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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Local student finishes top of state writing contest

Friday, May 29, 2009

Maddie Peterson in Jefferson City
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced on May 21 that Maddie Petersen, a fifth grade student at Monett Intermediate School, was one of 12 winners in the 2009 "Letters About Literature" contest.

Carnahan recognized the winners in an awards ceremony at her office. This year approximately 1,600 Missouri students entered the contest.

"Letters About Literature" is an annual competition in which students write a personal letter to an author explaining how his or her work inspired them.

The contest is sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri State Library, a division of Carnahan's office, in partnership with Target stores.

The Missouri Center for the Book has sponsored the contest for 14 years and more than 18,000 Missouri students have submitted entries. First and second place, as well as two honorable mentions were awarded in each of three competition levels: Level I (fourth through sixth grades); Level II (seventh and eighth grades); and Level III (ninth through 12th grades).

According to Monett Intermediate fifth grade communication arts teacher Amber Bledsoe, after two preliminary rounds of judging, there were five students from Monett Intermediate School whose entries were sent on for state judging.

The five students were Iris Wormington, Gaby Cecenas, Alex Bahl, Michaela Trout and Petersen. Those who placed at the top of the state level judging were re-entered for the final round of national judging.

Judges selected Petersen's letter to Jeanne Dupra, author of "City of Ember," as the honorable mention winner in the Level I competition. Petersen's letter is printed below.

Dear Jeanne Dupra,

A book that is interesting, a book that is touching, a book that I loved, was "The City of Ember." I felt much more grateful after reading this book. People in our lifetime treat our opportunities like they will never go away. The citizens of Ember would be furious at that. I am so happy that I know when the light will go off in my world. Now I treat the foods like apples and eggs like the people of Ember would.

I was very surprised at myself while reading this book. I was stunned that I would have never imagined another world (like Ember) besides my own. I was so surprised that I would get mad at the people in the book (like the mayor.) I would have to stop and remind myself that it was just a made-up story. You did great being able to make your reader know the characters like you did. I was also very surprised when I realized that I treat things like a good school and good food like it's nothing when Lina would treat them like gold.

Did you ever get stuck and give yourself a little time to think of what should happen next? I do that a lot when I am writing a story. Usually the best parts come after these breaks. I thought that you did that before some of the good parts.

This great book showed me that today's society treats great privileges like gum on the bottom of your shoe. Gas prices are rising and our economy is failing and it seems like nobody cares. I saw similar and opposite kinds of people in Ember. I respected the few who were different for their active minds. I believe that if our city were failing that we would not have anyone like Lina and Doon that were out to save their people. People that I see around my life every day think that this world will never stop turning and I think that is wrong. The characters in your book all seemed to be wiling to let their city die. But when I read more, I found that there are a few who were willing to help all their people.

I noticed that Lina and I were a bit alike. When something is important to me, I do not give up. That seemed to be what Lina did throughout the story. I also noticed that she always had a million questions running through her head. I do the same thing when I find something interesting like Lina and Doon did.

This is probably my favorite book because it is so meaningful to me. It helped teach me that there are no limits while writing and that I always need to use my imagination like I saw in your book. It taught me about the world around me and that you should never doubt the possibility of there being another.

About a year after reading this book, I thank it for what it showed me in my life. It opened my eyes and proved to me that my world is full of unanswered questions, and that maybe just maybe, there are other worlds full of them too. I am absolutely crazy about your book!!! Please write me back if you can.


Maddie Petersen

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