Wordless Books

When you think picture books, you probably think of rhyming words, colorful illustrations with text to match, or reading never-ending books to your children at bedtime.

But what about wordless picture books? A few of my favorite picture books have no words.  Why are these my favorite?

Wordless picture books are a great way to involve children in reading books.  They have the ability to control the story and take it anywhere their imagination leads them, just by looking at pictures. Creating stories to match the illustrations is an important early literacy element. Reading isn’t just about the words, the journey is just as important as the words themselves.  Children will learn sequencing – knowing the story has a start, a middle, and an end.  Children can use critical thinking skills to develop the story – why is this happening, what might happen next.  Children will increase their vocabulary by describing what they see in pictures, rather than just reading the text.

Have a struggling reader?  Wordless picture books allow children to read a book and make up their own story—and then feel a sense of accomplishment that they just completed a book.

The illustrations are the main reason I love wordless books. Some of the most powerful storylines are in the illustrations.   I don’t feel a sense of urgency to turn the page.  You can study the artwork, see the emotions played out in the details of the images, and feel what the character is feeling.

Check  out some of my favorite wordless picture books.

Rebecca Ivey
South Branch






Chessboards, Fretboards, and How to Milk a Cow

My father is a wise man. He once told me that when you milk a cow, you need to have a stool and a milk pail. And while having the right tools is essential, it’s even more important to understand the basics. He said if you put your stool under the bull instead of the cow, you’ll never get any milk. In fact, there’s a high likelihood you’ll get kicked in the face instead. Like I said, my father is a wise man.

When I first learned to play guitar, I played with friends who already knew the basics. They taught me things like how to string the guitar, how to tune it, and how to play a few simple chords. Later, I learned music theory on my own from books that I checked out (you guessed it) from the library. Knowing the difference between Lydian and Mixolydian modes is important, but if you can’t tune your guitar, you’ll never be able to play On the Road Again.

So when I started playing chess, I knew I needed some expert help. I had played chess a few times, but badly. In fact, until I started assisting with chess programs at the North Branch Library, I didn’t know how woefully ignorant I was. I didn’t know that the white pieces always started the game. I didn’t know how to do the castling move. It turns out that sometimes I was even setting up the chess board backwards! In other words, I was trying to get milk from a bull with a guitar that was out of tune. How’s that for mixed metaphors?

Luckily for me (and for you), there is the Monday night Chess Club at the North Branch Library. Every Monday evening from 6:00-9:00, you can learn to play chess with folks who really know what they’re doing. Under the expert and affable leadership of Ben Kemna, the Chess Club welcomes all ages and all skill levels. And it’s free. What a deal!

The library also hosts special chess events from time to time, like a recent “simul” with Women’s International Master Dr. Alexey Root. She played a group of 10 people simultaneously, rotating new players in as she won games. She offered a copy of her new book Prepare With Chess Strategy to anyone who could beat her, but after 20 games, no one did. Though I didn’t learn any new moves from this frenetic exhibition, I discovered that chess really can be exciting to watch.

My advice: give chess a chance. Once you’ve learned the basics and beyond from the friendly folks at the Monday night Chess Club, check out some books from the library and see how far you can take it. Below are just a few titles that can help you go from making a fool out of yourself (like me) to making all the right moves:
prepare-with-chess chess-for-children













Kerol Harrod

An Ode To Packrats and Renuzit Super Odor Killer

A friend of mine and a long-time customer at the library has been cleaning his study for the last few months. He drops by with a plastic grocery bag every other week stuffed with old newspapers clippings, newsletters, or theatre playbills that he has been saving since the 1960s. There is another reason, however, that he has been saving things: he’s a historian and writer, but I like to fancy that he liked the effect of curled newspaper articles and newsletters sticking out of his bookshelves, snuggled in drawers, or perhaps it was that it gave his cats something to be suspicious of.

And that’s where the Renuzit comes in handy – that and some natural kitty litter – mix ’em together in a plastic tub and you get a nice deodorizer in which to kill the pungent odor of long forgotten news and miscreant felines. Despite the smell and the dust, I am very grateful to him – I mean, where else can one find back issues of The Street Level News?

The SLN covered the areas where locals, faculty and college kids liked to hang out, providing information on bands and bars, poetry, interesting articles that could range from bicycle safety to local history, and included book reviews, an events calendar, advertisements for hip and cheap places to shop or eat and several comic strips: Fry Street Fred, Super Preppie and Thoughtoon to name a few.


Fry Street Fred


Artic Mothers article.

I am still wondering about the band name – the purposeful misspelling of both – and will probably ponder on it for far too long.

The Street Level News was published from 1983-84 in Denton, Texas. It may have run a little longer, but I am unaware of other issues.  The first, Vol.1 – No.1 came out in August. In that issue the editor was Jerry Boulware; Trent Eades was the associate editor; advertising rep, Monika Antonelli; cover art, David Romero; and the typesetting and layout was done by Denton County Commercial Typesetters. Some of the names change in later issues, but Jerry Boulware remained the editor throughout.

Advertisement for the Goose Inn Bicycle Shop on Avenue A.

These  yellowed newsletters may not seem much, but they help fill in the details about life in Denton at this time period. They also feature cool hand-illustrated cover art and advertisements that were commonplace at that time. I miss that kind of thing, so I’m grateful for the reprise of murals about town.

The Goose Inn Bicycle Shop, owned by Joe Holland, closed not long after I got here, but the stories that came out of it were famous as bicycle shop stories go.  Now all I need to find is an ad from Fourteen Records and write more about that in the future. As you get older, reminiscing is nice.


The Connection, Sept. 1983.The Connection, cont'd

This article is important, not only because it lists the artists who painted the mural on The Connection (Don Huff and Dennis Shaw), but also who owned the building and a bit of personal history about.

The saying about one man’s junk being another’s treasure is absolutely true for me. I’m just glad I don’t work in a museum that collects dentures – although, to be fair,  you could probably get a lot of important information out of them – I’m just glad I work here.

~Leslie Couture

Special Collections Department

Who Wrote That? Your Neighbor!

When I started at the library I was shocked to find that each branch has its own local music section. Some music I recognized and most I didn’t. I have stumbled upon some really great music exploring this section of the library. So here is a list of some great finds in the Denton Public Library’s selection. Some of these groups are now defunct but have possibly started new projects.


Bamnan and Slivercork by Midlake


The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads by Lift to Experience (Physical copies on Amazon are running around $180!)





Pine Sticks and Phosphorus by Robert Gomez (He is playing a show this Friday at the Greater Denton Arts Council…check it out!)




Ruined My Life by Daniel Markham (Check out his latest album “Disintegrator”…it’s very good.









Spooky Folk






Abdon Gonzalez
Emily Fowler Library