Hadley Cline, Maryville, received first place at the state level of the Letters About Literature contest.
Hadley is the daughter of Keely and Bradley Cline and is a Horace Mann Laboratory School fifth grader. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest for students in grades four through 12 sponsored by the Library of Congress. To enter, a student must read a book, poem or speech then write to the author, whether living or dead, about how the book affected them personally.
Hadley wrote to “Pack of Dorks” author Beth Vrabel.
Hadley entered the contest because her mother had done it as a child. “Pack of Dorks” made her think about Down syndrome because the main character’s sister, Molly, had it.
The following are excerpts from Hadley’s letter:
“Before I read your book, I had not been around anyone with Down syndrome and I did not know very much about it. Then I read your book which made me develop questions about Down syndrome.
“I looked up some facts about Down syndrome and then I looked up about the book ‘Black Day: The Monster Rock Band’ because I knew Marcus Sikora (the author) had Down syndrome. I watched his interview online and wanted to read his book.
“I am glad I read your book… Your book got me thinking about how we should not judge people with disabilities by what they look like on the outside because most people who see someone like Marcus Sikora would not think he would be a great author and be doing amazing things.
“When Molly from your book gets older, she might be influenced by how other people think of her because if someone thinks of you badly, it is not as encouraging. I think that if everyone keeps saying, ‘Oh, I don’t think you can do something because you have a disability,’ people might not try to do amazing things.
“But if people would be more encouraging of people with disabilities, they probably will do more amazing things just like how Marcus Sikora wrote a book. The next time I meet someone with a disability, I will work to see into the person and not the disability.”
Hadley said she likes all books. She is currently reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by JK Rowling and “The Land of Stories” series by Chris Colfer. She likes cooking, doing art and playing her violin. Her favorite subject in school is math.
Hadley likes writing stories and is working on her first chapter book story.
“It’s about two twins that travel into another dimension,” she explained. “It’s an adaptive story off of ‘Land of Stories.’”
Hadley will receive her state award on Saturday, July 15, in Marshall. There are three age levels in the Letters About Literature: grades four to six, grades seven and eight, and grades nine to 12. For more information, visit read.gov/letters/and click on guidelines and entry coupon. Each entry must be accompanied by the coupon.