Letters About Literature

By Gwen Verhoff

marek reznicek and author ellen oh, who delivered an inspirational speech and funny slideshow on how to write a book.

marek reznicek and author ellen oh, who delivered an inspirational speech and funny slideshow on how to write a book.

Marek Reznicek, a Burleith resident and 4th grader at Stoddert Elementary, received an award last month from Letters About Literature, a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4 to 12, sponsored by DC Center for the Book and the DC Public Library in collaboration with the Library of Congress. He wrote a letter to Lynette Evans, the author of Not For Parents USA: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (Lonely Planet).

Marek with Erica Siegmund Hough of the Junior League of DC, a literacy partner with the library of congress.

Marek with Erica Siegmund Hough of the Junior League of DC, a literacy partner with the library of congress.

Marek and his sister, Klara, at the May 7 awards ceremony at MLK Jr. Library.

Marek and his sister, Klara, at the May 7 awards ceremony at MLK Jr. Library.

Marek agreed to answer some questions about the contest and his interests.

Q. Who gave you this book?

A. Some Czech friends who had been living in Washington and were moving to San Francisco. As I said in my letter, it turned out to be a wonderful book that changed my life and got me interested in geography.

Q. You said in your letter to the author that you are very interested in geography. What are your top three places to visit in the future?

A. Australia, to see the Sydney Opera House and the wildlife; Tokyo, because it’s the biggest city in the world and to see Mt. Fuji; and Iceland, to see the glaciers and because it is not densely populated.

Q. What do you prefer, fiction or non-fiction? Do you like reading an actual book or using a Kindle or other device?

A. I like non-fiction, especially history. I like books because you don’t have to worry about charging them, losing text, or damaging the device.

Q. Will this experience inspire you to write more?

A. Yes, it really boosted my confidence.

Q. And do you prefer to write by hand or on the computer?

I like writing on the computer because it is faster and you can save your work; you don’t have to worry about paper getting ripped or lost. I learned how to write cursive in first grade in the Czech Republic, but now I mostly print.

Q. What is something that people might be surprised to know about you?

A. When I was in second grade, I used to hate writing and reading. Now I realize that you can be inspired by reading and then inspire others by writing.

Q. Is there an author you would like to have dinner with?

A. Yes, R.J. Palacio. I like especially Wonder and Auggie & Me. These stories inspire me, and if I enter this contest again next year, this is the author I will write to.

For more about Marek's family, read his father's February 2015 web post.