Dear Rising Juniors,

This summer, you will be asked to read the book(s) listed under the course for which you are signed up. While reading, you should keep track of important information by annotating in the book(s). These annotations will help you with an in-class essay during your first week of classes.  

If you have any questions regarding the books for your English class, please email kmorris@zmdr.org. If you have any questions regarding the books or assignments for your social studies class, please email jmaiocco@zmdr.org.

Enjoy your summer!
                              
Ms. Kathleen Morris                                       Mr. John Maiocco 
English Department Chairperson                 Social Studies Department Chairperson
Rising juniors in the Academy, Honors (SJU), and Advancement Placement Programs taking English 11, SJU American Literature, or AP Language must choose ONE of the following books and should annotate while reading. Please review these options with your parents/guardians and use websites like www.commonsensemedia.org to evaluate the books before you make your selection. All students will write an in-class essay during the first week of classes based on the book they read.

List of 8 items.

  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing - Hank Green

    Roaming through New York City at three AM, twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

    Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
  • Deadly Cross - James Paterson

    Kay Willingham led a life as glamorous as it was public — she was a gorgeous Georgetown socialite, philanthropist, and the ex-wife of the vice-president. So why was she parked in a Bentley convertible idling behind a DC private school, in the middle of the night, with the man who was the head of that school? Who shot them both, point blank, and why? The shocking double homicide is blazed across the internet, TV, newspapers — and across Alex Cross’ mind. Kay had been his patient once. And maybe more.

    Alex Cross and FBI Special Agent Ned Mahoney travel to Alabama to investigate Kay’s early years. There they find a world of trouble, corruption, and secrets, all of them closed to outsiders like Cross and Mahoney. Kay had many enemies, but all of them seemed to need her alive. The harder the investigators push, the more resistance they find when they leave behind the polite law offices and doctors’ quarters of the state capital. Alex Cross will need to use all his skills as a doctor, a detective, and a family man to prevent that resistance from turning lethal…again.
     
  • Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson

    An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

    Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

    Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

    One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.
  • Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life -- Tony Dungy

    Tony Dungy's words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI, the first for an African American coach. How is it possible for a coach--especially a football coach--to win the respect of his players and lead them to the Super Bowl without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, the demand that the sport come before anything else? How is it possible for anyone to be successful without compromising faith and family? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family--and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed. Includes a foreword by Denzel Washington and a 16-page color photo insert.
  • Sold on a Monday -- Kristina McMorris

    The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices.

    For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when the image leads to his big break, the consequences are devastating in ways he never imagined.

    Haunted by secrets of her own, secretary Lillian Palmer sees more in the picture than a good story and is soon drawn into the fray. Together, the two set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value.

    Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens—a journey of ambition, love, and the far-reaching effects of our actions.
  • The Maid - Nita Prose

    Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

    Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life's complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

    But Molly's orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what's happening, Molly's unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it's too late?

    Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
  • We Are Not From Here -- Jenny Torres Sanchez

    Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña have no false illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Though their families--both biological and found--create a warm community for them, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the three teens know they have no choice but to run: for the border, for the hope of freedom, and for their very lives.

    Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico with their eyes on the U.S. border, they follow the route of La Bestia, a system of trains that promise the hope of freedom--if they are lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and the desperation that courses through their very veins, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know that there's no turning back, dangerous though the road ahead might be.

    In this story inspired by real--and current--events, the plight at our southern border is brought to life.
     
  • You've Reached Sam - Dustin Thao

    Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

    Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

    And Sam picks up the phone.

    In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
     
Rising juniors in the Ryken Program must read The Maid by Nita Prose and should take notes while reading. All students will write an in-class essay during the first week of classes based on the book.

List of 1 items.

  • The Maid - Nita Prose

    Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

    Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life's complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

    But Molly's orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what's happening, Molly's unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it's too late?

    Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
Rising juniors taking Academy US History or SJU US History must read the following book and complete the assignment here.

List of 1 items.

  • Profiles in Courage - President John F. Kennedy

    Profiles in Courage was written by President Kennedy while he was still a United States Senator. This Pulitzer-prize-winning book contains eight short vignettes of eight United States Senators who exhibited identifiable political courage. Their actions resisted significant political pressure from their constituents and their parties. The Senators include the following: John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmond G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft.
For rising juniors who are taking AP United States History, please click here for your assignment.

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