-By John Lynds
An East Boston student was among the 48 young writers whose achievements were celebrated at_ the State House.
Steven Gingras, a resident and 10th grader at Boston Latin School, received an Honors award in this year’s Massachusetts Letters About Literature program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and the Library of Congress and Target.
Representative Carlo Basile joined with the program sponsors in commending him on this award.
“This is a great achievement for this young man,” said Basile. “Steven is a bright student with a great future ahead of him and this award highlights the importance of reading as a way to achieve more knowledge and understanding of the world.”
Gingras wrote to George Orwell about 1984, a book whose message, he says, is not meant for one individual, but for the people as a whole, reminding all of us to remain individuals but also to work together, regardless of national boundaries or other distinguishing factors, in the common pursuit of protecting our liberties.
Letters About Literature is a nationwide program in which students in grades four through 12 write letters to authors about books that have made an impact on their lives. Nearly 70,000 young readers nationwide participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program, and almost 4,300 of those letters came from Massachusetts. Gingras and the top one percent of the students writing in the commonwealth this year were invited to the State House.
“The letters that we read each year are a treasure trove of insight about the way that books connect us to the world around us, and they communicate so much about the issues that preoccupy our next generation of commonwealth leaders,” says Sharon Shaloo, executive director of the Massachusetts Center for the Book, which administers the program in Massachusetts.
Representative Kate Hogan, Chair of the Library Caucus in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, opened the program with a welcome to the audience of 300 people in the Great Hall of the State House, and Robert C. Maier, Director of the Board of Library Commissioners was the master of ceremonies. M.T. Anderson, a much-awarded author of literature for children and young adults – and a Massachusetts resident – was the keynote speaker for this annual event that focuses on engaged thinking by young people throughout the commonwealth about the importance of books and reading in their lives.
The Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) is the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. MCB works with the national center and within a network of 50 state center affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy, and libraries. MCB is funded in part by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science.
Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its national reading initiative, “Ready. Sit. Read!” which is aimed at fostering a love of reading among children at an early age.