Finalists to read winning essays
Three students will represent Hawaii in a national contest
Three girls who were touched by traumatic events in their lives are the 2006 Hawaii winners of the Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest.
Wai Sam Lao, Rachel Turner and Nikki Picciotto will read their winning essays aloud on April 22 at the Hawaii Center for the Book Award Ceremony at the Hawaii State Library. The public is invited to meet the state winners and runners-up at the 11 a.m. ceremony in the lobby.
The three girls are among more than 47,000 students who wrote essays about a book that made a difference in their lives, according to a release from the Hawaii Center for the Book. The contest was organized by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and sponsored by Target Stores.
The contest asked students in grades 4 through 12 to write a personal letter to an author explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves.
Level I (grades 4-6) winner Wai Sam Lao, a sixth-grader from Salt Lake, wrote to Eleanor Coerr that "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" "taught me deeply of perseverance" as Sadako never stopped believing that she would recover from leukemia.
Level II (grades 7-8) winner Rachel Turner, a seventh-grader at Kahuku High & Intermediate School, wrote Lemony Snicket that reading "The Bad Beginning" finally made her realize that life was not all bad for her. She had to leave family and friends to move thousands of miles to a new home, but the book helped her "realize how fortunate I really am."
Level III (grades 9-12) winner Nikki Picciotto, a 10th-grader at Le Jardin Academy, wrote that "Diary of a Young Girl," by the late Anne Frank, reminded her of stories that she had heard from her Jewish grandfather. He was in China during World War II when Japanese forces invaded the country.
The three essays will be sent to the Library of Congress Center for the Book as Hawaii's entries in the national competition. Winners will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to read their essays aloud at the National Book Festival in the fall.
Each Hawaii winner will receive a Target gift card and a cash award funded by Target stores.