Suggested Books for 2019-2020 Campus Reading Program

  1. Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian – My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph by Yasra Mardini
  2. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
  3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  4. In the Country We Love: My family divided by Diane Guerrero
  5. Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John
  6. Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo
  7. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
  8. Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis
  9. Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era by Jorge Ramos
  10. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli
  11. The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir By Thi Bui
  12. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande
  13. The Leavers: A Novel by Lisa Ko
  14. The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border Francisco Cantú
  15. What Lies Between Us: A Novel Nayomi Munaweera


  • Must be well written and engaging,
  • Must offer topics and themes conducive to stimulating thoughtful discussion, calling for critical thinking about ideas, issues, practices, values, traditions, relationships, or beliefs.
  • Must speak in a meaningful manner to our target audience (the entire campus community, but also newly entering freshmen we wish to win over to participating in and supporting a culture or reading).
  • Must provide connecting opportunities for cross- and interdisciplinary corollary lectures, activities, presentations, and/or performances to encourage integration across wide and diverse sections of the SJSU community (and perhaps into a range of different class assignment possibilities).
  • Must have received some critical praise or acclaim, with some evidence of popularity or the potential for popularity.
  • Must be published within the last five years.
  • Must be available in paperback by the time book orders for Summer Orientation sessions are due.
  • Must not be made into a film before or during the year of its selection.
  • Must not exceed 300 pages.
  • Might speak to a significant “hot topic” current social issue, might have a special or particular tie to our campus history or local city and area culture and history.

(NOTE– On issues such as date of publication or page length, if the selection is extremely strong in other areas and gets very positive support from a majority of the committee, these criteria can be waived.)