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The Computer School

100 West 77th Street New York, NY 10024

Monday - Friday

9:00am - 3:20pm



[email protected]

The Computer School

100 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024

Monday through Friday: 9:00 am – 3:20 pm

Summer Reading 2017

June 2017


Dear Computer School Families,


Reading is an essential part of learning. Research shows that regular independent reading leads to significant academic growth and achievement in all subject areas. It is critical for students to read over the summer months in order to maintain and grow their skills. Therefore, students at The Computer School are required to read a minimum of three books this summer. We are excited to engage with students in work around their summer reading during the first days of school and to start making connections to our 2017-2018 school-wide theme of Resilience. Below are the steps to complete the Summer Reading Assignment.

  1. All Community Read – The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

We ask that all members of The Computer School community—students, parents/guardians, teachers and staff—read this young adult book that centers around the theme of resilience.


  1. Core Book:

Students read one book from the list of core books (see below).


  1. Choice Book:

Students read at least one other book of their choice (see recommendations below).


  1. Creative response:

Students choose one of three options listed at the end of this letter to reflect on and respond to their core book. This assignment must be completed and presented on the first day of school.





The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She’s not comforted by the news that she’ll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope, Jessica feels that she’s both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don’t know what to say act like she’s not there. Jessica’s embarrassed to realize that she’s done the same to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she’s missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that’s not enough for her now. She doesn’t just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.


The books in this list represent the diversity of reading levels in a middle school. Starred books are for advanced readers.


  1. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang comes a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot!


  1. George by Alex Gino

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


  1. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle

In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.

Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?


  1. The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain by Joann and Terrence Deak

Tweens and Teens! Think you know everything about your brain? Think again!

Your brain is in its second decade, and that means you have the opportunity to blaze your own trail by shaping your brain, building its strengths, and avoiding dangers with the decisions you make. Your brain is an amazing vehicle that will take you through every one of your life’s experiences. Wouldn’t it be good to have an owner’s manual?

The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain is packed with the goods on glia and the news about neurons, with a cool way to test your brain power and the scoop on how it’s OK to make mistakes―they’ll make you stronger, if you use them as an opportunity to learn. It’s all about training your brain to help you become the very best version of yourself!

  1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman―difficult with his beard and huge appetite―to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir―the most sagacious of gods―is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.


  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.


  1. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.


  1. **Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.


~ Book descriptions from amazon.com~

**For advanced readers

For other summer reading suggestions, you can visit the New York Public Library’s teen site at teenlink.nypl.org and Teen Reads at http://www.teenreads.com. Also, see our list of summer reading suggestions from your teachers below.


Highly Recommended for incoming sixth graders:

Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School by Robin Epstein


Highly Recommended for rising eighth graders:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey


Other Recommendations from Your Teachers:

Ms. E. Butler: First Born by Tor Seidler and Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town

by Warren St. John

Ms. K. Butler: Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Ms. Chu: visit my website, www.nicolechu.com, for all my summer reading recs

Ms. Furr: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Mr. Geraci: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ms. Hodges: A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Rebecca Stefoff

Ms. Kissoon: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester

Ms. Nana: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Mr. O’Mara: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Ms. Reilly: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

Mr. Rodriguez: Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Amazing Spiderman by Dan Slott

Ms. Schoen: Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand (original or young adult adaptation)

Ms. Seuling: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Ms. Shalom: Booked by Kwame Alexander

Ms. Skinner: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Ms. Wang: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Ms. Weiss: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Mr. Weissberg: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Mr. Zafiriadis: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline



Name: ___________________________


Summer Reading Creative Response Assignment


Directions: After you have completed your summer reading books, fill out the information below and choose one of the options (A, B or C) to show your knowledge of your core book choice. Please bring this signed sheet and your project on the first day of school. This will help you as we discuss our summer reading. Happy reading!

All Community Read:

The Running Dream


Wendelin Van Draanen

Date Completed: Parent Signature:
Core Book Choice: Author: Date Completed: Parent Signature:
Other Book Choice: Author: Date Completed: Parent Signature:



Option A: Movie Recommendations

Pick three movies that you think the main character in your book MUST watch. Write a page explaining what each movie is about and why you think it is a must-see for this character.

Option B: Creative Representation

Create a comic, poem, or song that explores how the main character or narrator sees the world. For nonfiction books, create a comic, poem, or song that shows what you learned.

Option C: Character Interview

Write three interview questions for the main character, narrator, or author of your book and write what you think their responses would be.