Academics » Adopt a Book

Adopt a Book


Dear Parents and Guardians,


           The English Department is pleased to again offer our students the “Adopt A Book” program for summer reading.

           “Adopt a Book”, very simply, involves a teacher or staff member choosing a book to sponsor and a certain number of students signing up for said book. The “Adopt a Book” program will allow for faculty, staff  and students to share a literary experience, as the piece de resistance will involve a panel discussion about the book. The sign up will occur via Sign Up Genius; each book will be limited to 34 students. Details for signing up will be provided in each ELA class.  Every student will receive an invitation to sign up via email.

             Each book and its sponsor will have a breakout group during a specially scheduled day, and every student will be responsible for completing a summative assessment in the form of a universal one page reaction paper provided and graded by the English department. Together,  participation in the panel discussion and the reaction paper will constitute a major grade for the first quarter.

            The “Adopt a Book” program   allows for books from many different genres which  appeal to our students to be offered rather than having the school unilaterally assign a book or books to each class and track level. After all, choice promotes a level of personal involvement which helps ensure  success. With the spirit of this endeavor in mind, we would ask all parents and guardians to be involved in the book selection process, and, possibly, to read the book as well.

           Book titles and their descriptions will be available on the O’Hara website.


Thank you, and enjoy the summer!


Sincerely,

The Cardinal O'Hara English Department



Adopt a Book  2019-2020 Descriptions



Wooden’s Pyramid of Success  John Wooden and Jay Carty


John Wooden and Jay Carty know that when it comes down to it, success is an equal opportunity player. Anyone can create it in his or her career, family and beyond. Based on John Wooden’s own method, Wooden’s Pyramid of Success reveals that success is built block by block, where each block is a crucial principle contributing to life-long achievement in every area of life. Each of these 32 daily readings takes an in-depth look at a single block of the pyramid, which when combined with the other blocks forms the structure of the pyramid of success. Join John Wooden and Jay Carty to discover the building blocks and key values from confidence to faith that have brought both to the pinnacle of success as a leaders, a teachers and a followers of God.

-From Amazon.com


Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan


When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

-From Amazon.com


Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee


Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—“Scout”—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one’s own conscience.

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.

-From Amazon.com



Same Kind of Different as Me Ron Hall

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.


-From Amazon.com


Dry Neal Shusterman


When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.


The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.


Until the taps run dry.


Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.


-from Goodreads


An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Hank Green


The Carls just appeared.


Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.


Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.


-from Goodreads


Joy Luck Club Amy Tan


Amy Tan’s beloved, New York Times bestselling tale of mothers and daughters


Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.


With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.


-from Goodreads


The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky


The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


-from Goodreads



Believe It by Nick Foles


You’re never more dangerous than when everyone’s counting you out. You just have to believe.

That’s when sixth-year veteran Nick Foles came off the bench and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history―defeating the heavily favored New England Patriots 41–33, winning MVP honors, silencing the critics, and shocking the world.


The story of how Nick, who was on the verge of retirement just two seasons earlier, found the strength to rally those around him and achieve what was heralded as impossible is one of the most inspirational underdog stories in all of sports.


In Believe It, Nick shares the full, unvarnished story behind his unlikely path to Super Bowl glory―the challenges that threatened to hold him back, the struggles that brought him to the verge of retirement, the transformation that made him come back, and the faith that both grounded and guided him every step of the way.  --Amazon.com





War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells


No one would have believed that planet Earth was being watched by creatures more intelligent than humankind.But planet Earth was not only being watched – soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man’s story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?  --Amazon.com


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again."

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.  --Amazon.com



Timeless Learning by Ira Socol

Our homes, communities, and the world itself need the natural assets our children bring with them as learners, and which they often lose over time on the assembly line that pervades most of the public education system today. We see no actions as more important in school than developing, supporting, and reinforcing children's sense of agency, the value of their voices, and their potential to influence their own communities.

In Timeless Learning, an award-winning team of leaders, Chief Technology Officer Ira Socol, Superintendent Pam Moran, and Lab Schools Principal Chad Ratliff demonstrate how you can implement innovative practices that have shown remarkable success. The authors use progressive design principles to inform pathways to disrupt traditions of education today and show you how to make innovations real that will have a timeless and meaningful impact on students, keeping alive the natural curiosity and passion for learning with which children enter school.  --Amazon.com

New Boy   Tracy Chevalier

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds—Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant "girlfriend" Mimi—Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying, and betrayal will leave you reeling.         --Amazon.com

Belong to Me   Marisa de los Santos

The sensational New York Times bestseller from Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me is a gift for readers, an enchanting, luminous novel about the accidents, both big and small, that affect our choice of friend, lover, and spouse. A story centered around three very different suburban neighbors and what it truly means to “belong” to someone, this eye-opening, unforgettable book is the perfect book club selection—beautifully written, smart and sophisticated women’s fiction that invites discussion as it touches the heart—and the ideal companion to de los Santos’s previous blockbuster, Love Walked In.   --Amazon.com

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime  Mark Haddon

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Reads

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

--Amazon.com

The Sun is Also a Star   Nicola Yoon

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton! The #1 New York Times bestseller and National Book Award Finalist from the bestselling author of Everything, Everything will have you falling in love with Natasha and Daniel as they fall in love with each other.

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The Running Dream   Wendelin Van Draanen

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run.

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.

                                           -Good Reads

The Margarita and the Master   Mikhail Bulgakov

Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.

                                                                                      --Amazon.com

Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl

“One who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Dr. Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. Frankl saw the lowest parts of humanity while in the camps, but he also saw individuals rising up like saints above it all:


“... everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”


Man's Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books throughout the world; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

- from Goodreads

The Next Person  You Meet in Heaven  by Mitch Albom

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.

- from Goodreads

Where the Birds Never Sing: The True Story of the 92nd Signal Battalion and the Liberation of Dachau by Jack Sacco

In this riveting book, Jack Sacco tells the realistic, harrowing, at times horrifying, and ultimately triumphant tale of an American GI in World War II as seen through the eyes of his father, Joe Sacco -- a farm boy from Alabama who was flung into the chaos of Normandy and survived the terrors of the Bulge.

As part of the 92nd Signal Battalion and Patton's famed Third Army, Joe and his buddies found themselves at the forefront of the Allied push through France and Germany. After more than a year of fighting, but still only twenty years old, Joe had become a hardened veteran. Yet nothing could have prepared him and his unit for the horrors behind the walls of Germany's infamous Dachau concentration camp. They were among the first 250 American troops into the camp, and it was there that they finally grasped the significance of the Allied mission. Surrounded by death and destruction, the men not only found the courage and will to fight, but they also discovered the meaning of friendship and came to understand the value and fragility of life.

   - from Goodreads



THE EYE OF THE WORLD   Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs―a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts― five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light              ------Amazon.com

KIRA KIRA  Cynthia Kadohata

kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.

                                                                      ----Amazon.com

THE HELLO GIRLS: AMERICA’S FIRST WOMEN SOLDIERS  Elizabeth Cobbs

This is the story of how America’s first women soldiers helped win World War I, earned the vote, and fought the U.S. Army. In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, demanded female “wire experts” when he discovered that inexperienced doughboys were unable to keep him connected with troops under fire. Without communications for even an hour, the army would collapse.

While suffragettes picketed the White House and President Woodrow Wilson struggled to persuade a segregationist Congress to give women of all races the vote, these competent and courageous young women swore the Army oath. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers welcomed, resented, wooed, mocked, saluted, and ultimately celebrated them. They received a baptism by fire when German troops pounded Paris with heavy artillery. Some followed “Black Jack” Pershing to battlefields where they served through shelling and bombardment. Grace Banker, their 25-year-old leader, won the Distinguished Service Medal.

The army discharged the last Hello Girls in 1920, the same year Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment granting the ballot. When the operators sailed home, the army unexpectedly dismissed them without veterans’ benefits. They began a sixty-year battle that a handful of survivors carried to triumph in 1979. With the help of the National Organization for Women, Senator Barry Goldwater, and a crusading Seattle attorney, they triumphed over the U.S. Army.

                                                    -----Amazon.com

NEVER LET ME GO  Kazuo Ishiguro

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is modern classic.

                               --------Amazon.com