Tag Archives: Hear it from them!

Checking in on Enrique’s Journey at Fort Lewis College

Fort Lewis College students pose with Enrique's Journey

Earlier this year, CommonReads brought you the news of Fort Lewis College’s adoption of “FYE favorite” Enrique’s Journey. Written by award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, the book tells the story of a young boy who leaves his home in Honduras to search for his mother in the United States.

Now Fort Lewis College Assistant Dean of Writing and First Year Experience, Bridget Irish, is following up on the students’ experience with Enrique’s Journey and the author’s visit to campus:

 One of the main goals of our college’s Common Reading Experience is to light a fire in our students’ brains about an important subject that they will have the ability to impact in their lifetime. As immigration is one of those subjects, we chose to give our almost 900 freshmen a free copy of Enrique’s Journey this fall. Our students at FLC are reading all or part of the book in several classes. We invited the book’s author, Sonia Nazario, to give a public talk and to spend a full day with students, faculty, staff ,and members of the larger Durango community. While I am embarrassed that we asked so much of Sonia, she didn’t flinch. She understood that we are trying to get our students engaged in the topic of immigration, motivated to learn, and willing to act as responsible citizens. She dove in and lit that fire! All around campus, our students are saying: I had NO idea! Students are remarking on her ability to make a dense, complicated subject easier for them to begin to understand. They are impresses by her intelligence and her huge heart and passion for her work.

How has your common read been recieved this Fall? Have photos of your students and events to share? E-mail them to rhacademic@randomhouse.com and they could be featured on an upcoming CommonReads post!

Learn more about the Fort Lewis Common Reading Experience program on their website!


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Southern Methodist University videos get the word out about Common Reading

Looking for new and exciting ways to get the word out about your common reading selection?

Take a page out of SMU’s book.

To inform students about their 2010 Common Reading book, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, Southern Methodist University produced a video including an introduction to the book’s topic, feedback from other students who have read the book, and a welcome message to incoming first-year students from returning seniors.

View other SMU video for the 2009 Common Reading book, Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama featuring students, here, and director of First-Year Writing and Common Reading coordinator, Diana Grumbles, here.


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Murray State talks Thomas Mullen’s The Last Town on Earth

CommonReads previously brought you the news Murray State University selected Thomas Mullen’s The Last Town on Earth for it’s Freshman Reading Experience program. Mr. Mullen recently spoke to students at the university and has received wonderful accolades from Ted Brown, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts:

We could not have asked for a better presenter than Mr. Mullen.  He gave of himself, his knowledge, and his time freely to both our students and our faculty, charming and enlightening each one of the many groups with which he came in contact during his two days with us.  He was both eloquent and personable in talking with our students, showing genuine interest in them and in their ideas.  Students and faculty alike loved his book from the outset, but they appreciated it even more after being able to frame it in the context of his impressive personal presence.  There are great authors and there are great presenters, but they are all too rarely found in the same person:  Thomas Mullen is one of those precious few, and I recommend him most highly.

For more information on bringing Thomas Mullen or other Random House, Inc. authors to your campus contact rhacademic@randomhouse.com.

View video of Thomas Mullen speaking at the Random House, Inc. Author Luncheon during the 2010 First-Year Experience conference here.

Visit Murray State University’s Freshman Reading Experience webpage here.


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Queens University of Charlotte has “great expectations” for Mister Pip

Are your students or patrons reading Great Expectations? Consider adding Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones to your program. The book has been recently selected by Queens University of Charlotte for common reading. It is also the 2008 winner of the ALEX and Best Book for Young Adults awards given by Young Adult Library Services Association and was a Booker Prize finalist and a Commonwealth Writer’s Award winner. 

The novel is set on a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.

Dorothy McGavran, professor of English and director of the Core Program in Liberal Arts at Queens University of Charlotte ,recently shared some of her thoughts on Mister Pip and why it has been selected the university’s summer read:

[Mister Pip] is a book about the value of education. Referred to in reviews as a fable, it [also] affords opportunity for discussion of moral choices with implications for individuals, family, and community.


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Agnes Scott College announces Outcasts United. Read their letter!

Dear Campus Community:

I am pleased to announce that the Common Reading for Fall 2010 will be Warren St. John’s 2009 book Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Differnce (NY: Spiegel & Grau).  

This book gives us a chance to engage the wider world by considering the experiences of refugees from across many cultures, and how a youth soccer team, founded by a woman named Luma Mufleh, changed a community in unforeseeable ways.  At the same time, this book brings the wide world to our door, since the American town where all this took place is five miles away in Clarkston, GA.

ASC connects further to this story because of Prof. Toby Emert’s work with the Fugees Academic Boot Camp last summer. As it states on the Fugees Family website ( http://www.fugeesfamily.org/programs.html):

“Last summer, we held a four-week day camp for the players to improve their academic ability, keep them connected to each other and the staff, and maintain their physical conditioning. The morning activities focused on reading and writing, and the afternoon sessions included art, science, math, and educational and recreational field trips. This summer, we will extend this program to six weeks and serve 60 Fugees, in partnership with Agnes Scott College.”

Last year’s Boot Camp ended with a “fair” organized by Dr. Emert where the Fugees showed and described their summer’s work.

For more information, see the book’s website: http://www.outcastsunited.com/.  Please look for information in the future about campus activities related to this book for 2010-11, including potential partnerships with the Georgia Tech community.

On behalf of the Common Reading committee,
Tracey Laird


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Outcasts United is picking up speed. Check out new video from the author and new links.

With all the recent news about Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference,it is easy for us to explain to you all the reasons why the book, by New York Times journalist Warren St. John, will resonate with your students.

But how about hearing it from the author himself?

We’ve previously brought you video from Mr. St. John’s talk at our recent Sixth Annual Author Luncheon at the First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado. In a new video he once again addresses the impact this story can have on ever-diversifiying college campuses. The video also features video of the town of Clarkston, Georgia where the story of the Fugees is set, as well as footage of the Fugees and their coach.

Also check out this webpage by the Maryland Humanities Council, detailing their response to this intiguing story. Just a few weeks ago, CommonReads brought you the news that they had selected the book for their One Maryland, One Book program.

For more program feedback, visit our previous post featuring comments from Utah State University about why they’ve adopted the book as common reading for their 2010-2011 school year.

Outcasts United’s impact is farther reaching by the day. In a recent e-mail to Random House Academic, Warren St. John updated us on his itinerary. He will be appearing at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA on Tuesday, March 23rd and will be taking part in an event hosted by the International Rescue Committee. From there, Mr. St. John will be heading to Atlanta for Roswell Reads, the common reading program run by the Roswell Public Library, just outside the city.

Want Warren St. John to come to your school or library? E-mail rhacademic@randomhouse.com for more information!


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Why Georgia Tech chose Outcasts United. Hear it from them!

Want to know why another university has chosen a particular book for their program? Curious about how they plan to incorporate it into their cirriculum or campus programs?

Dr. Stephen P. Girardot, Director of the Office of Success Programs at Georgia Institute of Technology shares why Outcasts United was chosen for their common reading program and the ways in which they will utilize this wonderful book with their students.


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