Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Friday--National Haiku Poetry Day!

I'm a big haiku fan as many of you know, so today's designation as National Haiku Poetry Day makes me happy! The Haiku Foundation website is the place to start if you're interested in learning more about haiku. For those of you who have only known haiku as a three-line poem of 5-7-5 syllables, you're in for a surprise!

If, after visiting The Haiku Foundation, you've been inspired to read more haiku, then look for one or more of these books that I can personally recommend:

Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for haiku, I always suggest The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English edited by Cor van den Heuvel [811 HAI]. This anthology presents an infinite variety of poems. Here is a sampling:

spring is here
      the cat's muddy pawprints
      on the windowsill

by Nick Avis

the plumber
kneeling in our tub
--talking to himself

by Tom Clausen

The last kid picked
running his fastest
to right field

by Mike Dillon

In my medicine cabinet,
   the winter fly
has died of old age.

by Jack Kerouac

by the autumn hill
my watercolor box

by Raymond Roseliep

behind sunglasses
I doze and wake...
the friendly man talks on

by Anita Virgil

In case you don't know the term "senryu," it is simply a poem in haiku form that is about human nature. Nature, with a capital "N" is the subject of a haiku. The poem by Nick Avis is a haiku. The one by Tom Clausen I would categorize as a senryu. The one by Anita Virgil could be either. It deals with human nature in that we all find ways to hide, but, it also deals with the effects of a bright summer's day where we must wear sunglasses and the sun's warmth can put us to sleep. You'll find the lines between the two are often blurred!

I invite you to visit Robyn Hood Black for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Robyn, too, is a fan of haiku. Maybe she will feature some today?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

On April 16, 1963 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a letter to the clergymen of Birmingham. The letter has become famous for its passionate plea in response to Birmingham's clergy labeling protestors as troublemakers. The letter outlines the segregation, racial hatred and its effects--including violence, that led to the protests. Negotiation had been ineffective and King wrote, "I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth."

He began his letter by explaining why he, a preacher from Atlanta, was compelled to be in Birmingham. It drew to a conclusion with this:
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

Dr. King's long thoughts inspired thought in others, and the struggle for freedom and equality moved forward. Sadly, the struggle continues to this day.

If you have a reading device look for Gospel of Freedom by Jonathan Rieder [Overdrive ebook], which provides background and analysis of the letter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sign Language

The first school for the deaf was founded on April 15, 1817 by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet with the assistance of Laurent Clerc. It continues to this day as the American School for the Deaf and is the home of American Sign Language (ASL).

The learning of sign language can take place in early childhood. In fact, parents are now being taught to communicate with their babies, both deaf and hearing, through signs.

To introduce you and your child to sign language, we have many resources available:

Here are signs that everyone can learn and use!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Animal Adaptations

Sunday night I posted this video on the Library's Facebook page.

زۆر جوانە...

Posted by Xendan on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I find it amazing the way a small animal has adapted to allow it to stuff its cheeks full of food and thus avoid wasting energy making multiple trips to its home.

Over time, animals have adapted to make survival, if not easier, at least less difficult than it may have been. They've done it by changing the way they look, fight, hide, etc. In the case of the chipmunk, it was able to develop cheeks the size of trumpet player's!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Webcams and Stuff

If you're an NPR listener, yesterday you may have heard the story, "Better Than 'Survivor': Wild Drama Hooks Viewers On Nest Web Cams."

Webcams are pointed at nests, zoos, and monuments and more, around the world. About a year ago, I rounded up a few for a post; click here.

For those of you who've wondered about the Great Blue herons that fly over Windham, and the various nesting areas (rookeries) in town, you can see herons up close on the Hericon Marsh Great Blue Heron Camera. Hericon Marsh is in Wisconsin, however, I'm sure the habits of NH herons and WI herons are pretty much the same!

The U. S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service has a number of webcams listed on its Nature Watch site. They call them "Critter Cams." I find the plain old birdfeeder site from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, sited in Ithaca, New York, to be a joyous experience since you can listen to a multitude of bird calls and songs when there's no "action" at the feeder.

There are resources for educators at the Cornell Lab's BirdSleuth K-12, so if you're a teacher or homeschooler, check it out. Also for parents and teachers I would recommend these books for getting the kids out into the natural lab, also known as the "great outdoors":

Cornell, Joseph. Sharing Nature with Children: The Classic Parents' & Teachers' Nature Awareness Guidebook. [372.3 COR]

Lang, Susan S. Nature in Your Backyard: Simple Activities for Children. [J 574.974 LAN]

Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. [155.418 LOU]

Silver, Donald M. Backyard "One Small Square" series. [J 577.5 SIL]

Sisson, Edith A. Nature with Children of All Ages: Activities & Adventures for Exploring, Learning & Enjoying the World around Us. [372.3 SIS]

Smith, Marilyn. The Kid's Guide to Exploring Nature. [J 508 SMI]

Ward, Jennifer. I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature. [FT 796.083 WAR]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Friday--Safety Pin

On April 10, 1849 a patent was issued to a tiny device that has saved many a person from a fashion disaster--the safety pin! How many times over the years have you had a snap or button suddenly decide it no longer wishes to be attached to your pants or skirt? Rather than leaving work and driving all the way home to change, a safety pin* is there to help. You can thank Walter Hunt, the man who was awarded the patent.

Patent 6281.jpg
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

For many years, before the advent of disposable diapers, a safety pin was essential for keeping a diaper on a baby.

So, the lowly safety pin is worthy of a little poetic recognition, and poet Valerie Worth did just that!
safety pin

Closed, it sleeps
On its side
The silver
Of some
Small fish;

Opened, it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a
Surprised eye.

Found in A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets (edited by Bernice E. Cullinan) [811.54 JAR].

Laura, at Writing the World for Kids, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up today.

*I say "a safety pin is there," but that really depends on the workplace. In those places, which predominantly employ men, coming upon a safety pin may be near impossible. I've seen stapled pants hems and duct tape repairs.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Let Freedom Sing!

On this day in 1939, Marian Anderson made history by singing a concert for more than 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. The Daughters of the American Revolution had refused Anderson permission to sing in Constitution Hall because she was black, as had officials of D.C. when she requested performing in the auditorium of a white public high school. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, on federal property, a significant acknowledgement of the concept of equality for all in the U. S.

Here's a documentary of Anderson which includes footage of the performance in 1939 (history of the performance begins at approximately 28:00):

We have two children's books that cover the 1939 event, The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman and When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan, both found in J B AND. And we also have an adult biography of Anderson, Marian Anderson: A Singer's Journey by Allan Keiler [B AND].