About the Common Reading Experience

The Common Reading Experience is part of the first-year experience at NIU. Every two years, a committee composed of students, faculty, staff and community members recommends a book for incoming students to read in their English and UNIV courses. Faculty and staff members are also encouraged to incorporate the book's themes into their other courses, events and programs.

The Common Reading Experience helps students build a sense of community at NIU. As they explore the book's themes with their fellow students, they're exposed to new perspectives and viewpoints. Their classroom learning is enhanced with a variety of events and programs. A highlight of the experience is a campus visit from the book's author.

Past Books


"When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir" by Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele.

This bestselling memoir tells the story of Patrisse Cullors's life and development as an artist and activist. It's a moving account of survival and a powerful call to action to confront racism and social injustice.


"Make Your Home Among Strangers" by Jennine Capó Crucet

This moving novel tells the story of a young woman who is the first in her family to graduate from high school. When she begins her first semester at college, she feels lost and torn between the demands of home and school.


"Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson

Written by the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, this work of nonfiction focuses on the author's development as a lawyer. It profiles several cases and emphasizes the need for compassion in the pursuit of justice.


"Acts of Faith" by Eboo Patel

This true story examines the author's beliefs, his interactions with nonbelievers and believers of different faiths, and his calling to develop the Interfaith Youth Core.

Contact Us

Common Reading Experience

Orientation and First Year Programs
Holmes Student Center 250

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