North Polk student pens letter about inspiring piece of literature

T.K. WestContributing Writer
North Polk student pens letter about inspiring piece of literature

A national reading-writing program, Letters About Literature, encourages students grades 4-12 to write a letter to the author of a book that has changed their way of thinking about the world and themselves. Sponsored by the Iowa Center for the Book organization, this year’s fourth-sixth grade honorable mentions included North Polk school district’s very own Autumn Tiedens.

“Everyone in our extended learning program wrote a letter,” Tiedens said. “I chose ‘Out of My Mind,’ because I really liked it when I read it.”

A novel written by Sharon Draper, “Out of My Mind” follows the thoughts of Melody Brooks, an 11-year-old girl who was born with cerebral palsy. Overcoming the obstacles that come with the inability to speak, move or communicate her wishes, the novel follows Melody as she struggles to live a normal everyday life.

“Reading the book made me want to help people who are disabled more,” Tiedens said. “And, it helped me to understand that they have more thoughts like us.”

With reading being one of her favorite subjects, Tiedens has also participated in programs such as Battle of the Books. A program hosted by the Ames Library, teams of approximately three-four students are assigned 18 books to read. They are then quizzed on these same books as they battle it out in the final competition.

“Our school had three teams,” Tiedens said. “Mine came in second place. We lost in a tie breaker.”

When not participating in reading, Tiedens really enjoys both art and soccer. In the past she has also participated in Bricks 4 Kidz, a program that teaches kids to construct motorized LEGO creations.

“This summer I am going to art and soccer camp,” Tiedens said. “We are also taking a trip to Minnesota.”

For those interested, a copy of Tiedens’ letter can be viewed on the Iowa Center for the Book website at www.iowacenterforthebook.org/letters/winners/2016.