Acclaimed Novelist Thomas Sanchez Headlines Love of Literacy Luncheon

By Giving List Staff   |   September 18, 2023

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) is pleased to announce its upcoming Love of Literacy Luncheon, a free event that combines literature, philanthropy, and a passion for nurturing literacy in the community. 

The Luncheon will feature a distinguished literary lineup, with Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Melinda Palacio serving as the emcee and renowned novelist Thomas Sanchez taking center stage as the event’s keynote speaker. Sanchez, with an impressive writing career, brings his unique perspective while sharing his own literacy journey. As an acclaimed author whose works have garnered international recognition, including the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the French Minister of Culture, Sanchez’s presence at the Love of Literacy Luncheon adds a layer of literary significance to the event. 

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.

Thomas Sanchez
Melinda Palacio

The primary purpose of this event is to raise funds for SBEF’s new Open Books Project, an initiative that aims to put books into the hands and homes of 2,500 Santa Barbara Unified TK through 3rd-grade students by the end of 2023. The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has a long 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 the Santa Barbara Education Foundation. “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.”

This free event is set to take place on Thursday, September 28 at Santa Barbara Woman’s Club. An RSVP is required to attend. Space is limited. To RSVP for the Love of Literacy Luncheon or more information, please visit

About the Santa Barbara Education Foundation:

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


Santa Barbara Education Foundation

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Executive Director: Pedro Paz


Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) provides and supports programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of all students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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