My Favorite Book: A Writing Contest for Oklahoma Students
Here’s some interesting news for Oklahoma students, especially those who are book lovers: The Oklahoma Center for the Book, part of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, is offering cash prizes to students who win first, second and third places in the My Favorite Book contest! Entries will be accepted from Oct. 10-Dec. 16.
Young people in grades 4-12 attending public, private or home schools are invited to write a personal letter to the author of their favorite book. The student must have read the book and be able to explain why the book is important to them and what impact the book had on how they see themselves or the world. There will be three levels of competition based on grade ranges. Contestants will need to submit their letters online at libraries.ok.gov. Be sure to read the official rules and FAQs and, for students under age 18, sign the permission form.
Finding a Favorite Book
People carry the memories of their favorite childhood books far into adulthood. As a youth librarian at Tulsa City-County Library, I interact with many young people and their caregivers, happily helping them find books. Sometimes the young person has a list of titles for me to work from. Other times, I walk up and down the aisles with them, discussing genres and reading levels in order to help them choose the right title. As I show a young person how to use the online catalog to locate specific books and subject areas, it is not unusual for their parent or grandparent to ask about their own favorite childhood books. When I’m able to pull a customer’s cherished book off the shelf and hand it to them … you should see the looks on their face!
If you were to ask the young person in your life what their favorite book is, do you know what they would say? What books are your tweens and teens relishing? When you pick up your kids from school or take your grandkids to the library, what are they talking about? When they were younger, what book did they beg you to read again and again before bedtime? Perhaps they have latched onto one of the classics or are obsessing over more recent works by Rick Riordan, Katherine Applegate or Neal Shusterman. Maybe they are talking about series like Wings of Fire, Lockwood & Co. and The Baby-Sitters Club, or maybe no new title is as comforting as their favorite childhood picture book.
Whether your youth’s favorite book is one of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or a short story, it’s their favorite for a reason! The work left an impression on them and, thus, so did that book’s author. Encourage the young person in your life to explore that connection by putting it into words through a letter to that author—or illustrator!
The My Favorite Book contest allows students to choose a piece of literature that speaks to them personally and to write to the author from their own perspective. The author does not have to be living. To help your young person get started, check out recommendations for letter writing at tccl.bibliocommons.com.
Books to Treasure
Plus, our annual Books to Treasure illustrator event can help inspire your child to enter this contest! TCCL celebrates children’s literature each year through the Books to Treasure (BTT) program. Though mostly geared toward Tulsa County second graders, who get their own special library cards, the annual BTT event is an amazing opportunity for all children to witness the creativity and passion that goes into illustrating a book. This year, Katherine Roy will give a public presentation on Friday, November 18 at 6 p.m. Learn more about the program and event at tulsalibrary.org.
Please share the My Favorite Book contest details with your students. We would love to know what our young readers have to say to their favorite authors, and it could be worth a little change in the bank.
This article was originally published in our November 2021 issue. It has been updated for 2022.