Honors One Read

Each year the Honors College selects an important book – fiction or non-fiction – as its One Read. The major theme or themes of the book then becomes the focal point of honors community activities, programming, and even courses and academic units of study, all intended to extend the discussions and the impacts of the ideas and lessons for our lives.

The impact of these works on our students and their academic performance cannot be understated; students have gone on to win awards with their essays based on these works and they have even changed their plans for academic study after coming into deep contact with the issues raised.

2024 Honors One Read: Javier Zamora, Solito

Javier Zamora’s Solito is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.
At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.
A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.

About the Author

Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador in 1990. His father fled the country when he was one, and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents’ migrations were caused by the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War. When he was nine Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. His debut poetry collection, Unaccompanied, explores the impact of the war and immigration on his family. Zamora has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

One Read Honors Symposium (Required Event)

All incoming, first-year Honors College students are expected to read the selected book over the summer and attend the One Read Symposium during Welcome Week.

Sunday, August 18
10:30 AM
Missouri Theatre (203 S. 9th St)

Extended One Read Course (GN_HON 1051H)

This seminar is designed to allow first-year students the opportunity to read, think about, and discuss in greater depth the Honors College’s One Read selection for 2024: Javier Zamora’s Solito.
This course is open to all incoming freshmen but is required for those students receiving a scholarship through the Honors College.

One Read & Discord

Each week through June & July, we will be posting new discussion questions in the Discord. We will also have channels dedicated to any announcements and events surrounding the One Read.

One Read Essay Contest

Each year the Honors College supports and promotes deeper engagement with the One Read book through our sponsored essay contest, open to any first-year Honors student.

Essay Contest Gift Card Prizes

  • 1st Prize: $100
  • 2nd Prize: $50
  • 3rd Prize: $25
Previous One Read Selections & Essay Contest Winners
  • 2023: Sequoia Nagamatsu, How High We Go in the Dark, (William Morrow, 2022)
    • 1st: Maya Dawson
    • 2nd: Hannah Rice
    • 3rd: Roni Ogden
  • 2022: Kerri Arsenault, Mill Town, (St. Martin’s Press, 2020)
    • 1st: Lilley Halloran
    • 2nd: Brianna Iordan
    • 3rd: Michelle Woolridge
  • 2021: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black (Mariner Books, 2018)
    • 1st: Cam Bauman
    • 2nd: Emma McDougal
    • 3rd: Jacob Richey
  • 2020: Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha, What the Eyes Don’t See (Random House, 2018)
    • 1st: Geoffrey Dean for “The Ignorant Roots of Flint’s Dirty Water”
    • 2nd: LeeAnn Nordstrom for “What the Eyes Do See: Civil Rights Abuse in Today’s Michigan”
    • 3rd: Bryson Ferguson for “The Silent Pandemic”
  • 2019: Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers (Penguin Books, 2018)
    • 1st: Anna Nastasi for “Battle Scars”
    • 2nd: Morgan Erutti for “The Responsibility of a Legacy in The Great Believers”
    • 3rd: Annaliese Hermanson
  • 2018: Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father (Harper Perennial, 2001)
    • 1st: Allison Plogher for “Davi: Story of a Survivor”
    • 2nd: Alexandra Okeson-Haberman for “This is America”
    • 3rd: Rebecca Jackoway for “Thinking in Italics”
  • 2017: Louise Edrich, The Round House (Harper Perennial, 2013)
    • 1st: Carly Brown for “Tempering Passion”
    • 2nd: Samantha Smith for “Strong Women: On the Sidelines but Still in the Game”
    • 3rd: Karlee Adler for “The Morality of Characters in The Round House”
  • 2016: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy (Random House, 2014)
    • 1st: Maxx Cook for “Just Mercy: A Prompt for Civil Discourse”
    • 2nd: Shoshana Dubnow
    • 3rd: Christian Cmehil-Warn for “Just Mercy: Dehumanization Exposed”
  • 2015: G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel: No Normal, v. 1 (Marvel Comics, 2015)

Planning & Symposium Committee

Those interested in joining the Planning and Symposium Committee should contact Dr. Rachel Harper.

The One Read Committee alternates between fiction and non-fiction in order to provide students with the best possible range of important and influential readings.

For 2023-24 the following are in charge of developing, planning, and carrying out the programming that makes the One Read a success:

  • Brett Boney | Chemical Engineering
  • Ella Bradford | Journalism
  • Samantha Determan | Architectural Studies
  • Anneka Johnson | English & Middle School Education
  • Lani Redecker | Political Science
  • Hayden Rogers | Health Science
  • Megan Boyer | Honors College
  • Maya Gibson| Honors College
  • Rachel Harper | Honors College
  • Phong Nguyen | English Department
  • Catherine Rymph | Honors College