Common Read

The Common Read program was established as part of the Delphi Project, which is a residential and intellectual experience for incoming freshmen. The Common Read will be infused in freshmen courses and even adopted in more advanced classes across the curriculum.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Arnold, the main character in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, uses drawings and artwork because he wants to “talk to the world.” This summer, we want you to create something that would tell anyone, no matter where they’re from or what language they speak, who you are.

How to Participate:

  1. CREATE a piece of art, a sculpture, a silent film, a food dish, a piece of music… anything that you want to use to talk to the world!
  2. FOLLOW UWF Student Transition Programs at @UWFSTP on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook.
  3. POST a link or picture of your work and the date of your orientation session on our Facebook page using the hashtag #GetTogetherUWF or TWEET it to @UWFSTP with the hashtag #GetTogetherUWF.
  4. CHECK our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the summer for submissions from new UWF students just like you! Take time to like, comment and interact with UWF students whose artwork you appreciate!
  5. BRING your #GetTogether projects to the Common Read discussions on Tuesday, August 26 so you can talk about your work and the book with your fellow UWF students!

About the Author

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. He has published 24 books including What I've Stolen, What I've Earned, poetry, from Hanging Loose Press; Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, from Grove Press; and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a novel from Little, Brown Books for Children. He also recently published the 20th Anniversary edition of his classic book of stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Smoke Signals, the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation.  Alexie has been an urban Indian since 1994 and lives in Seattle with his family.

About the Book

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Faculty Guide

How was the Common Read Selected?

Every year, a committee comprised of UWF professors, students, librarians, staff and administrators participates in selecting the upcoming Common Read book. Book nominations are solicited both formally and informally, and, once a list of potential choices has been generated, the committee winnows those choices through a democratic process of discussion. The final selection is chosen by committee vote.

What are the goals of the program?

The Common Read Program has four main goals:

 - To engage entering and currently enrolled students in a university-wide intellectual and cross-disciplinary program.
 - To model for students the types of critical thinking and nuanced investigation and interpretation that will be central to their success at UWF.
 - To increase the regional visibility and community connections of UWF’s programs.
 - To enrich the shared experiences and cultural awareness of faculty, staff, students, and the community.

What groups participate in the Common Read?

Individual Departments within the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; Advising; Academic Foundations Seminar; Delphi Program; Composition Program; UWF Book Club; High School Articulation Conference; and Orientation.

How do I get a copy of the book?

Students who attend an on-campus orientation will receive a copy of the book. Campus members may also purchase a copy of the book through the university bookstore or online.