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Summer Reading

                                                                                                                                                                      June 2020


Jackson Hole Community School

Summer Reading


This summer, all JHCS students are required to read two books and write one essay. 


  1. All students are required to read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This New York Times best seller and National Book Award for Non-fiction winner is written as a letter to Coates’s teenage son about his experiences as a black man in the United States. During the 2020-2021 school year, we as a school community will use this book as a springboard to discuss where we see systemic racism playing out in our society. While this is by no means a new issue, we are in a true teaching and learning moment as our nation wrestles with this in a way we have not seen in many years. To quote our current and incoming Heads of School, “the way forward lies in the realm of listening and learning with one’s mind and heart firmly open.”  This book and the conversations it sparks will enable us to honor our founding principles of fostering critical thought, honoring diverse ideas and opinions, and respecting each person as a unique individual while cultivating meaningful relationships. Parents are encouraged to read Coates’ work also!
  2. Each grade level has an additional required reading and writing assignment, explained below. Please follow the directions provided. (Juniors are also required to watch a 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).
  3. We encourage students to explore some of the suggested reads found on the back of this page, too.
  4. Any questions you have regarding the grade-level summer reading books and the required essay should be directed to Dave Baczko at Happy summer!

Grade Level Summer Reading (and film viewing) in addition to the all-school read:

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


SUMMER READING ESSAY on the grade level novel

Students are required to write an analytical essay that puts forth a clear and insightful argument (thesis) addressing ONE of the following prompts. 12th grade student essays need to be 3-4 pages long; 9th through 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/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: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 in your teacher’s mailbox.


Suggested Reading—These lists include works that the academic departments at JHCS recommend as worthwhile reads for our students at each grade level. (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).


Grade 9

The Pearl –John Steinbeck

The House on Mango Street –Sandra Cisneros

Endurance  --Alfred Lansing

Ender’s Game –Orson Scott Card

A Separate Peace –John Knowles

Kon-Tiki –Thor Heyerdahl

Wapiti Wilderness—Margaret and Olaus Murie

A Raisin in the Sun—Lorraine Hansberry

An Unfinished Life—Mark Spragg

My Antonia –Willa Cather

Princess Bride—William Goldman


Grade 10

Power of One—Bryce Courtney

West with the Night--Beryl Markham

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Legends of the Fall—Jim Harrison

Berlin City of Stones—Jason Lutes

What is the What—Dave Eggers

Genome—Matt Ridley

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body--Neil Shubin

A Farewell to Arms—Ernest Hemingway

The Hate U Give—Angie Thomas


Grade 11

Ragtime –E.L. Doctorow

Angela’s Ashes –Frank McCourt

Devil in the White City—Erik Larson

Man Hunt: The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer --James L. Swanson

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn–Betty Smith

The Brothers K—David James Duncan

Franny and Zooey—J.D. Salinger

This Boy’s Life—Tobias Wolff

Breakfast at Tiffanys - Truman Capote

Manchild in the Promised Land—Claude Brown

The Bluest Eye—Toni Morrison


Grade 12

The Professor and the Madman—Simon Winchester

Disappearing Spoon—Sam Kean

And the Band Played On—Randy Shilts

The Handmaid’s Tale–Margaret Atwood

The Awakening –Kate Chopin

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—R. Skloot

White Noise—Don Delillo

The Unbearable Lightness of Being—Milan Kundera

The Glass Castle—Jeanette Walls

The Invisible Man—Ralph Ellison