NTH@C English I Summer Reading 2017

Incoming freshman will be reading two titles before returning to school in August. The first required book is The Element by Sir Ken Robinson. The second book is a title of choice from the list provided below.

Required reading for all Rookies is:

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

  • Sir Ken Robinson's book, first published in January 2009, is a collection of real stories of highly successful people, just as ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, actress Meg Ryan, cartoonist Matt Groening, choreographer Gillian Lynne, author Arianna Huffington, physicist Richard Feynman and many others who are "passionate about what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else." As the author says, "...too many people never connect with their true talents and therefore don’t know what they’re really capable of achieving. In that sense, they don’t know who they really are". "Most of us lose our confidence in our our imagination as we grow up. [...] I believe that their stories have something important to teach all of us about the nature of human capacity and fulfillment."

Learners choose ONE of the following titles as a SECOND title for English I.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Recommended for AP Human Geography Learners)

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel seeks to answer the biggest question of post-Ice-Age human history: why Eurasian peoples, rather than peoples of other continents, became the ones to develop the ingredients of power (guns, germs, and steel) and to expand around the world.  An extraterrestrial being visiting the Earth 14,000 years ago could have been forgiven for failing to predict this outcome, because the human populations of other continents apparently also possessed advantages.  Africans enjoyed a huge head start, because Africa is the continent with by far the longest history of human occupation.  North America is a big fertile continent, with the result that it supports the richest and most productive nation today.  Australia provides by far the earliest evidence for human ability to cross wide water gaps, and some of the earliest widespread evidence for behaviorally modern humans.  Why, nevertheless, were Eurasians the ones to expand?

Claudette Colvin, Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

  • 1000L
  • Hoose recounts the largely untold story of Claudette Colvin, who was arrested and jailed at the age of 15 after refusing to relinquish her seat on a bus to a white woman. Interviews with Colvin create a vivid picture not only of the Montgomery bus boycott but also the Browder v. Gayle case, in which she was a key defendant.

March, Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

  • Graphic Novel
  • Powerful and captivating, this graphic novel depicts the Civil Rights movement from fall of 1963 through the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Following John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and fellow activists, the artwork brings to life the brutality, loss, and successes members experienced while carrying out a series of nonviolent protests to overcome local barriers and exercise their right to vote. Equally moving as a stand-alone title or conclusion to the March trilogy, March: Book Three will hook readers from the opening scene and leave them questioning how they themselves might answer the call of injustice long after the last page is turned.

In the Shadow of Liberty:  The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis

  • In a clear-eyed, well-researched work, Davis looks at the relationship between five enslaved persons and the former presidents who considered them property. In weaving together the story of these lives, Davis explains the contradiction between America’s founding ideals and the harsh reality of human bondage. Utilizing personal narratives, census data, images, and other primary source material, this book explains a heartbreaking chapter in American history that is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

This Land is Our Land:  A History of American Immigration written by Linda Barrett Osborne

  • Immigrants arriving in the U.S. have, more often than not, been met with suspicion, anger, and prejudice. Opponents of immigration argue that immigrants take jobs away from U.S. citizens, don't deserve to be here, and should be sent back to where they came from—a prevalent attitude that has, as this book shows, target groups including Hispanics, the Irish, and Asians. The topic is current and this book gives timely background information that is especially needed today.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War written by Steve Sheinkin

  • Sheinkin’s latest is a thrilling journalistic account of government insider Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers and exposed the questionable decisions that led to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. This cinematic work simultaneously recounts a history of the Vietnam War, details the complete reversal of one man’s loyalties, chronicles the downfall of a presidential administration, examines First Amendment rights, and explores honor and morality. A timely exploration of American history that crackles with tension and excitement.

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir written by Margarita Engle

  • Cuban? American? Lush island paradise or fast-paced city living? These are the two worlds that Margarita Engle eloquently describes through lyrical, free-verse poems as she attempts to define herself, her family, and her country within the context of being biracial during the United States’ invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The power of this book lies in the emotional connections and vivid imagery evoked by observing the simple differences between Engle’s two families as she deftly explores both cultures’ customs and traditions.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek written by Maya Van Wagenen

  • 730L
  • This memoir of Maya Van Wagenen’s eighth grade year is one part 1950s popularity guidebook mixed with two parts courage and one truly modern geek girl. She uses Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide to take on the social hierarchy of her school and manages to achieve acceptance and understanding.

Laughing at My Nightmare written by Shane Burcaw

  • 1110L
  • In this focused, intelligent, and most of all hilarious memoir, Shane Burcaw recalls both the normal and deeply unique experiences he has endured living with spinal muscular atrophy. With a sharp wit, Burcaw is self-deprecating but never defeatist, even in the face of his terminal condition. His anecdotal essays are thought-provoking, and his whip-smart style puts him in a league with some of today’s best humorists. In his eminently readable and relatable memoir, Burcaw’s positive attitude is inspirational without being the least bit cloying.

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia written by Candace Fleming

  • 950L
  • Fleming deftly illuminates the fascinating life of Czar Nicholas II; his wife, Alexandra; and their children, describing their ostentatiously privileged upbringing, the dramatic fall of the Russian Empire, and their tragic deaths in this moving and insightful biography of Russia’s Romanov family. She unflinchingly exposes the flawed but human side of the royal family while simultaneously interweaving details about the rich historical context, from Rasputin and Lenin to the narratives of the poor and working class, told in excerpts from the diaries and letters of Russia’s peasants, factory workers, and soldiers. With captivating photos, extensive primary sources, and recent research about the fate of the Romanov family, Fleming tells a gripping, comprehensive story of life in a pivotal period of Russian history.

Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! written by Emily Arnold McCully

  • 1120L
  • Born before the Civil War and living in what was truly a man’s world, Ida Tarbell was one of the first practitioners of what we now call investigative journalism. Although she is not well known today, she made a name for herself in her own time by taking on the exploitative practices of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company. In this fine biography that also serves as a social history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, McCully presents a readable and captivating account of this unusual woman, showing the reader her inconsistencies and faults as well as the grit, determination, and intellect that allowed Tarbell to support herself and her family with her writing.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights written by Steve Sheinkin

  • As World War II escalated overseas, African American sailors at Port Chicago were under pressure to load bombs faster and faster onto waiting ships, until finally a horrific explosion killed hundreds. In the days that followed, 50 men refused to work under such unsafe conditions and were charged with mutiny. Sheinkin masterfully weaves interviews, court records, and other primary sources with his driving narrative to tell the complex and little-known history of the Port Chicago Disaster of 1944. Tightly written, this slim volume is rich in information about the history of a segregated military, the emerging civil rights movement, and the exceptional leaders and individuals of the time.