Summer Reading for Rising Freshmen 2020-21
COMMUNITY BOOK. You must read the following community book. The community book is one which is read by every member of the class. Parents are also invited to read the community book. During the first week of school, your English teachers will review, conduct, or oversee projects, presentations, and group seminars -- all in an effort to generate a sharing of ideas as a community.
The Outsiders. Written by a 16 year old, The Outsiders is considered the first of the Young Adult Literature genre. The lower class, long haired Greasers battle the affluent Socs (the “socials”) for turf, control, and status, but fourteen year old Ponyboy Curtis questions the importance of it all.
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHOICE: You must also read one book from the following list.
Agamemnon. Agamemnon returns home from the Trojan War, with a strange, prophetic woman. His wife, though, is less than pleased. A harrowing work of ancient literature that explores the bonds and limits of family, the weight of history, and the consequences of revenge.
Lilies of the Fields. Homer Smith, a black ex-GI, has his life changed when he meets a group of German-speaking nuns with a dream.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Twelve year old Ishmael Beah was happily living in West Africa when the R.U.F. (Revolutionary United Front) attacked his village. He ran for his life only to wander aimlessly for several months before being forced into the horrific life of a child soldier. Beah recounts his tenure as a child soldier and his subsequent rescue by UNICEF with an honesty that is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Fahrenheit 451. The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns. This haunting novel about censorship remains as relevant as ever. A fascinating story about one man's journey and the fate of knowledge in a dystopian world. Exciting and fascinating.
To Sir, with Love. Set in a London inner city school, this is the inspiring story of a band of schoolroom savages and a teacher who tamed them.
The House on Mango Street. Esperanza (Spanish for Hope) tells her story of growing up in the barrio of Chicago in a series of short vignettes. She loves her people and her Chicano/a traditions, but she longs for a life beyond this house on Mango Street.
The Alchemist. Published in his native Portugal in 1988, Coelho’s fable follows the adventures of a teenaged shepherd who, in his quest for true love and riches, encounters an oasis of gypsies, opens a tea shop, wanders through the desert, and becomes a magician. This is a much heralded, widely translated novel that has inspired millions of people. Easy, fun, and magical, the text forces readers to examine who they are and how everyone in their lives has impacted them in some way.
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles. A Sherlock Holmes supernatural, terror-filled classic which takes place on a Scottish moor.
Walking Across Egypt. Humorous and touching story set in a small town in North Carolina. An elderly woman adopts a juvenile delinquent, a teenage boy who grows and changes because of their relationship.
Waiting for Snow in Havana. Carlos Eire was one of the 14,000 “Peter Pan children” taken out of Cuba in 1962. Eire’s life before leaving Cuba will make the reader laugh, and at times even grimace with self-recognition.
Ellen Foster. A young girl growing up in the South survives many family problems and learns to overcome prejudice.
John Howard Griffen
Black Like Me. Can a white person ever truly understand the black experience in America? White reporter John Griffin was determined to find out, and after a series of dangerous skin procedures (staining his skin with shoe polish, avoiding all light for months, using early prototypes of a tanning bed) he entered New Orleans in the 1950’s as a white man who looked and lived as a black man. His report of the day-to-day, moment-to-moment injustices that African Americans face was—and remains today—a shocking eye-opener of casual and systematic racism. The text ponders the notions of freedom, dignity, and what it means to be part of humanity. Gripping bestseller that has never gone out of print.
A Patch of Blue. The story of a blind white girl whose friendship with a black man leads to unexpected complications.
The Bean Trees. What would you do if someone handed you a baby to hold, then ran away? This event changes Taylor Greer’s life forever as she forms an unconventional family with her new baby.
A Separate Peace. The often uncomfortable world of ordinary adolescent boys in New England during the early years of World War II is examined in this fast-paced tragedy of human nature.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The first book in Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series, this fantasy novel imparts important moral lessons in an accessible, captivating style.
Angela’s Ashes. Frank McCourt tells his story of enduring the incredible poverty of 1930’s Limerick. He examines his family, his religion, and his own identity from the perspective of an adult through the voice of a child.
Sy Montgomery and
How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. A compelling autobiography about the life of Temple Grandin, this book gives insight into one woman’s attempts to reckon with her autism and gives readers a look into an extraordinary mind.
The Learning Tree. A black family in Kansas faces the barrier of society in the 1920’s. A heart-warming and realistic view of life on the “frontier of democracy.”
Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front. Teenage boys in Germany in World War I are drafted out of high school and face all the horrors of war in this realistic novel.
Swamplandia! Set in the Florida Everglades, Swamplandia! is narrated by thirteen year old Ava, who is determined to save the family business: an alligator theme park. A ghost named Louis Thanksgiving and the ethereal Bird Man are just a few of the characters that leave one wondering how much is real, and how much is Ava's imagination.
Run with the Horsemen. The first in a trilogy of the hilarious antics and adventures of Porter Osborne, Jr. Enjoy the growing up of a boy in rural Georgia during the 1920’s and 30’s.
Dracula. A wild tale of vampires, werewolves, and possession emphasizes the real conflict between good and evil. This novel was the inspiration for the “Count Dracula” legends.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The “prequel” to Huckleberry Finn, this rollicking novel follows the boyish adventures of Tom Sawyer, along the Mississippi River, in nineteenth-century America.
The Glass Castle. Jeannette’s parents are free spirits. They live with the objective of avoiding rules, structure, and even the reliability of a regular income. However, when the child feels like she has to raise her parents, the freedom can become a prison.
Salvage the Bones. This novel, set in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, explores the often difficult, sometimes magical, always strange life of Esch, a young girl struggling to find her way in a difficult world. Community, family, and fate are just a few ideas this poetic, eloquent novel explores. National Book Award Winner.
Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. A remarkable true story about a young girl who stood up to the terrorists in order to have access to education.