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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog A Time of Miracles
by Bondoux, Anne-Laure

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (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.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (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 "There's nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable," says Gloria, the wise woman who is the soul of Bondoux's (The Killer's Tears) beautifully nuanced novel. As she and seven-year-old Koumail flee the Republic of Georgia to escape uprisings and fighting during the Soviet Union's collapse, Gloria soothes the boy with the story of his past. She says she rescued him from a train wreck near her family's orchard after his badly injured mother "begged me with her eyes, and I understood what she expected of me." His real name, she says, is Blaise Fortune and he was born in France, where he and Gloria are headed. The two make a perilous, five-year journey westward through war-torn territory, encountering a memorable entourage of fellow refugees with poignant stories of their own. Continuously embellishing Blaise's life story, Gloria keeps hope alive for the boy, believing it is the "one and only remedy against despair." Years after their sudden, wrenching separation, a reunion brings to light the final, heartrending version of Blaise's past. Though Blaise narrates this splendidly translated novel, Gloria's voice will long resonate. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list After the collapse of the Soviet Union, seven-year-old Koumaïl and his guardian, Gloria, flee violent unrest and begin an arduous journey across the Caucasus toward France. That's where Koumaïl was born, according to Gloria, who describes how she found Koumaïl in the wreckage of a train accident that killed his French mother. Gloria became the boy's devoted guardian, and Koumaïl recounts their inseparable bond as they risk everything, finding shelter in forests, camps, and gypsy settlements. Bondoux, author of the multi-award-winning The Killer's Tears (2006), tells another unusual, wrenching story of a vulnerable child. Koumaïl's first-person voice shifts uneasily between a young person's naïveté and an adult's acquired wisdom: I'm in a rush to grow up. I sense that the world in which we live is hostile to children. That may be a natural combination in an individual who has endured so much so young, though, and in potent details, Bondoux creates indelible scenes of resilient children who, like Koumaïl, find strength in painful memories: To be less afraid of the darkness and the unknown, I call on my ghosts. --Engberg, Gillian 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 Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In this novel set in the 1980s, teenagers Eleanor and Park are outsiders; Eleanor, because she's new to the neighborhood, and Park, because he's half Asian. Although initially wary of each other, they quickly bond over their love of comics and 1980s alternative music. Eleanor's home life is difficult; her stepfather physically abuses her mother and emotionally abuses Eleanor and her siblings. At school, she is the victim of bullying, which escalates into defacement of her textbooks, her clothes, and crude displays on her locker. Although Park's mother, a Korean immigrant, is initially resistant to the strange girl due to her odd fashion choices, his father invites Eleanor to seek temporary refuge with them from her unstable home life. When Eleanor's stepfather's behavior grows even more menacing, Park assists in her escape, even though it means that they might not see each other again. The friendship between the teens is movingly believable, but the love relationship seems a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The revelation about the person behind the defacement of Eleanor's textbooks is stunning. Although the narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, the transitions are smooth. Crude language is realistic. Purchase for readers who are drawn to quirky love stories or 1980s pop culture.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA (c) Copyright 2013. 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 Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution-imperfect but believable-maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13-up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn't be more different. Park's family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple's personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor's fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie's watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too.--Jones, Courtney 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 Red Notice
by Bill Browder


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Agatha Christies Secret Notebooks: 50 Years of Mysteries in the Making
by John Curran


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Personal History
by Katharine Graham

Publishers Weekly In 1963, Graham took over as publisher of the Washington Post as a classic grieving widow. Her husband, Phil, had shot himself at their country estate, defeated in a prolonged battle with manic depression. Since then, Graham's life has been an amazing ride as she "moved forward blindly and mindlessly into a new and unknown life" to become the tough chief executive who, during Watergate, looked the President of the United States in the eye and didn't blink. She ended up as chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Media company, whose possessions included newspapers, magazines and TV stations. She makes a vivid and persuasive case for why it was so daunting for a woman of her generation to become, in the eyes of many, the most powerful woman in America-a designation she hated. She took over the newspaper to preserve it for her children and came to love it as a publication and as a business. She now sees that her management skills were lacking (financier Warren Buffett gave her a crash course in acquisitions and became a major shareholder and close friend), but she has nothing but pride and pleasure in the newspaper that she led from obscurity to world renown. The first half of her story centers around life with Phil, the second on three pivotal events at the Post: the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandal and the prolonged pressman's strike of 1975. She lovingly attributes much of the Post's success to editor Benjamin C. Bradlee. Her narrative is at times uneven, swinging from passages that sound almost like "what I did last summer" to amazingly detailed insider accounts of moments of national crisis. Household names dot every page, woven in with the lives of her four children, one of whom, Donald, now runs both the paper and the company. Graham is frank but not gossipy, self-critical but not falsely modest. She presents her "personal history" with quiet courage and considerable wit. Photos. 200,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Feb.)

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

Library Journal Katharine Meyer Graham was a woman born into a world of wealth and privilege who raised four children, became involved in volunteer work, and ended as the head of a powerful newspaper. Graham's father, a wealthy entrepreneur, bought the struggling Washington Post in 1933. Although Katharine had worked as a journalist, it was her husband, Philip Graham, who was chosen to take over the paper from her father. This is the story of a newspaper's rise to power but also of the destruction of a marriage, as Philip Graham slid into alcohol, depression, and suicide, and of Katharine's rise as a powerful woman in her own right. Throughout this easy-to-read story, Graham writes about her personal life and the lives of others, ranging from presidents to household help, with sympathy and grace. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]?Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct.

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

Library Journal Not just the story of Graham's stewardship of the Washington Post, this "personal history" ranges from her favorite tennis partner (George Schultz) to her husband's fall into madness and suicide. A 200,000-copy first printing.

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

Book list Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers

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

Book list Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers

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 Mud Matters: Stories from a Mud Lover
by Jennifer Owings Dewey

School Library Journal Gr 3-5ÄA unique book on the author's personal experiences with mud. Dewey offers good information on quicksand, primordial ooze, adobes, etc., and describes finding a fossilized bone of a Camalops, a sort of prehistoric, humpless camel. Full-color photographs and black-and-white drawings appear throughout. However, the writing gets so bogged down in dialogue that most youngsters will have a difficult time wading through it to get to the facts. Another problem is accessibility. Students researching the Zuni and their Mudheads, the nest-building techniques of wasps, or the Rio Grande will probably not think to look in this book. An appended list of plants and animals named after mud could prove handy, but the glossary, which includes words such as muddle and muddlehead, seems to be of marginal relevance. Students seeking material on the subject should look to Peter Goodwin's Landslides, Slumps, & Creep (Watts, 1997). Mud Matters will find little use in libraries.ÄAnne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

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 Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel

Book list Mantel fictionalizes the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, crafty architect of Henry VIII's annulment from Catherine of Aragon, the execution of Sir Thomas Moore, Henry's schism with the Church of Rome, and the Reformation. Delving deeply into the psychology of the man behind the throne, she paints a portrait of a brilliant schemer, bullied by his brutish blacksmith father determined to rise above his circumstances by dint of his own wits and the strength of his own resolve. Competent, complex, and the consummate behind-the-scenes wheeler-dealer, Mantel's Cromwell is not an unsympathetic character; in fact, readers will be surprised that he is presented in a far more favorable light than the sainted Thomas Moore. This wholly original and authentically detailed take on an often reviled real-life figure will appeal to fans of meaty historical dramas and fictional biographies.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

Library Journal As Henry VIII's go-to man for his dirty work, Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) isn't a likely candidate for a sympathetic portrait. He dirtied his hands too often. In the end, Henry dropped him just as he had Cromwell's mentor, Cardinal Wolsey, who counseled the king before him. But as Mantel (Beyond Black) reminds us, Cromwell was a man of many parts, admirable in many respects though disturbing in others. Above all, he got things done and was deeply loyal to his masters, first Wolsey and then the king. Nor was Henry always bloated and egomaniacal: well into his forties, when in good spirits, the king shone brighter than all those around him. Verdict Longlisted for the Booker Prize, this is in all respects a superior work of fiction, peopled with appealing characters living through a period of tense high drama: Henry's abandonment of wife and church to marry Anne Boleyn. It should appeal to many readers, not just history buffs. And Mantel achieves this feat without violating the historical record! There will be few novels this year as good as this one. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09; history buffs may also enjoy reading Robert Hutchinson's biography, Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious Minister, reviewed on p. 66.-Ed.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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

Publishers Weekly Henry VIII's challenge to the church's power with his desire to divorce his queen and marry Anne Boleyn set off a tidal wave of religious, political and societal turmoil that reverberated throughout 16th-century Europe. Mantel boldly attempts to capture the sweeping internecine machinations of the times from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the lowborn man who became one of Henry's closest advisers. Cromwell's actual beginnings are historically ambiguous, and Mantel admirably fills in the blanks, portraying Cromwell as an oft-beaten son who fled his father's home, fought for the French, studied law and was fluent in French, Latin and Italian. Mixing fiction with fact, Mantel captures the atmosphere of the times and brings to life the important players: Henry VIII; his wife, Katherine of Aragon; the bewitching Boleyn sisters; and the difficult Thomas More, who opposes the king. Unfortunately, Mantel also includes a distracting abundance of dizzying detail and Henry's all too voluminous political defeats and triumphs, which overshadows the more winning story of Cromwell and his influence on the events that led to the creation of the Church of England. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog A Visit to William Blake's Inn
by Nancy Willard

Publishers Weekly The Newbery Medal-winning, Caldecott Honor book about an imaginary inn belonging to William Blake, where remarkable guests are attended by an even more remarkable staff. Ages 4-8. (September)

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

Publishers Weekly The Newbery Medal-winning, Caldecott Honor book about an imaginary inn belonging to William Blake, where remarkable guests are attended by an even more remarkable staff. Ages 4-8. (September)

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