College-Wide Reading Program

College-Wide Reading

The College-Wide Reading Program is an initiative intended to provide a common reading that encourages thought, discussion, and collaboration at Delaware County Community College. All members of the College community are invited to nominate books for the program and to participate in related activities throughout the academic year.

2017-18 Book

Butterfly Boy coverJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson

When he was young, Bryan Stevenson remembers his grandmother, the daughter of freed slaves, declaring, “You can’t understand the most important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close.” Just Mercy describes his thirty years of legal work to exonerate death row prisoners, while getting close to their world and a justice system that belies its brokenness.

The case of Walter McMillian, an African American small business owner nicknamed “Johnny D,” provides the spine of this story-driven book. He was hosting a fish fry outside of town when 18 year-old Ronda Morrison was shot to death during a robbery at her job. Against the backdrop of Harper Lee’s Monroeville, Alabama (the community that inspired To Kill a Mockingbird), Walter was arrested and kept on death row before his two-day trial. He was convicted by an all-white jury; the trial judge condemned Walter to death in the electric chair. Stevenson weaves his work on Walter’s case throughout his intensely human book.

This memoir is a grounded, alternately funny and poignant, look at a criminal justice system that often fails the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Stevenson carefully avoids despondency by drawing strength from the character of small towns, his family and friends, including Ms. Rosa Parks. As he writes, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. A native of Milton (Delaware), graduate of Eastern University (Wayne, Pennsylvania) and Harvard Law School, he now teaches at New York University.

Library Guide

About the Program

The goals of the program include:

  • Promoting a habit of reading
  • Encouraging the exploration of diverse experiences and perspectives
  • Providing a common discussion point for all members of the College community
Titles selected meet the minimum standards listed below.
  • Readable by our entire population, including developmental and ESL students
  • Available in paperback
  • Cross-disciplinary appeal
  • Ability to be incorporated into curricular and extracurricular activities
  • Presents diverse or unique perspective

Nomination Process

Students, faculty, staff, and all other college community members are invited to nominate books for future College-Wide Reading Programs. Please nominate any and all titles you feel would lend themselves to positive college-wide reading, discussion and programming. 


The College wide reading program began in 2006 and was called the One-Book One-College Program when it started. Over the years the program has evolved and its name changed to its current name, the College-Wide Reading Program. Titles were not selected in 2014-15 and 2009-10.


Butterfly Boy cover

Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa
by Rigoberto González 

Garbology book cover

by Edward Humes
Library Guide

Water by the Spoonful book cover

Water by the Spoonful 
by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Library guide

Girl In Translation book cover

Girl in Translation 
by Jean Kwok
Library guide

Henrietta Lacks book cover

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Library guide

The Glass Castle book cover

The Glass Castle 
by Jeannette Walls
Library guide

With Courage and Cloth book cover

With Courage and Cloth 
by Ann Bausum and 
Having Our Say 
by Sarah L. Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany and Amy Hill Hearth

Flags of Our Fathers book cover

Flags of Our Fathers 
by James Bradley 
(with Ron Powers)

Selected in partnership with the Delaware County public library’s Fall For A Book - One Book, One Community initiative.

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Library Guide