June 2021

The overwhelming impact of COVID-19 on our programming and fundraising has made this an exceptionally difficult year for Literature for All of Us. While staff, supporters, and board members have worked tirelessly to keep the organization on course, we have determined that we must take an extended pause on programming at this time and—with great sadness—to lay off most staff. We thank them deeply for their fortitude and commitment during this very hard time.

As we assess our future, the organization will continue to function at limited capacity but will not be running the majority of our beloved book groups for the immediate future. We’ll share updates as we have them. We extend our gratitude to everyone for their support and enthusiasm for Literature for All of Us.

If you have questions or would like to discuss our path forward, please reach out to Board President, Julie Victor (julie@literatureforallofus.org) or Board Vice-President, Newlin Wollaston (newlin@literatureforallofus.org). For all other inquiries, please email info@literatureforallofus.org.


The Executive Committee of the Board of Literature for All of Us

Literature for All of Us uses books and writing to facilitate circles of connection, healing, and growth in the face of social inequity. We provide weekly trauma-informed book groups to community organizations and schools across Chicagoland, inviting participants to explore the transformative power of their own voices.

Our Pillars

literary arts non-profit

Deepening Connection to Literature:

 Literature for All of Us increases our participants’ interest in and connection to literature through original curricula that focus on themes and authors relevant to participants’ cultural identities and experiences.

literary arts non-profits

Social-Emotional Learning:

As a literary arts non-profit serving the community, our programs improve the self-confidence of our participants as well as their connection to and interest in school and peer relationships.

literary arts non-profit

Resilience Building:

All book group leaders are trained to infuse a trauma-informed lens into the curriculum they create as well as their program delivery, creating a safe space for self-exploration and expression.


Provide trauma-informed reading and writing circles for more than 600 youth and adults per year | Facilitate 21 weekly book groups at 15 Chicagoland sites | Distribute more than 1,000 new books including novels, poetry collections, children’s books and writing journals | Publish 20+ original poetry anthologies | Promote family literacy through book group programs for pregnant and parenting teens | Partner with programs statewide to share our award-winning curriculum | Support workforce development with soft skills training

Latest Book Group Stories

Reflections, notes, and other musings from program staff.

The Sound of Navigating

The Sound of Navigating

by Gabriela Garay Throughout the pandemic, our participants had to navigate a lot — online schooling, work, at times dealing with the COVID-19 virus themselves, and sometimes their own children’s online schooling. But no matter how small or sporadic attendance has...

Good as New

Good as New

by haydée souffrant “You can only prepare someone for life, and hope they pick good choices. You cannot control their life, but you can control the way they look at life by what you tell them!” –  Sweetlana Padilla, Book Group Participant at Simpson Academy for Young...

Falling Into Rhythm

Falling Into Rhythm

by haydée souffrant “You know…I thought book group was gonna be boring, but it’s pretty dope. We talk about real stuff, and that’s cool.” – Darlene O., Book Group Participant, Upton Sinclair High SchoolCan you believe it’s already November? Six weeks into many of our...

Community Voices

How Our Book Groups Change Lives

Opening Worlds By Opening Books