Summer Reading


The Assignment

  1. All grades are asked to read the essay “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation” by James Baldwin.
  2. In addition, students are expected to choose at least one title from their grade level list below and craft a response according to one or more of the Reader Response Activities listed below.

Choice of Titles

  • Browse the titles on the list below for your grade. Perform some research and read summaries and information on characters, themes and authors of these books.
  • Using your research, select at least one title from the list as your summer reading selection. (Suggestion: Discuss with a friend, and select a book together in order to form a possible reading group.)
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson
  • Outcasts United by Warren St. John
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest J. Gaines
  • Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Graphic Novel- March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Ayden, and Nate Powel (Books 2 and 3 are considered optional based on interests)
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Where to Begin by Cleo Wade
  • Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Viruses: A Very Short Introduction by Dorothy H. Crawford

NOTE: In addition to your grade level book, you are encouraged to read books of your own choosing, and/or books outside your specific grade level. If you feel that you know of a book related to the overarching theme, please let us know.

Reader Response Activities


  • Choose a passage from the book and reflect on the main idea that the author is addressing. What were some of the important issues? How do you personally connect with the book?
  • What was your overall reaction to this book? What did you like or dislike? Why?
  • Think of a time you had to work to understand someone who was different from you. How did you learn more about him or her and how they felt?
  • Think of a time where you had race or gender play a significant role in your daily life. How did you approach the situation, and how could you have approached it differently?
  • While you were reading this book, what did you learn about yourself?
  • After reading this book, how can you use your voice to promote and advance social justice in the community?


Refer to the guiding questions listed above and choose 1 of the 4 options below for your Reader Response Activity.

  1. READING JOURNAL RESPONSE: Fill a journal with notes, quotes, and realizations. Sketching, collaging, photos, poems, stories, photographs may be placed in this journal as well.
  2. ARTIST’S RESPONSE: Create a drawing or painting in response to your reading: i.e. illustrate a scene from a book, draw a character, or a place in the book.
  3. ESSAY RESPONSE: Using one or more of the guiding questions above as a starting point, compose a personal reflection in essay format: suggested length 2-3 pages.
  4. PRESENTATION RESPONSE: Using Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Prezi, create a  presentation reflecting one or more of the guiding questions and the theme of social justice.

Selected responses will be presented at the start of the school year in an effort to share students’ ideas and learning. As a community, shared reflections increase the strength of our school, and in turn, increase the strength of our ability to communicate openly.

Summer Reading FAQs

Each grade will begin the year exploring themes from the Summer Reading list in various classes depending on your grade and schedule. Instructions for more formal assessments, essays, and/or projects will be given then.

Yes, this is a requirement and at minimum will count for class participation. The reading response activities will also form the basis for future formal assignments dependent upon your class.

The titles are widely available, but if you have trouble accessing any, please contact your advisor or email Mr. Freeman @

In addition to one title from your grade list, you may read any other appropriate titles on the grade lists.

No, but watching the movie is a great supplement to the reading, and audio books are acceptable too!

Reading these in English is strongly encouraged.