Letters About Literature
in Massachusetts

Letters About Literature in Massachusetts is a commonwealth-wide personal and reflective writing initiative sponsored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. The program invites students in Grades 4 through 12 to read a book of their choice, reflect on it, and write a personal letter to its author, explaining the impact this work had on them. 

Students may have a strong connection to the theme of the book, or they may recognize themselves in a particular character.  Some students will write about challenging events in their lives which connect with the books they have read.  Others may take exception with a particular authorial viewpoint, be inspired by a particular authorial triumph, or link the humor or the erudition of the author to their lives. Whatever students choose to write about, they are encouraged to dig deep into their own thoughts, sticking with a central point and following it as far as they can to an original statement about why this is a book matters to them and to the world in which they live. 

Letters are read in three grade-level categories:

Level I:  Grades 4 through 6

Level II: Grades 7 and 8

Level III:  Grades 9 through 12

There is an awards celebration each year at the Massachusetts State House.

One “top honor” writer and up to nine additional honors writers (depending on the number of submissions per category) are named in each level.  The top honor writer receives a $200 cash award.  All honors writers receive $25 book gift cards. 

Teachers of top honors writers receive $100 gift cards to purchase books for their school/class libraries. Teachers of honors writers receive $50 gift cards for the same purpose. 

When possible, the Massachusetts Center for the Book also recognizes semi-finalists in the program with certificates sent to schools or homes.