St. Monica Catholic School - Faith Family, Academics, and Service

Browsing Eagle Update

Reading, Math, Cat Rescue, and Football Opportunities

Going off the diving board in glasses! Just throwing caution to the wind. After all, it is summer. We are all preparing to welcome families back in August. CLICK HERE for a more up to date calendar. A packet will be sent home after July 5th with a welcome letter, new calendar, tuition statement, and payment plan options. Please remember to send your 1040 to [email protected] to see if you qualify for financial aide leading to a School Choice Scholarship. The school office will be closed in July but you are welcome to drop off paperwork, payments, etc during parish office hours 8-4 Monday through Friday. Someone will get it to us safely. 

We are migrating to a new school information system. As of July 1, Harmony will not be available. Once Powerschool is available, we will send you information on how to access student records for your family. Our remind system for families is also being migrated to SchoolMessenger this summer. You will no longer receive messages from Remind so please read all emails until our new text messaging system is active.

Summer Reading

We encourage all students to read for at least 30 minutes each day. If you are in grades 4-8, Achieve 3000 can be your primary resource. Everyone can  CLICK HERE to use the lexile reading level list so that your child is reading at their appropriate level. You can also use Raz-Kids which is already set at your child's level. You need to use the teacher your child had in the 20-21 school year. Please scan to the bottom of this newsletter for Middle School Student suggestions.

Summer Math

As with reading, math is also an important part of the summer and should be encouraged for 30 minutes per day. CLICK HERE to link to your child's IXL login. These have been set to start at their readiness level.  Your child can also hone their math facts through various sites including XTRAMATH

Cat Rescue

Mrs. Yesh, one of our 5th grade teachers, is involved in a cat rescue. It is Kitten Season! They are in high abundance. They have moms, dads, and kittens galore that need homes. CLICK HERE for their Facebook link. CLICK HERE for their website link. If you are looking for a new feline friend, this is a great way to do it while helping the population.

CYO Football

Summer conditioning will take place at Cardinal Ritter High School field. CLICK HERE for a flyer with more information. If you are interested in joining the team contact Dan Adams at [email protected]

Culture Survey

If you have not already, please CLICK HERE and fill out our survey regarding family culture.

Middle School Reading Suggestions

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, 1000 Lexile

What It's About: Before she was the youngest Noble Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai was a young Pashtun girl who loved to learn in her hometown of Pakistan's Swat Valley. Although her mother was illiterate, Malala grew up in a girls' school run by her father. A curious, precocious learner who firmly believed in a girl's God-given right to learn, Malala was considered a blasphemous troublemaker by the Taliban, and in 2012 she was shot by a Taliban gunman. She survived and refused to be silenced.

Why Read It? Educating girls is a global human rights issue, and Malala's story teaches young readers that even the youngest advocate can have a huge impact. As Malala explains, in countries "where women aren't allowed to go out in public without a man, we girls traveled far and wide inside the pages of our books. In a land where many women can't read the prices in the markets, we did multiplication ... we ran as free as the wind."

Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens, 910 Lexile
 
What It's About: In 1930s Hong Kong, a Chinese Anglophile sends his 13-year-old daughter Hazel Wong to boarding school in England. When she arrives at the perpetually dark and damp Deepdean School for Girls, Hazel is in awe of the young (and mean) English girls she meets. Still, she connects with plucky and beautiful Daisy Wells, who asks Hazel to be the Watson to her Holmes. There's not much sleuthing for the girls to do until Hazel discovers the dead body of the science mistress -- but by the time Hazel runs back with Daisy, the body has mysteriously disappeared.
 
Why Read It? This boarding-school mystery in a historical setting is written in the tradition of Nancy Drew with a dash of Veronica Mars humor and Hogwarts excitement. Although the main characters are girls, boys will enjoy the Holmes-and-Watson-style (or should we say Wells-and-Wong) adventures in figuring out what in the world is happening around them.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, 990 Lexile

What It's About: Raised in both South Carolina and New York, author Jacqueline Woodson shares tales of her upbringing through Jim Crow and Civil Rights in the 60s and 70s. Told completely in verse, Woodson's book details cherished memories about her grandparents, pop culture, new friends, and living in both the segregated country and diverse city streets.

Why Read It? Woodson's award-winning memoir (National Book Award, Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Award) is funny and sad and everything in between. The intimate and engaging poems will teach middle schoolers about a complicated time in American history, but it's also a universal story about coming of age, changing family dynamics, and learning what makes you uniquely talented.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip M. Hoose, 970 Lexile

What It's About: During WWII, Denmark didn't resist Nazi occupation, and this deeply shamed 15-year-old Knud Pedersen, who along with his brother and some classmates started a small, secret club of political resisters in 1941. Full of brave but naïve teenage boys desperate to undermine the Nazi regime, the Churchill Club committed 25 acts of sabotage -- disabling German vehicles, stealing Nazi arms, and destroying and defacing German property -- before being arrested in 1942.

Why Read It? What middle schooler doesn't want to read about teens who defied authority for the greater good? The Churchill Club's actions sound like something out of a movie, but they really happened, and Hoose interweaves his own historical nonfiction with recollections from Pedersen himself. This is the kind of book students would gladly read for history class, because the characters are such courageous, clever young heroes.

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming, 950Lexile

What It's About: Award-winning children's author Candace Fleming captures the final years of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. Czar Nicholas II isn't prepared to step up and lead his vast empire. An intensely personal man, Nicholas is better suited to family life with his German and English wife Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria) and their five children: four girls and one sickly son. As revolutionaries gain ground and WWI approaches, it becomes clear that the Czar and his family are headed toward doom.  

Why Read It? History buffs or not, kids interested in "real stories" will love Fleming's straightforward style of explaining complex sociopolitical ideas and historical contexts concerning the Imperial family, World War I, the Russian Revolution, Russian Orthodox ideology, and even European royalty. There's a lot to digest, but it's always fascinating. Fans of nonfiction narratives will dive into Fleming's chronicle of one of history's most fascinating downfalls.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, 540 Lexile
What It's About: Fourteen-year-old Audrey struggles with severe anxiety stemming from unspecified school bullying. She is under a doctor's care and making slow but steady progress, but things significantly change when Audrey meets her brother's online gaming friend, Linus. Despite her social anxiety, Audrey finds it easy to talk to Linus, and their friendship eventually turns into a sweet romance.

Why Read It? Best-selling author Kinsella, who's best known for her popular Shopaholic series, delivers her first young adult novel, a realistic contemporary story about social anxiety and gaming addiction that's nevertheless filled with her infectious brand of humor and romance. A book featuring a young teen protagonist, tough issues, humor, and a quirky, close-knit family? Sounds like an ideal mother-daughter read.

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganada and Caitlin Alifrenka, 790 Lexile

What It's About: In 1997, 12-year-old American middle-schooler Caitlin and 14-year-old Zimbabwean Martin are paired as pen pals through their schools. At first, Caitlin sends photos and trinkets and asks for the same, not realizing the depths of poverty in which Martin lives. Eventually, Caitlin and her family start to send financial support to Martin, and their international friendship forever changes each of their lives.

Why Read It? Caitlin and Martin's letters and perspectives will teach kids to better appreciate their relative good fortune and to understand how a little bit of help and a lot of compassion can make a huge impact on someone else's life. Caitlin and Martin's extraordinary friendship should inspire your kid to be a better global citizen.

Undertow by Michael Buckley. 730 Lexile

What It's About: Coney Island native Lyric Walker has a family secret: She's part "Sirena." So when 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race (Sirena being among them) of beautiful but violent humanoid sea warriors, land on her beach, she knows this means trouble. Lyric's New York City beach town turns into a militarized zone with the Alpha on one side and humans on another. Then Lyric is asked to give Fathom, the gorgeous and militant Alpha prince, reading lessons, and sparks fly. Which side will she choose?

Why Read It? Described as a combination of The 5th Wave and Twilight with sea creatures, this romantic dystopian fantasy seems to have enough action, war, and adventure to balance out the fiery romance, making it an equally compelling choice for any kid who wants to start reading a popular new series.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, 740 Lexile

What It's About: Thirteen-year-old Noah and his twin sister Jude are inseparable until their art-critic mom announces that their dearly departed grandmother's ghost wants them to apply to a local arts high school. The competition for their mom's approval coupled with an unexpected, catastrophic loss leads to three years of drifting apart, finding love, and discovering who they want to be as artists, siblings, and people.

Why Read It? Nelson's gorgeously written coming-of-age novel won multiple awards in 2014, and it deserved every accolade. Best for seventh- and eighth-graders mature enough to immerse themselves in the story's magical realism, philosophical themes, and relationship issues, I'll Give You the Sun will impress English teachers and make readers want to share the book with friends.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm 550 Lexile
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer. Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far? Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
 
Wonderstruck Brian Selznick 830 Lexile
Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories - Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures - weave back and forth in symmetry.
 
Okay for Now Gary D Schmidt 850 Lexile
Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.
 
Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu
Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he's trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. But his comfortable life gets sidetracked abruptly after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall. Knowing that the violence will only get worse, Sami's parents decide they must flee their home for the safety of the UK.

Boy, Everywhere chronicles their harrowing journey and struggle to settle in a new land. Forced to sell all their belongings and leave their friends and beloved grandmother behind, Sami and his family travel across the Middle East to Turkey, where they end up in a smuggler's den. From there, they cross the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean and manage to fly to England, only to be separated and detained in an immigration prison for the "crime" of seeking asylum. Yet the transition from refugee to immigrant in a new life will be the greatest challenge Sami has ever faced.

Based on the experiences of real Syrian refugees, this thoughtful middle-grade novel is the rare book to delve deeply into this years-long crisis. A. M. Dassu has used her publishing deal advances for Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee/recently immigrated writer in the US. Sami's story is one of survival, of family and friendship, of bravery and longing ... Sami could be any one of us.

Indian No More By Charlene Willing McManis, Traci Sorell 720 Lexile

Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle Grade Book. Chosen as a 2020 Global Read Aloud.  Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe's reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight--even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

Now that they've been forced from their homeland, Regina's father signs the family up for the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She's never met kids of other races, and they've never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it's not that easy. It's 1957 during the Civil Rights era, and the family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay?

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame By Supriya Kelkar

India, 1857. Meera’s future has been planned for her for as long as she can remember. As a child, her parents married her to a boy from a neighboring village whom she barely knows. Later, on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, she prepares to leave her family to live with her husband’s—just as her strict religion dictates. But that night, Indian soldiers mutiny against their British commanders and destroy the British ammunition depot, burning down parts of Delhi. Riots follow, and Meera’s husband is killed. Upon hearing the news, Meera’s father insists that she follow the dictates of their fringe religious sect: She must end her life by throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

Risking everything, Meera runs away, escaping into the chaos of the rebellion. But her newfound freedom is short-lived, as she is forced to become a servant in the house of a high-ranking British East India Company captain. Slowly through her work, she gains confidence, new friends, new skills—and sometimes her life even feels peaceful. But one day, Meera stumbles upon the captain’s secret stock of ammunition, destined to be used by the British to continue colonizing India and control its citizens.

Will Meera do her part to take down the British colonists and alert the rebellion of the stockpile? Or will she stay safe and let others make decisions for her? It really comes down to this: how much fire must a girl face to finally write her own destiny?

All The Stars Denied By Guadalupe Garcia McCall 790 Lexile

In the heart of the Great Depression, Rancho Las Moras, like everywhere else in Texas, is gripped by the drought of the Dust Bowl, and resentment is building among white farmers against Mexican Americans. All around town, signs go up proclaiming "No Dogs or Mexicans" and "No Mexicans Allowed." When Estrella organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos in their town of Monteseco, Texas, her whole family becomes a target of "repatriation" efforts to send Mexicans "back to Mexico" --whether they were ever Mexican citizens or not. Dumped across the border and separated from half her family, Estrella must figure out a way to survive and care for her mother and baby brother. How can she reunite with her father and grandparents and convince her country of birth that she deserves to return home? There are no easy answers in the first YA book to tackle this hidden history. In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.

On These Magic Shores By Yamile Saied Méndez

Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by ICE? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can't let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They'll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back.

Minerva's plan falls apart the first afternoon when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva's audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she'll be prepared to face life's challenges--with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.

Grand Theft Horse By G. Neri

Gail Ruffu was a rookie trainer known for her unconventional methods and ability to handle dangerous horses. When she became part owner of an untamed thoroughbred named Urgent Envoy, everything changed. After Urgent Envoy showed real promise, her co-owners forced Gail to speed up training and race him too early, causing the horse to develop a hairline shin fracture. Refusing to drug the horse to keep it running, Gail lost Urgent Envoy to her partners, who pushed the horse even harder. One more race would kill him. When nobody heeded her warnings, Gail had to act.

So on Christmas Eve, she rescued her own horse. A modern-day outlaw, Gail evaded private investigators and refused to give the horse up. Blacklisted by the racing world, she learned the law at night to take on a powerful L.A. attorney determined to crush her in court. As she stood up for the humane treatment of racehorses, she also faced down the system that caused their demise.

In this gorgeous graphic biography, G. Neri, author of the acclaimed Yummy and Ghetto Cowboy, retells the life of his cousin Gail, a pioneer who challenged the horse racing world for the sake of one extraordinary horse. With illustrations by brilliant newcomer Corban Wilkin, it is a must-read for horse lovers everywhere.

Rogue Heart By Axie Oh 790 Lexile

Neo Beijing, 2201. Two years after the Battle of Neo Seoul, eighteen-year-old telepath Ama works in a cafe by day and moonlights as a lounge singer in a smoky bar at night. She's anonymous, she's safe from the seemingly never-ending war, and that's how she'd like to stay. But then PHNX, a resistance group specializing in espionage, approaches her with an offer to expose a government experiment exactly like the one she fled. Soon, Ama is traveling with PHNX on a series of dangerous missions, using her telepathic powers to aid the rebellion against the authoritarian Alliance.

As the war ramps up, PHNX is given its most dangerous mission yet: to infiltrate the base of the Alliance's new war commander, a young man rumored to have no fear of death. But when Ama sees the commander for the first time, she discovers his identity: Alex Kim, the boy she once loved. The boy who betrayed her.

Now, Ama must use her telepathic abilities to pose as an officer in Alex's elite guard, manipulating his mind so that he doesn't recognize her. As the final battle approaches, Ama struggles with her mission and her feelings for Alex. Will she be able to carry out her task? Or will she give up everything for Alex again--only to be betrayed once more?

Part heist novel, part love story, Rogue Heart will appeal to fans of Marie Lu's Warcross and Tahera Mafi's Shatter Me series.

I Am Alfonso Jones By Tony Medina 640 Lexile

Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.

When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.

In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak—and the living yield even more surprises.

Foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy.

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan By Sherry Thomas 840 Lexile

CHINA, 484 A.D. A Warrior in Disguise. All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man. 

A War for a Dynasty

Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling—the royal duke’s son, who is also the most handsome man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Inspired by wuxia martial-arts dramas as well as the centuries-old ballad of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, or Kristin Cashore—a thrilling, romantic, and sharp-edged novel that lives up to its beloved heroine.

Summer of the Mariposas By Guadalupe Garcia McCall 840 Lexile

When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer’s original tale.

With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them?

Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.

Subscribe

RSS Feed

Archive


Access all blogs

Subscribe to all of our blogs