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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 2018-2019

June 2018

Dear Computer School Families,

Our goal for summer reading is for students to find a book they love and lose themselves in a new world. As author Malorie Blackman reminds us, “Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” Each year, we carefully compile our list from teacher, staff, and student suggestions. As a result, you’ll find a wide variety of genres and authors revealing the breadth of interest present among readers in our community.

We believe reading is an essential part of learning. In particular, summer reading supports student growth throughout the year. During the first days of school, students will engage in making connections to our 2018-2019 school-wide theme of Empowerment. Below are the steps to complete the Summer Reading Assignment.

1. All Community Read – A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
We ask that all members of The Computer School community—students, parents/guardians, families, teachers and staff—read this young adult book that centers around the theme of empowerment.

2. Core Book: Students read one book from the list of core books (see below).

3. Free Choice Book: Students read at least one other book of their choice (see recommendations below).

4. 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.


A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

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

1. The True Meaning of Smkeday by Adam Rex
It all starts with a school essay. When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. Gratuity’s story involves her unlikely friendship with an alien named Boov, a futile journey to find Gratuity’s mother, a cross-country road trip in a hovercar, and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.

2. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a Number Devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand without.

3. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, and her life tragically changes when her parents both die in a car crash. Her story captures her journey of finding a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family.

4. Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
On Ben’s thirteenth birthday, his parents introduce him to his new sibling: a hairy, swaddled baby chimp that will be raised as part of the family in an experiment run by Ben’s father, a behavioral psychologist. At first, Ben resists calling Zan his brother, but as he begins to communicate with Zan through sign language, he develops a true, loving connection with the little chimp.

5. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince
Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. At the orphanage, Michaela finds a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life.

6. Miles Morales: Spiderman (A Marvel YA Novel) by Jason Reynolds
As an Afro-Puerto Rican teen attending an elite boarding school in Brooklyn, Miles is not only fighting crime but also navigating a complicated adolescent world filled with crushes, peer pressure, racism, loss, and responsibility. He must not only fight the dark forces threatening his world and loved ones, but also the darkness within himself.

7. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. The three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested, and just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes.

8. **Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu
Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen: their indomitable spirit. Graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known.

9. **Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but no one knows he has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack’s worlds completely change.

~ Book descriptions adapted from amazon.com and goodreads.com~
**For advanced readers and/or mature content

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, My Thirteenth Winter A Memoir by Samantha Abeel, Dyslexia is My Superpower, Most of the Time by Margaret Rooke et. al., Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
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 by Rebecca Stefoff
Ms. Kissoon: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester
Mr. Novick: Feed by M.T. Anderson
Ms. Reilly: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
Mr. Rodriguez: Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Amazing Spiderman by Dan Slott
Ms. Rotelli: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
Ms. Schoen: Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand (original or young adult adaptation)
Ms. Seuling: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Ms. Shalom: Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney
Ms. Shea: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green, Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra by Wendy Lichtman
Ms. Skinner: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Ms. Sloves: Boying Up: How to Be Brave by Mayim Bialik, Bold and Brilliant, Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular by Mayim Bialik
Ms. Wang: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Ms. Weiss: The God of All Small Things by Arundhati Roy
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:


Date Completed:
Parent Signature:

Core Book Choice:

Date Completed:
Parent Signature:
Free Book Choice:


Date Completed:
Parent Signature:

Option A: Map
Look closely at the places that were important in your CORE book and illustrate a map that shows where they are in relation to one another. Then, create a key in which you explain why each place is important to the story.

Option B: Empowerment Poster
Create a poster that represents the theme of EMPOWERMENT in your CORE book. Your poster must include image, color, and text. Be sure to include the title and author of the book.

Option C: Character Correspondence
Write an email or letter correspondence between two characters from your CORE book OR between a character from your CORE book and another person from literature or history. Include important details from the story and address the theme of EMPOWERMENT.