One School, One Story
Summer Reading 2021 Update
The 2020-2021 school year has sparked a great deal of reflection on personal, institutional, and societal levels. As an educational institution, one of the many aspects of our academic program we reflected on and reconsidered is our One School, One Story Summer Reading Program. The intention of the program is to elicit more student engagement and empower student voice and choice. What we found in the past two years was an overall decline in the voting for the school-wide book. Students, parents, and teachers have also raised valid points about the need for summer options to be relevant and accessible to all grade levels, incoming 9th graders and rising seniors alike.
When a program or process is not achieving the intended outcomes, it is time to re-evaluate.
Since our goal is for our student body to play an active, vocal role in in shaping their learning experiences, we called together a group of student leaders from our SLO’s, ASB, and OSOS reading committee to hear their concerns and ideas. What we heard was that our students need and want to learn about & discuss important topics that are relevant to their lives and current events, such as racism/anti-racism, mental health, cultural and gender identity, sexism & equality, environmental justice, and the spread of disinformation. We need to embrace difficult conversations here at our school to better understand such issues and become agents of change for a more just and equitable future. We also recognize we need to learn how best to have those conversations, so they are productive and not destructive for our community. Doing so is best done together, in community and under the guidance of professional educators rather than alone in the summer.
Obviously, one book cannot possibly address all topics and issues effectively and adequately.
We are committed to integrating the discussion and learning on these topics into our curriculum and community programs. We are planning opportunities in our subject area classrooms, advisory sessions, school-wide programs, and SLO meetings to bring these important topics to the forefront.
In the meantime, instead of a required school-wide reading, our English Department has put together a list of optional suggested summer reads. These are some books our English teachers have read and enjoyed and encourage students to dive into over the summer. There are no assignments or assessments attached to these readings. Read for pleasure and joy!
The 2020-2021 school year has sparked a great deal of reflection on personal, institutional, and societal levels. As an educational institution, one of the many aspects of our academic program we reflected on and reconsidered is our One School, One Story Summer Reading Program. In the meantime as we reevaluate this program, instead of a required school-wide reading, our English Department has put together a list of optional suggested summer reads. These are some books our English teachers have read and enjoyed and encourage students to dive into over the summer. There are no assignments or assessments attached to these readings. Read for pleasure and joy!
Suggested Reading 2021
Anxiety Relief for Teens by Regine Galanti, PhD.
Getting good grades, keeping up with social media, maintaining friendships... you have a lot on your plate and it's more difficult when you add anxiety to the mix. You may even be avoiding situations, events, or people that could trigger your anxiety. So, how do you stop yourself from missing out on life? With Anxiety Relief for Teens, Dr. Regine Galanti teaches you how CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques can help you manage your anxiety and reverse negative patterns. Through simple and effective exercises that help you change your thoughts, behaviors, and physical reactions, this helpful guide gives you tools to navigate life's challenges.
Purchase from Amazon
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Poignant and real, beautiful and intense, this story of a girl struggling to define herself is as powerful as Xiomara’s name: “one who is ready for war.” A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world.
Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes
Growing up with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father, Nikki shows how the power of words helped her conquer the hazards - ordinary and extraordinary - of her life.
A Cave in the Clouds: A Young Woman’s Escape from ISIS by Badeeah Hassan Ahmed and Susan Elizabeth McClelland
This book chronicles the traumatic story of Ahmed, a young Ezidi woman who was abducted by Islamic State group forces from her village in northern Iraq. This captivating account of courage extends beyond the confines of her experience; Badeeah's story is about the resilience of women, girls and persecuted groups everywhere in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression.
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden
Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
White Rose by Kip Wilson
Based on historical participants in the nonviolent White Rose resistance movement against Hitler, the book follows Sophie Scholl, a young German student who wanted to see the end of Hitler and the Nazi regime. She gave her life for that cause.
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Forging a deep friendship with fellow weaver Savitha, Poornima begins to reconnect with the beauty of the world before a devastating act of cruelty drives her friend away, compelling her to leave behind everything she knows to search for her friend in the darkest corners of India's underworld and beyond.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a Filipino-American teenager’s quest for truth.
Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie Anderson
Forced to become a child soldier, a sixteen-year-old Somali refugee must confront his painful past in this haunting, thrilling tale of loss and redemption by the bestselling author of City of Saints & Thieves.
The Far Away Brothers: Two Teenage Immigrants Making a Life in America (YA Edition) by Lauren Markham
This is a deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador’s violence to build new lives in California—fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience.
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, this poignant novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani tells the timely story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Fabiola Toussaint is a black immigrant girl whose life is flipped upside down when she moves to Detroit, Michigan, from her homeland of Haiti and her mother is detained by ICE, leaving her to go on alone.
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star.
How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox
An Australian teenager struggles to cope with grief and mental illness in this captivating debut. It is a story about love and grief, about inter-generational mental illness, and how living with it is both a bridge to someone loved and lost and, also, a chasm.
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
An unforgettable coming-of-age novel that explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
The collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II.
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer DeLeon
First-generation American Latinx Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.
If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur
This heartrending story told in prose, poetry, and illustration weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter’s lives which explores trauma, fear, courage, community, and the healing power of love in its many forms.
Off the Record by Camryn Garrett
The story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade. This is a moving testament to the MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
This story of an antebellum plantation—and the enduring legacies of slavery upon every person who lives there—is essential reading for both teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
A historical fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her. Lu spins a lush, lyrically told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
An anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
It’s an ordinary Thursday morning for Arthur Dent . . . until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly after to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and Arthur’s best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. This classic sends logic into orbit, plays havoc with both time and physics, offers up pithy commentary on such things as ballpoint pens, potted plants, and digital watches . . . and, most important, reveals the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza – not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge).
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
In London in 1806, a dangerous battle begins between two rival magicians - the scholarly Gilbert Norrell, intent on reviving a centuries old tradition of magic, and the young and reckless Jonathan Strange - and their dark arts are unleashed into the politics of the Napoleonic wars.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez’s beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters as they grow up in two cultures. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. Here they tell their stories about being at home—and not at home—in America.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeA knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul. Shocking in its suggestion of unspeakable sin, this novel was later used as evidence against Wilde when he was tried for indecency in 1895.
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