2020 Summer Reading Addendum
In light of the recent killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and the ensuing peaceful and violent protests around the country, we must grapple with the racism and injustice in America–as a nation, as a community, and as individuals. In addition, as a school committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for everyone, we should continually seek voices and stories that resemble and differ from our own.
Because books provide the perfect venue for understanding diverse perspectives, we would like to broaden your summer reading assignment. We will all continue to read the shared text on your current summer reading list but invite you to consider a book on one of the lists below as your second summer book. While some of us required paper copies for your choice book, we realize that some of these books may only be available electronically due to the current demand for books about race and antiracism. In this instance, an electronic copy will be acceptable.
The lists below, curated by educators, librarians, social justice organizations, blogsters, and booksellers, offer a range of texts, both fiction and nonfiction, that we think will appeal to middle- and upper-school students. These books have certainly piqued our interest. While readers of differing ages may read and enjoy the same text, most of these lists are divided by grade level to provide you some guidance in making your selection. As always when choosing a book, you may want to consult with your family or friends and read reviews, synopses, and the first few pages of the text. If after beginning a book, you discover that it deals with issues or contains events that trouble you, talk with your family. Remember, too, that you may abandon a book and choose another.
If you have already selected a choice book on the current summer list, you may continue with that book. Of course, you should feel free to read more than one choice book! Also, don’t feel as though you must peruse each of the lists below. As always, if you have questions regarding your summer reading, please email your teacher.
Finally, as you read, think about these questions suggested by educational researchers and signpost gurus Kylene Beers and Robert Probst: What surprised you? What did the author think you already knew? What changed, challenged, or confirmed what you previously knew or believed? We look forward to talking with you about the issues raised in the books you read when school convenes in August.
Mrs. Guidry, Mrs. Hall, Dr. Lawrence, and Mrs. Tyroff
Expanded Summer Reading Choices
The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door into the world.
–American Poet and Essayist Rita Dove
Barnes and Noble provides recommendations categorized by genre. The bookseller offers excerpts for many of the titles, which can be particularly helpful when choosing a book.
Books About Race That Belong on Every Reading List | RIF
This list, curated by Dianca London Potts, a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow, a VONA Voices alumna, and the former online editor of Well-Read Black Girl, contains nonfiction and fiction titles for upper school students.
Books to Read to Educate Yourself About Anti-Racism and Race
This Time article includes nonfiction books that may be of particular interest to upper school students as well as links to other booklists, so be sure to read the article as well as considering the list at the end, which includes nonfiction, fiction, and memoir books for children and young adults.
In 2017, The National Network of State Teachers of the Year published the Social Justice Booklist, a compilation of books, PK-12, that reflect the diverse perspectives of our nation’s students. In the introduction, University of Phoenix Dean of Multicultural Affairs Angie Williams expresses the hope that the publication “inspires children to be who they are unapologetically all while promoting kindness, activism, justice, and rights for all.”
Social Justice Books for Teens – The Seattle Public Library
Curated by Chicago Public Library’s Teen Services librarians and published by the Seattle Public Library, this list contains books familiar to many of our middle and upper school students, such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; we trust it will also introduce them to new authors and titles.
21 Books That Every High School Needs To Teach Their Students
Again, some of the titles, such as Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street, and Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, will be familiar to the Keystone community. However, K. W. Colyard, Bustle features writer, does introduce us to some new titles and authors.
22 Diverse Book Choices for All Grade Levels
According to Edutopia Executive Editor Tom Berger, this list seeks to “reflect human diversity in the broadest sense, addressing race and ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, and other special circumstances.” Edutopia is an affiliate of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.