Common Read 2018-2019

FIT Common Read Program The 57 Bus: A True Story About Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

This relevant, nonfiction book is particularly well-timed; a number of today's pressing issues are discussed in this book, including race, class, socioeconomic status, gender and sexual identity, the juvenile justice system, choices, consequences, and the healing power of forgiveness.   

About the Author

Journalist, novelist, and children's book author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. Her novel for adults, The Wishing Box, was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, while her journalism honors include a gold Azbee, two Maggies, and a Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newspapers, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the California State Bar, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. She is a former Who Made That columnist for the New York Times Magazine and has written on topics ranging from competitive jousting to criminal justice. The recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Slater’s new non-fiction narrative, The 57 Bus: A True Story About Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, was released by Farrar Straus & Giroux in October 2017. (taken from Slater's website)  


  • January 2015 — New York Times Magazine article
  • January 2015 — The Nation article: If You Read That ‘NYT’ Story About Two Teens in Oakland, Keep This in Mind by Dani McClain
  • June 2016 — KALW Upshot radio segment (11:31 min): The Upshot: Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland
    This is an interview with Slater about her 2015 New York Times Magazine article.
  • October 2017 — San Francisco Chronicle article: The Teen Who was Set Afire on the Bus: The Lives Behind a Shocking Assault by Otis R. Taylor, Jr.
  • January 2018 — KALW radio segment (12:26 min): On the 57 Bus, A True-crime Story of Gender, Race, Class, and Growing Up by Ben Trefny & Christine Nguyen
    In this interview, Slater reads two excerpts from her book The 57 Bus to offer a sense of Richard and Sasha: Richard’s letter to Sasha from jail and a post from Sasha’s Tumblr blog. Discussion focuses mostly on criminal justice and wealth, race, and inequality issues. Slater expresses her hope that the empathy shown by the two families involved will resonate most with readers. 

Inclusive Teaching Resources

Gender Spectrum Resources

2018-19 Common Read Selection Committee

Dr. Shadia Sachedina, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Students (Co-chair)
Dr. Patrick Knisley, Dean for the School of Liberal Arts (Co-chair)
Dr. Sarah Blazer, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of The Writing Studio
Naomi Schwer Bricker, Librarian, Gladys Marcus Library
Dr. Katelyn Burton, Assistant Professor, English and Communication Studies
Mariah Connelly, student
Delphine Horvath, Assistant Professor, Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing
Tardis Johnson, Associate Dean for Student Academic Support, Academic Advisement
Ladeem 'Monet' Michael, student
Carmita Sanchez-Fong, Professor and Chairperson, Interior Design
Catlin Wojtkowski, Counselor, Department of Student Life
Nedean Wilson, Counselor Associate, Academic Advisement