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Summer Reading Lists


Middle School Summer Reading Lists

The best way to build vocabulary skills and become a good writer is to be an avid reader. To encourage intellectual pursuits during the summer, middle school students are required to read 3 books during their summer break. Writing assignments related to the readings (details below) are also required and due on the first day of class.

Summer 2020

Incoming 6th Graders
Dear Rising 6th Grade Families,
Your Summer Reading Assignment is to read at least two books of your choice and create a Book Jacket (not a book report) for one of the books. Instructions for creating a Book Jacket will be posted in Google Classroom and on the school’s website.
Below is a list of suggested books for Summer Reading:
Historical Novels
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • CathrineCalled Birdy by Karen Cushman
  • The I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brian
  • Wishtree by Kathrine Applegate
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Books about Dogs
  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Realistic Fiction
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Wonder by RJ Palacio
  • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
  • In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • The Parker Inheritance by Variance Johnson


Claudia Hart
Rising 6th Grade Teacher

Incoming 7th Graders

Dear Rising 7th Graders,

Another summer is upon us and with it another fabulous list of books to choose from for your summer reading! This summer you are all required to read I Will Always Write You Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

by Martin Ganda during the month of July. In a change from previous summers, let’s stay connected this time as we read this book together! I will send out invitations in early July for weekly gatherings on Zoom where we can discuss this book as one. It is not required that you attend our weekly gatherings, but I hope that you will. We will also meet up again via Zoom in August (date and time to be determined) to share the other books you have chosen to read and share the creative assignments you have done. I will set up a google classroom where you can upload pictures of your work if you choose to.

Along with reading at-least three books from the list below, please find an exciting blend of assignments you will do as well. Instead of writing a book report and creating an illustration, this summer, you are asked to be more creative, to dig a bit deeper into the content and meaning, to express your unique experience with each book in an exciting way. Please remember that you get to choose three books from the list provided, as-well-as reading the required book. This means you are asked to read four books in total.

For each book you read, including the required book by Martin Ganda, please pick a different assignment to do from the list below. If you come up with an amazing idea on your own of how to best express your understanding of a book, please let me know ahead of time so I can approve of it. I have also included helpful resources from Mrs. Seremetis at the end of this letter.

Happy reading to you all!

peace to you, Mr. Yaeger

Required Book for all 7th Graders:

I Will Always Write You Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives    by Martin Ganda

For those of you interested, we will meet via Zoom for an hour each week of July to discuss this book. You will be sent a sign-up email from the school, as this will be considered a Summer Reading Club for 7th Grade. It is not required that you sign-up to meet, but it is required that you read this book this summer.

July 1st (time to be determined)

July 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th – 12:00-1:00

Please select at-least 3 books to read from the list below:

  • The Hidden Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Julie by Jean Craighead George
  • Julie’s Wolf Pack by Jean Craighead George
  • Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

by Steve Sheinkin

  • Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
  • Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
  • Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke
  • Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

Please choose a different assignment from the list below to complete for all four books you read this summer (this includes the required book)

  • In keeping with the theme from our required book, establish pen-pal writing with someone in or outside of school, a friend who left our class years ago, for example. You may also write a series of letters about your life so far to your future adult self that you seal in envelopes addressed to you at the age of (?) and tuck them away in a shoebox not to be opened until you reach that chosen age. Think of it as a time capsule of letters of hopes and dreams, experiences, feelings, the wisdom you already possess, questions you hope to answer along your journey in life. (letters written to yourself would not be shared with classmates or with me)
  • As we did with Parzival, create a visual story map, but this time includes key quotes from the book that mark the important moments you have chosen to highlight on your story map.
  • If choosing a graphic novel to read, create an additional chapter, or entire book if you like, that continues the journey of the main characters, or takes them on a new adventure. This is your turn to create a “Choose your own adventure” addition to the story. You will need to follow the style of the author as best you can, from your drawings to the way you write the speaking voice of each character.
  • Write an additional chapter to one of the literary novels you read that takes your reader past the ending of the story.
  • Do a character study of each main character in one of the stories. List each name and describe their characteristics as people, what you think their personality is, what are their personality traits that you relate to or like, and what are some of their traits that you don’t like, or frustrate you? The key to a great novel or story is the reader’s connection to each character, so tell us about this connection. Drawing portraits of each character would be a great addition to your writing here.
  • Write an interpretive essay as you did for Julie of the Wolves. Pick a theme and from that theme come up with your thesis statement, something you will prove in your essay using specific examples from the story. Describe key scenes, add an example from the story that backs-up, and further explains your main point. Remember to list each page number after each quote, and create an introduction and conclusion. You can even send me your rough draft for feedback during the summer!
  • Create your own book jacket for one of the books you love the most. Remember to create an illustration for the front cover that you think fits the main theme or point of the book, and include the title of the book and the author’s name. The back cover should have a smaller illustration and blurbs (write-ups from people who have read it) that you make-up that will entice an interested reader to read the book. Covers should be colorful and created on any kind of paper 8.5 X 11 or larger. You may not copy an existing book cover design or blurbs, but make up your very own.
  • These stories do not take place in your backyard, that much we know. Amazingly, there are things in each story that you could most likely find in your backyard. Using a camera or video recorder, create a photographic journey in your backyard or house, or at the park, that captures meaningful or symbolic elements from each book. Examples include documenting plants or herbs used in The Witch Boy series, etc.

Library resources from our librarian, Ms. Seremetis

As NY State residents you are able to get NYC public library cards during this period! Here are the links to NYC Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library.  Nassau County, Brooklyn, and Queens all use an app called Libby. NYC does as well, but they have their own app they are having people download.  On Libby you are able to add multiple library card numbers, the benefit of this is that when looking for a book that is hard to find or out, you can put a hold on it in multiple places and likely get it much faster. Also not every book is available at every library, so your choice and selection will be expanded.  I have also added below a link for Audible.com who is now offering a FREE streaming service for kids – no monthly fee requirement, their free list is good but not as large as any of the public libraries, just another resource.

Incoming 8th Graders

Dear Rising 8th Grade Families,

Your summer reading assignment requires you all to read one book in common and then to choose at least two additional books from the list that follows.  There is one required project.

The book we will all read is Ghost by Jason Reynolds.  We will work with this book during our first English Language Arts classes in the fall through writing and discussion activities.  Please read this book last!  In this way, it will be fresh in our minds when we gather together to work with it.

There is one assignment to be completed during the summer: a book jacket project.  You will choose one of the two other books that you read from the list (so…NOT Ghost!) and create a book jacket for it following the instructions.  More specific information about this assignment will follow and will be available in the Google classroom and website.  There will also be suggestions for additional creative project opportunities if you would like extra ways to enhance your summer reading.

When choosing your two additional books, each book must come from a different category of fiction.  There are a few choices in each of the three categories:

  • realistic fiction,
  • historical fiction, and
  • science fiction/fantasy.

Of course, if you want to read all the books in one category, please do!  Just remember that you will also need to read at least one other book from one other category.  Thank you, and happy reading!

Required Reading – Assigned:

  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Required Reading – Your Choice:

Choose at least two books, each from a different category.

Realistic Fiction:

  • Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by  Mildred D. Taylor
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The House You Pass on the Way by  Jacqueline Woodson

Historical Fiction:

  • The Fighting Ground by  Avi
  • The Mzungu Boy by  Meja Mwangi
  • Lyddie by  Katherine Paterson
  • Fever 1793 by  Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Birchbark House by  Louise Erdrich

Science Fiction/Fantasy:

  • I, Robot by  Isaac Asimov
  • Fahrenheit 451 by  Ray Bradbury
  • A Wrinkle in Time by  Madeleine L’Engle
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by  Ursula K. Le Guin


Amy Stemkoski
Rising 8th Grade ELA Teacher



High School Summer Reading Lists

The best way to build vocabulary skills and become a good writer is to be an avid reader. To encourage intellectual pursuits during the summer, high school students are required to read 2-3 books during their vacation. They are required to discuss and write an essay about their summer reading on the first day of English class.

Summer 2021

Incoming Freshmen (Entering 9th Grade)

All incoming freshmen must read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, plus one book from the list, and one book of their own choosing.

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
  • The Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis
  • Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • Growing Up by Russell Baker
  • The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
  • I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
  • Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy
  • Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Incoming Sophomores (Entering 10th Grade)

Read three selections: two from the following list and one individual selection.

  • At Risk by Alice Hoffman
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • Ironweed by William Kennedy
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Incoming Juniors (Entering 11th Grade)

Incoming juniors will read three books over the summer. All juniors must read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, one book from the junior section of this reading list (see below), and one book of your choice. On the first day of class, all juniors should be prepared to be tested on their summer reading.

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between by Junauda Petrus
  • Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon and Ashley Lukashevsky
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Grendel by John Gardner
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Night by Elie Weisel
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
Incoming Seniors (Entering 12th Grade)

Read three selections: two from the following list and one individual selection.

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • A Taste of Power:  A Black Woman’s Story by Elaine Brown
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Iran Awakening: One Women’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Her Country by Shirin Ebadi
  • The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin
  • The Color of Water by James McBride
  • Roots by Alex Haley
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez,
  • And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Cider House Rules by John Irving
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • A Doll’s House & Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Steppenwolf: A Novel by Hermann Hesse
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
  • Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig