Thanksgiving Weekend Reading


The Liberty in North Korea organization gave a presentation to our students today. The presentation detailed the history of Korea and explained the living conditions that the North Korean people experience on a daily basis. The presentation encouraged students to help empower the North Korean people by providing funding to help refugees find freedom, develop skills, and create a bridge to those still living in North Korea.

The personal story of Danny (and others) really made me stop and remember my blessings for having been born and raised in the United States of America. I am thankful for my freedom and hope that one day we can all have freedom.

escapeEscape From Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.

In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin’s life unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.

Copyright © 2013 Follett Library Resources, Inc.

Check out this interview with Shin Dong-Hyuk about his escape from Camp 14.

What are you reading over the Thanksgiving Break?

Post it to the blog!

Welcome to the Tompkins family, Rhinos!

You may have heard that one of our neighboring elementary schools lost power in their school this week. Because of the outage, the elementary students were housed at our school for 3 days while crews worked hard to fix the power issues.

It was such an honor to host the staff and students of Rylander Elementary. Here are some of the highlights of our 3 days as FALCINOS!

Coach Dye (KOLA teacher/CC/Track coach) created a unique mascot mashup of both schools, which resulted in the FALCINO. The image went viral and even ended up on the Channel 2 news!  


It was so fun to see little tables set up for Kindergarten classes in the classrooms!


 The Rylander librarian taught an ebook lesson with students using our new Light Raise wall. She is now on a mission to get one for her school! 🙂


 We also paired up high school students to read to elementary students. Talk about excited! The high school kids were jumping up and down because they were so excited to read with the little students!



Some theater students even acted out the stories for the elementary students.


Thank you Rylander staff for the yummy and flavorful popcorn! We truly loved having you visit. Come back anytime!




Weekend Reading

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Here’s a look at what I am reading this weekend. I was given an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of this book and am very excited to read it. It will be officially released on March 25, 2014.

avaThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava — in all other ways a normal girl — is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naive to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the summer solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

Copyright © 2013 Follett Library Resources, Inc.

What are you reading this weekend? Post it to the blog!

TeenBookCon 2014


For the past few years, I have been volunteering at a local teen book festival in Houston called TeenBookCon. This year it is taking place on Saturday, April 26th at Alief Taylor HS. It is a FREE all day event for teens to meet authors, listen to panel discussions by authors, purchase books, and get authors’ signatures!

This year, I’m part of the social media subcommittee and would appreciate you all showing your support for TeenBookCon by following us on Twitter @TeenBookCon and liking us on Facebook Teen Book Con. We also just started an Instagram account, too!  TeenBookCon is an incredible opportunity for students and I would love to see everyone there!

And now for our first big announcement for TeenBookCon 2014…

The keynote speaker will be the one and only LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON! Anderson is an award winning author that has written numerous books for teens and kids. Her latest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory, comes out in January. TeenBookCon is so fortunate to host such an amazing event with such an amazing keynote speaker! Don’t miss it!



Weekend Reading

weekend reading2

I’m so excited to be reading this book this weekend! Author Joelle Charbonneau will be visiting our book club students after school on  Tuesday, January 14th. Books will be for sale soon for those students/staff that are interested in participating. You can even get the books signed during the author visit! Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

testingThe Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (“Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

Copyright © 2013 Follett Library Resources, Inc.


 Check out this book teaser!

The Testing is Book 1 in the The Testing trilogy. Independent Study (Book 2) will be released in January…just in time for our author visit!

Learn more about The Testing trilogy HERE.

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming The Testing book club, book sale, and author visit!

THANKful for eBooks!

thankfulThanksgiving is quickly approaching and you may be wondering what you will do without your Falcon Library for 5 whole days. Well, here’s a little secret…you won’t be without your library at all! We have over 5,000 fiction/nonfiction titles available in electronic format. So after you eat your turkey on Thanksgiving, use your device to check out and read a library ebook from any location!

Here’s how to read an ebook:

1. Install the free Follett Enlight App

2. Login with Username: Student ID

Password: computer login password

URL: (only needed on first login)

3. Click on the bookshelf in the upper left and log in again.


4. Tap the search box and type a title.


 5. Click that title and click open. Check out the book or read online by closing the information box.


Post your holiday ebook reads to the blog!

*Adapted information from J. Sonnenberg

Weekend Reading

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Here’s a look at what I am reading this weekend! I was always a JFK, Jr. fan. Hope it doesn’t disappoint!

fairy taleFairy Tale Interrupted by Rosemarie Terenzio

A former personal assistant to John F. Kennedy, Jr. shares the story of their professional relationship and close friendship, describing how she landed her job under less-than-ideal circumstances, Kennedy’s political beliefs, and his untimely death.

Copyright © 2013 Follett Library Resources, Inc.


What are you reading this weekend? Post it to the blog!

Reading in the USA!

Are you traveling somewhere during the holiday season? Make the trip interesting by reading a book that takes place in the same state you are visiting. If you aren’t visiting anywhere, think of a place you would like to visit. If you can’t find a book you are a looking for, ask the library staff!




Here’s a “snapshot” of your library!

October 31, 2013 was the official date for the Texas Library Snapshot Day. Here’s a quick look at some of what happens in your library everyday!

Snapshot Day

Mr. Labay cuts the ceremonial ribbon on our new Light Raise wall in the library! DSC00045

The Ag Mechanics & Metal Technologies continued to work on their Google SketchUp project. They are in the planning stages of creating a wooden tool box.


Mr. Crump won a FREE scary book!! Happy Hallows Read Day!DSC00057

Students playing chess…we also have checkers! 


The Graphic Novel/Manga section is by far the most popular section in the Falcon Library!


Thank you all for your continued support of the Tompkins HS Library! The library staff could not do what we do without our incredible students, staff, administrators, and volunteers!

The Falcon Book Club talks The Book Thief.

The Falcon Book Club met during lunch today to discuss October’s book club book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.


While eating lunch, we discussed various aspects of the book, watched the trailer for the upcoming movie, and made plans to see the movie on Sunday, November 17th. Most of the students recommended that the book to others, however, they overwhelmingly agreed that it was a very sad book and to be aware of that. Would we expect anything less with Death as a narrator??

What is a book club without freebies?! Our book club members left today with a book! No “book thieves” here! They were FREE!


Special thanks to Coach Dye, who read the book and also participated in both of our book club discussions during lunch! 🙂

Our next book club will be an iChoose book club. Bring a book that you have read for fun and share it with the rest of the book club! We will meet during lunch on Friday, December 6th. Click HERE for the official flyer.

Don’t forget about our ongoing Instagram book club! Use #falconbookclub