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Event Will Celebrate West Hartford’s ‘One Book, One Town’ Initiative

Roszena Haskins (right) and Jenna LaRiviere reveal West Hartford's 'One Book, One Town' selection. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The celebration, the culmination of West Hartford’s ‘One Book, One Town,’ will be held on April 21.

Roszena Haskins (right) and Jenna LaRiviere reveal West Hartford's 'One Book, One Town' selection. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s ‘One Town, One Book’ initiative was launched in November 2015. Roszena Haskins (right) and Jenna LaRiviere revealed the title at Barnes & Noble. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford residents of all ages have been reading the same book for the past few months, and they will now have the opportunity to come together for a celebration that concludes the town’s ‘One Book, One Town’ initiative with inspirational speakers and interactive activities.

The title of West Hartford’s chosen book – Warren St. John’s non-fiction bestseller “Outcasts United,” was revealed on Nov. 7, 2015.

On Thursday, April 21, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., a free event at the West Hartford Town Hall Auditorium will include a panel discussion led by teens from West Hartford Public Schools’ Quest program offer their perspective on the book. The event will also feature keynote speaker Christine Ieronimo, author of “A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World,” small group discussions, and a book signing.

NBC Connecticut’s Brad Drazen will be emcee. Steven Boyle, founder of 2-4-1 Sports (Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport), will also speak. The event is free and people of all ages are invited to attend.

The goal of “One Book, One Town” was to include the entire community in a discussion of the book’s core themes. “Outcasts United” focuses on themes of “acceptance, inclusion, diversity and being your best self,” organizers said.

“The One Book, One Town culmination will be engaging, thought-provoking and memorable for all who participate,” said Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Community Business Development Manager Jenna LaRiverie in a news release.

“The featured presenters all understand the value of athletics in a child’s life as did Luma Mufleh, the central character in the true story ‘Outcasts United,’ Renée McCue, public relations specialist for the Town of West Hartford, said in the release.

Mufleh, who brings together a group of young refugee boys to form a youth soccer team in a southern U.S. town, brings the community together and teaches the boys valuable lessons on “how to achieve success through hard work, self-discipline and cooperation.”

Boyle, who espouses the philosophy that exposing children to multiple sports will help “develop their untapped athletic and leadership abilities that could inspire a lifetime of healthy, physical activity,” will share his thoughts on the power of athletics and good sportsmanship.

Ireonimo will conclude the event with a multi-media presentation based on her book, “A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World,” which tells the story of a young girl’s journey from Ethiopia to Connecticut. An interactive exhibit will allow participants a hands-on opportunity to understand the difficulty of carrying water a long distance.

Whole Foods West Hartford Center will provide refreshments. For more information, visit www.WestHartfordCT.gov/1Book1Town or call 860-561-7521.

“One Book, One Town” was organized and sponsored by Barnes & Noble Booksellers Blue Back Square, Town of West Hartford, West Hartford Public Library, West Hartford Public Schools, Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, the West Hartford Human Rights Commission, and Starwood Retail Management.

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