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A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12
Episcopal School of Dallas
A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12


The Middle School summer reading program has two parts.


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


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.


In addition, all incoming 7th-grade students are expected to read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. According to Goodreads, A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.



Students must also read one additional book from the drop down list below. The list contains both fiction and nonfiction.

Please note: the books are listed roughly in order of increasing difficulty. There is no sense in reading something over your head if you do not have to, but the greater effort might well pay off with greater satisfaction. You’ll be expected to read only selections you have not read before. Taking a few notes should help, but no detailed writing is expected before the return to school.

yellow highlight = book available in ESD's digital library



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
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
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
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
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.


Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuke and James D. Houston
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is a compilation of some particularly peculiar and generally unknown true stories from the past. Are they “Useless? Useful? You decide.”

Lower School

4344 Colgate Avenue
Dallas, Texas, 75225

Middle & Upper School

4100 Merrell Road
Dallas, Texas, 75229

Wolf Run Ranch

located near Anna, Texas

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