Wear your protective goggles, folks. We're about to shatter some stereotypes. The Open Book Project committee chose "The Other Wes Moore" by Wes Moore as the 2013-2014 common reader.
This true story follows the life journey of two kids with the same name who grew up in similar circumstances: both lived in poor neighborhoods, both were fatherless, both ran with bad crowds and both got in trouble with the police. However, one is now a productive member of society and the other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder.
What ultimately is the difference between the two? Their decisions.
With the theme "Each Life is a Choice, not a Stereotype," the Open Book Committee hopes to spur conversations, and, with some luck, change lives.
"When you're young, it's hard to be yourself, especially when your group tries to push you to be like them," said Nelda Contreras, developmental writing professor and Open Book committee chair. "You don't have to be like everyone else. You can make your own decisions."
Though the event series has yet to be locked down, the Open Book committee is considering panel discussions, contests, speakers and a tie-in to service-learning, Nelda said.
The purpose of the common reader is to be a literary icebreaker that goes beyond course content but isn't so "heavy" that it takes time away from usual course content, according to Nelda. Like previous common readers, the theme of this book is simple and easily understood but is also impactful.