Summer Reading 2016

5th Grade

Rising fifth graders are required to read three books over the summer. Written reports are not required, but students should be prepared for assessment the first week of school.

Choose one of the following:

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan - Like many girls her age in India, thirteen-year-old Koly is getting married. Full of hope and courage, she leaves home forever. But in a grim turn of events Koly finds herself cast out into a current of cruel tradition. Her future, it would seem, is lost. Yet this rare young woman, bewildered and brave, sets out to forge her own exceptional future.

Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan - When a girl is born to Chu Ju’s family, it is quickly determined that the baby must be sent away. After all, the law in China states that a family may have only two children, and tradition dictates that every family should have a boy. To make room for one, this baby girl will have to go. Fourteen-year-old Chu Ju knows she cannot allow this to happen to her sister. Understanding that one girl must leave, she sets out in the middle of the night, embarking on a remarkable journey to find a home of her own.


Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin - When Chinese myths are woven into adventure tales, a magical story unfolds. Minli’s quest to find the Old Man of the Moon has marvelous twists and turns all the way to its conclusion.

Choose one of the following:

Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull - Any book from the series - Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. When the rules get broken, powerful forces are unleashed. And Kendra and her brother must face the biggest challenge of their lives to save Fablehaven, their family, and their lives.

The One-eyed Giant (Tales from the Odyssey Series), by Mary Pope Osborne - When Odysseus must leave his home to fight the Trojan War, he never imagines that he’ll be away for so many years. He is finally leading his men home, but has no idea of the terrifying dangers he will face.

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz - Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after.

The Penderwicks, A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall - Anyone who craves ordinary people, tales of lazy summer days, a hint of mystery, a whiff of adversity, dog-management, rabbit-rescue, first love, and sisterhood, this is the book for you!

The Lemonade War by Jaqueline Davies - Evan Treski and his younger sister, Jessie, get along well in many ways. They play together, and their natural talents are complementary. Jessie is a whiz in math and other school subjects, but feelings were her weakest subject. Evan is competent in the social arena, but he is not such a good student. Their relationship changes the summer between Evan’s third and fourth grades, when a letter arrives announcing what the boy sees as total disaster for him. He and his bright, skipping-third-grade sister will be in the same class. Thus begins the Lemonade War over which child can make the most money before the first week of school.

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein - Billy is not happy to be spending the summer in a cabin on a lake in the middle of nowhere. The cabin is owned by Dr. Libris, who also owns the mysterious island in the lake. With no technology, and bullies as neighbors, Billy is bored and re-sorts to searching for a key to open the bookcase in Dr. Libris’ study. What he unlocks brings classic books to life.

6th Grade

For sixth grade summer reading in English, students are required to read three books: two specific titles and one free choice book. No summer writing and reporting assignments are due when school starts in August, but students must anticipate a sequence of assessments on the summer reading, beginning during the first week of school. Having one’s own copies of the books is recommended because of their continuing use in classroom instruction. E-editions of the free choice reading will be fine. E-editions of the required books are not recommended because they often are not paginated, making them hard to use when locating passages for study in class.


Wonder and The Julian Chapter by R.J. Palacio - The powerful nature of human compassion, love, and loyalty is explored in Wonder, as well as our ability to look past the surface to what makes us all members of the same human family. Read Wonder with the idea that you are journeying through the school year and beyond in Auggie’s company. When you have completed Wonder, read The Julian Chapter, which tells us Julian’s side of the story. So many unexpected twists!


Roman Diary: The Journal of Illiona, A Young Slave by Richard Platt - Ship-wrecked and kidnapped by pirates, Illiona and her brother end up in the slave markets of ancient Rome. Experience daily life in ancient Rome through Illiona’s eyes on her quest for freedom.

Choose one of the following:

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart - “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” So begins Reynie’s wild adventures and secret mission to save the world from evil.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford - Christmas holidays, a smugglers’ inn, a blizzard, unexpected guests, ghosts, secrets, clues. Can you unravel the mystery?

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi - A futuristic fairy tale, a quest, a search for lost humanity, robots, computer technology.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - World War I history has been rewritten in Leviathan! An orphaned runaway prince, footed monster machines, flying whales, snow-bound mountain castles, secrets, mystery, suspense.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker - Pax is a domesticated fox released into the wild into a war zone. Peter is Pax’s human, who goes on a quest into danger to find his fox.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell - Life in Africa is a golden joy for Wilhelmina until she is orphaned. She is forced to leave for England, where life becomes very scary and full of roadblocks.

7th Grade

Taking notes and “actively reading” these selections are encouraged to prepare for assignments at the beginning of the year.


Yard War by Taylor Kitchings - In 1964, Jackson, Mississippi, not even football is simple-- a fact that becomes all-too-plain to Trip Westbrook when he invites his maid’s son, Dee, to a pick-up game in his yard.


I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzi and Christina Lamb - A Memoir by the Youngest Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Choose one of the following:

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth - Life isn’t easy for Louis Blake. Poverty on the reservation combines with isolation and bullying at school to make things tough everywhere, but can a friendship with a new student change things?

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan - When a world-wide catastrophe makes all electronic devices useless, Leilani and her father must make a dangerous journey from Honolulu back to their home in Hilo.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan - Esperanza’s life is wonderful… until bandits kill her father and she must flee to California with her mother. But life is difficult for immigrants, especially in the middle of the Great Depression.

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai - In July, 2011, Fadi and most of his family flee Afghanistan for the United States. After their arrival, the family faces two big problems: finding Fadi’s sister Mariam, who got lost on the journey, and con-fronting post-9/11 prejudice.

Choose one of the following:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - You’re ugly until your sixteenth birthday… and then comes the operation that makes you beautiful and life a high-tech playground. Follow Tally Youngblood through a futuristic landscape, as she learns the true cost of beauty.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy - There’s more going on beneath the surface of Port-land than meets the eye. Unfortunately for Prue McKeel, it takes the kidnapping of her baby brother by a murder of crows for her to discover exactly what. (Don’t be scared away by the thickness; there are some really cool illustrations throughout to help bring this world to life!)

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker - “The great, gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.” As overwhelming a monster as dullness can be, it’s nothing compared to what awaits Harvey in Mr. Hood’s Holiday House. How will he ever be able to escape and recover what has been taken from him?

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters - In 1900, being a headstrong girl can get you into trouble. When Olivia Mead’s father employs a hypnotist to make his daughter more passive, she instead ends up with the dark ability to see others’ true natures.

8th Grade

Rising eighth-grade students are required to read two books over the summer: one book for English and one book for History. Students should be prepared for discussion and assessment on the summer reading during the beginning weeks of school.


Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee - In 1925, the town of Hillsboro, Tennessee is captivated – and torn apart – by a trial that tests the town’s faith in each other. A fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial, two famous lawyers fight for the truths that they believe in.


Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High (ISBN #: 1416948821) by Melba Pattillo Beals - In 1954, the United States Supreme Court unanimously declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result of this ruling, Melba Pattillo Beals and eight other courageous African American students (later re-membered as The Little Rock Nine) enrolled in the all-white Little Rock Central High School during the 1957 school year. In her memoir, Beals provides the reader with a descriptive, factual account of the harrowing year in which she and eight others served as teenage warriors on the front lines fighting for racial equality.

9th Grade

English 9:
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

History 9:
Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

10th Grade

English 10:
1984 by George Orwell

Honors English 10:
1984 by George Orwell
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

History 10, Honors History 10, AP European History:
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton

11th Grade

English 11:
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Honors English 11:
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

AP English 11:
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

U.S. History:
Neither Wolf nor Dog by Kent Nerburn

Honors U.S. History:
The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War by Davis Laskin

AP U.S. History:
The Wars of Reconstruction by Douglas Egerton

12th Grade

Senior Seminar in English:
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr

Honors English 12:
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

AP English 12:
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

AP Art History:
The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures by Philip Mould

AP Government and Politics - United States:
The People’s Choice by Jeff Greenfield

The People’s Choice by Jeff Greenfield

The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity by Russell Roberts

Upper School Elective Summer Reading

South Campus • Pre-K3 to 4th grade • 4120 Old Canton Road • Jackson, MS 39216 • 601-987-9300
North Campus • Grades 5 to 12 • 370 Old Agency Road • Ridgeland, MS 39157 • 601-853-6000

email page print page small type large type
powered by finalsite