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2023 All-School Read

Summer Reading 

In a world where the 24- hour news cycle, online gaming, and social media constantly distract and compete for our attention, the faculty here at Northwood School believe in the power of reading to instill compassion, creativity, mindfulness, and well-being in our students.  

Countless studies show that reading promotes empathy, imagination, neuron stimulation, and heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex.  

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist.  We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense.  Now we’re seeing that something else may be happening biologically.” 

---Gregory Berns, Researcher and Director of Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy 

Watching film adaptations or reading online summaries like SparkNotes, while potentially interesting and time-saving, cannot compare to engaging with and connecting to the texts themselves.  Students will be cheating themselves, as well as infringing upon the Northwood Honor Code, by substituting these sources for actual reading.  In other words, you are required to read the books.  If so preferred, electronic (e-books) are acceptable for completing the readings. If students choose an audiobook version, we suggest listening while following along on the page.  

With this in mind, we offer you this summer’s list of required reading for returning and incoming Northwood School students.  Please note that all students are required to read the All-School Read as well as the books specific to the English course they are entering and other applicable AP courses. In this document, you will also find details of summer reading. Any questions can be directed to Noël Carmichael, Dean of Academic Affairs,  

Fostering Community Through Shared Intellectual Experience 

Northwood School's All-School Read is designed to foster a sense of community by encouraging a shared intellectual experience across the school. The All-School Read tradition at Northwood has been in place for more than thirty years. Recent titles have included The Power of Meaning (Emily Esfahani Smith), The Boys in the Boat (Daniel James Brown), The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (Wes Moore), The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives (Dashka Slater), Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand), Where You Go Is Not What You'll Be (Frank Bruni), The Bridge of St. Luis Rey (Thornton Wilder), Freakonomics (Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner), and I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai). Each spring, a committee of faculty, staff, and administration selects a book to be read by all members of the school community before the academic year begins. 

Our theme for the 2023-2024 school year is: Unity. 

Outcasts United by Warren St. John

This book was nominated by faculty member John Spear. Here is a personal note from Mr. Spear about why he chose this book for our community:  

Outcasts United is a story of a community that comes together. It's about a team, a coach, and a small town. It's also about understanding and appreciating our differences and finding a common humanity. When a group of people from all over the world, with varied belief systems and life experiences, come together in a small place like Clarkston, Georgia or Northwood School, creating a unified community takes effort. When we put in the work to get to know each other and build friendships, the resulting community is quite special. Those of you who have been at Northwood for a while will recognize this as Northwood at our best, and our newcomers will soon appreciate what Outcasts United can teach us about our community. I hope you enjoy this summer's All School Read! 

Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John.  Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees. 

For details on all summer reading requirements see this document: CLICK HERE


See more at:

For English Language Learners or those who need an alternate version, there is a young adult version available as well:   

We encourage students to buy their copy from Lake Placid’s independent bookstore, The Bookstore Plus ( or from their own local, independent bookstore.

There is an audiobook version available on Audible: 

There are also eBook version available on Kindle and other eReaders.

There is an eBook copy available through Northwood’s Overdrive account. If you are interested in that version, please contact the school librarian, Ms. Martin (



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