Santa Monica Citywide Reads will kick off its eighth annual program next month with the featured book “Little Bee” by English author Chris Cleave.

Citywide Reads, a community reading program that invites the public to read and discuss the same novel in book discussions and special events held throughout Santa Monica, will begin Friday, February 12th and continue through March 13th.

“Little Bee” is the story of two women — Little Bee, a 16-year-old Nigerian refugee, and Sarah O’Rourke, a 30-something journalist living in London — and the shocking way in which their lives intersect. Their fateful meeting, two years prior to the beginning of the novel, impacts both of their lives in profound ways and sets off a story of redemption and human connection, a Citywide Reads spokesperson said.

Sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library, with support by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library, California Center for the Book, as well as community, educational and business partners, Citywide Reads invites participation in the scheduled book discussions.

Participation is encouraged for those who already belong to a book club by reading “Little Bee” and discussing it with their group using a Citywide Reads Resource Guide, available at all Santa Monica Public Library locations and on the Citywide Reads Web site at