In the summer of 2016, rising sophomores will read Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook, rising juniors will read Linda Carroll and David Rosner’s The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic, and rising seniors will read James Kakalios’s The Physics of Superheroes, as part of our SCIENCE Summer Reading                                                                                                     program.

What Are the Books About?
Sophomores--Class of 2019
The Poisoner's Handbook
Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. 

  • Summarize each chapter 
    • No less than ten sentences
  • Reflect on each chapter
    • No less than ten sentences
Juniors--class of 2018                                                                                                       
The Concussion Crisis by Linda Carroll and David Rosner 
THE CONCUSSION CRISIS brings an explosive but largely unseen epidemic out of the shadows. It puts a human face on a pressing public health crisis through poignant stories of athletes (from the peewees to the pros), soldiers, and others whose lives have been forever changed by jolts to the head and brain. Weaving their cautionary tales with a clear and accessible explanation of the advancing science and medicine, The Concussion Crisis is the definitive exploration of the invisible injury behind today’s alarming headlines. Journalists Linda Carroll and David Rosner sound an urgent wake-up call to every family and argue for changing a macho culture that refuses to treat concussion seriously as the traumatic brain injury it is.

The Concussion Crisis discussion sheets can be found at the Class of 2018 Google Classroom.

Log in to your Boys' Latin email. Open the  google classroom app. In the top right-hand corner, next to your email address is a "+" sign. Click it and join the class of 2018 classroom. The code is: 98ya1u5

                                                                                                    `    `    `    `    `

Seniors--Class of 2017
The Physics of Superheroes
James Kakalios explores the scientific plausibility of the powers and feats of the most famous superheroes — and discovers that in many cases the comic writers got their science surprisingly right. Along the way he provides an engaging and witty commentary while introducing the lay reader to both classic and cutting-edge concepts in physics, including:
What Superman’s strength can tell us about the Newtonian physics of force, mass, and acceleration
How Iceman’s and Storm’s powers illustrate the principles of thermal dynamics
The physics behind the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy
Why physics professors gone bad are the most dangerous evil geniuses! 

 The Physics of Superheroes assignment can be found at thye Class of 2017 Google Classroom. Log in to your Boys' Latin email. Open the  google classroom app. In the top right-hand corner, next to your email address is a "+" sign. Click it and join the class of 2017 classroom. The code is: 4s3dfp5


What Should Students Do?
  1. 1.      Pick up a copy of the book.

    Every rising sophomore, junior, and senior is required to read the selected book before August 31.  Suggestions about how to obtain a book are on the next page.


    2.      Read the book. (You’ll enjoy it.)

    July is probably the best time to do this.  It may be fun to have a family member read it too.  The book emphasizes concepts in upcoming courses and will be part of science class discussion and assignments at the beginning of the year.


    3.      Respond to discussion questions.

    Students will write responses to posted discussion questions. Each response should be a minimum of four sentences. These are due on the first day of science class for a homework grade. More information and the discussion questions can be found at


    4.      Write a paper.

    Each student will be expected to write a paper on the book in September.  This assignment will count as a full test grade and be due at the end of September.


    5.      Engage in discussion with classmates and community members when the school year begins.

    September will include guest speakers and class conversations about the book

Why Summer Reading?
  • Continuing Academic Progress

    Learning does not begin with the ringing of the school bell and end with

    the onset of summer.  Research shows that learning gains

    made during the school year can retreat if students are not

    engaged in reading and learning during the summer.

  • Building Community

    When families, students, and school communities read together,

    they learn from one another.  The selected books will open up

    conversations about current issues in science.

Why SCIENCE Summer Reading?
  • Putting Science in Context

    Science in textbooks is more valuable when it is connected to the real world.

    Grappling with Modern Challenges

    An increasing global population requires current generations to consider issues of ethics, globalization, inequality, justice, and technology.  Science is connected to problems and solutions.

Is This for a Grade?
The short answer is YES. (But that should not be the only reason you read the book.)

How Do I Find a Book? 
To find your copy of the selected book, try some of the suggestions below: 
  • The Poisoner's Handbook is available to borrow from Mr. Harrison in room 303.
  • Check out a copy from the Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Purchase a copy from a bookstore or an online store. The books costs less than $10 new and can be purchased used for even less.
  • Share a copy with a friend. 
  • E-book copies are available for Kindle, iPad, and other e-readers. It should not cost more than $10. An e-book is also available through the Free Library. 

Contact your science teacher by email with concerns or questions.

David Bungard,
May 2, 2016, 11:36 AM