Common Reading Program

Summer Assignments

Message to New First-Year Students

You will receive a copy of Conor Grennan’s Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal during your Advising and Registration Day. You are expected to read the book during the summer and bring the book with you to campus in the fall semester.

There will be programming related to the book during New Student Orientation and Husky Kick-off (the first two weeks of school). In addition to programs related to themes of the book and the culture of Nepal, over half of new students will use the book in one or more courses. 

Below, please find some questions and material to support you in your exploration of the book during your summer reading experience and to help hone your critical reading skills. 

“Reading is thinking. It is an active process of identifying important ideas and comparing, evaluating and applying them.” Kathleen McWhorter, Reading Across the Disciplines (2002)

Questions for before you read: Activate prior knowledge

  • Have you done volunteer service before? How do you think volunteering has impacted your life? 
  • Have you traveled abroad? Have you dreamed of traveling abroad? How have your travels shaped your perspectives on the world around you?
  • What do you know about Nepal? About the Nepalese civil war in the early 21st century?
  • Millions of children around the world live in poverty. As a result these children are put at greater risk for disease, exploitation, and death. What do you think can be done to help these children, both at home and around the globe?
  • Have you ever heard of child trafficking? What do you think it would be like to be a young child and leave your parents and village behind, not knowing if you would ever see them again? 

While you read: Focus on values and look for an interpretation

Mark passages or scenes from the book which:

  • you identified with
  • challenged you
  • surprised you
  • you enjoyed

Literature expresses meaning and creates feelings and impressions. Make note of these passages you noticed while you are reading. Think about how you might describe these scenes or talk about them with other students when you arrive on campus. 

Why is this reading important?

Questions for after you read: Reflect on what you read

  • Little Princes discussed many important issues: the impacts of war, global poverty, intercultural understanding, child trafficking, volunteer service, and more. Which themes stand out for you? Why?
  • In your opinion, what was it about these children that touched the author so deeply? Were you moved by their plight? What about the increasing number of children growing up in poverty in America? Do you see these children in the same way, or do you see their situations differently?
  • Human trafficking has become a worldwide problem, affecting millions. Why has it flourished and what steps might help stop it? How might you play a role?  Would you consider doing so? Why or why not?
  • Do you empathize with the parents of the Little Princes children and others? Do you understand why they gave up their children? What might you do given similar circumstances?
  • At the beginning of Little Princes, Grennan did not see himself as a global humanitarian, yet his visit to Nepal changed everything. What is it about him – and others like him introduced in Little Princes – that sets him apart from those who don’t volunteer or get involved?
  • What lessons did you take away from reading Little Princes?