Flat Stanley in Denton

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My granddaughter from Mississippi sent me a letter about a language arts project she has in school about Flat Stanley.  She sent a drawing of the character to me and asked for information about our community and to give a description of Flat Stanley’s adventures in Denton.  Here is my response:

Dear Clara,

I love my city and I’m happy to share information with your class at school.  The city of Denton was founded in 1866 and is the county seat of Denton County, Texas.  We currently have a population of over 115,000 people.  We are located at the northern point of what is called “The Golden Triangle” with the city of Dallas at the south-east point and the city of Fort Worth at the south-west point.  We have two universities in town.  The University of North Texas was established in 1890 and Texas Woman’s University followed in 1901.  We hold the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo each Fall and The Arts & Jazz Festival in the Spring.  We have two nicknames; Little D and Redbud capital of Texas.

I’ll let Flat Stanley tell you of our adventures together in his letter enclosed.

Sending you all my love,

Grandma

Dear Clara,

I arrived at grandma’s house.  She had heard of my story in the library, but had never seen a flat boy.  She rushed me to Denton Regional Medical Center.  We arrived at the emergency room.  The doctors performed a CT of my entire body.  “Yes,” they said, “he is flat.”  “Maybe he will grow out of it.”  Grandma took it in stride and said “I know a way to fatten him up.”

Grandma took me to her favorite bakery in Denton.  The bakery has the most delicious foods.  There were cookies, brownies, pies, pastries, muffins, croissants, and bread galore.  Grandma bought enough to last all week.  I’m still flat.

Grandma took me to visit the Denton County Courthouse to see if there was any record of a flat boy in the county before.  No such record.

We then went to the Denton Public Library to read all my books and to do research on new technologies that might help restore me to my original boyhood.  Grandma took me to the maker space, The Forge, at the North Branch Library.  She thought maybe the 3D printer might work.  This 3D printer only makes plastic.  Maybe someday in the future we can make me a 3D boy again.  Grandma is posting my story on the library blog.  Now the citizens of Denton can help.

I have enclosed some pictures of grandma’s and my adventure this week.  I hope to see you again soon.

Best Regards,   Flat Stanley

What do you like best about our community?  How would you try to fix Flat Stanley?  Or would you accept him as he is?  Where would you send Flat Stanley next?  Come read books about Flat Stanley with your children and go on an adventure.

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http://library.cityofdenton.com/search~S4?/sFlat+Stanley%27s+worldwide+adventures+%3B/sflat+stanleys+worldwide+adventures/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&FF=sflat+stanleys+worldwide+adventures&1%2C24%2C#anchor_5

May Beth Everett
Library Assistant II – North Branch Library

Holiday Help

The holidays are officially upon us.  If you are still looking for some gift giving ideas or activities to keep the family entertained, the Denton Public Library can help.

There is still plenty of time to make gifts and avoid the stress of last minute Christmas shopping.  Everyone loves home cooked dishes or baked goods.  Mix in a little love and you have a delicious gift that everyone will enjoy.  Have your children or grandchildren help with the cooking to make it a family activity.

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Use your artistic or crafting skills to make something unique and special.

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If you are a great planner and have already completed your holiday shopping, you might be interested in some family activities to keep everyone busy or entertained during the holiday break.

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We can also help you survive the holiday season with a smile.  We’ve got some holiday humor and advice to help you cope with any holiday stress or frustration you might encounter.

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If you find yourself in a crunch, remember that you can access the library’s digital resources even if the library is closed.  We provide a broad range of ebooks and eaudiobooks with Overdrive.  Hoopla has ebooks, eaudiobooks, music, streaming T.V. shows and movies.

Happy holidays!

Jennifer Bekker
North Branch Library

Giving back this holiday season

Thanksgiving is tomorrow which means the season of giving is officially kicking off.  In addition to buying gifts for family and friends, local charities and non-profits also benefit from the spirit of generosity this time of year.  Here are some great community organizations around Denton that could benefit from your donated time or resources this holiday season:

Denton County Friends of the Family – This is a great organization that helps victims of relationship violence and sexual assault.  Listed on their website are many different ways to volunteer your time as well as a link to donate if you’d rather make a monetary donation.

Our Daily Bread – A community soup kitchen in Denton.  On the website’s “How You Can Help” page, you’ll see a link for monetary donations as well as a list of pantry items accepted.  Volunteer opportunities are also listed on the page.

The Salvation Army – You’ll recognize them as the familiar sound of the bells ringing outside stores at Christmas time or the Angel tree in the mall.  Check out their website to see the many ways in which you can help them out this season.

United Way of Denton County – The United Way has many volunteer opportunities for people wanting to work with children, the homeless, veterans, and more.  Those interested can fill out a short survey on their website and a United Way representative will get in contact with them.

These are just four of the organizations in Denton that work to make our lives healthier and happier but there are many more.  What are some of your favorites?  Click here to view the United Way’s handy community resources guide to see what other organizations you could help serve today.

For inspiring stories by those who chose to give back, check out these titles from Denton Public Library:

 

  

 

– Sarah Ward, Teen Services Librarian-South Branch

 

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

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Jet Packs and Flying Cars

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When I was a child dinosaurs roamed the earth. There were no VCRs, DVDs, or any streaming services like Netflix. We had first run movies, reruns, and the library. If you missed a show, or a film, or an issue of a magazine, or a comic book, you were out of luck. You were completely in the moment as far as information went, except when you went to the library. It was the only source of history that my generation knew. If you wanted to find out about something that intrigued you, there was no Google – you had to dig around at the library. I remember checking out insane quantities of books on certain subjects – World War Two (my grandfather was a fighter pilot), Bigfoot (Strange Stories and Amazing Facts), and space exploration, were a few of my go-to topics. A librarian once refused to check out the enormous stack of books on aviation I had strained to place on the counter. It seems there was a limit to how many books you could check out on any single subject. I argued with her about the fine distinction between books about aviation and stories about pilots. She was not convinced, and I was only allowed to take five books.

So, you kids today, count your blessings. Our library doesn’t limit you. You can check out 75 items per library card. And, we have electronic sources like Hoopla which allow you to watch TV shows and films ON YOUR PHONE. Will wonders never cease? My great grandmother used to say that she’d lived a hundred lives. When she was a girl, there were still horse drawn carriages in the streets, but in her lifetime she saw men walking on the moon. That fighter pilot grandfather I mentioned, before he died we were communicating by email. Wonders.

Take a look around and appreciate our rocket ship of an existence. Amidst all of the trips, traps, and foibles of technology, our culture is constantly moving beyond our wildest imaginings. We may not have our flying cars and jetpacks, but we have access to the sum total of human knowledge, and it fits into our phones. Your public library is still here, and we’re ready and willing to help you navigate beyond the edges of the map. 

William James Smith

South Branch Library

 

 

 

 

Weird Science

I have very little background in science.  I am, however, curious about the world.  Most of my questions arise as I’m doing simple, everyday tasks.  I wonder how air neutralizers work as I spray air freshener in a musty room.  I question why hair turns gray as we age when I look in the mirror.  I’m curious how batteries were invented—and why are the batteries at my house always dead?

Several years ago, I stumbled across the book Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.  Mary Roach is a science writer who is very upfront about the fact that she is not a scientist.  I loved how she addresses questions about how things work, why things are developed, and  how they are studied.  Her explanations are clear easy to understand.  She is willing to ask those “dumb” questions that we all have, like “What happens if an astronaut is sick while wearing a spacesuit?”  I find her books insightful and hilarious.

One of my favorite aspects of her research is that she is hands-on.  She backs everything up with plenty of research from science journals and scholarly articles. Ms. Roach actually goes to visit labs, training grounds, and other areas that are off-limits to most people.  Her interviews with scientists, researchers, businesses, and politicians are candid and she is willing to ask the uncomfortable questions.  She asked Jim Lovell, the Apollo 13 astronaut, if the dandruff and dead skin cells that shed, but have nowhere to go during space flight made it feel like a “snow globe” inside the space capsule.

She observes and often participates in testing and experiments.  In her latest book, Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War, she describes smelling the World War II nonlethal malodorant “Who me?” in great detail, giving detailed accounts of not only the physical outcome, but also her thoughts and emotions as she smelled the stink bomb.

If you have a curious mind, like to laugh, and don’t mind a few squeamish descriptions here and there, give Mary Roach’s books a try.

Jennifer Bekker
North Branch Library
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Texas Library Association Lariat Reading List

Lariat

Exciting news for adult readers who are looking for titles that are a pleasure to read.  The Texas Library Association has a committee dedicated to putting together a list of outstanding fiction.  Each year the committee puts together a list of titles that merit special attention for adult readers.  These are book that have been published within the past 2 years.  The current brochure features titles from 2015-2016.  Readers are able to view previous lists dating back to 2009.

The Lariat Adult Fiction Reading List was started in 2008 when Corinne Hill approached TLA to start a list for adults that would be a “pleasure to read.”  Former TLA President, Melody Kelly, bestowed the name, “Lariat.”  The Lariat Task Force was started on April 3, 2009.  Since then, the selection of 25 outstanding fiction titles of the year have been carried out in various ways.

Current Titles Include

Armada~Cline, Ernest
Zack cannot wait to finish high school and work at the local video gaming store, but unfortunately his plans are ruined when he has to go fight the aliens who plan to blow up the world. His family and his favorite game, Armada, might be the key to the Earth’s defense.

Black-Eyed Susans~Heaberlin, Julia
This thriller is alternately told by present day Tessa and her 16 year old self, Tessie, the only survivor of the “Black-Eyed Susan” killer in Fort Worth, Texas. Her original testimony sent a man to death row, but the real culprit might still be out there. Tessa teams up with experts who work to free wrongfully convicted death row inmates. The suspense builds as Tessa discovers devastating secrets from her past.

The Book of Speculation~Swyler, Erika
Simon Watson receives a package from a distant bookseller that seems to hold his family’s history, especially that of his mother. It turns out that there’s a spell on the women in his family that threatens to take away Enola, his sister and only family left. Can he save his sister and stop history from recurring?

The Bookseller~Swanson, Cynthia
Kitty Miller lives her carefree life as a single woman running a bookshop with her best friend Frieda until the dreams begin. In her dreams, she is Katharyn Andersson, a loving wife and mother. The lines between what is real and what is imagined begin to haunt her.

The Buried Giant~Ishiguro, Kazuo
Battling a magical forgetfulness, aging Britons Axl and Beatrice are determined to travel to see their son. Though filled with all the trappings of fantasy, this exquisite tale of distantly remembered battles, past wrongs and relentless change offers intricate layers of story, metaphor, reality and dream.

City on Fire~Hallberg, Garth Risk
Meet the Hamilton-Sweeney heirs, Regan and William, and many other characters of this 1970’s epic in the small town that is New York City. Their stories, including a shooting in Central Park and the 1977 blackout, intertwine the characters as they long for love and connection.

Fates and Furies~Groff, Lauren
Told from the point of view of the husband and of the wife, this novel examines not only both sides of their marriage, but also how each person’s perception affects their lives.

The Fishermen~Obioma, Chigozie
A small town Nigerian family struggle with the outcomes of a prophecy made by a madman that threatens to tear them apart.  A fascinating coming-of-age story of four brothers in the 1990’s, the story spirals into tragic consequences and the near unraveling of a family.

The Girl on the Train~Hawkins, Paula
Alcoholic, unemployed Rachel rides the daily commuter train past her old home where her ex-husband still lives with his new wife. She makes up an imagined life about another couple a few doors down, but then sees something unexpected. The next day the woman vanishes. As Rachel gets involved in the investigation, the suspense builds. Things are not what they seem, with many twists and turns in this page turner of a thriller.

Girl Underwater~Kells, Claire
A major plane crash leaves Avery and four others stranded in the harsh wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in late November. After their rescue, she is emotionally torn between coping with what happened in the mountains and fitting back into normal life. Already in a relationship, she must also face her feelings for another man: fellow survivor and teammate, Colin Shea.

The Gods of Tango~De Robertis, Carolina
An Italian woman is married by proxy when her fiancé sends for her to join him in Argentina. At the port, her husband’s friend informs her that she is a widow. Deciding not to go back home, she masters the violin and tries on her husband’s clothes, finding that they and a man’s lifestyle suit her.

The Good Neighbor~ Banner, A.J.
Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, and good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. All too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. One October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

The Marauders~Cooper, Tom
What do drug dealers, shrimpers, a BP oil representative and petty criminals on community service have in common? Told from each of their perspectives, their lives converge in the swampland of Jeannette, Louisiana, five years after Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry~Backman, Fredrik
Seven year old Elsa, precocious, different, and bullied, is buoyed by her relationship with Granny, her superhero, and by Granny’s stories of a fairytale kingdom where being different is good. When Granny dies, Elsa carries out “quests” for Granny – delivering letters of apology to people Granny wronged. In the process, Elsa learns much about life, her family and friends, and Granny’s “stories.”

My Sunshine Away~Walsh, M.O.
The adult narrator recalls being a suspect in the rape of his neighborhood friend and crush Lindy Simpson when they were teens in 1989 Baton Rouge. In beautiful prose and with a strong sense of place and time, the story unfolds by alternating between past and current timeframes. Did the narrator commit this terrible act?

The Nightingale~Hannah, Kristin
Vianne and Isabelle live in German occupied France during World War II. Through them, we experience their different ways of living the war’s horrors and hardships. We witness the courage and strength of everyday people to do the impossible and what is necessary to fight for survival, ideals, country, and loved ones.

Paradise Sky~Lansdale Joe R.
A former slave named Willie flees home to the Old West, followed by his enemies and father’s killers. See him become Nat Love, aka Deadwood Dick, a masterful gunslinger who comes back to avenge himself for all that he has lost.

The Scribe~Guinn, Matthew
Thomas Canby is brought back to Atlanta to vindicate his name and help solve a gruesome murder spree that threatens to ruin the 1881 International Cotton Exposition. The “Ring” that pushed him out of town may somehow be involved. Alongside him is Cyrus Underwood, Atlanta’s first African American detective. The murders seem to be racially motivated, but there is more than meets the eye when the killings take a turn in another direction.

Seveneves~Stephenson, Neal
The moon has suddenly exploded, leaving the inhabitants of Earth to face their imminent demise. Is there a way to ensure the survival of humanity? Is genetics the key to the solution?

Sofrito~Diederich, Phillippe
Frank Delgado’s restaurant is in financial trouble. He hears of a fabulous secret chicken recipe, stolen from his uncle by the government of Cuba, his parent’s homeland.  Frank travels to Cuba with the dangerous task of trying to steal back the recipe. Amidst espionage, intrigue, love, and discoveries of family secrets, Frank falls in love with the Cuba of his parents’ youth.

The Stranger~Coben, Harlan
“Don’t talk to strangers.” A stranger approaches Adam and divulges a dark secret about his wife, Corinne. After he confronts her, she disappears. Working with Chief Johanna Griffin to unfold the stranger’s mysterious words, Adam learns that the most familiar may be more dangerous.

Sweet Damage~James, Rebecca
Tim Ellison feels lucky to find a cheap room to rent in a mansion close to his work in Sydney. The only condition is to look after the mysterious owner, twenty year old Anna. He slowly learns about her past and her crippling fears. Tim feels uneasy as odd, mysterious things begin to happen, but he is also strangely attracted to Anna. What’s really going on?

The Truth According to Us~Barrows, Annie
During the Depression, pampered Senator’s daughter, Layla Beck, is cut off from allowances and is sent to work as a writer for the WPA’s Writer’s Project in little old Macedonia, West Virginia. Soon she comes to like the small town and her work. She discovers dark secrets that some want to stay hidden, and she finds that people have different versions of the truth and of the town’s history.

Uprooted~Novik, Naomi
The Dragon, the wizard who protects the valley from the Wood’s evil encroachment, demands the most special village girl as payment every 10 years. Neither graceful nor beautiful, Agnieszka is shocked and terrified when the Dragon chooses her, but finds she has an aptitude for learning magic. Her adventures include a deadly quest, true friendship, and court intrigue.

The Water Knife~Bacigalupi, Paolo
After environmental catastrophes, Nevada and California wage a war for water rights. The American Southwest becomes a gritty world of big money, ruthless business and seedy undertakings. Angel, a “Water Knife” who gets water for his employer any way he can, and a journalist search for the elusive paperwork that is behind a slew of murders, while a teenage orphan refugee struggles to find a way out of Phoenix.

Armada

Black-Eyed Susans

The Book of Speculation

The Bookseller

The Buried Giant

City on Fire

Fates and Furies

The Fishermen

The Girl on the Train

Girl Underwater

The Gods of Tango

The Good Neighbor

The Marauders

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

My Sunshine Away

The Nightingale

Paradise Sky

The Scribe

Seveneves

Sofrito

The Stranger

Sweet Damage

The Truth According to Us

Uprooted

The Water Knife

Reka Reynolds
Emily Fowler Central Library