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Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

The Library is closed today for the Memorial Day holiday. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a history of Memorial Day, which is found here.

Please remember those who have died in service to their country. Below is a short list of sites that have information about New Hampshire's war memorials:

Department of New Hampshire Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Manchester's World War II Memorial

New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery

Portsmouth's Memorial Bridge

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

St. Paul's School

UNH's Memorial Windows

Photo by J. Stephen Conn

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poetry Friday--Newspaper Blackout

There are always fun ways to create poetry. One that has been getting a lot of interest lately is blackout poetry. Austin Kleon has put together a book of such poems in Newspaper Blackout [811.6 KLE].

Kleon uses pages of the New York Times and blacks out words to form a poem. You can listen to a Kleon poem on NPR, click here. Kleon also has a website. Of course, you can always visit the Library and look for Newspaper Blackout on the shelf.

You can get high spending time with a black permanent marker, so, alternatives to writing a blackout poem would be to cut out words and glue them onto a piece of paper, or to simply circle the words on the page. The advantages to blacking out over circling is there are no other words to detract from the poem, and the expanses of black become part of the poem itself.

I took up the challenge and made a blackout poem from the first page of this month's The Nesmith News.

It's next to impossible to read, so, I have written it out below with line breaks and punctuation added:

Our Destiny

Our destiny
definitely is due
to changes that you
continue to create.
Hold on when you
connect with one that
is ready to be us--
find the link
and go.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Stop by!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goodbye, Art Linkletter

I suppose if you're under the age of 50, the name Art Linkletter means nothing to you, but, I'm well over 50, and the name conjures up memories of family television in the 1960s. Art Linkletter, died yesterday at the age of 97. The best way to remember him is to watch:

I never realized it, but Linkletter had published more than two dozen books. We still have one on our shelves, Old Age Is Not for Sissies: Choices for Senior Americans [305.2 LIN].

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fancy Nancy Fans Take Note...

Tomorrow night at 6:00 pm, the Andover Book Store in Andover, MA, is having a "Fancy Nancy Party." (Directions here.)

If you're not familiar with the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O'Connor (found in both the JP and E sections), then chances are you don't know any 6 year-old girls. The books are "hot." We have 17 titles, some of which have more than one copy! A glance at the shelves on Tuesday showed only 6 of the 17 on the shelf. The original book in the series, Fancy Nancy [JP OCO], has been out 81 times!

If you'd like to host your own "Fancy Nancy Party," then let me recommend Fancy Nancy Tea Parties [JP OCO].
In her own inimitable style, the girl who loves to use fancy words provides tips on how to host the perfect tea party, describing how to behave, food and drinks to serve, games to play, and much more.
For more refreshment ideas, look for the Fairies Cookbook by Barbara Beery [J 641.5 BEE]. You'll find recipes for treats such as "Fairy Princess Marshmallow Pops" and "Flower Petal Punch."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Post Apocalyptic World

If you have 6 minutes or so, you may want to look at a short film called When It Will Be Silent. The fact that the film is set in the demilitarized zone between Jordan and Israel makes it particularly disturbing since that area of the world is a tinderbox. The film belongs to a genre of literature and film called "post apocalyptic," that is, the setting is a world that has been nearly destroyed by nuclear war, plague, alien invasion, or some other general disaster.

Our collection has a number of post apocalyptic fiction and films including these:

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. [F ATW, also AB/CD ATW]
Goodman, Allegra. The Other Side of the Island. [YA GOO]
King, Stephen. The Stand. [F KIN]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. [DVD MAD]
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. [F MCC, also DVD ROA]
Planet of the Apes. [DVD PLA]
Stephens, J.P. The Big Empty. [YA STE]
Theroux, Marcel. Far North. [F THE]
Twelve Monkeys. [DVD TWE]

There's plenty here to get you thinking about our future.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Plant It Pink

The Windham Garden Club set up our butterfly garden about a dozen years ago, and it continues to flourish and attracts butterflies, bees, and other winged creatures. This year, though, the Garden Club is participating in the 2010 National Garden Club project, Plant It Pink for breast cancer awareness.

The photos are from the garden and show flowers already in bloom and those that will be blooming in the future.

To design your own garden with a splash of pink, look for these books the next time you visit:

Lawson, Andrew. The Gardener's Book of Color. [712 LAW]

Pyle, Kathleen. Garden Color. [635.968 PYL]

Squire, David. The Complete Guide to Using Color in Your Garden. [712 SQU]

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poetry Friday--A Fortuitous Mistake

I was in the children's room browsing the shelves of poetry books and I came across Bicycles: Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni [811.54 GIO]. What is this doing here? It's not a children's book! I know why it was there, it had a bicycle on the cover, and some inattentive person (not a slam, we all get distracted at times) immediately thought "children's room" and shelved it there. But, in pulling it off the shelf to take back out to the adult shelves, I looked through it once again. It is a great little collection!

Here's a favorite:
I Am a Mirror

I am a mirror

I reflect the grace
              Of my mother
The tenacity
              Of my grandmother
The patience
              Of my grandfather
The sweat
              Of my great-grandmother
The hope
              Of my great-great-grandfather
The songs
              Of my ancestors
The prayers
              Of those on the auction block
The bravery
              Of those in middle passage

I reflect the strengths
              Of my people
              And for that alone
I am loved

Also in the book is "We Are Virginia Tech," a poem written after the Virginia Tech student tragedy of April 16, 2007. Here is Giovanni reciting the poem at the Virginia Tech memorial service held the following day:

I hope this hasn't left you too sad...

Cheer up with the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted by Laura Salas.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Minute

A minute is only 60 seconds long, but depending upon where you are, or what you're doing, it can seem like a whole lot longer (or a whole lot less). Does that mean that time is flexible? What does it mean to a child?

For the minute, there are not one, but two books that can start a child on the path to understanding.

Not surprisingly, both books have the same title--Just a Minute.

Just a Minute, by Bonny Becker, is a picture book [JP BEC]. Here's the publisher's synopsis:
"I'll be just a minute!" Johnny MacGuffin's mother calls as she sails away past the purses and plates, up the up excalator in Bindle's department store.

Johnny is stuck waiting again.

The minutes crawl and soon Johnny is sure days have flown by, and months have come and gone. He's waited so long that he's even grown up, bought a house on the hill, and had kids!
It doesn't exactly sound like a math concept book, does it? However, many instructors use it when teaching time to students. (For lists of other time related books useful to teachers, click here and here.)

The second book, Just a Minute!, by Teddy Slater, is found in the "beginning reader" section [E SLA]. Just a Minute! is part of the "Hello Math Reader" series, and thus was written specifically to teach the concept of time. It starts with a story about a boy named Fred who doesn't know what a minute is. The story is readable by a child on his/her own. The end of the book contains activities for parents or teachers to use to reinforce or expand on the concepts learned through the story. It sounds like it could be boring, but it's not! For the first and second grade reader, the results of Fred's telling Rags the puppy, "Just a minute," when he needs to go out, are exactly what they'd expect!

Sometimes adults exaggerate what can be accomplished in a minute. This can be seen in The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard [658 BLA]--one minute alone won't make you a good manager, but I suppose the accumulation of well-spent minutes could help!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mark Twain's Guest Book

The New York Times has a slideshow of the "Comings and Goings at Mark Twain's Last Home, as Told by the Guest Book." We can read Twain's own comments on the guests! Such as this one about a girl called Margaret who came for a visit on April 10, "It is an event: an event like the advent of spring after winter." There is also an accompanying article with a "hip" comparison to the 21st century phenomenon of "tweeting."

In a webpage called Memories of Mark Twain in Bermuda, you can see pictures of, and read about, Twain and Margaret.

You can find Twain's fictional work on our shelves under F TWA, or his nonfiction in the 818 section. Twain himself is covered in the biography sections--adult, B TWA, and children's J B TWA.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Finger Play

In the past I've recommended The Toymaker's site for beautifully designed paper toys that you can print off and use with your kids.

I got an email notice that there are new fingerpuppets available. They're so cute! The Toymaker suggests making up a story to go along with the puppets, but keep in mind that they can also be used with fingerplays such as you can find in Ring a Ring o'Roses: Finger Plays for Pre-School Children [372.5 RIN] and 1001 Rhymes & Fingerplays: For Working with Young Children [372.87 ONE]. Fingerplays and rhymes are great for reinforcing counting skills, memory skills, and other skills that will later aid in reading. And, of course, they're fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Art of Science

Face it, for most people science is something that is unappealing once they get beyond the exploding volcano experiment stages! But, I'd like to offer the Art of Science site. On this site you'll find galleries of photos of some amazing results of scientific inquiry. Take a look around and you'll be convinced that science is fabulously beautiful!

We have some items in our collection, too, that will reveal the "arty" side of science:

Kranmer, Stephen. Hidden Worlds: Looking through a Scientist's Microscope. [J 507 KRA]

Simon, Seymour. Out of Sight: Pictures of Hidden Worlds. [J 502.8 SIM]

Tomb, Howard. Microaliens: Dazzling Journeys with an Electron Microscope. [J 502.8 TOM]

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poetry Friday--The Apple Trees at Olema

The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems by Robert Hass [811.54 HAS] is the title of the latest collection by the poet. The book was published in March of this year and has garnered some nice reviews including one in The Harvard Crimson which tells us, "His careful observations of the world around him show a mind aiming to portray the most beautiful aspects of life."

I much prefer reading about the beautiful, don't you?

The title poem, "The Apple Trees at Olema," is particularly relevant at this time of year. Here in New Hampshire, apple orchards have been part of the landscape for decades, and if you walk through the woods, you might come across "old neglected" trees on land that once was part of a farm.
The Apple Trees at Olema

They are walking in the woods along the coast
and in a grassy meadow, wasting, they come upon
two old neglected apple trees. Moss thickened
every bough and the wood of the limbs looked rotten
but the trees were wild with blossom and a green fire
of small new leaves flickered even on the deadest branches.
Blue-eyes, poppies, a scattering of lupine
flecked the meadow, and an intricate, leopard-spotted
leaf-green flower whose name they didn't know.
Read the rest here, or borrow the book from the Library.

[Point of information: Olema is a small town on the Point Reyes peninsula in California.]

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is hosted by Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup. Jama is famous for her gustatory posts!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Ready!

It's time to start thinking about putting in a vegetable garden. To optimize your yield, it's a good idea to take a little time at the beginning of the process to prep the soil.

Some steps are relatively easy, like breaking up the soil. This should be done when the soil is dry. Avoid walking on soil in which you will be planting.

Improving the soil takes a little more effort. It is safer for your family if you use composted organic material rather than purchasing chemical based fertilizers. So, start now to compost kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings.

Of course there is plenty of information available online, but we have a plethora of gardening books in our collection, so come down and browse the shelves. You may want to start with these two:

Lowenfels, Jeff. Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web. [631.4 LOW]
Describes the activities of the organisms that make up the soil food web, from the simplest of single-cell organisms to multicellular animals and insects, and explains how to cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost teas.

Pleasant, Barbara. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever. [631.875 PLE]
A comprehensive guide to composting that explains how to create compost heaps that will make garden soil more nutritious and healthy, which in turn produces brighter, juicier, and tastier vegetables all year long.
Happy gardening!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Red Sox Reading

I'm taking a vacation day today to go to the Red Sox game at Fenway this afternoon. Aren't you jealous!

I'd like to use this opportunity to tell you about a unusual book about the Red Sox that we recently purchased. It is The Boston Red Sox: From Cy to the Kid by Mark Rucker and Bernard M. Corbett [796.357 RUC]. The book is part of the "Images of" series published by Arcadia Publishing and is almost entirely made up of old photographs, captioned with lots of information. Famous and not-so-famous Red Sox players are found within its pages. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Now She's Truly Chasin' the Clouds Away...

When my kids were little and watched Sesame Street, I loved seeing the celebrities who appeared on the show singing with the Muppets. Lena Horne was one such person. The lady had spunk and appeared several times with the Sesame Street crew!

Lena Horne passed away on Sunday at the age of 92! The Boston Globe carried her obituary.

Everyone probably knows that Lena Horne was a singer, but not everyone knows she was a civil rights activist. The Globe obit says that Lena's grandmother enrolled her granddaughter in the NAACP when she was two years old! You can learn more about Lena's family in The Hornes: An American Family by Gail Lumet Buckley [920 BUC].

Here's Lena on Sesame Street appearing with Kermit:

If you're not a Sesame Street fan, here's Lena in her notable performance of the song "Stormy Weather" from the 1943 film of the same name:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pass It On

This was passed on to me by a writer friend. Enjoy!

It's based upon an appearance by the Black Eyed Peas on Oprah. They performed "I Gotta Feeling," which is on their CD, The E.N.D. [CD RAP BLA].

Friday, May 07, 2010

Poetry Friday--Emily Dickinson's Garden

Judith Farr, in an online article, "Victorian Treasure: Emily Dickinson's Herbarium" states, "It is not widely known that our great American poet Emily Dickinson was a practiced gardener before she became an accomplished poet." To this I say, Hogwash! Have you read any of Dickinson's poems? They're full of flowers, bees, and other garden-y things.

I don't believe Dickinson could have justified spending hours outdoors observing such things unless she was gardening. I could be wrong...

In any case, the article above introduced me to the exhibit Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers, which is jointly sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and the New York Botanical Garden. It's almost worth a trip down to the Bronx!

Instead of traveling, though, I can borrow Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson [811 DIC], Kate Greenaway's Language of Flowers [635.9 GRE] (Greenaway and Dickinson were contemporaries), or Garden Flower Folklore by Laura C. Martin [398.242 MAR].

Since it is now May, I thought I'd end with this Dickinson poem:

Pink, small, and punctual,
Aromatic, low,
Covert in April,
Candid in May,

Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll,
Next to the robin
In every human soul.

Bold little beauty,
Bedecked with thee,
Nature forswears
Head over to Random Noodling for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mother's Day Is Coming

Mother's Day is coming and the shopping days are few. May I suggest an online donation in your mother's name to We Care Solar. I heard about We Care Solar on NPR last Sunday and was impressed by the actions of a couple who thought outside the box and created a solar powered system for third world health facilities. The complete unit will fit in a suitcase. You can listen here or read the transcript here.

After all the depressing BP oil spill news this week, it was good to hear a story where people are actively pursuing non-oil energy solutions. Solar energy has been slow in its development, but some smart entrepreneur is going to apply him or herself to creating a better way of powering our world. I hope it's soon, though, because I don't think the earth and its people can depend on oil for too much longer.

Solar solutions can be applied to your home, and we have a number of books on the subject in 621.47. A book with an intriguing title is Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius by Garvin D.J. Harper [621.47 HAR]. Sounds like fun doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday in Mexico, which is a celebration of the day on which the Mexican militia defeated the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.

Here's a fun picture book to share with the kids in your life: Cinco de Mouse-O! by Judy Cox [JP COX].
Mouse wants to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo festival with just one piece of candy from a magnífica piñata, but Cat has plans of his own!

Yum! Yum! A delicious beany, cheesy smell wakes up Mouse. He follows his nose down the street to a Cinco de Mayo festival. There, high in a tree, he spies a magnífica piñata. If only Mouse could get just one piece of candy from it. But danger is everywhere, from the stomping feet of dancers to Cat, who is planning a holiday fiesta of his own with Mouse on the menu.
TV cook Paula Deen's book, Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life [641.568 DEE], devotes a whole chapter to a "Cinco de Mayo Fiesta." There are recipes for "Macho Nachos," "Arroz Con Tomate," "Margarita Mousse," and more to spark up your day today!

KK with a copy of Cool Foods for Fun Fiestas: Easy Recipes for Kids to Cook by Lisa Wagner [J 641.562 WAG].

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ecological Disaster!

The oil spill from the downed rig off the coast of Louisiana has the makings of an ecological disaster even greater than the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska. To read more about the current spill, go to Environmental Protection Agency page devoted to the the spill.

The Encyclopedia of Earth has a summary of the Exxon-Valdez spill. If you have curious kids, then we have several books on the spill that should provide them with a idea of the magnitude of that disaster and may help in placing the latest disaster in perspective. Look for these on your next visit:

Beech, Linda Ward. The Exxon Valdez's Deadly Oil Spill. [J 363.7382 BEE]

Smith, Roland. Sea Otter Rescue: The Aftermath of an Oil Spill. [J 639.9 SMI]

Image courtesy NASA

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's Good to Share

It's wonderful when people share books. I read about a Book Bike in Chicago that hands out free books to people! The books are donated by publishers, and the Book Bike is peddled by Gabriel Levinson who sets up shop in public parks. What a great idea!

Another great idea is donating books to the Nesmith Library. We gather the books, look through them for books that can be added to the library's collection, and then give the rest to the Friends of the Library of Windham, FLOW. FLOW sorts through the items and sells them through the on-going book sale, which is housed opposite the check-out desk, or at the Strawberry Festival. Today is the last day to drop off books. FLOW needs time to prepare for the Festival being held on Saturday, June 5. So, although we love to see you share books with us, we ask that after today you hold all book donations until October. If you need to "share" them earlier than October, please consider donating them to Goodwill or other charitable organizations. Or, consider taking part in BookCrossing.
BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure.

Leave it on a park bench, a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a friend or tuck it onto a bookshelf at the gym -- anywhere it might find a new reader! What happens next is up to fate, and we never know where our books might travel. Track the book's journey around the world as it is passed on from person to person.
If you're inspired by the story of the Book Bike, or other genuine acts of kindness, then look for Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde [F HYD] the next time you visit us. It is thought-provoking and makes a great choice for book discussion groups. There is also a film based on the book [DVD PAY].