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
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Set in Oklahoma in the 1960s, this classic coming-of-age novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis, a young member of a gang called the Greasers. The Greasers have a longstanding rivalry with the Socs, a gang of rich kids. Ponyboy loves his fellow Greasers, but sometimes he struggles to fit in with their tough reputation. When a run-in with the Socs goes awry, Ponyboy and his friend Johnny have to make some quick decisions to survive. This text will introduce students to the year’s theme, the “Individual and Society,” and will ask students to explore a range of topics, including the development of identity, what it means to be an “outsider,” and how individual characters both shape and are shaped by their societies.
Students Entering Eighth Grade - English 8
Please select one of the three choices below as your main summer read, and then print the short story and poem linked below.
Students are expected to carefully annotate and look for similarities between the texts. When school starts, we will write a piece about the summer readings.
A: Soldier’s Secret by Sheila Solomon Klass
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
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.
Even under the best of circumstances, leaving someone or something behind can be difficult. In this memoir, Julia Alvarez faces the pain of leaving her homeland, even as she realizes the dangers of staying. For students, this harrowing and historical story teaches cause-and-effect relationships in a text as well as characterization.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You:A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
“There will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves.” - Jason Reynolds, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.
Stamped uncovers the history of racist ideas in America and the legacy of racism in US History. Through a reimagining of Ibram X. Keni’s Stamped from the Beginning, student-readers are informed of how some racist ideas started, how they were spread, and how they can be discredited. Studying the history of racist ideas, the different forms of racist ideas, and how to identify them help student-readers lead a better future.
Upper School Summer Reading
List of 8 items.
Students Entering English I: Literature of Identity
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ISBN: 978-1442408937
This coming-of-age novel takes place in 1987 in El Paso Texas. The publisher’s synopsis: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.” Since its publication in 2012, the novel has earned the Pura Belpre Award, the Printz Honor, the Stonewall Award, and the Lambda Literary Award, and is on Time’s list of 100 Best YA Books of All Time.
Content Warning: This coming-of-age novel contains a few scenes with alcohol and drug use, references to violence, and a transphobic character.
Students Entering Tenth Grade English II: World Literature
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd DC Comics ISBN: 978-1779511195
Through his graphic novel, V for Vendetta, Alan Moore provokes his readers to analyze both fascism and anarchism in order to determine their ideal society. Through specific attention to detail, Moore shares a narrative that focuses on his main character, V, prompting the reader to question V’s morality. Combined with the social narrative, intricate attention to graphic detail, and symbolic character and plot choices, V for Vendetta serves as a social commentary on England in the late 20th century.
Students will be expected to carefully annotate for the following elements as they read:
Person vs. Themselves
Person Vs. Society
Students will be assigned a reflection essay when they return to Buckley.
Students Entering English III: American Literature
Ask the Dust by John Fante HarperPerennial ISBN: 978-0060822552
An important way to understand Los Angeles is to read literature about the city. John Fante’s Ask the Dust, published in 1939, is widely considered to be the best novel about the city ever written. Arturo Bandini lives in Bunker Hill, a rundown neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles, struggling to make a living as he pursues his dream of being a successful writer. He falls in love with the emotionally unstable Camila, a waitress dating another man. Los Angeles is a major character in the novel, and students in American Literature will explore their relationship with the city over the course of the school year.
Students Entering AP English Language & Composition
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
In the late 1950s, Truman Capote decided to create a new genre of literature, the nonfiction novel. He decided to use the true crime genre as the template for his experiment, so he scanned newspapers for the “right” crime. He found it in a small article about the murder of a Kansas family of four; the killers had not yet been caught. Capote went to Kansas and began his journey into the solving of this crime and the beginning of a new form of writing. His novelistic approach brought surprising depth—and sympathy—to a seemingly simple story; the ramifications of this tragedy proved deeper and broader than even he had expected.
Students Entering AP Literature & Composition
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Harper Perennial Modern Classics ISBN: 0060883286
One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women — brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul — this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction. For students, this work will provide challenging prose and open up discussions about our themes of change, development, community, self-awareness, and agency.
Students Entering Women in Dramatic Literature
I Only Speak Catharsis by Abi Nosrati
In I Only Speak Catharsis, author Abi Nosrati (a Buckley alum) explores the intersection of inner and outer human identity. She looks inside the struggles of love, friendship, and pain; how we humans live in this wonderful way that is tragically beautiful. In this book of poetry lovingly crafted, she shares the story of the relationships she has experienced or observed in the world around her. Abi’s poetry deals with current issues faced by young people: self-confidence, peer pressure, societal expectations, body image, sexual identity, etc. These issues are eloquently and creatively expressed through the written word, where Abi embeds equity and inclusion within the framework of her creative verse.
Students Entering Experimental Literature
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Penguin Classics ISBN: 978-0143136132
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, published in 1925, is one of the most important and enduring novels ever written. Mrs. Dalloway takes place on one day, focusing on the thoughts of a woman buying flowers for a party she’s hosting. The story is written in stream-of-consciousness, focusing on her thoughts about her past rather than being driven by a traditional plot. Woolf was a modernist, a movement of artists—literary and visual—responding to the breakdown of society that led to World War I by reimagining how we communicate. Woolf’s experimental work influenced some of the best experimental writing that has been published since.
Students Entering English IV: Architects of the Future - An Advanced Multimedia Study of Possibility
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most “Mojavs,” prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs—Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the “forever war” turned surfer—squat in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.
The couple’s fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowser—a diviner for water—and his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of a mysterious sea of dunes.
Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkins’s novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.