Winthrop University: Winthrop’s 2022-23 Common Book Selection is “The Girl Who Smiled Beads”
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Winthrop’s 2022-23 Common Book Selection is “The Girl Who Smiled Beads”

May 18, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A New York Times bestseller, the book shares the story of two sisters who fled the Rwandan massacre in 1994. 
  • Incoming Winthrop freshmen and transfer students will receive the book during the summer. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University has selected “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” by Clemantine Wamariya as its 2022-23 Common Book.

A New York Times bestseller, the book shares the story of two sisters who fled the Rwandan massacre in 1994. The two migrated through seven African nations in search of safety while also enduring and escaping refugee camps and ultimately gaining asylum in the United States.  The author’s experiences along this journey, including the piercing differences between her experiences and those of her older sister, are a moving and complex account of the atrocities of war, as well as the power of the human spirit.   

Incoming Winthrop freshmen and transfer students will receive the book during the summer. “Students will use the book in several settings: they will discuss it in ACAD 101: Introduction to the Academy; engage in programming and conversations about its themes in their residence halls; and delve into the book’s overarching concepts and ideas in-depth when they take HMXP 102: The Human Experience course,” said Leigh Poole, interim dean of University College.

First-year students are also encouraged to attend Common Book-related cultural events, which are open to Winthrop and the surrounding community, throughout the fall and spring semesters.

The topics of diversity, cultural awareness, and global connectedness raised in the book remain as relevant as ever in society and continue to be themes that are important to Winthrop’s mission and overall learning goals. 

Poole said that having “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” as the university’s Common Book will allow students the opportunity to dig into the text in-person and discuss the reading with their peers in the classroom and in other venues around campus. “We look forward to working together to unpack ideas from the reading and to share in the message of hope and inspiration that Wamariya brings to her readers,” Poole added.

First begun in 2004, Winthrop’s Common Book Project is one of many programs designed to support student success during the transition to college life; it also supports the university’s goal of cultivating awareness and understanding of different perspectives.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 5/18/22