Monday, June 27, 2016


It seems that octopuses have become "hot." I've seen more articles and mentions of the sea creature in the past year than I have in my entire life up to this point. What I've learned about them is amazing.

Most of what I've discovered has come from a book written by New Hampshire's own Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness [594.56 MON, also AB/CD 594.56 MON]. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2015. It is well-written, interesting, and challenged me to think about how humans think about animals--not surprisingly, we are way off base about their intelligence and capabilities.

Since I work during the day, I don't tune into "Science Friday" on NPR, so I missed learning about "Cephalopod Week 2016," which took place last month. Through friends on Facebook, I was alerted to the fact that octopuses are, as I said before, "hot." Hot enough for a whole week to be devoted to them on the radio!

Click on the "Cephalopod Week 2016" link above and you'll find more information than you can process in a week. Plus, there are informative videos, including this one:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Centennial, John Ciardi

Poet John Ciardi was born on this day in 1916. He died in 1986, three months shy of his 70th birthday. Ciardi capably wrote for both adults and children. On our adult shelves you'll find The Collected Poems of John Ciardi [811 CIA], a weighty tome at 618 pages, and in our children's section, You Read to Me, I'll Read to You [J 811 CIA] (illustrated by Edward Gorey). You Read to Me was originally published in 1962, but we obtained our copy in 1994. It shows little wear, which is surprising since Ciardi's poems are so very similiar to Shel Silverstein's work. You'll find them a little bit unsettling, a little bit naughty, a little bit truthful, with a whole lot of word play--just right for kids!

It is obvious to me that Ciardi was a cat lover, so, I'm sharing two cat poems from the book. The first is "My Cat, Mrs. Lick-a-Chin":
Some of the cats I know about
Spend a little time in and a lot of time out.
Or a lot of time out and a little time in.
But my cat, Mrs. Lick-a-chin,
Never knows where she wants to be.
If I let her in she looks at me
And begins to sing that she wants to go out.
So I open the door and she looks about
And begins to sing, "Please let me in!"

Poor silly Mrs. Lick-a-chin!

The thing about cats, as you may find,
Is that no one knows what they have in mind.

And I'll tell you something about that:
No one knows it less than my cat.

The second I'm posting with the Edward Gorey illustration that accompanies it. Gorey was the perfect choice of illustrator for this book!

Click on the image to enlarge.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ciardi! The poetry celebration continues at Random Noodling where you'll find more Ciardi as well as this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Summer Reading/Summer Fun!

On Your Mark, Get Set...READ! This year the theme of our summer reading program encourages children to read and to keep active. Sports will play center stage in our events, and kids will have the opportunity to learn how to play lacrosse, flag football, frisbee, and volleyball. There will be a basketball trick demo, and yoga, too!

In addition to the sports activities we'll also have a puppet show, balloon twisting, family trivia, LEGO fun, and a Museum of Science rocket program!

It all begins today at 1:00 pm with sign-ups for reading. Raffles, crafts, and edible treats will be part of the fun. The Friends of the Library of Windham FLOW, is sponsoring a high-energy juggling act by Jason Tardy at 2:15 pm.

Here's a sampling of Jason's skills:

The summer kick-off party is for children of all ages. And, if you can't make it to today's party, reader registration will continue throughout the summer.

If, after you watch today's performance, you find yourself wanting to learn juggling, here's where you can start: Juggling by Elizabeth Dana Jaffe [J 793.8 JAF] and The Usborne Book of Juggling by Clive Gifford [J 793.8 GIF].

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Medicinal Plants

With the rise of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States we have lost, or learned to distrust, our awareness of the medicinal properties of plants. It remains to be seen if this has been a wise move on our part. Other creatures, oblivious to the effects of advertising, continue to enjoy the benefits of natural healing. A most amazing article, "Self Medication, Wildlife Style: How Birds and Other Creatures Use Medicinal Plants" can be found here. It may make you realize how very uneducated we humans are about the natural world!

Discover more about medicinal plants and natural healing at the Library! You can start with Sue Minter's The Healing Garden: A Natural Haven for Body, Senses, and Spirit [615 MIN], then move into Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use [eBook].

And don't forget to go outside and smell the flowers!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer's Here!

Once school is out, parents are presented with the problem of "what to do with the kids?" Besides the obvious READ! and visit the Library for reading, viewing, and listening materials and events, what else is there to do?

Browse through this list of "100 Outdoor Adventures to Do Before Your Kids Turn 10." This list is not full of new and unusual adventures that will cost you tons of money, but it contains activities that may seem totally obvious. The trouble with something that should be "obvious" is that, it may be so familiar as to be overlooked. Why not try #10, "Jump in a lake," but do it locally at the Windham Town Beach at Cobbett's Pond. Lake swimming doesn't have to be turned into a big production involving car rides to lakes in Massachusetts or Maine or an hour and a half's drive north in New Hampshire.

If you want to do #32, "Create a paper airplane and see how far it will fly," stop by the Library first and borrow one of these:

Say you're up for a daytrip, there are plenty of places here in NH and the rest of the New England states, that don't require an overnight stay. Visit our Pinterest page, "Travel Close to Home," where we've collected 145 locations and activities that are not too far away! If you've found a place that's close to home and is not on our Pinterest page, let me know here. If there's a website I'll find it and pin it to our board!

Have a great summer!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Children's Word of the Year

Oxford Dictionaries annually pick a "Word of the Year." The standard "Word of the Year," announced last November wasn't even a word at all--it's an emoji!

The "Children's Word of the Year" is "refugee." What better day to feature it than today--World Refugee Day! The United Nations has designated every June 20 to be World Refugee Day.

It is interesting to me that the word refugee was picked because of the frequency in which it appears in children's stories submitted to a BBC Radio contest. The word's use increased 368% from 2015! That means refugees and refugees' struggles affect children deeply. Children have a strong sense of justice, so these must be trying times for refugee children and their native friends.

Here are a few books about refugees (contemporary and historical) your kids may be interested in reading:

Cross, Gillian. Where I Belong. [YA CRO]

Farish, Terry. The Good Braider. [YA FAR]

Giff, Patricia Reilly. Lily's Crossing. [J GIF, eBook]

Lombard, Jenny. Drita, My Homegirl. [J LOM]

Padian, Maria. Out of Nowhere. [YA PAD]

Park, Linda Sue. A Long Walk to Water. [J PAR, eBook]

Paterson, Katherine. The Day of the Pelican. [YA PAT]

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil. [J PIN, eAudio]

Senzai, N. H. Shooting Kabul. [J SEN]

Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. [YA SEP, eBook]

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Poetry Friday--Fairy Poetry

The Library is in the midst of a "secret" outdoor project--details forthcoming. Let's just say the fairy poem for today is a hint of what's in store!

Not surprisingly, we have several books of fairy poems and many more anthologies containing individual fairy poems. Here are three devoted to poetry about fairy folk:

Barker, Cicely Mary. The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies. [821.912 BAR]

If You See a Fairy Ring. [J 821 IF]

Where Fairies Dance. (Selected and illustrated by Michael Hague.) [J 821 WHE]

Not just fairies, but all manner of uncanny creatures are found in William Shakespeare: Starlight & Moonshine: Poetry of the Supernatural [821 SHA]. Today's poem, illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben, is from that book:

Flitter on over to Carol's Corner for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

A Display of Creativity

Yesterday I talked about continuing to be creative well into old age. Today I want to highlight the display in the exhibit case in our entrance area:

On display are a continuously changing selection of books on crafting. (Changing because the books are being borrowed--yay!) The finished projects are ones created by staff, in some cases using instructions found in the books. On our shelves you'll find even more crafting books for all ages!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Age Is No Barrier

At what age does a person give up the drive to be creative? At no age! We can be creative throughout our lifespan! Look at Grandma Moses--she began seriously painting at 78 and continued until her death at age 101. (Look in our children's room for three biographies, all titled Grandma Moses [J B MOS].)

There's a woman in Australia, named Loongkoonan, who is 105. She began to paint her fabulously detailed works in her 90s. Read about her here.

Image courtesy Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

So what are you waiting for? Now's the time to begin being creative! You can write, do art, knit, design a butterfly garden, write a song, take tap lessons, etc. Julia Cameron has a new book, It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond [eBook] to help you on your way!