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More than 2,000 Texas students entered the Letters About Literature Contest to share their personal connection to literature.

Avery Gann, a sophomore at Trinity Christian Academy (TCA), recently won third place in the Library of Congress’ Letters about Literature Competition. Encouraged by her history teacher, Gann’s letter discussed the challenges of living with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (congenital joint contractures) and scoliosis and how J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” helped her cope with those challenges.

In her letter, Gann credits J.K. Rowling with giving her the courage to face her fears and embrace her differences, “This book shaped me into the person that I am. I am strong, confident, and quirky in my own special way. I have embraced my differences and used them to the benefit of myself and the people around me. There is a reason God called me to live this life. Just because I haven't discovered it yet doesn't mean that I should ever be ashamed.”

Judges scored the letters based on organization, idea development, language and emotional connection. The Letters About Literature Contest gives 4th-12th graders a chance to write to an author (living or deceased) about how his or her book has affected their lives. Nationally, close to 40,000 students wrote letters and since 1997 more than a million students have participated.

The Letters About Literature Contest is given by the Library of Congress through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

To read Gann’s full letter to J.K. Rowling, click here

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