Today@Sam Article

“American Like Me” Announced As 2020-21 Common Reader

April 30, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney


“I love my culture and I'm very proud of my culture.” - America Ferrera

These are the words of “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures” author America Ferrera, and it is a prevalent theme of the 2020-2021 Common Reader program.

Goodreads writes: 

“’In American Like Me,’ America Ferrera invites 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging and feel seen.” 

The SHSU Common Reader program supports faculty and staff with a robust framework of options to bring the book to life for students. This year’s programming will feature student, faculty, and staff experiences on topics of American culture.

BookCover1Faculty and staff are invited to attend a virtual unveiling of the book on May 1 at noon in a special Blackboard Organization titled: American Like Me: SHSU Common Reader. The pre-recorded message will introduce resources and ideas for including the book in course curriculum and programming for the upcoming semesters.

“Those who view the pre-recorded program in the Blackboard Organization qualify to receive a complimentary copy of the book in the mail,” said Kay Angrove, director of Academic Success Center: First-Year Experience programs.

New students will be introduced to the book in summer orientations and will receive a copy in the fall.

“This book provides timely and relevant topics to inspire student and faculty research and writing across academic disciplines and provides the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion,” said book selection committee member, Steven Koether.

Each year since 2008, a selection committee made up of faculty, staff and students review book nominations from the university community. This year, the committee received more than 170 titles nominated by Bearkats. Based on rigorous selection criteria, 73 titles were rated and reviewed, and the committee was able to narrow choices down to three top-rated titles, which were read and evaluated by more than 35 readers.

BackBook1“American Like Me” had the highest overall reader rating and the highest top category ratings (general appeal to readers, classroom use, relevance, program potential) amongst student, faculty and staff readers,” said Lisa Shen, committee chair of the book selection process.

One of the original nominators of the book is SHSU staff member Dana Van De Walker.

“It teaches diversity through a variety of personal narratives that enable readers to identify with struggles for acceptance, adaptation, and assimilation. Understanding human commonalities might contribute to repairing the current sociopolitical divide,” Van De Walker said. “This is a presidential election year and I think we need to talk about who we are as a wider American community. We are all American. This is a great book about a collection of American immigrant experiences.”

Complimentary copies of the book are available to students and members of the campus community while supplies last. For more information on the SHSU Common Reading Program, faculty and staff can view the American Like Me: SHSU Common Reader Blackboard Org program and request a book at Please contact Kay Angrove at for additional information.

Past Common Readers:

2019-2020: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
2018-2019: What Unites Us by alumnus Dan Rather
2017-2018: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen
2016-2017: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield
2015-2016: Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
2014-2015: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2013-2014: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
2012-2013: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
2011-2012: Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson
2010-2011: China's Son by Da Chen
2009-2010: The Fly in the Ointment by Dr. Joe Schwarcz
2008-2009: Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf

- END -

This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office:

Director of Content Communications: Emily Binetti

Communications Manager: Mikah Boyd
Telephone: 936.294.1837

Communications Specialist: Campbell Atkins
Telephone: 936.294.2638

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to