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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebrating Leslie Nielsen

By now you're surely, not Shirley, aware that Leslie Nielsen passed away on Sunday. His work as a comedic actor, however, will live on through his films.

To celebrate his memory, I invite you to borrow one of these Nielsen films from our collection:

Airplane! [DVD AIR]

Dracula: Dead and Loving It. [DVD DRA]

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad. [DVD NAK]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kids and Science

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA caption:
Build the Future

Students used LEGOs to 'Build the Future' at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. The 'Build the Future' event was part of pre-launch activities for the STS-133 mission.

NASA and The LEGO Group signed a Space Act Agreement that features educational games and activities designed to spark children's interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
It appears that the reports of the demise of the U.S. space program are greatly exaggerated. Just look at the plans for the STS-133 mission found here! If I were a kid, I'd find the whole idea of an International Space Station, and its resident Robonaut 2 (a.k.a. R2), to be fascinating.

To keep space programs going, we must educate our kids in science, and thus projects such as the joint NASA/The LEGO® Group program. Check out the LEGO Education site for educational activities.

Look for some of these books on your next visit. They will lead you, and your children, toward becoming science literate:

Angier, Natalie. The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science [500 ANG].

Science for All Children: A Guide to Improving Elementary Science Education in Your School District [372.3 SCI].

Williams, Robert A. Mudpies to Magnets: A Preschool Science Curriculum [372.3 WIL], also More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children by Elizabeth A. Sherwood [372.3 SHE].

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Poetry Friday on Wednesday: "Cat: Thanksgiving"

The library closes today at noon and opens again Saturday morning at 9 AM.

Since we will be closed on Friday, I'm including a poem today. This one is by Valerie Worth and is called "Cat: Thanksgiving." You can find it in Thanksgiving Poems, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston [J 808.81 THA].
Now, in lean November,
The silent houses
Huddle in despair,
Every front porch
Forlorn, abandoned to
Its mailbox and its mat--
A patch of cold brown
Stubble, uncomfortable
Even to the cat;

But we, indoors,
Have company and clamor,
Fruitfulness and fire,
Luxury to spare--
So that when she
Runs in, complaining,
We offer her our laps,
And stroke her chilly fur,
And feed her turkey-scraps.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! See you next week!

If you're around on Friday, this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted at Check It Out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cat Engineering

Yes, you read right! Four engineers, writing for the journal Science [MAG SCI] have taken up the question of how do cats drink? And, not surprisingly, they've come up with an answer. You can read the complete report online, but there is a fee.

It is fascinating to read about the structure of a cat's tongue--really. A lap is about 3/100 of a teaspoon of liquid--it's a good thing cats are small! To see a video, click here.

To learn more about a cat's body, look for the "Eyewitness" series book, Cat by Juliet Clutton-Brock [J 599.75 CLU].

Monday, November 22, 2010


Sorry, but this post will probably not sit well with some people!

Recently added to our collection is a book called Flattened Fauna: A Field Guide to Common Animals of Roads, Streets, and Highways [591 KNU]. I'll bet, after your initial "Eeeuuu," your curiosity was piqued? Does it come with pictures? Black and white illustrations, yes, photos, no.

Does it include animals common to our area? It sure does, from chipmunks to squirrels to opossums to skunks (although why anyone would ever need to identify a skunk by anything other than its smell is beyond me!).

If the subject of roadkill interests you, then also look into Dr. Splatt. Dr. Splatt, at least according to an 2001 article found here, is a resident of our fair state of New Hampshire. To learn more about Dr. Splatt's RoadKill Project, click here. For an interview with the good doctor, click here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Poetry Friday

Actually it's not computer problems preventing me from posting a Poetry Friday entry, it's that I'm not at the Library. My alter ego, Diane Mayr, is hosting the Round-Up today at Random Noodling, and expects to be tied up with comments. Head on over, otherwise, I'll see you next week!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No-Longer-Wanted Books

Do you buy books, read them once, and then put them on the shelf? They can be put to other uses! For instance, donate them to the Friends of the Library of Windham. The Friends sort through the donations and put saleable items in their ongoing book sale near the check-out desk. Or, they save them for their mid-winter and Strawberry Festival booksales. If you have children participating the the Friends' annual holiday crafts workshops, stop by the sales table for some awesome holiday offerings!

The Friends are looking for recently published items in pristine condition.

The following items will be accepted:

Recently published books, children's, young adults, and adults. Hardcover or paperback.

Audiobooks in CD format.

Musical CDs.


Puzzles and games that contain ALL pieces.

There are, of course, a list of "NOs":

No magazines, not even National Geographic.

No Reader's Digest Condensed books.

No textbooks.

No encyclopedias with a publishing date earlier than 5 years ago.

No outmoded technology, i.e., VHS tapes, audiobooks on cassette, or musical cassettes.

No moldy or mildrewed items; they will not be accepted as they pose significant health hazards.

Although it may seem like a lot of NOs, remember this--the Friends of the Library of Windham is a VOLUNTEER organization. The above "NO" items do not sell. If you help the Friends by not bringing these items to the library, then the volunteers can use their time more effectively in sorting stock and replenishing the sales table.

We ask your cooperation in dropping off items inside the Library during regular business hours only. No donations in the bookdrop, please!

If you have questions, please contact the Friends' booksale volunteers at books@flowwindham.org. The money collected from booksales goes to support the Nesmith Library beyond the scope of the library budget, and, to offering a wide variety of educational and cultural programs at the Nesmith Library and in Windham schools.

Friends advocate for the library, and are one of the most active social/service groups in Windham. Consider joining, and you will be offered the opportunity for booksale previews!

We here at the Library value the service and smiles of the Friends of the Library of Windham volunteers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

See If You Can Read This Without Once Saying "Gross!"

Now let's be a little adult...there is a business in Wales that has found a way of recycling sheep waste and making paper out of it. The product is called, appropriately enough,

The clever entrepreneurs share their papermaking process.

There are many things made out of Sheep Poo Paper™, which you can see here. Hurry, if you want delivery by Christmas!

If you'd like to try your hand at papermaking, without the poo, we have a number of books in our collection:

Grummer, Arnold E. Arnold Grummer's Complete Guide to Easy Papermaking. [676 GRU]

Richardson, Maureen. Grow Your Own Paper. [676 RIC]

Wilkinson, Beth. Papermaking for Kids: Simple Steps to Handcrafted Paper. [J 676 WIL]

Fess up--did you say, "Gross"?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis began a blatant attack on the Jewish population of Germany and Austria. This "Night of Broken Glass" or Kristallnacht resulted in Jewish synagogues, businesses, and homes being destroyed.
Encouraged by the Nazi regime, the rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people. They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside. Kristallnacht was a turning point in history. The pogroms marked an intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored murder of Jews.

From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.

The USHMM site has several eyewitness videos, including the one below:

We owe it to future generations to never forget.

Look for these books to start, on your next visit to the Library:

The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Words and Pictures. [940.5318 HOL]

MacDonogh, Giles. 1938: Hitler's Gamble. [943.0862 MAC]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Art of the Americas

On Friday a new wing of the Museum of Fine Arts was unveiled--the Art of the Americas Wing. The construction and furnishing of the wing cost $504 million! It is truly a magnificent building! The wing includes 53 galleries where you can see John Singer Sargent's "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" and other works in the Sargent Gallery.

Image courtesy the Museum of Fine Arts

There will be 5,000 works of American art displayed once all the galleries are completed!

The Wing will open to the general public on November 20, so book the library's museum pass now. The pass is provided through the generosity of the Friends of the Library of Windham.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Poetry Friday--Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) was a typical poet of the time. She wrote lyrical verse, that is, rhyming poetry, which was an expression of her feelings.

The following poem, "To-night" is found in the Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale [811.54 TEA]. It originally appeared in her 1917 book, Love Songs, a copy of which may be downloaded here.

The moon is a curving flower of gold,
    The sky is still and blue;
The moon was made for the sky to hold,
    And I for you.

The moon is a flower without a stem,
    The sky is luminous;
Eternity was made for them,
    To-night for us.
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

The Library is closed today in honor of Veterans Day. Please take a few moments today to remember those who have served, or are serving, in our military.

If your child has no idea what Veterans Day is, use the video below to start a conversation:

Or perhaps you could share one or two stories from Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul: Stories to Stir the Pride and Honor the Courage of Our Veterans [158.128 CHI].

See you tomorrow when the library reopens at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" I heard that line many times growing up. We all knew that Stanley found the missing Dr. Livingstone and greeted him him in that way. The "finding" took place on this day in 1871, but thinking about it, I had no idea why Dr. Livingstone had gone missing, and who Stanley was.

Stanley was born John Rowlands in 1841 in Wales. As a young man of 18 he traveled to the U.S. in search of a new life. He landed in New Orleans and from that point on, his life was one fantastic adventure after another. It started by his being "adopted" by a rich businessman, Henry Hope Stanley. John Rowlands took the name Henry Morton Stanley, fought in the American Civil War (on both sides), became a journalist, and ended up as an African explorer, which is where David Livingstone comes in.

David Livingstone was a Scotsman who became a missionary in Africa. He had a passion for exploration and "discovered" Victoria Falls, which he named after Queen Victoria. He searched for the source of the river Nile. There was a time in the 1860s when Livingstone headed up an enormous expedition, and then, all contact with him ended.

Stanley was sent to find Livingstone. When he did, on November 10, 1871, he asked, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Livingstone replied, "Yes."

For the complete story, look for Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone by Martin Dugard [916.7 DUG].

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cold Season

The cold season is here, and it struck me like a ton of bricks last week. Fortunately I found an article called, "How to Treat a Cold Without Drugs". Much of the information presented was stuff I had already heard before, like vitamin C hasn't been proven to cure a cold, drink plenty of water, eat chicken soup. But, some of it was new to me such as the reason why chicken soup may be good, besides it being hot and soothing, "There are also claims that chicken has anti-viral properties, particularly if the skin is left in, and in 2000, scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha found that some components of chicken soup inhibit neutrophil migration, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could perhaps lead to a temporary easing of the symptoms of illness."

I also didn't know, "With any virus that involves inflammation, even light exercise can be harmful, especially as we get older." Here I was thinking if I worked up a good sweat, it would sweat out all those nasty cold germs.

We have The Germ Freak's Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu: Guerilla Tactics to Keep Yourself Healthy at Home, at Work, and in the World by Allison Janse [616.205 JAN] for even more helpful hints about dealing with the common cold.

If you're looking to share information with a young child, look for Katie Caught a Cold by Charlotte Cowan [JP COW].

And, if you're the optimistic type, there's some indication that the cure for the common cold may be just around the corner!

Image courtesy The Gifted Photographer

Monday, November 08, 2010

Safe Food

Remember last summer when there was a massive recall of salmonella contaminated eggs. Before that there was a massive spinach scare that surely had Popeye rolling over in his cartoon grave.

The world of food can be a scary place, so forewarned is forearmed. Look for these the next time you visit:

Ballard, Carol. Food Safety. [YA 363.192 BAL]

Food, Inc. [DVD 338.4 FOO]

Nestle, Marion. Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism. [363.19 NES]

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. [613 POL]

Satin, Morton. Food Alert!: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Food Safety. [615.954 SAT]

Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. [394.1 SCH]

Friday, November 05, 2010

Poetry Friday--Songs of Myself

I'll bet you thought this was going to be a post about Walt Whitman, didn't you? It's not! It's a post to tell you about a awesome book of poetry and art designed for children, Songs of Myself: An Anthology of Poems and Art compiled by Georgia Heard [J 811.008 SON]. Of course, the title is, as Heard says in the "Introduction," taken from the Whitman poem "Song of Myself."
This poem inspired me to create this anthology. I chose the poems and art in this book to help us celebrate and explore the many different parts of ourselves....So, I invite you to read the poems and gaze at the sampling of art--and to keep asking yourself that important question, "Who am I?"
The book would be a useful resource for teachers, and, although it was published ten years ago, it is still in print. It is available in a "Big Book" format and/or CD, too.

The first poem in the book is from Shakespeare:

A star danced
and under that
was I born.

It is accompanied by a colorful painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, The Lawrence Tree. (An interesting aside, the painting is oriented with the base of the tree at the lower right, I found a webpage that explains that this common orientation is incorrect!)

Other pairings include "The Voice" by Shel Silverstein with Echoes of Harlem, 1980 by Faith Ringgold/W Possi, "I Have All These Parts..." by Arnold Adoff with a photo illustration by Jay Corbett, and "the First Day of Spring" by Eve Merriam with a cut-paper sculpture by Meredith Thomas.

Don't miss this striking collection, and don't forget to stop by Teaching Authors for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Would You Pack?

Wonderopolis is a fairly new site that introduces a daily "wonder" that should interest children and adults.

I was particularly taken by Wonder #19, "What Would You Pack for a Trip to Outer Space?"

It would be an interesting question to think about with your kids. Adults may want to look through Mary Roach's new book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void [571.0919 ROA] prior to the discussion--your kids will think you're so smart!

In the Children's Room you'll find Mission to Mars by Franklyn M. Branley [J 629.45 BRA], an introduction, for kids, to extended space travel.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


There is a social networking site called You Are What You Read in which you are asked to share the titles of five books that "shaped your life."

Wow, what a question! I can't give you a definitive list of five favorite books (too hard to narrow down the list), let alone five that shaped my life (really? shaped my life?). An impossible challenge!

Here's five six seven of my favorites (I have many more), but realize, these are always subject to change. Some are books that I read long ago, and if I went back to read them today, I'd probably be horrified that I thought so highly of them!

Barth, John. The Sot-Weed Factor. I could never read this one today, it is more than 700 pages long, but I loved it way back when.

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. [F GAR] I'm not much of a magical realism fan, but this book won me over.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. [F HUR] I found this one compelling!

Kluger, Steve. Last Days of Summer. [F KLU] A simple, feel-good book that I recommend to everyone!

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. [F LEE] This title is probably on everyone's list--and for good reason!

Norman, Howard A. What is Left the Daughter. [F NOR] This is a recently published title that I loved. I can't exactly pinpoint why, other than the excellence of the writing.

Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping. [F ROB] Robinson's writing is superb.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Place to Be

The place to be today is the polls. Get out there and vote! Don't take your right to vote for granted.

It's only 80 years ago that women were granted the right to vote. The fight was long and hard, and one that is now celebrated in these books for children:

Helmer, Diana Star. Women Suffragists. [J 920 HEL]

Kamma, Anne. --If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights. [J 324.623 KAM]

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Ballot Box Battle. [J B STA]

Nash, Carol Rust. The Fight for Women's Right to Vote in American History. [J 324.6 NAS]

White, Linda Arms. I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote. [J B MOR]

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sandy's Circus

An interesting title in our picture book collection is one called Sandy's Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone [JP STO].

It chronicles the work of the artist, Alexander Calder, who built a whole world out of wire and found objects (a.k.a. junk). Calder started by sketching the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus for an American newspaper. When he moved to Paris, he took his love of the circus with him, but, instead of sketching, he turned to wire sculpture, "Sandy rode through the streets of Paris on his orange bicycle. He carried a roll of wire around his shoulder and a pair of pliers in his pocket."

Calder's circus grew so large, it filled five suitcases, and, it actually worked! To see some of Calder's circus, Cirque Calder, visit the Whitney Museum of American Art website. Or visit the Calder Foundation website for more information on Calder.