Staff Pick – Shannon – Girl With a Pearl Earring

On this morning’s commute into work I heard a story on NPR about two Vermeer paintings that are touring the US right now ‘Woman in Blue Reading a Letter’ and ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’.  ‘Woman in Blue Reading a Letter’ is at the J. Paul Getty Museum until March 31st. ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ will be making stops in San Francisco at the DeYoung Museum, The High Museum in Atlanta and The Frick Collection in New York.

I read the novel Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier a few years ago. It is the story of a girl named Griet who becomes a maid in Vermeer’s home. She starts by helping with the babies and the housework, then assisting in the studio cleaning brushes, dusting the objects he’s painting, and helping mix the paint. One of Vermeer’s patrons takes an interest in Griet and she is asked to sit for a painting. There is a lot of tension in the studio when Vermeer is painting Griet. Even though she is fully clothed, it is clear that the painting experience is an intimate one and it does not escape local gossip.

I like the idea of imagining a story based on what is going on in a classic painting. This book’s descriptions of the winding canals in the city of Delft and descriptions of Vermeer’s work had me wishing I knew more about the Netherlands and art. I read this book several years ago, but listening to this story on NPR this morning definitely had me thinking to myself, “I liked that book”.

To listen to the story on NPR about ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’:

There is also a story on NPR about ‘Woman in Blue Reading a Letter’:,1104,1105

Title: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING                                           

Author: CHEVALIER, TRACY                                  Original Date: 2000

A fictional account of how the seventeenth-century artist Vermeer came to paint a portrait of a young woman wearing a pearl earring. When sixteen-year-old Griet, a Protestant, becomes a maid in Vermeer’s  Catholic household, the drudgery of her duties is offset by working in the artist’s studio. Some descriptions of sex. Bestseller.                                                                                 

BR   13360         DB   50258        DX   50258

Staff Pick — Shannon — When Angels Sing

I look forward to the South by Southwest Film and Music Festival each spring in Austin, TX. This year, the Austin author, Turk Pipkin’s book When Angels Sing is being released as a movie starring Harry Connick Junior and Connie Britton. Other cast members in the movie include Lyle Lovett,  Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.

With that kind of line up and many Texas familiar faces and I’m a sucker for Christmas no matter what time of year, I look forward to seeing this movie (but first I’m going to read the book!!)

I am currently reading:

WHEN ANGELS SING: A CHRISTMAS STORY                                  

PIPKIN, TURK                                      Original Date: 1999

When Michael Walker was a child, he’d wished that every day could be Christmas. But that was thirty years ago, before a tragic accident changed his life one Christmas morning. He still can’t muster any spirit for the holidays. For him, it will always be a time of pain, a memory of that day. But when his young son faces a sadness as profound as his own, Michael is the only one who can save him. It takes nothing short of a miracle to give Michael the courage to make peace with his past and find the hope, joy, and spirit he lost.                 

CT   06703

Listen to the William B. Travis Letter

On Friday, February 22, the famous letter written by William Travis during the battle of the Alamo was returned to the place where it was written for the first time.  Travis’ appeal for more troops will be on display at the Alamo February 23rd – March 7th  to celebrate the 177th anniversary of the siege and battle.  

You can listen to the Travis Letter read by Governor Rick Perry as part of our Voices of Texas History project. Go to and click on “Listen (MP3 file).”

The return of the Travis Letter to the Alamo is a joint project between the Texas State Archives and Library Commission, the Texas General Land Office, and the Alamo.

For more information about the Battle of the Alamo read:


DONOVAN, JIM, 1954-                               Original Date: 2012

Chronicles Texas’s struggle for independence from Mexico. Describes the events that culminated in the March 1836 massacre, led by General Santa Anna, at the dilapidated mission called the Alamo. Discusses the aftermath and consequences of the attack. 2012.                          

DB   75152                                                  

For more information about the return of the Travis Letter see:

Twentieth Century Presidents

Sharing a post from our friends at the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library in Missouri. Better late than never. Happy reading!!

Twentieth Century Presidents


As we prepare to celebrate President’s Day, you may want to listen to some of these books written about the twentieth century presidents. The books in some cases are edited or compiled by others, but are taken from the spoken words or writings of the presidents themselves.


Theodore Roosevelt (1901- 1909)

African Game Trails

Read by Robert Sams. Reading time 19 hours, 54 minutes
Roosevelt describes his eleven month safari with his son, Kermit, in East Africa after leaving the presidency in 1909. In spite of the adventurous tone, the former president explains that he undertook the hunting expedition to obtain specimens to further scientific knowledge in the United States.

Download African Game Trails, DB53704


River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

Read by Paul Michael. Reading time 12 hours, 17 minutes
Former writer with National Geographic recounts the adventurous travels of Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit through South America in 1913-1914. Relates the expedition’s threats from cannibals, flesh-eating bacteria, wildlife, and rapids. Journey was first described by Roosevelt in Through the Brazilian Wilderness (DB 53848). Commercial audiobook. 2005.
Download River of Doubt, DB60664


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 -1945)


For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s by Alonzo L. Hamby

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 21 hours, 33 minutes
History professor recounts U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s handling of the economic disaster of the Great Depression while totalitarian governments rose in Europe. Compares the American response to the crisis with those of Great Britain and Germany and credits FDR with the survival of democracy. 2004.
Download For the Survival of Democracy, DB61774


Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Read by Roy Avers. Reading time 11 hours, 17 minutes
Former president and avid naturalist Roosevelt records observations and reflections of his adventurous expedition to the Amazon basin in 1913-1914, accompanied by his son Kermit. Describes his arduous exploration of the Rio da Dçvida, later renamed in his honor, and the insects, wildlife, and jungle environment he encountered.
Download Through the Brazilian Wilderness, DB53848


Woodrow Wilson (1913 -1921)

The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson by Kendrick A. Clements

Read by K.D. Henry. Reading time: 13 hours, 9 minutes
A professor of history examined both primary and secondary sources in the United States and abroad to research this study of the principal issues and events of the Wilson administration. Clements traces the evolution of Wilson’s political thought after he was elected president in 1912. He writes about Wilson’s dealings with Congress; his support of agricultural, industrial, and foreign policy reforms; and his controversial role in World War I.

Download The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, DB35613


Harry S Truman (1945 – 1953)

A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Allis Radosh

Read by Madelyn Buzzard. Reading time: 16 hours, 41 minutes
Based on archival research, professors assert that President Truman had both personal and political reasons for recognizing the nation of Israel on its first day of sovereignty. They discuss objections from the U.S. State Department, the Arab world, and Britain as well as support from Christian Zionists and others. 2009.
Download A Safe Haven, DB70687


Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope

Read by Randy Atcher. Reading time 24 hours, 11 minutes
Truman wrote of his time in the White House shortly after leaving office. In the final volume of a two volume work, he covers the years 1946-1952, including such topics as the Berlin airlift and the Chinese revolution; and such personalities as Marshall, MacArthur, Chiang Kai-Shek, and Dewey.

Download Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, DB30021


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends

Read by Lou Harpenau. Reading time 14 hours, 28 minutes
Presidential reminiscences and anecdotes as well as autobiographical recollections covering Eisenhower’s Kansas boyhood, West Point career, and courtship of Mamie.
Download At Ease, DB29223


Crusade in Europe

Read by Roy Avers. Reading time: 19 hours, 1 minute
Military memoirs of the five star general who led the Allied forces during America’s involvement in World War 2. Eisenhower’s story begins with the planning, continues with accounts of the actual campaigns, and ends with his strategy for peace. In nontechnical language, the author documents his personal service, explains his differences with British and French leaders, and describes the role of the enlisted man on the battlefront.
Download Crusade in Europe, DB38189


John F. Kennedy (1961- 1963)


Profiles in Courage

Read by Don Hagen. Reading time 8 hours, 17 minutes
Biographical sketches of historic statesmen who demonstrated great political courage at crucial moments in U.S. history. Includes John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, and others. Written by then-senator Kennedy while convalescing from the effects of war wounds. 2003 introduction by Caroline Kennedy; 1964 foreword by Robert F. Kennedy. Pulitzer Prize. 1955.

Download Profiles in Courage, DB58855


Richard M. Nixon (1969-74)

The Memoirs of Richard Nixon

Read by Bob Butz. Reading time 47 hours, 22 minutes
This autobiography of the thirty-seventh president of the United States includes recollections of a rural California boyhood and continues through his resignation and departure from the White House. Provides insight into the complexities of the modern presidency. Some strong language.

Download The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, DB11756


The Presidency of Richard Nixon by Melvin Small

Read by Kerry Cundiff. Reading time 17 hours, 8 minutes
Review and analysis of the domestic and foreign policies of the thirty-seventh American president. Traces Nixon’s political rise and resignation from office. Posits that his main achievement remains his domestic social legislation on such topics as desegregation of southern schools, women’s rights, and the environment. 1999.
Download The Presidency of Richard Nixon, DB58696


Gerald R. Ford (1974-77)

A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford

Read by Bob Butz. Reading time: 17 hours, 5 minutes
Former President Ford discusses his early years and family life, his climb to the presidency, and the import of his controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon.

Download A Time to Heal, DB13829


Write it when I’m Gone: Remarkable off-the-record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford by Thomas M. DeFrank, Gerald R. Ford

Read by Gregory Gorton. Reading time 9 hours, 0 minutes
Former White House reporter DeFrank presents “an anecdotal memoir” of U.S. president Gerald Ford’s life in politics, which Ford asked to remain unpublished until after his death. Using interviews from 1991 to 2006, DeFrank highlights Ford’s character and his candid assessments of contemporaries, including Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. 2007.
Download Write it when I’m Gone, DB66303


Jimmy Carter (1977-81)

The Blood of Abraham

Read by Peter Johnson. Reading time 7 hours, 53 minutes
Carter’s experiences negotiating the Camp David Accords, his visits to the Middle East, and portraits of Arab and Israeli leaders. The former president maintains that peace in the Middle East must be based on Israeli recognition of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and Arab recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
Download The Blood of Abraham, DB23146


Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President

Read by Hal Tenny. Reading time 24 hours, 57 minutes
The thirty-ninth President of the United States offers his impressions of life in the White House, the crises that confronted him, and the people who worked intimately with or against him. He also tells, with feeling, of his relationship with his wife, Rosalynn.
Download Keeping Faith, DB18686


Ronald W. Reagan (1981-89)


Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan

Read by Michael Scherer. Reading time 32 hours, 32 minutes

Biographer Morris interjects himself as a fictional contemporary of Ronald Reagan in this authorized account of the fortieth president of the United States. He covers Reagan’s life from his birth in Tampico, Illinois, through his college days, his movie career, his governorship of California, his presidency, and final public appearance. Bestseller.
Download Dutch, DB48814


Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

Read by Robert Sams. Reading time 10 hours, 48 minutes
Chronicles the March 30, 1981, assassination attempt on seventy-year-old president Ronald Reagan by mentally ill gunman John Hinckley Jr. Discusses the heroism of Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr and the wounding of D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty, press secretary James Brady, and Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy. 2011.

Download Rawhide Down, DB73178


George Bush (1989-93)

A Charge to Keep

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time: 8 hours, 42 minutes
DB 51903

Autobiography of George W. Bush written during his campaign for president. Recalls his childhood in Texas, education, military service, business career, and political life. Describes his philosophy of “compassionate conservatism” and his hopes for the future.
Download A Charge to Keep, DB51903


A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush by Ronald Kessler

Read by Jack Fox. Reading time 11 hours, 26 minutes
Award-winning ex-reporter and author of The Bureau (DB 55193) presents an inside look at President Bush’s management style, decision-making process, and personal qualities that are often criticized by his opponents and the media. Includes comments of senior officials, secret service agents, former presidential aides, and career White House employees. 2004.

Download A Matter of Character, DB59201


William J. Clinton (1993-2001)

Bill Clinton: An American Journey by Nigel Hamilton

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 31 hours, 32 minutes
A chronicle of the life of Bill Clinton from family background and childhood to his terms as president. Hamilton examines the highlights of Clinton’s political career as well as the character flaws that undermined his successes. 2003.
Download Bill Clinton, DB57118


Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency by Nigel Hamilton

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time: 28 hours, 3 minutes
Author of Bill Clinton: An American Journey (DB 57118) details the forty-second president’s first term. Chronicles early setbacks–such as catastrophes in Somalia and Haiti and failed attempts at healthcare reform–and later successes in establishing peace in the Balkans, achieving a balanced budget, and winning reelection in 1996. Some strong language. 2007.
Download Bill Clinton, DB65586


George W. Bush 2001 – 2009

Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America by Molly Ivins, Lou Dubose

Read by Erin Jones. Reading time 11 hours, 13 minutes
Examines the impact and legacy of Bush administration policy. Critically dissects the two tax cuts, environmental issues, financial scandals, education and foreign policy, civil and workers’ rights, and workplace standards. Offers suggestions for economic and political reform. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2003.
Download Bishwhacked, DB57075


Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper

Read by Jake Williams. Reading time 18 hours, 49 minutes
Author uses interviews with George W. Bush, his confidantes, and key players in his administration to chronicle Bush’s presidency from the 1999 campaign days through mid-2007. Scrutinizes Bush’s handling of the September 11, 2001, attacks; his 2004 reelection bid; hurricane Katrina; Social Security issues; and the Iraq War. 2007.
Download Dead Certain, DB64984


Barack Obama 2008-

Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher P. Andersen

Read by Dion Graham. Reading time 11 hours, 0 minutes
The author of Bill and Hillary: The Marriage (DB 48856) chronicles the courtship and marriage of American president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Analyzes both the struggles and achievements of the biracial politician and his Chicago-born and -bred partner. Commercial audiobook. 2009.
Download Barack and Michelle, DB69408


The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 27 hours, 10 minutes
DB 70901
Pulitzer Prize-winning author examines President Barack Obama’s life through the prism of America’s racial history. Analyzes his upbringing, education, work as a community organizer, and rise in Illinois politics. Considers Obama’s civil rights heroes, mentors, and campaign strategies. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2010.
Download The Bridge, DB70901



Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Celebrating Read Across America Day

108! That’s how old Theodore Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, would be this year. He was born on March 2nd, 1904. Since 1998, every March 2nd , Read Across America Day is celebrated in his honor. Read Across America Day is sponsored by the National Education Association to encourage sharing books with kids in the community and to celebrate reading.

In Texas, schools across Dallas will be celebrating Read Across Dallas ISD Day on March 1st. There will be a birthday party for Dr. Seuss at the Sienna Branch Library in Missouri City, TX at 10:30 a.m. There will also be a birthday picnic at the First Colony Branch Library in Sugar Land, TX at 2:00. Bee Caves Public Library will have its 8th Annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the library which will include games, a Reader’s Oath with Caroline Murphy, the Mayor of Bee Caves and a concert with Joe McDermott.  

“It’s your day of all days… Today you don’t have to be tidy or neat. If you wish you may eat with both hands and both feet.” Let’s eat some “Green Eggs and Ham”, or say “I Am Not Going to Get Up Today” but please celebrate with a book by the good doctor.

For more information about Read Across America Day, check this website:

Print Braille books by Dr. Seuss available from TBP:

Butter Battle Book   BR 05904

The Cat in the Hat   BR 6724

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back   BR 04655   BR 13451

Dr. Seuss’s ABC   BR 08953   BR 15320   BR 16723

The Foot Book   BR 08949   BR 16722

Fox in Socks   BR 08948

Great Day for Up   BR 08941

Green Eggs and Ham   BR 08956   BR 13450   BR  16721

Happy Birthday to You!   BR 08943

Hop on Pop   BR 08912   BR 16725   BT 03174

Horton Hatches the Egg   BR 08950

Horton Hears a Who!   BR 08946

How the Grinch Stole Christmas   BR 04656   BR 12020   BR 16316

I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew   BR 08954

If I Ran the Circus   BR 16243                              

If I Ran the Zoo   BR 04661

McElligot’s Pool   BR 08952   BR 16216   BT 03350

My Many Colored Days   BR 10040

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish   BR 06106    BR 08990   BR 13073   BR 16379                                               

Scrambled Eggs Super!   BR 08944

Thidwick, the Big-Heartest Moose   BR 08942

Digital Books by Dr. Seuss available from TBP:

Bartholomew and the Oobleck   DB 34054

The Cat in the Hat   DB 33062

Como el Grinch Robo La Navidad   DB 72998

Daisy-Head Maizey (on BARD)   DB 40706

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book   DX 34055

Gerald McBoing Boing (on BARD)   DB 52933

Green Eggs and Ham   DB 34056

Happy Birthday to You   DB 35121

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (on BARD)   DB 47527  

Hop on Pop   DB 44160                     

Horton Hatches the Egg   DB 34057

Horton Hears a Who!   DB  34058                                                 

Huevos Verdes con Jamon   DB 72997         

How the Grinch Stole Christmas   DB 47536                                        

I am Not Going to Get Up Today (on BARD)   DB 34059 

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew (on BARD)   DB 35123

If I Ran the Circus   DB 60939

If I Ran the Zoo   DB 34725

My Many Colored Days (on BARD)   DB 42897

May I have the envelope, please?

The 85th Academy Awards aired on February 24th. The nominees this year, unsurprisingly, included many films that started out as books.

Nominees for Best Picture in TBP’s collection include:

Argo DB 75534 (The Oscar winner for Best Picture!!)

Les Miserables DB 35363

Life of Pi DB 54950

Lincoln (which was based on the book Team of Rivals) DB 61162

Other movies nominated for Best Picture include:


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty

Silver Linings Playbook was also based on a book, but that title is not in our collection.

Cowboys and Indians — New Magazine

Announcing our newest shared magazine, “Cowboys and Indians”!!

“Cowboys and Indians” has articles about western photography, travel, art, food, history, music, ranch life and much more. The magazine was founded in 1992 and is published in Dallas, Texas. There are eight issues a year.

Currently on the “Cowboys and Indians” website, an article listed as a reader’s favorite is, “John Wayne: Classic Films and Family Memories 30 Years After His Death”. Other recent articles stories include coverage on food, drink, music, TV / film, and style.

For more information about “Cowboys and Indians” please see their website:

Shared magazines are titles that are loaned to patrons, but must be returned before the next issue can go out. “Cowboys and Indians”  is produced in the volunteer recording studio at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

To order your free subscription to “Cowboys and Indians,” contact the Talking Book Program office at 1-800-252-9605 or at

Staff Pick — Shannon: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My favorite book of 2012 was easily The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, DB 74112. I am primarily a print reader and I bought it when it came out, then listened to it when it became available on BARD, then went back to my print copy to look for a specific quote after listening to it and ended up reading it again. That’s three times in a period of six months I read this book! You know I’m a busy reader, I don’t have time to re-read many books, but these characters and this story sucked me in.

The Fault in Our Stars is a book about two snarky cancer patients who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group, and go on an adventure to Amsterdam to hunt down author Peter Van Houten and find out how his book An Imperial Affliction ends and what happens to the characters after the story is over.

Van Houten’s book also happens to be a book about cancer, but Hazel (our female lead) explains why it isn’t really a cancer book because as Hazel explains about An Imperial Affliction, “But it is not a cancer book, because cancer books suck. Like, in cancer books, the cancer person starts a charity that raises money to fight cancer, right? And this commitment to charity reminds the cancer person of the essential goodness of humanity and makes him / her feel loved and encouraged because s/he will leave a cancer curing legacy. But in AIA, Anna decides that being a person with cancer who starts a cancer charity is a bit narcissistic, so she starts a charity called The Anna Foundation for People with Cancer Who Want to Cure Cholera.”(38) In The Fault in Our Stars, author John Green put a lot of thought into giving us real characters with strong personalities. Shortly after Augustus (the male protagonist) and Hazel meet, he asks her what’s her story. She starts to tell him her diagnosis. He replies, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who becomes their disease. I know so many people like that. It’s disheartening. Like, cancer is in the growth business, right? The taking-people-over business. But surely you haven’t let it succeed prematurely.” (27) Later in the book, they are discussing the trope of the cancer patient, “Right, but really, I mean aside from us obviously, cancer kids are not statistically more likely to be awesome or compassionate or perseverant or whatever.” (110)

This book could have easily been just another mushy, over-sentimental story, but it’s not. The book also discusses how those left behind heal– or how you hope they will heal– and choosing love. Augustus is describing his love of Hazel to Van Houten and he says, “I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” (194)

This book has received positive reviews in such publications as: Booklist, Entertainment Weekly, Kirkus, New York Times Book Review, NPR, USA Today, Washington Post and others.

This is another book where the author’s personal experience plays a role in the story. John Green knows what he’s writing about when he’s talking about the cancer ward in a hospital. Before becoming a writer, he worked as a chaplain in a hospital children’s oncology ward. His foreword is about a young woman he met there and a foundation in her honor.

The story of Gus and Hazel is definitely a love story I recommend. It has fully drawn characters that you want to love, people you want to root for, snarky humor, and tears. Hazel uses these words to describe her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, “Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.” (28) I have that weird evangelical zeal about this book but it’s taken me six months to be able to put my love for this book into words. I’m highly recommending The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

The fault in our stars DB 74112
Green, John; Rudd, Kate. Reading time: 7 hours, 16 minutes.
Read by Kate Rudd.

Human Relations
Young Adult

A miracle drug may have given sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel a few more years, but she is still depressed. Then Hazel meets cute Augustus during a support-group meeting and her world shifts in unexpected and inspiring ways. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2012.

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