St. Joe Concludes Another Rich Summer of Reading

Kate Bittle, Senior Staff Writer


High schools across the country use summer reading as a tool to keep brains sharp in preparation for the next school year, and St. Joe is no exception. The Academy’s summer reading program includes books chosen by the teacher, and occasionally the students, for both the English and History departments. 

Ms. Lliz Kelley, the chair of the English department, noted that there were some changes that the school made to summer reading this year.
“This year we are taking a more global approach. We wanted to align our English and History classes,” she said. “It makes it better for us to see literature through historical lenses and create a more diversified curriculum.” 

This more diversified curriculum includes books like: We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai, and Girlhood by Masuma Ahuja. These books both address the daily struggles that girls experience all around the world, ranging from displacement to even finding water. The English and history departments were intentional this year in highlighting women authors and books that show multiple perspectives. 

The freshman class got the opportunity on September 14 to speak through Zoom with Masuma Ahuja, the writer of Girlhood. The book showcases the personal stories of dozens of girls who live very different lives than us and each other. 

 Freshman Lydia Wiley commented on her experience with the summer reading book and conversation with Masuma Ahuja. 

“I liked learning about her writing process,” Lydia said. “She seemed very patient and it was impressive how many connections to girls in other countries she had.” 

For years women have been afraid to speak up or write what they want because of their gender. This led to some of them using pen names in order to remain anonymous. St. Joe thinks it’s important to highlight female authors who were afraid to use their own voices with and without pen names. Malala Yousafzai was one of the highlighted authors this summer with her book We Are Displaced. Malala went through a traumatic experience because people didn’t agree with her ideas on gender and equality. You can read more about it in her autobiography I am Malala. 

St. Joe uses summer reading to help expand the student’s mind and keep it strong for the school year. With a new year started and summer vacation over it doesn’t mean you should slack off with reading, now is the perfect time to choose a new title to relax and learn in the process.