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Summer Reading Recommendations for High School Kids, by Librarians



Books Your High School Aged Child Will Love: Recommendations from Librarians.


Summer reading is of critical importance for all students, including those in high school. Educators tell us that time spent reading supports the retention of skills and knowledge, enhances student achievement, and fosters social-emotional learning, as reading offers a deeper understanding of humanity and the world. Students report that they most enjoy the books they have selected themselves, and it is our pleasure to share recommendations that school librarians were so kind as to offer us. There are surely several that will resonate with your student!


Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. “Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah’s memoir tell the story of growing up in South Africa, where it was illegal for people of different races to marry. Poignant and funny, he relates how, encouraged by his mother, he set out to make his mark on the world despite obstacles driven by prejudice.


Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo is a novel in verse about family, identity, and feeling like an outsider. Nima, the main character, does not feel understood by her mother or by her community, but when her circumstances change, she reluctantly comes to appreciate that the life she wished was someone else’s may be worth fighting for after all.


March: Book One is a graphic non-fiction novel by John Lewis, and offers a vivid and compelling first-hand account of the struggle for civil and human rights. Book One describes growing up in rural Alabama, a life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr, the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and the battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins.


Liza Mundy’s Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II relates the story of how young women were recruited from elite colleges and small towns and moved to Washington, DC to master the meticulous work of code-breaking. Shrouded in secrecy, their efforts saved countless lives, shortened the war, and offered them access to careers previously not available to women.


Punching the Air, a collaboration between award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, is the story of a young artist and poet named Amal Shahid. Even though Amal attends a diverse art school, he is seen as unmotivated and disruptive. One fateful night, in a gentrifying neighborhood, there is an altercation; racism and misunderstanding lead to wrongful incarceration and the struggle to find light in the depth of darkness.


We Are Not Free by Traci Chee is the story of a close-knit group of young second-generation Japanese Americans who live in San Francisco. Their lives are

irrevocably changed when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps during World War II. This powerful work of historical fiction offers multiple voices in the telling of this emotional tale.


Boy 21 by Matthew Quick is the story of two young basketball players. For Finley, who lives in a town ravaged by violence, drugs, and racial tension, basketball has always offered an escape. Russ, a basketball phenom, has just moved to the neighborhood and won’t even pick up a ball after tragedy strikes. Both seniors in high school, the boys develop a friendship that may offer the salvation they both need.


Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star is about falling in love, fate, and destiny. Natasha is a realist, guided by science and facts. Yet, when she meets Daniel on a crowded New York City street, there is an instant connection. Daniel is "the good son," responsible and ever-mindful of meeting his parents’ expectations, but upon seeing Natasha, he instantly believes that the universe has a plan for them.


The critically acclaimed debut novel The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner offers a deeply engaging portrayal of the lives of three teenagers growing up in rural Tennessee. Family, friendship, and forgiveness are central themes in this funny, witty, and heartbreaking tale about Dill, Lydia, and Travis, all seniors in high school and best friends who are definitely not “popular.”


John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior is the story of sixteen-year-old Solomon, who has agoraphobia and has not left his house in three years. Lisa, who is determined to be accepted to the college offering the top-tier psychology program, decides to befriend Solomon and gain his trust, help him get better, and then write about it in her application. Complications ensue in this engaging, heartwarming, and funny tale, as we wonder what is it that makes us who we are.


Happy reading, and here's to summer!


Annemiek Young is an Independent Educational Consultant based in Philadelphia. Once the Director of Lower School Admissions at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and formerly Director of Admission and Enrollment Management at Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Annemiek has more than a decade of experience in guiding families through the complexities of understanding a school’s curriculum, community, and program. She has worked with families from all around the world, offering them a framework with which to assess school options as they navigate an unfamiliar education system and determine which setting would be optimal for their child. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University School of Law, Annemiek completed her final year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and most recently has been accepted as an IECA associate member.



Bennett International Education Consultancy works directly with hundreds of families each year across the globe. We support families by helping them make informed decisions about the best-fit schools for their children; with our guidance, they secure placement in preschools, private day schools, public/state schools, boarding schools, colleges & universities, including schools with particular programs, such as special needs support.

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