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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Dead End in Norvelt
by Gantos, Jack

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (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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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Dot
by Patricia Intriago

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-In this whimsical book about opposites, each dot acts as a visual analogy. Simplicity equals accessibility, but it also denotes depth of thought. Even two- and three-year-olds will make astute observations. Visually announcing the morning, the story begins with a large, shining, cadmium yellow dot on a cyan blue background with the simple text, "Dot." Humor prevails on one spread that contrasts a chewed dot: "This dot is yummy," with a chewed dot and spit-out piece, "This dot tastes bad." Another unique spread is tactile in its rendition of "Hard dot," which does not yield under the pressure of a small photographed finger pressing down, opposite "Soft dot," which does yield like a soft rubber ball. Most of the book is in black and white unless there is a reason for color, as on the "Stop dot" and "Go dot" or on the "Hurt dot" and "Heal dot" pages. Band-Aid and boo-boo stories, and countless others, will pour forth from young audiences. Children will encounter ample ways to interact with this incredibly elegant, clever, and delightful concept book.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (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 In the minimalist style of Herve Tullet's Press Here (2011), this debut cleverly squeezes a lot of sly humor from that dullest of shapes: the dot. It begins in color ( Stop dot is red; Go dot is green), but most of the book is, impressively, rendered in black and white, with the smallest of alterations giving the titular object a whole lot of personality. A giant black dot is Heavy dot. Floating, fine-lined circles like bubbles are Light dots. Hungry dot is just a circle, but its partner, Full dot, is a chubby, squarish, page-filling solid black shape just looking at it makes you feel full. This dot is yummy has a dot with a bite taken out of it. This dot tastes bad is the same thing, except with the bitten chunk lying beside it. There is even an out-of-nowhere picture of a Dalmatian ( Got dots ) and a zebra ( Not dots ) to keep things fresh. You get the idea: this is simple, surprising graphic design that will wake up even jaded readers to the creative possibilities inherent in the most basic of shapes.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly In her debut, graphic designer Intriago explores dots as a graphic designer might, crisply and systematically. The text begins like a P.D. Eastman classic ("Dot. Stop dot. Go dot. Slow dot. Fast dot"). White pages with simple, graphic, black shapes communicate their messages like signs. "Slow dot" hasn't made it all the way onto the left page yet; "[f]ast dot," with lines coming off it, speeds off the other edge. Thoughts about dots grow more complex: "This dot is yummy" shows a large black dot with a bite taken out of it; "This dot tastes bad" shows the same bitten-into dot, this time with the discarded bite lying beside it. Occasionally the protocol is enlivened with photographs, a visual "kaboom" amid the overall air of restraint ("Got dots," says a picture of a Dalmatian; "Not dots" shows a striped zebra), but it's back to black and white as the book bids goodnight: "Dots up in the sky so bright/ twinkle as we say goodnight." And indeed, as might be expected from a book this elemental, there's something restful about it. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Carnal Curiosity
by Stuart Woods


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Body in the Snowdrift
by Katherine Hall Page


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Fall on Your Knees
by Ann-Marie MacDonald


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog W.E.B. DuBois
by David Levering Lewis


Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution
by Gale Christianson

Book list Gr. 8^-12. Christianson, a distinguished professor who has written extensively on Newton and his times, makes few concessions to the lay reader in this biography in the Oxford Portraits in Science series. Those who know some physics will find the science fascinating, but the technical explanations aren't easy: just what did that falling apple show Newton about gravity? How did he come to his theory of the calculus? What are the connections with Einstein's work on relativity and quantum mechanics? However, all readers will enjoy the personal life story, and they will feel the excitement of Newton's discoveries of the laws that govern an orderly and knowable universe. Far from reverential, Christianson shows us a genius who could be treacherous, revengeful, and arrogant: "Time itself must stand still for Isaac Newton; after all, he was one of the Lord's anointed." Bibliography; chronology; many contemporary prints and diagrams. --Hazel Rochman

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

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up?This is not just a great biography?it's one of the best-written science books around for young people. Christianson has sifted through the historical documents and accounts of Newton to paint a convincing and intelligent picture of the complex and at times irascible genius. Even more remarkable, the biographical portrait he presents is a compelling story. It begins with a beheading?that of Charles I?and ends with the poetic image of visitors to Newton's gravesite pausing "in silent tribute to the sacred permanence of the dead." The author demonstrates a remarkable sense of Newton and his times. For example, while many other biographers struggle to explain his experiments in alchemy, Christianson puts them in context of the great scientist trying to unravel the mysteries of the atomic world with the best tools available to him. The narrative also shows how Newton changed as he grew older: from a young, intense, reclusive academic to a living legend justifiably vain about his reputation. Reproductions of documents, Newton's sketches, and paintings of well-known figures illustrate this fine book.?Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC

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 Useless Landscape/A Guide for Boys
by D. A. Powell

Library Journal Poems by Powell (Chronic) are the Apple products of the literary world: sleek, urbane, well-designed marvels. They are so startlingly hip that one can almost be excused for not noticing that they are slowly infiltrating the mainstream. The homoeroticism that lies at the center of this work is tongue-in-cheek, proceeding via allegory and dispensing with much of the campiness that characterizes earlier (and some current) queer writing. But as a literary artifact, this book's slick veneer and perfect lines sometimes seem at odds with the awkward and exciting messiness of adolescent sexuality, as if the poems had been disassembled and shipped off to Iowa City to have the rough edges sanded out. Powell's treatment of sexuality lacks much of the transgressive power of a Dennis Cooper or Kathy Acker, both of whom manage to transform eroticism into something as dangerous as it is transformative. VERDICT Powell is as good a technician as anyone in the business, and his latest book, both smart and accessible, will have award panels queuing up to sing its praises. [See Prepub Alert, 8/18/11.]-Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty. P.L., Lakewood, CO (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.

Book list In his fifth collection, Powell revisits themes of body and illness, sacred space and seductive desecration. The first section is an examination of beauty divorced from utility, the second a characteristically witty, arresting portrait of young people in acts of exploration. In the former, Powell confronts physical and emotional environments in the kinds of translucent lyrics that have gained him critical appreciation and a reputation for accessibility. His landscapes are mean and meaningful; visions of California bear the dead-eyed gaze of valley dolls and interned immigrants alike. In A Guide for Boys, he maps an anatomy of lymph and libido, not least through clever substitution of unexpected items in familiar settings. Kiwi fruit appear in Sex Ed textbooks, wattles swelter in a sauna, prickly sweetgum seeds turn suggestive. Throughout the collection, Powell flexes his command of inflectional forms, using subjunctive constructions to pose some of the most wrenching, lovely unrealities since his initial triptych (Tea,1998; Lunch, 2000; Cocktails, 2004) and imperatives to exploit creeping, linguistic ambiguity Tell me how much I've got to lose. --Baez, Diego Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Powell has now turned the corner from promising new poet into established power. This fifth collection condenses his obsessions into poems clearer and more compact than ever, some scathing and others comedic, some based on life stories and others built on puns. Now living in San Francisco, Powell grew up in California's agricultural Central Valley; the impoverished spaces of his youth stand out among his backgrounds and metaphors for ecological disaster, for gay sexual awakening, for sex itself, for illness, and for love. "The Kiwi Comes to Gridley, CA," for example, recalls "this... overgrown berry with its easy sway/ and pubescent peel, how it will proffer its redolent fruit." Another poem delights in "Having a Rambutan with You": "Sometimes, I forget to spit out all the seeds." Among other culturally omnivorous poets of gay American life, Powell, with his range of form and line, his dark but vivid humor, and his commitment to Romantic traditions, is set apart. Disneyland, high school marching bands, 1970s funk and disco, "donkey basketball," and planetary astronomy join his expanding universe of figures for sexual pleasure, and sexual sadness; erotic experience serves as a lens through which Powell-a passionate lover of puns, like Shakespeare-views life and death, body and spirit, youth and advancing age. This book will belong on many lists of the year's best. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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