Academic and Student Services hero small

Academic and Student Services

Participate in Common Read

There are many ways to get involved with MCW Common Read Program.

Student and book

Access Copies of the 2020 Common Read

There are many ways to access a copy of this year’s MCW Common Read.

MCW Library

MCW Library

  • Ten print copies are available for checkout, and you can have the books for up to 4 weeks. See the library catalog record for the loan status of each copy. The books are located on the New Book Display near the entrance to the Todd Wehr Library. If all copies are checked out, we can help you reserve a copy of the book. If you haven’t checked out items from the MCW Libraries, it only takes a few minutes to set up your library account; just remember to bring your MCW, Children's, or Froedtert ID badge.
  • An ebook version of Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist : A Doctor Reflects on Ten Years at a Refugee Clinic is being provided via Ebook Central. See the library catalog record to access the ebook or search fist in the Ebook Central search box. Ebook Central is set up with single sign-on so that you can use your credentials to access library resources off campus to access the ebook and your Ebook Central Bookshelf Account. It isn’t necessary to create an Ebook Central Bookshelf Account with a second set of credentials to remember. Sign into your Bookshelf Account to annotate, highlight, and create bookmarks.
  • Page number conversion between ebook and print book (PDF)


First-year Medical Students should have received a free copy of the Common Read, donated by the Dean, School of Medicine’s Office. Didn’t receive your copy? Email us

All other students should check out the MCW Community tab to learn more about how to get a copy of their own!

MCW Community

MCW Community

Copies are available to MCW students, faculty, staff, and community members through the following venues:

  • Borrow a copy from the MCW Library
  • Purchase a copy from Amazon 
    - Interested in buying in bulk for your department?  Email for the publisher’s bulk purchasing form
  • Purchase a copy from Matthews Book Store
  • Follow @MCWREADS on Instagram and Twitter for the opportunity to win a free copy of the book

Book Discussion Toolkit

Program Goals

Program Goals

The MCW Common Read shared reading experience is designed to:

  • Engage the campus community and beyond in an academically focused reading experience
  • Generate robust discussions and exchanges of diverse ideas
  • Promote connections among members of the campus community and beyond
  • Provide a common starting point for building relationships
  • Equip readers with the skills necessary to approach the world with cultural humility and curiosity

Goals adapted with permission from UW Madison’s Go Big Read Program

Book Discussion Guidelines for Facilitators

Book Discussion Guidelines for Facilitators


  1. Select a theme for your book discussion. For example:
    - A chapter to focus on
    - A topic carried throughout the book
  2. Email to request a room be reserved, please include:
    Your name and role
    Desired theme or focus
    Number of expected attendees(15-20 people is optimal for a book discussion)

Set the Stage

  • Be prepared with an icebreaker. A lighthearted question will do! For example:
    - Where would you take the author in Milwaukee?
    - What did you find most compelling about the book?
  • Begin by asking the participants to introduce themselves (name and current occupation)
  • Next, mention some goals of the MCW Common Read Program:
    - To unite students, residents, faculty, staff, and community members alike in thought-provoking discussions about timely topics
    - To provide a foundation for conversations around change, compassion, caring, and character
    - To create a safe space for idea-sharing and problem-solving

Optional Ideas for Facilitators

  • Ask participants to say what they liked about the book. Beginning with negatives might stifle some people who liked the same things that others did not. Ensure that everyone
    gets a chance to speak, perhaps go in a circle around the room.
  • Introduce some quotes from a book review that was negative to stimulate discussion.
  • Ask for thoughts about this negative review.
  • Feel free to use some of the discussion questions from the author’s website linked to on this site
    - You may want to generate discussion questions that apply to your specific theme or desired audience
  • “Let’s return to the book” can be a good way to get back on track if the conversation derails

Wrap Up

Choose a way to end the discussion. If you’ve set a stopping time and it’s getting close, you may mention there are only XX number of minutes left and find out if anyone has any burning issues that weren’t yet addressed. If the conversation has lulled, or it seems like most people are “done” with the exception of a few, you can help end the official discussion by thanking everyone for coming and hanging around to finish up with those who still have comments.

If you are an expert on your theme, feel free to share your opinion about certain discussion topics, however if you are not, do not let your own opinions influence how you handle the discussion. If something is said that seems untrue or upsetting, you can ask the group, “What do others think about that?” Be comfortable with the fact that some participants will speak more than others and others will not speak at all. Some mostly listen, and that is OK!! Don’t worry if there is silence: a silence of 3 or 4 seconds may feel like a long time, but the break may elicit thoughtful comments.

View the PDF
Book Discussion Guidelines for Participants

Book Discussion Guidelines for Participants


  1. Select one or more of the offered book discussions that interests you to attend
  2. Bring a copy of the book, if possible, to reference during the discussion


  • Begin with positive comments. What you liked about the book and why.
  • Avoid recapping or summarizing the book, assume everyone has read it.
  • The discussion should focus around the theme selected by the facilitator. You may share your personal experiences as they relate to the book, but be brief.
  • Not everyone will agree with your ideas. Disagreements should be discussed respectfully. Keep an open mind and listen carefully to other opinions.
  • Respond to comments of others instead of waiting to only share your own
  • Discuss aspects of the book that didn’t appeal to you or you found difficult to accept, express these as questions, rather than statements
  • Talk with discussion partners, not just the facilitator
  • Most importantly, enjoy!

Remember: Always assume good intent.

View the PDF
Discussion Guide for Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist

Discussion Guide for Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist

Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist: A Doctor Reflects on Ten Years at a Refugee Clinic touches on several themes throughout the book, including cultural humility, trauma and health systems and policy. Use the questions in the PDF to help guide your discussion of the book.

View the page number guide for easy converting between ebook and print book - great for discussion facilitation!

View the discussion Questions (PDF)