For Freshmen: Matt de la Pena, Mexican Whiteboy (2010) 256 pages
For Sophomores: Jason Buchholz, A Paper Son (2015) 322 pages
For Juniors: For Students in American Literature: James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother (1996) 295 pages.
For Students in AP Language Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1953). 568 pages
For Seniors: For Students in Odyssey of Youth & English Literature: Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch (1996) 247 pages.
For Students in AP English Literature: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847) 448 pages
Required of All Students (Excerpts) & Recommended for Parents: Matthew Walker, Ph.D., Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (2017) 342 pages
In addition, our One Book, One Community book selection, is drawn from our Wellness Program and is of supreme importance. Cal professor of neuroscience and psychology Matthew Walker’s is our choice. Published in 2017, Why We Sleep will, frankly, blow your mind. No passive activity improves human health and wellness as much as adequate sleep, and no habit can be more destructive to the cognitive development of adolescents as insufficient sleep.
We are requiring students to read excerpts of the book, but we are strongly encouraging—really, we are expecting you–our parents, to read this book. Teens need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Probably 9 hours. Every night. The educational, emotional, and physical consequences of insufficient sleep cannot be overstated. Poor sleep is killing us slowly, and adequate sleep will improve academic performance far more than tutors and test prep. Sleep is not hard to do. And it’s free.
While we ask all parents to read the entire book so they can discuss its contents and implications with your children—we parents are the primary educators of our children–
Saint Mary’s students will be required to read only the following excerpts totaling 112 very readable pages:
Chapter 1 “To Sleep…” pp 3-12
Chapter 6 “Your Mother and Shakespeare Knew: The Benefits of Sleep for the Brain” pp 107-132
Chapter 11 “Dream Creativity and Dream Control” pp 219-234
Chapter 13 “iPads, Factory Whistles, and Nightcaps: What’s Stopping You From Sleeping” pp 265-281
Chapter 15 “Sleep and Society: What Medicine and Education Are Doing Wrong; What Google and NASA Are Doing Right” pp 296-323
Chapter 16 “A New Vision for Sleep in the Twenty-First Century” pp 324-339
Conclusion “To Sleep or Not to Sleep” pp 340
Appendix “Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep” pp 341