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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Okay for Now
by Schmidt, Gary

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-When his blowhard dad loses his job, Doug Swieteck has to say so long to his friend Holling and Camillo Junior High and get used to things in stupid Marysville, NY. His oldest brother's in Vietnam, his middle brother's still a hoodlum, his mom is quiet but enduring, and his only salvation is weekly visits to the public library, where the librarian is teaching him to draw by using models from a volume of Audubon's Birds of America. Also not too bad is Lil, the daughter of the grocer who gives him a delivery job. Fans of The Wednesday Wars (Clarion, 2007) will find that this companion novel has more in common with it than just a charismatic narrator and pitch-perfect details of daily life in the 1960s. In addition to a mix of caring adults and comically unreasonable authority figures, Schmidt also revisits baseball, theatrical escapades, and timely preoccupations like the Moon landing and the Vietnam War. But Doug's blue-collar story is much darker than Holling's in the earlier novel, and, as a narrator, he's more psychologically complex. Readers know right upfront that his father is abusive, but for a while Doug keeps the depth and magnitude-among other secrets-hidden from those around him. He grows to realize a lot about his family's relationships through study of Audubon's painted birds (one plate is featured at the start of each chapter), and the volume itself becomes a metaphor for his journey from fragmented to whole self. Schmidt manages a hard balance of relatable youth-is-hard humor and nuanced family trauma, though the mix of antics and realism is a bit Shakespearean. Readers will miss Doug and his world when they're done, and will feel richer for having experienced his engaging, tough, and endearing story.-Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-A forced move from Long Island to upstate New York in the late 1960s leaves Doug Swieteck on his own to deal with his reprehensible dad and bad-boy older brothers. His salvation comes largely from kind strangers who help to nurture his talents and his humanity. Schmidt's masterful characterization and balance of humor and pathos make this coming-of-age novel so memorable. (Apr.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* In this stand-alone companion to The Wednesday Wars (2007), a Newbery Honor Book set in the late 1960s, Schmidt focuses on Holling Hoodhood's classmate Doug Swieteck, who is furious when his volatile father gets fired and moves the family to tiny Marysville, New York. Eighth grade gets off to a rocky start, particularly after Doug's brother is blamed for a series of local break-ins, and Doug, too, is viewed with suspicion. Life at home with his hard-drinking dad is rocky as well, especially after Doug's second brother returns from Vietnam without his legs. In addition to brief character references, this title shares much with The Wednesday Wars. Here, John James Audubon's portraits of birds, rather than Shakespeare's plays, provide a cultural awakening, and once again, Schmidt skillfully makes a reluctant boy's connection with the works a plausible and moving catalyst for strength and growth. Schmidt stretches credibility with another wish-fulfilling ending, but readers will likely forgive any plot contrivances as they enjoy Doug's distinctive, rhythmic narration, inventively peppered wit. stat. about his life, which reveals hard, sometimes shocking truths about the time period and, most of all, Doug's family. Delivered in a wholly believable voice, Doug's euphemisms are heartbreaking and authentic, as when he describes his dad's violence. He has quick hands. Reproductions of Audubon plates introduce each chapter in this stealthily powerful, unexpectedly affirming story of discovering and rescuing one's best self, despite family pressure to do otherwise.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This companion to The Wednesday Wars follows the formula of Schmidt's Newbery Honor winner with less success. Doug Swieteck, a prankster in the previous book, has graver problems than Holling Hoodhood did, making the interplay of pathos and slapstick humor an uneasy fit. In summer 1968, the Swietecks leave Long Island for the Catskills, where Doug's father has found work. Doug's mother (like Holling's) is kind but ineffectual; Mr. Swieteck is a brutish jerk. His abuse of his three sons, one of whom is currently in Vietnam, happens mostly offstage, but one episode of unthinkable cruelty is recounted as a flashback to explain why Doug refuses to take off his shirt in gym class. Doug does make two key friends: Lil, whose father owns the deli for which Doug becomes delivery boy, and the less fleshed-out Mr. Powell, a librarian who instantly sees Doug's potential as an artist. There are lovely moments, but the late addition of an implausible subplot in which Lil, who has never shown an interest in acting, is drafted for a role in a Broadway play, seems desultory considering the story's weightier elements. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air
by Stuart Ross

Book list This handsome book presents 14 journeys of exploration, from Pytheas the Greek in 240 BC to the Apollo moon landing in 1969. Sailors dominate the first half of the book: Leif Eriksson, Marco Polo, Zheng He, Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and Captain Cook. The second half follows explorers David Livingstone and Mary Kingsley through Africa, Umberto Nobile to the Arctic, Auguste Piccard up into the stratosphere, Jacques Piccard down into the ocean's depths, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the summit of Mount Everest. A glossary and a source bibliography are appended. Clearly written chapters trace the expeditions and underscore the challenges that the explorers faced. Precise, beautifully shaded colored-pencil artwor. appears throughout the book and, notably, on a large, foldout sheet tipped into a page of each chapter. From the maps to the drawings of vessels and artifacts to the detailed cutaway views that make each bit of technology more understandable, Biesty's well-labeled illustrations make this one of the most visually fascinating books available on explorers.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-The major accomplishments of 14 explorers are presented with strong support from illustrations. Chapters move chronologically from Pytheas in 340 BC to the 1969 Moon landing, combining famous names such as Marco Polo and Magellan with lesser-known but equally interesting figures including Mary Kingsley (Africa), Umberto Nobile (North Pole), and Auguste Piccard (stratospheric flight and deep-sea submersion). Each chapter provides basic background on the topic, then focuses largely on the nuts and bolts of the journeys, including travel conditions, navigation techniques, and vehicle construction. Lively writing captures the excitement of exploration while providing just enough geographic and historical detail. Biesty's pencil and colored pencil artwork ably builds upon the text, with each chapter featuring several insets plus one dramatic gatefold per chapter. In each fairly sturdy foldout, an initial illustration expands in two consecutive unfoldings to reveal further details. For Piccard's undersea exploration, for example, a map identifies the location of the Mariana Trench. This unfolds to show the depth levels of the descent, with helpful visual comparisons to a stack of Empire State Buildings (for depth) and Airbuses (for air pressure). The sequence climaxes with a final foldout depicting Piccard's deep-sea craft in detail, with labeled cross-sections in Biesty's appealing style. Other appropriate touches round out the well-conceived package, including pages with textured paper effects to match the era, from early parchment to a Moon map for the Apollo 11 voyage. Useful for report writers, attractive to browsers, and just right for readers who are curious about the adventure of exploration.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-From Pytheas the Greek to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren, Ross recounts the stories of daring expeditions undertaken by men and women through the ages. An accessible text and superb visuals-foldout diagrams and spectacular physical maps and cross-sections-guarantee hours of enjoyment. (May) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Innovators
by Walter Isaacson

Library Journal Starred Review. Isaacson (Steve Jobs) is a storyteller of the kind he admires among the people who made the bits and pieces that would become computers, wrote programs, invented games, miniaturized the computer, created the Internet, and found ways for ordinary people to access technology and build communities. The author relates the history of the computer by describing these individuals vividly and succinctly. Most were brilliant. Some were shy, others wild. Many had flaws. All are fascinating. At each crucial point in the development of the machine, explains Isaacson, there were usually several people who worked almost as one, even though their personalities differed considerably: an engineer carefully planned the steps, a manager kept people on track, and a pied piper involved others. Ada Lovelace is an example of the visionaries covered in the book; the outlook detailed in her 1843 Notes on Babbage's Analytical Engine took 160 years to be realized, but Lovelace's predictions describe our world today, where humans and machines work together in the arts and sciences to create new knowledge and solve old problems. As well as relevant personalities, Isaacson's work describes organizations and corporations with similar color and clarity. The volume lacks an index, and with many people and concepts mentioned more than once, it would be fascinating to reference these connections (a searchable electronic file would be a logical and helpful addition). VERDICT Anyone who uses a computer in any of its contemporary shapes or who has an interest in modern history will enjoy this book. It should be on the reading lists of book discussion groups and high school and college courses across the curriculum.-Linda Loos Scarth, Cedar Rapids, IA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* In 1843, Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, wrote in a letter to Charles Babbage that mathematical calculating machines would one day become general-purpose devices that link the operations of matter and the abstract mental processes, correctly predicting the rise of modern computers. Thus begins a remarkable overview of the history of computers from the man who brought us biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger. The story is above all one of collaboration and incremental progress, which lies in contrast to our fascination with the lone inventor. Here we find that in a world dominated by men with their propensity for hardware, the first contributions to software were made by women. While we have those storied partnerships of the digital age Noyce and Moore, Hewlett and Packard, Allen and Gates, and Jobs and Wozniak all of their contributions were built upon the advances of lesser-known pioneers, who are heralded in these pages. Although full biographies of the individuals profiled here have been written in spades, Isaacson manages to bring together the entire universe of computing, from the first digitized loom to the web, presented in a very accessible manner that often reads like a thriller.--Siegfried, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Starred Review. The history of the computer as told through this fascinating book is not the story of great leaps forward but rather one of halting progress. Journalist and Aspen Institute CEO Isaacson (Steve Jobs) presents an episodic survey of advances in computing and the people who made them, from 19th-century digital prophet Ada Lovelace to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. His entertaining biographical sketches cover headline personalities (such as a manic Bill Gates in his salad days) and unsung toilers, like WWII's pioneering female programmers, and outright failures whose breakthroughs fizzled unnoticed, such as John Atanasoff, who was close to completing a full-scale model computer in 1942 when he was drafted into the Navy. Isaacson examines these figures in lucid, detailed narratives, recreating marathon sessions of lab research, garage tinkering, and all-night coding in which they struggled to translate concepts into working machinery. His account is an antidote to his 2011 Great Man hagiography of Steve Jobs; for every visionary—or three (vicious fights over who invented what are ubiquitous)—there is a dogged engineer; a meticulous project manager; an indulgent funder; an institutional hothouse like ARPA, Stanford, and Bell Labs; and hordes of technical experts. Isaacson's absorbing study shows that technological progress is a team sport, and that there's no I in computer. Photos. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Starred Review. Isaacson (Steve Jobs) is a storyteller of the kind he admires among the people who made the bits and pieces that would become computers, wrote programs, invented games, miniaturized the computer, created the Internet, and found ways for ordinary people to access technology and build communities. The author relates the history of the computer by describing these individuals vividly and succinctly. Most were brilliant. Some were shy, others wild. Many had flaws. All are fascinating. At each crucial point in the development of the machine, explains Isaacson, there were usually several people who worked almost as one, even though their personalities differed considerably: an engineer carefully planned the steps, a manager kept people on track, and a pied piper involved others. Ada Lovelace is an example of the visionaries covered in the book; the outlook detailed in her 1843 Notes on Babbage's Analytical Engine took 160 years to be realized, but Lovelace's predictions describe our world today, where humans and machines work together in the arts and sciences to create new knowledge and solve old problems. As well as relevant personalities, Isaacson's work describes organizations and corporations with similar color and clarity. The volume lacks an index, and with many people and concepts mentioned more than once, it would be fascinating to reference these connections (a searchable electronic file would be a logical and helpful addition). VERDICT Anyone who uses a computer in any of its contemporary shapes or who has an interest in modern history will enjoy this book. It should be on the reading lists of book discussion groups and high school and college courses across the curriculum.-Linda Loos Scarth, Cedar Rapids, IA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* In 1843, Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, wrote in a letter to Charles Babbage that mathematical calculating machines would one day become general-purpose devices that link the operations of matter and the abstract mental processes, correctly predicting the rise of modern computers. Thus begins a remarkable overview of the history of computers from the man who brought us biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger. The story is above all one of collaboration and incremental progress, which lies in contrast to our fascination with the lone inventor. Here we find that in a world dominated by men with their propensity for hardware, the first contributions to software were made by women. While we have those storied partnerships of the digital age Noyce and Moore, Hewlett and Packard, Allen and Gates, and Jobs and Wozniak all of their contributions were built upon the advances of lesser-known pioneers, who are heralded in these pages. Although full biographies of the individuals profiled here have been written in spades, Isaacson manages to bring together the entire universe of computing, from the first digitized loom to the web, presented in a very accessible manner that often reads like a thriller.--Siegfried, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More

Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Black Heart Crypt: A Haunted Mystery
by Chris Grabenstein

Book list Gruesome, hilarious, and truly scary, the latest entry in the prizewinning Haunted Mysteries series about Zack, 11, is a great read-aloud for Halloween. In fact, that is when it is set, on the night when ghosts gets special powers and the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. Zack and his friends dress up as killer bees, and from the school bus to a family crypt in the cemetery ( totally creepy but totally cool ), they encounter demons, including ghosts of gangsters with scores to settle. Zack, who loves his stepmom, is terrified when his dead birth mother returns as a dybbuk demon: Does she want to harm him or make amends? The story is set in contemporary New England, and the characters rely on cell phones and texting to communicate, but the horror is timeless. Caught up in the fast-paced action, kids will want to share the irreverent commentary, including the occasional gross-out rhyme: There's one little worm that's very shy / Crawls in your stomach and out your eye. --Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Zack, 13, is still seeing spirits. and they see him. He has more or less come to terms with them, though, and he thinks that he has defeated the worst the spirit world could throw at him. But that was before the spell was broken, releasing 13 ghosts, the entire Ickleby clan. Zack's family moved the Icklebys' coffins and imprisoned their spirits decades ago. Now, with the curse broken and their ancestor offering up his body for possession, they have the ability to exact their revenge on Zack for his family's deeds. This novel speeds along at a breakneck pace, hauling readers along as Zack and his friends (and his dog, Zipper) attempt to dodge and defeat the vengeful, rather inept, spirits. The action-packed short chapters and vivid imagery will make this book an easy sell to young teens and reluctant readers, even if they haven't read the previous books in the series.-Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog She's Come Undone
by Wally Lamb


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Annals of the Former World
by John McPhee

Choice Well-known writer McPhee's book has impressive depth in its understanding, explaining, and illustrating of the geological evolution of a cross section of North America, centered along the 40th parallel. Five chapters (termed "books") are included, four of which were published previously in the 1980s and early '90s. These original contributions deal with the geology and geologists involved with various parts of the US: the "Basin and Range" area of the western US (book 1); "In Suspect Terrain" (book 2); "Rising from the Plains" (book 3); and book 4 "Assembling California." The final book, "Crossing the Craton," deals largely with the early geological history of what we now call North America. Thus, sections of book 5 include portions on such topics as the "Oldest Rocks," the "Archean Craton," and "The Andean Margin of Kansas." An intriguing and deeply fascinating tale that McPhee tells effectively, this book can be read with benefit by interested lay persons through professional geologists. List of maps; extensive, 30-page subject and geographic index. All levels. J. T. Andrews; University of Colorado at Boulder

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly A feast for all John McPhee fans, this major book incorporates some of the author's best work on geology into a comprehensive tour de force. Those familiar with McPhee's writing on the subject of geology will know that his narrative includes not only scientific theory but also portraitures of his geologic guides. While the majority of this material has appeared in the New Yorker and in books such as Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain and Rising from the Plains, the collection, which includes 20,000 new words, is much more than a recycling of past writing. As McPhee says, "The text has been meshed, melded, revised, in some places cut, and everywhere studied for repetition." McPhee's many fans won't be disappointed with the high-quality descriptive portraits of geologists, their work and theories. Since the writing follows McPhee's previous works and not any set geography or geologic logic, the author has provided what he calls a "Narrative Table of Contents," which not only describes each section in turn but the theories discussed in it. In this near flawless compilation of ambitious and expansive scope, McPhee's personalized style remains consistent and triumphant: "Ebbets Field, where they buried the old Brooklyn Dodgers, was also on the terminal moraine. When a long-ball hitter hit a long ball, it would land on Bedford Avenue and bounce down the morainal front to roll toward Coney Island on the outwash plain. No one in Los Angeles would ever hit a homer like that." 25 maps, not seen by PW. (June)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal McPhee is the most celebrated contemporary writer on North American geology, and Annals is his magnum opus, combining edited and revised sections from previous works with two new essays. (LJ 5/1/98)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Best Paper Airplanes You'll Ever Fly
by Klutz Guides


National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson

Publishers Weekly Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wilkerson's epic and intimate scholarly portrait of the Great Migration of southern African Americans to the North is the first comprehensive study of that movement. Previous works have focused on regional migrations and James N. Gregory's The Southern Diaspora deals with the comprehensive migration of both whites and African Americans to the North. Covering the time period from 1915 through 1970, Wilkerson (journalism, Boston Univ.) explains the Great Migration through oral histories, research from newspaper articles, and other scholarly works. She shatters previous scholarship that defined these migrants as poor, illiterate, jobless, and dependent on welfare through thorough research of demographic and census records. Wilkerson, whose mother was a part of the Great Migration, discusses the movement's effects on culture and politics through the oral histories she gathered from her three protagonists; they speak and simply tell their stories. Verdict A portrait that is rooted in scholarly research and gives this pivotal part of American history a personality, this will be a great addition for academics, historians, and researchers in Africana, as well as American cultural studies.-Suzan Alteri, Wayne State Univ., Detroit (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* From the early twentieth century through its midpoint, some six million black southerners relocated themselves, their labor, and their lives, to the North, changing the course of civil, social, and economic life in the U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wilkerson offers a broad and penetrating look at the Great Migration, a movement without leaders or precedent. Drawing on interviews and archival research, Wilkerson focuses on three individuals with varying reasons for leaving the South the relentless poverty of sharecropping with few other opportunities, escalating racial violence, and greater social and economic prospects in the North. She traces their particular life stories, the sometimes furtive leave-takings; the uncertainties they faced in Chicago, New York, and L.A.; and the excitement and longing for freer, more prosperous lives. She contrasts their hopes and aspirations with the realities of life in northern cities when the jobs eventually evaporated from the inner cities and new challenges arose. Wilkerson intersperses historical detail of the broader movement and the sparks that set off the civil rights era; challenging racial restrictions in the North and South; and the changing dynamics of race, class, geography, politics, and economics. A sweeping and stunning look at a watershed event in U.S. history.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary

Publishers Weekly This amusing, often touching series of letters from Leigh Botts to a children's book author he admires again demonstrates Cleary's right-on perception of a kid's world. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.