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Summer Reading for NCCS Upper School Students 2023: Home

Upper School Summer Reading Requirements


This summer, your US English teachers ask each student to read

at least three books … and encourage you to read more!

1. Grade Level Read: Every student in the Upper School will read a book from their respective grade. Please obtain a copy from SORA, your local library or bookstore.


Rising Grade 7: Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick  

Rising Grade 8: Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac

Rising Grade 9:  The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday and selected essays from This I Believe, which are in the Rising Grade 9 Box below.


2. Free Choice Read

Please read a MINIMUM of TWO books of your choosing.  We recommend using the Blue Tabs above for new releases and book suggestions, particularly the "Top Picks from Your Teachers" and "Top 100 Picks for Young Adults". You can also take advantage of SORA and your Public Library, where books, audiobooks and e-books are available for free.  Make a note of the titles you read so you can share them with peers and teachers in September. 

A note from your 7th Grade English Teachers

Dear Rising Seventh Grader,

Through all of the different books we've read across the years, we've learned that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.  This is an idea we see again in Freak the Mighty!  Even if you haven't read this book before, the structure of the story may feel VERY familiar to you...An ordinary person encounters extraordinary conflicts that help shape them into becoming the best version of themselves: a hero. When you return to school in September, we will use Freak the Mighty to study The Hero's Journey, a story structure that so many of your favorite books and films follow!  Why do so many stories follow this structure?  Why do we love to tell stories about heroic journeys?  We can't wait to discuss this with you! 

Mr. Hogenkamp and Ms. Service

A note from your 8th Grade English Teachers

Dear Rising Eight Grader,

This novel combines action-packed World War II battle scenes with Native-American spirituality and history. Sounds like an unusual combination, perhaps, but that's just why your 8th-grade English teachers chose Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac as the summer reading book for 2023. We are covering a lot of this history next year, and Code Talker, based on true events, wraps together these important historical strands, adding humor, humanity, and adventure.  

The main character, Ned Begay, is a Navajo who is sent to Indian boarding school as a young boy. There, he is forbidden to speak his "sacred language." Soon, however, the US enters WWII, and the government realizes that the Navajo language can serve as the best unbreakable code. Enter the Navajo code talkers, an elite group of Marines who helped the US win some major battles. Here's one of Mrs. Carroll's favorite quotes from the book: “Never forget, grandchildren, that we must always see all other people as human beings, worthy of respect.” We hope you enjoy the novel!

Mrs. Carroll, Mr. Fredo and Ms. Service

A note from your 9th Grade English Teacher

Dear Rising Ninth Grader,

This book will set us up for the storytelling you will be doing in ninth grade. It celebrates the oral tradition and reminds us that stories are valuable and effective ways to preserve history and culture. Please begin with the Preface, Prologue, and Introduction. Then flip through and read at your leisure, as you might a collection of poetry. Make note of any stories or images you enjoy, and we will talk when we return to school!

See you in the fall!

Mrs. Gault

This I Believe

To provide inspiration for your This I Believe essays, here are a few sample selections to read this summer. These come from the This I Believe website and touch on a range of different human experiences and the lessons taken from them.