Students can express their feelings about a favorite work of literature and win cash prizes in the Letters About Literature (LAL) essay contest. LAL is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12, who are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally.

The contest awards cash prizes at state and national levels. State winners advance to national-level judging, and one national winner selected by a panel of judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will receive a $1,000 cash award.

Entries from students in grades 9-12 must be postmarked by Dec. 15; entries from grades 4-8 must be postmarked by Jan. 15. Go here for more information on the contest and links to lesson plans, assessment checklists and student writing samples.