A Decade of Stories: Mayor Dickens and GEEARS Celebrate the Tenth Annual Mayor’s Summer Reading Club


GEEARS and Mayor Andre Dickens celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club at Fulton County Library System’s Children’s Book Festival. 

ATLANTA, GA – Mayor Andre Dickens and GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students will launch the 10th annual Mayor’s Summer Reading Club (MSRC) at 10 AM on Saturday, May 14th, at the Children’s Book Festival hosted by the Fulton County Library System in collaboration with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Foundation and its presenting sponsor, PNC Bank.
After virtual launches in both 2020 and 2021, the partners behind the MSRC— GEEARS, the City of Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta Speech School—are thrilled to gather in person in the newly renovated downtown library. The MSRC is generously funded by PNC Bank and the United Way of Greater Atlanta.
“During pandemic summers at home, the books of the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club sustained Atlanta’s children in a unique way, giving them connection and joy during uncertain times. This summer, we’re back to reading together at events throughout the city. As Atlanta’s Mayor, and as a dad, I’m thrilled to see the work of local artists, Atlanta, My Home, land in the hands of thousands of kids across the city,” said Mayor Andre Dickens.
The Children’s Book Festival will feature prominent children’s book authors, book signings, entertainment for youth of all ages, storytime, music, games, and more. The event is aimed at engaging young readers, from infants to teens, in all the wonderful resources the Library System has to offer. The MSRC will be one of many activations hosted by local organizations. Families are encouraged to register for the event here.
A far-reaching program convened and coordinated by GEEARS, the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is excited to enter its 10th summer of promoting early literacy, family engagement, and vocabulary enrichment for Atlanta’s children ages birth through five and their families. The program produces a city-wide book choice for children ages zero to two and another for children ages three to five, then shares the books with thousands of families at no cost to them.  
“We couldn’t have reached this landmark—ten years of commitment to improving early literacy and family engagement—without support from the City of Atlanta. The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is a testament to the City’s commitment to its youngest children. We’re equally thankful for our partners, who’ve gone above and beyond to help us produce a beautiful book by Atlanta artists, as well as plan an in-person launch and non-virtual events for the first time since 2019,” said Mindy Binderman, Executive Director of GEEARS.
This year’s book for children ages zero to two is I’ll Build You a Bookcase, by early literacy specialist Jean Ciborowski Fahey. It’s a celebration of families reading together with sweetly gentle illustrations by Simone Shin. This year’s book for three- to five-year-olds, Atlanta, My Home, was commissioned for the MSRC by the Alliance Theatre, with funding provided by PNC. Two acclaimed local artists—author Breanna J. McDaniel and illustrator R. Gregory Christie have come together to tell a charming story set in the heart of Atlanta.
“In honor of the 10 Year Anniversary of the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, we wanted to create a book that celebrates all that is singular about our city, a book that children and families could return to again and again to explore all the things that make Atlanta so special. Breanna McDaniel and R. Gregory Christie, two incredible Atlanta-based artists, did that and so much more with this beautiful book Atlanta, My Home,” said Christopher Moses, Dan Reardon Director of Education/Associate Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre.
McDaniel’s text invites children on an imaginary Marta ride to see and hear favorite parts of their city. In Christie’s vibrant illustrations, parents will love spotting Atlanta landmarks like the iconic mural of the late John Lewis and the High Museum of Art. Kids, meanwhile, will be captivated by the musical language and sensory delights of their journey.
The MSRC is grateful to have the support of the City of Atlanta, its partner organizations, and PNC Bank, which has funded the program since its inception.
For more information about the MSRC, the full list of partners, and a calendar of MSRC events, visit www.MayorsReadingClub.org