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Summer Reading List

HPA and Hawai'i stand at the confluence of the world’s cultures. HPA will build on the cultural, ethnic and economic diversity represented in our students and our community to develop deeper understanding of each other and our world. (taken from the HPA Strategic Plan VIII)

Realizing the connections we continue to make as human beings, our reading focus this summer is on the experience of immigrants. All Middle School students are required to read the three novels for their respective grade level by the first day of school in August and bring either the actual books or electronic copies to class with them. These novels will serve as a catalyst for the beginning of the year class discussions, an assessment of students’ comprehension and writing levels, and the first formal assessment of the school year.

Rising Eighth Grade

Rising Seventh Grade

Rising Sixth Grade

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

It Ain't So Awful, Falafelby Firoozeh Dumas

Hiddenby Miriam Halahmy

Game Seven by Paul Volponi

It Ain't So Awful, Falafelby Firoozeh Dumas

Shadowby Michael Morpurgo

Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouman








*Books may be purchased online, at used bookstores, electronic versions, or borrowed at your nearest public library.

(6-8) It Ain't So Awful, Falafelby Firoozeh Dumas

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade novel raising issues about the immigrant experience that still resonates today.

(8) First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

The contemporary teen immigrants in Gallo's newest story collection hail from a mix of countries--Cambodia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Korea--reflective of current immigration trends. Among the 10 stories, readers will encounter teens who have left homelands behind for reasons not so different from those of earlier generations; others' circumstances are more distinctly modern, such as the Korean-born girl adopted by white parents and the Swedish teen uprooted from his home by his father's globetrotting career. Overtly tolerance-promoting tales are well balanced with irreverent ones: Lensey Namioka reflects on Chinese etiquette and David Lubar takes a comic look at a Transylvanian immigrant who finds unexpected friends among his school's vampire-obsessed Goths. Newly transplanted teens will find the voices represented in this collection far more relevant than those echoing forth from the huddled masses of Ellis Island, and American-born readers will gain insight from the palpable depictions of what it's like to be thrust into "the middle of a game where [you] don't know the players, the rules, or even the object."

(8) Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This deftly crafted historical novel unfolds dramatically with an absorbing story and well-drawn characters that readily evoke empathy and compassion. Haddix has masterfully melded in-depth information about the history of immigration, the struggle for women's rights, the beginnings of the organized labor movement, and the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 within a narrative that will simultaneously engross and educate its readers. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Bella, an Italian immigrant teen; Yetta, a Russian Jewish immigrant; and Jane, the daughter of an upper class American businessman. Yetta is opinionated and aware of how immigrants, especially women, are mistreated. She is outspoken and ready to work toward improving conditions. Bella is a new immigrant and easily taken advantage of. She only wants to earn money to send home so the rest of her family can join her in America. Though wealthy, Jane is influenced by college girls who are starting to work for women's rights. The three girls meet during the strike at the Triangle factory.

(7) Hiddenby Miriam Halahmy

When teenager Alix and her new friend, Samir, see a man tossed out of a speeding boat into the churning waters off the coast of their small English island, they leap into the strong current to pull out the battered man. When they realize he's an Iraqi refugee seeking asylum, Alix is hesitant to help him, but Samir—who himself was once a refugee fleeing Iraq—begs Alix to help harbor the stranger. Over the course of the novel, Alix confronts her own perceptions and prejudices, as well as those of her friends, family, and neighbors. Her development from a self-involved child to a broad-thinking and selfless young adult is gradual and realistic, with Alix making plenty of mistakes—and actually learning from them—along the way.

(7) Game Seven by Paul Volponi

Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but also because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor.

Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cuba’s national team—until he finds out his father's defection may destroy his chances. When he’s given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if he’s caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shore—or, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son?

(6) Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

After six years in Manchester, England, Matt’s best friend and soccer buddy, Aman, 14, is denied asylum. Now Aman is held in a crowded prison with his broken mother, awaiting deportation and terrified of being sent back to the brutality in Afghanistan. Aman tells his story to Matt’s grandfather, including the horror he and his mother left behind: his father and grandfather were murdered, and his mother was tortured by the Taliban before their desperate journey across the border to Iran, Turkey, France, and finally England, where they joined Aman’s uncle. Now they are being sent back. Morpurgo humanizes the asylum story through one refugee boy’s viewpoint. The heartbreak, brutality, and loss are intensified through the crucial role of a stray dog that comes to Aman in a cave and then never leaves him (hence the name Shadow). He turns out to be a champion army dog that saves the refugees, and the animal story, along with the personal war survival drama, is heartrending.

(6) Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouman

A Crack in the Sea opens with the story of a sister and brother, Kinchen and Pip, who live on an island in the "second world." During a visit of the Raft people, a community that lives on a vast swath of floating rafts, the Raft King kidnaps Pip, who has the ability to talk to sea creatures. The people of Raftworld are descendants of slaves from the slave ship, Kong, who were thrown overboard and would have perished. But one of their number, a girl named Venus, got them to clasp hands, and she and her brother led the drowning slaves through a "crack in the sea" to the second world. Centuries later, the Raftworld they live on is overcrowded, and the Raft King needs help. Another group that finds its way to the second world is a group of refugees fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. When all these characters meet up in the second world and their stories intersect, questions swirl. Who will stay? Who will leave? Will they be able to travel back to the world they came from? Is there another solution to Raftworld's overpopulation? And how will the characters with magical powers help the others?

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