Pirate Read: ECU's Common Read Program

To Kill A Mockingbird

        The 2016-2017 Pirate Read Selection: Just Mercy
The Pirate Read Committee is pleased to announce Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson as the 2016 Pirate Read Selection.

“Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.” (


Just Mercy is the winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction, and Books for a Better Life Award.  Just Mercy is the finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize and the Kirkus Reviews Prize.  The book is also an American Library Association Notable Book.


Just Mercy presents key issues that are applicable across disciplines.  Major (or key) themes include:
•    Criminal Justice
•    Capital Punishment
•    Law, ethics, and morality
•    Impact of famous literature
•    Social Justice
•    Police misconduct in the United States
•    Effects of war on military personnel
•    Impact of economic policies
•    Children in the prison system

A LibGuide has been created and is available at  Please refer to the Pirate Read website for more information as it develops -

About the Pirate Read

A committee of faculty, staff and students selects the book and coordinates activities with departments within academic and student affairs.

Prior to the start of their first semester at East Carolina University, incoming students are expected to read a common book. The purposes of the summer read program are to:

  • Orient students to the academic community by encouraging intellectual dialogue and critical thinking.
  • Prepare students for the college-level environment.
  • Allow students to share a common reading experience with fellow classmates, faculty, and staff.
  • Enable students and faculty to discuss ideas from the book across the curriculum.

Just Mercy - Pirate Reading Guide

Just Mercy - Common Reading Guide

Theme Map - Reading Guide

Past Pirate Read Selections

  • 2015 - Enrique's Journey (Sonio Nazario)
  • 2014 - The Other Wes Moore (Wes Moore)
  • 2013 - It Happened on the Way to War (Rye Barcott)
  • 2012 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
  • 2011 - Picking Cotton (Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo)
  • 2010 - The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (Edited by Dave Eggers)
  • 2009 - Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin)
  • 2008 - My Freshman Year (Rebekah Nathan)


Pirate Read

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