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Friday, December 31, 2010

Poetry Friday--"A Wish"

The last day of 2010! Where did the year go? Never mind, we must plow ahead and look forward to better days. Here's "A Wish" by Eleanor Farjeon for the new year. It is as applicable now as it was when it was anthologized in An Inheritance of Poetry [821 ADS] in 1948:
A Wish

A glad New Year to all!--
Since, many a tear,
Do what we can, must fall,
The greater need to wish a glad
                            New Year.

Since lovely youth is brief,
O girl and boy,
And no one can escape a share of grief,
I wish you joy;

Since hate is with us still,
I wish men love;
I wish since hovering hawks still strike to kill,
The coming of the dove;

And since the ghouls of terror and despair
Are still abroad,
I wish the world once more within the care
Of those who have seen God.
An interesting choice of words in the last two lines--not the world within the care of God, but in the care of those who have seen God. Something to think about.

For the world I wish all the above and additional wishes for justice, an elimination of poverty, and an end to the power of greed.

For my readers I wish much happiness today, and in the coming year.

This week the Poetry Friday Round-Up will be held at Carol's Corner, stop by!

Photo by Iguanasan

Thursday, December 30, 2010

And Speaking of Pussycat Lips...

Yesterday I spoke briefly about the big black and white cat that visits my yard. I mentioned his "pussycat lips," which, of course put me in mind of "What's New Pussycat?" by Tom Jones. So, without further ado:

The song is on the CD Tom Jones: Reloaded-Greatest Hits [CD MALE VOCALIST JON].

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Animal Tracks

With winter now firmly entrenched, and snow falling between now and (probably) April, there will be intriguing animals tracks in one's backyard.

In my backyard, they're usually cat tracks since my two indoor cats are often visited by a neighborhood prowler who likes to sit outside our window with a smirk on his pussycat lips. But, occasionally there are some very small tracks, which I would love to identify.

This year I'll be borrowing one of our animal tracking books, including Scats and Tracks of the Northeast by James C. Halfpenny [591.974 HAL], rather than speculate randomly. Well, maybe it's a chipmunk. Or perhaps a field mouse? Are squirrels' feet that small?

A fun outing with young kids would be to read either of the following and then take a walk in the woods.

Hodgkins, Fran. Who's Been Here?: A Tale in Tracks. [JP HOD]
[Note: The illustrator of this book, Karel Hayes, lives in New Hampshire. The book was published by a Maine publisher. You can be certain that the tracks represented are ones you're likely to find here in New England.]

Yee, Wong Herbert. Tracks in the Snow. [JP YEE]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Curious George Lives!

That naughty little monkey, that every kid I know loves, was created by H.A. Rey and was first published back in 1941. George now exists in hundred of books and DVDs, many of which we have in our children's collection.

H.A. Rey and his wife, Margret, had an interesting life that included an escape from the Nazis in France--on bicycles! The story of their lives is found in The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden [J 920 BOR].

One thing I didn't know about the Reys is that an educational facility has opened up right here in New Hampshire in honor of their spirit of curiosity and discovery. It is the Margret and H.A. Rey Center and Curious George Cottage. The Center is located in Waterville Valley.

All this week there are programs for families, so you may want to put the Center on your list of outings with the kids.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow! Library Closed Today

My late mother always used to say, "The best-laid plans of mice and men do oft go awry." I'm not sure if she knew she was quoting the poet Robert Burns, but her use of the phrase was warranted on many occasions. Today is a day she probably would have used it.

After being closed for a week for renovations and the holiday, we had planned on getting back to business as usual today. Well, mother nature had other plans! We will be closed for the day, today.

A blizzard is never the best time to return library books, so if it isn't safe for you to be out, please don't make a trip to return your books in the bookdrop.

You can renew your books from home, in most cases, by visiting our website and clicking on "Library Catalog," then "Sign In," or "Create an Account" if you don't already have an account. (You will need your library card.)

If you ever have questions about whether or not the library is open, give us a call. If the answering machine picks up then we are most likely closed as we try to answer the phone before it rings four times.

You can also check WMUR, channel 9, or the WMUR site, for closings and delays. Look for the listing under "N" for "Nesmith Library," rather than "W" for Windham.

We will try to post closings on our Facebook page, but it may not always be possible to do so in a timely manner.

The next time you come into the library, pick up one of the hundreds of "snow" books we have in our collection. I'd recommend starting with Snow in America by Bernard Mergen [551.57 MER] which is a cultural history of snow. It covers everything from snow shovels to the ski industry.

Stay warm!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Poetry Friday--"The Donkey's Song"

In the children's room we have a lovely Christmas collection by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, and with musical arrangements by Adam Stemple. It's called Hark! A Christmas Sampler [J 808.8 YOL]. It contains traditional Christmas carols, as well as holiday stories and legends retold by Yolen. But, my favorite aspect of the book is Jane Yolen's original poems that touch on everything related to the celebration of Christmas.

I'm drawn to a poem called "The Donkey's Song" for it's simply stated truth--we depend upon our domestic companions and their unquestioning contribution to our well-being:
I was cradle and crib
Before the manger.
I was guardian and guard
Against all danger.
I was rocker and rock,
I was God's own cart,
I was breath against cold,
I was His strong heart.
Have a great holiday, and don't forget to thank your companions, including the furry ones, for their love.

This week the Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at A Year of Reading.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Truly Novel Idea

An interesting publishing model can be seen at the Concord Free Press website.
We publish great books and give them away. All we ask is that you make a voluntary donation to a charity or someone in need. Tell us about it. Then pass your book along so others can give. It’s a new kind of publishing, one based purely on generosity, and it’s changing the way people think about books.

Their latest book is Rut, a novel by Scott Phillips.

Concord Free Press is located in Concord, MA, so we're practically neighbors! It's well-worth checking out their site this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Here's How the Work is Going

If you've wondered why the Library had to close just because we're improving the lighting in the check-out and audio/visual shelving area, then take a look below:

Political IQ

We are constantly connected to the news through the internet, tv, radio, and, last but not least, print media.

But, after all this information passing into our consciousness, how complete is our knowledge of political goings-on? The Pew Research Center has a 12-question quiz for you to take that will reveal how "news-savvy" you are, and where you stand in relation to other Americans.

Image by Roger85

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Won't Believe Your Eyes

Today's website is the photo gallery of cake artist, Karen Portaleo, and the Highland Bakery. This bakery is in Atlanta, GA, so you won't be able to pick up a holiday cake, but take a look at what is not only possible, but has been done, in cake art!

Many thanks to Karen Portaleo for permission to post Santa.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Library Is Closed Until December 27

Extensive work will be taking place this week at the Library, which, because of the danger of falling materials, hazardous dust, and a lack of useful lighting, forces a closing until December 27. Defective ceiling tiles and light fixtures in the check-out and audio/visual materials area will be removed and replaced, but we hope that the improved lighting will result in a more comfortable library experience for you and your family, and will compensate for any inconvenience caused by the closing.

Visit us next week when we will have vacation week programs for the kids, including a matinee featuring a PG rated dragon movie, on Wednesday, December 29, at 1:00 pm. Popcorn and drinks will be served.

I usually mention Library-owned materials on a particular subject in my regular posts, but, since the Library is closed, and these items are temporarily unavailable, I've decided to take a different tact this week. Today through Thursday I will send you off to a fun and/or informative website to keep you amused and enlightened. Today's page has a discussion of the seasonal "green" debate, "Which is better? A real or artificial tree?"

After reading the tree piece, take a look around thedailygreen.com, for more interesting tips.

Photo by alancleaver_2000

Friday, December 17, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Stocking Song on Christmas Eve"

Today's poem is by Mary Mapes Dodge (1830-1905). Dodge is best known as the author of Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates [J DOD], but she also edited the children's magazine, St. Nicholas for Young Folks. Mapes wrote many poems for children, including the one below from 1904. It is found in Our Holidays in Poetry, compiled by Mildred P. Harrington [808 HAR], published in 1929.
Stocking Song on Christmas Eve

Welcome Christmas! heel and toe,
Here we wait thee in a row,
Come, good Santa Claus, we beg
Fill us tightly, foot and leg.

Fill us quickly ere you go,--
Fill us till we overflow,
That's the way! and leave us more
Heaped in piles upon the floor.

Little feet that ran all day
Twitch in dreams of merry play,
Little feet that jumped at will
Lie all pink and white and still.

See us, how we lightly swing,
Hear us how we try to sing,
Welcome Christmas! heel and toe,
Come and fill us ere you go!

Here we hang till some one nimbly
Jumps with treasures down the chimney.
Bless us! how he'll tickle us!
Funny old Saint Nicholas.

Amy at The Poem Farm is today's hostess of the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One More Gift Suggestion

The New York Times issues a "Best Illustrated Children's Book" list every year. This year's list, with reviews, can be found here. The ten titles are:

Seasons written and illustrated by Blexbolex.

Children Make Terrible Pets written and illustrated by Peter Brown. [JP BRO]

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. Illustrated by Tony Fucile. [J DIC]

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. [JP KHA]

Shadow written and illustrated by Suzy Lee.

Henry in Love written and illustrated by Peter McCarty. [JP MCC]

Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson. Illustrated by R. G. Roth.

Subway written and illustrated by Christoph Niemann. [JP NIE]

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead.

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Red Nose Studio.

The criteria for the selection sometimes escapes me--I'll leave the art discussion to someone else. In any case, there's nothing like a book for a gift this holiday season or anytime throughout the year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even Less Time Today!

Yesterday I had a few suggestions for those of you who still hadn't started making gifts for Christmas. As of today, there's only 10 days left! Are you starting to panic?

Here's an idea that takes almost no time at all--Mason jar recipe mixes. The biggest expenditure of time is having to battle the traffic to get to the supermarket to purchase a few ingredients. You'll also need some Mason jars, and those probably can be picked up at the supermarket, too.

Look for The Mason Jar Soup-to-Nuts Cookbook by Lonnette Parks [641.5 PAR] at the library to provide simple-to-follow instructions for putting together mixes for buttermilk waffles, golden pecan muffins, barley rice stew, and more.

The book also includes printed directions that can be photocopied and included with the jars that are given as gifts.

You can go the extra mile and add little touches to the jar lids. For example, if you're giving someone the "Good Dog" treats jar, attach a bone shaped cookie cutter, or, if you're gifting the Scottish shortbread jar, tie a plaid ribbon around the lid.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Time Is Definitely Running Out

If you're planning on giving homemade gifts this year, you are definitely running out of time!

Unless you're a super-speedy knitter, you probably shouldn't start on a project larger than a scarf or a set of mittens. Or, you could start one of the projects found in One-Skein Knitting: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet by Leigh Radford [746.432 RAD]. The children's room also has a knitting book, Quick Knits by Judy Ann Sadler [J 746.432 SAD]. Since it is written for kids, it probably has a few projects that can be done with a minimum of time and skill. If you use more sophisticated materials, such as a jeweled button, even a kids' wallet can be made chic!

Check our catalog using the search term "two hour" and you'll find a bunch of books with projects that take a mere two hours to complete. But, to be on the safe side, I'd double the time suggested. Even at four hours, there's still time to complete one or two gifts in time for Christmas. The Encyclopedia of Two-Hour Craft Projects [745.5 ENC] offers the greatest variety of gift items.

Another good search term to use in our catalog is "weekend," which will lead you to books such as the Encyclopedia of Projects for the Weekend Crafter [745.5 ENC] or 24 Weekend Projects for Pets: Dog Houses, Cat Trees, Rabbit Hutches & More by David Griffin [690.89 GRI].

Head down to the library now while there's still some time left to browse, AND, to get started on a project.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Important Notice!

Extensive work will take place in removing and replacing defective ceiling tiles and light fixtures in the check-out and audio/visual materials area of the Nesmith Library. Therefore, the Library must close because of the danger of falling materials, hazardous dust, and a lack of useful lighting. Library hours on Sunday, December 19, will be the same, 1:00 - 5:00 pm. Starting Monday, though, the Library will be closed to the public. It will remain closed through Sunday, December 26, and will reopen on Monday, December 27, at 9:00 am.

The decision was made to do the work at this time of year due to a traditional falling off of library usage during the week of Christmas. We feel that work done during this period will have less of a negative impact on Library users. Staff will be involved in training and other projects away from the effected area. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that the improved lighting will result in a more comfortable library experience for you and your family.

So, in order to keep you well-stocked before the closing, we suggest you visit us this week and check out a sackful of books, films, and musical CDs. And, since it's Christmas time, you may want to consider some of these holiday related novels [F]:

Clark, Mary Higgins. Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery At Sea.

Dickens, Charles. The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home.

Guinn, Jeff. The Great Santa Search as told to Jeff Guinn by Santa Claus himself.

Macomber, Debbie. Small Town Christmas.

Mitchard, Jacquelyn. Christmas, Present.

Roberts, Sheila. On Strike for Christmas.

Snyder, John. The Golden Ring: A Christmas Story.

VanLiere, Donna. The Christmas Shoes. VanLiere specializes in Christmas stories--we have six of them in our collection!

Although the Library will be closed, KK's Kurio Kabinet will have postings Monday through Friday as usual.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Merry Christmas"

This week and next I'll be featuring Christmas poems. The following one is found in the children's collection, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A Treasure of 572 Poems for Today's Child, selected by Jack Prelutsky [J 811.008 RAN]:
Merry Christmas
by Aileen Fisher

I saw on the snow
when I tried my skis
the track of a mouse
beside some trees.

Before he tunneled
to reach his house
he wrote "Merry Christmas"
in white, in mouse.
Don't you love the childlike simplicity of this poem? It captures all the innocence and faith of children who are willing to believe that a mouse could actually spell out a greeting!

Head on over to Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by Doug McG

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Alphabet Books

Some of the best books for young children are alphabet books. They serve a dual purpose of introducing a child to the A-B-Cs as well as providing a satisfying visual experience.

I came across a site on which a young woman creates the alphabet using only her body! It's in Japanese, and I have no idea what the text on the site says, but the photos are self-explanatory. Check it out here.

Courtesy Daily Portal

Check out one of these "traditional" alphabet books on your next visit:

Andreae, Giles. K Is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo. [JP AND]

Geisert, Arthur. Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey through America's Farmland. [JP GEI]

Macdonald, Ross. Achoo! Bang! Crash!: The Noisy Alphabet. [JP MAC]

Salas, Laura Purdie. C Is for Cake!: A Birthday Alphabet. [JP SAL]

Wilbur, Helen L. M Is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet. [JP WIL]

Ziefert, Harriet. ABC Dentist. [JP ZIE]

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Holiday Music!

The library has added several new musical CDs to our collection of holiday music. Here are three 2010 releases that are now on our shelves:

Carey, Mariah. Merry Christmas II You. [CD HOLIDAY CAR]

Evancho, Jackie. O Holy Night. [CD HOLIDAY EVA]

Glee: the Music, the Christmas Album. [CD HOLIDAY GLE]

The above titles join the dozens of other holiday choices that range from classical, to country, to children's. Here are a few to choose from:

Belafonte, Harry. Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY BEL]

Brightman, Sarah. A Winter Symphony. [CD HOLIDAY BRI]

A Cowboy Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY COW]

Crosby, Bing. White Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY CRO]

Festival of Light. [CD HOLIDAY FES]

Guaraldi, Vince. A Charlie Brown Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY GUA]

Klezmatics. Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah. [CD HOLIDAY KLE]

Presley, Elvis. Christmas Duets. [CD HOLIDAY PRE]

Songs from the Christmas Classics. [CD CHILDREN SON]

There's something for everyone!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday!

DC Comics has reached a milestone--75 years! This birthday is being celebrated in many ways including stories in the media, and the publication of several books.

We recently added one of these books to our Reference collection: DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle [R 741.53 DCC]. This large format book lives up to its title and is arranged chronologically. It highlights new releases for each year, and also ties in a bit of social history, too. Plan to spend an afternoon browsing through its colorful pages!

We have other general histories of comic books, one, a two volume set by Ernst Gerber, The Photo Journal Guide to Comic Books, can be found in R 741.5 GER. A multi-volume set, The World Encyclopedia of Comics, resides in our Young Adult area [YA 741.5 WOR].

A particularly interesting NPR interview took place with DC Comics writer and former publisher, Paul Levitz. It can be accessed here.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Emma Thompson's Booklist

About a month ago, I did a post about the social networking book site, You Are What You Read. You Are What You Read asks participants for five books that "shaped your life."

This seems to be a theme! O The Oprah Magazine [MAG O] online has recently reprinted a November 2003 article, "Emma Thompson's Books That Made a Difference." In it, Thompson, the British actress who starred in films such as Love Actually [DVD LOV], Much Ado About Nothing [DVD MUC], Nanny McPhee [DVD NAN], and Sense and Sensibility [DVD SEN], lists seven books and her reasons for selecting them. An interesting mix of titles to be sure:

1. The Tale of Mr. Tod by Beatrix Potter [JP POT GREEN DOT].
Reading it as an adult is a great treat, but looking back, I see that it started me on all my childhood reading—C.S. Lewis, Alan Garner, Joan Aiken, the people I read with such compulsion.

2. The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [MYS DOY].
I used to get tonsillitis until I had my tonsils taken out. After which, of course, I got bronchitis. I'd lie in bed with cream of celery soup in a can and read these stories.
3. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.
Certainly, I was shocked and scared by Naked Lunch, but what it did was open my mind up.
4. Three Guineas by Viginia Woolf.
Reading the book gave me the feeling that higher education sometimes stifled questions, and that the best type of instruction makes you able to ask the right questions and to continue asking those questions for the rest of your life.
5. Season of Blood by Fergal Keane.
It's the response of a profoundly civilized man to one of the largest and least talked about genocides of the last century.
6. Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by Spike Milligan.
I put this book in because it made me laugh till I was nearly sick.
7. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox [F KNO].
This is the story of a man who finds an angel in his vineyard and who meets the angel every year on the same night for the rest of his life. It's about their discoveries over time, and in the end, it's a quite extraordinary portrait of a fallen angel.
So what books have made a difference in your life?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Distances"

I came across "Distances" in Michael Hettich's Flock & Shadow: New and Selected Poems [811.6 HET]. What an interesting mix of large and small ideas--distances and birds. After reading it, do you experience wonder? Hope, or hopelessness? Does it make you laugh, or leave you with a pervasive sadness?

have shrunk the guest lecturer informed us,
to half their former dimensions, in only
the past ten years or so, and so,

to keep things balanced, we must use different
instruments to measure things, and different concepts
of measurement, new tools--or time itself

may be thrown off kilter, and we may well find
we've already lived our entire lives,
we're already dead and buried!

Everyone nodded and pondered and took notes.
Someone raised a hand. I could hear birds
singing, even through the sealed window, and I

wished I could identify species by song,
and I wondered how many birds live here, how many
pass through this city on their bi-yearly

journeys, how many different kinds
of song I'd have to memorize before
I could know them all by heart.

Visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for this week's Round-Up of poetry postings.

Photo by dsb nola

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More Literary Holiday Gifts

Back in October I wrote about library/literary gifts for the upcoming holidays. I warned you back then that the holidays would be rapidly approaching--was I wrong? For those who are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, here are a few more ideas:

Poetry Jewelry from The Poetry Foundation. Silver and gold necklaces with quotes from poets, for example, Cervantes, "Believe there are no limits but the sky." The Poetry Foundation also has books, notebooks, and even a "Leaves of Grass" onesie for little poets.

Perhaps the largest purveyor of literary gifts is CafePress. As a matter of fact, CafePress might be a bit overwhelming if you go into it without a firm idea of what you are looking for. But, if your gift recipient has a favorite author, the easiest thing to do would to be to search on the author's name. For example, I type "Jane Austen" in the search box and voila! The results show 1,300 Jane Austen inspired gifts--from stickers, to mugs, to mousepads, to tee-shirts!

For the person who's always looking for something "new" to read, look for the Book Lover's 2011 Page-a-Day calendar. The calendar will introduce even the most avid reader to new and exciting works of fiction and nonfiction.

It goes without saying, though, the best gift is a book. Take advantage of your public library to preview a book before buying. We get new books in almost daily!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

No, This Is Not a Monty Python Sketch!

From the U.K. comes news of the opening of the Ministry of Stories, an organization started by novelist Nick Hornby, which is "dedicated to the creation of stories by a new storytelling generation."

MofS is based on a program started by writer Dave Eggers in San Francisco, Valencia 826. From San Francisco the idea grew nationally:
826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in eight cities across the country. Our goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our work is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.
Isn't it amazing how one idea can take root and spread not only across America, but across the Atlantic! And, in case you're wondering, there's an 826 branch in Boston!

If you're interested in promoting writing skills in young people, we have many books that should be of interest, including these:

Collom, Jack. Poetry Everywhere: Teaching Poetry Writing in School and in the Community. [372.64 COL]

Fletcher, Ralph. What a Writer Needs. [372.623 FLE]

Graves, Donald H. A Fresh Look at Writing. [372.6 GRA]

Instant Activities for Creative Writing That Kids Really Love! [372.62 INS]

Okay, since I mentioned Monty Python, it would be cruel of me to not include a Ministry sketch.