Youth leader Gus Cabrera unfetters his busy mind with several books |

Youth leader Gus Cabrera unfetters his busy mind with several books

Gustavo Cabrera is a youth leader in the Truckee Tahoe community.
Courtesy Tom Lippert |

EDITOR’S NOTE: Youth leader Gus Cabrera is featured in this week’s Readers Are Leaders, a series of interviews about the impact of reading in the lives and careers of local leaders. To read past interviews with leaders who are readers, visit, search “Readers.”

Why do you think readers are leaders?

I believe that readers are leaders because reading so much material throughout their lives causes readers to question things in ways they never would have before. These questions develop into ideas about different subjects that may even be put into action if the idea is developed well enough. Also the imagination of someone who reads a lot is broader, and this may be helpful to him when facing a problem.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

My favorite children’s book is “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. It has a double meaning and a message about how to live your life.

Where is your favorite place to read/when is your favorite time to read?

Having been forced to drop out of college because of financial issues, I found myself having a lot of time in my hands, and when I was not in front of my computer filling out college applications, I was at Bud’s Old Fashioned Fountain (where I worked) and, especially in winter when I found myself with less to do, I loved to turn down the music, take out a book, and sit by the window and read. It helped me relax and gave me a break from all the stress in which I found myself.

If you were snowed in at a backcountry hut, what reading material would you want to have with you?

If I were to find myself in such a situation I would hope to have either the “Harry Potter” series with me or the novel, “1984.”


Gus Cabrera, a 2013 graduate of Truckee High School, was honored this past summer year by receiving the Nevada County Youth Community Partner Award. Gustavo’s leadership in high school as a role model and advocate for community substance abuse prevention efforts and his collaboration with drug and community alcohol prevention groups was cited in his nomination for this award.

“Gus is an extremely generous, committed and focused young man, proven by his willingness to take on leadership roles with these groups. He’s often considered by his peers to be a natural leader and positive role model for many.

“While providing our programs with honest, critical, and culturally relevant youth perspectives, he also brings an in-depth knowledge and representation of the Latino community. He contributes honest insights and feedback that is both youth and culturally appropriate. Gustavo is helping to change social norms among youth because he is a youth who is vocal and leads by example of standing up against teen alcohol and drug use … and by serving as a healthy role model for middle school students and his high school peers.

“He is an ambassador for youth by truly modeling the belief that youth are valuable and a unique resource to their community. We believe he is an unsung hero to many of his peers who leads by example and never allows difficult circumstances circumvent his goals of being proud and successful. He works incredibly hard to achieve success and is extremely diligent,” according to the Nevada County Youth Community Partner Award nominators.

Gus is a remarkable young man who utilizes the gift of reading he received as a child to develop a broader understanding of the world and to shape his values and actions. The book Gus mentions, “1984,” is a classic dystopian novel of totalitarian leadership.

This book is a reflection on history, human nature and capacity to think for oneself.


Storybooks for young children provide many examples of characters confronting difficulties, experimenting with choices, and finding their way. In his interview, Gus also talks about the important role of reading as pleasure, a way to escape life’s stress. Libraries provide a free and limitless opportunity to help children develop the practice of reading to find a quiet space for the heart and mind to wander and reflect.

E.B White, a notable American writer and essayist, who also wrote books for children, including “Charlotte’s Web,” “Stuart Little” and “The Trumpet of the Swan” reflects:

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

The Truckee and Kings Beach Libraries are offering summer reading programs, events and book sales this summer. Find more information in community briefs.

Submitted by Ruth Jackson Hall, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District early learning coordinator.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.