New website about promoting uplifting high school literature by Sharon O’Donnell

For the past three weeks, my project has been developing a website called, a site dedicated to promoting more uplifting literature in high school English classes. The bleak, depressing literature reading assignments –  that have traditionally been accepted as the norm — have bothered me ever since my middle son had severe anxiety issues during his junior year of high school, and I discovered that during this time, he had been reading a novel in which two people try to commit suicide.  That was not the only one he read that year that involved suicide.  This, of course, didn’t cause my son’s anxiety by itself, but it might have been a contributing factor. I couldn’t help but think what would his mood have been like if he had been reading something more uplifting — would it have had an effect?

As my husband and I worked with our son to get him through his struggles, he was our priority; yet, I still thought about the literature issue and vowed to look into it at some point.  Since 2010, I’ve gathered info about it. With my youngest son now going into his freshman year of high school, the issue is back on the front burner of my thoughts — especially with recent rashes of suicides with young college students in Wisconsin and in my own state of North Carolina at Appalachian State.  Teens and young adults are more prone to depression and anxiety because of hormones, lack of sleep, the break down of many families, the economy, stress, and even the fact that their brains (the frontal lobe that controls reason and rational thoughts) are not completely developed yet.

So please take a look at


and let me know what you think


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