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

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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

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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

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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.)


FREE Audiobooks through SYNC!

Beginning May 5th, you can download FREE audiobooks to keep you entertained and informed throughout the summer.

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens. SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week – pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to download at


Play Tech BINGO in the library this week!

teen tech week

Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college. The Tompkins Library is celebrating Teen Tech Week with technology and fun!

Students can complete four technology related activities and make a BINGO to earn a bag of candy. Those that participate will be in the grand prize drawing on Friday, March 11th.


We’ll even let you eat your candy in the library! Just don’t tell anyone. 🙂

World Read Aloud Day was a success!

World Read Aloud Day is a global movement to encourage people of all ages to celebrate the power of words and to help create a community of readers.

On 2/24/16, our Falcons celebrated #WRAD16 in several ways. Many of our teachers chose to read one of their favorite childhood books to their students, while other students spent a few minutes reading aloud to students at Griffin Elementary via Google Hangouts. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more – the elementary students or the seniors!


One of Coach Keefner’s English IV classes enjoyed a virtual author visit with Lindsey Leavitt. Lindsey writes books for children, tweens, and young adults. She talked about her books, read from her book “Sean Griswold’s Head”, and shared many personal memories about writing and the writing process. Not only did she give great insight into writing, but she did so with a slice of humor. What a great experience for our students!


Reading should be celebrated and appreciated everyday! Stop by the library and find your next great read!