Launched in partnership with the California State Library, the First Partner’s Summer Book Club is an initiative to reduce summer learning loss and encourage children to read all summer long.

When we read with our children early and often or encourage young readers to dive in and explore a new book on their own, we instill in them a life-long love of reading.


The First Partner’s Summer Book Club features books hand-picked by the First Partner and librarians across the state for kids from preschool through high school. Each book exposes young readers to important social and emotional concepts and highlights values such as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Learn more about the key themes reflected in these books here.

Beautiful You, Beautiful Me
By Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Salini Perera
A child who looks different from her mother finds beauty and belonging. 

Loves Makes a Family
By Sophie Beer
Celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family … LOVE!

Rafa Counts on Papa
By Joe Cepeda
Celebrates curiosity and shows the tender and playful relationship between father and son.

The Boy with Flowers in His Hair
by Jarvis
A tale of friendship, kindness, and acceptance, softly touching on the subjects of illness and hardship in a way that young children can understand.


Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution
By Diane Stanley
A celebration of food, cooking, and the woman whose curiosity and devotion to flavor kickstarted America’s interest in local, organic food.

Black: The Many Wonders of My World
By Nancy Johnson James
In this loving ode to the color black, a girl describes the many wonders of her world.

By Juan Felipe Herrera
A buoyant poem that speaks to the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
An immigrant family embarks on their first camping trip in the Midwest and discovers the magic of the outdoors.

Swim Team
By Johnnie Christmas
A graphic novel about friendship, belonging, and racial justice.

My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness
By Georgia Heard
A poetry collection that illustrates the importance of mindfulness and encourages young, growing minds to be present.

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone
By Traci N. Todd
A picture book biography of acclaimed singer Nina Simone’s bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna
By Alda P. Dobbs
Based on a true story, the tale of one girl’s perilous journey to cross the U.S. border and lead her family to safety during the Mexican Revolution.

In the Beautiful Country
By Jane Kuo
An essential American story about a young girl from Taiwan coming of age in a new country. 

Iveliz Explains It All
By Andrea Beatriz Arango
In this novel in verse, a preteen girl navigates seventh grade while facing mental health challenges.

By John Cho
Follows a 12-year-old Korean American as he navigates school and family through the Los Angeles riots.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright
By Jason Reynolds
A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is like to be Black in America today.

Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America
Edited by Margarita Longoria
In this mixed-media collection, a celebrated group of authors share the borders they have crossed, the struggles they have pushed through, and the two cultures they continue to navigate as Mexican Americans.

Notable Native People
By Adrienne Keene
An accessible and educational illustrated book profiling 50 notable American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people.

We Are Okay
By Nina LaCour
A novel about grief and the enduring power of friendship. 

Caste (Adapted for Young Adults)
By Isabel Wilkerson
Explores the unspoken hierarchies that divide us across lines of race and class.


Local libraries are a great place to find a new book as well as a vibrant hub of community activity with programs and services designed to meet the needs of their surrounding communities. Through programs like bilingual storytime, Lunch at the Library, and the California State Library Parks Pass, libraries are essential to building healthy, connected communities.

Lunch at the Library

Through the Lunch at the Library program, children and teens can access meals over the summer at their local library. Learn more here.

California State Library Parks Pass

Check out a California State Library Parks Pass at your local library to receive free vehicle day-use entry to over 200 participating California state parks. Learn more here.

Summer Reading Programs Near You

Summer reading programs at local libraries are free for everyone and a great way for children to stay engaged and have fun all summer long. Find your nearest library here.