Dear Genesis Students,
 
This summer, you will be asked to read TWO books from the lists below. While reading, you should keep track of important information from the books.
  1. For the required book, you must complete a “One-Pager.” This will help prepare you for an in-class essay in September that your teacher will review with you. Please see the information and sample here for more details.
  2. For the second book, you have a choice. Please review these options with your parents/guardians and use websites like www.commonsensemedia.org to evaluate the books before you make your selection. Then, choose ONE assignment from the boxes here based on that book. This assignment should be neatly typed and will be due during the first week of classes in September. Your English teacher will review procedures for submitting your work.
If you have any questions, please email Ms. Morris.

Enjoy your summer!
                                     
Mrs. Martina Di Palma                                   Ms. Kathleen Morris
Dean, Xaverian’s Genesis Program              Assistant Dean Xaverian’s Genesis Program
mdipalma@xaverian.org                                kmorris@xaverian.org  

6th Grade Mandatory Book

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  • Refugee - Alan Gratz

    Three different kids.

    One mission in common: ESCAPE.

    Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

    Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

    Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

    All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

6th Grade Choice Book - Choose ONE

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  • Framed – James Ponti

    Get to know the only kid on the FBI Director’s speed dial and several international criminals’ most wanted lists all because of his Theory of All Small Things in this hilarious start to a brand-new middle grade mystery series.

    So you’re only halfway through your homework and the Director of the FBI keeps texting you for help…What do you do? Save your grade? Or save the country?

    If you’re Florian Bates, you figure out a way to do both.

    Florian is twelve years old and has just moved to Washington. He’s learning his way around using TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. It’s a technique he invented to solve life’s little mysteries such as: where to sit on the on the first day of school, or which Chinese restaurant has the best eggrolls.

    But when he teaches it to his new friend Margaret, they uncover a mystery that isn’t little. In fact, it’s HUGE, and it involves the National Gallery, the FBI, and a notorious crime syndicate known as EEL.

    Can Florian decipher the clues and finish his homework in time to help the FBI solve the case?
  • Freak the Mighty – Rodman Philbrick

    Two boys – a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant and a tiny Einstein in leg braces – forge a unique friendship when they pair up to create one formidable human force. A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

    Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse - Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena - Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

7th Grade Mandatory Book

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  • The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

    A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead ... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

7th Grade Choice Book - Choose ONE

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  • Chasing Lincoln’s Killer – James L. Swanson

    Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters, CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.

    "This story is true. All the characters are real and were alive during the great manhunt of April 1865. Their words are authentic and come from original sources: letters, manuscripts, trial transcripts, newspapers, government reports, pamphlets, books and other documents. What happened in Washington, D.C., that spring, and in the swamps and rivers, forests and fields of Maryland and Virginia during the next twelve days, is far too incredible to have been made up."

    So begins this fast-paced thriller that tells the story of the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth and gives a day-by-day account of the wild chase to find this killer and his accomplices. Based on James Swanson's bestselling adult book MANHUNT: THE 12-DAY CHASE FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER, this young people's version is an accessible look at the assassination of a president, and shows readers Abraham Lincoln the man, the father, the husband, the friend, and how his death impacted those closest to him.
  • Chinese Cinderella – Adeline Yen Mah

    A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.

    A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family.

    Following the success of the critically acclaimed adult bestseller Falling Leaves, this memoir is a moving telling of the classic Cinderella story, with Adeline Yen Mah providing her own courageous voice.
  • The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

    Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

    There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

    But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.

    A deliciously dark masterwork by bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by award-winning Dave McKean.

8th Grade Mandatory Book

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  • And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

    First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:

    "Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he'd stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none."

    When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.

8th Grade Choice Book - Choose ONE

List of 3 items.

  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood – Marjane Satrapi

    Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

    Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
  • Red Scarf Girl – Ji-Li Liang

    In 1966 Ji-li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China′s Communist Party. But that year China′s leader, Mao Ze-dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji-li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbors, and co-workers. They lived in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji-li faced the most difficult choice of her life.

    Told with simplicity and grace, this is the true story of one family′s courage and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates – Wes Moore

    Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
     
    In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore. 

    Wes just couldn’t shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting him: Who are you? How did this happen?

    That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that have lasted for several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods, both were fatherless; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.

    Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.
     
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