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Who is America?

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I believe that culture shapes identity and defines possibility; that it teaches us who we are, what to believe, and how to dream. We should all be able to look at the world around us and see a reflection of our true lived experiences. Until then, the American story will never be complete.

America Ferrera, Introduction to American Like Me



Ask some questions & start a conversation about the Buffs OneRead

We've designed some prompts to help students, faculty, and all of the CU community to engage with the 2021 Buffs OneRead. These questions may be posed to an entire class, to small groups, to online communities, or as personal reflective prompts. The questions sampled here focus on reader experience and connection. For more discussion prompts and facilitation tips, or to join the conversation, please view our discussion guide or join the Buffs OneRead: Who is America Canvas Community Course.


Discussion questions

How did you experience the book?

Did you recognize yourself or your experiences in the collection? How would you describe the sensation when you did or did not? 

Which of the chapters immediately drew you in and why?

Who in the book would you most like to meet? What would you say or ask? 

Was there a passage that struck you and stayed with you after you finished reading? 

What was most surprising or intriguing to you? What aspects did you find difficult to understand?

Reflecting on the book, have your perspectives, views, or beliefs shifted? If so, how? 

After reading the book, what do you find yourself curious about? 

After reading the book do you feel compelled to take any action or a desire to impact any change? 

Reflect & Create

These writing or creative expression prompts might be used for formal assignments or informal exercises. For more reflective and creative activity prompts, please see our Activity Guide or the join Buffs OneRead: Who is America Canvas Community Course.


Write a letter to your ten year old self and describe your experience in the intervening years. Consider what you want to tell yourself. Think about what you have learned about yourself and life since then. What do you wish you’d known or understood sooner? Think back to a time in your life when you could have used advice from a wiser you. You might use America Ferrera’s first essay as inspiration.


Consider whose story you wished had been captured in the collection. Who are they? What characteristics best describe them?  Why does their story compel you? What is missing without that voice? What would be gained by sharing that voice? What element of the American experience might they best speak to? How might readers respond to what they might contribute?


Compose a story of yourself. Who are you? What is American like you? How might you describe your identity to others? Is it most influenced by your talents, by your faith, by your family, by your country? How does your identity inform your participation at CU?