2017 Summer Reading Program

Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory's Summer Reading Program has been designed to develop an appreciation for reading and lifelong learning. Encouraging our students to read is one of the many ways we are preparing our students for academic excellence.

Program Goals

1. Encourage students to develop an appreciation for reading and lifelong learning.

2. Provide a learning environment that encourages intellectual exploration, social consciousness and active learning.

3. Provide students with an opportunity to discuss the reading, with peers, in an adult-moderated Reading Circle.

This year, students, by grade level, will be provided with a list of three titles (fiction/nonfiction). Each title focuses on a social issue. Click on a title to read a synopsis of the book. AFTER reading your assigned book, you will select ONE of the items from the Final Project List to create as a follow-up to your experience.

Please email your full name, grade and choice to Mrs. Wehnes by June 30th to cwehnes@cmlions.org

NOTE: It is the responsibility of the student to obtain his/her own copy of the text. If a PDF version is not available via Internet, books can be purchased via local book store or Internet source (Amazon – new/used, eBay – used, Thriftbooks – used, Alibris – new/used).

Class of 2021


#1. I AM MALALA - "I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday." When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

#2. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE –From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

#3. DARKROOM: A MEMOIR IN BLACK AND WHITE by Lila Quintero Weaver: An arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity in the American South, rendered in stunning illustrations by the author, Lila Quintero Weaver. In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.

Class of 2020



In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

#2. ALL STRANGERS ARE KIN by Zora O’Neill:

Join O’Neill for a grand tour through the Middle East. You will laugh with her in Egypt, delight in the stories she passes on from the United Arab Emirates, and find yourself transformed by her experiences in Lebanon and Morocco. She’s packed her dictionaries, her unsinkable sense of humor, and her talent for making fast friends of strangers. From quiet, bougainvillea-lined streets to the lively buzz of crowded medinas, from families’ homes to local hotspots, she brings a part of the world that is thousands of miles away right to your door.

A natural storyteller with an eye for the deeply absurd and the deeply human, O’Neill explores the indelible links between culture and communication. A powerful testament to the dynamism of language, All Strangers Are Kin reminds us that learning another tongue leaves you rich with so much more than words.

#3. THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime."

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Class of 2019


#1. A SCHOOL FOR MY VILLAGE by Twesigye Jackson Kaguri: Can one person really make a difference in the world? Twesigye Jackson Kaguri overcame tremendous odds as he followed his dream to build a school for AIDS orphans in his village in Uganda. This is his unforgettable story.

Growing up on his family's small farm, Kaguri worked many hours each day for his taskmaster father, though he was lucky his parents were able to send him to school. Kaguri eventually became a visiting scholar at Columbia University. Returning to his home years later, he was overwhelmed by the plight of AIDS orphans and vowed to build them a tuition-free school. A School for My Village weaves together tales from Kaguri's youth and his inspiring account of building the school and changing the lives of many children.

#2. THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY by Luis Alberto Urrea: In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national bestseller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern American classic.

#3. MONSTER - This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination, and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.

Fade In: Interior: Early Morning In Cell Block D, Manhattan Detention Center.

Steve (Voice-Over): Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady prosecutor called me ... Monster. (Supports the Common Core State Standards)

Class of 2018


#1. OUTCASTS UNITED by Warren St. John: The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town. Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

#2. THE DRESSMAKER OF KHAIR KHANA by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC Newsreporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

#3. DOUBLE TAKE by Kevin Michael Connolly: “Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

“Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empowering read.” — People

As featured on 20/20, NPR, and in the Washington Post: Kevin Connolly is a young man born without legs who travels the world—by skateboard, with his camera—on his “Rolling Exhibition,” snapping pictures of peoples’ reactions to him… and finds out along the way what it truly means to be human.

Final Project List



AFTER reading your chosen book, select ONE of the following to create as a follow-up to your experience. When making a choice, be sure to consider both the book and your talents. ALL PROJECTS WILL BE DUE ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. During this Reading Circle meeting you will be sharing your project with the group. NOTE: ALL PROJECTS MUST BE TYPED. Additionally, it is expected that projects be original to the individual student. Projects copied (part or whole) from another source will not be accepted.

1. Write a letter to one’s congressperson requesting government interest/intervention in an

“issue” portrayed in the book. (400-500 words minimum)

2. Draft a proposal (cast, location, genre), to a noted director, for a film version of the book. (400-500 words minimum)

3. Create a 5-7 minute PSA (Public Service Announcement) podcast. Adhere to the following


Student has clearly defined the audience/purpose.

Podcast intention is obvious (appropriate word choices).

Message identifies the issue and discusses it in a meaningful way.

Podcast recording quality is clear/easy to understand. Background audio and sound effects add to the message making it more clear.

Voice has good diction, inflection, and is interesting to listen to.

4. Create, submit (lyrics), AND perform an original song (any genre) reflecting the story, theme/s, &/or issue/s of the book.

5. Write a newspaper editorial for one of the following publications: THE ONION, NEW TIMES, NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, WALL STREET JOURNAL. The editorial must be suitable for publishing and reflect an issue conveyed through the book. (400-500 words minimum)

6. Write AND recite (poetry slam) a lyric (expresses emotions) or narrative (tells a story) poem reflecting some aspect (story, character/s, theme) of the book. (20 lines minimum)

7. Write a book review modeled after “professional” reviews found in the NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, TIME MAGAZINE, MIAMI HERALD, NPR (Internet), GOODREADS (Internet). The review must be original to the student. The referenced publications should only serve as guides to how a review is written. (500 words minimum)

8. Create AND deliver an original dramatic monolog given by any one of the characters (secondary, not primary) at a moment of high intensity in the book sharing their thoughts/feelings to the audience. (90-120 seconds)

9. “Talk” to the author by writing a letter to him/her explaining why you think he/she wrote the book and what he/she was trying to show through the book. Also, be sure to explain what you got out of the book. (400-500 words minimum)

10. Envision the book as a film and select at least 10 songs (title/artist) which could provide the soundtrack for the film. Explain (5-7 sentences per) how each song “supports” the mood/theme of a particular scene.

***NOTE: If you should have any questions about the above projects, please ask Mrs. Wehnes (English Department Chairperson), your English teacher or Reading Circle facilitator for assistance.

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