Summer Reading Guide

Summers were made for reading! In this Summer Reading Guide, you will find:

  1. REQUIRED READING (for some courses and an all-school reading assignment). Please check the Required Reading list below to see if you have been assigned summer work, especially if you are taking honors or AP courses next year.
  2. RECOMMENDED (optional) books you can read (or listen to) just for fun or to learn something new. (Hint: Mrs. Fisher likes the author of “Jurassic Park.” Mr. Martin loves a good mystery, and Ms. Giroux has some YA and graphic novels on her list.)
  3. Optional RESOURCES to keep your skills sharp (especially in math, French and Spanish) and help you prepare for a successful start to the new school year. (Think: Khan Academy, movies in French or Spanish with subtitles, Duo Lingo, and YouTube!)

Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.

"To Kill a MockingBird," Harper Lee

Where to Buy

Frederick Gunn School students are welcome to buy books wherever they are sold. For your convenience, we are including links here to two, well-known, online booksellers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as our local, independent bookstore in Washington Depot, Hickory Stick Bookshop. (Hint: you can order books from them online under My Account.) Feel free to visit an independent bookstore near your home or vacation spot, and be sure to check out your local library, which has free online resources (like Libby and OverDrive) for books, ebooks and audio books!

Online Textbook Ordering

The Frederick Gunn School has partnered with the Higher Learning Supply Company again this year to streamline the purchase of all textbooks and required reading for the 2021-22 academic year. All students, will  be able to view and order textbooks through the Frederick Gunn School Bookstore once you receive your class schedule. The FGS Bookstore opens August 1, please note that if you order through Higher Learning you will pick up your books on campus. Stay tuned for more details.

All-School Summer Reading (required)

All students at The Frederick Gunn School will participate in a summer reading book club, featuring “Just Mercy: Young Adult Edition,” by Bryan Stevenson (ISBN [978-0525580034). This is the young adult adaptation of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller “Just Mercy,” which is now a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson, and the subject of an HBO documentary feature. The school would welcome parents to read the book as well.

About “Just Mercy”

An attorney and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson has dedicated his practice to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned. “Just Mercy” tells the stories of the people Stevenson has helped, including innocent death row inmates who were exonerated. “Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced,” according to EJI.

About This Book Selection

History teacher LaDarius Drew, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, shared why “Just Mercy” was chosen for the all-school summer reading this year. “In a world where we see racism as a truth of our existence, many of us do not know how it can persist in a country like the United States of America. Bryan Stevenson mentioned this in the ‘Just Criminal’ podcast stating, ‘The System wasn't always fair or just.’ We’ll work with our community on the question of, ‘What is justice?’ in our walk of life, and how do we understand it during our reading of ‘Just Mercy.’”

FGS students need to understand what it means to be critical thinkers all with the goal to pursue justice while existing in the American system. However we’re doing more than just observing what that looks like in our court systems. We will be working together to define what it means to live in a just community. To function as a just community, we have to engrain it in every limb and fiber we have as individuals, and understand that all of us want equality for one another. We are all in this together, and we will read “Just Mercy: Young Adult Edition” to observe injustices within the United States.

As Head of School Peter Becker has said, “Stevenson holds out, much as Martin Luther King does, a vision for what a life oriented by and around and towards love actually looks like. That is something that we aspire to be as a community, and as we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year, what does it mean to be an institution that is oriented around love?” You can hear more from Mr. Becker about why “Just Mercy” was chosen as our all-school summer reading in this video:

 

  • All-School Read
  • Mr. Becker

[W]e know each other well. We may have different creeds and formulas ; we cannot coincide in our definitions, but have we not intrinsically the same faith?

Frederick Gunn, 1847

Required Reading

AP Economics: "Naked Economics:  Undressing the Dismal Science" (required)

By Charles Wheelan (ISBN: 978-0393337648)

“Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science” There will be an assignment for you to complete about your book due soon after you return in the fall. Here’s what Barnes & Noble said about this international best seller: “In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it’s a necessary investment—with a blessedly sure rate of return. This revised and updated edition includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade, income inequality, and America’s rising debt. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives you the tools to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science.”

  • History
  • Required Reading
AP English Language and Composition (Grades 11/12): "In Cold Blood" (required)

by Truman Capote

From Bibliomation: “The most famous true crime novel of all time and one of the first nonfiction novels ever written; In Cold Blood is the bestseller that haunted its author long after he finished writing it.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.”

  • English
  • Nonfiction
  • Required Reading
  • True Crime
AP English Literature and Composition: "The Handmaid's Tale" (required)

By Margaret Atwood

From Penguin RandomHouse: “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.”

  • English
  • Fiction
  • Ms. Rimany
  • Required Reading
AP Spanish (required)

Bienvenidos a español AP! I am excited to work with you as you continue your study of Spanish in the fall here at The Frederick Gunn School. We want to be sure that you enter AP Spanish with everything that you learned last year still fresh in your mind. We will be picking up right where you left off in May, so here is what to do over the summer…  

Part I: Vocabulary & Grammar Review  

We will continue to use the vocabulary that was on the final exam in all writing and speaking assignments next year so it is important that you stay familiar with the words over the summer. Also, there will be a brief assessment on the first day of class to ensure that you know the following lists of “deceptive words,” some of which are new. The assessment will be a  combination of matching, Spanish to English translation and English to Spanish translation.  

In order to help you maintain your Spanish over the summer, below you will also find links that provide explanations as well as opportunities to practice working with a variety of conjugations and grammar concepts. Reviewing and using the resources is not required, but will help you to enter AP Spanish prepared.  

Part II: Cultural Themes – Reading and Listening  

In AP Spanish you will continue to work with authentic written and audio sources. In order to prepare you for this and to maintain your exposure to authentic language over the summer, you will read three articles and watch three short videos in Spanish. For what you will have to hand in, see below. If you have any questions over the summer please email lyonj@frederigunn.org I will check my email once a week.  Have a great summer & see you in the fall!  

~Señora Lyon

  1. Choose 5 current events (preferably events that have to do with Latin American countries) and fill out the “Cuaderno Cultural” (link below) for each topic/current event. This may be an article OR video. Be thoughtful about your summaries and include reflections with the topics at hand. 

Google Document to fill out: 

Cuaderno Cultural Summer Work Article/Video Reflection

  1. Description of the AP Spanish Language test to familiarize yourself with it. 

In this description, I ask that you break down the different parts of the test and look through what the exam entails by researching the exam format. 

https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-spanish-language-and-culture/exam?course=ap-spanish-language-and-culture

  1. Optional Grammar Practice

Conjuguemos – Verbs

Conjuguemos – Grammar 

Spanish Grammar Exercises 

More Grammar Exercises 

Subjunctive Irregulars Verb Conjugation Practice 

Subjunctive vs. Indicative Practice

  • Mrs. Lyon
  • Required Reading
  • Spanish
AP US History: "The American Pageant" (required)

By David M. Kennedy & Lizabeth Cohen, 17th Edition (ISBN-13: 9781337915571)

Students enrolled in AP US History must read chapters 1‒5 in this book and take notes on each chapter.

About this book: “The reputable authors of ‘The American Pageant’ combine excellent scholarship with a witty, engaging narrative style and creative look at U.S. History to build critical thinking skills and a love of American history. The American Pageant, the best-selling AP US History text, is a clear and approachable book for any student studying American history.”

—  National Geographic Learning/Cengage

  • History
  • Required Reading
Honors U.S. Government

This class has no required summer reading but students are encouraged to consider joining Mr. McMann's trip to Washington, D.C., during Winterim 2021-22.

Learn more here.

  • History
  • Mr. McMann
  • Required Reading
Modern Global History - Grade 10: " I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" (required)

By Christina Lamb and Malala YousafzaiI (SBN-13: 978-0316322409)

About this book: “When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. 

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

‘I Am Malala’ is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

‘I Am Malala’ will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.”

— Little, Brown and Company

  • History
  • Required Reading
U.S. History - Grade 11: "Tortilla Curtain" (required)

By T.C. Boyle (ISBN 9780670856046)

For students taking U.S. History, there will be an assignment for you to complete about your book due soon after you return in the fall.

About this book: “Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Cándido and América Rincón desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Cándido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.”

— Goodreads

  • History
  • Required Reading
 World History I - Grade 9: "Confidence Between Boys and Their Teachers" (required)

By Frederick Gunn

Mr. Gunn delivered this address at the Teachers’ Convention in Hartford in 1877 and his students later chose to include it in “The Master of The Gunnery,” a memorial tribute to him published after his death in 1881. Much of what we know about Mr. Gunn today comes from “The Master of The Gunnery,” and this speech shows his understanding of how students learn and grow.

Confidence Between Boys and Their Teachers

  • History
  • Required Reading

Search Summer Reading by Genre, Subject or Teacher Recommendations

Here’s another tip: You can search this guide for suggested books and resources by teacher, by subject (English, Math, History, etc.) and by genre (fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, etc.)

We simply ask that you follow your interests, that you try something new, that you make reading a part of your summer plans. Enjoy! Click on a category and view the search results below.

Search All Summer Reading

All-School Summer Reading: "Just Mercy: Young Adult Edition" (required)

All students at The Frederick Gunn School will participate in a summer reading book club, featuring “Just Mercy: Young Adult Edition,” by Bryan Stevenson (ISBN [978-0525580034). This is the young adult adaptation of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller “Just Mercy,” which is now a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson, and the subject of an HBO documentary feature. The school would welcome parents to read the book as well.

About “Just Mercy”

An attorney and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson has dedicated his practice to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned. “Just Mercy” tells the stories of the people Stevenson has helped, including innocent death row inmates who were exonerated. “Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced,” according to EJI.

About This Book Selection

History teacher LaDarius Drew, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, shared why “Just Mercy” was chosen for the all-school summer reading this year. “In a world where we see racism as a truth of our existence, many of us do not know how it can persist in a country like the United States of America. Bryan Stevenson mentioned this in the ‘Just Criminal’ podcast stating, ‘The System wasn't always fair or just.’ We’ll work with our community on the question of, ‘What is justice?’ in our walk of life, and how do we understand it during our reading of ‘Just Mercy.’”

FGS students need to understand what it means to be critical thinkers all with the goal to pursue justice while existing in the American system. However we’re doing more than just observing what that looks like in our court systems. We will be working together to define what it means to live in a just community. To function as a just community, we have to engrain it in every limb and fiber we have as individuals, and understand that all of us want equality for one another. We are all in this together, and we will read “Just Mercy: Young Adult Edition” to observe injustices within the United States.

As Head of School Peter Becker has said, “Stevenson holds out, much as Martin Luther King does, a vision for what a life oriented by and around and towards love actually looks like. That is something that we aspire to be as a community, and as we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year, what does it mean to be an institution that is oriented around love?” You can hear more from Mr. Becker about why “Just Mercy” was chosen as our all-school summer reading in this video:

 

  • All-School Read
  • Mr. Becker
"All the Light We Cannot See"

By Anthony Doerr

Suggested by Mrs. Farrar

While the page-count may be daunting, this Pulitzer-prize-winning novel set during World War II appeals both to fans of historical fiction and those who enjoy a good story of young love that may or may not triumph over impossible odds. It charts the complicated childhoods and unfolding relationship between two main characters: a blind girl working for the French Resistance and a young German soldier who struggles to maintain his own agency despite conforming to the Nazi cause. Intertwined in the plot is the mystery of a missing diamond. Prepare to binge-read. It’s hard to put it down!

  • contemporary
  • English
  • historical fiction
  • Mrs. Farrar
AP Economics: "Naked Economics:  Undressing the Dismal Science" (required)

By Charles Wheelan (ISBN: 978-0393337648)

“Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science” There will be an assignment for you to complete about your book due soon after you return in the fall. Here’s what Barnes & Noble said about this international best seller: “In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it’s a necessary investment—with a blessedly sure rate of return. This revised and updated edition includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade, income inequality, and America’s rising debt. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives you the tools to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science.”

  • History
  • Required Reading
AP English Language and Composition (Grades 11/12): "In Cold Blood" (required)

by Truman Capote

From Bibliomation: “The most famous true crime novel of all time and one of the first nonfiction novels ever written; In Cold Blood is the bestseller that haunted its author long after he finished writing it.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.”

  • English
  • Nonfiction
  • Required Reading
  • True Crime
AP English Literature and Composition: "The Handmaid's Tale" (required)

By Margaret Atwood

From Penguin RandomHouse: “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.”

  • English
  • Fiction
  • Ms. Rimany
  • Required Reading
AP Spanish (required)

Bienvenidos a español AP! I am excited to work with you as you continue your study of Spanish in the fall here at The Frederick Gunn School. We want to be sure that you enter AP Spanish with everything that you learned last year still fresh in your mind. We will be picking up right where you left off in May, so here is what to do over the summer…  

Part I: Vocabulary & Grammar Review  

We will continue to use the vocabulary that was on the final exam in all writing and speaking assignments next year so it is important that you stay familiar with the words over the summer. Also, there will be a brief assessment on the first day of class to ensure that you know the following lists of “deceptive words,” some of which are new. The assessment will be a  combination of matching, Spanish to English translation and English to Spanish translation.  

In order to help you maintain your Spanish over the summer, below you will also find links that provide explanations as well as opportunities to practice working with a variety of conjugations and grammar concepts. Reviewing and using the resources is not required, but will help you to enter AP Spanish prepared.  

Part II: Cultural Themes – Reading and Listening  

In AP Spanish you will continue to work with authentic written and audio sources. In order to prepare you for this and to maintain your exposure to authentic language over the summer, you will read three articles and watch three short videos in Spanish. For what you will have to hand in, see below. If you have any questions over the summer please email lyonj@frederigunn.org I will check my email once a week.  Have a great summer & see you in the fall!  

~Señora Lyon

  1. Choose 5 current events (preferably events that have to do with Latin American countries) and fill out the “Cuaderno Cultural” (link below) for each topic/current event. This may be an article OR video. Be thoughtful about your summaries and include reflections with the topics at hand. 

Google Document to fill out: 

Cuaderno Cultural Summer Work Article/Video Reflection

  1. Description of the AP Spanish Language test to familiarize yourself with it. 

In this description, I ask that you break down the different parts of the test and look through what the exam entails by researching the exam format. 

https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-spanish-language-and-culture/exam?course=ap-spanish-language-and-culture

  1. Optional Grammar Practice

Conjuguemos – Verbs

Conjuguemos – Grammar 

Spanish Grammar Exercises 

More Grammar Exercises 

Subjunctive Irregulars Verb Conjugation Practice 

Subjunctive vs. Indicative Practice

  • Mrs. Lyon
  • Required Reading
  • Spanish
AP US History: "The American Pageant" (required)

By David M. Kennedy & Lizabeth Cohen, 17th Edition (ISBN-13: 9781337915571)

Students enrolled in AP US History must read chapters 1‒5 in this book and take notes on each chapter.

About this book: “The reputable authors of ‘The American Pageant’ combine excellent scholarship with a witty, engaging narrative style and creative look at U.S. History to build critical thinking skills and a love of American history. The American Pageant, the best-selling AP US History text, is a clear and approachable book for any student studying American history.”

—  National Geographic Learning/Cengage

  • History
  • Required Reading
"A Room of One’s Own"

By Virginia Woolf

Suggested by Mr. Visentin

What if William Shakespeare had a sister? What if she had the same genius and potential as her brother? Would we be reading and celebrating Judith Shakespeare’s works as well, or would her work have been lost because she did not have the space, the freedom, and the opportunity to develop it? In this book-length essay, Woolf argues that it is not because of a lack of talent but a lack of opportunity that keeps marginalized writers at the margins; therefore, we must give these voices space—literally and figuratively—to work and be heard.

Further reading: Woolf’s complex, difficult, but rewarding novels, especially ‘To the Lighthouse,” “Mrs. Dalloway,” and “The Waves.”

  • classic
  • English
  • Mr. Visentin

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