The Heart of African American History

The heart of Black History Month makes February the best time to share the stories of amazing people who continue to impact the world in so many important ways. Here are four interesting titles you´ll want to read, from novels to non-fiction:

Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

30840370Watch the movie and read the book.¨Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians know as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women. Originally math teachers in the South’s segregated public schools, these gifted professionals answered Uncle Sam’s call during the labour shortages of World War II. With new jobs at the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia, they finally had a shot at jobs that would push their skills to the limits.¨ review

The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World
by John Carlos

11323628An Olympic story: ¨Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. Here is the remarkable story of one of the men behind the salute, lifelong activist John Carlos.¨ From





The Underground Railroad: a Novel
by Colson Whitehead, 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner

30555488¨Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.¨




In the Shadow of Liberty: the Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents and Four Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis

27414451¨Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers—who fought for liberty and justice for all—were slave owners? Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy—that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.¨ review


Dynamic Duologies

While book series are fun, let’s be honest – they’re a big commitment. But what if one book just isn’t quite enough? Introducing duologies!

Here are a bunch of stories that come in pairs to keep your reading load more relaxed and your time commitment easy this semester:

Matt De La Peńa´s The Living and the sequel The Hunted follow the adventures of a high school student working on a cruise ship, trying to survive a tsunami, and much more.


7741325 26258306Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, are two modern romance books by two authors, taking readers all across New York City during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Check out #1 here and #2 here.


1726223611925514Elizabeth Wein has a pair of gripping World War II stories – one about a daring spy held as a prisoner of war, the other a pilot in a concentration camp – that are so well researched and written, it’s almost hard to believe that they’re fiction, Code Name Verity and A Rose Under Fire.


26028483 23168818Time Salvager and Time Siege by Wesley Chu take readers on a time-traveling adventure series about a crew tasked with helping save the future by recovering resources from the past without altering the course of history.




A set of dystopian novels written by local author Erica O’Rourke, Dissonanceand Resonance explore the idea of parallel universes and the complex impacts even our smallest choices make.


New(ish) Reads for a New Year

Last year, some fascinating new stories were released and the LFHS library is filled with books you may have run out of time to discover in 2017. Check out this trio of tales from some favorite authors:




Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth – but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents’ jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv’s miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive…”

Here’s more at


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
22552026“Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh… BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?”

Check out the rest of the Goodreads’ review here.

Warcross by Marie Lu

“Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job.

No Shave November

Guess What- No Shave NovemberWith No Shave November under way, and Halloween already a memory, here’s a list of five titles about characters in some “hairy” situations.

  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (Thriller)

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind. Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair…”  Goodreads Review

  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Adventure)

Goodreads synopsis: “20821111Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.”

  • Mars One by Jonathan Maberry (Sci-Fi)

29340727“Go on the adventure of a lifetime with a teen and his family after they are selected to colonize Mars in this thrilling new novel from multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author Jonathan Maberry…” Read more GR review here.



  • A Speck in the Sea: A Story of Survival and Rescue by John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski (Nonfiction)


From Goodreads: “In the dead of night on July 24, 2013, John Aldridge was thrown off the back of the Anna Mary while his fishing partner, Anthony Sosinski, slept below. Their memoir, A Speck in the Sea intertwines Aldridge’s wrenching first-person account with the narrative of the massive, constantly evolving rescue operation designed to save him.As desperate hours tick by, Sosinski, the families, the local fishing community, and the US Coast Guard in three states mobilize in an unprecedented search effort that culminates in a rare and exhilarating success…”

  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Contemporary)


“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed…With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends…Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated.” Synopsis

“A Conversation with President Obama.”


Wenner, Jann. S. “A Conversation with President Obama.” Rolling Stone, vol. 1276/1277, 15-29, Dec. 2016, pp.  34-40.

Rolling Stone Magazine just published an interview with President Obama. It was their 10th interview with him which makes me wonder how I missed the other 9 interviews. I was very interested to read this article because most of it is in the President’s own words. President Obama shares his views on the election results of course but also on many of the issues he has worked on and the history of politics in general. There were many good quotes that I thought served as positive advice. He said, “There’s no benefit that’s derived from pulling into a fetal position. We go out there, and we work. And we slog through challenges, and over time things get better” (38). The President discussed a few times how the media and notably Facebook, has changed the way we learn about, view, and communicate about politics and how it actually divides people. If you are interested in President Obama’s viewpoint or why he thinks the election turned out as it did, or even just curious to know what it’s like to be a world leader with all of today’s issues going on, I recommend reading this article.  It’s located on the magazine shelves brought to you by your friendly LFHS library.

Dr. Hirose, LFHS Library

Just in Time for Homecoming 2016: Ten Books to Pump Up Your School Spirit!

Homecoming is just around the corner, Scouts, so we’ve compiled a list of our most popular books about football, cheerleading, and all the school spirit you can stand that’ll make you laugh out loud, get inspired, and see things through your opponents’ eyes. Get ready to show your Scout Spirit with one of these great reads!


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-37-15-amThe Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas are the winningest team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires–and sometimes shatters–the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-38-11-amVeronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-38-52-amA ripped-from-the-headlines story about teens and steroids.

From a New York Times bestselling sports writer comes the story of one boy’s quest to stay true to himself without letting down his team. Jack and his father have never seen eye to eye…until Jack’s dad gives him the chance to transfer to Oakhurst his junior year. His dad sees it as a way for Jack to get into a good college; Jack sees it as refuge from his dad.

Oakhurst is more than an escape—it’s a chance for Jack to do something new, to try out for the football team. Once Jack makes the team, he’s thrust into a foreign world—one of intense hazing, vitamin supplements, monkey hormones and steroids. Jack has to decide how far he’s willing to go to fit in—and how much he’s willing to compromise himself to be the man his team wants him to be.

Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-34-53-amWhen we first meet Michael Oher is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family’s love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.




screenshot-2016-09-16-at-9-11-34-amFelton Reinstein has never been good with stress. Which is why he’s seriously freaking out. Revealing his college choice on national TV? It’s a heart attack waiting to happen. Deciding on a major for the next four years of his life? Ridiculous. He barely even knows who he is outside of football. And so…he embarks on The Epic Quest to Be Meaningful.



screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-39-41-amHigh school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.

Now, as Coach Rake’s “boys” sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake – or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach – and himself – before he can get on with his life, the stakes are especially high.



screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-40-22-amThe pressure is on.

At Nearmont High School, football stars are treated like royalty, and Matt Rydek has just ascended to the throne. As co-captain of the Raiders, he’s got it all, or so it seems: hot girls, all the right friends, plenty of juice to make him strong, and a winning team poised to go all the way. If he can keep his eye on the ball now, his future will be set, with a full ride to a Division One school, a shot at the pros, and most important his dad off his back. But when the team turns on one of its own, should Matt play by Raiders rules, or should he go long alone?

Robert Lipsyte, an award-winning journalist, in consultation with Dr. Michael J. Miletic, a leading sports psychiatrist, takes a hard-hitting look at the world of competitive high school sports in a novel straight from today’s headlines.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-42-03-amThe true story of the NFL’s oldest rookie
In 1976, Vince Papale was thirty, a former schoolteacher and part-time bartender, and a season ticket-holder for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. When he heard that Coach Dick Vermeil was holding open tryouts, he decided to give it a shot. Shocking himself and the coaches, he ran an explosive 40-yard-dash in just 4.5 seconds–a world-class time–and was offered a contract on the spot. When he joined the team, Papale became the oldest non-kicking rookie in NFL history, a fan favorite who played for four years and was named a team captain. Invincible is Vince Papale’s story, and a tie-in to the Disney Pictures film of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg as Papale and Greg Kinnear as Vermeil. But more than just a tie-in, it tells Papale’s story in his own words, covering subjects not included in the film. Like Rudy, Glory Road, and Rookie, it is the true story of an ordinary man who achieves an extraordinary goal.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-42-45-amVeronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.


screenshot-2016-09-16-at-8-40-58-amNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Now a major motion picture starring Will Smith, Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL.

Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this?The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore.

Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multi-billion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.

All images and book reviews from

What to Read this Summer

It’s finals week, Scouts! Three days of Finals and then summer is here! When the Book Club met up earlier this month, they brought with them some ideas on what everyone should read this summer–


9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.inddSan Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein

17262236While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival. Continue reading