The Library of Congress, along with libraries in the Mid-Atlantic region, recently kicked off the annual “A Book That Shaped Me” National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest! The program asks young people to reflect on the power of books in their lives, AND offers them a chance to actually take part in the book festival alongside dozens of notable authors in this day-long celebration of books and reading. Thirty “A Book That Shaped Me” finalists will be honored, and the top three grand-prize winners will read their essays from the stage to audiences at the 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival taking place on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Students entering the 5th- or 6th- grade in the fall are eligible to participate in the contest by writing a one-page essay on a book that has had an impact on their lives. Essays must be submitted in-person, along with the entry form, at a participating public library in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Delaware, or at the Library of Congress Young Readers’ Center by July 7, 2018.
The list of 2018 participating libraries can be found on the contest web site, however, there is still time for public libraries to sign up to administer the contest through their summer reading programs. So, if you’re library isn’t on the list (and is located in the designated states) have them drop us a line at BooksShapeContest [at] loc [dot] gov by May 11th to register!
It’s always so moving and enlightening to read the essays each year and to peek into the myriad ways that books shape the lives of young people, helping them to understand, cope with, and relate to their world and the world at large. Take a look at the many past winning essays, it’s an awesome glimpse at the power of books and a great source of book recommendations for young people. I can’t wait to see what this year’s entries reveal!
Contest Press Release:
Contest Web Site w/ Rules & Entry Form:
Past Winning Essays:
Past Festival Contest Videos:
The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 31. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.