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ILLINOIS READS Project Announces 2017 “I Love to Read” Essay Contest Winners


Normal,Illinois (PR MediaRelease) March 8, 2017

With the formal launch of the 2017 Illinois Reads initiative a matter of days away, the Illinois Reading Council and ILLINOIS READS Honorary Chairman, Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, have announced the essay contest winners for the 2017 ILLINOIS READS initiative.

A statewide project promoting reading for Illinois citizens, ILLINOIS READS annually selects six books in each of six different age categories ranging from read-to books for infants to adult readers.  A variety of topics and themes are chosen for each age group, with an emphasis on selections written by authors with ties to Illinois.

To highlight student writers the Illinois Reading Council and the ILLINOIS READS Committee sponsored an “I Love to Read” essay contest for grades 1-12.


This year’s winners include:

Ivy Henkle-Tinley Park

Daisy Henkle-Tinley Park

Mia Graske-Plainfield School District 202

Kayla Frey-Elwood CCSD 203

Emily Karalus-Lincoln-Way West HS

The official launch of the 2017 ILLINOIS READS campaign will be in Wilmington at Wilmington Middle School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 11.  Invited guests include Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White, Illinois authors and illustrators, and readers from all over the state of Illinois.

Authors attending the event include:

Ages Birth – 4 Years

Silly Wonderful You – Sherri Duskey Rinker

When Elephant Met Giraffe – Paul Gude

Bulldozer’s Big Day – Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

Baby Loves Quarks! (Board Book) – Ruth Spiro

Grades K-2

Gandhi: A March to the Sea – Alice B. McGinty

Drawbridges Open and Close – Patrick T. McBriarty

Ava the Monster Slayer – Lisa Maggiore

The Inventor’s Secret:  What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford – Suzanne Slade

Grades 3-5

The Zoo at the Edge of the World – Eric Kahn Gale

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel – Janet Nolan

Tiny Titans Series – Art Baltazar

Cupcake Cousins – Kate Hannigan

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet – Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Grades 6-8

Nightfall – Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

The Eye of Midnight- Andrew Brumbach

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics– Kathryn J. Atwood

I Am Drums – Mike Grosso

Grades 9-12

Rockin’ the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries – From Joan of Arc to Malcom X – Jeff Fleischer

Phantom Limbs – Paula Garner

Playlist for the Dead – Michelle Falkoff


The Bollywood Bride – Sonali Dev

Don’t You Cry – Mary Kubica


Booklists for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 can be found on the ILLINOIS READS’ web site:

Under the auspices of the Illinois Reading Council, ILLINOIS READS is a yearly statewide project to promote reading for all Illinois citizens. Beginning with read aloud books for babies, 6 books will be selected for each additional age band through adult readers. A variety of topics and themes will be chosen for each age band. The work of Illinois authors will be especially highlighted. There will be a mix of hard covers and paperbacks, with several Spanish-language titles and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related books and the work of Illinois authors will be especially highlighted.

Tammy Potts
Illinois Reading Council
Project Chair

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