Common Reading Program

Kent State University 2015 Common Reading Book Announced

The Common Reading Committee and the Office of Student Success Programs is pleased to announce the selection of this year’s Kent State Common Reading book The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles. An extraordinary story, never before told: The intimate, behind-the-scenes life of an American boy, Zak Ebrahim, raised by his terrorist father—the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

In this book, Ebrahim dispels the myth that terrorism is a foregone conclusion for people trained to hate. Based on his own remarkable journey, he shows that hate is always a choice—but so is tolerance. Ebrahim argues that everyone, regardless of their upbringing or circumstances, can learn to tap into their inherent empathy and embrace tolerance over hatred. His original, urgent message is fresh, groundbreaking, and essential to the current discussion about terrorism.

About the author: Zak Ebrahim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 24, 1983, the son of an Egyptian industrial engineer and an American school teacher. When Ebrahim was seven, his father shot and killed the founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane. From behind bars his father, El-Sayyid Nosair, co-masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Ebrahim spent the rest of his childhood moving from city to city, hiding his identity from those who knew of his father. He now dedicates his life to speaking out against terrorism and spreading his message of peace and nonviolence.


What is the Common Reading Program?

The Common Reading Program is designed to welcome and connect incoming students to the Kent State University academic community. It is our hope that reading the book will provide common ground for our new students to share with their peers. The objectives of the program are:

To help students get acclimated to the academic life of the university.
To provide students with an understanding of the university values, principles, and standards.
To build and maintain relationships that foster success with peers, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members.

All new students will discuss the book with faculty, staff or community members on August 28th, 2015 during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The program, as a whole, will build a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that will ease the transition to university life. The book will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore in May.

Common Reading Assignment  TED Talk Video   NPR Interview

Common Reading Facilitators

The Common Reading Program is regularly seeks 200 faculty, staff and alumni to facilitate book discussions during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The Common Reading Program will involve a one hour discussion on Friday, August 28, 2015 from 2:00pm-3:00pm. Prior to the actual discussion, discussion leaders will be provided with a copy of the book, a training session, and discussion materials. There will be several training sessions that will be held throughout the summer for new and returning discussion leaders.

Click Here to be a Facilitator

Common Reading FAQs

Who Participates in the Common Reading Discussion?

All new incoming freshman students will participate.

Where will the Common Reading Discussion take place?

You will be notified of your Common Reading Discussion location when you check in for Welcome Weekend. Students will meet with their First Year Experience (FYE) class as their assigned group for the discussion. You will NOT be in your regularly scheduled FYE course location. 

Is the book for a class?

This experience is intended as an academic component for Welcome Weekend and the book is not tied to a specific class. Some FYE Instructors and other course instructors adopt the book for their course for the semester. It is not an expectation of FYE instructors to adopt the book as part of the class

Do my assignment responses need to be typed?

Yes, please type your responses to the questions. Be sure to include your name on the page.

How long do my responses need to be?

You should provide a minimum of 3 sentences per question. Some questions may require a list with explanation.

Will I be turning in my assignment questions?

You will be utilizing your answers to the questions during the Common Reading Discussion. It is also possible that you may be asked to turn in your responses to your discussion leader or FYE instructor.