Skip navigation

One Book One DU

One Book One DU

University of Denver

One Book One DU

Welcome to One book, one DU! 

How do individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and value systems become a community?

This is the challenge and reward at the heart of One Book, One DU—a program dedicated to building community through a series of shared intellectual experiences inspired by a common text. Now in its fourth year, One Book, One DU seeks to provide opportunities for our campus to reflect on the roots of our beliefs, our aspirations, and our values, and to consider how we can leverage our collective experiences toward the University's mission of contributing to the public good.

This year's One Book, Helen Thorpe's The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in America, explores how 21 students from 11 countries, their teachers, and a journalist build a community within a Denver South High School's English Language Acquisition classroom. Inspired by Thorpe's investigation, this year's One Book, One DU programming will create opportunities for storytelling, dialogue, community engagement, and further learning.


newcomersThe University is pleased to announce the 2019-20 One Book, One DU selection: The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe. The Newcomers follows a year in the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers enrolled together in an English Language Acquisitions class at Denver's South High School—located just over a mile from DU. Ranging in age from fourteen to nineteen years old, these newcomers have come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year, these students adapt to life in the USA as they navigate teenage hopes, dreams, and fears. The Newcomers is a powerful and moving account of how refugee teenagers build a new foundation, confidence, and understanding of what it means to be American.  For more information on events and news related to the 2019-2020 selection, please visit the One Book tab.


The One Book Program will be announcing plans for the 2020-21 year soon. Incoming students will learn more through the Discoveries Online Canvas modules.

2021-2022 One book selection

The University is pleased to announce the 2021-22 One Book, One DU selection: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood takes readers on a journey through Noah's unconventional upbringing that began with a criminal act: his birth. The South African Parliament's Immorality Act, 1927, prohibited the union between his white European father and black Xhosa mother. Noah spent much of his childhood hiding his true identity from his community, his friends, and his government, guarded by his mother's often extreme precautionary measures and unconditional love. With empathy and wit, Noah shares his trials and tribulations growing up in a world where he was never supposed to exist. 

All incoming and transfer students will be invited to read the One Book title before arriving on campus, though all members of our community are welcome to engage with the shared text through programming and discussion groups throughout the year. Inspired by the personal lens Noah applies to the complexity of education, language, family life, religion, and current events throughout Born a Crime, the One Prompt will encourage our campus community to share their individual and collective stories.

The One Book selection and programming committees are currently developing curricular materials, campus events, and other opportunities for engagement. Please check back as we continue to post more information and event details.