Upper School Summer Reading 2019

Posted by Dale Scott

Wherever you go this summer, remember to bring book! 



All students must read the following:

Coelho, Paolo. The Alchemist* (in English).

*Annotate the book as you read and bring it to class in September.

In addition, you must choose ONE novel* from your country of origin, and written in your language. Choose a book that is appropriate to your age, grade, and reading level.

*Annotate the book and bring it to class in September.



Please note that there are two summer reading requirements for rising seventh graders.

1. To begin to develop an understanding of the classical civilizations that we will study in grade 7, read one of the following two books about Archimedes. Highlight passages and make margin notes about Archimedes’ accomplishments and about life in that time and place. Bring the book to class on the first day of school.

Bradshaw, Gillian. The Sand-Reckoner. “The young scholar Archimedes has just had the best three years of his life at Ptolemy’s Museum at Alexandria. To be able to talk and think all day, every day, sharing ideas and information with the world’s greatest minds, is heaven to Archimedes. But heaven must be forsaken when he learns that his father is ailing and his home city of Syracuse is at war with the Romans.

“Reluctant but resigned, Archimedes takes himself home to find a job building catapults as a royal engineer. Though Syracuse is no Alexandria, Archimedes also finds that life at home isn’t as boring or confining as he originally thought. He finds fame and loss, love and war, wealth and betrayal—none of which affects him nearly as much as the divine beauty of mathematics.” (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/146692.The_Sand_Reckoner)


Bendick, Jeanne. Archimedes and the Door of Science. “Jeanne Bendick, through text and pictures, admirably succeeds in bringing to life the ancient Greek mathematician who enriched mathematics and all branches of science. Against the backdrop of Archimedes’ life and culture, the author discusses the man’s work, his discoveries and the knowledge later based upon it. The simple, often humorous, illustrations and diagrams greatly enhance the text.” (http://www.amazon.com/Archimedes-Science-Living-History-Library/dp/1883937124)

2. Enjoy as many other novels as you can this summer. Keep a typed or handwritten list of your favorites for discussion during the first day of school.

Your librarian, your friends, and your local bookstore salespeople are good resources for finding books that you will enjoy. Here are some websites that might help you explore recommended titles:



Some books recommended by past seventh grade students and our librarians:

Anderson, M. T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.

Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Benjamin, Ali. The Thing About Jellyfish.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts.

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games trilogy.

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton.

Goldblatt, Mark. Finding the Worm.

Graff, Lisa. Lost in the Sun.

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust.

Hiaasen, Carl. Chomp.

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush.

Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot.

Hiaasen, Carl. Scat.

Key, Watt. Terror at Bottle Creek.

Kahn, Hena. Amina’s Voice.

Levine, Gail Carson. Fairest.

Lewis, John. March trilogy.

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild.

Lupica, Mike. The Batboy.

Lupica, Mike. Fast Break.

Martin, Ann M. A Corner of the Universe.

Murphy, Jim. Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting.

Myers, Walter Dean. Monster.

Paolini, Christopher. The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance).

Paton, Alan. Cry, the Beloved Country.

Reynolds, Jason, and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys.

Reynolds, Jason. As Brave as You.

Sheinkin, Steve. Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Vail, Rachel. Unfriended.

Vanderpool, Clare. Navigating Early.

Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Gone Crazy in Alabama.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming.

Yeh, Kat. The Truth About Twinkie Pie.



Please read (at least) a total of three books for your summer reading.

Read one or both of the following:

Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist.


Koja, Kathe. Buddha Boy.

Please underline and annotate your text and bring your copy of the novel(s) with you to school in September. Focus your reading on “characterization”—how does the main character grow and change? These are very different novels in their styles and settings, but each tries to reveal what is most “true” about the world. In the first week of school, we will have a contest to decide which novel was most successful.

Also read (and annotate and underline) one or two other books of your choosing. Below are a number of websites to help select your two book(s): http://www.teenreads.com/teenreadscom-ultimate-reading-list





Please read the following:

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. (Trans. Wayne Rebhorn; pub. Norton.)

You should read this specific edition, translator, and publisher (ISBN 978-0383350265; available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Decameron-Norton-Critical-Editions/dp/0393935620/).



Please note that there are two summer reading requirements for rising tenth graders.

1. All students must read the following:

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Others. (Available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Best-Poe-Tell-Tale-Amontillado- Others/dp/1580493874/)

Read “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “Never Bet the Devil Your Head,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Gold Bug,” and “The Raven.”

Annotate as you read and keep a reading journal focused on main ideas, key quotes, and themes you notice in these readings. Please note page numbers always. You will use this information for an essay assignment at the beginning of the school year.

2. Choose one of the following three books:

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels.


Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights.


Wordsworth, Jonathan, and Jessica Wordsworth (eds.). The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry.

  1. Read the “Romantic Hallmarks” section at the beginning of the book, pages 3–39.
  2. Read one poem from each of the following themed sections of the collected poems, Sections 2–12 (II–XII). Select at least one poem by William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron when reading in these eleven sections.
  3. Choose your favorite poet. Read at least five more poems by that poet.



All students must read one of the following two books:

Green, John. Looking for Alaska.

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner.

Take notes in the margins to help prepare for an essay the first week of school.



All students must read the following titles:

Butler, Octavia. The Parable of the Sower.

Butler, Octavia. The Parable of the Talents. (These are two brief, sequential novels about the rise of a planetary consciousness.)

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Why Read Moby-Dick? (This is a quick, excellent preparation for the school year.)

Senior Project mentors will assign other summer reading selections related to each student’s Senior Project.

For research or other library questions, please email dscott@ross.org.


Topics: Library

Posted by Dale Scott

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