Even though Mayor Michael Hancock dispensed with the One Book, One Denver program for adults in 2013, he has faith that kids in this city are reading (or at least looking at pictures). On April 11, Hancock unveiled the 2019 Youth One Book, One Denver program selection, and it's a graphic novel: The Cardboard Kingdom, by cartoonist/illustrator Chad Sell.
Following the lead of many other cities, John Hickenlooper had introduced One Book, One Denver early in his first term as mayor of Denver as a way to get residents on the same page — literally. His selection committee's first choice was Leif Enger's Peace Like a River — a small-town yarn about life in rural Minnesota, instead of life in rural Colorado. The annual program continued through fall 2012, when Hancock announced Enrique's Journey had been chosen as the ninth pick by popular vote.
But after that, citing declining participation, the city decided to focus on a pint-sized version of the program, starting with The Capitol Ghost Mystery, by Michelle Barone.
Sell's graphic novel, published by Random House Graphic, is a more sophisticated choice: Sell partnered with different authors to tell the stories of sixteen neighborhood kids over the course of a summer as they transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes and set out on adventures encountering knights, robots and superheroes in their cardboard kingdom.
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“The best thing about the Youth One Book, One Denver is that it really brings books and reading to life in the minds of our children, and because of it, students gain a lifelong love for reading as they participate in the book-related events and activities,” Hancock said in announcing the pick, which will be available at local libraries.
"As a brand-new author, it’s such an honor to think that so many kids throughout Denver will read this book," Chicago-based Sell, in town for the Denver Independent Comics & Arts Expo, said at the announcement. "I hope that they’ll be inspired to pick up some cardboard and embark on their own amazing adventures this summer.”
Find out more about the Youth One Book, One Denver program, and The Cardboard Kingdom-related craft activities, at artsandvenues.com/YOBOD.
For more adult reading, BookBar has been hosting a series of readings by Colorado Book Awards finalists.The winners will be announced May 18 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities; get the complete details at coloradohumanities.org.