Incoming first-year students at Missouri University of Science and
Technology will have some required reading this summer as part of the
university’s new “One Book” program. The program aims to improve freshman
students’ experience during their first year at Missouri S&T by giving them
something in common to talk about.
Incoming first-year students will be expected to read the book during the
summer before they arrive on campus. The book will then be taught in all
sections of English 20, the introductory composition course required of most
In addition to giving all incoming students an intellectual experience in
common, the program will give students several opportunities for critical
thinking on a topic of social relevance while promoting the value and
importance of reading beyond the classroom.
This year’s One Book selection is They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky:
The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan, written by Benson Deng,
Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak, with Judy Bernstein, and published in
“They Poured Fire on Us is a powerful true story about the tragic
civil war in Sudan, as witnessed by three of the tens of thousands of young
children who were forced by flee their homes and walk more than 1,000 miles
across eastern Africa after their villages were destroyed,” says Dr. Kate
Drowne, assistant professor of English and technical communication and director
of the Missouri S&T Writing Center. “A Washington Post reviewer described
the book as ‘one of the most riveting stories ever told of African childhoods –
and a stirring tale of courage.’”
As part of the One Book program, additional events related to the book,
including lectures, films, discussions, musical events and a writing contest
are also planned. These events will be open to the public.
The program will culminate on Oct. 22, with a campus visit by the authors of
They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky. During a campus lecture that is
open to the public, they will read from their book, answer questions, sign
books and present awards to the writing contest winners.
Organizers of the program say they also hope to foster a sense of community
and connectedness among students, faculty and staff. Complimentary copies of
the book are available to any Missouri S&T faculty or staff member who is
interested in reading the book. Faculty and staff will be required to present a
valid university ID at the Missouri S&T Bookstore to receive their free
“We want the One Book program to reach all interested members of the
Missouri S&T community, not just incoming freshmen,” Drowne says.