JP’s Maya Johnson Honored in 2023 Letters About Literature for Letter to ‘The Hate U Give’ Author

A Jamaica Plain teenager was honored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book 2023 Top Honor student writers for its Letters About Literature program. This Commonwealth-wide reading and writing initiative invites students from Grades 4 to 12 to write letters to authors about the books that have had special meaning to them. Jamaica Plain resident Maya Johnson, junior at Melrose High School, earned Honors in Level 3 for her letter to Angie Thomas about The Hate U Give. Fifteen honorees, representing the top 1.5% of this year’s program submissions, were celebrated at a virtual awards celebration on May 17. On behalf of the Board of Directors, Massachusetts author Alexandra Marshall commended the students on their work and also told them, as a writer, how important it is for authors to hear from readers, because authors write “with the wish to be read.”

"As a student of color in a predominately white school, the opportunity to read and access literature that reflects Maya's experience is powerful," said state Rep. Samantha Montaño (15th-D Suffolk) during the awards.