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Freshman and Freshman Honors Reading

The Freshmen Summer Reading letter contains complete information about the program, assignments, and reading selections. (*underlined portion is linked to a pdf of the letter)

Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu's secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu's generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu's soul mate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.  (Review adapted from Amazon.com)


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