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Summer Reading List



1.      Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A young boy becomes a boy soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone and murders hundreds of people. When rescued at the age of fifteen, he attempts redemption.

  • Choose one of the following and write a 300-word paper.

·        A Long Way Gone is a book with much to say on the subject of family: family life, family relationships, and family environment. Write a paper that catalogs and characterizes the many different families that Ishmael has belonged to over the course of his young life.

·        Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is an important reference point in A Long Way Gone. Which individual, other than Ishmael, is familiar with it, and why do you think  that person is always reading it? Read this play on your own, or at least study itskey speeches and monologues (namely, those mentioned throughout this book),and then explain how the themes and events of Shakespeare’s play might echo Ishmael’s memoir.

·        Early in his account, Ishmael laments how “the war had destroyed the enjoyment of the very experience of meeting people” (p. 48). Where else does he express this fact, or else suffer from its consequences? Discuss the book’s ongoing struggle between trust and survival. Can these two phenomena coexist?


2.      Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate

A young woman in love is forced to remain single and take care of her family while her sister is ordered to marry her suitor. Can she win him back with her cooking?

  • Choose one of the following assignments:

·        Write a narrative using sensory details about a family tradition that involves food. This assignment requires that you do some research.  You need to talk with family members to determine the origin of the family tradition (Where did it start? Why did it start? Who started it?  How was it started?). Then, compare and contrast your traditions to the ones in the novel. Be specific.

·        Create a cookbook of literary terms. For each recipe, write the literary device, the sentence or passage where you found it, and then tell why it is important to understanding the story. Also include a picture that depicts the term or passage. You must include the following literary devices: plot, protagonist, antagonist, internal conflict, external conflict, setting, round character, flat character, symbol, theme, metaphor, personification, and three more of your choosing.