Getting Cool with Summer Reading
June 11, 2019
Jasmin Morse, Veritas Editor-in-Chief
RHS Principal John Harrison and the RHS staff are promoting the new summer reading program. With the new program, you may choose a book from the list and then complete a Photo Essay Prompt (see below). You can then submit your thoughtful and complete photo essays in September and you will be considered for Bulldog prizes!
Beyond the prizes is the benefit of reading which RHS teachers and administration encourage students to continue to do over the summer. Gabriella Gambon who is going into her sophomore year sees the benefits of reading during the summer. She said, “I think that it helps me keep my brain thinking when I’m not in school.” Her brother Tyler, who will be a senior and taking four AP courses, also sees the benefits. He said, “It’s beneficial because it keeps us engaged.” He added, “This year I like that it is optional since many of us already have summer work for AP.”
Photo Essay Prompt:
In each novel, characters triumph over adversity to find and define their own sense of community. In a photo essay, show what you define as a community and relate it to a conflict or character within the book you chose.
The photo essay should have a minimum of 5 photographs with notations. The purpose of the photo essay assignment is to allow you to express your reaction to an essay prompt through visuals. Notations should only be one sentence long and can be in the form of a question or comment about their image. Completed photo essays should be emailed to Mr. Harrison (email@example.com) by September 3, 2019.
Here is an example of a completed photo essay provided by Mr. Harrison
In addition to selecting one of the summer reading selections below, don’t forget to complete any additional summer homework assignments that you have been assigned for Honors or Advanced Placement courses.
Here are the choices for summer reading!
The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es is an astonishment, a deeply moving reckoning with a young girl’s struggle for survival during World War II, a story about the powerful love of foster families but also the powerful challenges, and about the ways our most painful experiences define us but also can be redefined, on a more honest level, even many years after the fact. A triumph of subtlety, decency and unflinching observation, The Cut Out Girl is a triumphant marriage of many keys of writing, ultimately blending them into an extraordinary new harmony, and a deeper truth.
Please Stop Laughing at Me, author Jodee Blanco tells how school became a frightening and painful place, where threats, humiliation, and assault were as much a part of her daily experience as bubblegum and lip-gloss were for others. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be an outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it wrong, why schools struggle, and how bullying is often misunderstood and mishandled.
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez – After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles. At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.
Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Warm – Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Cape Verdean Blues by Shauna Barbosa– The speaker in Cape Verdean Blues is an oracle walking down the street. Shauna Barbosa interrogates encounters and the weight of their space. Grounded in bodily experience and the phenomenology of femininity, this collection provides a sense of Cape Verdean identity. It uniquely captures the essence of “Sodade,” as it refers to the Cape Verdean American experience, and also the nostalgia and self-reflection one navigates through relationships lived, lost, and imagined.
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffiin– One photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, entangles and changes the lives of two families: the Brownings and Volpes. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame. At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green –Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship, April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new life brings.
Educated by Tara Westover – Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. Lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
**Please note summaries are courtesy of GoodReads.
Accessing Summer Reading Books:
Most of the books are accessible in digital format from Boston Public Library. Register for an ecard to rent the digital copy.
Once you have registered, search for the title you’d like to read at the Boston Public Library website. If there’s a waitlist for the book, fret not! There are multiple copies so the book should be available soon. Simply sign up for the waitlist at the beginning of the summer, then you will be notified when the book is yours to read.
Have a great summer everyone!