Introducing Children to a World of Ideas


Cool Classics! uses classic books to connect children to a unified world of reading, art, culture, humanities and ideas.

An award-winning journalist who substitute teaches in the Chicago Public Schools designed Cool Classics! to mix pedagogy and play for small groups of elementary public school students in an after-school setting.

Our Mission

Cool Classics! is committed to improving literacy among underserved elementary school students, expanding their sense of arts, culture and humanities, creating readers and critical thinkers, and serving schools that have lost arts and culture programs and are overwhelmed by demands of test-driven curricula.

Cool Classics! programs start with the literary arts. We use classic books to connect children to a unified world of reading, art, humanities, culture and ideas. We aim to expand participants’ sense of the world, improve their academic and analytical skills while building lasting communities of our students, their families, teachers and school administrators to ensure success as they continue their education throughout their lives.

From Our Blog

A Cool Classics! Reading for the Chicago Public Library’s “Live at the Library” Series

Cool Classics! Founder & Director Mara Tapp read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney for the Chicago Public Library’s “Live from the Library” series on Friday, October 23rd. See her reading on Facebook and Instagram. (Read More)

The Seabury Foundation Celebrates 70th Anniversary

In honor of its 70th anniversary, The Seabury Foundation has made a generous “Making a Difference” grant to Cool Classics! All of us at Cool Classics! are honored to be among the three nonprofits selected for this significant grant (Read More)

A Win That’s an Honor!

We are thrilled and honored that Cool Classics! is one of 12 after-school programs selected as winners of the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards! We especially thank our wonderful volunteers and partners, our children (Read More)