader at Pine Cobble School, wrote a thoughtful and personal letter to author Raina Telgemeier about her book "Guts" as part of the Massachusetts Center for the Book's "Letters About Literature" reading and writing initiative that invites students from grades four to 12 to write letters to authors about the books that have had profound effects on them. 

The center received thousands of submissions from all corners of the state, continuing its tradition as one of the most robust LAL programs in the country. In fact, this year the program saw a 25 percent increase in participation, a fitting way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of LAL in Massachusetts. 

Sabine's letter was recognized as an Honors letter in the Level 1 category.

Sharon Shaloo, executive director of the center, thanked the students for sending their "personal and reflective explorations of the literary imagination."

"We are proud to administer this program in collaboration with the many teachers and parents throughout the commonwealth who support book culture among young readers," she said.

Rep. Paul McMurtry, House chairperson of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, joined Massachusetts Center for the Book in a virtual commendation of the students.  

"I'm pleased to congratulate all the students on their outstanding achievement," McMurtry said. "I'm grateful to the Mass Center for the Book for offering an imaginative cultural program that combines the joys of books, reading and writing and opens the minds of students, allowing for a small glimpse into the thinking of the next generation. Our future looks bright."

Judges in the 2020 program were Arlington resident Tom Formicola, Executive Director of Arlington Center for the Arts; Beverly resident Deborah Lang Froggatt, director of Boston Public Schools Library Services; and Williamstown resident Carrie Waara, professor of History (retired), Castleton University (Castleton, Vt.). They were supported by a team of screeners from the School of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons University, Boston.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.

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