2018 Senior Summer Reading 

All rising seniors will read two books for summer reading, and it is important for the students to have completed these texts prior to the start of school in September.  While there is no written work required as part of the summer assignment, we do want for students to read carefully and thoughtfully; thus, some students may want to take notes or to keep a journal as part of the active engagement of their two texts.  All students will spend several class periods engaging in some activities related to summer reading in early September and will then complete one or more writing assignments involving their two texts. 

REQUIRED Reading #1

All rising seniors will read Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter:  A Novel.  This critically-acclaimed novel was a 2005 New York Times best seller as well as the 2006 USA Today Book of the Year.  Edwards’ story focuses on love, marriage, childbirth, and deceit, and critics have lauded its thoughtful consideration of a variety of themes:  love, family, and honesty.  It also focuses on the diverse ways in which characters view and respond to someone with Down Syndrome.  We encourage you to read with care, consideration, and curiosity.

Required Reading #2

In addition to Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter:  A Novel, all rising seniors must read one additional text from the following list. 


  • One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories
    This is an international collection of 23 short stories from a diverse group of world-renowned writers – all of whom share a talent and a desire to write engaging, provocative stories.

  • Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
    This is a 2012 play centered around a dinner party with four people from vastly different backgrounds.  The play specifically raises questions about and addresses themes related to Islamophobia and the self-identity of Muslim-American citizens.

  • The Essential Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
    This is a collection of poetry from 13th century Afghan poet Rumi, who is considered one of the most popular and influential poets in world history.
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
    Kuar’s collection of poetry highlights experiences of hurting and how these instances impact one’s ability to love.  She writes about what happens when that love is broken and the healing one must experience to move forward.    
  • New Jersey Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates
    This is a collection of dark short stories and poems -- all set in New Jersey -- from a variety of different writers.  Are these literary pieces humorous?  Sometimes. Are they fascinating?  Always.


  • Best of American Essays 2015
    The introduction to this collection of essays attempts to answer the question “What is an essay?”  This collection of creative nonfiction essays addresses topics on everything from cats to the skills necessary to live in the 21st century.
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
    Baldwin’s personal essay attempts to explain his thoughts about race in America in 1963.  It is a compelling examination of racial injustice and a call to all Americans to right a legacy of wrongs.  
  • Experience and Education by John Dewey
    Dewey’s philosophy of education involves addressing the issue of the appropriate nexus between school and real world experience.  Though written more than 100 years ago, it is still a relevant work today as we continue to struggle with finding this proper balance.
  • The Woman Warrior:  Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
    Kingston details her struggles with her individual and cultural identity as a first- generation Chinese-American woman. This unique, award-winning text is a unique blend of Chinese folktales and memoirs that involves five interconnected chapters, each of which functions somewhat like a short story.  
  • Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol
    Kozol describes the overwhelming disparities that he notices between the many public schools that he has visited throughout the country.  He includes interviews with students, teachers, and parents in this seminal sociological work that is simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking.
  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race edited by Jesmyn Ward
    Envisioned as a response to James Baldwin’s groundbreaking 1963 work The Fire Next Time, these contemporary writers reflect on the past, present, and future of race in America.
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
    This 1929 piece is Woolf’s essay response when asked to speak about women and fiction.  She ponders how women find the space – both literally and figuratively –to write and to live.