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Iowa Student Readers Recognized For Letters About Literature Awards Program

May 10, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
DES MOINES - The Iowa Center for the Book honored 18 student readers from across Iowa as winners and honorable mentions for the 2018 Iowa Letters About Literature awards program at a ceremony on Friday, April 27 at the Urbandale Public Library. Award-winning Iowa author Michelle Edwards gave an address to the attendees about storytelling and read her first children’s picture book Chicken Man. The students received their award certificates from Edwards and Michael Scott, State Librarian of Iowa. “I am so impressed by these students and their creative ability to show how reading a special book led to a meaningful life experience,” said Scott. “We congratulate them on their accomplishment and know they are bound for great things.” Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the prestigious national literary contest has student readers write a letter to an author of a book that has changed their view of themselves or their world. For the 2018 program 1,750 Iowa students submitted letters, a 9 percent increase from 2017, with 159 passing the first round of review and returning to Iowa for further judging. First place winners in each level are submitted to the Library of Congress from each of the 52 participating states and territories to compete at the national level. In 14 years of participation, Iowa has had five national winners. Level I (Grades 4 - 6) Honorable Mention: Anthony Utterback Author/Book: Annie Thiel, Cosmos’ Mom and Dad are Moving Apart School: Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community Schools, Reinbeck -Anthony Utterback

Anthony Utterback’s Letter Dear Annie Thiel, Ph. D., Cosmos’ Mom and Dad are Moving Apart reminds me of when my mom and dad got a divorce. For both the character and l, when our family seperated, a lot changed. The character and I were both scared to share how we were feeling. The character got picked on. The bullies thought divorce was funny. I was picked on, too. A lot a people felt bad for me. What hurts me the most is that my mom drinks too much and uses drugs for the wrong reason. She also smokes. The character’s mom didn’t do this, but l wanted to share this with you. My dad told me I could be glad, mad, or sad, just like the characters Mom arid Dad said. I was mostly confused. I visit my mom many times like Cosmo, but my mom is not in good health. My dad and mom both argued just like Cosmo’s mom and dad did I call my mom, so does the character of this book. My dad got me this book to explain why and what happens when someone’s parents get a divorce. I was confused why my parents moved apart just like Cosmos was. My mom lives with someone new but the Cosmos’ mom lived in apartment. I think my dad did a good thing picking out this book for my brothers and I to read. It made me feel not so confused and alone. Thank you for sharing Cosmos’ story to help me feel less confused. Sincerely, Anthony

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