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Battle of the Books 2021-22 Tentative Titles »

This list will be finalized in September, but why not begin reading now?

  • Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis
  • The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  • Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Anderson
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • We are not from Here by Jenny Sanchez
  • White Rose by Kip Wilson
  • A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

Book Trailers

K-12 tentative lists


April is School Library Month »

Ah, School Library Month!  That means YOU should check out a great book to read and give a cookie (or apple) to your librarian!

Let’s kick off this celebration of school libraries with a couple of videos from Jason Reynolds, one of my favorite YA authors.  We have five of his titles available on the shelf.  I recommend Look Both Ways and The Boy in the Black Suit.

Tomie DePaola: A Life Remembered »

Take a few minutes to honor the life of Tomie DePaola on the one-year anniversary of his unexpected death. All Homer High students grew up in the prime of Tomie DePaola’s work as a children’s author and illustrator.  His trademark colors and illustration style became favorites of children around the world. He even wrote engrossing autobiographies for young readers.  Take a stroll down memory lane with some of Tomie’s stories below:

Storyline Online: Strega Nona

Days of the Blackbird

Bill and Pete

Librarything: Tomie dePaola

Obituary: Tomie dePaola, March 30, 2020

March Madness is BAAAAAACK! »

Wow, it’s been two years.  Finally, some basketball Madness has returned to American life.   Our enemy The COVID has impacted Duke (men’s team) and UConn (women’s team), but the show will go on!

  • All men’s games are available live HERE.
  • Women’s games are available, too, but I’m not sure if they are free.  Check HERE.

If the disparity in game streaming seems to you like the two sexes are not treated equally, you would be correct.  It’s not only televised games though.  This player from Oregon shows us her very sad, wimpy tournament weight room.  The NCAA needs to up its game.

So, any predictions on 2021 champs?  I’m behind the UConn women despite playing the first round without their head coach.  Gonzaga men should take it all if everyone stays healthy.  Change my mind!

UPDATE!  Wow, was I wrong.  Stanford women squeaked out a win for their third national championship under Coach Tara Vanderveer.  Baylor men soundly trounced Gonzaga in a display of men vs. boys; the Baylor Bears were stronger, quicker, and more confident than the Bulldogs.

Also, the women’s weight room was upgraded to an acceptable facility soon after the Oregon player revealed the deplorable initial set-up.

Who will make it to March Madness 2022?

Online Book Discussions: The Book Club »

Book talks are useful and entertaining.  Sometimes we wonder if a book is worth reading, if it’s worth the time it takes to read from beginning to end.  One of my favorite books is 48 hours long on audio; another is only two; both require hours of my life.  Book trailers and talks give us enough information to judge a book by more than its cover.  Book talks also help us to understand books that we have read on a deeper level.

During Christmas Break, I discovered The Book Club with Michael Knowles.  These are book talks with a different guest each month.  I have since listened to every episode, and I’d like to share one in particular with my Homer High students:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Listen.  Give the book a try if you are so inclined. Look beyond the cover.

This book has stood the test of time for good reason.  It is ranked #10 in popularity on LibraryThing with over 66,000 members claiming it as part of their collection, virtual or real.

Be Internet Savvy »

With students home (sometimes for hours by themselves), the Internet is a huge temptation for connecting with others.  The thing is, what and who you see on the Internet isn’t always reality.  A person can pretend to be anything, and you wouldn’t know the difference.  Be smart.  Don’t give your personal information.  Don’t agree to “meet up” with a stranger. Don’t tell a stranger that you are by yourself or where you live or who your parents/siblings are..

Learn more with these videos from NetSmartz (the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).


Dune movie re-make is on its way! »

If you haven’t read Dune by Frank Herbert, you are missing an epic story–epic as in brilliant, well-told, and ageless.  Dune is not only a story.  It is the opening to an unforgettable universe.  You may be thinking, “I wonder if our library has that book.”   What do you think??   If you like adventure and intrigue mixed with sci-fi, Dune is the book for you.

And, why is this book on my mind?  A two-part remake of the movie is in the works with part 1 scheduled for release October 1, 2021.  (The release was originally scheduled for December 18, 2020, but the studio changed the date due to low theater attendance during the COVID pandemic.) Check out these links for more information!

Ultimate Guide To Dune (Part 1) The Introduction

LibraryThing:  Dune

Harper’s Bazaar:  What to Know About Dune (and trailer!)

The Dune Encyclopedia: The Complete, Authorized Guide and Companion to Frank Herbert’s Masterpiece of the Imagination Compiled by Willis E. McNelly (708 page PDF!)

IMDB:  Dune

How to Get a Book this Fall »

Due to COVID restrictions, single patrons may browse the shelves after using hand sanitizer.  I recommend placing holds online for any book that you want.  I will then deliver the book to you within 24 hours, sometimes within the hour.  Let’s keep reading despite this germ!  Let me know what you want, and I’ll check it out to you.

It’s wonderful seeing you all this new school year.

Library Book Return Date is SET! »

Students and Parents,

Wednesday, May 20th, noon-4:00 p.m., has been set as the drop-off date for all Homer High School library books, textbooks, Chromebooks, and any other school property on-loan.

Drive through the bus lane where you will be met by staff, no need to leave your vehicle.   Thank you for your help in getting all this material returned.


ZOOM Face2Face with the Librarian »

Hello Students and Parents,

I will be holding regular, live ZOOM discussions to talk about books, to answer questions about online resources and your library account, and to simply connect with all of you.   It is so simple to use.  At the beginning of each discussion, I will ask if anyone is new to ZOOM and give you tips on using the tools.

Check your school email for a link that you will click to join a meeting.  I hope to “see” you.  If you don’t see the email, call me at the school (235-4600), or email me for the link.

You do not need an account for this.  Just click on the link.  You may join meetings in an audio-only mode if you want.  If you decide to join with video, please keep in mind that all participants will be able to see what is behind you.  For the privacy of your family, okay this with your parents first.

ZOOM Meetings Daily through May 19th 

  • Monday – Friday, 3:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

When you enter the meeting, I will be playing an audiobook so that you know I will be joining at the appointed time.  If nobody joins in the first ten minutes, I will disconnect.

2020 “Finish Strong” Reading Challenge »

Every spring I create a “Finish Strong” reading challenge.  Don’t just drag yourself across that finish line on May 20th.  Get your second wind and push to the finish!

Our 2020 Challenge is to earn at least 10 of the 20 possible badges on Overdrive using the SORA app.

You can go the SORA app through the link already on this blog, or click here.  Enter KPBSD when prompted to “Find my School” and that’s all.

Check in with me once in a while;  let me know what badges you’ve earned.  Some badges are dependent upon an assigned book, and I will assign you a book when you are ready for that.  In the meanwhile, sign-in to Sora and checkout your first title.  You can do this on a computer, tablet, Chromebook, or phone.  (Check out some of my badges in an earlier post below.)

Just because things are different doesn’t mean that we can’t finish the year strong.

Reading challenge participants are invited to join me in the library for tacos on the last day of school.  Yay, tacos!  Books and tacos, two of my favorite things!  (Edit! —  We will have tacos when school starts up again, since we are definitely not returning to school this spring.)

The Center for Coronavirus Information »

This is a source of quality information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or Covid19, which originated in Wuhan Province, China.

You will find facts about the virus, symptoms by their frequency of occurrence, a map of the pandemic, and up-to-date charts of where people are infected, not yet infected, and recovering.

The webpage is the creation of Avi Schiffmann, a 17-year old in Washington state.  A cool aspect of this webpage is that Schiffmann uses data scraping to constantly update the page 24/7.



Antibodies vs. The Virus! Fight, fight, fight! (Image from the South China Morning Post @ https://www.scmp.com)


Here is the infectious disease expert who is advising the President:  Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.

Our American Stories »

Have you heard of this radio program?  I stumbled across it on the radio one night driving home from Kenai.  Check it out here.

“No politics, no opinions, just stories. We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories—LIVE, with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.”   Get your s’mores ready!

Maybe your family has a story to tell.  Send your story and a photo to the following email address:  yourstory@OANetwork.org


Digital Titles on Sora »

Use the Sora website for your KPBSD digital books and earn badges for reading and listening.  This works on home computers, school computers, and smart phones.

Share your accomplishments with your family, friends, and teachers, or keep them to yourself.  Have fun as you explore literature.  If you want to share, I’d love to know what you’ve done.  A screenshot of my current badges is posted above.

username:  student number

password:  usual password for school computers

Welcome to the Library »

Besides a great book collection, we have a work station and office tools to help you with assignments.  The copier/printer can scan items directly to your email account and print from a USB.  (If you need help, please ask.)  You may use computers anytime for enrolling in FOL, checking PowerSchool, and doing homework.   The Deck is open almost every day of the year and is a refreshing place to enjoy your lunch break or passing period.


Here’s to a successful, exciting year at Homer High School!

Homer High Ties for 2nd Place in District »


Congratulations to Tyson Walker, Aiden Brost, and Krystal Super, our B.O.B. team for their strong performance in this year’s competition. These three freshmen read and re-read the 10 featured books to be prepared for battle. Nice job, kids!  Congratulations to coach Lin Hampson!  An honorable mention award goes to BOB, the mascot, who kept the team on the straight and narrow path and encouraged them quietly from the sidelines.

All of these titles are available from the Homer High library.

All American Boys Jason Reynolds Realistic Fiction
Caraval Garber, Stephanie Fantasy
Evil Librarian Knudsen, Michelle Fantasy, Humor
Farewell to Manzanar Houston, Jeanne Nonfiction
Leaving Altebrando, Tara Thriller
March, Book One Lewis, John Graphic Novel
Ready Player One Cline, Ernest Sci Fi
Scythe Shusterman, Neal Sci Fi Mystery
Two Old Women Wallis, Velma Alaska
The Walk On Feinstein, John Sports

September 11, 2001 »

This note from a book publisher came to my email today. I thought it was very well written and am sharing it with you unedited.


REmembering 9-11





Today is the 17thanniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.


On that terrible day, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked passenger jets to conduct four coordinated suicide missions: two on the Twin Towers and two on the Pentagon. While the first three unfortunately succeeded, the second jet targeting the Pentagon was crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field by heroic American passengers who chose to die rather than be used as pawns in an act of war against their nation. In all, nearly 3,000 died and more than 6,000 were injured on that day, and they weren’t the nation’s only casualties: ordinary Americans lost a sense of safety, and overnight became frighteningly aware of the threat of terrorism worldwide.


As that day recedes further into the past, it seems more important than ever to remember; to honor the dead and injured, to acknowledge the sacrifice of their loved ones, and to recall the nation’s sorrow. More than that, it is crucial to recognize the good in America-and to recall why America is still worth defending and fighting for. Wishing you a safe and peaceful Sept. 11.


From Perma-Bound Books


We have a number of excellent books about 9/11.  Check out the hallway display of remembrance.

E-Readers »

Is it time to buy an e-reader?   Hundreds of digital titles are available in the KPBSD Schools Overdrive collection.  Desirable titles are easy to find and easy to download.  Online articles, WORD documents, and PDFs are easy to send to a device for later reading and reference. Maybe it is time.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the highest rated, most popular, and most purchased e-book reader in the USA.    Other eReaders on the market, such as NOOK, are also very nice and easy to use.  All are very affordable.  By saving only $20 each month, you could purchase your own device in a few months.

E-readers are fairly new to the world with the first ones being manufactured in 1998.  They didn’t become very popular, however, because they were large, heavy, expensive, and had a memory that could only store about 10 books.  Like all things digital, that is not the case now.

Remember, eBooks can be read on your computer, so you don’t need a special eReader.  The trouble is when you want to read in the car or in bed or at school.  Your family computer probably can’t go to those places with you.

You may find out more about eReaders here…  NOOK and Kindle.  You are also welcome to “test drive” my personal Kindle Paperwhite in the library any time simply by asking.


Free Audiobooks from AudioFile »

Free audiobook downloads are once again available at  https://www.audiobooksync.com/ .This is a sweet deal for anyone who enjoys professionally-narrated literature.  SYCN gives you access to two titles each week during the summer. You may download and keep them forever but you only have a one week in which to retrieve them from the website.  You may also subscribe to text and email alerts from SYNC so you don’t miss the releases.  Also, this uses the Overdrive app.  See the website for easy-to-follow instructions.

You may not like all the offerings, but that’s okay.  You are free to pick-and-choose.  This is personalized listening.  No pressure.

SYNC clip


Overdrive Title Request »

Some of you seemed to enjoy the digital content at Overdrive.  What titles would you like to see in the KPBSD Schools Digital Library?  Suggest eBooks and/or audiobooks in the comment section.


Fake News, Part 2 »

As a follow-up to “Fake News Epidemic” this post links to an article in The Intercept which details a very recent, very embarrassing false report by at least three major news outlets.  Toward the bottom of the article other examples of false reporting are also given.  Read it for yourself.

The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened”

What is The Intercept?  Check it out here and here.

Fake News Epidemic »


Fake news is any news which is broadcast or printed by the media that misleads the audience about a specific group, person, or action. The audience can be misled in either a negative or positive way. Fake news happens in two ways: (1) when reporters do not check their facts before releasing their news scoop, and (2) by choosing to “kill” a story –that is, not report on an event even though it is news-worthy and important.


By not checking facts, reporters and editors spread harmful gossip. They harm the reputations of individuals and groups. Some examples of this are “hate” crimes that supposedly occurred in the past year or two but really didn’t. This fake news spreads like wildfire, but the retractions and apologies by the news organization often are so insignificant that the general public is unaware of them. Why do reporters not check their facts before reporting? They often “trust” the source. They often have biases that predispose them to believing something bad about someone or some group they disagree with. Sometimes, they want to see a person or group discredited. They know that once negative news is published, that a person’s or group’s reputation can be damaged beyond repair.


By killing a story, crime and corruption and systemic problems are allowed to continue. An example of that happening right now in the United States, is the seemingly ubiquitous sexual violations being reported out of the entertainment industry. It turns out that the mainstream media knew about these incidents and patterns of behavior yet refused to report on them. So, the news is not only that powerful men in Hollywood and New York have been allowed to continue this gross behavior, but that some news organizations saw their connections to these powerful, wealthy men as more important than honest reporting.


Here are links to just a few examples of Fake News.


Battle of the Books 2017-18 »

Battle of the Books titles have been announced by the Alaska Association of School Librarians.  These will all be available on the KPBSD Overdrive library, so check there later if you would like digital copies for reading and listening this summer.  Speak to Mrs. Hampson if you would like to be on the Mariner team.

Titles Authors
1984* Orwell, George
Everything, Everything Yoon, Nichola
The Eye Of Mind Dashner, James
Hidden Figures Lee Shetterly, Margot
Monument 14 Laybourne, Emmy
Red Queen Aveyard, Victoria
The Smell of Other People’s Houses Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue
These Shallow Graves Donnelly, Jennifer
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break* Namioka, Lensey
Zero Day Gangsei, Jan
*A previous Battle of the Books title


Summer Audio Books: SYNC »

Listen to books all summer with free audiobook downloads from AudioFile magazine.  Install the OverDrive app on your laptop or other device, and you’re good to go.  Each pair of titles is available for only one week, so download them when you can and listen later.

Listen to clips of every book here.



3-in-crowd_1050x420 (1)

Get text alerts when new titles are ready each week.

Check it out at the SYNC website.

Need help?  Ask the librarian.


Intellectual Freedom »

  • The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction


  • Free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored


From the American Library Association, 2017


*                      *                      *                      *                      *


The Homer High School library defends and promotes intellectual freedom by providing materials from many different points of view so students can better understand the issues of their world and make informed decisions.

Books We Love »

Happy Valentine's Day

                        Happy Valentine’s Day


Check Out a Playaway »

These devices can be used with earbuds or an auxiliary jack for speakers. A single AAA battery will play the shorter books from start to finish twice.


Here is a list of titles currently available at the Homer High library.


1984 by Orwell, George

A Christmas Carol by Dickens, Charlesplayaway

Anthem by Rand, Ayn

Cry, the beloved country by Paton, Alan

Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray

Frankenstein by Shelley, Mary

The good earth by Buck, Pearl S.

The Hobbit by Tolkien, J. R. R.

The horse and his boy by Lewis, C. S.

Matched by Condie, Allyson

The Prince and the Pauper by Twain, Mark

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Orczy, Baroness Emmuska Orczy


Let me know if you’d like to try a Playaway.


Welcome to the Library »

Welcome!  Come in to read.  Come in to study.  Come in to check your email.  Come in to type assignments.  The Homer High Library is a great place to work.

This year, I’ve added a student work space by the main doors.  Here you will find office supplies to complete your assignments, whether you need a single staple for a multi-page assignment or paper, scissors, glue, and markers for a collage or poster.  All I ask is that you leave all the materials in that space for others to use and that you clean up after working.  If we need refills on anything, please tell me.



2016 “Finish Strong” Reading Challenge »

finish lineYou started the school year full of vim and vigor.  Now, let’s finish it strong.

During the next six weeks, take the challenge.  Read!

Readings are inspired by Thomas C. Foster’s bestselling book How to Read Literature Like a Professor.  Participants will read short selections from Shakespeare, the Bible, and Greek mythology as well as one novel from the list below.

Stop by the library and get started today. Students who complete the challenge are invited to bring a friend to a pizza lunch in the library on May 17, the last Tuesday of the school year.

Take the challenge.  Finish strong.



The Bible

Greek Mythology

  • Gods, Men, and Monsters : Enter the world of ancient Greece where gods and godesses interferred in human affairs, causing no end of trouble.
  • Favorite Greek Myths :  These stories are retellings of the Roman poet Ovid’s stories in which gods and mortals change into different shapes and forms.


Guys Read »


Guys, I would like your book recommendations.

What books have you really liked that you would recommend to other guys?

Check out some ideas here and let me know what you think:  http://guysread.com/books/


Earn Your Spurs »


Earn your spurs at the Homer High library by reading a western.  If you don’t know what a western is, then you really are a greenhorn.  Talk to Mrs. Akers, and she’ll set you straight. Corral one of these well-known and admired novels by Louis L’Amour to get started.

  • Bendigo Shafter
  • The Cherokee Trail
  • The Daybreakers
  • Down the Long Hills
  • The First Fast Draw
  • Flint
  • Jubal Sackett
  • The Man from the Broken Hills
  • Reilly’s Luck
  • Ride the River
  • Riding for the Brand

More experienced cowpokes might want to give Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove stories a ride.  Those would be Lonesome Dove, Streets of Laredo, and Comanche Moon.

Maybe true-life adventures such as Captivity of the Oatman Girls or Life in the Far West better suit your style.

Watch John Wayne in The Cowboys during FOL October 7 – October 9. We’ll watch 45 minutes each day.  This movie is rated PG-13 for cowboy language, cowboy situations, and cowboy violence.

Ask Mrs. Akers for recommendations if you’re hankering to read more.

Finish Strong 2015 »


finsih strong


Our “Finish Strong” reading challenge this spring is based (again) on Thomas C. Foster’s book How to Read Literature Like a Professor.  Foster claims that to truly understand and appreciate Western literature, the reader needs an understanding of Shakespeare, the Bible, and Greek/Roman mythology.

So, the reading challenge for this April and May includes reading from these sources as well as four short selections from the following:

  • One true animal story from Animals You will Never Forget (Reader’s Digest)
  • One sci-fi short story by Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury
  • One Sherlock Holmes mystery
  • One suspense or horror story by Edgar Allen Poe

Finish Strong 2015 Titles

See Mrs. Akers to sign up.  We will celebrate during lunch on the last day of school, Wednesday, May 20th.

Accept the challenge and Finish Strong.


Freshman Summer Reading Challenge »

Who:  Any incoming freshman

What:  One new-to-you Charles Dickens novel or a collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries (five or more)

Where:  Anywhere

When: This summer

How:  It’s simple.  Find the book or recording that meets the requirements. Read it or listen to it.  Add a comment to this post telling me your name and your choice.  Come to school in August prepared to tell me about the book and your experience.

Why:  Reading and listening to good stories is good for you, and I think you will enjoy these works.


You may, of course, check out brooks from the Homer Public Library or buy books, but if you want to get them on-line instantly, try the following options:


Titles Available on Overdrive for KPBSD Libraries:

(log on using your KPBSD student number and password)

  • Great Expectations (Dickens)
  • Oliver Twist (Dickens)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Doyle)


Titles Available on Lit2Go:

(no log-on requried)


If you are new to Sherlock Holmes, I would recommend the following stories:

  • The Red-Headed League
  • The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  • The Solitary Cyclist
  • The Dancing Men
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles.

If you have questions you may email Mrs. Akers or write in the comment box.  We will celebrate in August during an FOL period.

Happy Reading!

Tentative Titles for 2015-16 Battle of the Books »

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe Saenz, Benjamin Teen Issues, homosexuality
Caged Graves Salerni, Dianne Historical, mystery
Dorothy Must Die Paige, Danielle Fantasy, Oz
George Washington’s Secret Six Kilmeade, Brian Nonfic, historical, spies
If I Stay Forman, Gayle Previous, social issues, grief
The Living DeLa Pena, Matt Adventure, survival
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Riggs, Ransom Mystery, paranormal
The Old Man and the Sea Heminghway, Ernest Classic, previous, survival
Peak Smith, Roland Previous, adventure, sports
Seraphina Hartman, Rachel Fantasy, dragons
Steelheart Sanderson, Brandon Sci-Fi, supervillains
Submerged Pettrey, Dani Alaska, suspense, romance
Abundance of Katherines Green, John Humor, previous, teen romance
Jepp who Defied the Stars Marsh, Katherine Historical, astronomy, Renaissance
Scar Boys Vlahos, Len Realistic, self-image, relationships

HHS Wins 2nd Place in the District-Wide Battle of the Books »

Congratulations to our Battle of the Books team for a successful conclusion to months of hard work!

  • David Graham, Alternate and Official Timer
  • Kane Sargeant, Member
  • Iustina Kuznetsov, President and Member
  • Camai Bass, Vice President and Member
  • Mrs. Esther Ashment, Battle Team Coach and LA Teacher

Mrs. Ashment is retiring this spring after teaching 30 years at Homer High School.  Thank you, Esther, for all you’ve done to promote reading at our school.  We will miss you.



Understanding Dewey Classification »

Introducing Dewey Browse!  Explore the Internet with student-friendly websites grouped by Dewey Decimal Classification.  Interested in philosophy?  Check out the 100’s.   Want to look up a Bible verse?  Try the 200’s.  Need to know details about Azkaban?  Go to the 800’s.


There is something for everyone in this Dewey database.



Is This for Real? »

“Gasoline Tax to Jump $3.00 January 1st!” No! Really? Maybe. Maybe not? The headline said it, so isn’t it true?

Some headlines scream doom and gloom, others announce incredibly good news. But are they true? The most difficult headlines to discern relate to current events and personalities and contain just enough “truth” to look real even if they aren’t. Readers who have believed such headlines in the past were labeled “gullible” and “naïve,” but now it is simply becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference between what is fact and fiction.

One way to protect yourself from jumping on the bandwagon of lampoon and scam sites is to become familiar with their names. When you see headlines from these sources, you will know to dismiss them as someone’s idea of fun and games. Here is a handy list of the most prolific “fake news” sites.

The most important thing for all students is to begin reading and/or watching a variety of news sources, so you are literate in current events from various points of view. Online, I would recommend both Fox news (conservative) and CNN (liberal). You will have a mix of views from these two sites to help you understand your country and world. If you listen to radio, try both NPR (liberal) and 650AM KENI (conservative).

A well-informed person is much less likely to fall for a fake headline, sparing him or her the embarrassment of believing and repeating a hoax or rumor which later is proven to be false.


Spring 2014 Reading Challenge »

This year’s “Finish Strong” challenge is based on the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster.  The author points out that much of our literature alludes to Shakespeare, the Bible, and Greek mythology, so your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read from these sources as well as to read two new-to-you books.  See Mrs. Akers to sign up.

Accept the challenge and “Finish Strong.”

Required Reading

  • Two books
  • One selection from Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
  • Three Bible stories from One Hundred Bible Stories
  • Three myths from D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths or Osborne’s Favorite Greek Myths

The first ten students to satisfactorily complete the challenge are invited to the library with one guest each for pizza on the last day of school.

New Books! »

Our last order of new books for the year is now ready for checkout!  The following are a few of the titles:

  • Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  • Virals by Kathy Reichs
  • Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Curveball:  The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
  • Firestorm by Andrew Lane
  • Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace
  • Outcasts United by Warren St. John
  • The Adventures of Nicolo Zen by Noicholas Christopher
  • The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Several of these books are from the tentative title list for next year’s Battle of the Books.

Navigate Overdrive Like a Pro »

Borrow eBooks from the HHS library using Overdrive.  Navigating the site is easy, and Overdrive has produced a new video to show you the ropes.

Give it a try today.  Log in with the same information you use to log in on school computers.  Employees, use your e-number, but change the e to a 9.

Let me know if you have any problems or questions.


Book Talks and Author Interviews »

Check out the  author and book information for this year’s Battle of the Books.  Even if you are not in the battles, you might enjoy these titles.



Kindle, Nook, and eReader App Users: Digital Books are Available for Checkout »

Do you like to read eBooks on your Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other eReader?  Homer High students and staff may check out titles from our new Overdrive account at the following URL:




Log in using your school district ID number and usual password.  Check out up to three titles and waitlist up to three more.  (Staff, use your e-number and password but change the e to a 9.)


Some eReaders may require Adobe Reader to be installed, but it is free and the link is provided within the Overdrive program.


Give this a try today.  It’s very intuitive.  If you need help, please ask.


9-11 »

Twelve years ago our nation was attacked, and our lives as Americans changed dramatically.  Our current high school students were only small children then and know about this tragedy only through media.  They don’t remember the days before the TSA moved into airports, when family and friends could sit at the boarding area waiting for flights. Thanks to our principal, Mr. Waclawski, for finding a video that can help you understand a little more about what happened that day, September 11, 2001.



Thoughts for Summer »

“I emphasize that active learning from reading is better than passive learning such as listening to lectures or watching television. When you read, your mind must work by taking in letters and connecting them to form words. Words make themselves into thoughts and concepts. Developing good reading habits is something like being a champion weightlifter. The champion didn’t go into the gym one day and start lifting 500 pounds. He toned his muscles beginning with lighter weights, always building up, preparing for more. It’s the same thing with intellectual feats. We develop our minds by reading, by thinking, by figuring out things for ourselves.”
~ Dr. Benjamin Carson

(Dr. Benjamin Carson, author of Gifted Hands, is one of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the world and winner of the Presidental Medal of Freedom.)

Finish Strong 2013 »

* Nine books.  Nine weeks. 

*Take the challenge and Finish Strong. 

  • Call It Courage
  • I, Robot
  • The Big Wave
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • Good Bye, Mr. Chips
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Owls in the Family
  • Shane
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Red Pony or The Pearl
  • The Invisible Man (Wells) or The Island of Dr. Moreau (your choice)
  • The Outsiders or That was Then, This is Now or Rumble Fish(your choice)
  • Cat’s Eye or Plague Ship


Sign up now.

“Ebooks Are Actually Not Books.” Web log post. Digital Book World. N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. »

Ebooks are actually not books
By Beth Bacon

Books are objects

Books are objects.  They are limited by their physicality. Only one person can sit comfortably and read a book. So when a classroom or a school or a whole district wants their students to read a book, school district purchasing departments have no choice but to purchase one of them for each student. Granted, teachers can use the same books year after year until they wear out (and many districts frugally use them well beyond their intended lifecycle) but what districts are paying for when they buy a book is both the content and the “thing” that is a book.

Ebooks are software

Ebooks have practically no physical limitations. Once the “master” is finalized, all that is needed is to replicate it onto hundreds, thousands, even millions or billions of devices. This master doesn’t need to be located at the school, or outside the publisher’s own walls, or even in the same continent as the school that’s downloading it.

The replication of this master is not limited by time (an ebook can be downloaded today, tomorrow, or next year). Nor is it limited by space (an ebook that’s sitting on a server in Sidney, Australia can just as easily be downloaded in a classroom in Bombay, India as in Omaha, Nebraska.)

Ebooks can be accessed by thousand devices simultaneously without ever being “permanently” transferred to an individual device, as is the case when titles are distributed via the cloud or a website.

So an ebook differs from a book in that it is content only, not content-plus-object, as in the case of a paper book.

Even ebook content is not the same as book content

But let’s think f or a moment a bit more about content. Even when we look at content, an ebook can be very different from a paper book. Even though the only property an ebook shares with a regular book is the content—that element is changing. The ebook versions of many textbooks are being enhanced with audio, interactivity, and multimedia.

Once all of their attributes are listed this way, it’s pretty clear that ebooks are software, not books. So why, then, are publishers still trying to sell ebooks the same way they sell paper books?

Ebooks should be sold the way software is sold

It’s the conundrum that schools are f acing today. Ebooks are not books at all—they are software and they should be sold the way software is sold.

Why do some publishers and distributors require schools to pay f or a separate version of every ebook they want every child to see? Why can’t ebooks be distributed in bundles, with user agreements and tiered pricing levels that change based on the number of “seats” served?

Why aren’t more ebooks being served up in cloud-based computers, with password-protected access based on subscription payment models? Why are ebooks still being sold individually, as if their “thingness” was their primary attribute, when they are not, in f act “things” at all?

To be f air, some publishers are looking at ebooks this way. Certainly publishers that have incorporated in recent years are doing so.

Ebooks don’t have any of the physical attributes of paper books—and they shouldn’t have paper books’ pricing and distribution models, either.

EBooks are Now Available »


Do you like to read eBooks on your Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other eReader? Homer High students and staff may now check out titles from the new Overdrive platform at the following URL:


Log in using your school district ID number and usual password. Check out titles and waitlist more. (Staff, use your e-number and password but change the e to a 9.)

Some eReaders may require Adobe Reader to be installed, but it is free and the link is provided within the Overdrive program.

Give this a try today and let me know about your successes and problems.

Overdrive is Coming to HHS »

The eBook service known as Overdrive will soon be available at a select group of KPBSD high schools, including Homer High. If you have an iPod, iPad, computer, Kindle, Nook, or virtually any other device usable as an eReader, you will be able to borrow digital books from the library. This will significantly expand our collection and access to titles.

For now we are focusing on digital print books, not audiobooks. Even now, district librarians are working to select a broad range of titles to meet the needs of both students and teachers.

Stay tuned for more information.

Battle of the Books »

Get started reading those Battle Books now.   Pick up a bookmark of titles and authors.  Play Battle Memory.  The February battles are just around the corner.

See Ms. Webb for more information about meeting times and expectations.



2012-2013 High School Titles

Between Shades of Gray




Claudette Colvin


Clockwork Angel


Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


Door of No Return


The Hobbit




Murder on the Iditarod Trail


Perfect Storm




Sunrise over Fallujah


 If you need help locating any of these titles please ask for help.  













Summer Reading »

Summer “Reading” 


… on a boat

…in a tent

…under the Midnight Sun

…on the Alaska Highway

…at Grandma’s house “Outside”



Caution:   There will be NO quiz!   NO book report!   NO essay! 



My recommendation today is audiobooks from Lit2Go at the University of South Florida, found on iTunes as USF Lit2Go.


Last summer, I downloaded the unabridged Crime and Punishment for free onto my iPod from Lit2Go and played it over the car speakers while travelling.  The narrator pronounced the Russian names smoothly and easily so that the characters and places quickly became as familiar to us as those of any easy-to-read American novel.  I would recommend this title to anyone in junior high or above.



  • Lit2Go describes itself as “a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format.” 


Seriously, everything they offer is FREE and good quality.  Compare this to other online audiobooks available for download.  The iTunes store lists at least four unabridged Crime and Punishment editions with prices ranging from $17.95 to $43.95. Why pay even one cent, when a Lit2Go edition is available from iTunes University?



Fiction and non-fiction are available.  Each title lists an abstract, citation, playing time, word count, and link to author information.  Each reading passage also can be downloaded as a PDF and printed if you want to follow along.


To use Lit2Go, you need an iTunes account and iOS5 (Apple operating system).  Download the iTunes U app for free.






Dare to Think for Yourself »


“The more you read,
The more you know.
The more you know,
The smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
The stronger your voice,
When speaking your mind,
Or making your choice”