Saint John Academy Summer Reading

For Rising 8th Graders

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Greetings Parents and Students

Dear Parents,

The books, stories and poems have been carefully selected to foster an enjoyable and thoughtful reading experience. Enjoy this special time with your child. These assignments are meant to be enriching and meaningful. Be sure to balance the assignments with lots of fun, enjoyable time outside with family and friends.

Best to you and your family,

Mrs. Karen Tessier

Assistant Headmaster

Saint John Academy

Core Elements for Rising 8th Graders

Journal & Books
  • You will need a writing journal (a leather journal that you may keep and reuse over time).
  • Read 2 books, ( Call of the Wild by Jack London is the mandatory read, and you may choose 1 other book from the list).

  • You are encouraged to read as many as you like.

  • For each book draw a picture of something interesting or an image that strikes you and illuminates something important to the story. Think about the characters, the setting and the sequence of events as your draw. Sketch the picture and then color it.
  • Write a 1-2 paragraph(s) describing each picture inside of your journal (pictures may be drawn and placed inside journal if you would like).

Rabble in Arms by Kenneth Robertson

1776 by David McCullough (History, Non-fiction)

Empires of the Sea by Roger Crowley (History, Non-fiction)

The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz (Autobiography)

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Fantasy/Fiction

Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper (Historical Fiction)

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Science Fiction)

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (Satire/Fantasy)

The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Two Towers, by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Return of the King, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens


  • Read all four recommended poems, copy one in your journal and memorize, reciting it at home (at the dinner table or some other spontaneous moment). This will also be recited at school.

“Digging” by Seamus Heaney

“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

“Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden

  • Read these Gospel selections focused on the religious leader Nicodemus and the resurrection moment with Mary Magdalene.

Nicodemus John 3: 1-21 and John 19: 25-42

Mary Magdalene and the Resurrection John 20:1-18

Please view (and ponder) H.O. Tanner’s paintings of Nicodemus and the The Three Mary’s (below) to help you enter the scene of those moments.

  • Choose one of the Gospel passages to reflect on, such as the challenging (and rather abrupt) conversation of Nicodemus and Jesus, as well as what happened inside Nicodemus that led him from secretly seeking Jesus at night to the bold and risky action of requesting the dead body.
  • Write a paragraph about the other Gospel passage imaging you are a servant or creature observing what is going on. Tell it like a story.
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Be sure to read what is required but also read what you LOVE

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Top painting: watercolor by J.S. Sargent: Corfu Lights and Shadow