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One Book Program

About the One Book Program

The Sacramento State University One Book Program selects a book each year to bring together the Sac State community and the Sacramento region. The Program offers many exciting events throughout the academic year.

The One Book Program selects a book that will serve as a catalyst for considered conversations focusing on issues of social justice. The books we choose tend to push along the edges, so all people from the Sac State Community (students, faculty & staff) and friends and family from the Sacramento Region, may start conversations with feelings about the book or topic to then move into thoughtful, intellectual engagement with one another.

The 2023-2024 One Book is "Farewell To Manzanar."

This year’s One Book for Sacramento State and the community is Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (1972). This riveting memoir shares the challenges Japanese Americans faced during imprisonment during World War II. The protagonist Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston tells her story about how Japanese Americans lost their freedoms for the sake of national security, and she and her family were forced to live in an internment camp in Manzanar, California. Integration back into American society was a struggle of identity and acceptance for Jeanne since no one wanted to be identified as the “other.” The One Book Program, in partnership with Sac State’s Green & Gold Speakers Series and the Sac State Library’s Japanese Archival Collection, invites everyone to discuss the impact of racism, exclusion, and belonging.


TEACHING RESOURCES are available to spark discussion.

Teaching Guide & Resources for "Farewell to Manzanar"

Japanese American Archival Collection

Farewell to Manzanar - FREE Read or Listen (Requires sign up, log in, and borrow to read or listen.)


Join the Sac State One Book Program for special events discussing Farewell to Manzanar.

For ADA reasonable accommodations that would allow you to participate in One Book Program events please contact Rheena Munoz at 5-10 days before the event.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2023
12 noon - 1:15 pm

In partnership with the One Book Program and Inclusive Excellence, the University Library invites the campus community to attend the first tea gathering of the Fall 2023 semester. The gathering will take place from noon-1:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in the Sokiku Nakatani Tea Room on the lower level of the University Library. The presenters will host a discussion and Japanese tea gathering through the lens of this year’s One Book Farewell to Manzanar. The space offers accessible seating. For additional accommodations, please contact the Library at least five days prior to the event.

Join us for "book club" discussions about themes in Farewell to Manzanar. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome. Discussions are hosted by the Multicultural Center and the One Book Program.

OCTOBER 20, 2023 2 pm - 3 pm University Library 1010 Walk-ins are welcome.

NOVEMBER 3, 2023 2 pm - 3 pm University Library 1010 Walk-ins are welcome.

DECEMBER 8, 2023 2 pm - 3 pm University Library 1010 Walk-ins are welcome.

Dr. Wendi Yamashita on Manzanar, Racism, Exclusion, Incarceration, then ultimately Resilience, and Belonging.

NOVEMBER 14, 2023 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

The One Book Program in partnership with Inclusive Excellence hosted the Hornet Family to listen and talk story with Dr. Wendi Yamashita on Manzanar, racism, exclusion, incarceration, then ultimately resilience, and belonging.

This year’s One Book was Farewell to Manzanar by author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (1972). It is a story about how Japanese Americans lost their freedoms for the sake of national security, and how a young girl and her family were uprooted and forced to live in an internment camp in Manzanar, California. This riveting memoir shared how Japanese Americans faced imprisonment or rather incarceration during World War II.

In 1942, the U.S. government led the general population to believe that incarcerating Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans was a “military necessity.” Utilizing euphemisms such as “relocation” and “evacuees” to justify racial profiling, confinement, and violence. Farewell to Manzanar has shown us, Japanese and Japanese Americans suffered great losses when they were forcibly removed from their homes to live behind barbed wire. For many years after, Japanese Americans struggled with silence about their experience, lacking a language to describe what happened to them and unable to find an audience to listen.

Dr. Yamashita's talk focused on the following themes: national vs. communal/ethnic memory, loyalty/disloyalty, incarceration, euphemisms, and Ethnic Studies. She also featured models of resilience and belonging— Japanese American organizations that remember their history to push for a more just and equitable future for all Americans despite having experienced racism and exclusion in America. Some of the organizations in attendance were the Manzanar Committee, the Japanese Americans Citizens League Florin Chapter, and Tsuru for Solidarity.

Thank you to the 200 students, faculty, staff, and community who attended on Nov 14th in the University Ballroom from 10:30am-1pm with Dr. Wendi Yamashita. The event was a success!

One Book discussion of Japanese American internment spurs call to action

Morita, Jennifer (2023, November 16) One Book discussion of Japanese American internment spurs call to action. Sacramento State Newsroom.


Location (TBA)
Discussion description.

The Manzanar at Dusk Program centers around small group discussions where participants can hear the stories from former incarcerees first-hand, share their own experiences, and talk about how the issues raised by the concentration camp experience are still relevant today.

One Book Program Team & Partners

Dr. Tina Jordan, Coordinator, One Book Program -
Rheena Munoz, Administrative Analyst/Specialist -
One Book Program Committee & Volunteers
Inclusive Excellence Green & Gold Speaker Series
Full Circle Project, APIDA Center
Special Collections & University Archives Library Staff
Multicultural Center, Housing & Residential Life
Undergraduate Studies, GE Honors Program, FYE

Special thanks to: Dr. Timothy Fong, Dr. Wendi Yamashita, Dr. Lily Anne Yumi Tamai, Dr. William Gow, Marietess Masulit, Dr. James German, and Dr. Mia Settles-Tidwell for your wisdom, expertise, guidance, and support.

2022-2023 One Book

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion.

Haben was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives. Her memoir takes readers on adventures around the world, including her parents’ homes in Eritrea and Ethiopia, building a school under the scorching Saharan sun, training with a guide dog in New Jersey, climbing an iceberg in Alaska, fighting for blind readers at a courthouse in Vermont, and talking with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating book is a testament to Haben’s determination to resist isolation and find the keys to connection.

2021-2022 One Book

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson is the 2021-22 School Year's One Books. Published by Random House Books, Just Mercy is Stephenson's account of creating the Equal Justice Initiative and his defense of those in need and the wrongfully condemned.

2020-2021 One Book

The 2020-2021 One Book Is There, There by Tommy Orange. (Vintage Books, 2018)

2019-2020 One Book

The 2019-2020 One Book selection is Joshua Davis' Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014).

One Book Selection Process

The One Book Selection Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community representatives. Every year the Committee members collectively read and explore scores of books in order to start narrowing down the selection for the year. There are several meetings throughout the year to discuss and debate which book best suits the needs of the Program and the campus community for topical relevance, intellectual stimulation, and audience appeal.

The Committee bases its decision on the following criteria:

  • Accessibility and appeal to all community members
  • Quality of writing
  • Encourages interdisciplinary thought and sparks passionate discussion in a variety of courses and contexts
  • Explores diverse cultural perspectives
  • Provides challenging opportunities for new learning and exploration
  • Addresses contemporary issues

Suggest A Book!

If you'd like to make a suggestion for a future One Book selection to the Committee, please email us at and include your suggestion, possible programming ideas for events and activities, your contact information, and if you have any connection to the author.

All suggestions must be made by September 1 for consideration for the following year. Any suggestions that come in after the September 1 deadline will be considered for subsequent years.