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Sacramento State Campus

FOCUS ON: One Book

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University and community ‘one book’ programs have been established nationwide to promote literacy and to engage all members of a given community in a lively, intellectual conversation based on their shared reading experience. In fall 2008, Sacramento State inaugurated its One Book Program with Firoozeh Dumas’ Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America.

(Narrator:) This is “Focus” from the campus of Sacramento State.

(James Beaulieu, Sacramento State student:) “Hey There Firoozeh.”

(Jim Finnerty reporting:) There was music. There were feelings on fabric. There were iconic examples of the American experience through Iranian eyes.

(Beaulieu:) “And the book really started to change the way I viewed people who are not native to America.”

(Finnerty:) James Beaulieu was one of 60 freshman honor students whose multi-media works were recognized in Sacramento State’s “One Book” project. The reading project serves as a catalyst to discussion between students and the community focusing on the experiences of author Firoozeh Dumas whose book, Funny in Farsi details “growing up Iranian in America.”

(Gatz Nieblas, Sacramento State student:) “I was actually surprised at some of the positive perceptions and surprised by how some of the characters in the book really took to things like American entertainment.”

(Vanessa Arnaud, Sacramento State professor:) “Well, the honors program sort of prides itself on active learning and with students taking an active participation in their education.”

(Finnerty:) Professor Vanessa Arnaud directed the honors students whose visual responses to the book’s content included colorful representations of incidents from the novel.

(Arnaud:) “So we have projects ranging from a music video. Other students created a quilt, and each scene in the quilt represents an important moment in the book. For me, it’s just a delight to see how they reacted to the text and created something that was just a little bit different.”

(Finnerty:) Students say the “One Book” project gave them insights on both their class work and their connection to other cultures.

(Beaulieu:) “I think that’s a lesson that every American should know and every community across our nation. I think it really gets to the soul of what the American dream is.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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