Writing about books and anything else that interests me.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Books - Letter to Suzanne Collins
On Thursdays, The Times-Picayune has a section for small news. This article is an alternative view of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The contest was a clever way for students to write a book review. Lusher is a public school that concentrates on the arts. Algiers is the only part of New Orleans that is on the other side of the Mississippi River from most of the city. Ben Franklin is a college-prep public school.
Addison Howenstine's view a more positive than my review. I am glad that this novel reaches young people in a different way from cynical adults.
Here's the article and congratulations to Mr. Howenstine!
Lusher student from Algiers finalist in national competition
Lusher Charter School eighth-grader Addison Howenstine, of Algiers, said he is a more compassionate person after reading Suzanne Collins' book "The Hunger Games" and that he is more likely to speak out against injustice.
Reading the book also led to recognition for the 14-year-old in a national writing competition, Letters About Literature, a program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Addison was one of 15 national finalists, and the only student from Louisiana among that group. Addison Howenstine, of Algiers, is a national finalist in a writing competition sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
He said he was not sure how far his entry would go when he wrote it. But, "I prayed about it, and it worked.''
He advanced to the national competition after placing first among seventh- and eighth-graders in the state competition sponsored by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana, in partnership with the Louisiana Writing Project.
Spokesman Jim Davis said the state went from 41 entrants last year, before the Louisiana Center for the Book's sponsorship, to 1,286 submissions this year.
Addison's teacher, Cassie Seiple, submitted his letter. Davis said the support of teachers and librarians is crucial; few letters would have been submitted without their guidance.
To enter, students wrote a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre -- fiction, nonfiction, poetry, contemporary or classic -- explaining how that author's work changed their way of thinking about themselves or the world and how the chosen books impacted their life or world view.
Addison wrote about "The Hunger Games,'' a science-fiction novel. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event in which the Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of 12 districts who are then pitted against each other in a game of survival and forced to kill until only one remains.
In Addison's letter to Collins, he wrote: "From this book, I have learned that if there is nothing that I think I can do to help someone -- whether it is starving children in other countries, or the kid who gets free lunch at school -- the least I can do for them is to be kind to them.
"Your writing has changed the way I feel about the phrase told to young, American children like me, 'You are more fortunate than others.' When kids hear this phrase we think about the kid at school who gets free school lunch, or we think about the homeless man with the long, dirty beard under the bridge -- the fact of the matter is that, even though they are less fortunate, they are only a minute bit of the poverty attacking our world."
He also wrote, "I have learned that we fortunate people should do the best we can to help others who are less fortunate than we are."
Addison said he has always enjoyed reading, and that he reads at night before he falls asleep. He said he is not sure what he plans to do after graduating from college. He will be a freshman at Benjamin Franklin High School in the fall.
He said he is proud to represent Louisiana as a national finalist in the writing competition.