Deep and Rite of Passage Books

What do our Panthers read?  

Simply put… EVERYTHING!  

Yet, how do we challenge them to read transformative books?

Our answer?  The Deep Book and the Rite of Passage Book.

A Deep Book is a  “world-changing” or “life-changing” read that equips and inspires.

A Rite of Passage book is a “world-changing” or “life-changing” read that equips and inspires – while it also affirms and speaks to the Black/African experience in America and the diaspora.

The big difference at EMA is that we trust our Panthers to create a list of books that inspire, move and transform them.  During late middle school and Launchpad (high school Fall 2019?), Panthers must earn 22 Deep Book badges.

1. It all starts with Gaining Approval for a Deep Book.

Each Deep Book requires a two minute face-to-face pitch to a three-person committee made up of one Guide and two Panthers (eventually this committee will be all Panthers.)  The vote to approve a book must be unanimous.

The initial criteria include:

  • Why do you believe this particular book is an important part of your S/Hero’s Journey?
  • Is this a serious book that others have considered “life-changing” or “world-changing” by others?  Provide “evidence” via lists, or quotes.
  • Are you stretching your “challenge zone” by reaching for more complex texts or ideas?
  • Does this selection add to the diversity of your reading choices? (In other words, are you choosing different types of ideas, subjects, genres?)
  • Is the material too violent or sexually explicit to be appropriate, at this time?
  • What other three books are next on your list?”
  • What is your due date for completing the book and review?

Any sense that a Panther is trying to “take the easy way out” results in an automatic rejection. A series of links to lists of Great Books is provided as a place to start.

2. Once a book is finished, the Panther must deliver a Video or Written Review.

The goal of the written or video review is to convince someone else to read the book.

The review includes:

  • How did this book change you in an important way? Who else should read it and why?
  • A description of the history and impact of the book and its author.
  • The major questions raised by the book or its characters or plot.
  • Observations about the author’s style and voice.

There must be evidence from the book – facts, questions, quotes, characters, the plot – to back up any recommendations and the review must be completed by the due date  and judged as superior to the Panther’s last review or equal to or better than the average review turned in by other Panthers, by unanimous approval of the Committee, or if the Committee chooses, a 4.25 or better ranking by a gathering of Panthers. If a review does not pass, it may not be resubmitted.

Any examples of plagiarism or taking shortcuts like reading summations or watching a movie in place of reading the entire text will be an immediate honor code violation.

Our formula for lifelong reading?

Deep, serious books.  Choice.  Comprehensive proof of a serious struggle and personal impact.  

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