Students entering grade 10 this fall are required to read at least one of the selections listed below.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: This work of historical fiction tells the riveting story of four refugees during WWII in East Prussia. Through the use of shifting narrators, readers meet a Lithuanian nurse, an apprentice to a Prussian art historian, a German soldier, and a young Polish girl, all with unique obstacles to overcome. We follow their journeys as their paths cross on their way to the ill-fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military transport ship, which they hope will save them. Sepetys highlights the deadliest maritime disaster in history while also urging readers to learn from the past.
We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai: This book is a collection of refugee stories from around the world written by Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner who was displaced as a result of her fight for the education of girls in Pakistan. She tells her own story and the stories of girls who, amazingly, displayed their resilience even in the midst of being forced with no option but to leave their homes and the community they loved. This book is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person — often a young person — with hopes and dreams.
An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder: Bolivia, 1999. Francisco’s life is almost normal. He has a mother, a father, and a younger sister. All this changes when his father is arrested under false charges and sent to prison because of a corrupt system that targets the indigenous, poor, and uneducated. As a result, Francisco and his younger sister move into the prison with their father. But, when life in prison becomes something less than safe, Francisco must decide whether to sacrifice his and his sister’s safety for his education. In order to decide, he must face everything he’s ever been taught to believe and question where he belongs in the world.
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins: Sonia and Tara Das, who were born in India but spent most of their childhoods in England, immigrated to America with their parents in the 70’s. Sonia is extremely bright and loves reading and writing, while Tara seeks the limelight and models her look after her favorite American TV stars. The sisters navigate school, friendships, dating, and an overbearing mother while also grappling with a sense of their own identities. Just when things seem to be going well for the family, tragedy strikes and threatens to change their lives, and relationships, forever. This novel, told from the point of view of alternating narrators and covering four decades, is as interesting as it is poignant.
The Berlin Boxing Club by Roberta Sharenow: This is a novel loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling’s experiences following Kristallnacht, the night when Nazi soldiers set out to destroy Jewish businesses in Germany. Karl, a Jewish teen, is faced with bullying that occurs when most of his classmates begin to join the Hitler Youth. Because of his father’s work in art dealing, Karl has the good fortune of meeting Max and receiving an invitation to be trained by him at a local gym. Boxing becomes Karl’s refuge in this turbulent time and the key to his coming of age.