Hunter Klima, a Union Middle School 6th grade student, was a finalist in the 2013 Letters About Literature contest.
There were 47,000 entries from across the county, and 1,334 letters were written by Iowa students. In Hunter's division, there were six winners, 31 finalists and 22 semi-finalists. Hunter was one of the finalists, and he received a certificate to celebrate his achievement and to recognize his enthusiastic participation in the program.
For the contest, students wrote a letter to the author of a book whose writing had a significant impact of their life. The author could be living or dead, but the letter had to explain how the book changed the student's life, not summarize the plot of the book.
Hunter chose to write about Twice Toward Justice by Claudette Colvin which he read for this year's "Battle of the Book" contest. Hunter felt the non-fiction novel opened his eyes to the period of United States history prior to the Civil Rights Movement and made him better understand the importance and struggles others faced and continue to face to gain equal rights.
Twice Toward Justice documents the event that began on March 2, 1955, when a teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.
The national Letters About Literature office read all of the 47,000 entries and returned the top letters to each state. A panel of Iowa judges from the Iowa Center for the Book selected Iowa's first, second, and third place winners and three honorable mentions in each level. Students were recognized as winners, finalists, or semi-finalists.
Hunter is a student in the Union Middle School gifted program (SAILS) taught by Mrs. Vada Elliott.