Classic Literature Meets Graphic Novels

I have a confession to make: I’ve never been much into reading the classics. Try as I might, I’ve just always struggled with connecting to the story. One day I was browsing a school book fair and noticed they had a graphic novel adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. I was immediately drawn to its colorful pages and read it as soon as I got home. Since then, graphic novel adaptations of classic novels have been one of my favorite things to read. The illustrations and fast pace bring the stories to life in ways I thought would never get through to me. If you’re interested in trying them out for yourself, here are a few titles we have at Denton Public Library:

Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice adapted by Nancy Butler

This one is probably my favorite.  The author and illustrator have kept the original feel of Jane Austen’s classic tale but have added a modern touch of humor and wit.  Just check out the headlines on the book cover!

the odyssey

The Odyssey adapted by Tim Mucci

This adaptation of The Odyssey really captures the action-packed theme of the story through its vivid illustrations and fast-paced plot twists.

A wrinkle in time

A Wrinkle in Time adapted by Hope Larson

Meet Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which once again in this graphic novel adaption.  Colorful illustrations bring this tale to life in a new way that will please old fans and entice new readers to give it a try.


Beowulf adapted by Gareth Hinds

This adaptation of Beowulf gives the ancient tale a new appeal that is perfect for reluctant readers who will appreciate the fast pace and dark illustrations.



The Tempest adapted by Richard Appignanesi

This adaptation of The Tempest is actually part of a series of manga Shakespeare titles.  Illustrations are done in typical manga style in that they are featured in black and white.  These Shakespeare adaptations bring a fun, light twist to the classic tales we all remember reading in English class.

These are just a few of the titles we have at the library.  Visit one of our librarians at the reference desk and we’d be happy to help you find more!


Teen Services Librarian, South Branch

November 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Reliving My Childhood at the Library

I’m a librarian and a parent, so naturally, I love reading to my child. I love being one of the first to check out a newly published and share it with my daughter, but what I enjoy even more is sharing my childhood favorites and watching her fall in love with them as well. While many of these books have long gone out of print, a number of them are still in print and readily available to check out at the Denton Public Library. Here are just a few of my childhood favorites from the Denton Public Library that I have shared (or plan on sharing) with my kid:


Anything vintage Richard Scarry is worth a look.



Jacket.aspxI’ve always found the illustrations of the nuns strangely haunting.



Jacket.aspxThis is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books (although it’s a tough decision to make).

Did you know that some people don’t like Dr. Seuss?  I’m just now finding this out in my old age.  It’s very difficult for me to accept.



Jacket.aspxI changed my mind.  This is my favorite Dr. Seuss book.



Jacket.aspxI remember reading and listening to this book at the listening station in elementary school (giant headphones and all!).  For some reason, my classmates and I thought that Owl’s crying over “mashed potatoes left on a plate” was hilarious.  Now that I’m older, wiser, and fatter, it’s clear that wasted mashed potatoes should be solemnly mourned.



Jacket.aspxEncyclopedia Brown was my first childhood crush (even though he is wearing mom jeans on this cover).  And Bugs Meany is the best bully name in the history of literature.




Jacket.aspxI think I read this book about 162 times.




Jacket.aspxNot as famous as Charlotte’s Web or Stuart Little, but just as deserving of your time.



Jacket.aspxIf you like dogs and you like to cry, then this is book for you!


What are some of your favorite childhood books that are still readily available?  Feel free to come and browse our children’s area for nostalgia purposes, even if you don’t have kids!


-Dana Tucker, Teen Services Librarian at the North Branch


November 18, 2015 at 11:59 am 1 comment

In The Weeds 11.11.15 – Joe Normile

Some of our readers may be aware that long-time native Dentonite and local businessman Joe Normile passed away on June 9, 2015. You can read his obituary here. I wanted to share some personal memories and research done when I learned of his passing.

Joe was a member of the Denton High Class of 1945 and here is his senior picture from that year’s Bronco yearbook:


By 1963, he had opened his own service station at 1700 West Hickory at Welch and remained there until its closing in 2010. Here is an ad from the Denton Record-Chronicle of 2/3/63: Normile1963Ad

I met him in the late 1980s as a mechanically clueless college student at NTSU when my beater Chevy needed some minor work done and he helped me out. Two decades later he was still there of course and I stopped by when I saw some old cars parked in his lot. Maybe me driving up in an equally old car helped in this regard, I don’t know, but he proceeded to show me his one-owner 1965 Impala Super Sport lovingly preserved under quilts in one of his service bays. I was gobsmacked! He told me the story of it being stolen not long after he bought it with the motor burned up somewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. It was found and returned to him a little worse for wear. He had several other old vehicles stored away but, I’m afraid I was too focused on that particular car to pay much attention to the others, sadly.

Here are a couple pictures I took this past September at Charlie Beck’s Garage when I noticed it parked there. Apparently one of the mechanics is now the owner and custodian of that beast. I never thought I would see that car again.




Here is Joe in his station in later years. Picture taken by Mike Cochran and used with permission

I didn’t really know him but I appreciated his help and taking time to show me that car. The old school service station is mostly a thing of the past now.

Chuck Voellinger

November 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm 1 comment

The Goat Man and a Name


Growing up in Denton we all heard the stories surrounding both the Goat Man at Old Alton Bridge and the Hog Man at the old iron bridge on Bonnie Brae. They were great fodder for bored teen-agers looking for something to do on a weekend night. As was the nature of urban legends the stories passed from one person to the other always beginning with “there once was a man”, “the legend is” or “I heard”. No specifics, only vague stories devoted to some pretty creepy areas on Hickory Creek that changed many times with the re-telling. At some point within our recent history the legend has been embellished giving the elusive Goat Man a name, Oscar Washburn.

The story, in short, is that an African-American man by the name of Oscar Washburn raised goats near the bridge. He prospered and was successful. Members of the KKK took affront so they kidnapped Washburn from his home and lynched him from the side of the Alton Bridge. When they looked over the side of the bridge Mr. Washburn’s body had disappeared. Searching the area, and not finding him, the Klan returned to Washburn’s home and murdered his family. The story even provides date of August 1938.

I have searched, local historians have searched, paranormal investigators, and even reporters have tried to verify the existence of Oscar Washburn. We have found that there was a man name Oscar Washburn who married in Denton County, but he was white and the family moved very quickly to Young County. Researchers have combed through the August 1938 issues of the Denton Record-Chronicle seeking any mention of the incident at the Alton Bridge to no avail. Granted news about African-American citizens was not often reported in the local papers but bad news or sensational items like this were more likely to make mention.

We all know the Internet has changed many facets of our lives; this is one example of its impact. It has changed the nature of our urban legends. What was once told in the oral tradition and accepted as “just a story” can now be morphed into fact once it is put into print. One can find the story of Mr. Washburn perpetuated in many places without the simple statement “Legend tells of a” preceding it. That statement, or one similar, maintains the tale as folklore, and not presented as historical fact.

If you would like to try and prove the story true, or that possibly an events similar to this did happen, I invite you to visit the Special Collections Department at the Emily Fowler Central Library to use our many resources available to search for the proof.

Emily Fowler Central Library

November 4, 2015 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Learning Never Stops

You might think that just because you are out of school, you don’t need to learn anything. Wrong! You learn new things every day, and the library is a natural place to learn and try new things—a classroom for the community.

The library is full of books and classes and videos to learn to things. Want to finally fix up that old Ford Mustang that has been sitting in your garage? Check out our online Chilton catalogs, which provides step by step instructions.

PlayWant to learn how to teach your child? Visit one of our many classes, or just stop by the children’s area and play. Did you know that play is one of the key aspects in a child’s learning and development? That’s right. A child’s job is to play. Play is how children learn new things and how they make sense of the world. Have you ever listened on your child’s conversation while they are playing? They are internalizing a conversation they have experienced, and are making it real by acting it out with their toys.


Want to enroll your children in some STEAM classes…but aren’t really sure where to start? Check out the many Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math classes the library has to offer for all ages. The Forge, at the North Branch Library, is full of fun technology, including a 3-D printers, Raspberry Pis, and Arduinos. The South Branch Library recently started a STEAM Ahead program, which will focus on different aspects of STEAM. This month we had a Lego Challenge: create something that floats, build a tall structure, and assemble a word out of Lego blocks.

Want to learn more about your family history? The Emily Fowler Library has an entire department devoted to genealogy and family history.

The Denton Public Library has a never-ending list of learning opportunities, so do as our blog says and “Check it out!”

Youth Librarian, South Branch Library

October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Clues You Find In Your Family Tree May Help Solve Mysteries About You or Your Family’s Well-Being.

Last summer, my mom’s older brother, Emil Johnson, came to visit and related a story about my great-grandmother, Emma Ella Wessel Johnson. I’d meant to share this then, but had forgotten some of the details, so I asked my aunt Jane (who is the official storyteller) to send me a copy, which I am using now as she has a great writer’s voice.

The story starts in Madison, South Dakota, around 1920. I am leaving out some of the last names :

There are lots of stories to tell about Emma. After her divorce from John Alfred Johnson (forever known as that SOB) she went to work as a housekeeper on a farm for two brothers Gus and Ed. It is said that the brothers took a new last name when they came to Germany, that they were shirttail royalty that fled Russia, but we have not confirmed that. Evidently, she was cohabiting with both of them because she found herself with child. There was competition for her affections. She told the men she would marry whichever one got the marriage license. They had a horse race to town and Ed won. Afterwards, “Sonny” was born and Ed was killed by someone with a shotgun. It was strongly suspected the gunman was the spurned brother Gus. There was a trial but not enough evidence to convict. The judge felt that Gus was guilty and told him to get out of town and never come back. Emil tells this was the beginning of Emma’s paranoia. She was afraid that Gus would come for her too. She used to take the boys out in the ditch at night so if Gus came for them he would look in the lighted farmhouse and not find them. Emil tells of being very poor. Meals were often lard sandwiches. Emma’s father told her to come back to Iowa and he would help them. The farm was leased and the land went back but Emma was able to sell the personal possessions and farm equipment. She bought a new Model T and a player piano and left with the four boys. The move didn’t work out for them so they later came back to Madison. The older boys grew up and married. Emma lived with Sonny until he married at age 38.
Whenever Emil’s daughters, Joan, and her older sister, Arlene, went to visit, Grandma (Emma) made them wear a scarf so their hair was hidden and the bad guys couldn’t find her with the girls with the red hair. Larry says she used to go watch the guys play ball. She would stay and watch from the car. If anybody came too close she would call them a summabitch.
On the other side the grandkids loved her. They would stay with her when Sonny was gone in the service. She always played board games with them. Of course she kept weapons under her pillow and in the door in case the bad guys came. Larry has nightmares to this day about someone coming after him with a knife that probably originated then.
When she was elderly she had a stroke and went to Bethel Home. There she was given the right meds and the paranoia and anxiety went away. Too bad it couldn’t have been treated so many years earlier!
The point to this story, is sometimes, by uncovering the past, you can explain why things happen. My mom suffered paranoia throughout her life until she died. The episodes came-and-went and I never understood why someone so positive and cheerful could become so different; it was like seeing two people. When my uncle told me this story, everything became blindingly clear. Sometimes the past has a way of creeping into our lives and we can find clues to it by knowing our family history, having a good relationship with ourselves, our loved ones, and perhaps a family physician. There are several books in the library’s collection on the topic of medical genetics, take a look.
~Leslie Couture
Special Collections

October 21, 2015 at 11:59 am 1 comment

The Challenge: Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Have you dreamt about writing a novel? Join Denton Public Library as we participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) throughout November.  For 17 years NaNoWriMo has cultivated creativity as an international writing event. The goal is to start writing a 50,000 word novel at midnight on November 1 and finish it by midnight on November 30.  Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes, forgo the endless tweaking and editing, and just create.

What to do: Go to or join us at the Emily Fowler Central Library for:

Nanowrimo: Write your Novel in One Month – What’s It All About?
It’s a challenge; write your novel in November. Find out more about National Novel Writing Month, how to navigate the website, the Library’s “Write In” Space and “Write In” opportunities in the DFW area.
Thursday, October 22    Emily Fowler Central Library 7 p.m.


You can always come and write in any of the DPL branches, but the Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland Street, will be a host site for local NaNoWriMo Writers as part of the “Come Write In” program.

Come Write In
Writers are welcome to come to the library anytime. The library has work areas, study rooms, and WiFi. For those NaNoWriMo participants who want the fun of writing in a group, we have special “Write Ins” using library’s meeting room. Bring your favorite notepad or laptop or use one of ours to work on your project.  Meet your fellow novelist, have a snack, and build your word count. We will have plot prompts, and word count goal prizes.
Emily Fowler Central Library
Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 – 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

NaNoWriMo  Write In Lock-in
After the library doors close for the night on Friday, you and your fellow writers will have access to all the resources the library has to assist you in reaching that 50,000 word count! For our lock-in we will be offering pizza, coffee, snacks, wireless or computer access, the support of your fellow writers, and more! (Age 18 and up) Registration required by 11/11.
Friday, November 13 Emily Fowler Central Library 6 p.m. – midnight

Teen Writers NaNoWriMo Writing Cram Session
The North Branch Library, 3020 North Locust, will host a special session for writers ages 11-17. Bring your laptops, notebooks and other writing gear to work on your novel amid other writers. Snacks and drinks provided.
Tuesday, November 3 North Branch Library 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

And just maybe your NaNoWriMo experience will make you famous! These novels were all drafted during NaNoWriMo.


And there are many more. There is a full list of published novels on the NaNoWriMo website.

Denton Public Library has a plethora of writing resources to help you along.  Here are just a few:

50days 2writing 2romance2breakout

2paranormal Jacket2fiction 2characters

There is just one more thing I wanted to share with you. If you want to go a little deeper than a one month novel. We offer over 90 writing related classes through Gale Courses. These are instructor-led, six-week classes in which you will receive an award of completion with a passing score. All you need is your library card and a little down time.


Happy Writing!

Emily Fowler Central Library

October 14, 2015 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

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