“Up­side-Down Magic,” a book about 9-year-old students who struggle to con­trol their magic and are teased by their peers, is the choice for the 2017 Youth One Book, One Den­ver.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Hay­ley Sanchez

Ele­men­tary students cheered with ex­cite­ment Mon­day as “Up­side-Down Magic” was an­nounced as the 2017 Youth One Book, One Den­ver at Ash­ley Ele­men­tary School.

“Up­side-Down Magic,” by Sarah Mly­nowski, Emily Jenk­ins and Lau­ren Myr­a­cle, is a chil­dren’s book about 9-year-old students who struggle to con­trol their magic and are teased by their peers. The char­ac­ter Nory can turn her­self into a cat but sprouts wings when she thinks about be­ing a dragon, while An­dres, an­other char­ac­ter, has to be held by a leash so he does not fly away. With the help of their teacher and each other, the char­ac­ters re­al­ize be­ing dif­fer­ent is not so bad, Myr­a­cle said.

“The in­spi­ra­tion for this book was to be the best ver­sion of our­selves and open our path to in­clu­sive­ness,” she said. “The more we read, the more we re­al­ize that we are so much alike, and we have this life-chang­ing rev­e­la­tion. We are all in this to­gether.”

Third-grader Aliyanna Ri­vas, 9, waited in line for Myr­a­cle to sign her book af­ter the cer­e­mony. She said she loves to read, and just fin­ished read­ing a book about a char­ac­ter named Nikki who learns to train her dog.

“I am ex­cited for sum­mer,” she said, point­ing to the bright, grassy-col­ored cover of her new book. “But I am very ex­cited about sum­mer read­ing and this book.”

Youth One Book, One Den­ver is a read­ing pro­gram for 9- to 12year-olds that is com­bined with work­shops, classes and group ac­tiv­i­ties to of­fer chil­dren a shared learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the sum­mer. The ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram is in its sixth year and is part of Den­ver Plan 2020, which works to help pre­pare students at Den­ver Pub­lic Schools for a suc­cess­ful fu­ture. Last year’s se­lec­tion was “Book Scavenger.”

Mayor Michael Han­cock an­nounced “Up­side-Down Magic” and said the goal of Youth One is to pro­mote life­long learn­ing among young peo­ple. Han­cock asked the students sit­ting cross­legged to raise their right hands and re­peat a mantra:

“I swear I will read ev­ery day from this point for­ward,” he said, stand­ing at a podium. “If I want to go to Africa, I will read. If I want to go to Ja­pan, I will read. If I want to go to Mex­ico, I will read.

“If you can’t fly there, pick up a book and it will take you right there.”

Three thou­sand free copies of “Up­side-Down Magic” will be distributed through­out Den­ver Pub­lic Schools, said Brooke Dilling, Den­ver Arts & Venues spe­cial events co­or­di­na­tor. A sup­ple­men­tary book ti­tled “Not Your Typ­i­cal Dragon,” by Dan Bar-el, will be made avail­able as an al­ter­na­tive for kin­der­garten through third-graders and strug­gling read­ers.

Dilling ex­pects that both books will be avail­able at Tat­tered Cover Book Store and at Den­ver Pub­lic Li­braries.

Third-grader Ta­tum Cole­man, 9, said she was ex­cited to read “Up­side-Down Magic” be­cause she loves chap­ter books.

“I love read­ing, and ac­tu­ally one of the books I read in­spired me to go see a mu­si­cal,” she said, re­fer­ring to “Ju­nie B. Jones, The Mu­si­cal.” “I am ex­cited the au­thor and the mayor are sign­ing our books. Last sum­mer I read a lot.”

RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post

Lau­ren Myr­a­cle, co-au­thor of “Up­side-Down Magic,” and Mayor Michael Han­cock dis­trib­ute free copies of the book at Ash­ley Ele­men­tary School in Den­ver on Mon­day.

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