On Friday, June 21 and Monday, June 24 the education committee of the Santa Monica Palisades Masonic Lodge will give away about 500 books to children in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District summer reading program.

The giveaway will take place at McKinley Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on both days. Children from second to sixth grade and those in the special education program will each receive a free book of their choice from a variety of Scholastic publishing titles.

“We want to support literacy and get books in the hands of kids,” said Gilbert Scott, a member of the Masonic Lodge’s education committee.

The group hosted a similar book fair last year at their lodge though saw little turnout. In an effort to boost participation this year they collaborated with SMMUSD and the district’s literacy coordinator to host the event at a school.

Scott hopes the event will promote literacy among Santa Monica’s youth at a time when education faces budget cuts.