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5th Annual “A Book That Shaped Me” Contest Kicks Off!

2016 "A Book That Shaped Me" Contest Kick-off

2016 “A Book That Shaped Me” Contest Kick-off

The 5th annual “A Book That Shaped Me” National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest is now under way! Launched Monday in honor of Children’s Book Week, this year’s contest will run from May 2 through July 18, 2016.

Those entering the 5th or 6th grade in the fall are eligible to participate in this contest which asks students to consider the power that books have to shape us by changing the ways we think and feel. Entrants write a one-page essay about a book that had a personal impact on their life, and submit it in person along with an entry form to a participating library in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. The full list of participating libraries, the entry form, full contest details and a list of prizes can be found on the contest website.

We are delighted that NBC4 Washington TV anchor Eun Yang will join the grand-prize judges panel this year to help select the contest winners. A longtime introducer at the festival, she will also emcee the “A Book That Shaped Me” awards ceremony to honor the finalists, state winners and grand-prize winners (30 in all) during the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Check out past awards ceremonies where former winners read their essays by watching videos on our YouTube playlist.

Also joining the grand-prize judges panel this year as guest author judge is Jason Reynolds, co-author of All American Boys, a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. Jason will also be a presenter at the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival along with many other popular and award-winning authors at this annual event which is free and open to the public.

Encourage students to enter the “A Book That Shaped Me” contest for a chance to win a trip to the Library of Congress National Book Festival to present their work alongside many of their favorite authors! Most of all however, encourage young readers to keep reading and writing through the summer months, to connect with their local libraries and library summer reading programs, and to discover the power that books have to shape us all. Then, we invite everyone to join us at the 16th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival to celebrate the power of books.


  1. hooma
    June 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    are letters acceptable

  2. Bernice
    June 18, 2016 at 1:02 am

    We live in New Jersey, but will be on vacation in Pennsylvania in July. Can my son participate in the competition or he has to be a resident of Pennsylvania in order to participate?

    • Lola Pyne
      June 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Hello. Yes, your son can participate. There is no residency requirement; he only needs to submit his essay in person at a participating library.

  3. Bernice
    August 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    My son submitted his essay in person at participating library at the beginning of July. Will he receive an e-mail confirmation that his entry was received? He didn’t get a confirmation yet.

    • Lola Pyne
      August 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Hello Bernice. We receive the contest entries from participating libraries and confirm receipt with them not directly with individuals. If you would like to verify with us that your son’s essay was received, please send an email with his name and library to booksshapecontest[at]loc[dot]com

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