One for the Books:

On April 10, 2021 at 7pm, we celebrated all the ways that books and literacy come into our lives. Throughout the first two weeks of April, guests enjoyed a variety of virtual events that celebrated the many ways we use the tools of literacy. If you missed it, check out the full program below!

2021 Champion of Literacy

We are excited to present the Champion of Literacy Award to Nora Brooks Blakely for her efforts to create ongoing cultural conversations to ensure a thriving and diverse literary community throughout Chicago.

Nora, a former educator, founded Chocolate Chips Theatre Company (1982-2011) and was its primary playwright. Ms. Blakely is the President of Brooks Permissions, founded in 2001 to license and promote the work of her mother, Gwendolyn Brooks. The company expanded to include programming and products which shine a continuing spotlight on Gwendolyn Brooks’s life and work. Along with Cynthia A. Walls, she edited SEASONS: A Gwendolyn Brooks Experience in 2017 in honor of the Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial. Her most recent awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from Child’s Play Touring Theatre and The Tradition Keeper Award from Ase: The Chicago Association of Black Storytellers. In 2020, the governor’s office appointed her as the Chair of the new Illinois Poet Laureate Search. Nora is currently working on her first graphic novel which she describes as a “flat play.”

The Champion of Literacy Award was established by the Chicago Literacy Alliance in 2019 to honor an individual who has made great strides in working to improve the state of literacy throughout the Chicagoland area. Recipients of this award are selected based on their exceptional and unique contributions to the CLA and/or their contribution to the field of literacy as a whole. Each year, one individual is named for this award.

2021 Leader in Literacy

We are thrilled to present the Leader in Literacy Award to KPMG for their commitment to increase access to books through their flagship community program, KPMG’s Family for Literacy. KPMG’s efforts focus on lifelong learning, which they believe is essential to unlocking the potential in people, building economies, and above all, improving lives. KPMG believes literacy is at the foundation of lifelong learning, and access to books is necessary to build strong reading skills. 

Since its inception in 2008, KFFL has distributed over 5 million new books to low-income children in 100+ communities across the United States. This year, KMPG is celebrating 1 million books donated to Chicago’s young readers that deserve equitable access to quality and relevant books.