Literature for Life Concludes a Busy 2017-18 School Year!

Literature for Life is proud to conclude our busiest school year, yet! We served over 500 students at three public LAUSD schools with 17 visits from our journal’s authors and artists! Middle and high school teachers drew on the original Lit for Life curriculum written by our team to teach essays, stories, and poetry.

Author and artist visits included class discussion, debate, writing, and art activities. Our visits emphasize creative and critical thinking, exploration of complex social and cultural norms and issues, and listening to one another’s view points and experiences to expand our views and build empathy.

Read and view photos in our full 2017-18 programs and events report HERE!

CV Independent Interviews Jervey Tervalon

Literature for Life featured in the CV Independent

Jervey Tervalon

“At Locke High School, where students are largely African American and Latino, I’d teach American literature and photocopy work by Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pablo Neruda. One day, I brought a fictional story about a girl being raped and a guy getting shot, and this one black kid read it, and he said, “This isn’t a real story, is it?” He thought it wasn’t legitimate because it was interesting. That was the ultimate compliment for what I was trying to do—circumvent textbooks by bringing in stories that create a sense of immediacy.” –Jervey Tervalon on why he created Literature for Life.

Read more about it here.

Literature for Life Featured in ‘Hometown Pasadena’

Photo courtesy of Hometown Pasadena

Photo courtesy of Hometown Pasadena

On May 18th, Literature for Life founder and director Jervey Tervalon and managing editor Rosalind Helfand invite the public to find out more about their organization and to welcome the launch of Literature for Life’s Issue 2 literary journal, as well as their “totally transformed” website.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jonathan Gold has contributed his story “N.W.A.: A Hard Act to Follow” to Issue 2, Celeste Gonzalez her “Street Trash” poems, and Tyra Lynn her story “You Remember Everything that Happened.”

Dramatic readings will be given by Andrew Nicholls, Miranda Morgan, Cheryl Klein, Lainnie Capouya, Andrew Ramirez, and Tervalon himself. Artwork by Jessica Chrysler, Scott Gandell, Allison Strauss, and Leora Wien—all featured in Issue 2—will be available for viewing and purchase. And, of course, there will be plenty of food and drink.


Literature for Life
Sunday, May 18th, 3-7 p.m.
55 W. Manor St., Altadena 91001
Free event; rsvp to [email protected]
For more info, visit event Facebook page (possible to rsvp here, too)

The Light Bringer Project (Pasadena Chalk Festival and Doo Dah Parade) is Lit for Life’s nonprofit fiscal receiver. Light Bringer is behind such art and educational youth programs as Room 13, L.A. Futures Academy, and Expressing Feelings Through Art.


Visit the Original Article

From a small town in northern China.

When I attended junior high, I told gangbangers Bram Stoker’s Dracula scene by scene…

Peru 335 cropped

Traveling with enough to read is difficult even with iPhones, iPads, Kindle paperwhite and real novels and magazines. I was a literature major as an undergraduate at UCSB, my wife a Chinese literature major at Fudan University in Shanghai. I teach at UCSB and write books, she works in innovation. Reading constantly is what we do. Most of my friends read constantly, too, and even my kids read often, but not enough—as far as I’m concerned. We live in a world of literary culture: high and low. Cable television, video games and Snapchat aren’t going to change that. I grew up in LA in a working class black neighborhood where if you didn’t read you were considered an idiot with nothing of interest to say. When I attended junior high, I told gangbangers Bram Stoker’s Dracula scene by scene and they listened to my every word. It inspired me to want to write, to live a literary life in the broadest sense.
With our second issue of Literature for Life, we’re presenting contemporary literature in the broadest variety from a scientist writing about a tragic personal loss to a college student writing about the assassination of a south Vietnamese General, to a story of an overweight high school boy who loses all of his clothes in the pursuit of love, and much much more. We hope our readers find in our pages compelling, eclectic reading, and for teachers a contemporary literature resource that reflects the diversity of California and meets the common core curriculum standards—work that helps to light the fire to make our students passionate.