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Annie Schnitzer tells Elie Wiesel, "Reading your story allowed me to connect with my own history," explaining how reading his memoir deepened her understanding of her grandparents' plight during the Holocaust. After reading The House on Mango Street, Julia Mueller writes to Sandra Cisneros, "You didn't tell me how to pull myself back together; you just showed me that I could. I was tired of trying to be somebody else's definition of beautiful, and you told me that was okay." Culled from the Letters About Literature contest of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, the fifty-two letters in this collection - written by students in grades four through twelve - reveal how deeply books and poetry affect the lives of readers. Offering letters that are as profound as they are personal and as moving as they are enlightening, this collection, which also features artwork by some of the contest entrants, provides a glimpse into young people's lives and their connections - both expected and unexpected - to the written word.
The Library of Congress Center for the Book promotes books, reading, literacy, and libraries, as well as the scholarly study of books. It was founded in 1977 and has established affiliate centers across the country and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Center's mission is carried out around the world. Catherine Gourley has been the national director of the Letters About Literature reading promotion program since 2004. She is also an author of many nonfiction books about women's history and the principal curriculum writer for the Story of Movies, an educational outreach program. She lives in Virginia.