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DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today unveiled the 2018 Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD) program selection at Force Elementary School.

“Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” by Dusti Bowling, published by Sterling Children’s Books, follows perky eighth grader Aven Green as she and her family move from a small town in Kansas to Arizona where her parents have gotten a job managing a rundown theme park.

Mayor Hancock was joined by Bowling, as well as Councilman Kevin Flynn, students from Force Elementary School, and representatives from Denver Arts & Venues, the Denver Office of Children’s Affairs, Denver Public Library, Denver Afterschool Alliance, and other YOBOD partners.

“Youth One Book, One Denver brings books to life for so many children here in our city, and instills in them a joy of reading that will set them on the path to a bright and wonderful future,” Mayor Hancock said. “Dusti’s wonderful book teaches our children a powerful lesson – our challenges and triumphs are universal, and by celebrating our differences and our talents, every one of us has the ability to succeed.”

For most teens, a new home in a new state might be challenging enough, but Aven, who was born without arms, suddenly finds herself not only braving a new school and new home, but also relearning how to help others understand her limb difference.

“I'm so excited for Denver students to get to know Aven, Connor and Zion, three children with their own unique challenges,” said author Dusti Bowling. “I hope that by experiencing the hardships, triumphs, laughter and tears of these three characters, Denver children might finish this story with more understanding and respect for one another, and maybe even for themselves” 

Summer YOBOD programming includes group activities, workshops and classes, and self-directed activities found in the free activity guide. Events and activities are based on “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” and range from science and technology, to theatre and art, to community building.

Now in its seventh year, the YOBOD summer reading program, which runs June through August, offers children ages 9-12 a shared reading experience along with fun and educational programming to help combat summer learning loss with events and activities tied to the book’s themes.

Youth participating in summer partner programs will receive a copy of this year’s selection as well as educational opportunities related to the book. Participants can also pick up a copy of the book and free activity guide at Denver public library branches, or download a copy of the activity guide online at ArtsandVenues.com/YOBOD where additional resources and a calendar of YOBOD events may also be found.

For more information, please visit: ArtsandVenues.com/YOBOD.