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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Akata Witch
by Okorafor, Nnedi

Publishers Weekly Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People-witches-and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ("It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays"). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-This contemporary fantasy features Sunny, 12, Nigerian by blood but born in New York City, who's been living in Nigeria since she was 9. She has West African features but is an albino with yellow hair, white skin, and hazel eyes. This mixture confuses people, and she is teased and bullied by classmates. One day while looking into a candle flame, she sees a vision of the end of the world. She discovers that her classmate Orlu; his friend Chichi; and Sasha, newly arrived from America, all have magical abilities, and they suspect that she does, too. She finds out she's of the Leopard spirit line and has the ability to cross over into the spirit world, become invisible, see the future, and manipulate time. She and her new friends must use their abilities to try to defeat a serial killer who's maiming and killing children to use to awaken a monster from the spirit world. This vividly imagined, original fantasy shows what life is like in today's Nigeria, while it beautifully explores an alternate magical reality. Sunny must deal with cultural stereotypes, a strict father who resents her being female, and older brothers who pick on her because she's better at soccer than they are. This is a consistently surprising, inventive read that will appeal to more thoughtful, patient fantasy readers because it relies less on action and more on exploring the characters' gradual mastery of their talents.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton (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 Flame has always been soothing to 12-year-old Sunny until she sees a vision of the end of the world in candlelight. Raging fires, boiling oceans and ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming. Born in the U.S. to Nigerian parents, Sunny and her family have returned to Nigeria, where she is taunted for being both foreign-born and albino. Then Sunny learns that her classmates' jeers that she i. half-ghost, half-huma. hold truth: she is a Free Agent, descended from both Leopard People, who have magical abilities, and Lambs, who are equivalent to J. K. Rowling's dull Muggles. Along with three other Leopard kids, Sunny has been chosen to help stop a serial killer whose dark juju depends on sacrificing children and links to her apocalyptic vision. The story's pacing isn't consistently smooth, but the world Okorafor creates is spellbinding, from its fantastical plants and animals, including sculpture-buildin. wasp artist. and forceful lightning bugs ( the ones with attitude have the best light ), to its values, which are refreshing inversions of Lamb beliefs: money is earne. by gaining knowledge and wisdom. for example. Harry Potter fans will find plenty of satisfying parallels here, as will readers who know Okorafor's previous novels, especially The Shadow Speaker (2007), for which Akata Witch serves as a prequel of sorts. Okorafor's high-spirited characters, sly humor, archetypal themes, and inventive reworking of coming-of-age journeys will leave readers eager for this series starter's planned sequels. For more about Okorafor and her imagined worlds, see the accompanyin. Story behind the Stor. feature.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists
by Ed. by Chris Duffy

Publishers Weekly In this easy-to-read and fun to read aloud collection, classic nursery rhymes get a contemporary spin from artists as varied as the New Yorker's Roz Chast and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Each miniature story is beautifully colored, making each two-page spread a visual treat, and the traditional panel form of comics and graphic novels merge easily with the syncopated beats of the familiar rhymes. The interpretations of the nursery songs range from literal-such as Lilli Carre's "Sing a Song of Sixpence" to the slightly wacky. In Dave Roman's "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," the numbers in the title refer to tiny clones created by a wizard inventor, with the help of gadgets like the Clone Master 3000 and the Mega Incubator. And any preconceived notions you have about old women living in footwear should be abandoned before reading Lucy Kinsley's delightfully original "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe." Instead of a crotchety crone, the titular woman lives in a funky boot and runs Ruth's Rock & Rock Babysitting. Every panel explodes with enough rich detail to keep attention glued to the page. Ages 3-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 3 Up-Fifty artists have taken on 50 old-fashioned nursery rhymes, resulting in an anthology that is funny, strange, sweet, and surprising. Some of the artists, like Nick Bruel and Marc Rosenthal, are familiar names in children's publishing; some, like the talented Mo Oh and Jen Wang, are relative newcomers. Craig Thompson and Jaime Hernandez are better known for their adult graphic novels, while Tony Millionaire and Patrick O'Donnell are more frequently found in the newspaper. The dizzying variety of mediums, styles, and techniques employed by these artists joyfully demonstrates the range and the limits to which the comics can be pushed. But as pleasurable as it is to survey this art, what really stands out is the way the artists have interpreted the texts. Many nursery rhymes, after all, have tragic or violent overtones, and most make little or no literal sense. Therefore, Scott Campbell draws "Pop! Goes the Weasel" as a series of tiny stories, each interrupted by that rascally weasel. Lucy Knisley turns "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" into a happy old punk-rock hippie babysitter who "whips" the kids into a rock-and-roll frenzy before putting them to bed, happily tuckered out. Dave Roman populates "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" with a series of gnomelike clones and a wizardly inventor, while Craig Thompson draws a fairly literal interpretation of Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat." Add this updated nursery rhyme collection to any library whose readers appreciate both the silly and the sublime. It's clearly not your mother's Mother Goose.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD (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* Having 50 of the finest cartoonists draw simple nursery rhymes, each no more than two or three pages long, is such a crazy move that it's borderline genius. The ridiculously deep pool of talent here includes those who work in kids' comics circles (Eleanor Davis, Gene Luen Yang, Raina Telgemeier) and those more known in the indie scene (Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Tony Millionaire, Kate Beaton). Illustrating these near-nonsensical rhymes allows the artists all kinds of creative license. Some toy around with the original, like James Sturm's Jack Be Nimble, in which Jack admonishes the reader for suggesting he do anything as foolish as jumping over a lit flame, only to turn away and reveal a scorched bum. Others play it more straight with equally splendid results, such as Craig Thompson's sumptuous take on The Owl and the Pussycat. This collection is a truly dual-purpose book: the dizzying array of visual styles will delight kids encountering these nursery rhymes for the first time, while the great versatility of the medium will make the familiar fresh again for their parents. As if all that weren't enough of a bounty, the esteemed Leonard S. Marcus provides a characteristically illuminating introduction. A can't-miss treasure chest for any collection.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Mean Streak
by Sandra Brown


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Salarymans Wife
by Sujata Massey


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Jewel
by Bret Lott


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog de Kooning: An American Master
by Mark Stevens

Publishers Weekly This sweeping biography, 10 years in the making, chronicles in fastidious detail de Kooning's rise from his humble beginnings in Rotterdam to his fame as an abstract expressionist and his descent into alcoholism and Alzheimer's. Emigrating to New York in 1926, de Kooning (1904-1997) situated himself among fellow artists and role models like Arshile Gorky. In 1938, he met and later married painter Elaine Fried; the two remained married despite de Kooning's predilection for bed hopping. (An affair with Joan Ward resulted in a daughter, Lisa, and indeed, the authors spend more ink on de Kooning's womanizing than his art making.) In the early 1940s, de Kooning's work appeared in group shows; his first solo show was a commercial failure. The artist did not meet with real success until the 1950s, when his paintings Excavation and Woman 1 made him "first among equals" in the art world. Stevens, New York magazine's art critic, and Swan, a former senior arts editor at Newsweek, see in de Kooning's life the realization of classic stories-the triumph of the immigrant, the man consumed by his success, the nonexistence of life's second acts-and this comprehensive biography, which attempts to explain de Kooning's art through a careful catalogue of his personal life, is a must read for his admirers. Illus. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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

Library Journal At age 12, Willem de Kooning was working at a decorating firm to help support his family while studying the masters at Rotterdam's art academy by night. Ten years later, in 1926, when he stowed away on the British freighter SS Shelley, he knew only one word of English-yes-but was determined to become an American. His classical northern European training and his determination to succeed in this country-along with his tremendous talent and imagination-helped him become an American Master of the 20th century. In this pioneering biography, we learn that his personal life was troubled by alcoholism and infidelity but that his artistic life set him at the forefront of the New York art scene: he founded the New York School and was associated with the likes of Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. New York magazine art critic Stevens and Newsweek arts editor Swan conducted scores of interviews and spent ten years poring over de Kooning's writings (published and unpublished), as well as his films and videotapes, plus statements by those who knew him to produce this masterly biography. A fascinating and dynamic look at the artist, his work, and his world; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/04.]-Marcia Welsh, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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

Library Journal What made De Kooning tick? New York art critic Stevens joins with former Newsweek arts editor Swan to find out. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list It took de Kooning many years to achieve recognition, a sustained struggle given its full due in this unfailingly attentive biography, the first of this controversial American master. Distinguished critics Stevens and Swan are indefatigable in their factual chronicling, vivid in their characterization of an immense cast of colorful characters, measured in their psychological interpretations, and sharp in their explications of the visions and politics that drove New York's striving art world from 1926, when the handsome young Dutchman arrived as a stowaway, to his death in 1997. Stevens and Swan tell wild stories about de Kooning's part in the much mythologized Cedar Tavern-anchored, abstract-art heyday, and they cover in painful detail his many affairs and complicated marriage to the vivacious, talented, and pragmatic Elaine. But what is most valuable here is the light shed on de Kooning's rough Rotterdam childhood and early commercial art training, his insistence on painting vehement and unnerving portraits of women, and his mysterious last years at his Long Island studio. Here are rival artists, dueling critics, rampant promiscuity, heroic intentions, demoralizing poverty, heavy drinking, depression, and through it all de Kooning's quest for powerful and authentic expression. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

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

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Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog A String of Beads
by Margarette S. Reid

Book list Gr. 2^-4, younger for reading aloud. This one-of-a-kind book encompasses several elements. It is a history of beads and beadwork, an introduction to the varied kinds of beads, and a craft book full of ideas that children can use for making and stringing their own beads. Complementing Reid's informative and readable text is Wolff's artwork, which is inventive in design and meticulous in detail. Reid frames the information about beadwork in a set piece featuring a grandmother and a granddaughter happily stringing beads and talking about the objects' origins and long history. There are a few uneasy transitions (especially the segue into bead stringing by younger children), but when the text bogs down a bit, the art more than picks up the slack. Wolff is equally at home illustrating scenes of the past, such as Native Americans and their beaded design work, and creating numerous individual beads, many with their own unique designs. Much of the pleasure of the book comes from looking at the various kinds of beads, such as the special glass beads called millefiori, which means "a thousand flowers," or the animal beads called fetishes, which are carved from colored stones. Lots of uses, lots to look at, lots of fun. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal K-Gr 4?Exemplary nonfiction in picture-book format. Interest in beads has been enjoying a revival for several years, so a good book on this level is long overdue. A young girl explains that she and her grandmother collect beads and make jewelry. Readers unobtrusively learn all of the basics about beads?who, what, where, when, and why?and are also exposed to cultural history, natural history, and even some math. The narrator speaks with a true child's voice, fresh and colloquial ("Grandma laughs at my shape names. Beads that she calls disks, I call Frisbees....She says a bead that is long and round is a cylinder. I call it macaroni.") Her simplicity conveys a sense of wonder at some of the remarkable things she discovers. Wolff's artwork has never been better. The cliché "a visual feast" truly applies to many of these pages, where beads of all types are shown, their variety a delight in itself. The book's design and layout are varied and playful yet cohesive, and the frequent use of black backgrounds complements the strong lines, adding an original and somewhat exotic look. Enjoyable in itself?and a superb starting point for any number of creative activities.?Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL

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

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog The Rape of Europa
by Lynn Nicholas

Publishers Weekly ``Never had works of art been so important to a political movement and never had they been moved about on such a vast scale.'' Nicholas's lavishly illustrated work chronicles the transfer, trading and looting of a large proportion of Europe's cultural treasures by the Nazis and the recovery of most of them during the Allied counterattack and early postwar years. She describes the Nazis' attempt to ``purify'' the world of ``degenerate'' art and their orgy of destruction, confiscation and theft, and reveals how curators at the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence and other great museums supervised the removal of objects d'art to places of safety that included mine shafts and remote chateaux in anticipation of the German onslaught. Among these treasures were such masterpieces of sculpture and oils as Winged Victory of Samothrace and Van Gogh's Dr. Gachet , tapestries, church altars, crown jewels, literary manuscripts and symphonic scores. Nicholas's detailed account, meticulously researched in museum archives and supplemented with interviews, brings into focus the men and women who took responsibility for the protection, preservation, rescue and restoration of the artistic patrimony of Europe. Ambitious and fully realized, the book is a major contribution to the history of art; and first-time author Nicholas, an academic researcher of European history, shows herself to be a writer of notable talent. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Nicholas ably surveys and details the Nazi plundering, destruction, and sale of modern art in the 1930s, and the large-scale confiscations in the occupied territories during the war. Her account is richly detailed and full of anecdotal insights regarding Nazi acquisitiveness. Allied personnel, many of them museum curators or art historians, often heroically spared objects from expropriation by soldiers and civilians at war's end, or from damage through deterioration in the postwar chaos. On occasion, the amount of detail overwhelms the narrative. One wishes for more analysis and reflection of the role of culture in the determined effort of the Nazis to loot Europe's patrimony. How was art used as an instrument of political legitimation? This key question is left unanswered. Nonetheless, the book's wonderfully textured descriptions, based on oral testimonies, archival research, and the key secondary literature, provides an insight into incredible human greed and determined cultural politics during the catastrophic middle years of the 20th century. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Deshmukh; George Mason University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list The world is still trying to fathom the enormity of the violence perpetrated by the Nazis. While the unending horror of the Holocaust continues to shock and baffle us, other facets of this unprecedented attempt at ethnic and cultural annihilation are still being revealed. One such facet consists of the mind-boggling facts about the Germans' wholesale pillaging of the art treasures of Europe. Nicholas painstakingly reconstructs the entire art debacle, relating one improbable but fully documented tale after another of systematic confiscation, outright theft, shameful deal-making, and fiendish destruction. The flip side to these atrocities is a litany of heroic efforts by curators, art historians, and many others to conceal, preserve, and protect the art of their land. Nicholas chronicles dozens of risky and dramatic struggles to keep the treasures of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, France, Russia, and Italy out of the hands of their mad conquerors. While thousands upon thousands of precious paintings, sculptures, medieval manuscripts, and other invaluable objects were torn from churches, homes, libraries, and museums and shipped to Germany, hundreds more were frantically buried, camouflaged, or stashed in basements, country estates, salt mines, or quarry tunnels. Nicholas is in full command of a daunting amount of detailed information. She eloquently and efficiently introduces a huge cast of characters and artworks and manages to cover both the terrifying war years and the curatorial and logistical nightmare of their aftermath, when the Allies' overworked "Monument men" labored against all odds and in spite of many controversies to return recovered masterpieces to their rightful owners. Nicholas, a first-time author, has constructed a momentous and riveting work. ~--Donna Seaman

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

Library Journal First-time author Nicholas presents a poorly written survey of the traffic in art under the Nazi regime, first in Germany and then in occupied Europe. She has a great deal of information, but it is not presented clearly or consistently. Nicholas has worked extensively with original documents and secondary works to reconstruct the German confiscation of art across the Continent, not just from Jews but from individuals and institutions in every country. Part cultural policy, part individual cupidity-especially by Goering-part egomania (Hitler's plans for a great museum in Linz), the ``rape of Europe'' makes for an engrossing story, but it is beyond the author's powers to deal with this story at more than an anecdotal level. While more limited in scope, firsthand accounts like Craig Smyth's Repatriation of Art from the Collecting Point in Munich After World War II (Abner Schram, 1988) are preferable. Pass on this.-Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib. (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.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Missing May
by Cynthia Rylant