On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her house, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family’s possessions.

Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their homes and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.

In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells the story of one Japanese American family from five flawlessly realized points of view—the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after almost four years in captivity. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today’s headlines. – www.julieotsuka.com

SHARING REFUGEE STORIES

Article by Amy Wolf Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson October 28, 2022 Author Ahmed M. Badr discusses life as a refugee at First Year Common Reader event For too long, the global conversation around the refugee crisis has excluded the voices of the refugees themselves. Ahmed...

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2022-23 FIRST YEAR COMMON READER

The 2022-23 First Year Common Reader for new students attending the University of Delaware is “While the Earth Sleeps We Travel: Stories, Poetry, and Art from Young Refugees Around the World,” by Ahmed M. Badr Article by Meghan Biery Photos courtesy of Ahmed M....

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While the Earth Sleeps We Travel (2022)

While the Earth Sleeps We Travel (2022)

Combining Badr’s own poetry with the personal narratives and creative contributions of dozens of young refugees, While the Earth Sleeps We Travel seeks to center and amplify the often unheard perspectives of those navigating through and beyond the...

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2021 Essay Contest Winners

Eight students were awarded prizes in the 2021 Common Reader Essay Contest, in response to the book Under A White Sky, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

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Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future (2021)

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future (2021)

In Under a White Sky, author Elizabeth Kolbert presents readers with what she calls the “Anthropocene irony.” After all that humans have done to destroy nature, is ingenuity now its only hope of survival? A search for answers sends her packing from Moku o’...

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2019 Common Reader Essay Contest

Open to All First Year Students Westover has titled her book Educated, and much of her education takes place in classrooms, lectures or other university environments — but not all. What other important moments of “education” were described in the book?  What friends,...

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2018 Common Reader Essay Contest Winners

Eight students were awarded prizes in the 2018 Common Reader Essay Contest, in response to book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. Here are the winners: First place: Valerie Light, an Honors Program student and Communications Interest major from Marietta, GA Second place: Liam...

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2018 Common Reader Essay Contest

Open to All First Year Students     On page 29 author Hope Jahren writes: “Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.” As you enter...

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‘LAB GIRL’ IS THE 2018 FIRST YEAR COMMON READER

Lab Girl, a book written by scientist Hope Jahren, has been selected as the University of Delaware’s 2018 First Year Common Reader. The First Year Common Reader is read by UD’s first year students, providing  a unique opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful...

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Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka is the author of two novels, The Buddha in the Attic, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, France’s Prix Femina Étranger, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, and When the Emperor Was Divine, which won the Asian American Literary Award and the American Library Association Alex Award. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages and sold over 600,000 copies. Her short story, ‘Diem Perdidi’, will be included in ‘100 Years of the Best American Short Stories’, which will be published in October 2015. A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in New York City, where she writes every afternoon in her neighborhood café.

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