Great Books Foundation Celebrating 75 years

Help Us Continue a Tradition of Great Conversations

The Great Books Foundation began in July 1947 with a mission to promote lifelong education and civil discourse through the reading and discussion of outstanding literature. Today, we’ve extended that mission to people of all ages, and we facilitate the discussion of ideas expressed not only through literature, but in artwork and media of any form. We continue to innovate, amplifying ideas from diverse sources, as we create reading and discussion programs for students, teachers, and adult learners.

See what we are doing to celebrate our 75th anniversary!

Who We Are

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit best known for having originated the Shared Inquiry method of teaching and learning. Our flagship K–8 program, Junior Great Books®, has been a favorite of teachers and students for more than 7 decades. We believe that literacy and critical thinking help form reflective, knowledgeable citizens equipped to participate constructively in a democratic society.

Our Mission

The mission of the Great Books Foundation is to advance the critical, reflective thinking and social and civic engagement of people of all ages through Shared Inquiry™ discussion of works and ideas of enduring value.


Join the Conversation

View this video, featuring Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia, to see how Junior Great Books programs help students at all levels express their ideas, listen carefully to others, and create more collaborative, caring communities.

The Great Books Foundation’s Associate Board of Ambassadors is excited to bring you Sing It Forward, our virtual giving event featuring Reuters Entertainer of the Year Michael Cavanaugh. He will delight the audience with favorites from the American rock and roll songbook, and will take requests for songs in his vast repertoire!

Earn Shared Inquiry Badges with Great Books Training

We want to recognize your expertise in Shared Inquiry™ and make it simpler to share your achievements with others. Beginning this June the Great Books Foundation will issue a Shared Inquiry Leader digital badge to participants who complete the Shared Inquiry Essentials course.

In addition to the Shared Inquiry Leader badge, Great Books will be awarding badges that recognize higher levels of professional learning.

We are taking our mission beyond classrooms with a vision to build stronger, more innovative working and thinking communities, and activate influential leaders to foster positive change.

Junior Great Books Virtual AcademyTM

Virtual Academy Fall Sessions Now Enrolling!

What People Are Saying

Student Reading Those Shoes Junior Great Books

How Do We Find Such Great Readings?

We here at the Great Books Foundation are often asked how we select our texts for our student anthologies, and the answer is complicated, or at least multi-faceted. There are practical restraints around what texts work for our program: they have to be short enough that they can be readContinue reading

Excited kids in class having a discussion using the Shared Inquiry Method from Junior Great Books

Back to School: Emphasizing Community for a Thriving Learning Environment

A welcoming and supportive community is at the heart of a thriving learning environment. As a new school year begins, feelings of anticipation, excitement, and worry can abound. The educator’s role isn’t strictly about preparing the classroom environment and developing the curriculum, it’s also about cultivating relationships and fostering aContinue reading

Censorship by the numbers graph

How Can We Fight Censorship?

Earlier this year, the American Library Association (ALA) reported that the number of book challenges, unique titles put forth for book bans/censorship, nearly doubled in 2022 compared to 2021. In 2021, the number of challenges reported was 729, and in 2022, it rose to an unparalleled number of 1,269.1 BookContinue reading