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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 and other history units throughout the year. These requirements are listed below.


  • 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!


You should read at least 350 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 350 pages, you should read two enrichment books.

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

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

yellow highlight = book available in ESD's digital library


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    


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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