Wilmington Public Schools: Summer Reading 2012, Grades 6-12

Wilmington Public Schools: Summer Reading 2012, Grades 6-12

Grades 6, 7, and 8: All students must read the selected title.
Grades 9, 10, and 11: A & B classes must read one book from the list for their grade (it can be the Honors title).
Honors students must read the starred (*) book plus one other from the list for their grade.
Grade 12: A & B classes must read one book from the list for their grade.
Grade 12 Honors: Honors students must read one book from the Grade 12 list and one book by their chosen
Capstone author. Honors students must also complete their Capstone author assignment.
Grade 12 AP: AP students must read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and one book from the list of Great Female
Authors. A copy of this assignment is available; ask the Teen Librarian if you need one. AP students must also
complete the AP English Literature & Composition Multiple Choice Practice Exam.

Grade 6
Crash, Jerry Spinelli
From the first time Crash saw tiny, nerdy Penn when they were five years old, Crash knew that Penn was going to be his target. Now that they’re in seventh grade, not much has changed—except that Crash’s little sister is becoming an environmentalist, their parents don’t have time to see him win football games, and Crash’s grandfather’s health is failing. But when Penn drops by with an unexpected act of kindness, Crash starts to think about what it means to sacrifice something important for somebody else. (The written assignment for this book is available at the Wilmington Memorial Library , or on the Wilmington Middle School's website.)

Grade 7
Schooled, Gordon Korman
Cap(ricorn) Anderson has been homeschooled his whole life--in fact, his whole life has been lived with only his grandmother, Rain, for company. So when Rain is hospitalized with a broken hip and Cap has to attend the local middle school for two months, it's a whole new world. Cap--with his long hair, hippie clothes, and peace & harmony ideals--is exactly what the 8th grade wanted: a new target to elect Class President, the dubious honor bestowed upon the least-popular classmate. While the student body plots against him, guileless Cap attempts to be the best class president he can be, holding the daily press conferences and attempting to learn the names of all 1100 students. Cap should be an outcast—so why is he rising to the top while the lead bully is sinking? (The written assignment for this book is available at the Wilmington Memorial Library, or on the Wilmington Middle School's website.)

Grade 8
Okay for Now, Gary D. Schmidt
Doug's family had to move to Marysville. Now that they're here, Dad still has a bad temper. Doug's brother is still a jerk. Doug's other brother is still in Vietnam. Doug still hides a secret. But Doug has a job now, delivering groceries to a spooky old lady who almost never goes outside. He has the birds at the library. He has Miss Cowper's County Literacy Unit. And he has Lil SPicer. Marysville isn't paradise, but for Doug, it's good enough. (The written assignment for this book is available at the Wilmington Memorial Library, or on the Wilmington Middle School's website.)

Grade 9
A Painted House, John Grisham
It's harvest time on the Chandler farm in rural Arkansas, and the family has hired a crew of migrant Mexicans and "hill people" to pick 80 acres of cotton. Soon tensions begin to simmer between the Mexicans and the hill people, one of whom has a penchant for bare-knuckles brawling. This leads to a brutal murder, which 7-year-old Luke has the bad luck to witness.

Bad Boy: A Memoir, Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers grew up in a poor family in Harlem, and in addition to being quick-tempered and strong, he was a reader who hid library books in a brown paper bag to avoid being teased.  He knew he wanted to be a writer, but as he grew older, the pervasive racism caused him to doubt himself and his abilities.  He still had his comforts, though—the streets and his books. In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, Walter Dean Myers travels back to his roots in Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
Lyra is an orphan living at Jordan College, until the day she witnesses an assassination attempt on her uncle and overhears a discussion of Dust. From that point on, she and her daemon Pantalaimon are caught up in a series of troubles that take them from Oxford to the far north, along the way encountering witches, armored bears, and a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon.

*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
The adults in Francie’s life are deeply flawed—an alcoholic father, a bitterly-realistic mother, and an aunt who seeks love in all the wrong places—and cause Francie to grow up into the sum of their parts: romantic and practical, a determined, truth-seeking dreamer. Francie struggles against her circumstances in poverty-stricken Brooklyn, but ultimately thrives in this classic of American literature.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Craig has worked harder than he ever has before to gain entrance to his exclusive, academically-rigorous school. But once he's there, he's overwhelmed to discover that he's not as smart as his classmates, he can't keep up, and he's vomiting regularly from the stress. On the advice of the kind woman on the Suicide Hotline, Craig checks himself into the adult psychiatric ward at the hospital. Away from the pressures of his every-day life, Craig can finally get a handle on his tentacles—his anxieties—and balance them against his anchors—the parts of his life he wants to keep.

Grade 10
Feed, M.T. Anderson
The feed tracks your shopping habits and recommends similar products, it advertises things you’re walking past, it’s television shows and news and email and maps, and it’s all right there in your head. But what happens when your feed gets hacked? Titus and Violet are about to find out, because a malfunctioning feed is one thing—but a malfunctioning feed that was installed atypically besides is a much bigger problem.

Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
When Griet is hired as a servant in Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's prosperous Delft household, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant—and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
Autistic teen Christopher has been falsely accused of a crime: murdering his neighbor’s poodle. Christopher, lacking the social filters necessary to empathize with people, relies on logic to help him crack the case—and while he’s at it, he might gain some understanding of his parents’ failed marriage and his place in the world. Christopher says he doesn’t understand jokes, but Curious Incident is remarkably funny and touching.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
Frankie Landau-Banks is starting her sophomore year at the elite Alabaster Academy and has caught Matthew Livingston’s attention. But while most girls would die to be Matthew's arm candy, Frankie would rather be something more than just his girlfriend. When she finds out that Matthew and his friends are part of the elusive Order of the Basset Hounds, the same male-only secret society her father reminisces about, and that the Bassets are having some trouble getting organized for a Halloween prank, she sees her opening to finally make an impact from the marginalized shadows. Frankie needs an excellent plan—and a devious strategy to pull it off.

*The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
The Book Thief follows Liesel Meminger from her trip to her new foster parents’ home and through her adolescence, with her story told by the one person who has seen it all: Death, who has affected Liesel’s life so many times that he can’t help watching her.  This is an amazing story that captures the humanity, the horrors, and the everyday lives of German families during World War II.

Grade 11
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Fireman Guy Montag understands his job: he’s responsible for burning books that people hide, because books—and knowledge, and intellectual thought—really just make people unhappy.  But then Montag meets Clarisse, a young neighbor who is interested in the world around her and wants to share it with him.  When Clarisse disappears suddenly, Montag starts hoarding books of his own, even making plans to print new copies of old classics.  Can he get away with it?  Is there anyone who can help him?

*In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Capote combined painstaking research with a narrative feel to produce one of the most spellbinding stories ever put on the page. Two two-time losers living in a lonely house in western Kansas are out to make the heist of their life, but when things don't go as planned, the robbery turns ugly. From there, the book is a real-life look into murder, prison, and the criminal mind.

An American Childhood, Annie Dillard
Dillard's luminous prose painlessly captures the pain of growing up in this wonderful evocation of childhood. Her memoir is partly a hymn to Pittsburgh, where orange streetcars ran on Penn Avenue in 1953 when she was eight, and where the Pirates were always in the cellar. Dillard's mother, an unstoppable force, had energies too vast for the bridge games and household chores that stymied her. Her father made low-budget horror movies, loved Dixieland jazz, told endless jokes and sight-gags and took lonesome river trips down to New Orleans to get away. From this slightly odd couple, Dillard acquired her love of nature and taut sensitivity. The events of childhood often loom larger than life; the magic of Dillard's writing is that she sets down typical childhood happenings with their original immediacy and force.

Black Boy, Richard Wright
Beginning with a four-year-old Richard accidentally burning down his family’s house, this fictionalized autobiography follows the author from his childhood in the deep South to his mid-30s in Chicago. As a child, he is curious and thoughtful, and bristles against the racism he encounters in the 1920s Southern culture. He doesn’t lose that curiosity—or antipathy for the current state of race relations—when he grows to adulthood, and his ideals lead him to join (and later be blacklisted from) the Communist party.

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Growing up in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, in the early 1970s, Hassan was Amir's closest friend, even though the loyal 11-year-old was the son of Amir's father's servant and a member of Afghanistan's despised Hazara minority. But in 1975, on the day of Kabul's annual kite-fighting tournament, an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever. The Kite Runner tells the gripping story of a boyhood friendship destroyed by jealousy, fear, and the kind of ruthless evil that transcends mere politics.

Grade 12
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
9-year-old Oskar is on a quest for answers after his father dies in the World Trade Center. After finding a key labeled “Black” in his father’s belongings, Oskar tries to track down the owner (by visiting every person named Black in the New York City phone directory), in the hopes of understanding something more about his father. Oskar’s story is interlaced with that of a mute old man’s life since leaving Dresden after the World War II bombings, and their stories weave together beautifully.

Riding Lessons, Sara Gruen
18-year-old Annemarie could be an Olympic equestrienne—until a jumping accident injures her and kills her horse, Highland Harry. With injuries to her spirit as well as her body, she swears she’ll never ride again. Two emotionally empty decades pass until, unemployed and recently divorced, Annemarie returns to her parents’ New Hampshire riding school with her defiant 15-year-old daughter in tow. Here Annemarie is bombarded with all sorts of emotions and responsibilities, including the rekindling of an old romance and the discovery of a broken-down horse that looks remarkably like Highland Harry.

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
For years, the popular crowd has been bullying Peter Houghton, until one day he fights back—by bringing four guns to school, opening fire, and killing nine classmates and a teacher. What made him do it? And how can the judge assigned to his case maintain her objectivity when her own daughter is one of the surviving
witnesses to the crime?

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
Motivated by whims and paranoia, Rose Mary and Rex—a frustrated artist and a brilliant alcoholic, respectively—uprooted their kids time and again as part of their eccentric, nomadic lifestyle. But while Rex and Rose Mary left their four children to their own devices, firmly believing children learned best from their mistakes, they themselves never learned—instead repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets.  Walls’ memoir describes in detail what it was to be a child in this family.

I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak
Ed Kennedy is the type of guy who could accidentally stop a bank robbery—and that’s exactly what happens to him.  Soon after, he starts getting playing cards in the mail.  Sometimes they have addresses, sometimes names, but it’s up to Ed to make sense of them—and discover who they’re coming from, and why.