This is a great program for kids and teens: Letters about Literature, sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Stores and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book. Readers in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre-- fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author's work changed the student's way of thinking about the world or themselves.
There are three competition levels: Level I for children in grades 4 through 6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III, grades 9 - 12. Winners, announced in the spring of each year, receive cash awards at the national and state levels. For information contact the LAL Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone/fax: 570-675-3305. Or you can check this web site for details.
One of the most touching things I found on a self-Google (oops, caught me!) was that Rhode Island eighth grader Jami Longo had entered the contest and written a letter to ME about A Year and a Day! If you’re interested, you can access the letter in a Word file on this site. (Scroll down to "semi-finalists".) Jami, IMHO you should have won!!