Rather students read using a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or the printer page, what book would you recommend for summer reading to keep your students' minds stimulated. Sure, let's include that it might encourage creativity and innovation, allow for higher-order thinking. and most of all encourage students to keep reading.
I'll start this list with one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, and suggest her book, House Rules. The focus of this book is on what it means to be different in our society, It gives insight into Asperger's and others who are on the Autism Spectrum.
Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He is hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself to others, and like many children with Asperger's, Jacob has an obsessive focus on one subject - in his case, forensic analysis. He is always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do - and he is usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. Reluctance to make eye contact, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate gestures can look a lot like guilt. Suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder.
Your turn, what book would you recommend to your students for summer reading?
Ever since I read The Life of Pi, I thought that it had the makings of a modern classic. The treatment of religions and what the major religions have in common is just a surface discussion. Is the book a fable, a parable, a lie? I can only imagine the discussions that could be had around this book. Almost makes me wish I taught English instead of math.
You chose well, Leslie. Author Yann Martel who wrote Life of Pi is an exceptional writer. Pi Patel is an earnest young man in Pondicherry, a tiny area in southern India. First, you learn of Pi's childhood as the son of the zookeeper in Pondicherry. Pi educates us on how animals are creatures of habit and that we should not ascribe human emotions and traits to them.
As a teen, Pi goes in search of God. Initially a Hindu and then embracing Christianity, and Islam, he is told he must choose. This is as you pointed out, Leslie, is material for some great discussions. At 16 the zoo closes and Pi with his family leaves India for Canada on a Japanese cargo ship full of animals going to various zoos. Then the voyage takes a strange twist.
We educators may find a book we want to read in this list too. What book would you recommend to your high school students for summer reading?
Note: You might start some discussions in a Book Club group and invite your students to share their thoughts over the summer, or just leave it open to all of us, even better.
I know that summer is traditionally a time for kids to read a classic--but I am reading this title and feel that it offers something for all teens--it's very REAL.
Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne
I also just finished the Good Daughter by Jazmin Darznik recommended by an educator in the Parma City School District--it's an amazing read. As a first generation American, with a mother born in Europe during WWII--I can relate to the gripping story and family dynamics related in this memoir. The writing style is excellent and evocative.
Leave it to one of my favorite librarian to suggest a book for my personal summer reading list. Author Melanie Thorne wrote in Hand Me Down about a 14-year-old girl, Elizabeth Reid, and her dysfunctional family. Her alcoholic father uses his money to support his vices rather than his daughters. Her mother falls for an ex-con, chooses to start a new family, and farms her girls out to relatives. Liz strives to find a mentor among the women with whom she associates and at the same time be a mentor for her younger sister. It is my understanding that this book mirrors the authors life.
You might enjoy reading Melanie's blog.
Thank you, Laura, for sharing this recommended book for summer reading with us.
This is the beginning of a great summer reading list. What other books would you all suggest?
I hate summer reading lists.
It will take me a thousand years to read all of the books on my personal book list; however, I also think it is good to have a book or two lined up for my next read.
I would suggest students check out a historical novel like No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
No ordinary book it is a fascinating account of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt's marriage and remarkable partnership. The historical context of the World War II era provides insights into American and world history.
eClassroom News recently published an article titled "10 books for high school summer reading" that includes an explanation of each book's importance, a summary, and awards/notes. Here are the books on the list--
Some of these books have been mentioned in previous discussion posts. What do you think of the rest of the books on the list?
I like your list so much, I might actually read it myself this summer! (Since some of those books have been on my "Been Meaning To Pick This Up" list for a while.)
It doesn't hurt that regarding this list, several of these books have been adapted to films (and many versions, like Jane Eyre). And since the younger generations of students/learners are so entrenched in a visual culture, it might help some students grasp critical thinking skills better by being able to read the book (first!!) and then see the movie and compare/analyze.
I also like fiction novels that are a little more rooted in historical circumstances. I didn't come to appreciate my history classes until I was able to rethink the way that literature can embody, reinforce, and challenge how historical events played out. For example, I remember voluntarily reading Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson late in my high school career because it was on a suggested summer reading list. I'd had to read Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston/James Houston earlier in high school, and reading that made me realize just how little I understood about WWII and its impact.
While Farewell is a memoir and Snow is fiction, they both deal with the effects of WWII and anti-Japanese sentiments in American society. Reading about these issues in textbooks was boring and impersonal to me. But reading from the personal voices of people (both real and fiction) struggling to deal with what were actually real issues of racism and sexism had a strong effect on me that made me want to read more--having that humanized contextualization helped fill in the gaps of linear historical narratives taught in other classes.
Great additions to our summer reading list, Tiffany.
What if we were to take historical fiction one step further to second-order counterfactuals and delve into split-second decisions that had major repercussions. Consider what if..."the sudden fog on the East River that allowed George Washington and his badly beaten army to escape to Manhattan after the Battle of Long Island in the summer of 1776? hadn't been the existing weather that day?
Would Washington have been trapped and had to surrender? Would the United States have formed?
What if "the British captain's decision not to pull the trigger when he had Washington in his gunsights at the Battle of Brandywine a year later" had indeed pulled the trigger?
Are we all a product of a future that might not have been?
You can too can enjoy more What If? essays by Stephen E. Ambrose, John Keegan, David McCullough, and James M. McPherson, etc. and edited by Robert Cowley, the world's foremost military historians who are imagining what might have been.
Additional What if books that might excite the history buff in you are:
What other literary genre do you plan to read this summer and possibly recommend to your high school students?
Here's our EDSITEment feature describing the series and the launchpads we are creating each month to help guide students reading of them. (I have linked the short stories below to the launchpads that have been devloped so far.) http://edsitement.neh.gov/meaning-america-new-approach-civic-education
"Harrison Bergeron" Kurt Vonnegut
"The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" Mark Twain
"Bartleby the Scrivener" Herman Melville
"The Namesake" Willa Cather
We here at ReadWriteThink.org have a monthly podcast series with book suggestions for middle and high school students. The series is called Text Messages and you can find the episodes here: http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/podcast-series/text-messages-recommendations-adolescent-30214.html or on iTunes. One of my favorite episodes is titled "Books about Bullying" (http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/podcast-episodes/books-about-bullying-30778.html)
If you are looking to learn more about or hear from those two authors, we have some interviews with them on ReadWriteThink.org:
Episode 49 — A Conversation with Francisco X. Stork (http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/podcast-episodes/conversation-with-francisco-stork-30873.html)
Episode 38 — A Conversation with Matthew Quick (http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/podcast-episodes/conversation-with-matthew-quick-30758.html)
Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
The Plague by Albert Camus
Hot Zone by Richard Preston
Some of my depressing, deep suggestions...though the Power of One is more supernatural...I also really think Walter Mosley's Last Days of Ptolemy Grey got overlooked and would make a good high school+ read:
When students ask me about books to read, I try to delve into what they are interested in rather than giving them a list. I have found that high school boys like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I then recommend that they watch the movie Smoke Signals and they seem to enjoy that a teacher recommends a movie. The boys also seem to like Ender's Game, as someone mentioned earlier. The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger are also popular with the boys.
The girls tend to really enjoy anything by Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult, but if I want to challenge them to go a bit deeper in their reading, I will recommend The Memory Keeper's Daughter, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, and The Joy Luck Club. For those that can handle more depth I'll throw out The Bread Givers or almost anything by Edith Wharton or Jane Austen.