Freshman Year Homeschool Summer Reading List

I have been planning for high school for my oldest child for some time now. See, e.g. and etc. However, I have only more recently started to think about what we might accomplish over the summer. After perusing a somewhat limited aggregation of options on Pinterest, I found some helpful lists written by other homeschooling parents for a freshman year homeschool summer reading list.

As I recently mentioned, my oldest has been doing an intensive amount of reading of more Classical type literature. Additionally, based on how well her year went with Memoria Press, I am planning to have her continue with that curriculum next year. Specifically, we will likely purchase The British Tradition I: Poetry, Prose, & Drama from the Old English & Medieval Periods Set and The Canterbury Tales Set as well as the As You Like It Set. I am hoping to balance this with the literature selections that Brave Writer will announce soon next month.

After this rising high schooler mentioned wanting to read some more contemporary (and less challenging) books, I decided that it would probably make the most sense to prepare a list of summer reading books that represented a blend of things I want to her to read with those that she might be interested in reading (i.e. Dystopian Lit.)

Additionally, my rising 8th grader is an avid Dystopian Lit fan, meaning that it is highly likely that she will read a few of the books in this list once her sister is done. Several of the books below are also a part of a series, so if your child (or my child(ren)) becomes interested in the plot lines, you can definitely add those to your list.
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Disclaimer: PLEASE NOTE!!!!!!!!!!

This is really important! If you read nothing else, please read this paragraph! Many of these books contain mature themes, that may be triggering for some, or may be upsetting to some readers. Sensitive topics are covered. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, vet these books on your own! Don’t just give them to your child without knowing what they cover because you somehow came across this blog post. I am sharing our plans to help other homeschoolers, but this list is based on my child’s previous reading history and personal preparedness for covering themes. She is also 14 1/2 years old.

I am including the publisher’s summary from each of the books below, for your convenience. But I highly recommend actually reading or at least flipping through these books on your own before deciding whether they might be the right fit for your child.

End of disclaimer 🙂

Without further ado, here are the 8 books that my rising 9th grade homeschooler will be reading over the summer!

Keep your eyes peeled in the fall for how I plan to incorporate a project or projects into our lesson plans such as is typically done in traditional schools following summer reading.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression
They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.”

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee

Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who was forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains.

Sungju richly recreates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, “his brothers,” to daily be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.”

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure.

Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…”

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal — a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.”

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

“Travel to 1920s China, a time when the last emperor still ruled and the sweeping changes of the twentieth century were distant rumblings, with this timeless, evocative classic tale of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his family as they struggle to survive in the midst of vast political and social upheavals.

Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions, and rewards. “A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe” (The New York Times), this brilliant novel—beloved by millions—is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.”

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune?
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.”

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling graphic 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.”

What books would you add to the list? Comment below!

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