Melina Palacio
Melinda Palacio
Thomas Sanchez
Thomas Sanchez

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) will hold its Love of Literacy luncheon, a free event that combines literature, philanthropy, and a passion for nurturing literacy in the community.

The luncheon, set for Thursday, Sept. 28 at Santa Barbara Woman’s Club, will feature a distinguished literary lineup, with Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Melinda Palacio serving as the emcee and novelist Thomas Sanchez as the event’s keynote speaker.

Sanchez’s works have garnered international recognition, including the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the French minister of culture.
In his upcoming novel written for young adults “Oceano Horse From The Sea,” Sanchez transports his readers to early California.

He tells the story of Wild Girl, a resolute teenager from Santa Barbara, who courageously rescues a drowning horse from the relentless sea and forges an extraordinary bond as its dedicated rider. However, powerful community leaders aim to keep them apart due to traditional rules.
The Love of Literacy event is held raise funds for SBEF’s new Open Books Project, which aims to put books into the hands and homes of 2,500 Santa Barbara Unified TK through third-grade students by the end of 2023.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has a history of supporting literacy programs for students and teachers within the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

With the Open Books Project, SBEF aspires to create a culture of reading that extends beyond the classroom, nurturing a lifelong love for books and learning.

“Through the Open Books Project, we are committed to making a tangible difference in the lives of young readers and their families,” said Pedro Paz, executive director of SBEF. “Our goal is simple: to provide access to books that inspire a love for reading, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive academically.”

An RSVP is required to attend the luncheon. RSVP at

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving some 12,500 students in 19 schools. For more, visit