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As educators, we are responsible for cultivating an inclusive learning environment that values and celebrates diversity. One powerful way to achieve this is by providing students with a diverse reading list that exposes them to different cultures, experiences, and perspectives. Here is a reading list specifically curated for your ninth-grade summer reading list. Each book on this ninth-grade summer reading list is carefully chosen to encourage empathy, broaden horizons, and foster a love for literature that transcends boundaries.

A Lesson Before Dying

“A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines is a compelling and thought-provoking novel set in a small Louisiana community during the 1940s. The story revolves around Jefferson, a young black man who is wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, a disillusioned schoolteacher, is tasked with visiting Jefferson in prison and helping him find dignity and self-worth before his execution. As Grant and Jefferson’s relationship evolves, they both confront the harsh realities of racism, prejudice, and systemic injustice. Through powerful and poignant prose, Gaines explores themes of identity, resilience, and the search for meaning and humanity in the face of oppression. “A Lesson Before Dying” is a poignant examination of the dehumanizing effects of racism and a testament to the transformative power of compassion, understanding, and personal growth.

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