BAA 2018 Summer Reading Assignment

All of the BAA community reads two books over the summer. The first book is one that the entire community reads. This year, the book is Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler. We will have community discussions based on this book.

Click here for the audio version of the Book:

Background Information Video (~3 min)

Character Map

To encourage choice and love in reading, each student will also pick a book of their choice for their second book. A compiled list of books can be found at and

After reading the two books, students will choose and complete one of the options below. The assignment is due on Tuesday, September 11th at the beginning of Seminar class.

On Friday, September 14th, the whole community will be discussing Parable of the Sower in mixed-grade groups, mixed-major literature circle groups.  

Option 1: Essay

Write a 3-page essay on the theme of epiphanies in the two books. DO NOT WRITE A BOOK REPORT. We want to see a well-written and revised analysis of the theme using evidence from the text–not a summary of the plot.

Possible Structure

  • Intro: What is an epiphany? Discuss what epiphanies can do to an individual. Introduce the two books you read and what are, in each book, the different characters’ epiphanies.
  • Body Paragraphs: What epiphanies do the characters in your books have? Explain them in depth and reference text from the books to make your point.
  • Conclusion: What epiphanies are you having as you enter your next year of high school? In what ways do the characters’ own epiphanies connect to/affect you?


  • 3 full pages (minimum)
  • A creative title
  • Proper single-spaced heading
  • You may write in the first person voice (“I” statements)
  • Double-spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman font
  • Add page numbers (bottom right corner)


Option 2: Two Book Reviews

Write one book review for each book, giving your opinion of the book. In your review, you will be expected to give an overall rating of 0-5 stars supported by specific reference to details from the book. Because these reviews will be shared with other students to help encourage or discourage them from reading the book, you should give your opinion without “spoiling” the book for those who might care to read it. In addition to your overall rating, you are expected to address the following that are relevant:

Fiction Books

  • Genre (ie. Teen Romance, Sci-fi, Adventure, etc.)
  • Book overview

Non-Fiction Books

  • Topic/Subject (ie. Meditation, George Washington, etc.)
  • Major Points/Themes
  • Personal Highlights/Take-away

All books should also include:

  • Description of your favorite part and why it was enjoyable/exciting/intriguing/provocative/etc.  
  • Who would you recommend this book to/what kind of reader?
  • When or where might someone enjoy reading this book? (ie. great read for the beach, great book when you want to laugh, etc.?)

You can find the Book Review Template hereand an example here.