Tag Archives: high school appropriate adoptions

One more for Enrique’s Journey!


Another great adoption for Enrique’s Journey!

CommonReads has just learned that Sonia Nazario’s book has been selected as Millersville University’s fifth freshman read.

In case you missed it, click here to view Ms. Nazario’s upcoming speaking schedule.

Also, check out the book’s website  for educator extras  including Teacher’s Guides, videos, photos, news articles and other supplimentary materials.


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The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights to read Gardens of Water

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights program has just selected Alan Drew’s novel Gardens of Water for their “One Book, One Community” read.

Set in a small town outside Istanbul, this “remarkable” (New York Times Book Review) novel tells the story of a man and his family whose lives are thrown into chaos when the earthquake of 1999 destroys their home and way of life. When his daughter falls in love with an American boy whose father intercedes to help, the tensions between two cultures, two fathers, two faiths, explode.

The book has been previously selected as a “One Book, One Story” read in Pasadena, California and is a School Library Journal Best Adult Books for High School Students 2008.


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Read Mountains Beyond Mountains this summer.

What are you reading this summer?

The Harvard Crimson recently published a list of recommended summer reading titles for undergraduate students handpicked by college professors and faculty members. Among the books selected is First-Year Experience favorite, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Nancy M. Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College says:

This is not a new book. I suggest it now because it is about the work of Paul Farmer and colleagues who worked with him to found Partners in Health, an organization that has grown to have an important impact on several areas of the world. What caused me to return to this book (after first reading it a few years ago) was the earthquake in Haiti. Reading about the extraordinary challenges that Farmer and his team faced in delivering health care and building community-based programs gave considerable insight to the problems that continue to complicate the recovery of Haiti. The story is compelling. It helps one become more attentive to the diverse aspects of different countries’ economic and social conditions, to perhaps better understand why aid sometimes does not work as intended, and to appreciate the generous and proud spirit that can survive amidst poverty.

Now, I’m about to start on Kidder’s more recent book, Strength in What Remains.

The list also features the academic classic The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and The Bible. You can find the entire list here.


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Is Outcasts United your next common read? Check out the new lesson plan!

Is your common reading program considering Outcasts United by Warren St. John? Have you already adopted the book?

Whatever the circumstance, be sure you check out the new Outcasts United college lesson plan. Prepared by an instructor at Georgia Tech University for the school’s use of the book as a common read, the guide is replete with unit ideas based on major themes in the book, chapter breakdowns, project outlines and in-class group work ideas.

Download the lesson plan here and be sure to check out the rest of the Outcasts United website. It also features Author Q&A, book reviews and other resources.


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Spotlight on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

If your common reading committee is looking for a work of fiction that combines history with narrative and highlights issues still relevant today such as racism and injustice, consider Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.

The novel has been adopted as common reading at Gustavus Adlophis University (St. Peter, MN) as well as Schenectady One County, One Book (Schenectady, NY) and Coeur d’Alene Library “Our Region Reads” (Coeur d’Alene, ID). Winner of the Literature Award – Fiction for the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), it tells the story of a young Chinese boy and Japanese girl growing up in Seattle’s Japantown during World War II.

…A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices. Kirkus Reviews

Ford expertly nails the sweet innocence of first love, the cruelty of racism, the blindness of patriotism, the astonishing unknowns between parents and their children, and the sadness and satisfaction at the end of a life well lived. The result is a vivid picture of a confusing and critical time in American history. Recommended for all fiction collections.” – Library Journal

To learn more about author Jamie Ford and his debut novel visit his website.


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The Last Town on Earth goes to high school

Common reads aren’t just for college freshmen!

Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio has chosen The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen as a campus-wide read. The book, however, is not new to the campus. After hearing about it at nearby Bowling Green State University (where it also has been used as common reading) two years ago, a teacher elected to use the historical novel, which poses ethical questions following the quarantine of a small town during the 1918 flu pandemic, in his classroom each semester. Students even engaged in “Q&A” discussions with the author via e-mail.

Watch the video of Thomas Mullen speaking at the Sixth Annual First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado here!

The Last Town on Earth is not the only Random House book to make it into high school classrooms. First-Year Experience favorites Mountains Beyond Mountains, Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands, and Funny in Farsi are just a few others with roots in secondary education.

Has common reading made it to your area high schools? What are the high schoolers in your life reading?


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Highschool, College, and Beyond – Great Books for Your Common Readers & Grads


It’s May and you all know what that means…graduating seniors! Whether they are high schoolers going off to college or college grads entering the workforce, there is no doubt your students will be juggling pearls of wisdom from all sides.

This past Sunday, The Washington Post published a list of “Books for graduates setting out on that next big adventure.” Not your average list (Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is omitted) these books have been hand-selected by recent college grad, Elizabeth Sher,  the gift book-a-month program coordinator at Washington D.C.’s Politics & Prose.

Of the Random House, Inc. books that made the cut, Sher said:

A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind “should be required reading for all high school students heading off to college.” The book follows a young man to the Ivy League.

Bill Strickland’s Make the Impossible Possible “tells of the author’s big dreams, struggles, and successes making his Pittsburgh ghetto a better place.”

Both books already have an excellent track record among universities. A Hope in the Unseen has been selected for common reading at fifteen colleges and universities and was a Maryland state-wide read. Bill Strickland has received honorary degrees from fourteen universities, is a sought-after commencement speaker and has been recognized by Harvard Business School. Make the Impossible Possible has also been selected for common reading at four universities.

Click here to view video of Bill Strickland’s recent talk at the Sixth Annual Random House Author Luncheon during the First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado.


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