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...

Reading Yesika Salgado’s Corazon at Sinclair

Reading Yesika Salgado’s Corazon at Sinclair

by Vanessa Borjon Yesika Salgado’s debut poetry collection, Corazon is a romantic yet heartbreaking journey through understanding love and yearning as a Latinx* mujer. When I borrowed this book from a close friend and read through poems that seem reflective of my own...

Collage Poetry

Collage Poetry

by Vanessa Borjon I recently brought in a collage poetry writing curriculum to my groups in Back of the Yards and South Shore. My students had been having a difficult time finding a way to put their words to paper, so I thought an opportunity to use appropriated and...

Ten of Abby’s Best Moments at Literature for All of Us

Ten of Abby’s Best Moments at Literature for All of Us

by Abby Harris-Ridker This is my last week working at Literature for All of Us and I’m feeling so very thankful for my four and a half years here. I have learned so much from my students. I have learned what it means to use trauma-informed facilitation techniques, and...

The Holiday Spirit

The Holiday Spirit

by Abby Harris-Ridker The week before winter break is always a hectic time in book groups. The students are ready for vacation, the teachers are piling on tests, and there are holiday parties and spirit weeks at the schools. But, we also make book group a special...

There Is No Easy Walk to Freedom: Inside Work with Refugee Students

There Is No Easy Walk to Freedom: Inside Work with Refugee Students

By Abby Harris-Ridker “There is no easy walk to freedom…” - Nelson Mandela. I started our book group with this quote at Sullivan High School, where I work with a group of English Language Learners from all over the world. “What is freedom?” I asked. One student...

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat

by Erin Brown This year Peace and Education Coalition High School, our long-term partner in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, hosted its first “Trunk or Treat” event in the parking lot of its Second Chance campus. Just before dusk on Tuesday, October 30th, a group...

Working with Young Men at Central States SER

Working with Young Men at Central States SER

by Vanessa Borjon Central States SER (SER) is a workforce development and education organization that believes in the potential of each and every individual. The atmosphere at SER is super lively—the walls are covered in colorful murals and there always seems to be...

Gender Exorcists

Gender Exorcists

by Marty Kezon The title came easily. It took only a few minutes of brainstorming before one of the quieter participants spoke up to offer a potential name for our poetry book: “What if we call it ‘Gender Exorcists’?” The group’s excitement was immediate, and the...

Sinclair Alternative High School Poetry Bash

Sinclair Alternative High School Poetry Bash

by Erin Brown Literature for All of Us celebrated the end of another successful school year at Upton Sinclair Alternative High School with our annual Poetry Bash. Students, teachers, book group leaders, and board members gathered at the Poetry Foundation in downtown...

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