First-year students enrolled in UNIV 101 (University Experience), transfer students enrolled in UNIV 201 (Transfer Experience), and many of the First-Year Composition courses are required to read Make Your Home Among Strangers this semester. Faculty in other disciplines, such as English, Communications, and Sociology, have also adopted the book as part of their course-required readings this fall. Make Your Home Among Strangers will also be required reading for incoming first-year students enrolled in UNIV 101 and UNIV 201 during the 2018-19 academic year.
Beyond the classroom, NIU will host a variety of free programs and events around the novel throughout the semester. These events include an open mic night where attendees are encouraged to share their stories addressing the meaning of “home” (October 11); a campus visit from author Jennine Capó Crucet (October 17); a book discussion with NIU’s College of Law built around the novel’s theme of immigration and what that means in the age of the Travel Ban (October 26); and an essay contest open to all first-year students. During Crucet’s campus visit, students will have the opportunity to attend a book discussion with Crucet, attend a community reception where they will be able to meet the author, and watch Crucet give a presentation on her novel.
Northern Illinois University’s Common Reading Experience program selects a book that will be used for two years, in order to facilitate ongoing discussions among first-year and second-year students, as well as throughout the campus community. The primary goals of the program are to:
- Establish a common, educationally-purposeful experience among first-year students to foster community
- Provide new students with the opportunity to begin exploring new perspectives and ways of viewing the world
- Orient new students to critical thinking and the spirit of intellectual inquiry.
Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, community members, and students from a list of approximately twenty titles. The book was ultimately selected because it tackles many themes that are relevant to first-year students at NIU, such as social justice, diversity, immigration, ethics, leaving home, socioeconomic status, and first-generation student experiences. “Although Make Your Home Among Strangers is a work of fiction . . . I think it will be particularly impactful for first-generation students at NIU because they will be able to relate to Lizet’s journey as she deals with the different aspects of transitioning to college in an unfamiliar environment,” said Lauren Napolitano, associate director of the First- and Second-Year Experience. “A lot of the issues Lizet struggles with in her first year at college are the same issues our first-generation students are facing here at NIU.”
Make Your Home Among Strangers • Picador • 416 pages