The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 30, 2000


Summer Reading Suggestions

Now with schools out and summer vacations about to begin, it's that time of year when most of us can plan on having more free time for recreational reading. With this in mind, the Mosquito has asked a number of teachers at the Carlisle School to help us compile a summer reading list. Here are their suggestions. They and we here at the Mosquito wish you many happy hours of reading throughout the summer months ahead.

Gene Stammell, third-grade teacher

A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe

This book gives a vivid, real sense of aristocratic Atlanta and Southern politics, humor and depth of character.

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

An unrelentingly brutal-at-times description of the slave trade from England to Africa and finally, the United States.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Here are remarkable character studies of an evangelical Baptist preacher's family, trying to survive in the Congo in 1959.

Julia Hendrix, fifth-grade teacher

The Missing World by Margot Livesey

This is a terrific book with great character descriptions and a tense story line. If you like Barbara Vine novels, you will like this one.

Murder at the Museum of Man by A. Alcorn

This is the best satire of university life, politics, and morals that I have ever read. I laughed out loud a lot. Don't read it if you take academic life extremely seriously. It's along the same lines as Moo by Jane Smiley, but much funnier.

Hole by Louis Sachar

This was the Newberry Prize winner for children's literature last year (1999). Even though it is a children's book, it is so well written and fast paced with such great characters that I have recommended it to several adults. For those of you with access to children who have read it, ask them about it.

Carolyn Platt, sixth-grade Language Arts Teacher

My suggestions are based on some themes that adults and children can share while reading their own books this summer.

For adult readers, Wild Swans by Jung Chang follows the lives of three generations of Chinese women through the 20th century. It reads like a novel...and holds to the saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction." For children ten and above I recommend Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang. It is the memoir of a young girl during the Cultural Revolution in China. Play the audio tape while in the car this summer.

I could not put down the The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. The story is told by the wife and four daughters of an evangelical Baptist who takes his family to the Belgian Congo in 1958. The reader follows the Congo's fight for independence and the changes in the lives of the women. Children will enjoy A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer. It is a survival story about a young African girl who runs away from an arranged marriage and spends a long time alone in the wilderness of Africa. Both books capture the mystery, beauty and dangers of Africa in the mid 20th century.

Finally, for Francophiles, I recommend Houseboat on the Seine by William Wharton. In the genre of A Year in Provence, it is the story of how an ex-patriot American artist restored and "jury-rigged" a houseboat near Paris. It will make handy people laugh and cringe!! Younger children can read the Madeleine books and parents might find some similarities between the free-spirited adventures of Madeleine and those of William Wharton.

Esther Almgren, first-grade teacher

Fall on Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald

This is a powerful story of a family and its dark, deep secrets.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill

This is a tale of fantasy and friendship between a rabbi and a Catholic boy.

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

This is a story of South Africa and the relationship between blacks and whites, a father and his daughter, a college professor and his student.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito