As Other States Ban Books, First Partner Siebel Newsom’s Summer Book Club Encourages California Youth to Read a Variety of Diverse Stories 

The annual First Partner’s Summer Book Club kicks off on June 7, 2023

SACRAMENTO – California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom today announced the start of this year’s First Partner’s Summer Book Club. The Summer Book Club, part of the First Partner’s California for ALL Kids initiative, is an annual program and partnership with the California State Library that aims to reduce learning loss by encouraging kids and caregivers to read throughout the summer.

Research has shown that many students, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds, experience summer learning loss – falling behind in reading by at least two months. And studies show that access to reading and learning opportunities between the ages of 0 and 5 are a foundational part of an individual’s future health, education, and economic participation.

“When we read with children early and often and encourage young readers to dive in and explore a new story, we help cultivate in kids a lifelong love of reading and a healthy curiosity about the world around them. We also provide children with an opportunity to expand their creativity and ability to regulate their emotions,” said First Partner Siebel Newsom. “In California, we value diversity and pride ourselves on equity and inclusion. So while other states ban books and stifle curiosity, we’re uplifting books that educate and introduce children to an array of diverse authors, stories, and characters to build their capacity for empathy and show them a world filled with possibilities as limitless as their imagination.”

“Reading opens a door to another world – but it’s also the key to understanding our own world. As states across the country chip away at learning opportunities and silence diverse voices – California is encouraging our kids to read voraciously, to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, and learn through experience,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Here in California, everyone has the right to read, to learn, and to think freely.”

“The First Partner is always incredibly generous to California’s kids and our libraries. It’s a privilege for us to be her partner,” said Greg Lucas, California’s State Librarian. “We’re excited to jump into another summer of great books, excited kids, and building stronger readers.”

This year’s Summer Book Club list was curated by the First Partner in partnership with librarians across the state. The books highlight themes such as navigating mental health struggles, identity and belonging, and the importance of exploration and curiosity. The books range in reading levels from preschool to high school and are available for check-out at most public libraries across the state.

In addition to promoting early and regular reading, the First Partner’s Summer Book Club also encourages California families to learn about and engage with programming at their local library. In particular, First Partner Siebel Newsom has championed the California State Library Parks Pass – a partnership with the State Library and State Parks. Through the Pass, library card holders can check out a State Parks vehicle day use pass at their local public library for use at over 200 participating California State Parks. To date, over 50,000 passes have been checked out.

Through California For All Kids, First Partner Siebel Newsom is working to give California children the best start in life by taking a whole child approach to their well-being.



Book list by age and theme on the First Partner’s Summer Book Club website:

First Partner Siebel Newsom’s book club launch video in English and Spanish.