Middle School

Summer Reading

Song for a Whale

Part I. In addition to We Are the Water Protectors, the Middle School faculty has selected Song for a Whale, by Lynne Kelly as the book that all rising Middle School students will read this summer. It is the winner of the 2022 Schneider Family Book Award, and it will serve as a springboard for many middle school discussions about stereotypes, acceptance, diversity, and transitions to new situations. All Middle School Students will complete a written response to ONE of the questions described below and hand it in on the first day of school. Your response should be at least two paragraphs in length. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:  

  1. Explain what Iris means when she says, “Until last summer I thought the only thing I had in common with that whale on the beach was a name” (p. 1). How does this statement foreshadow the story that follows?
  2. Loneliness is an underlying theme in the novel. How does Iris deal with loneliness at school and at home? Discuss whether it’s loneliness that causes her to identify with Blue 55. 
  3. Iris learns about Blue 55 in Sofia Alamilla’s science class. Describe Iris’s reaction to the documentary about the whale. Cite evidence that Iris approaches her research about the whale’s song like a scientist. 
  4. Discuss Grandma’s plan to help her find him. Explain the following simile: “The whales’ songs were like footprints they left in the ocean” (p. 61). 
  5. Identify five similes in the novel that reveal facts about the ocean and ocean life. Explain how each simile helps the reader gain additional insight into the novel. 
  6. Discuss the structure of the novel. Why does the author include chapters throughout the book about the whale? Explain how this draws a connection between Iris and Blue 55.

 

6th Grade Part II. You are also expected to read at least two other books selected from the 6th Grade list below. You will send me an email (vparr[email protected]) when you’ve completed each book that includes a sentence or two about the plot along with a short review of the novel including why you did or did not like the book. You must have your two emails sent to me by August 19th.

7th & 8th Grade Part II. You are also expected to read at least two other books from the lists below. You need to choose one fiction and one non-fiction. You may select books from either the 6th-grade book list or the 7th/8th-grade book. You will send me an email [email protected] when you’ve completed each book that includes a sentence or two about the plot along with a short review of the novel including why you did or did not like the book. You must have your two emails sent to me by August 19th.

Enjoy the books you select; we are looking forward to reading your responses throughout the summer! When you return to school in the fall, we will do some additional work with Song for a Whale; we hope you find the book as intriguing as we did! Happy reading!

Love,

Mrs. Parry and Mr. Abramowitz 

Middle School Summer Reading Book Lists:


Sixth Grade Books

(6th grade may choose any two books from this list)

Fiction

Nonfiction

Karma Khullar’s Mustache -Kristi Wientge

P.S. Be Eleven - Karen Kane

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

A Step from Heaven   - An Na

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After - Jacqueline Woodson

Other Words for Home - Jasmine Warga

Sarah Bishop - Scott O’Dell

The Crossover - Kwame Alexander

The Book Thief -Marcus Zusak

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

The Stars Beneath Our Feet  by David Barclay Moore

Waiting for Normal - Leslie Connor

Caleb’s Crossing - Geraldine Brooks

Ain’t Burned All the Bright - Jason Griffin

Bounce Back - Misko Rocks

Elijah of Buxton- Christopher Paul Curtis

A Good Kind of Trouble - Lisa Moore Ramee

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Partly Cloudy - Tanita S. Davis

Amina’s Voice - Henna Khan

It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) by Trevor Noah 

Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly

Becoming Kareem - Kareem Abdul Jabar

How We Got to the Moon - John Rocco

Seventh & Eighth Grade Books 

(7th and 8th grade choose 1 Fiction AND 1 Nonfiction book from list above or below)

Fiction

Nonfiction

  • Before We Were Free ~ Julia Alvarez
  • How to Find What You’re Not Looking For ~ Veera Hiranandani
  • Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
  • The Beautiful Struggle (Adapted for Young Adults) ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Black Birds in the Sky ~ Brandy Colbert
  • Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease ~ Jeanette Farrell
  • Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive ~ Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal ~ Jared Diamond 
  • Shoe Dog: Young Reader’s Edition ~ Phil Knight
  • The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives ~ Dashka Slater
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition ~ Anton Treuer
  • Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas by Rowena Rae