Welcome, Mrs. Thomas!

This semester, the LFHS Library is so lucky to have Mrs. Thomas from the Art Department around! Enjoy her bio below, and be sure to say hello when she’s in here 2nd, 3rd, and 6th periods.


Mrs. Thomas received her Bachelor of Art in Art and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University.  She received her Master of Art in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and young daughter, creating pottery, learning more about photography, and, of course, reading.  Mrs. Thomas will read just about anything, but her favorites right now are, Backman’s A Man Called Ove, Fey’s Bossypants, and Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.



Faculty Favorite: Mr. Mae


Mr. Mae says, “I’m an avid reader, I read about a book a month, more during the summer, and prefer biographies and histories in general, but detective mysteries and romantic historical fiction also top my list.” Two of his favorites include the literary classic Don Quixote by Cervantes and The Loch, by Steve Alten.


Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”

Next up, Mr. Mae’s other favorite read: The Loch, by Steve Alten.


This book ticks off all the boxes if you’re a fan of horror, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and mysteries. Author Alten has a huge fan base and a slew of books that have been high on the New York Times best-seller list. When he’s not writing he’s working on increasing literacy by partnering with high schools around the world.

Want to know more about The Loch? Read the synopsis from Goodreads below…

Incorporating the latest research and new evidence, that leads to real answers concerning the Loch Ness monster’s identity, bestselling author Steve Alten weaves a tale of horror about the most publicized and controversial creature ever imagined.

And thank you, Mr. Mae, for your contribution to our blog!


Faculty Favorite: Mr. Lowry


Horror. Fantasy. Science Fiction. These are a few of Mr. Lowry’s favorite genres that are all wrapped up in his favorite read: At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. “Lovecraft served as the inspiration for such writers as Stephen King and Clive Barker, both considered masters of horror in the late 20th century,” says Mr. Lowry. “Lovecraft is known for seeping his stories in the genre of  ‘cosmic horror,’ and his work also incorporates aspects of science-fiction as well. I highly recommend anything written by him, but At the Mountains of Madness is my favorite,” he adds.


Check out the link above if you want to learn more about At the Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft, and his other works. And thanks, Mr. Lowry, for your contribution to our blog!

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

Long acknowledged as a master of nightmarish vision, H.P. Lovecraft established the genuineness and dignity of his own pioneering fiction in 1931 with his quintessential work of supernatural horror, At the Mountains of Madness. The deliberately told and increasingly chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition’s uncanny discoveries –and their encounter with an untold menace in the ruins of a lost civilization–is a milestone of macabre literature.

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Ruda

What’s Mr. Ruda’s favorite book? Biplane by Richard Bach. This former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and New York Times best-selling author’s writing has been described as “life-changing,” “inspiring,” and capable of “making you want to fly planes.”   


“I like this book because Ray Bradbury wrote the intro,” says Mr. Ruda. “I like it because, once, in 1987, I bought it and gave it to my dad with a nice inscription from me: I suggested he quit work, purchase a biplane, and fly. I like it because it reminds the readers to stay conscious and present in a world driven by unconscious choices. I like it because it proves that time machines do exist,” he adds.

Want to find out more about Biplane? Check out the synopsis from Goodreads.com below:

“Finding Ourselves is Like Flying An Ancient Biplane Coast To Coast: There Are Storms Ahead, But Oonce We’ve Started, It’s Too Late To turn Back.” To discover that time is not a straight line aimed toward infinity, Richard Bach undertook a magnificent journey. “Biplane” is the story of that solo flight into the American skies — a flight that became a personal quest to discover everything that lies beyond the ordinary.

Thanks, Mr. Ruda, for contributing to our blog!

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Sweet


Mr. Sweet’s favorite author once wrote an entire book in 10 days and is the one of the top-earning authors of all time. Who is this literary powerhouse? None other than the prolific “king” of horror, Stephen King. And what’s Mr. Sweet’s favorite book? Different Seasons, a novella King wrote early in his career, which later became the basis for three different major motion pictures.

“Steven King is an amazing story teller, although this book (a 4-novel interconnected series) is not on his horror genre it is still a nice sci-fi,” says Mr. Sweet.screenshot-2017-02-13-at-8-49-08-am

Want to learn more about Different Seasons? Read the synopsis here from Goodreads.com:

A “hypnotic” (The New York Times Book Review) collection of four novellas from Stephen King bound together by the changing of seasons, each taking on the theme of a journey with strikingly different tones and characters.
“The wondrous readability of his work, as well as the instant sense of communication with his characters, are what make Stephen King the consummate storyteller that he is,” hailed the Houston Chronicle about Different Seasons.

This gripping collection begins with “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” in which an unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge—the basis for the Best Picture Academy Award-nominee The Shawshank Redemption. Next is “Apt Pupil,” the inspiration for the film of the same name about top high school student Todd Bowden and his obsession with the dark and deadly past of an older man in town. In “The Body,” four rambunctious young boys plunge through the façade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality. This novella became the movie Stand By Me. Finally, a disgraced woman is determined to triumph over death in “The Breathing Method.”

Thanks, Mr. Sweet, for contributing to our blog!

Faculty Favorite: Ms. Zimmerman

This week’s Faculty Favorite goes to a true book lover, English teacher Ms. Zimmerman. She’s got FOUR favorite books she’d like to recommend!


First up is When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. “A Japanese family is sent from their home to Utah during the Japanese internment era of World War II,” says Ms. Zimmerman. “It is about their struggles on the journey and the problems they face when they try to return home. It is written from several different family members’ perspectives, which makes the voices all the more real.”


Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination-both physical and emotional-of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view-the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after more than four years in captivity-she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion. Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated, When the Emperor Was Divine is a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times. It heralds the arrival of a singularly gifted new novelist.


Next, is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, an award-winning best seller that is headed for the big screen.

Ms. Zimmerman sums up the plot like this: “A blind young French girl (Marie Laure) and a German orphan who is called to become a member of Hitler’s Youth (Werner) find that their paths collide during the German occupation of France in WWII,” says Ms. Zimmerman. Why is it one of her favorites? “Both, in a way, are fighting for physical and emotional survival–Doerr delivers with poignancy what a child’s perspective on the wartime experience might be–it’s so beautifully written, full of imagery and metaphor,” she says.


From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).


Also topping Ms. Zimmerman’s list of favorite reads is this parenting book: The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected Kids by Madeline Levine.

Says Zimmerman, “Wow–opened my eyes as a parent and a teacher to one of the many routes some kids may take to becoming fragile rather than resilient through the constant process of “rescue” that our culture can sometimes promote.”


“If you are rearing a sensitive child, one who is burdened by the world’s problems and unsure how to cope with it, or one who is sensitive to physical or emotional energy in the room, or one who feels things more intensely than most, this is a great self-help book,” says Zimmerman. “There is also one by the same author for highly sensitive adults. Helped me learn to help my own children as well as some of my students. The book reminds us that about 10% of the world’s population is “highly sensitive.” I learned something new by reading this book,” she adds.

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Lastly, Ms. Zimmerman recommends another parenting book: The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron.

“If you are rearing a sensitive child, one who is burdened by the world’s problems and unsure how to cope with it, or one who is sensitive to physical or emotional energy in the room, or one who feels things more intensely than most, this is a great self-help book,” says Ms. Zimmerman. “There is also one by the same author for highly sensitive adults. Helped me learn to help my own children as well as some of my students. The book reminds us that about 10% of the world’s population is “highly sensitive.” I learned something new by reading this book,” she adds.


The bestselling author and psychologist whose books have topped 240,000 copies in print now addresses the trait of “high sensitivity” in children–and offers a breakthrough parenting guidebook for highly sensitive children and their caregivers.

With the publication of The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron became the first person to identify the inborn trait of “high sensitivity” and to show how it affects the lives of those who possess it. Up to 20 percent of the population is born highly sensitive, and now in The Highly Sensitive Child, Aron shifts her focus to highly sensitive children, who share the same characteristics as highly sensitive adults and thus face unique challenges as they grow up.

Rooted in Aron’s years of experience as a psychotherapist and her original research on child temperament, The Highly Sensitive Child shows how HSCs are born deeply reflective, sensitive to the subtle, and easily overwhelmed. These qualities can make for smart, conscientious, creative children, but with the wrong parenting or schooling, they can become unusually shy or timid, or begin acting out. Few parents and teachers understand where this behavior comes from–and as a result, HSCs are often mislabeled as overly inhibited, fearful, or “fussy,”or classified as “problem children” (and in some cases, misdiagnosed with disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder). But raised with proper understanding and care, HSCs are no more prone to these problems than nonsensitive children and can grow up to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.

In this pioneering work, parents will find helpful self-tests and case studies to help them understand their HSC, along with thorough advice on:
• The challenges of raising an highly sensitive child

• The four keys to successfully parenting an HSC

• How to soothe highly sensitive infants

• Helping sensitive children survive in a not-so-sensitive world

• Making school and friendships enjoyable

With chapters addressing the needs of specific age groups, from newborns through teens, The Highly Sensitive Child delivers warmhearted, timely information for parents, teachers, and the sensitive children in their lives.

If you’d like to check out All the Light We Cannot See, please stop by the library and we’ll help you locate it. We’d like to send out a huge shout-out to Ms. Zimmerman for her wonderful contribution to our blog. Thanks!

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Mergl


Mr. Mergl’s got a perfectly succinct reason for his choice of  The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy as his Faculty Favorite: “The characters just came alive for me,” says Mr. Mergl.

This family saga was made into a major motion picture in 1991 and starred Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. The story deals with the difficult topic of the psychological effects of abuse in childhood and adolescence, but it manages to entertain with lighter-side comic humor. Want to learn more? Read the synopsis below, or stop by the library to check out your copy today!


Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

PAT CONROY has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina low country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides is PAT CONROY at his very best.

And a big thanks to Mr. Mergl, for his contribution to our blog!