The following are required reading for incoming juniors at the Garden City High School:
Required text for 11R:
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (Nook/Kindle)
De Rosnay’s U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver outside the city, and then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac. Sarah’s trials are so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.
Required text for 11H & 10–11 Honors:
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Nook/Kindle)
Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes “unstuck in time” after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the fire-bombing of Dresden.
CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. Game by Walter Dean Myers (Nook)
Harlem teen – Drew Lawson thinks that he has “the big-money skills” for the NBA. Now senior, he plans to play his best game, attract scouts, and earn a scholarship that will, he hopes, lead to the pros. Then his coach begins to favor a new, white player, and Drew struggles to overcome his anger and to maintain his drive. Basketball fans will love the long passages of detailed court action, and Myers extends the sports metaphors into Drew’s own questions about the future possibilities for himself and his peers, particularly the struggling young men in his neighborhood, whom he sees as “a bunch of guys in a game.
2. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (Kindle)
Jeanette Walls presents a memoir that shows how her parents’ stubbornness and non- conformity were both a salvation and a curse. Rex and Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving around the Southwest in 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.
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Nook/Kindle)
This is a gripping story set in a post apocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death. Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one’s humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It’s a credit to Collins’s skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser. It’s no accident that these games are presented as pop culture.
4.The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Nook/Kindle)
HeLa cells have been vital to develop the polio vaccine as well as uncover the secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb. The cells also have led to important advances like in-vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping. They have been sent into space and have been bought and sold by the billions. However, the family of the woman who made these medical breakthroughs possible was never informed, never rewarded and never acknowledged.
5. It’s Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong (Nook/Kindle)
In 1996, young cycling phenomenon Armstrong discovered he had testicular cancer. In 1999, he won the Tour de France. Now he’s a grateful husband, a new father and a memoirist: with pluck, humility and verve, this volume covers his early life, his rise through the endurance sport world and his medical difficulties. Cancer “was like being run off the road by a truck, and I’ve got the scars to prove it,” but Armstrong has set his sights on a wider meaning and readership: “When I was sick I saw more beauty and triumph and truth in a single day than I ever did in a bike race.”
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Nook/Kindle)
In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy and finally, hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons supported her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and during her formative years in California where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever.