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Summer Reading

Jackson Hole Community School

Summer Reading 2021


JHCS students are required to read one book and to write one essay over the summer. Juniors are required to watch one film in addition to the assigned novel, and their summer reading essay should analyze the novel or a shared theme found in both works (the book and the film). Summer reading is assigned by grade level (see below). We encourage students to explore some of the suggested reads (recommendations made by our school’s DEI Club!) found on the back of this page, too. For the essay, each student needs to follow the directions outlined below. Any questions you have regarding summer reading and the required essay should be directed to Dave Baczko at Happy summer!


Required Summer Reading (and film viewing):


9th Grade: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

10th Grade: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

11th Grade Novel: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

         Film: A River Runs Through It (Director: Robert Redford)

12th Grade: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann



Students are required to write an analytical essay that puts forth a clear and persuasive argument/claim (or thesis) addressing ONE of the following prompts. 12th grade student essays need to be 3-4 pages long; 9th, 10th, and 11th grade essays need to be 2-3 pages long (double-spaced). The questions (you need only choose one) are meant to help you form a unique and critical thesis. Using outside sources (such as the internet, parents, or friends) and claiming those ideas as your own represents a breach of JHCS’s Honor Code. Make sure the essay incorporates your own interpretation and be sure to cite specific examples from the text (or film) to support your argument.


1) Discuss a major theme or symbol that you see throughout the novel (or novel and film).  What is the significance of the symbol? How does the author develop the theme to make a larger point?


2) Evaluate the tone and bias of the author’s voice.  What lens are you seeing the story through?  How is the narration shaped in order for the author to convey/emphasize a point?


3) Analyze the agenda and message of the author.  What is it that the author wants the reader to walk away with?  Why might the author have decided to tell the story that he/she did?


4) Create a critical response with a focus of your own choosing.



DUE DATE: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 in your teacher’s mailbox.





Suggested Reading—These lists include works that the English and History Departments at JHCS recommend as worthwhile reads for our students at each grade level.

Suggested Summer Reading —The JHCS DEI Club recommends the following books for those students looking for selections in addition to the required summer reading.


(Disclaimer: A few of the suggested texts feature language and detail that might be uncomfortable for some readers. Students should feel free to research the nature of the story before reading it).


9th Grade: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 


In Thomas's debut novel, she expands from a short story she wrote in college in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant. The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite, predominantly white, private school. Angie Thomas examines how society uses stereotypes against black people in order to justify violence and racism against them. The story explores serious topics around racism, police brutality, and activism. 


10th Grade: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds


Jason Reynolds explores the history of racism in our country. The narrative takes readers on a journey from then to now, explaining why we feel how we feel, how our history has evolved into the systemic racism we know today, and how we can become actively anti-racist every single day. Reynolds inspires hope for an anti-racist future. 


11th Grade: Just Mercy: Adapted for Young Adults by Bryan Stevenson


Bryan Stevenson dives into the United States' broken justice system. Bryan reflects on his own experiences and efforts as a lawyer and advocate, with a focus on the most marginalized and rejected people in America. This is a story about justice and advocating for the wrongly convicted.  

12th Grade: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah 

Noah’s unexpected path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. The stories in this collection are amusing, tragic, and emotionally moving in equal measure. Trevor reveals his unusual world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty, whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, getting flung from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or simply attempting to survive the life-and-death hazards of dating in high school.