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Summer Reading 2020

Information on the Books for 2020 Summer Reading

Summer Reading List 2020

All-School Summer Reading List, 2020



Every single student, regardless of grade or track, chooses and reads one of these books.

Quick Look for Each book: Here  or click on a title below for individual book pages.

Honors/AP students ALSO read the book below that corresponds to their course. Honors/AP Students read a total of 2 books.

Basketball Junkie,  by Chris Herren and Bill Reynolds


Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhhà Lai


I Was Their American Dream, by Malaka Gharib


The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See


Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay


They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei; Justin Eisinger; Steven Scott; Harmony Becker (Illustrator)

Honors I (9th):

The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak


Honors II (10th):

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,


It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime (Adapted for Young Readers)by Trevor Noah.


Honors III (11th):

Death Comes for the Archbishopby Willa Cather


AP (12th):

Handmaid's Taleby Margaret Atwood


Hypothetical Examples:

  • Nina Ninthgrader is entering English I (9th grade),  she chooses to read:  I Was Their American Dream from the list. Yay!
  • Norman Nines is entering Honors English I (9th grade), he chooses to read: Basketball Junkie from the list, AND WILL ALSO READ The Book Thief.
  • Terry Twelvsies is entering English IV (12th grade), they choose to read: Butterflly Yellow from the list.  Done.
  • Torquil Twelvingham is entering AP English (12th grade), he chooses to read: They Called Us Enemy from the list, AND WILL ALSO READ Handmaid's Tale.
  • Eamonn Elevensie, and Tamika Tenners use pattern-recognition and knowledge of their schedules to choose books from the list, and also read required books as necessary if they are in Honors.

More information: About Summer Reading.

For each book on the list, we have prepared a short guide that includes background material, context as to why the book is relevant, resources to go deeper, and questions to think about to help guide your reading, as well as links to places to find a copy of the book.  You can find those links in the left-hand column of this page.

When we return to school in the fall, we will engage in classroom activities that will be based on the Guiding Questions found below.

Guiding Questions


These are the kind of questions you should be prepared to answer and discuss in the fall, using evidence and quotations from the book you chose. 

All of the books on the reading list relate to these questions in some way, and you will be discussing these questions with people who have read other books.

There are also useful guiding questions on the pages for each individual book. Being able to answer those questions will help you participate in the conversation, and find supporting textual evidence.

Guiding Questions for All Books

Consider these questions as you are reading your book. Having answers to them, with quotations from the book (cite the  page number) as supporting evidence will be very helpful when it is time to discuss and assess your reading.

We respond to setbacks with renewed determination

Identify at least two instances where a character demonstrates resilience.

  • In which situations does a character in the novel show resilience?

  • In what way does a character show resilience?

  • How would the story have changed if thatcharacter lacked resilience?

Consider also:

  • Are there instances in the story where a character lacks resilience?
  • Why did they make that choice?

  • What were the effects of that choice?

  • How could a show of resilience have changed the story?

We are generous and considerate of others

Identify at least two instances where a character shows kindness. 

  • What is the situation where a character chooses to show kindness?

  • How does the character demonstrate kindness?

Consider also:

  • Are there instances where a character lacks kindness or is unkind?
  • What drove a character to be unkind?

  • What effect did this choice have?

  • How might the story have been different if a character had been kind at that moment?

We do the right thing even when no one is watching

Identify at least two instances where a character shows integrity.

  • How does a character act with integrity?

  • What is the result of their action?

  • In what way is that integrity tested in the story?

Consider also:

  • How might the story have changed if a character acted without integrity?
  • What is an instance where a character does act without integrity?

  • What is the result of this action?

  • In your opinion, why does the choice to act with integrity matter to the overall story?


We value hard work and are deliberate in what we do

Identify at least two instances where a character shows conscientiousness. 

  • How does the character show a desire to be conscientious?

  • To what goal is the character striving as they demonstrate conscientiousness?

Consider also:

  • Are there instances in the story where the character does not remain conscientious?
  • How did the character not choose to do what was right?

  • How did this affect the story?

  • If the character had been more diligent and conscientious, how would the story have changed?