English 10 Honors Summer Reading Assignment
Welcome to Honors English 10! Reading is essential to your development as a student. You develop vocabulary, grammar, thinking and analytical skills as you read. You also develop important human values such as empathy, compassion, and understanding as you enter the world of the characters and confront the challenges and choices they face. At the very least, you need to complete your summer reading assignment, but do yourself a favor and read a few extra books this summer! The books below may be obtained at a bookstore or the Calumet City library (check with the librarian.) They can also be ordered online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Students enrolled in this course will be required to read TWO (2) selections:
- Everyone will read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This is a classic American novel by one of our most famous authors. The story is set during the Great Depression and tells the tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. Remember that the story takes place in the 1930s on a ranch, and that the characters act, speak and think the way people would have during that time. Your job is to enter into their world and try to understand how they experience what happens to them in the story. You must complete the assignment for Of Mice and Men that is attached to this handout (p. 6.) THIS WILL BE DUE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! In addition, there will be a test over the book during the first week of school.
- Each of you will pick a second book from the list that follows. These are current books, and many were written specifically for young adults. The summaries/reviews provided for each book are from www.amazon.com or www.goodreads.com. You will write an in-class essay for your book the first week of school. I will give you the prompt the first day of class, and you must be prepared to write an essay for your book the following day. Keep in mind that you will need QUOTES to support the arguments in your essays, so PLEASE be sure to keep a list of quotes (and page numbers) about the topics listed on the top of the next page (p. 2.) If you are reading an ebook, be sure to look up how to cite a quote (generally by chapter).
Consider the following topics as you read, and take notes and collect quotes for each category. You will be able to use these notes to assist you in writing your in-class essay:
- Choose at least three themes.What is the author trying to say about life? What did the author want you to understand about life after reading his/her book? How is the theme evident in the book? How does the author use character development or conflict to illustrate this message?
- Consider the genre or category of the novel.Is it a mystery? Realistic fiction? Historical fiction? Dystopian (a book that shows an imaginary world that is a terrible place such as The Hunger Games)? Once you have decided on the genre of your novel (you can look on www.amazon.com to find this out), you may want to look up the features of the genre to help you focus on certain characteristics while reading. For example, in a historical novel, how well is the era conveyed? In a mystery, how effective are clues and use of suspense? In a dystopian novel, who is punished in the society and why?
- Consider the characters.How did they change? Why? Focus in particular on relationships between characters. How do they affect each other? Is there redemption for any characters? When you consider character development, one of the best things to look at is the choices a character makes.Why did the character make that choice? What were the consequences (positive or negative)? What motivated the character to make that choice?
- Consider structure.Is it chronological (in time order)? Does the narrator use flashbacks or multiple points of view? How is foreshadowing used? Perhaps the author uses an unusual format such as letters or use of primary historical documents, such as an actual newspaper article about the event.
- Consider language and style.Was dialogue realistic? Was language poetic? How would you characterize the author’s style? How would you compare it to another author you have read?
Novels to Choose From:
1. The Martian by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
2. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The Age of Miracles is a beautiful novel of catastrophe and survival, growth and change, the story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in an extraordinary time. On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: People ∙ O: The Oprah Magazine ∙ Financial Times ∙ Kansas City Star ∙ BookPage ∙ Kirkus Reviews ∙ Publishers Weekly ∙ Booklist
3. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's...Dodger.
Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London's sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He's not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl--not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.
From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy and humor intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.
4. The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.
But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.
Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.
5. Legend by Marie Lu
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
6. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
This is a true story, not a novel.
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.
7. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.
The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.
As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom's life completely changes. Suddenly, he's someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there's a price to pay
8. Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
9. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.
High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.
10. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • School Library Journal
English 10 Honors - Of Mice and Men Assignment
This assignment is due the first day of school in August; late work will not be accepted! Students should also be prepared for a test over the book during the first week of school.
Responses to the questions must be typed in Calibri or Times New Roman using 12 point font, double-spaced, and proofread carefully. Your work will be worth 40 points. Paragraphs must be at least 8-10 sentences in length (not counting quotes.)
Discuss two different parts of the book that provoked an emotional response from you (anger, sympathy, sadness, surprise, frustration, fear, anxiety, etc.). Explain what happened in the story and why it made you feel the way it did. Include specific examples from the book AND at least one quotation from the book followed by a properly formatted MLA parenthetical citation (Steinbeck and the page number.) (You need 2 paragraphs about 2 different emotional responses.)
Theme in a novel is the insight into life that the story helps the reader understand. What did you understand better about life after reading the book? Theme is not a topic or subject. (For example, “racism” is NOT a theme; it’s a subject. “Racism warps and destroys the lives of its victims” IS a theme.) Identify two different themes in Of Mice and Men. Explain how these themes are demonstrated in the story. Include specific examples from the book AND at least one quotation from the book followed by a properly formatted MLA parenthetical citation. (You need 2 paragraphs about 2 different themes.)
Rubric for Summer Reading Questions
- Emotional response paragraph1____________________/10
- Emotional response paragraph 2___________________/10
- Theme and example paragraph 1___________________/10
- Theme and example paragraph 2___________________/10
TOTAL (4 paragraphs) ______________/40