Middle School

List of 4 items.

  • All MS Students

    The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
    ISBN: 978-0064409421

    During World War II, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will be safe. One day Lucy finds a wardrobe that transports her to a magical world called Narnia. After coming back, she soon returns to Narnia with her brothers and her sister. There they join a magical lion in the fight against the evil White Witch. For students, this text not only enhances conversations about forgiveness, concepts of good and evil, and compassion, but also pairs well with writing assignments on theme, character, and symbolism. 

    Throughout the year, students will reflect on their reading of this novel, make connections to the core readings for their courses, and engage in conversations between grade levels. 8th grade students will lead 6th and 7th grade students in discussions, provide help with assignments, and show what it means to be a student of English at Buckley.
  • Students Entering Sixth Grade

    Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
    ISBN: 978-1416971719

    Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her because she cannot communicate with them. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow. For students, this engrossing  novel explores the power of language and communication.
  • Students Entering Seventh Grade

    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    ISBN-10: 978-0147515827

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Our study of Brown Girl Dreaming establishes the year’s focus on “The Individual in Society.” It also, through its exploration of the past, speaks to the present historical moment in which protests have spread throughout the country for Black Lives Matter. We will use this text to begin exploring questions of identity and how society and the individual interact.
  • Students Entering Eighth Grade

    Short Story
    The Friday Everything Changed by Anne Hart
    A girl in a small town classroom upsets the boys by challenging a local tradition. This story exposes students to themes related to equality, equity, and feminism.

    Students will select one of the three choices below as the main summer read:

    A: Soldier’s Secret by Sheila Solomon Klass
    ISBN: 978-0805097399
    When the colonies went to war with the British in 1775, Deborah was intent on being part of the action. Seeing no other option, she disguised herself in a man's uniform and served in the Continental army for more than a year, her identity hidden from her fellow soldiers. Based on the real-life heroine, Deborah Sampson, this engrossing novel brings the reader into a woman’s journey in a man’s war. For students, this suspenseful text pairs well with conversations about identity, self-determination, non-linear plot structure, and thematic writing. 

    B: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    ISBN: 978-0062570604
    Jane McKeene was born two days before the undead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Will Jane be able to help salvage what’s left of the United States? Thrilling and terrifying, this novel is a stunning vision of America on the brink; at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet. For students, this engaging text pairs well with conversations about systemic racial oppression, classism, feminism, and how authors use setting to create mood in a story.
    C: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac 
    ISBN: 978-0142405963
    After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years… until now. For students, this fascinating story pairs well with conversations about identity, the implications of war, and the power of communication and language.

Upper School

List of 5 items.

  • All US Students

    Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
    ISBN: 978-0735212206

    Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West begins in a city “mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war,” where “a young man [meets] a young woman in a classroom and [does] not speak to her.” But they will soon speak to each other and the city will soon be at war. The novel follows Saeed and Nadia as violence forces them to leave their homeland and to travel through magic portals in order to escape persecution and war. As they migrate from country to country looking for a peaceful place to live, Hamid’s elegant and beautiful narrative focuses on the importance of togetherness in how people respond to moments of international crises. 

    Throughout the year, students will reflect on their reading of this novel, make connections to the core readings for their courses, and engage in conversations with each other. Students in 11th and 12th grades will lead 9th and 10th grade classes as they explore questions about personal and political identities; how authors represent alienation and belonging, the experiences of  immigrants, and the importance of technology to our navigating the world; and how seeing the world through new eyes and new metaphors encourages empathy and compassion. They will also look at how literary genre -- magical realism in this case -- and narrative voice affect how we experience what we read.

    We chose this novel as a community read because of its thematic relevance to each course in the Upper School and to the globalized world we live in. And we chose it because it’s a wonderful and ultimately celebratory read: Nadia and Saeed spring from the page; the writing is eloquent and startling; and the story is thrillingly tense and deeply moving.
  • Students Entering Eleventh Grade

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
    ISBN: 978-0812993547

    The late, great Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison has called this book, “required reading.” Published in 2015, and still provocative and timely, it provides critical insight and context for students to learn more about navigating and negotiating spaces in American society with regard to race. This epistolary memoir serves as Coates’ version of “The Talk,'' that is, as a warning and guide for how his son should think about navigating a racist system that aims to control Black bodies, particularly the bodies of Black boys and men. In 152 pages of lucid, direct narrative prose, Coates provides his son and the reader with personal anecdotes and cultural criticism of the many inequities and injustices inherent to American society in terms of race, class, and gender. Students will find writing that addresses the many inequities present in American society with regard to race and class through which they will be able to discuss the current protests of police brutality, injustice, and institutional corruption in American society.
  • Students Entering Ninth Grade

    Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
    ISBN: 978-0375714573

    Set during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Satrapi’s graphic novel illustrates the history, concerns, and forces that led to a radical shift in her beloved country. Satrapi manages to present her memories of growing up during the chaos and violence of  upheaval from both the bewilderment of a child and the more lucid hindsight of an adult; sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes whimsical, her writing and artwork are always  immediately accessible yet complex and resonant. Students will study the impact an environment has on who we become, the way our identities influence our experiences, the roles politics and history play in our lives, and the conventions of the graphic novel.
  • Students Entering Tenth Grade

    Don’t Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier
    ISBN: 978-1590172889

    Daphne Du Maurier is considered one of the premier writers of the supernatural. The stories in this collection, Don’t Look Now, demonstrate the art of concocting compelling and concise stories that, despite their brevity, offer complex characters dealing with extraordinary events. Students will read the following stories: “Don’t Look Now,” “The Birds,” “Split Second,”  “Kiss Me Again, Stranger,” and “The Blue Lenses.”  They will analyze how Du Maurier creates a succinct short story and why the short story may heighten the power of the suspense genre.
  • Students Entering Twelfth Grade

    AP Literature and Composition
    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    ISBN: 978-101970162

    One of Yaa Gyasi’s characters in Homegoing describes to his cousin that what he wants to capture in a project he’s working on as “the feeling of time, of having been a part of something that stretched so far back, was so impossibly large, that it was easy to forget that she, and he, and everyone else, existed in it -- not apart from it, but inside of it.” So the novel tells the stories of multiple generations of one family split by the North Atlantic slave trade and shows how people experience “impossibly large” moments. Students will look at how form and meaning intersect, how people navigate hostile societies, and how literature can bring alive voices that have been silenced.

    Crime and Detective Fiction
    Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott
    ISBN: 978-0822212164
    Set in the confines of an apartment in New York, the action of the play revolves around an elaborate attempt by a trio of con men to recover a doll that they believe has come into the possession of Sam Hendrix. The doll,  the reader ultimately discovers, contains heroin—a treasure that at least one of the con men is perfectly willing to kill for. When Sam is lured away from the apartment, Susan, his blind wife, is left alone to cope with the conspirators… Students will identify how playwrights create tension and suspense, examine the conventions of crime writing, and see how writers play with those conventions to challenge long-established power dynamics.

    The Literature of Childhood
    Lanny by Max Porter
    ISBN: 978-1644450208
    An English village.  A young boy who lives in his own world.  His parents who don’t quite understand him.  And Dead Papa Toothwort, the mythical shape-shifting being who wanders around town in search of the boy, Lanny.  Students will deconstruct how the author, Max Porter, takes the classic elements of childhood literature and gives them a modern and experimental spin in his newest book, Lanny.

    Science Fiction
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    ISBN: 978-1400078776
    Three children, who are clones, attend a boarding school in the English countryside. These three pupils’ entire purpose in life is to serve as mandatory organ donors for the people from whom they were cloned. The world does not really consider them as real people, but a substantial part of the story shows how these children are humans despite what society thinks of them. Students will encounter critical questions of agency, power, identity, medical ethics, and the scope of human morality. What does it mean to be human? What attributes constitute our humanity? Students will recall echoes of Mary Shelly’s  Frankenstein and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, among other texts they may have read.