California State University, Sacramento

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First Year Experience Office of Undergraduate Studies

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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 through 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 books tend to just push along the edges, so while people may start conversations with feelings about the book or topic, they soon move into thoughtful, intellectual engagement with one another.

Location and Contact

Location: Sac Hall 234

Contact: 916-278-5344



Dr. James German, Acting Director, One Book Program

Celena Showers, ASC

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).

Spare Parts Spare tells the true story of four Latino teenagers—born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona—who overcome the odds of attending an underfunded, public school and win a national robotics competition. As a result of their drive and interest in robotics and engineering, the boys find themselves at the University of California, Santa Barbara with their robot, “Stinky,” for a competition sponsored by NASA and the United States Navy. At UCSB, the boys enter Stinky into the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition and find themselves competing against better-equipped and prepared teams, such as one from MIT.

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.