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Summer Book List

June 23, 2020
By Emily Marsh

Author: Emily Marsh, class of2019

Emily is excited to build the Rockbridge Blog to highlight the community that educated and guided her. She is now studying Economics at Hillsdale College, where she’s a captain of the sailing team and an editor of the Hillsdale Blog.

Summary: Every year, Rockbridge Academy released a summer book list for her students. This year, these lists seem more critical than ever.

Across the country, families’ summer plans have changed drastically this year. In the wake of canceled sleepaway camps and postponed vacations, summer reading will claim its place more than ever as a critical defense against the creeping summer malaise. The Great Books broaden horizons when travel isn’t an option and don’t require any social distancing. Our literature department has compiled a list of some such books for the student body to tackle this summer; here’s a sampling of them:


  • Amelia Bedelia — Peggy Parish
  • Corduroy — Don Freeman
  • Curious George — H. A. Rey
  • Frog and Toad are Friends — Arnold Lobel
  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi  — Van Allsburg, Chris
  • How the Leopard Got His Claws — Chinua Achebe
  • Madeline — Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins — Richard and Florence Atwater
  • Pippi Longstocking — Astrid Lindgren
  • Shiloh — Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • The Story of Babar — Jean de Brunhoff
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit — Beatrix Potter
  • Where the Wild Things Are — Maurice Sendak
  • Anne of Green Gables — L. M. Montgomery
  • Chronicles of Prydain — Lloyd Alexander
  • The Chronicles of Narnia — C. S. Lewis
  • D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths — Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire
  • Harriet the Spy — Lousie Fitshugh
  • Hatchet — Gary Paulsen
  • The Jungle Book — Rudyard Kipling
  • Mary Poppings — Pamela I. Travers
  • Matilda — Ronald Dahl
  • Misty of Chincoteague — Marguerite Henry
  • The Secret Garden — France Hodgson Burnett
  • Swiss Family Robinson — Johann Wyss
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — L. Frank Baum
  • Tuck Everlasting — Natalie Babbitt


  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table — Roger Lancelyn Green
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer — Mark Twain
  • The Enchanted Castle — E. Nesbit
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — Betty Smith
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Series — Madeline L’Engle
  • Alas, Babylon — Pat Frank
  • Novels — Agatha Christie
  • Hound of the Baskervilles — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Ender’s Game — Orson Scott Card
  • Little Women — Louisa May Alcott
  • Profiles in Courage — John F. Kennedy
  • Gaudy Night — Dorothy Sayers
  • The Lord of the Flies — William Golding
  • The Martian Chronicles — Ray Bradbury
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel — Baroness Orczy
  • To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  • Treasure Island — Robert L. Stevenson
  • Amazing Grace — Eric Metaxas
  • Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
  • Frankenstein — Mary Shelley
  • My Early Life — Winston Churchill
  • Raft — Stephen Baxter
  • Robinson Crusoe — Daniel Defoe
  • The Lord of the Rings, Trilogy — J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Three Musketeers — Alexander Dumas


  • The Music of Pythagoras — Kitty Ferguson
  • The Source — James A. Michener
  • Complete Sherlock Holmes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • How Should We Then Live? — Francis Schaeffer
  • The Killer Angels — Michael Shaara
  • Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man, Screwtape Letters — C. S. Lewis
  • Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl — N. B. Wilson
  • The Old Man and the Sea — Ernest Hemingway
  • Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin — Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Chosen — Chaim Potok
  • Isaac Newton — James Gleick
  • Mathematics: Is God Silent? — James Nickel
  • Autobiography — Benjamin Franklin
  • Thee Confession, City of God — St. Augustine
  • The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas
  • East of Eden — John Steinbeck
  • The Good Earth — Pearl S. Buck      
  • He Leadeth Me — Walter Ciszek
  • Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
  • The Last of the Mohicans — James Fenimore Cooper
  • North and South — Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Anna Karenina, War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy
  • Les Miserables — Victor Hugo
  • Middlemarch — George Eliot

These books represent some of the Great Books, spanning many different eras of literature, that have shaped Western thought and informed much of its progress. Classical education depends on both looking around ourselves at contemporary works and on looking backwards to the great works that have come before. They may report ideas that deserve a meticulous perusal or describe a completely unfamiliar world, but above all else, they offer enchanting stories that have captivated many generations of learners and will continue to captivate readers. 

Posted in School Culture

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