Wylie ISD Summer Reading List

The first day of school for Wylie ISD is Monday, August 25th.  Has your student started their summer reading yet?  Below is the list taken from the Wylie ISD website (http://www.wylieisd.net/Page/5464).

Ungifted 
by Gordon Korman
, 5th Grade GT

ungifted_korman

Hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the GT program and changes everything.  This funny and touching underdog story is a lovable and goofy adventure with robot fights, middle-school dances, live experiments, and statue-toppling pranks!
 
When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far.  But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for GT students.
  
Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him.  But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

Al Capone Does My Shirts
 by Gennifer Choldenko, 

6th Grade GT

capone_shirts

Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school.  But Natalie has autism, and when she’s denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous coping mechanisms Moose’s family has used for dealing with her disorder.  When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the Warden, he knows right off she’s trouble.  But she’s also strangely irresistible.  All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents’ expectations, and stay out of trouble.  But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.
 
 Set in 1935, when guards actually lived on Alcatraz Island with their families, Choldenko’s second novel brings humor to the complexities of family dynamics.  It illuminates the real struggle of a kid trying to free himself from the “good boy” stance he’s taken his whole life.

Peak 
by Roland Smith
, 
8th Grade GT and Pre-AP All Junior High Schools

peak

When fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello’s long-lost father presents the opportunity for them to summit Everest together, Peak doesn’t even consider saying no-even though he suspects there are a few strings attached.  If he makes it to the top before his birthday, he’ll be the youngest person ever to stand above 29,000 feet.  It’s not a bad turn of events for a guy who’s been stuck in New York City with only skyscrapers to (illegally) scale.
  
Here, in Peak’s own words, is the exhilarating, gut-wrenching story of what happened on that climb to the top of the world-a climb that changed everything.  Welcome to Mount Everest.

The Giver
 by Lois Lowry
, 
7th Grade GT

giver

Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control.  There is no war or fear or pain.  There are no choices.  Every person is assigned a role in the Community.
 
 When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver.  The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life.  Now it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back.

The Secret Life of Bees
 by Sue Monk Kidd
, 
Pre-AP English I for WEHS & WHS

secret_life_bees

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.  When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina-a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past.  There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household.  This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love-a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Their Eyes Were Watching God
 by Zora Neale
, Pre-AP English II WEHS

eyes_watching_god

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.”-Zadie Smith.  
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston.  Out of print for almost thirty years-due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist-Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Life of Pi
 by Yann Martel
, 
Humanities I for WEHS & WHS


life_pi

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories.  When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.  The ship sinks.  Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.  Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea.  When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again.  The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.”  After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?

The Good Earth
 by Pearl S. Buck
, 
Humanities II for WEHS & WHS (Choice 1)

good_earth

Though more than seventy years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics.  In The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck paints an indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings.  This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-Lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during the last century.  Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards.  Her brilliant novel—beloved by millions of readers—is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.

Things Fall Apart
 by Chinua Achebe
, 
Humanities II for WEHS & WHS (Choice 2)


things_fall_apart

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria.  The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world.  The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries.  These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

The Glass Castle
 by Jeanette Walls
, 
AP English III for WEHS (Book 1)


glass_castle

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation.  Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children.  In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains.  Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly.  Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.”  Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
 
 Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape.  He drank.  He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days.  As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

  What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity.  Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Outliers 
by Malcolm Gladwell
, 
AP English III for WEHS (Book 2)

outliers

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful.  He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?  His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.  Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Unbroken
 by Lauren Hillenbrand
, AP English III for WHS

unbroken

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.  The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.  Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.  In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor
 by Thomas C. Foster
, AP English IV and AP Lit & Comp for WEHS & WHS (Book 1)

read_like_professor

Thomas C. Foster’s classic guide-a lively and entertaining introduction to literature and literary basics, including symbols, themes and contexts, that shows you how to make your everyday reading experience more rewarding and enjoyable.
 While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes-and the literary codes-of the ultimate professional reader, the college professor.
  What does it mean when a literary hero is traveling along a dusty road?  When he hands a drink to his companion?  When he’s drenched in a sudden rain shower?
 Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature-a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower-and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

The Road
 by Cormac McCarthy, 

AP English IV and AP Lit & Comp for WEHS & WHS (Book 2)

road

A father and his son walk alone through burned America.  Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind.  It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray.  The sky is dark.  Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

 
 The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey.  It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love.  Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

A People’s History of the United States
 by Howard Zinn
, 
AP US History

peoples_history_us

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research.  A People’s History of the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of — and in the words of — America’s women. factory workers.  African Americans. Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.  Revised and updated with two new chapters covering Clinton’s presidency, the 2000 Election, and the “war on terrorism.”  A People’s History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.
  
Open-minded readers will prophet from Professor Zinn’s account, and historians may view it as a step toward a coherent new version of American history.

Have you read any of these books? (Or seen the movies?) There are some great ones on the list!

What about school supplies? I would start shopping now before everything is sold out (http://www.wylieisd.net/Page/1471).

Don’t worry, their first break is Monday, September 1 for Labor Day.  No school!

On Wednesday, September 24 there is early dismissal.  Start planning after school care for that day if you are working.

Happy Reading!

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