Biotech Summer Reading Books

Students can earn 10 hours per book read towards their Biotech certificate by voluntarily participating in the Summer Biotech Book Club. Selections are listed for each grade level. After reading one or both selections for their grade level, students must write a reflective essay about each book using the instructions below. Reflection essays are to be e-mailed to Mrs. Walton by September 30, 2020. For more information contact: Mrs. Walton, .

9th Grade

"Charles and Emma : The Darwins' Leap of Faith" by Deborah Heiligman. New York : Holt, 2009. (268 p.)
This biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion. Charles and Emma was a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

"Monkey Town: the Summer of the Scopes Trial" by Ronald Kidd. New York : Simon Pulse, 2007. (250 p.)
When her father hatches a plan to bring publicity to their small Tennessee town by arresting a local high school teacher for teaching about evolution, the resulting 1925 Scopes trial prompts fifteen-year-old Frances to rethink many of her beliefs about religion and truth, as well as her relationship with her father.

10th Grade

"Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up To Biotech’s Brave New Beasts" by Emily Anthes. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux , 2013. (241 p.)
A journalist discusses how biotechnology is altering animals in ways both trivial and profound. It may sound like science fiction, but our ability to manipulate DNA is very real, and carries both perils and extraordinary potential. -- NPR Summary

"Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary Pearson. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 208. (266 p.)
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

11th Grade

"Asleep: the Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries" by Molly Caldwell Crosby. New York: Berkley Books, 2011. (291 p.)
Provides an account of the epidemic eventually identified as encephalitis lethargica, or “sleeping sickness”, which swept across the world between 1918 and 1927 when it disappeared, and discusses the efforts of a group of neurologists in New York in the 1920s and 1930s who worked to solve the epidemic and treat afflicted patients.

"Spiral" by Paul McEuen. New York: The Dial Press, 2011. (312 p.)
When respected and beloved Nobel laureate Liam Connor is found dead and his death is declared as suicide, search for a virus hidden since World War II is ignited. Soon Liam's collaborator Jake, Liam’s granddaughter Maggie, and Maggie’s nine-year-old son Dylan find themselves in a conspiracy of bio-warfare spread over the world and decades of research.

12th Grade

"The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History" by Molly Caldwell Crosby. New York: Berkley Books, 2006. (308 p.)
"The American Plague" reveals the true story of yellow fever, recounting Memphis, Tennessee's near-destruction and resurrection from the epidemic-and the four men who changed medical history with their battle against an invisible foe that remains a threat to this very day.

"Next: a Novel" by Michael Crichton. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. (431 p.)
Next interweaves the stories of various human and animal characters with genetic abnormalities, including a boy who has chimpanzee chromosomes, a parrot that was injected with human genes and can figure out mathematical equations, and an orangutan that can talk, and the complications that are associated with their existence.

Instructions for Book Reflection

Your written book reflection may either be typed or handwritten. It must include:

  • Your Name and grade (First and Last name in the top right corner of the paper.);
  • The book’s title (Capitalize the important words and center it on the top of the page.);
  • The name of the author (Center it just under the title);
  • A description of the setting of the book;
  • A description of the main character;
  • A description of what happened in the book;
  • An explanation of how science was used in the book and was it reasonable; and
  • Give your of opinion of the book

Join the Biotech Book Club

The Biotech Book Club will meet each quarter to discuss the selected book. To earn the Biotech hours you must read the book, complete the summary questions (posted at the end of this description), and participate in the discussion . Students earn 10 hours for reading the book, completing the summary questions, and attending the book discussion.

Your written book reflection may either be typed or handwritten. It must include:

  • Your Name and grade
  • The book’s title;
  • The name of the author;
  • A description of the setting of the book;
  • A description of the main character;
  • A description of what happened in the book;
  • An explanation of how science was used in the book and was it reasonable; and
  • Give your opinion of the book