Short Stories Summer Reading
The stories marked REQUIRED are mandatory summer reading. After reading these three stories, rising Seventh Grade students are asked to write a half-page response to the questions provided beneath each required story.
After, students are asked to read at least TWO more stories from the following list. While they are not required to write another response for the stories of their choosing, they should be prepared to come into English class in September ready to discuss the writing they selected.
Summary: This story is set on the planet Venus, where the sun shines for only two hours once every seven years. It opens on the day that the sun is due to make its appearance once again, and the story tells an emotional tale of one child’s memories of precious sunshine.
Response Question: How does a community determine who belongs and who does not? What the consequences for those individuals and groups who are considered to ‘not belong’? Answer these questions using examples from both the story itself and examples from other stories you may have read and real life situations you have experienced or see going on in the world.
Summary: We face competition all the time, whether we are competing for someone's attention or for the best grade. And while some competitions are friendly and even fun, others can be brutal. In "Amigo Brothers," best friends Antonio and Felix find out if their deep friendship can survive an explosive competition.
Response Question: How does author Piri Thomas use details and description in his writing to show the reader (rather than tell the reader explicitly) the close friendship that exists between Antonio and Felix? With this in mind, is there a single moment from the story that captures their friendship for you, the reader?
Summary: All children feel at one time or another that life is unfair, and often, it's because of adults. The award-winning Mexican-American novelist Sandra Cisneros captures this in her celebrated short story 'Eleven,' which addresses universal childhood frustration with adults.
Summary: The Sniper is a short, historical-fictional story about the traumatic effects of war. The story takes place in Dublin in 1923 during the Irish Civil War between the Irish Republican Army (who had been fighting against the armies of Britain to attain Irish Independence) and the defenders of the Irish Free State (who had made peace with England by signing a treaty that would recognize Ireland as a member of Great Britain). In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, two soldiers attempt to best the other in combat.
Summary: “The All-American Slurp” by Lensey Namioka is an amusing short story about how the Chinese Lin family learns to become “American.” The story is told from the point of view of the family’s adolescent daughter. The Lin’s first American dinner is at the Gleason’s, and it isn’t exactly a success; but, as both families interact and observe one-another, they begin to make lasting discoveries about their common humanity.
Response Question: What does this story show the reader about some of the challenges faced by immigrant families? Describe the different ways that the four members of the Lin family assimilate (fit in) to American culture. Have you ever been in a situation where you have felt stuck between two cultures?
Summary: Rainsford, a big game hunter, is traveling to the Amazon by boat. He falls overboard and soon finds himself stranded on Ship Trap Island. Rainsford eventually finds a large home where Ivan, a servant, and General Zaroff, a Russian aristocrat, live. But thinks quickly take a turn for the strange...
Summary: In “The Landlady, Roald Dahl - one of the world's favorite authors - tells a sinister story about the darker side of human nature. Here, a young man in need of a room meets a most accommodating landlady, but everything is not what it seems!
Summary: “My People” tells the story of a girl who comes from a less-privileged background and is invited to go to a special summer program for gifted and talented students. Here, she tries to fit in to a more dominant, affluent culture at the university, encountering unforeseen obstacles along the way.
Summary: "Freak The Geek" is a fiction short story told from the perspective of Lauren, a high-schooler attending an all-girls school and someone who hates traditions. Lauren and her B.A.O.F. (best and only friend), Kayley, undergo more than the physical chase to dodge paintballs.