Dear Rising Sophomores,

This summer, you will be asked to read the book(s) listed under the courses you will be taking next year. 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 English books, please email kmorris@jrransom.com. If you have any questions regarding the history books and assignments, please email jmaiocco@jrransom.com.

Enjoy your summer!
                                                 
Ms. Kathleen Morris                                      Mr. John Maiocco
English Department Chairperson                Social Studies Department Chairperson
Rising sophomores in the Academy and Honors Programs taking English 10 or English 10H must choose ONE of the following books and should annotate it 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.

  • Becoming - Michelle Obama

    In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

    In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
  • Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant -- Abdi Nor Iftin

    Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

    Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya.

    In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin's dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.
  • Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng

    Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

    So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

    A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

    Under the streets of London, there's a place most people could never even dream of: a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armor and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

    Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
  • Piece of My Heart - Mary Higgins Clark

    Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skimboard washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under the water.
  • Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars - Eileen M. Collins

    Eileen Collins was an aviation pioneer her entire career, from her crowning achievements as the first woman to command an American space mission as well as the first to pilot the space shuttle to her early years as one of the Air Force’s first female pilots. She was in the first class of women to earn pilot’s wings at Vance Air Force Base and was their first female instructor pilot. She was only the second woman admitted to the Air Force’s elite Test Pilot Program at Edwards Air Force Base. NASA had such confidence in her skills as a leader and pilot that she was entrusted to command the first shuttle mission after the Columbia disaster, returning the US to spaceflight after a two-year hiatus. Since retiring from the Air Force and NASA, she has served on numerous corporate boards and is an inspirational speaker about space exploration and leadership.

    Eileen Collins is among the most recognized and admired women in the world, yet this is the first time she has told her story in a book. It is a story not only of achievement and overcoming obstacles but of profound personal transformation. The shy, quiet child of an alcoholic father and struggling single mother, who grew up in modest circumstances and was an unremarkable student, she had few prospects when she graduated from high school, but she changed her life to pursue her secret dream of becoming an astronaut. She shares her leadership and life lessons throughout the book with the aim of inspiring and passing on her legacy to a new generation.
  • Two Can Keep a Secret – Karen M. McManus

    Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery has never been there, but she's heard all about it: her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. Then, only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now, Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

    The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. Before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

    Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous--and most people aren't good at keeping them -- which is why in Echo Ridge, it's safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
  • 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 sophomores in the Ryken Program must read Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus and fill out the graphic organizer while reading. All students will write an in-class essay during the first week of classes based on the book they read.

List of 1 items.

  • Two Can Keep a Secret - Karen McManus

    Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery has never been there, but she's heard all about it: her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. Then, only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now, Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

    The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. Before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

    Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous--and most people aren't good at keeping them -- which is why in Echo Ridge, it's safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
Rising sophomores in the Academy Program taking Global Studies 10 must read the book below and must complete this graphic organizer to help prepare them for an in-class essay during the first full week of classes.

List of 1 items.

  • 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change -- Edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti

    “The Rights of Man.” What does that mean? In 1789 that question rippled all around the world. Do all men have rights—not just nobles and kings? What then of enslaved people, women, the original inhabitants of the Americas? In the new United States, a bill of rights was passed, while in France, the nation tumbled toward revolution. In the Caribbean, preachers brought word of equality, while in the South Pacific, sailors mutinied. New knowledge was exploding, with mathematicians and scientists rewriting the history of the planet and the digits of pi. Lauded anthology editors Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti, along with ten award-winning nonfiction authors, explore a tumultuous year when rights and freedoms collided with enslavement and domination, and the future of humanity seemed to be at stake.

    Some events and actors are familiar: Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Marie Antoinette, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Others may be less so: the eloquent former slave Olaudah Equiano, the Seneca memoirist Mary Jemison, the fishwives of Paris, the mathematician Jurij Vega, and the painter Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. But every chapter brings fresh perspectives on the debates of the time, inviting readers to experience the passions of the past and ask new questions of today.
Rising sophomores taking Global 10 Honors must read Tom Standage’s A History of the World in 6 Glasses and complete the assignment outlined here. Please note the movie assignment on this document, too. 

List of 1 items.

  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses - Tom Standage


    Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.

    A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.

    For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
Rising sophomores taking AP World History must complete the following assignment.

Xaverian

Established in 1957, Xaverian is one of thirteen schools nationwide sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.