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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Guantanamo Boy
by Perera, Anna

Book list *Starred Review* Is torture ever justified? Can a confession given under torture be considered the truth? What if the suspect is only 15? There are adult books about abuse at Guantanamo Bay. But what about the many kids held without trial? Set six months after 9/11, this unforgettable novel raises crucial headline issues through the story of teenage Khalid, born near Manchester, England, into a secular Muslim family. Close with his mates on the soccer field and excited about a girl in his class, Khalid grabs every spare minute at home to play war games online with his Pakistani cousin, Tariq, whom Khalid has never met. Then, on his first family trip to Pakistan, Khalid is suddenly arrested in the street, named an enemy combatant, beaten, and questioned, first in Pakistan, then Afghanistan, and then Guantanamo Bay, where he is deprived of sleep, shackled, and water-boarded until he confesses to everything in order to stop the pain and get back home. Tariq is also a prisoner. Did he confess and betray Khalid? Were they victims of bounty hunters? Finally, after almost two years and with the help of his family's lawyer, Khalid does return home to a heartfelt welcome, but many young suspects remain in prison. The extensive back matter by the author and human-rights activists includes detailed discussion questions and more facts. Teens, and adults, too, will want to talk about the terrifying stories like Khalid's, which are happening now to young people.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Originally published in the U.K., this harrowing first novel, in which a 15-year-old British boy is apprehended as an enemy combatant while visiting family in Pakistan, focuses on the darker practices of the war on terror. "Six months after 9/11 and the world is getting madder by the day," observes Khalid's father, which foreshadows the insanity to come. Perera quickly establishes Khalid as a typical teenager who quarrels with his parents and likes to play soccer and roughhouse with friends, heightening the tragedy of what follows. After Khalid's father disappears in Karachi, Khalid's chance appearance at a protest and innocent computer gaming leads to his imprisonment for two years, first in Pakistan, then at a CIA camp in Afghanistan, and finally in Guantanamo Bay. Perera unflinchingly portrays the beating, sleep deprivation, isolation, and waterboarding that Khalid undergoes; in one section, she skillfully employs white space to demonstrate the confusion and madness caused by sleep deprivation. Readers will feel every ounce of Khalid's terror, frustration, and helplessness in this disturbing look at a sad, ongoing chapter in contemporary history. Ages 13-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters
by Donna Jo Napoli

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-Wise, witty, and thoroughly entrancing, this collection showcases 25 tales sumptuously illustrated with luminous, jewel-toned paintings. At once eloquent and elemental, poetic yet contemporary, these deftly written selections gloriously regale the characters' legendary adventures while vivifying them with personality. (Oct.) (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 5 Up-Wise, witty, worldly, and thoroughly entrancing, this collection presents 25 tales showcasing the Greek pantheon's major players. At once eloquent and elemental, poetic and contemporary, these deftly written selections gloriously regale the characters' legendary adventures while vivifying them with personality. Balit's stunning paintings feature luminous colors, rich patterns, and star-infused motifs. (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.

Publishers Weekly Napoli brings new life to the familiar stories of Greek mythology in this intimate compilation, telling each tale with grace, clarity, and emotion. When Demeter mourns her missing daughter, "Her cheeks grew hollow, her body gaunt. Greens turned brown.... Hunger twisted the innards of every living creature." Through the brief but vivid retellings, readers will better understand such figures as Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, and Helen, while sidebars contextualize the stories. Balit's majestic and sinuous spreads mimic the drama and passion of the legends. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list This large, opulent-looking volume introduces 25 major figures in Greek mythology. A typical entry opens with a dramatic, double-page illustration and continues with four pages that include descriptive and narrative text, a large illustration, a sidebar, a decorative border, and plenty of white space. The informative sidebars are illustrated with small photos, digital images, and reproductions of period art and artifacts. With so many figures to introduce in a limited space, powerful stories sometimes feel overly summarized. Still, Napoli writes in a lively, often colorful style, sparked by such comments as, Wickedness deserves to crawl through the slime. Balit's illustrations feature formal design, brilliant colors, stylized figures, and repeated shapes. The poster-like, double-page pictures are particularly strong. Rounding out the compendium, the excellent back matter includes a map of Greece, a timeline, an annotated, illustrated cast of characters, a bibliographic note, and lists of recommended books and websites. A fine addition to mythology collections.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-Wise, witty, and thoroughly entrancing, this august collection is ideal for those who want more from their mythology. Beginning with the beginning ("Gaia: Mother Earth" and "Uranus: Father Heaven"), Napoli presents 25 tales introducing the major players of the Greek pantheon along with an assortment of celebrated heroes and mortals (including Perseus, Heracles, Jason, and Helen). At once eloquent and elemental, these lyrically written portraits deftly detail each character's origins, realm of power, and legendary story lines. Filled with sensual imagery, the language is poetic, yet balanced by amusing asides and wry observations that add a contemporary, almost conversational accessibility. The accounts gloriously regale the familiar adventures of these deities and champions, while imbuing them with personality. For example, Hades, "spitting mad" at being confined in Cronus's belly, bursts out ready and willing to take on the Titans: "roaring into war beside his siblings felt natural-like butter on a burn-it felt fat and rich and right." Again and again, Napoli encourages readers to trawl these tales for greater truths: Theseus is portrayed not only as a monster-slaying hero, but also as a man who gradually gains the wisdom needed to become a just ruler. Stunning stylized paintings featuring luminous colors, rich patterns, and star-infused motifs add depth and drama to the text. Full-spread images introduce the characters, incorporating their iconic symbols and details of their dominions, while smaller insets provide glimpses of the action. Interesting sidebars appear throughout, providing historical, scientific, and cultural information. A must-have for most collections.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (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 Unbroken
by Laura Hillenbrand

Library Journal The author of Seabiscuit now brings us a biography of World War II prisoner of war survivor Louis Zamperini (b. 1917). A track athlete at the 1936 Munich Olympics, Zamperini became a B-24 crewman in the U.S. Army Air Force. When his plane went down in the Pacific in 1943, he spent 47 days in a life raft, then was picked up by a Japanese ship and survived starvation and torture in labor camps. Eventually repatriated, he had a spiritual rebirth and returned to Japan to promote forgiveness and healing. Because of the author's popularity, libraries will want this book both for general readers who like a good story and for World War II history buffs; however, it's not essential reading for those who read Zamperini's autobiography, Devil at My Heels, with David Rensin, in its 2003 edition. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.] (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.

Publishers Weekly From the 1936 Olympics to WWII Japan's most brutal POW camps, Hillenbrand's heart-wrenching new book is thousands of miles and a world away from the racing circuit of her bestselling Seabiscuit. But it's just as much a page-turner, and its hero, Louie Zamperini, is just as loveable: a disciplined champion racer who ran in the Berlin Olympics, he's a wit, a prankster, and a reformed juvenile delinquent who put his thieving skills to good use in the POW camps, In other words, Louie is a total charmer, a lover of life-whose will to live is cruelly tested when he becomes an Army Air Corps bombardier in 1941. The young Italian-American from Torrance, Calif., was expected to be the first to run a four-minute mile. After an astonishing but losing race at the 1936 Olympics, Louie was hoping for gold in the 1940 games. But war ended those dreams forever. In May 1943 his B-24 crashed into the Pacific. After a record-breaking 47 days adrift on a shark-encircled life raft with his pal and pilot, Russell Allen "Phil" Phillips, they were captured by the Japanese. In the "theater of cruelty" that was the Japanese POW camp network, Louie landed in the cruelest theaters of all: Omori and Naoetsu, under the control of Corp. Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a pathologically brutal sadist (called the Bird by camp inmates) who never killed his victims outright-his pleasure came from their slow, unending torment. After one beating, as Watanabe left Louie's cell, Louie saw on his face a "soft languor.... It was an expression of sexual rapture." And Louie, with his defiant and unbreakable spirit, was Watanabe's victim of choice. By war's end, Louie was near death. When Naoetsu was liberated in mid-August 1945, a depleted Louie's only thought was "I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!" But as Hillenbrand shows, Louie was not yet free. Even as, returning stateside, he impulsively married the beautiful Cynthia Applewhite and tried to build a life, Louie remained in the Bird's clutches, haunted in his dreams, drinking to forget, and obsessed with vengeance. In one of several sections where Hillenbrand steps back for a larger view, she writes movingly of the thousands of postwar Pacific PTSD sufferers. With no help for their as yet unrecognized illness, Hillenbrand says, "there was no one right way to peace; each man had to find his own path...." The book's final section is the story of how, with Cynthia's help, Louie found his path. It is impossible to condense the rich, granular detail of Hillenbrand's narrative of the atrocities committed (one man was exhibited naked in a Tokyo zoo for the Japanese to "gawk at his filthy, sore-encrusted body") against American POWs in Japan, and the courage of Louie and his fellow POWs, who made attempts on Watanabe's life, committed sabotage, and risked their own lives to save others. Hillenbrand's triumph is that in telling Louie's story (he's now in his 90s), she tells the stories of thousands whose suffering has been mostly forgotten. She restores to our collective memory this tale of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, suffering, remorselessness, and redemption. (Nov.) -Reviewed by Sarah F. Gold (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list A second book by the author of Seabiscuit (2001) would get noticed, even if it weren't the enthralling and often grim story of Louie Zamperini. An Olympic runner during the 1930s, he flew B-24s during WWII. Taken prisoner by the Japanese, he endured a captivity harsh even by Japanese standards and was a physical and mental wreck at the end of the war. He was saved by the influence of Billy Graham, who inspired him to turn his life around, and afterward devoted himself to evangelical speeches and founding boys' camps. Still alive at 93, Zamperini now works with those Japanese individuals and groups who accept responsibility for Japanese mistreatment of POWs and wish to see Japan and the U.S. reconciled. He submitted to 75 interviews with the author as well as contributing a large mass of personal records. Fortunately, the author's skills are as polished as ever, and like its predecessor, this book has an impossible-to-put-down quality that one commonly associates with good thrillers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This departure from the author's previous best-seller will nevertheless be promoted as necessary reading for the many folks who enjoyed the first one or its movie version.--Green, Roland Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Murder on a Girls Night Out
by Anne George

Publishers Weekly A refreshingly different heroine, retired Alabama schoolteacher Patricia Anne Hollowell, is drawn into a murder investigation after her colorful sister, Mary Alice, buys a country-western club. When the previous owner is found gruesomely murdered, the suspects include the club's cook, one of Patricia Anne's former prize students. Sprightly dialogue and a humorous eye for detail get this mystery off to a promising start. However, once the offbeat characters are introduced, they and their relationships fail to change or deepen. The dialogue becomes repetitive, and the telling domestic observations lapse into trivia. Clues accumulate more through coincidence than through investigation, with the conclusion weighed down by a welter of implausible connections and old secrets. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day
by Pearl Cleage


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
by William Taubman

Publishers Weekly Amherst College political science professor Taubman's thorough and nuanced account is the first full-length American biography of Khrushchev-and will likely be the definitive one for a long time. Russians, Taubman explains, are still divided by Khrushchev's legacy, largely because of the great contradiction at the heart of his career: he worked closely with Stalin for nearly 20 years, approved thousands of arrests and executions, and continued to idolize the dictator until the latter's death. Yet it was Khrushchev who publicly revealed the enormity of Stalin's crimes, denounced him, and introduced reforms that, Taubman argues, "allowed a nascent civil society to take shape"-eventually making way for perestroika. Taubman untangles the fascinating layers of deception and self-deception in Khrushchev's own memoir, weighing just how much the leader was likely to have known about the purges and his own culpability in them. He also shows that shadows of Stalinism lingered through Khrushchev's 11 years in power: his fourth-grade education left him both awed and threatened by the Russian intelligentsia, which he persecuted; intending to de-escalate the Cold War, the mercurial, blustering first secretary ended up provoking dangerous standoffs with the U.S. The bumbling, equivocal speeches quoted here make Khrushchev seem a rank amateur in international affairs-or, as Taubman politely puts it, he had trouble "thinking things through." Working closely with Khrushchev's children, and interviewing his surviving top-level Central Committee colleagues and aides, Taubman has pieced together a remarkably detailed chronicle, complete with riveting scenes of Kremlin intrigue and acute psychological analysis that further illuminates some of the nightmarish episodes of Soviet history. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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

Book list Taubman masterfully replicates in his biography of Krushchev the career contrasts expressed by his grave marker--a bust framed half by black stone, half by white. Up to his elbows in blood, Khrushchev will nevertheless go down in history as the denouncer of Stalin. He partially denounced Stalin in the celebrated "secret speech" of 1956, and did so as a maneuver in a power struggle with inveterate Stalinists; however, his revulsion for Stalin's rule was genuine. The paradox of Khrushchev's complicity in the repression and his natural humanity induces Taubman to treat his life as a mirror of the entire Soviet experience. The author observes that the young Khrushchev might have been a successful factory manager but for the revolution. After initial hesitation, he joined the Bolsheviks in 1918 and in a dozen years ascended to Stalin's inner circle, enforcing the boss' edicts in various posts. Ambition, guilt, a true belief in Communism, and self-doubt churned within him, and the effects of his exuberant, tension-filled character, on the cold war and on Soviet domestic affairs up to his overthrow in 1964, close out Taubman's outstandingly composed work, assuredly the reference point for future writings on Khrushchev. --Gilbert Taylor

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

Library Journal There has been a surprising paucity of information produced about the baby boomers' biggest bogeyman. During the 1960s, Khrushchev's bluster and missile rattling jangled the nerves of a generation of Americans fearing a nuclear holocaust. Khrushchev's antics and methods provided the basis for Soviet behavior for the next 20 years and sowed the seeds of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Taubman (political science, Amherst Coll.; Stalin's America Policy, Moscow Spring) has produced a massive biography that is both psychologically and politically revealing. According to Taubman, Khrushchev's rise in the Bolshevik party and patronage by Stalin can be partially laid to Stalin's diminutive stature. Though only 5'6", he still towered comfortably over Khrushchev at 5'1". Drawing on newly opened archives, Taubman threads together all the unanswered questions that Americans have, e.g., why did Khrushchev de-Stalinize Russia, and was Khrushchev himself implicated in Stalin's terrors? The shoe-banging incident, the Berlin Wall, Sputnik, and the Cuban Missile Crisis are all woven together with the accuracy of an academic and the style of a writer. Recommended for all public, academic, and special libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola

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

Choice This is the first scholarly biography of Khrushchev. Generally, if Taubman (political science, Amherst College) errs, he errs on the side of kindness towards his subject. Although nothing is hidden, the sharp edges of this controversial and at times brutal man are smoothed off. Taubman shows that Khrushchev was as capable of knifing an opponent as was Stalin himself. Otherwise, he would not have ended up by the side of the dictator's deathbed in 1953. Stalin's brutal regime allowed Khrushchev to rise from humble beginnings, with limited education, to the top of world power. Yet, once he reached the pinnacle as ruler of Russia from 1956 to 1964, he more than anybody else was responsible for the collapse of the system that created him. Taubman sees Khrushchev as a gatekeeper of a historical epoch, with one foot in the bloody Soviet revolution and the other in the perestroika of Gorbachev. The study is an exemplar of scholarship, with an extensive bibliography and index. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. For all public and college libraries. A. Ezergailis Ithaca College

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 Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
by Sheri Fink


Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman