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Summer Reading

Lower School

Hooray for Summer! 

Lower School students and parents, please review the information below.


Primer
 

First Grade
 

Second Grade
 

Third Grade
 

Fourth Grade
 

Fifth Grade

 

Logins for online enrichment resources for new students will be emailed to parents in July. In the meantime, everyone has access to the downloadable enrichment exercises found on the grade-level pages linked above.

Middle School

What Could Be Better Than Sunshine and a Good Book?

Middle School students and parents, please review the information below.

Fifth Grade

Required Reading

The Middle School summer reading program has two parts.

Many summer reading books are available in ESD's Digital Library.

PART 1: REQUIRED READING

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. These requirements are listed below.

All students entering the fifth grade must read one book in preparation for their English class, and one book in preparation for their history class.

For English, all students are required to read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

A story of courage, the book takes place in 1943. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, has been occupied by Hitler's Third Reich. Soldiers stand on every street corner, and life has completely changed for ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen. - Book description adapted from Book Rags

For history, all students are required to read The Pharaoh’s Secret by Marissa Moss.

The Pharaoh’s Secretis about Talibah and her younger brother, Adom, who accompany their father to his homeland of Egypt. There they become involved in a mystery surrounding an ancient, lost pharaoh—a rare female ruler. Someone has tried to wipe her from the record, to make it appear as if she never existed! She needs Talibah to help her and her high priest, Senenmut, reclaim their rightful place in history. Exotic locales, mysterious strangers, and a sinister archaeologist round out an adventure that is full of riddles, old tales, and, most surprisingly of all, a link to Talibah’s and Adom’s mother, who died mysteriously.-Book description adapted from Goodreads.

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All students need to read at least ONE work from the drop down list below for enrichment.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
  • In addition to their required texts for English and History, fifth graders must read a minimum of one book from the following list. 
  • Students are to prepare a reading chart for each of the three books, and any other books that are read over the summer. The reading chart is due the first day of school.
  • Students should be prepared to write about their enrichment text during the first week of school. As you read, consider how you might understand the book with regard to the following: How would you describe the challenges faced by one of the main characters? How would you describe the challenge itself? How did the main character deal with the challenge? What challenges have you faced in your life? What have you done to overcome these challenges? How have you learned to deal with challenging situations?

It is hoped that students will not restrict their reading to just three books, but rather enjoy reading all summer! When you return to school in the fall, some of the class discussions will focus on your reasons for choosing the books that appear on your reading chart: Do you simply love any book related to science fiction or fantasy? Do you love everything by a favorite author? Do you love any book that is related to a favorite topic such as sports or animals regardless of whether the book is a mystery, biography, or work of historical fiction? What kinds of books energize you? Get you thinking? Get you wondering?

LIST OF BOOK OPTIONS:

The Abracadabra Kid; a Writer’s Life by Sid Fleischman                    

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea                      

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weaponby Steve Sheinkin 

Boy by Roald Dahl                       

The Boy in the Striped Pajamasby John Boyne         

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter         

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman                     

Children of the Dust Bowl: the True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley

The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz            

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath                 

The Exiles by Hilary McKay                      

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor                        

Flush by Carl Hiaasen                              

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl                    

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages                      

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart                                 

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman                  

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen                               

In the Wild by Safia Nordin                       

Jip: His Story by Katherine Paterson                       

Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park               

The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman                 

The Last Mission by Harry Mazer               

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan                       

Mailbox by Audrey Shafer            

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee                   

Midnight Magic by Avi                             

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson                         

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat                       

Park’s Quest by Katherine Paterson            

The Pharaoh’s Secretby Marissa Moss       

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay                  

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroder                     

Savvy by Ingrid Law                    

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn        

Summer Ball by Mike Lupica                     

Switching Well by Peni Griffin                               

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner                                    

The Thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff                    

The Tiger’s Apprentice by Laurence Yep                 

Trapped by Peg Kehret     

The Trouble with Tuck by Theodore Taylor              

Under the Baseball Moon by John H. Ritter              

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury                    

Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice                      

The Wednesday Wars by  Gary D.Schmidt              

White Mountains by John Christopher         

Enrichment Options

The Abracadabra Kid; a Writer’s Life by Sid Fleischman Autobiography
The story of the Newbery award-winning children’s author who set out from childhood to become a magician.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea 
Realistic Fiction
Mr. Terupt is a great teacher. He knows how to make school fun, and he knows how to run a class. He knows how deal with all kinds of kids: the new girl, the bully, the troublemaker, the smart kid, the shy kid, and the reluctant learner; that is until an accident happens.

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Nonfiction
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: when placed next to radioactive material, a uranium atom splits in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned three continents.

Boy by Roald Dahl 
Autobiography
The author recounts his days as a child growing up in England - from his years as a prankster at boarding school to his envious position as a chocolate tester for Cadbury's.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne 
Historical Fiction
This is the story of the unlikeliest of friends: the son of a Nazi commandant and a Jewish concentration camp inmate.

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter
Sports Fiction
The fate of a small California town rests on the outcome of one baseball game, and Tom Gallagher hopes to lead his team to victorywith the secrets of a now disgraced player, Dante Del Gato.

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman 
Historical Fiction
Northerners, Southerners, generals, dreaming boys, and worried sisters describe the glory, the horror, the thrill, and the disillusionment of the first battle of the Civil War.

Children of the Dust Bowl: the True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley
Nonfiction
This book describes what happened to the migrant workers who traveled from the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma to California during the Depression and were forced to live in a federal labor camp.

The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz 
Biography
A biography of the famous American Indian princess and the roles she played in two very different cultures.

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
Families Fiction
Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarps’ parents disappear at sea when a typhoon hits their fishing village. The only thing that keeps her spirits up is the local restaurant that serves everything on a waffle, including fish and steak!

The Exiles by Hilary McKay 
Families Fiction
The four Conroy sisters spend a wild summer at the seaside with Big Grandma, who tries to break them of their reading habit by substituting fresh air and hard work for books and gets unexpected results.

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Friendship - Fiction
During a student exchange program, seventh-graders Ivy June and Catherine share their lives, homes, and communities, and find that, although their lifestyles are total opposites, they have a lot in common.

Flush by Carl Hiaasen 
Adventure Fiction
With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of a floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
Fairy Tales
Rather than marry a cruel king or a seemingly dim-witted prince, an enchanted goose girl endures imprisonment, capture by several ogres, and other dangers before learning exactly who she is.

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages 
Historical Fiction
While her father works on the Manhattan Project, eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan lives in Los Alamos Camp and becomes friends with Suze, another young girl like herself.

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart 
Realistic Fiction
In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick.

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman 
Sports Fiction
Joey, who loves baseball but is not very good at it, finds a valuable 1909 Honus Wagner card and travels back in time to meet Honus.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Adventure Fiction
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.

In the Wild by Safia Nordin 
Adventure Fiction
The last thing Amanda wants to do is spend a week in the forest with her classmates, who make her life miserable. However, when she and Philip, the class bully, overturn their raft, they begin a week-long struggle for survival.

Jip: His Story by Katherine Paterson
Historical Fiction
While living on a Vermont poor farm during 1855 and 1856, Jip learns his identity and that of his mother and comes to understand how he arrived at this place.

Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park
Friendship Fiction
During the 1950s, Maggie struggles to will her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers to a victory in the World Series and wishes that her friend Jim, a soldier in Korea, would answer her letters.

The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman
Families Fiction
In the wake of his father’s sudden death, 12-year-old Finn feels he is becoming invisible as his hair and skin become whiter by the day, and so he writes and illustrates a book to try to understand what is happening and to hold on to himself and his father.

The Last Mission by Harry Mazer
Historical Fiction
In 1944, a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy tells his family he will travel in the West but instead enlists in the United States Air Corps and is later taken prisoner by the Germans.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 
Adventure Fiction
After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, the god of the sea, 12-year-old Percy Jackson is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Mailbox by Audrey Shafer 
Realistic Fiction
Twelve-year-old Gabe grew up in the foster care system until a social worker located his Uncle Vernon two years before. When he comes home to discover that his uncle has died of a heart attack, he's terrified of going back into the system--so he tells no one.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Friendship Fiction
In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor a fellow student, deal with her grandmother’s departure and make friends over the course of a busy summer.

Midnight Magic by Avi
Adventure Fiction
A mischievous princess and a servant boy team up with a magician who does not believe in magic to confront a mysterious ghost.

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Animals Fiction
Old Yeller was an ugly stray dog, and a clever one.. Travis would soon find out how this strong and courageous dog would be a big help on the frontier, especially with Papa away on a long cattle drive.

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat 
Animals Fiction
A young boy decides to raise two owlets as pets. Wold and Weeps provide fun and excitement for him in Canada, where he lives.

Park’s Quest by Katherine Paterson
Families Fiction
Eleven-year-old Park makes some startling discoveries when he travels to his grandfather’s farm in Virginia to learn about his father, who died in the Vietnam War.

The Pharaoh’s Secret by Marissa Moss 
Adventure Fiction
When Talibah and her younger brother, Adom, accompany their father, an academic, to his homeland of Egypt for a research assignment, they become involved in a mystery surrounding an ancient, lost pharaoh.

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay 
Families Fiction
After she learns that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron’s relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes until they help her go back to Italy, where she was born, to find a special memento of her past.

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroder 
Realistic Fiction
Leaving his village in rural India to find a better education, mathematically gifted twelve-year-old Akash ends up at the New Delhi train station, where he relies on Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, to guide him as he negotiates life on the street, resists the temptations of easy money, and learns whom to trust.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
Adventure Fiction
Just as Mibs Beaumont celebrates her 13th birthday and her magical power is revealed, her father is injured in a terrible accident.

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
Historical Fiction
In 1944, while her brother is overseas fighting, eleven-year-old Margaret gets a new view of the school bully, Gordy, when she finds him hiding his own brother, an army deserter, and decides to help him.

Summer Ball by Mike Lupica 
Sports Fiction
Thirteen-year-old Danny must prove himself all over again for a disapproving coach and against new rivals at a summer basketball camp.

Switching Well by Peni Griffin 
Adventure Fiction
Two 12-year-old girls in San Antonio, Ada in 1891 and Amber in 1991, switch places through a magic well and try desperately to return to their own times.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner 
Adventure Fiction
Gen flaunts his prowess as a thief and looks forward to an adventure which will take him to a remote temple where he will try to steal a precious stone.

The Thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff 
Friendship Fiction
Georgie’s dwarfism causes problems, but he could always rely on his parents, his best friends, and classmate Jeanie the Meanie’s teasing until a surprising announcement, a new boy in school, and a class project shake things up.

The Tiger’s Apprentice by Laurence Yep
Adventure Fiction
Tom has always felt different from everyone else, but he has no idea how different he really is until he learns that he is the latest in a long line of magic-wielding beings called Guardians.

Trapped by Peg Kehret
Animals - Fiction
When his owner finds an illegal animal trap in the woods, Peter the cat faces grave danger as he tries to help his human friends find the culprit who set the trap.

The Trouble with Tuck by Theodore Taylor
Animals - Fiction
A young girl trains her blind dog to follow and trust a seeing-eye companion dog.

Under the Baseball Moon by John H. Ritter
Sports Fiction
Andy and Glory, two 15-year-olds from California, pursue their respective dreams of becoming a famous musician and a professional softball player.

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury 
Historical Fiction
Tomi’s biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice 
Historical Fiction
Alone in the frontier wilderness in the winter of 1839, 11-year-old Nathan runs afoul of a renegade killer known as Weasel.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt 
Realistic Fiction
This book follows Holling Hoodhood through a school year. Everyone at Camillo Junior High is either Catholic or Jewish—except for Holling.

White Mountains by John Christopher 
Adventure Fiction
Strong in action and suspense, this science fiction tale describes a world where human life and thought are controlled. To escape this fate, three boys go on a long, dangerous journey.

Sixth Grade

Required Reading

The Middle School summer reading program has two parts.

Many summer reading books are available in ESD's Digital Library.
 

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. These requirements are listed below.

Expectations:  You will be assessed in various ways on your summer reading books, so it is a good idea to underline and annotate notes in the margins as you read. Take special note of characters, important plot points, setting, and theme.  Do not use library books or books previously owned and annotated; instead, you will need to purchase new books for the summer reading! 

REQUIRED READING (BOOK ONE) FOR ENGLISH (Choose ONE): 

Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose 

According to GoodreadsIt’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly….A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem. 

-OR-

SALT by Helen Frost

According to GoodreadsAnikwa and James, twelve years old in 1812, spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. To Anikwa and his family, members of the Miami tribe, this land has been home for centuries. As traders, James's family has ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising—the British and American armies prepare to meet at Fort Wayne for a crucial battle, and Native Americans from surrounding tribes gather in Kekionga to protect their homeland... Can their families—and their friendship—survive? 

REQUIRED READING FOR HISTORY: Guts & Glory: The American Revolution by Ben Thompson – Historical Fiction

According to Goodreads:From George Washington crossing the icy Delaware, to Molly Pitcher fearlessly firing her cannon, the people of the American Revolution were some of the bravest and most inspiring of all time. Jump into a riot in the streets of Boston, join the Culper Spy Ring as they steal secrets in the dead of night, and watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence in this accessible, illustrated guide to the birth of the United States.

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READING

The second required book must be from the many options on the following list. Of course, feel free to read more than your required books!

If you read any of these books before, you cannot choose to read those books to read again for this requirement.  Select books that you have not read before.

Historical Fiction:

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech 

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cryby Mildred Taylor 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Ben and Me by Robert Lawson

Witness by Karen Hesse

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Shades of Grey by Carolyn Reeder

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Realistic Fiction:

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

Fantasy:

Coralineby Neil Gaiman

The Hobbitby J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Vengekeep Propheciesby Brian Farrey

Historical Fiction/Animals:

Cracker: the Best Dog in Vietnamby Cynthia Kadohata

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Mystery:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes

Humorous/Competition:

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Football Genius by Tim Green

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat SERIES by Johnny Marciano

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

Adventure:

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Enrichment Options

Please read all of the descriptions about the books before making your choice. Of course, feel free to read more than your required books!

If you read any of these books before, you cannot choose to read those books to read again for this requirement. Select books that you have not read before.

CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS 

Historical Fiction:

The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood 

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech 

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Ben and Me by Robert Lawson

Witness by Karen Hesse

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Shades of Grey by Carolyn Reeder

Realistic Fiction:

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Fantasy:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey

Historical Fiction/Animals:

Cracker: the Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Mystery:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes

Humorous/Competition:

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Football Genius by Tim Green

Adventure:

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Seventh Grade

Required Reading

The Middle School summer reading program has two parts.

Many summer reading books are available in ESD's Digital Library.

 

PART 1: REQUIRED READING

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. These requirements are listed below.

REQUIRED READING for English:

All incoming 7th-grade students are expected to read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This is a story about belonging and finding one’s place in a world that seems stuck on hold. Since we’ll spend considerable time discussing and writing about issues prompted by themes in this book, I’d like all to have the same copy so the page numbers are the same: ISBN # 0-14-240733-X (or the longer version ISBN13# 978-0-14-240733-2). I find this rather confusing and don’t want anyone else confused: get the Speak Platinum Edition, and you’ve got the right one for sure.

No writing is required over the summer. However, students should annotate as they read: underline passages that reflect character, plot, and/or theme. Also, occasionally write a little something in the margin that makes sense of why the reader underlined what he or she did. If one finds a favorite passage, it should be marked too, so we can discuss it.

REQUIRED READING for History:

In addition, all incoming 7th-grade students are expected to read Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. This year in history, we will explore global studies in connection with a year-long analysis of the evolution of American foreign policy in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will begin with the American Indian Wars, as they were the cornerstone of our expansionist foreign policy in the 19th century. Bruchac's portrayal of a Navajo man's experience, going from life on a reservation to fighting in WWII, is an excellent starting place for us to begin our studies. To alleviate confusion as we work with the book on projects and refer to it in discussions, students should all have the same version (ISBN 978-0-14-240596-3).

 

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

This list contains both fiction and nonfiction. Please read a book you have not read before. If there is a book that you are interested in reading this summer that is not on the list, please email either dominickj@esdallas.org or richmana@esdallas.org for approval. Happy reading!  

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly 

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle

Journey of Dreams by Marge Pellegrino

Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai

I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin

Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner

Caminar by Skila Brown

Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah  

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Ties that Bind Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka  

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Piecing me Together by Renée Watson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick      

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis 

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose

Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun

The Crossover (Series: The Crossover, Rebound, Booked) by Kwame Alexander

Enrichment Options

FICTION

Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen 
Friendship Friendship/Fiction
Many of you have read adventure stories from this popular author and felt they were a nice fit. Now try on a more humorous and entertaining story that will be sure to delight. Just don’t try any of the tricks described in this book on your sweet English teacher next year.

Culloo by Murielle Cyr 
Familial love/Realistic fiction
“Tough and resourceful Tala will be 13 soon, and no one will tell her what to do. On one fateful day in the forest, however, she has to find her endangered father and protect her young brother from a trio of murderous poachers.” This review reminds us of the dangers of people who violate the law and how we must stand tall against them.

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl 
Familial love/Realistic fiction
This is such a similar story to the last one: the child must protect the parent in a world where poachers take what they want, yet, in this story, the poacher is the good guy. Go figure! Go learn!

[Each of these last two stories is good; together, they speak well beyond the individual pieces.]

After Ever After by Jordan Sonneblick 
Realistic fiction
If you’ve read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, try reading its sequel.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Science fiction
This is the classic novel about an invasion from Mars.

Interstellar Pig by William Sleator 
Science fiction/comedy
You think you’re strange? Think about how Barney’s neighbors feel about him when they meet him--and they’re from a different universe!

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll 
Fantasy/peculiar comedy
If the world seems silly to you, wait until you see it through a looking glass. Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland is a triumph of logical bewilderment. Its playfulness is simply contagious!

The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle 
Adventure/mystery
Adam has to choose sides in this teenage book that reads like a spy novel. Can he really trust her?

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard 
Adventure fiction
Follow the map to the greatest treasure in history, but beware of the power of ancient rituals and expect the unexpected when you become the strangest thing in a strange hidden land.

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
Adventure/mystery
16-year-old Sally Lockhart has no time for living the normal life of a girl in England during the 1870’s. She must find the one to trust, and it just might have to be herself.

Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain 
Mystery/dry humor
Get a taste of the author that will end the seventh-grade year in this tart tale of hope that breeds deceit.

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool 
Adventure/mystery
While this book starts like many about being in new surroundings and suffering loneliness during adjustment, it all changes when Abilene Tucker discovers the BOX.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Book Thief  by Markus Zussak 
Adventure/mystery
During World War II in Germany, Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers 
Historical fiction
Imported to plantation America from his tribal home in Africa, Mohammed Bilal begins what turns out to be a multi-generational epic quest of a family’s coming to grips with the effects of slavery and other more subtle forms of ethnic insensitivity. The reader will find his own life’s struggle for tolerance and self-expression in the lives of those who flee yet wish to be buried in the Glory Field.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adventure fiction
A sixteen-year-old orphan is kidnapped by his villainous uncle but later escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Adventure fiction
Block the sinister Cardinal Richelieu’s attempts to destroy the monarchy and have a jolly time as well. This may be the original Star Wars: a humble rookie joining the most honorable and magnificent guardians of decency and becoming instrumental, perhaps vital, in their struggle against tyranny. Does D’Artagnan have THE FORCE? (The Puffin Classic abridged edition would be an acceptable choice as would any unabridged edition.)

Beau Geste by P. C. Wren
Adventure fiction
It’s a dark mystery. It’s a brilliant adventure. It’s so much more. It’s all about loyalty, bravery, and integrity. It will drag you from the comforts of an English manor house and thrust you into the savagery and intrigue of the French Foreign Legion, the final outpost for the discarded of the world. Beau Geste is back in print but might have to be ordered.

NONFICTION

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuke and James D. Houston
Autobiography
Right after Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of the Second World War, young Japanese-American Jeanne is forced to move from her home to a desert camp because of America’s fear of even her best citizens.

Eagle Blue by Michael D’Orso
Sports
This is a great basketball story from a part of the world we would expect a survival story—and it is—and it’s great.

In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle by Madeline Blais 
Sports
This book is a reminder that sport can speak to who we are, not just when we look for our value from others but in ourselves. 

How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’Malley 
Non-fiction
How many books do you have to read to know of all of the important lives that have been lived in our world? Go to the library, and tell me when you get to 1,000.000. How many books do you have to read to know all of the interesting deaths that have been suffered in our world? When you get to one, you will have found this most bizarre and tantalizing taste of the macabre. The book warns that,” if you don’t have the guts for gore, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.”: What better recommendation do you need?

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin 
History
This is the story of the race to build and steal the most dangerous weapon in the world. This author visited our school Two years ago; some of you may remember him.

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson 
History
From religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas, this book traces the globe-spanning story of sugar to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France. With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways.

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Brogard 
Science
From Las Vegas' Luxor Beam--the brightest single spot on this planet--to nights so starlit the sky looks like snow, Bogard blends personal narrative, natural history, science, and history to shed light on the importance of darkness--what we've lost, what we still have, and what we might regain--and the simple ways we can reduce the brightness of our nights tonight.

Einstein’s Refrigerator by Steve Silverman 
Miscellaneous
This is a compilation of some particularly peculiar and generally unknown true stories from the past. Are they “Useless? Useful? You decide.”

Eighth Grade

Required Reading

The Middle School summer reading program has two parts.

Many summer reading books are available in ESD's Digital Library.

 

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS FOR ENGLISH & HISTORY

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature and other history units throughout the year. These requirements are listed below.

EIGHTH GRADE

  • How can we rise above society-driven hierarchies that pigeonhole members according to stereotypes and instead see the true value in all members of humanity?
  • What is our responsibility as members of an increasing global community?
  • How do we move from being a witnesses of social injustice to becoming an advocate for change?
  • How does our response to prejudice and social injustice define our character?

REQUIRED READING for English and history:  

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz

According to Goodreads, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed. The year is 1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.  

Information that’s good to know is as follows:

  • You will be assessed in various ways on your summer reading books, so it is a good idea to underline as you read. Take special note of characters, important plot points, importances about setting (if any), theme, and just any “cool quotes.”
  • Please do not use library books, as you will, obviously, need to check them back in and be unable to access them in August. PLEASE OBTAIN YOUR OWN HARD COPY OF EACH TEXT. IF YOU GET A USED BOOK, MAKE SURE IT’S NOT ANNOTATED TOO MUCH!

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READING

You should read at least 250 pages in addition to The Inquisitor’s Tale. Choose from the list of diverse titles below, which relate to the topics we will discuss in eighth-grade English and history throughout the year. If the book you choose does not have 250 pages, you should read two enrichment books.

Spend some time with your parents reading about the various titles below, either by researching from “www.goodreads.com” or by actually going to the bookstore and perusing the shelves. Then, choose one or more of the following. (Choose wisely as many of the titles below are challenging, both in subject matter and in degree of difficulty.) 

Books about the Holocaust

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRossi

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom    

The Diary of Anne Frank  (The full autobiography is the most worthwhile of the versions.)

The Tattooist of Auschwitzby Heather Morris -- Elisabeth Siegel

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer

Books about Social Justice

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendon Keily

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein                             

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario (winner of Pulitzer Prize)

Dread Nation by Justin Ireland (#1 on brightly and top 20 goodreads)

Books about Finding the Strength in Oneself 

(Some of these titles also relate to social justice.)

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline                                                   

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers                                                      

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay                         

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd                               

Every Day by David Levithan

Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalla 

Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley 

Born a Crimeby Trevor Noah 

The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk 

Children of Blood and Boneby Toni Adeyemi

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

(Of course, feel free to read more books!)

Enrichment Options

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendon Keily

The Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye  

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRossi

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline 

Fallen Angelsby Walter Dean Myers 

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

The Diary of Anne Frank  (The full autobiography is the most worthwhile of the versions.)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman    

Upper School

Happy Summer! Take a break with a great read.

The Upper School summer reading program has two mandatory components. Drop down to see the course requirements below. Select your English class for the upcoming year.

Many summer reading books are available in ESD's Digital Library.

English I

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
AND
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the ninth grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English II

PART 1: REQUIRED READING

This reading serves as a touchstone for the discussion of other works of literature. 

English II

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the tenth grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English II Honors

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

English II Honors

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
AND 
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell  

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the tenth grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English III

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

English II Honors

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
AND 
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell  

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the tenth grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English III AP Language and Composition

PART 1: REQUIRED READING

This reading serves as a touchstone for the discussion of other works of literature. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
AND
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the 11th grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English IV

PART 1: REQUIRED READING

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the 12th grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English IV AP Language and Composition

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

English IV AP Language and Composition

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
AND
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 250 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the 12th grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

English IV AP Literature and Composition

PART 1: REQUIRED READINGS

These readings serve as touchstones for the discussion of other works of literature. 

English IV AP Literature and Composition

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

AND

Choose ONE from this list
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

PART 2: ENRICHMENT READINGS

All Upper School students are required to read at least one work (or approximately 350 pages) for enrichment. 

Please see the note below regarding our enrichment reading program prior to making your summer reading selections. Teachers at the 12th grade level suggest the following titles as complements for the essential questions and conversations for the academic year.

Enrichment Reading

A note regarding our enrichment reading program: 

In addition to reading the required works for each grade level, we encourage each student to read additional texts of his or her own choosing. In May, students will set their own goals for reading by answering the following questions: What do I want to understand that I don’t right now? What do I want to know more about? What interests me that I’d like to explore further? After selecting the texts, students will then explore how the particular work will help them achieve their goals: Why am I choosing these titles? What do I hope to achieve by reading these particular works and genres? At the beginning of the fall semester, students will be asked to reflect on their reading experience by exploring: What do I know now that I didn’t know then?

As you are selecting titles for your personal summer reading list, we suggest you seek recommendations from teachers, mentors, parents, and friends. Why not peruse the library or a bookstore, taking your time to let a work speak to you? We encourage you to expand your horizons by venturing into new topics, genres, and authors.

While we encourage each student to select works of “literary merit,” all texts you read do not need to be “classics,” per se; they should be works (novels, plays, journals, etc.) that will enrich some aspect of your life, your learning, and your growth in a meaningful way.

If interested, please visit our Digital Library to download summer reading books electronically. A majority of titles listed are available.