Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.

Summer Reading

Middle School Summer Reading 2019

Making My Voice Heard

Books about Taking Action

  • Choose at least one book to read from the following list; the book should be one that you have not yet read.
  • Complete your reading prior to the first day of school.
  • Take notes while you are reading using the template provided to you.
  • Films and songs are optional; feel free to watch one or more of the films listed below.
  • An asterisk (*) next to a title indicates it is recommended for advanced readers due to mature content and/or challenging reading level.

Read the PJA Summer Reading Letter here.

Download the Summer Reading Response Template here.

Read book and film descriptions here.

* The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
* Internment by Samira Ahmed
Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo
* The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
* Moxie by Jennifer Matheiu
White Rose by Kip Wilson
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

* The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference
by Joanne Oppenheim
* Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes
March: Book One and March: Book Two and March: Book Three (must read all books) by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Rise by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line by David Hogg
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson

13th (not rated)
42 (PG-13)
Blackfish (PG-13)
The Blind Side (PG-13)
Freedom Writers (PG-13) 
*Gandhi (PG)
Good Night, Good Luck (PG)
* The Hate U Give (PG-13)
He Named Me Malala (PG-13)
On the Basis of Sex (PG-13)
Paper Clips (G)
Rachel Carson: American Experience (not rated)
Selma (PG-13)
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (not rated)
*The Times of Harvey Milk (not rated)


Descriptions are a compilation of information taken from various book review sites and personal recommendations.
* An asterisk indicates title is recommended for advanced readers due to mature content and/or challenging reading level.

Click here to read descriptions.

Protest Songs as Activism

Music is another forum for speaking out against all forms of injustice. American musicians have a long tradition of speaking out through song.  From Billie Holiday’s first performance of Strange Fruit in 1939, to the songs against the VietNam War and in support of the Civil Rights movement, feminism, Black Lives Matter, and up through I Can’t Keep Quiet from the 2017 Women’s March, protest music has been the soundtrack of resistance and activism. A soulful protest song captures the heart of the movement, engages people on an emotional level.  Music empowers people to take action. The middle school teachers have compiled an incomplete list of protest songs for your consideration. It’s important to remember that each of these songs should be viewed in the wider context of the social moment from which they emerged. Also, art is colorful. Be advised that there might be profanity in the songs and some of the YouTube videos contain disturbing images of war and violence.  

Here is a link to our Protest Songs Playlist.

We can’t play a song on paper but we wanted to give you a sense of the depth and breadth of the playlist in this packet.  Here are 10 songs from the Protest Songs Playlist.

  1. “Blowin' In The Wind” by Bob Dylan

  2. "Same Love" by Macklemore + Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert

  3. "Rise Up" by Andra Day

  4. "Born This Way" Lady Gaga

  5. "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks

  6. "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday

  7. "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

  8. “To the Teeth” by Ani DiFranco

  9. “I Can’t Keep Quiet” by American Women

  10. “Birmingham Sunday” by Joan Baez

We encourage you to take a listen.  Be open to the voices who have raised song in resistance in the past. What song would you add to the list?  What song would you write about the protest you want to make? If not now, when?