Girls from Greater Nashua win state Letters About Literature contest

CONCORD – The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library announced the state’s winners in the 2014 Letters About Literature competition.

Anna Meldrum, of Milford, and Leah Stagnone, of Litchfield, were two of the three winners who will receive a cash prize.

Their letters were sent on as entries in the national Letters About Literature competition.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Young readers wrote letters to authors explaining how that author’s work changed their view of the world or of themselves.

Forty-seven New Hampshire semifinalists were selected across three levels: upper elementary, middle school and high school.

Anna, an eighth-grader at Milford Middle School, wrote her letter to Ben Mikaelsen.

Poet Roger Martin, one of this year’s state judges, said, “Anna Meldrum’s perception of anger and how ‘Touching Spirit Bear’ enabled her to accept her anger and her responsibility to manage it in a productive manner impressed me most. I sense she now will stand up for someone being bullied – even a bully who, as she notes, was himself the victim of bullying.”

Stagnone, a senior at Campbell High School, wrote to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” author Stephen Chbosky.

One of the New Hampshire judges, writer Eric Pinder said, “Leah’s thoughtful, eloquent letter impressed me with its stark honesty and strong voice. She’s keenly observant, as all good writers must be. Her letter about discovering the right book at the right time shows how powerfully influential the experience of reading a good book can be.”

Dr. Mary Kate Donais, a professor at St. Anselm College who also was a judge, said, “In a reflective and shockingly honest way, Leah allows the reader to hear her thoughts about herself, relationships and life.”

Salina Chadbourne, a sixth-grader at Three Rivers School in Pembroke, was the other winner.

Other local semifinalists were:

Arya Patel, Caroline Fischer, Claire Emily Reynolds and Ryan Fischer, all of Nashua.

Adam Hamel, Andrew McNeil, Kylie Greska, Rebecca Durham, Riley Matthews, Robert S. Cornett, Sierah Miles, Thomas M. Herner and Timothy Bilik, all of Milford.

Chiara Cross, of Brookline.

For a list of the New Hampshire semifinalists and the text of the winning Letters About Literature entries, visit