2020 Community Read




Community Read for all Students 
(one book)







1

Read the Community Read selection, Darius the Great Is Not Okay
(click on book cover to read more)







2

Respond

Students will have a choice of four exciting ways to respond to the 2020 Community Read and will have the opportunity to discuss the book with a small group of students and faculty before submitting their response. With the exception of the podcast, all student projects must be completed independently.

Students will complete and submit one response by the end of the second week of Fall Term classes. Unlike in previous years, there will NOT be the option to write a timed essay, but time will be given during the first few weeks of school to complete all responses. Summer work is welcome but not required. A team of faculty members will review and evaluate each response based on a rubric.

For Darius the Great to be Okay, he has to bridge the divide between himself and his internal and external struggles. Think about how you or someone you know has “bridged the divide.” What does that term mean to you? What does it imply?  What does it look like?  

Create a podcast of at least 7 minutes alone or at least 12 minutes with a partner that explores the idea of “bridging the divide” and tells vivid stories about it. These stories can be your own or from your community. They can be told in the first person (“I”) or in the third person (“they”). The podcast needs to feature your voice, but it can certainly include the voices of others, too.

You will also need to submit a 150-word “Statement of Intent” that shows your knowledge of the book and how your podcast relates. Your statement should be written in thoughtful, grammatically correct sentences.

In the spirit of Mercersburg Academy’s “Inspired by” contests sponsored by the Writing Center, students may create a response that is inspired by the book. A response could be a choreographed dance, an original short story or chapbook of poems, a piece of digital art, or any other creative work. When students submit the “Inspired by” response, it should include a  150-word  “Statement of Intent” that explains the project and process and comments on its connection to the book. Your statement should be written in thoughtful, grammatically correct sentences.

Participate in an extension learning activity related to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. Some ideas for extension learning include: learning Arabic with DuoLingo, interviewing family members about traditions, cooking an Iranian dish referenced in the book, learning to brew tea, watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, or reading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.

Create a 5-minute video that shows what you learned and demonstrates the connection to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. You will also need to submit a 150-word “Statement of Intent” that shows your knowledge of the book and how your extension learning relates to it. Your statement should be written in thoughtful, grammatically correct sentences.

Please choose one of the two prompts below.

Prompt 1:
In Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius struggles with being an outsider because of his race, his family, and his mental health. Which one of these struggles resonated most with you? How did Darius navigate this struggle? What advice would you give him to help bridge the divide in his struggles? How does he work towards being okay?

In your thoughtful response, refer specifically to the text and quote at least two passages.

Minimum word count: 500

Prompt 2:
Since Darius the Great Is Not Okay is written in the first person, we get to hear his interior monologue as well as his dialogue with others, and sometimes there’s a divide between what he says and what he really thinks or feels. Where did you see evidence of this divide in the book? What impact does it have on Darius’s relationships?  In general, do Darius’s relationships seem lifelike and real? Explain what feels real, and then offer some advice for how Darius could  bridge the divide in his relationships. What does he need to do to be okay?

In your thoughtful response, refer specifically to the text and quote at least two passages.  

Minimum word count:  500







3

Read the English book for your grade


Additional book for Advanced Studies options 1 and 2








The Summer Reading Challenge (optional: five books)

  1. The Community Read for the summer, Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
  2. The English book for your grade (see above)
  3. Faculty-sponsored read (see below)
  4. One fiction book of your choice
  5. One nonfiction book of your choice

Faculty-sponsored books

When you return to school, you will sign an honor pledge stating that you read the five designated books. You will also participate in a seminar led by the faculty member who sponsored your chosen book.

If you have questions about the Community Read, email Alexandra Patterson (link sends e-mail), director of library services. 

Will you take the Community Read Challenge?