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Freshman Book Series

This guide provides resources supporting each year's common read.

The Freshman Book Series

The Freshman book is an interesting and stimulating read embedded in the Freshman Experience at the University of the District of Columbia. We invite you to read the book during the semester and participate in robust discussions in and out of the classroom. Explore the themes in your mind. What do you think? What are your opinions? What would you like to ask your new classmates or professors?

We urge you to approach the Book Series discussions in the spirit of openness and the delight of discovery. This is a unique and valuable opportunity to challenge yourself, share your ideas, learn about different viewpoints and meet and engage in dialogue with your classmates and a university faculty member or other member of the university community. There are no right or wrong answers, diverse viewpoints and perspectives will be encouraged and respected. The more involved you choose to be, the more you will take away from this experience.

Happy reading!

Learn more about the program here.

This Year's Book

The Freshman book selected for the Class of 2024 is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.Cover of the book Born a Crime - Illustrated image of Trevor Noah painted on a wall with a pedestrian in front

Summary

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

** From Amazon

Previous Books

2019-2020: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

2018-2019: Barracoon: The Story of the Last ”Black Cargo” by Zora Neal Hurston

2017-2018: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

2016-2017: FLAWD: How to Stop Hating on Yourself, Others, and the Things That Make You Who You Are by Emily-Ann Rigal and Jeanne Demers