Save that Book! — Class of ’23 Shares their Favorite Literature

Class of '23

The 7th grade Literature class reflected on four of the books they read this year–The Miracle Worker, The Giver, Little Women, and The Hobbit–and wrote about which book influenced them the most–and which, therefore, should not be removed from the Montrose curriculum.

Lucy Bachiochi

I think that of all the books we read this year, The Giver impacted my life the most. I finally realized how good it is to have your own opinion in a matter and not just side with the “elders.” Since Jonas knows what is right, he will keep fighting for it. He has his own opinion and is not afraid to show it. Reading The Giver also made me think about how cruel our people are today. Not only are people cruel nowadays, but people were also cruel in The Giver, yet they did not realize it. Our world today is a very sad place full of people suffering. The world in the future is not much better. Nowadays, countries are at war, and people are starving and homeless. People are killing innocents. In the future, people cannot feel emotions; they can not feel love, hate, joy, or even gladness. The children are ripped from their mother’s arms and are given to people who are not their real parents. I now think about how sad it must have been to not feel love (not that they even knew what love was, or how to feel sad). Overall, The Giver made me feel immensely lucky to live in the present and not the future, but most of all it taught me that it is hard to survive without love.

Julie Baker

The book that impacted me the most was The Hobbit. It taught me about many virtues such as tenacity, fair-mindedness, and thoughtfulness. Throughout the story, Bilbo experiences many troubles and obstacles that he has to overcome on his own. In the end, he succeeds in helping the group and becoming a great leader. Bilbo’s story is inspiring to me because it shows that you don’t have to be good at something to succeed. He was a lazy hobbit and stayed in his hobbit hole all day long, never even dreaming of being the most impactful member of a group on a journey to slay a dragon. It reminded me that it is important to have a change in life every once in a while because you can find out things about yourself that you never even knew. Bilbo also realized how important it is to have companions, or friends that you can count on to help you through your struggles. They realized that they had to give Bilbo a chance, and he ended up doing great things. Bilbo also proved that people (or hobbits) change and progress as their life goes on. They develop different personalities, virtues, and values. This is what struck me the most because Bilbo changed so much after he changed his life a bit and went on an adventure. To summarize, The Hobbit was the most impactful book that I read because it showed me that anything is possible if you don’t give up and keep going through all of the obstacles that you face.

Elizabeth Barrett

The book that impacted me the most was The Giver. Even though it is technically below seventh grade reading level, it was full of morals. In a way, it was almost better, because we could go more in depth. We did not have to cover vocabulary that much with this book, which left more time for discussion. For example, we talked about what things like free will meant to us. It made me think about the importance of just being yourself. This is why I think we should definitely keep this book. Another book I think we should keep, but I do not feel as strongly about, is Little Women. There was a lot of time for discussion, but we learned some new words, too. I loved how Alcott included so many life lessons. As the reader, you learned through the Marches’ experiences. It wasn’t like you were reading this huge book of lessons, because you don’t feel like you are learning until you discuss it and figure out how much it impacted you.

Caity Beard

The Giver was by far my favorite book, as well as the book that influenced me the most. The Giver gives an example of Communism in a future community. At first, I didn’t realize it was Communism, but as the book continued on, I realized it was like Communist Berlin. I decided to further research Communism since I found the topic interesting. I found many articles on Berlin, the same things we learned about last year in sixth grade Geography. The Giver also influenced me by showing how much Jonas breaks the rules. Although breaking rules is considered wrong, in some cases, such as Jonas’, I would say that breaking the rules is okay. Following the rules is an important part of school life, but if the rules are making you do things that are not okay, then why follow them? Why should Jonas take medicine every day to get rid of puberty? Jonas broke that rule by not taking the pill, and in this case, I think that that is fair. Jonas broke a rule because it was keeping him from experiencing human nature. Even though the author of The Giver doesn’t touch upon the subject of breaking rules if the rules are wrong, that is still a lesson that I learned from the book. I definitely think that this was the book that influenced me most and it should not be taken out of the curriculum.

Sophia Corrigan

I think that one book that should definitely remain in the curriculum is The Giver. This book helps us see what our future could one day become. In this novel, they do horrible things such as kill the children, the elderly, and the weak. Since this book is set in the future, it could very well become our reality. If this book is lost, although unlikely, it may be our future. Keeping this book in the curriculum will help people understand the importance of pain as well. Pain is necessary for growth, and people need to constantly grow. I also learned about the values of family.

Marta de Oro-Pulido

The book that influenced me the most was The Hobbit because it taught me not to give up, especially when I miss my family just like when Bilbo misses his home. Another book that should remain in the  curriculum is Little Women because I like those types of books that show me that, even in the worst circumstances, there can be something good to learn.

Maria Fasse

The Miracle Worker influenced me the most because it really opened my eyes in different ways to a whole new world. The first way was the realization that even if you have many things against you and you feel like nothing is going your way, you should never give up. For example, Hellen Keller really wanted to go to college, but the colleges at that time were not set up for women and certainly not for handicapped people. Helen overcame these difficulties with the help of her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and great perseverance from both of them. Another important idea is that no one on this planet is perfect and that each of us is a work in progress. The secret there is also perseverance. Without trying over and over again, you do not progress. Without perseverance, you will never be the person that you are meant to be. In Helen’s case, without perseverance and very hard work, she would never have been able to communicate with those around her or to learn all that she did in her extraordinary life.

Theresa Marcucci

I would definitely say that The Giver impacted me the most of all the books we read. I think the reason for that is because of all the obstacles Jonas faces. All of them teach him an important lesson, and they taught me an important lesson as well. The problems in the other books aren’t as big as the ones in The Giver, and it is much easier to overcome the obstacles. For instance, in Little Women, Jo struggles with being boyish and Amy is too selfish. These problems, you’ll notice, aren’t as big as the ones that Jonas faces. He has to overcome all of the things that have been ruined in the community. It rests on his shoulders alone. His character might not be very relatable, in the sense that he exists in a different sort of world, but he has all the virtues that we wish we had. And this makes him a great character to read about and struggle with. Keeping  The Giver is definitely a good idea, since everyone in the class would learn the lessons with Jonas.

Victoria Morris

The Hobbit was the book that influenced me the most this year. As Bilbo went on this journey, there were many unexpected changes in his ideas and his actions. Bilbo taught me that not all change is bad. He came out of the adventure with a whole new outlook on life and adventures in general. He also went through hardships during his journey and learned that life wasn’t all happiness and food. And finally we learned what greed can do through Thorin. All in all, this book made me realize how much we can connect our lives to our favorite books.

Gillian Murray

I think Little Women influenced me the most. The book followed sisters who each handled their own virtues and vices. They faced the world and dealt with the many issues that came at them. The book showed relationships in great depth and let us watch as the relationships changed and became better or worse. Alcott showed how the sisters dealt with daily aspects of the world and how they got past situations that were sad, painful, stressful, and filled with many other unfriendly emotions. The book also gave us a view of some of the other characters who weren’t the main focus of the book, so we not only followed the sisters, but also their family, friends, and a few of their neighbors.

Viviana Niebuhr

The book that impacted me the most would have to be The Giver by Lois Lowry. This influenced me by emphasizing everything we hear from preschool and on, along with bringing up new topics. For many people, there is suffering, sadness, or emptiness inside that the rest of the world can’t see. They hide behind a mask, hoping everyone sees what society will accept. In The Giver, Jonas’ character is given memories and feelings that no one else is allowed to have or know. At times, everyone feels lonely with their thoughts, knowing they’re the only ones who have them. This aspect of the book emphasized that idea in depth, giving readers knowledge that everyone is alone at some point, while no one is alone at the same time. The other smaller lessons this book has to teach are ones we’ve heard throughout our life. The first lesson is that everyone is different, and if we were all to be the same, we would feel trapped in ourselves, which leads to my last point. The more free we are, the more control we have over our character, nature, feelings, and appearances, physical or emotional. The more different we are, the more accepting we are of ourselves.

Grace O’Neill

Out of the four main books that we have read this year, the one that has influenced me the most has definitely been The Hobbit. Not only are the characters and the plot inspiring, but so are the lessons that the story teaches. The Hobbit guides and encourages its readers to face their own obstacles, even when they themselves may think that they are not capable. This brilliant novel teaches important lessons in interesting settings, and pushes the reader in the right direction when it comes to stepping out of their comfort zone, just like the main character, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. This action-packed fictional adventure shows positive character development for a concerned, anxious and meek character, which can be quite relatable for young readers. This  character progressively (though his own challenges) gains more self-confidence. Overall, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a literary masterpiece that I am sure future seventh graders will enjoy.

Sarah Ohaegbulam

The Miracle Worker is a very important book. It teaches many virtues and shows personal growth in all of the characters. It is an interesting read that also serves to explain and allow readers to find the deeper meanings. Annie Sullivan, the main character, teaches Helen, but she also unknowingly teaches readers the importance of patience, determination, and trust. All of the characters in the story grow in a different way, but all of the Kellers also have one area of growth in common. They all pity Helen enormously, a tendency and habit that Annie must teach them to break. Only if they treat her normally will she be able to live more like a normal child. When Annie comes and lacks the empathy toward Helen that her family shows her, the Kellers are wary of her and are slow to trust her. This book illustrates that doing things in the best interests of others is important, even when you aren’t sure if it is the best thing to do. Annie teaches this by being firm with Helen and her family, and by never giving up with what she is there to accomplish. She also learns from being with Helen and overcomes her own obstacles. The Miracle Worker is an important book that should stay in the curriculum.

Isabel Oquendo

The book that impacted me the most was Little Women. The four March sisters are very relatable characters to young girls. I found myself relating mainly to Amy because parts of our personalities are similar. It was very interesting to see how each girl had to overcome her personal burdens. I found it easy to learn from each girl’s burdens, such as Meg’s vanity. I enjoyed this book because I loved reading about each girl and watching them grow up and mature. All of the girls learned to give, forgive, and cope with the tragedy of their young sister Beth’s death. Although they were poor and it bothered some of the girls, by the end of the book, we could see how they tried to make the best of life. They each wanted to be just like Marmee: strong, optimistic, and bold. It is a great story about putting family first and supporting one another when going through rough times (in this case, being poor). Through Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, Little Women shows girls how to be their best selves and that giving is a greater joy than receiving.

Eleanor Peltz

The book that influenced me the most this year, and a book that I feel should not be taken off this curriculum, is The Miracle Worker. This book struck me because of its many good lessons shown through different characters and plot lines. For instance, Annie’s teaching of Helen shows the reader the values of determination and perseverance. Mrs. Keller’s spoiling of Helen, and Captain Keller and his son James’s interactions teach the reader lessons about family and respect for one another. In the case of Mrs. Keller, this was in the form of loving discipline, and in the case of James and the Captain, the key was respecting your parents and your children. In addition, Annie also shows, through her interactions with Captain Keller, how disabilities and roadblocks should not stop anyone from achieving great things, especially when the Captain does not believe Annie can teach his daughter anything due to her poor eyesight and young age.

Nina Polansky

The book that influenced me the most was Little Women. It was very influential for one main reason: the story and characters were relatable. Since it takes place in real life, we know the setting right away, and nothing appears or disappears suddenly. There is no magic, talking beasts, or unknown lands. The setting is concrete and relatable. We can relate to the characters because they are girls just like us, growing up in a hard world. They make mistakes, overcome them, and learn from them. We are able to watch them throughout their struggles and joys, which makes me feel anchored to the four March sisters in many ways. Along with all the genuine struggles in the real world by actual girls, the sisters have sincere emotions. There is nothing foreign about how they feel, because it is reasonable to feel happy when you’ve finally found your true love, sadness when you’ve lost a sister, or anger when your most prized possession is destroyed. I feel that because we can relate to the characters, their emotions, and their experiences in the real world, it is easier to learn the lessons that Louisa May Alcott wants readers to learn. The lessons in Little Women are ones everyone can learn from, not just a lesson like “don’t use magic for power”, and they can’t be reduced to a simple phrase such as “don’t run with scissors.” These are the reasons I think Little Women was the most influential book and Montrose’s curriculum should keep it on the seventh grade reading list.  

Anna Proscia

The book that influenced me the most was The Hobbit because it shows people of different beliefs and species working together to achieve one common goal. I think we should keep it as a 7th grade reading book because in this world, there is too much hate and distrust of people who don’t share common views, or of people who, in some way, go against your views.  For example, most hobbits think that adventurers aren’t respectable, and that dwarves are nothing more than dirty little drunkards. Bilbo, after going on a journey with the dwarves, learns that this is far from the truth. The dwarves, in the end, became better friends to Bilbo than any hobbit.

Ava Russo

Out of the four books, The Miracle Worker, The Giver, Little Women and The Hobbit, the one that I’ve most benefited from, and that should stay in the curriculum, is Little Women. I chose Little Women because it taught so many valuable lessons on topics such as kindness, decision making, respect, charity, and loyalty. Along with these important morals, it was full of relatable and beloved characters and an interesting plot line. Little Women has touching scenes of sacrifice, not only for those we love, but also for those in need. For example, when Jo sells her hair for her father, it is because her father is someone she loves dearly as a member of her family. This does not lessen the sheer unselfishness of the donation, but when Mrs. March and her girls generously give up their delicious Christmas breakfast for a poor family, they are putting the other family’s needs before theirs because they are aware of the fact that the other family is less fortunate than they are. Along with these, there are also moments of extreme joy and extreme sorrow, like when the father returns safely versus poor Beth’s sad death. These are some of the many reasons I feel Little Women is an excellent choice that should stay a part of the seventh grade curriculum.

Ava Ryan

Little Women influenced me the most. In Little Women, all of the characters overcome the obstacles that were in their way. Also, we shouldn’t get rid of this book because I never knew what was going to happen. There was always something that I didn’t know the answer to. I also like how the writer gradually shows how the characters grow up and change with time. Everyone learns a lesson, too. The four March sisters and Laurie learn the most lessons. This is why Montrose needs to have Little Women as part of the curriculum.

Katya Scaria

One book that I think Montrose should keep on the reading list for a long time (or forever, whichever comes first) is The Giver. This book shows us examples of situations that people go through in “the real world.” When it shows parts of war and people being killed, Jonas is absolutely shocked and terrified. He has been sheltered for so long from anything bad that he can’t handle things that may seem common to some of us. That is a real life example of how we need to be aware of wars that are happening, and it may seem a bit “casual” right now, but it is very serious. Some people may think that sheltering people from all that is sad in the world will help them. In reality, they may need to be exposed to it.

Caroline Shannahan

Overall, I think The Hobbit influenced me the most. Obviously, I don’t live like Bilbo did, spending all his time eating and taking baths, and even though he complained a lot, it really struck me just how much he was able to change. I even realized that I was a little lazy compared to him at some points. While reading this book, I remember thinking that he was fighting all kinds of monsters and was never completely safe, which seems really hard for me. Also, despite his comfortable lifestyle, he was really able to do so much to grow, help out, and even take charge. I think that the book that we should definitely keep is The Hobbit. It really taught me a lot through all of the things the characters went through and made me realize that we have a really comfortable life compared to many other areas of the world. Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I enjoyed all the events and lessons that were in one way or another woven into it, and I learned a lot.

Ridhi Thotakura

The books Little Women and The Miracle Worker influenced me the most. Little Women taught me SO MANY important lessons that will definitely occur somewhere in your life. For example, one lesson is that if you know something is wrong and your peers are still doing it, don’t join them, and instead, try to stop them. Another lesson is that happiness is NOT equal to wealth. And finally, think before you act. After reading this book, I started to follow these lessons that I learned from Little Women, allowing them to play a part in my life. The book Miracle Worker influenced me a lot, too, because it taught me not to give up at any point in my life, and to persevere and work hard until I reach my goal, just as Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan did. They worked really hard and they achieved their goals, and that’s exactly what I want to do.

Elyza Tuan

The book that influenced me the most was Little Women. This book influenced me in many different ways. First of all, the determination of the girls while working through problems really inspired me. For them, all of their hard work paid off in the end. Louisa May Alcott took us on a journey through these girls’ lives and showed, not only their successes, but also their struggles and hardships. The fact that the setting and scenarios are all based on true stories inspires me because I can relate to the characters in real life. I think that we should definitely keep this book in the curriculum for future seventh graders.