It started with Dickinson's poem, "I'm Nobody! Who are You?" (260)
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Erica was shocked and disquieted by the fact that "someone as brilliant, as influential" as Dickinson could have dismissed herself as being a nobody. A nobody?! Pondering this, Erica then decided that "everyone exciting, worth anything in the world"--the glamorous jet setters, the illustrious movers-and shakers--were in fact the REAL nobodies while the real SOMEBODIES (the people who really matter) are "the boring, plain people who are really trying to be somebody."
Having made a poignant impact on the nine Ohio judges, Erica's letter was advanced to Round Three (one of the only 24 Level I letters out of a combined total of 495 to have gone so far). A literary juggernaut, Erica's letter went even further and became one of the only three Ohio First Place LAL contest winners! In recognition of her accomplishment, Erica--as was equally the case with the other two First Place winners--was awarded by the Ohio Center For the Book at the Cleveland Public Library a $100 check, a $50 Target Gift Card (provided by the Target Corporation) and a tote bag filled with several age/gender appropriate books and other assorted prizes. At the Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony held at the Cleveland Public Library on April 28th, Erica's letter was read aloud before an audience consisting of other winners and semi-finalists, their family and friends as well as an assemblage of distinguished national guests.
In keeping with the best tradition of happy endings, we at the Ohio Center For the Book are proud to reveal that Erica's letter was recently designated as one of the only twelve National Honor winners by the Center For the Book in the Library of Congress! As a result of Erica's good fortune, her entire community will benefit. The Target Corporation contacted Erica and asked her to designate a neighborhood library to be the recipient of a $1,000 grant so that the staff could either acquire new books or equipment or to cover the cost of cultural and educational programming for its customers. Erica has designated that her own school, Mercer Elementary, should be the recipient so that "even more kids [will] get to enjoy the magic of books." The school's principal, Scott Gates, and media specialist, Libby' O'Brien, will soon have the money to enliven the learning experiences of the student body. Coincidentally, this is Erica's last year at Mercer, thus making her gift a gesture of hope and goodwill.
Literature is indeed magical. The lives of everyone who had participated in the 2011-2012 Letters About Literature contest were brightened and they kindled a love of reading in all who they encountered.
To obtain full, in-depth coverage concerning the OCFB story and on the 2011-2012 LAL winners and semi-finalists, click here.
If you would enjoy seeing pictures taken at the Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony held on April 28, 2012 at the Cleveland Public Library, please click here.
Click here to view Erica's Level I entry into the 2011-2012 Letters About Literature contest.
Click here to view the letter in which Erica nominated the library media center of her own school--Mercer Elementary School--as the Target Corporation's $1,000 grant.