Summer Stride 2024

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Summer Stride is the Library’s annual summer learning, reading and exploration program for all ages and abilities. 

From June through August, we promote: 

  • Author talks, reading lists and book giveaways 
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning 
  • Exploration of nature 
  • Workforce development opportunities for teens 
  • Meaningful connections for all ages within our diverse community 


Challenge yourself and others to read, learn and listen with the Library this summer!

⭐NEW!⭐ This year, there are three ways for you to complete the Summer Stride challenge! 

After you complete the challenge, come pick up your finishing prize featuring art from Bay Area illustrator Sendy Santamaria! 

Reading listRecommended Summer Reading

Students, families and educators, the annual SFUSD Recommended Summer Reading List are your source for great, diverse and newly-published reads for Pre-K to Grade 12. All SFUSD students receive the Summer Reading List and Summer Stride tracker right in their home mailboxes. Start reading now! Download a PDF of the 2024 SFUSD Recommended Summer Reading List.

Butterfly on book surrounded by flowers

Everybody Reads Guide

Get a head start on your reading goals with a literacy guide created by Sheryl Evans Davis, Ed.D., Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in partnership with SFPL. The curriculum, with its fun, engaging activities, supports readers to learn in a fresh way. Additionally, the Everybody Reads Guide includes a selection of culturally relevant stories by celebrated diverse authors and illustrators. Download a PDF of the Everybody Reads Guide.

Drawing of two people enjoying a leisurely read

Recommended Reading for Adult Readers

We have tons of great recommendations to get you to the Summer Stride finish line as well. Check out these fresh picks!

Plus, this year we have an Adult + Teen Summer Stride Guide, full of our best tips to have a great summer with SFPL. Pick up a copy at your local library, or download a PDF here. (Pssst: our Summer Stride bingo card is on the back cover!)

Fantastic Free Programs for All Ages

Every summer, the Library offers a bevy of quality programs for all ages—free of cost. From programs that teach kids about nature, to music performances by award-winning artists, to expert presenters on climate activism, gardening, the Bay Area in film and wellness, to hands-on art workshops, you will find something to love at the Library. 

See all of our youth programs.

See all of our adult programs.

Get to Know Sendy Santamaria, 2024 Summer Stride Artist

Sendy Santamaria is an illustrator and author from San Diego based in San Pablo, California. She grew up along both sides of the border between San Diego and Tijuana. Her debut picture book, Yenebi's Drive to School (Chronicle Books, 2023), highlights her commute from Tijuana to San Diego to go to school every weekday. She is inspired by migration, perseverance, pigeons and love. Follow her on Instagram @quepasomijoo.

Woman smiling_by Kristin Cofer

Q: What were you thinking about when creating the Summer Stride vignettes? 

A: When I made the Summer Stride art, I thought about walking to the library on a sunny summer day. With the hummingbirds, butterflies, pigeons traveling alongside you. I thought about the people that come to the library and the reasons they go there. The library is so wonderful because it doesn’t matter how old you are, what your economic status is or how good of a reader you are. Everybody is welcome and there’s something for everyone. I tried to represent this in my artwork as well as the beautiful nature that is unique to San Francisco.

Q: What tools do you use to create art? 

A: I use acrylic paint, paintbrushes, pencils, tracing paper, color aid guide, a ruler, Procreate on my iPad and Adobe Photoshop on my Wacom tablet. 

Q: What artists have influenced your work? 

A: I am very much inspired by all forms of art that have storytelling at their core. I like to get inspired by music, films & tv shows, and stories passed down to me from my family. I like how everyone has their own flair when telling a story and I like to pay attention to that delivery. I am very inspired by people that do things in their own way and aren’t afraid to start something new. Some artists who have influenced my work are Los Tigres Del Norte (music), Nortec Collective (music), Bojack Horseman (tv show), La Rosa de Guadalupe and Spy Kids. Also literally anything by Guillermo Del Toro.

In terms of visual artists, I would say Barry McGee & Margaret Kilgallen, Gloria Muriel, PANCA, Charles Burns and the Chicano Park muralists (Victor Ochoa, Dolores Serrano, Raul José Jaquez to name a few). 

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators? 

A: My advice is to not strive for perfection and don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own path and learns at their own pace. What makes your work unique is that it is made by you! Illustrators also usually work really long hours and spend their time alone while they are creating. Make sure you stretch, eat all your meals and step away from your work from time to time so you can take care of yourself and come back to it with fresh eyes. Don’t pull all nighters!

Q: How have public libraries played a role in your life? 

A: The public library has always been there for me anywhere I am. When I was younger, and had limited resources at home, I used the resources provided by the library as much as I could. I would use the printer, borrow the computers and would go read or doodle when I needed a serene place. As I got older, I still came to the library for these reasons and would even go to their digital labs where they had computers with Adobe programs for creative projects. 

The library was and is the best place to escape the noise, learn in your own time and recenter yourself before going about your journey.

Q: Do you listen to music or sounds when you’re creating? What does your playlist include? 

A: This one is hard because I feel like when I am working on something I always have to listen to sounds while creating! I like all kinds of music and what I listen to depends on my mood or what I am working on. Some of the music I would listen to would probably be a playlist with Cafe Tacvba, Jenni Rivera, Los Acosta, Blood Orange, Babasonicos, Devendra Banhart, Toro y Moi, Gerardo Ortiz, Bad Gyal and Alabama Shakes. 

I also love listening to the soundtrack and score of a movie I love or just watched. I find it inspiring how they capture the feeling of a scene through sound. Some favorites are the Princess Diaries score, A Cinderella Story (Hilary Duff), Mulan, Frozen, Amores Perros and Moonlight.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Q: What’s your favorite place to visit in SF?

A: My favorite place to visit in SF is the Mission. I love walking around surrounded by beautiful murals, getting some pupusas and going to Dolores Park. 

Q: What is your favorite summertime snack?

A: A coconut raspado (shaved ice) with lechera (condensed milk) & tostilocos with chopped mango instead of cueritos (pork rinds).

Q: What’s your go-to place when you want to be inspired? 

A: I think taking a long bus trip for me is the best place to get inspired. I don’t know exactly what it is about it that makes it a great place for peak creativity. It may be because it’s on the move and you're surrounded by (for the most part) friendly strangers who are deep in thought waiting for their stop. 

Q: Pigeons and transportation play a significant role in your work – as seen in Yenebi’s Drive to School – and your more general artwork. What meaning do you find in both?

A: My grandma taught my siblings and I how to take public transportation early on, so we learned how to navigate the city since we were kids. I loved taking public transit and spent a lot of time waiting to get from one place to another so I would draw to pass the time. I looked around to find subjects to draw in my surroundings and nearly every time there would be a pigeon around. No matter where I was. They’re often overlooked because there are so many of them—but they are always there, keeping us company whether we want them to or not, reminding us that we are not alone.

Transportation has played a big role in my artwork because, like the library, it is also a place where people from all walks of life gather. People are going about their journeys either to school, from their homes to their work or the other way around, to their doctor’s appointments or a birthday party. The reasons are endless, but I think there’s something special about sharing space even if it’s just for a moment before we all go about our lives.

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