Databases and Website Evaluation

Our AP Lang students have spent the past week working with our databases and website evaluation…and it’s not over yet!

While I was doing my own research today, I came across this poster that I just had to share! Katy ISD and the State of Texas provide our students with incredible resources through our databases. Don’t overlook these valuable resources, Falcons!

It’s time for NaNoWriMo!

Image result for national novel writing month young writers programNaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a national program that challenges anyone and everyone to write a novel during the month of November.

If you enjoy writing, please consider participating!! Although NaNoWriMo is an individual activity, the Falcon Writers group will be meeting in the library after school every Monday during November to write, discuss, edit, or talk about their novel for those that can attend. The Falcon Writers group also has a virtual classroom through the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s website that allows students to ask questions, chat about their novels, get advice, and more!

Want to join the Falcons Writers group? Sign up for an account on the Young Writer’s website and enter our code: ECRITWWI

Now drop the Halloween candy and get writing!

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

orbiting-jupiterOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

“Jack, 12, tells the gripping story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice.: ~Goodreads

I kept seeing this book come up on different lists and blogs and everyone kept commenting on what a strong and powerful book it was. Since I enjoy reading books that make you think, I decided to read it for myself. Wow! This book is such an emotional read. It’s tender, beautiful, and absolutely devastating. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys problem novels or just beautifully written stories.

Defend your right to read! #BannedBooksWeek


Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlights the value of free and open access to information.

Many favorite books have been challenged/banned over the years. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

Here are the Top 10 book that were challenged in 2015.

Here are some of the ways the Tompkins Library is celebrating your right to read this week.


Celebrating Banned Books Week!



“What Banned Book is this?” contest



Stop by and pick up a copy of the 2015-2016 list of challenged or banned books. Each book listed contains a description of why is was challenged/banned.



Help complete this challenging Banned Books Week crossword created by Penguin Books.



Find a banned book to read!



Have a “I Read Banned Books” poster made with your favorite “banned” book.


Information by © 1996–2016 American Library Association

Know the difference between biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs!

Be in the know!

Biography – story of someone’s life written by someone else
Autobiography – story of someone’s life written by that individual
Memoir – reflections of the individual; story about particular events that happened in the author’s life

Check out some of these favorites!

Escape from Camp 14 by  Blaine Harden

Image result for escape from camp 14

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. 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.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Image result for brown girl dreaming

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.


A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

Image result for a long way gone

Ishmael Beah describes his experiences after he was driven from his home by war in Sierra Leone and picked up by the government army at the age of thirteen, serving as a soldier for three years before being removed from fighting by UNICEF and eventually moving to the United States.
Book summaries courtesy of Titlewave.

10 Things to Know About Your Tompkins Library!

10 Things to Know About your Library!

  1. Welcome to your library! We are excited to have students and faculty visit the library as often as possible! Our motto is: “If you are here, you are awesome!”

2. Don’t want homework? The library is open from 7:00am – 3:00pm Monday – Wednesday, and Friday. We are open from 7:00am – 3:30pm on Thursday.

3. You must have a library pass to come to the library during instructional time or enrichment. Get these passes from the library or miss the party!
4. Have a study hall? We offer passes to those students that need computers and other library resources. Passes are limited! First come, first served! And don’t forget your headphones!

5. The library is a magical place. There are books, ebooks, and magazines for everyone! You can check out up to 3 items for 2 weeks at a time before they need to be returned.
6. Don’t have a printer? We have you covered! Black & white copies are 10 cents a side and color copies are 50 cents a side.
7. Need an ID? Get them in the attendance office. The only pictures we take are with books…and the occasional cat.
8. We know it’s a bummer, but all food and drinks must stay in the cafeteria. School policy. The only exceptions are: book club, Take Flight, and mentor visits.
9. Like to read and talk about books? Join the Teen Book Club! They meet the 1st Friday of the month in the library during lunches. Bring your lunch and talk about what you are reading. Just don’t spoil the ending!
10. Our library works hard to provide you with engaging and interesting book related activities throughout the year. Don’t miss our Makerspace Mondays, interactive bulletin board, book reviews/displays, and contests! All the cool people hang out in the library. Just saying.

TLA Conference Highlights

While you all were enjoying Spring Break 2.0 last week, I was busy attending the Texas Library Association conference in Houston. Luckily, the area was not flooded. I just had to hurdle a few puddles to get to the Convention Center. 🙂

I forgot to take a lot of pictures, but I did return with lots of great ideas on library programming and new books! You will find a lot of these new books in the Little Free Library in the 9th grade center! Also, stay tuned for some end of year book giveaways!

Here are some highlights from my conference:


The TASL Breakfast with Jeff Kinney and lots of my favorite KISD librarians! Photo credit to Marta Lopez from SLJH.




Jeff Kinney was such an entertaining speaker! Very funny guy!



I was awarded the Texas Association of School Librarians Media/Virtual Presence Award for the Tompkins Library! Such an incredible honor!



Kwame Alexander!! I’ve already started reading this book and it is just as beautiful as “The Crossover”!



Even though this book is not for our library, I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Mac Barnett! He is one of my absolute faves! He is so personable and funny!



I attended the Texas Tea at TLA and had the opportunity to chat with about 14 different authors, including Leah Thomas. Although I haven’t read her book, I’m already a fan. Game of Thrones fans stick together! (Notice the Brienne of Tarth figure on her table. It would look great next to my Jon Snow action figure that I have next to my school computer.)