Staff Picks — Aundrea

I like all the Jack Davis novels by Joel Goldman. I discovered them by accident. Jack Davis is an ex-FBI agent who was booted out of the FBI because he has a form of Tourette Syndrome. The author has the same condition. The main character teams up with an ex-cop to investigate murders.

Title: SHAKE DOWN: A JACK DAVIS NOVEL                                      

Author: GOLDMAN, JOEL                                     Original Date: 2008

Kansas City. At the scene of a drug-related quintuple murder, FBI    agent Jack Davis experiences the onset of debilitating tremors. Forced to take medical leave, Jack conducts his own investigation and, with help from jury consultant Kate Scranton, finds clues to his daughter’s disappearance. Strong language and some violence. 2008.  

DB   70011

Title: DEAD MAN: A JACK DAVIS NOVEL                                        

Author: GOLDMAN, JOEL                                     Original Date: 2009

Billionaire Milo Harper finances a neuroscience institute in which two brain research study participants die in the exact same ways they had dreamed about. Jack Davis, who retired from the FBI because of a movement disorder, tracks the killer. Some violence and some strong language. 2009.                                                         

 DB   70043   35                                                                 


Texas Bluebonnet Award Announcement

The Texas Library Association recently announced the titles that will be on the Bluebonnet Reading List for 2013 – 2014. The Bluebonnet Award is a book award that is designed to encourage publication of recreational reading aimed at students in grades 3-6. The award winner is voted on by kids. To qualify to vote, students must read 5 books from the master list and then may vote for their favorites in January. Titles on the master list are selected by librarians, teachers, parents, students then considered by librarians on the committee. Titles must be by a living U.S. citizen or an author who lives and publishes in the U.S. Books must be published in the U.S. within the three years prior to the list date.

Titles on the 2012 – 2013 list in our collection include:

Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy, DB 74273
Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming, BR 20009
Hero by Mike Lupica, DB 72779
Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg, DB 75193
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, DB 74157
Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog by Adrienne Sylver, DB 75228
Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem, DB 70578

**There is still time to read 5 of these titles to be eligible to vote for a winner in January. **

Titles on the upcoming list for 2013 – 2014 (the list that was recently announced!) include:

Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, DB 74503
Wonder by R.J. Palacio, DB 74228
Humming Room by Ellen Potter, DB 74785

For more information about the Texas Bluebonnet Award go to:

Staff Picks — Shannon


Author: NESS, PATRICK, 1971-                              Original Date: 2011

Thirteen-year-old Conor is tormented by his mother’s impending death, a school bully, and recurring nightmares. But one night a monster comes to Conor, tells him three tales, and instructs Conor to tell the fourth–and scariest–of all the tales. For junior and senior high and older readers.  Commercial audiobook. 2011.                             

DB   74426  IPN                                                           

This title has not only an interesting story but an interesting back-story. As the title implies, the idea for this story was not the author’s. Siobhan Dowd died of breast cancer before she had time to write this story, but her editor also worked with author Patrick Ness and between talking with Ms. Dowd’s editor and seeing Ms. Dowd’s notes for the story, “A Monster Calls” grew into a book.

 “A Monster Calls” is set in Ireland. It is about a boy who is visited by a monster in his backyard. The monster will tell the boy three stories but in exchange the boy has to tell the monster a story too. We learn that the boy is coming to terms with his mother’s cancer. Throughout the story we learn that the monster isn’t what you think it is. (Expect tears while reading this one!)

This is a dark and gloomy book, but one I look forward to listening to, especially as the title is read by Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.

For more information about the process of growing this book, read an interview on Publishers Weekly with Patrick Ness and Denise Johnstone Burt (Ms. Dowd’s editor):–a-with-patrick-ness-and-denise-johnstone-burt.html

Happy Birthday, Charlotte’s Web!!

I was listening to NPR recently and heard that a favorite childhood classic, Charlotte’s Web, is celebrating its 60th birthday this month. In “The New York Times” from October 19th, 1952, Charlotte’s Web was reviewed by Eudora Welty, who said, “The book has liveliness and felicity, tenderness and unexpectedness, grace and humor and praise of life, and the good backbone of succinctness that only the most highly imaginative stories seem to grow.” She continued to describe some of the main characters in the book and closed the book review by saying, “What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle, life and death, trust and treachery, pleasure and pain, and the passing of time. As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done.”

I have warm, fuzzy feelings about this book. My second grade teacher read it to our class. I loved the magic of the fair, riding the ferris wheel and round, fat Templeton crawling home after a night of good eating. I liked the idea of rooting for the underdog Wilbur, the runt that no one wanted except Fern. And of course, Charlotte, with her descriptive words for Wilbur’s personality. I remember having to do a word description project for myself and a friend in my second grade classroom. “Some Pig” and “Crunchy” would not work for a person. I was an avid library visitor, but this was a book I NEEDED to own.  On Christmas, I remember unwrapping a copy of this book from my grandparents and in my Gram’s neat cursive on the inside cover it says, “Merry Christmas! Love, Gram and Pop (1988)”. My grandparents have since passed away, but this book is in a special place on my bookshelf in my living room.

According to “Publishers Weekly”, Charlotte’s Web is the best-selling paperback for children of all time. As this book celebrates its 60th birthday, I think it is time for me–and maybe you, too–to re-read this classic book.


WHITE, E.B.                                       Original Date: 1952

A little girl who can talk with animals is devoted to Wilbur, the foolishly smug pig, and Charlotte, the beautiful gray spider who works to save Wilbur’s life. A sensitive story for children of all ages as well as adults.  Newbery Honor book 1953.

Charlotte’s Web is available in Braille, audio cassette, digital download (BARD), digital cartridge and large print.

BR 01318, BR 09405, BR 17770, BT 03247

DX 46839, DB 46839

RC 07107, RC 46839

LB 05976

For a link to the story on NPR “Some Pig! Charlotte’s Web Turns 60” go to:

Cited, NY Times article “Along Came a Spider” (book review of Charlotte’s Web):

Cited, My Library of Congress, Exhibition, “Books that Shaped America, 1950 – 2000:

Houston VisionWalk — Saturday, October 20th

On Saturday, October 20th from 8:30 am – 12 pm, TBP Reader’s Advisory Librarian Shannon will attend the Houston VisionWalk at Discovery Green Park. The Houston VisionWalk supports the Foundation Fighting Blindness, whose mission is to “drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.”

Registration for the Houston VisionWalk is at 9:00 am and the walk starts at 10:00. There will be music, refreshments, and kids’ activities after the walk.

Shannon will staff a booth at the walk to tell people about the Talking Book Program, demonstrate the DTBM, and talk about BARD. Please stop by to say “hello”. Shannon would love to meet some of our library users!

For more information about the Houston VisionWalk or to sign up to walk, please go to their website at:

Staff Pick – Saidah

‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes.

Man Booker Prize, Bestseller.  2011

DB   73935     LB   07051

If you like gossip about other people’s love lives, you will like this book. You will even like it when your naughty predilection comes back to bite you in the butt at the end of the story.

Retired Tony Webster realizes his life is not what he thought after receiving a puzzling inheritance and a journal left behind by Adrian, a friend who committed suicide four decades ago. His entire life Tony has held a petty grudge against his first girlfriend Veronica and her relationship with Adrian. Reading the journal changes Tony’s perspective of what happened between the three of them. It leads him to discover unexpected and harsh consequences, and his own responsibility in bringing them about.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s short but powerful.  It does a great job of getting under the skin of the characters and weaving their emotional life into a larger picture, where the reader can link long forgotten causes to indelible results. Publisher’s Weekly says “From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time.”

Other books by Julian Barnes:

ARTHUR AND GEORGE (2006)          DB 61635 DLD, RC   61635

NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF (2008)      DB   68481

LOVE, ETC. (2000)                RC   53948

ENGLAND, ENGLAND (1999)               RC   49553

PORCUPINE (1992)                RC   38098

TALKING IT OVER (1991)                RC   34498



Spotlight on Texas Books – European Texans

European Texans book cover Today we are highlighting a book recorded in our TBP sound studio in Austin at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. We primarily record books in our studio that are by Texan authors, or are about or based in Texas .


 By Allan O. Kownslar.

Narrated by Dianna Dorman. Monitored by Judy MacKenzie.

 (Texans All: A Series from the Institute of Texan Cultures) This book highlights the contributions of those who immigrated to the Lone Star State from all over Europe. Readers are introduced to the life and culture of French, English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Wend, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, and Slavic Texans. (See also: Indian Texans, Mexican Texans, African Texans, and Asian Texans.)
To read this book call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for book number DT   07052

Staff pick — Shannon

In The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, Doug Swieteck is a jerk and a bully, and a seventh grader I don’t like very much. In Okay for Now, Doug Swieteck is a boy who has a rough life at home, but loves his mom (and her pretty smile), a delivery boy who helps others, a baseball fan (especially of Joe Pepitone), a reader, and a boy I wish I knew.

Doug meets a lot of people who help him grow into the boy I wish I knew, like his physical science teacher Mr. Ferris, who says, “The basic principle of physical science is this: two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Do you understand that? … It means, Doug Swieteck, that in this class, you are not your brother.” The owner of the paper mill where his dad works teaches him how to play horseshoes, an eccentric playwright asks him to be in her play because he can “shriek like an insane woman who has been locked in an attic for a great many years,” and a librarian teaches him about art and James Audubon. As Doug meets these people he becomes a boy who has faith in himself and confidence in his abilities, and even Mr. Peattie the principal says, “You know, Mr. Swieteck, I haven’t told this to many students, but I’ll tell it to you. I think that you’re going to go wherever you want to go.”

Okay for Now is a middle grade to younger young adult novel. It is set during Doug’s 8th grade year in 1968.  I feel this book has quite a bit of appeal for any reader who is looking for a good coming of age story about a boy you want to root for.  Okay for Now is a companion book to The Wednesday Wars, but you don’t need to read one to read the other, and I greatly preferred Okay for Now. Author Gary D. Schmidt will be at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX on October 27th and 28th, 2012.


SCHMIDT, GARY D.                                  Original Date: 2011

Maryville, New York; 1968. Eighth-grader Doug, who loves baseball statistics and drawing, manages to be upbeat and honorable–despite having an abusive father, a brother who has been accused of robbery, and another brother who has returned from Vietnam injured. Companion to The Wednesday Wars (DB/RC 65788). For grades 6-9.

BR   19362         DB   73716


SCHMIDT, GARY D.                                  Original Date: 2007

Long Island, 1967. Seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood knows that Mrs. Baker “hates his guts” because she would have Wednesday afternoons free if he went to catechism or Hebrew school like his classmates. Mrs. Baker worries about her husband in Vietnam and introduces a reluctant Holling to Shakespeare. For grades 5-8.

BR   17810         DB   65788