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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The "New" Way to Read a Book

By now, everyone's heard about ebooks. You've probably heard discussions about what's the best ereader, too. It's a whole new world out there for book lovers!

If you'd like to learn more about using an ereader, and borrowing ebooks from the Library, then you're invited to attend another session of the Library's workshop, "Electronic Readers and Electronic Books." It will be held on Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 PM. Click here for more information.

The NH Downloadable Books blog has loads of information about getting started, and there may be answers to the questions that you have, if you're unable to attend the Library's workshop. Click here.

The Nesmith Library belongs to the NH Downloadable Books consortium which has both audiobooks and ebooks for use by member libraries. The Nesmith Library has purchased additional ebooks that are only available for Nesmith Library cardholders. This way we can reduce the wait for some of the wildly popular titles like The Help or Unbroken, and introduce you to older titles that you may have missed. Here's the list of our first 50:

44 Scotland Street
Angel Sister
Back Spin
Blood, Bones & Butter
The Book Thief
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
Clear and Present Danger
Cutting for Stone
Daughters of the Moon
, Books 1-3
Deal Breaker
Dear John
The Death and Life of the Great American School System
The Divide
Drop Shot
Espresso Tales
Fade Away
The Final Detail
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Harvesting the Heart
The Help
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
The Hunt for Red October
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Long Lost
Love Over Scotland
Lucid Intervals
Minding Frankie
One False Move
Other People's Love Letters
The Paris Wife
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Patriot Games
Red Rabbit
Shanghai Girls
The Stand
Strategic Moves
The Sum of All Fears
Then Everything Changed
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones
Water for Elephants
The Weird Sisters
Without Remorse
The World According to Bertie

The best thing about using the Library's ebooks is--they're free!

Photo by Constance Wiebrands

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ladybug Girl

We recently purchased another book in a really cute series of picture books about Ladybug Girl.
In this sweet and cheerful story by husband and wife team Jacky Davis and David Soman, one not-so-little girl discovers how to make some fun that is just her size, right in her own backyard.
Ladybug Girl by Soman and Davis was the first book, followed by Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, Ladybug Girl at the Beach, and the newest one, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad [all JP SOM].

A word of warning: if you read this series, be prepared for the preschooler in your family to ask for a red tutu, red rubber boots, and red wings, or any buggy variation thereof.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I saw my first ladybug of the season one day last week. It was on my kitchen windowsill. I have no idea where it came from or where it had been. Do they winter over? Time to find out...

In the children's room I found three books devoted to subject of ladybugs:

Fischer-Nagel, Heiderose. Life of the Ladybug. [J 595.76 FIS]

Otfinoski, Steven. Ladybugs and Other Beetles. [J 595.76 OTF]

Watts, Barrie. Ladybug. [J 595.76 WAT]

Well, I found the answer to my question--ladybugs hibernate, but I didn't find out where in my kitchen my ladybug had been sleeping! And, since she's already gone, I guess I can't ask her directly!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Battle of the Bonnets?

The Washington Post recently ran an article about a new film adaptation of Jane Eyre. The point of the writer is that the movie will stir up some kind of battle between the lovers of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. Who's the best writer, character, movie, etc.?

I don't see it happening. Why can't you like both Austen and Bronte? If you're one of those who is itching for a fight, though, then now's the time to re-read or rewatch Jane Eyre [F BRO, DVD JAN] and Pride and Prejudice [F AUS, DVD PRI] and pick a side.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Wild Geese Among the Reeds"

Today, for obvious reasons, I'm going to share a poem taken from A Quiet Room: the Poetry of Zen Master Jakushitsu, translated by Arthur Braverman [895.6 JAK]:
from Wild Geese Among the Reeds

Accustomed to sleeping in pairs by water's edge

How many rows fill the northern sky?

On a sand bar
        cold winter day coming to an end

And you perched alone--what deep sorrow fills your heart?

There is no need to comment--the parallels are so very obvious. And the sorrows so deep.

If you haven't heard about the Kitlit4Japan auction taking place, check it out here. Children's/YA authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers have contributed books and services (such as manuscript critiques) to be auctioned off with proceeds going to UNICEF. (Some time in the next two weeks, a couple of signed copies of Littlebat's Halloween Story [JP MAY] will be auctioned off. I know for a fact that it's a great book to read aloud!)

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at A Year of Reading.

Woodcut print by Hiroshige courtesy the Library of Congress.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughts of Travel

This coming weekend marks the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
This year, there will probably be a little more subdued celebration due to the ongoing troubles in Japan. The Festival site acknowledges the disaster and is sponsoring a "Stand with Japan" walk today.

The Festival has long been on my "bucket list"! But, I'm afraid I won't make this year. Maybe 2012...

It will be at least a month before cherry trees start blooming in New Hampshire. To read up on fruit tree care, look for these books:

Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardener. [635 ROD]

Squire, David. Pruning Basics. [631.542 SQU]

Swenson, Allan A. Fruit Trees for the Home Gardener. [634 SWE]

Photo, taken between 1910 and 1920, courtesy the Library of Congress

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Much Do You Really Know?

Recently the memory of Ronald Reagan has been bandied about by both liberals and conservatives. Each group claims the other has it all wrong. "Reagan is the ultimate conservative!" "Reagan's policies would be considered liberal today!"

And the truth is?

Presimetrics: What the Facts Tell Us About How the Presidents Measure Up On the Issues We Care About by Mike Kimel and Michael E. Kanell [330.973KIM] will help you to figure it all out.

This from the Introduction:
What we discovered over and over again in the course of our research was surprising. It turns out that in many cases, what most people believe happened in the past didn't. In fact, the pundits and historians are often wrong. For example, it's commonly acknowledged that President Reagan was successful in cutting the size of the federal government. But this opinion is simply not borne out by the data. Of the eleven American presidents who served from the end of World War II to 2008, Reagan was the only one who increased both the size of the national debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the percentage of Americans employed by the federal government.
In case you think the authors have a bias, rest assured, there is no evidence of it. They explained:
And if there's one thing about this book of which we are proud, it is the approach we followed. We started by picking the most important issues we could come up with, and then tried to find the data we needed to figure out what actually happened, and why. We tried to be consistent, and to treat each issue, data set, and administration the same way. And we never tossed out an answer because we didn't like it. Our philosophy was to ask questions and let the data answer.
Some fun and surprising reading ahead!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nuclear Energy

This past week the news has been full of stories about the nuclear power plants in Japan. What do you and your kids know about nuclear energy? Here are three books to cover both children and adults' questions--and, they all have the same name!

Newton, David E. Nuclear Power. [333.7924 NEW] This is part of the Library in a Book series, which is a brief introduction to the subject. It contains resources to go to for additional information.

Nuclear Power. [J 333.7924 NUC] This book is for an older elementary school/middle school reader.

Wheeler, Jill C. Nuclear Power. [J 621.48 WHE] Basic information for the youngest reader.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a website that will answer some of your questions, too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Last Leg

The Iditarod, the race of 1150 miles which began on March 5, is now nearing its end.

The race is the subject of many books in our collection including these:

Blake, Robert J. Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod. [JP BLA]

Freedman, Lew. Father of the Idatarod: The Joe Redington Story. [B RED]

Riddles, Libby. Race across Alaska: First Woman to Win the Iditarod Tells Her Story. [798 RID]

Scdoris, Rachael. No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer. [YA B SCD]

Seibert, Patricia. Mush!: Across Alaska in the Longest Sled-Dog Race. [JP SEI]

Standiford, Natalie. The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto. [E STA]

If you're a teacher, you may be interested in the blog "written" by a sled dog by the name of Zuma. Zuma's blog is appropriately called, Zuma's Paw Prints. It may be too late to involve your students in this year's race, but please make a note of it for next year. There is a sled-load of curriculum tie-ins!

If you'd like to consider making a run, the first thing you'll need is a sled dog team. Look for Jim Welch's The Speed Mushing Manual: How to Train Racing Sled Dogs [798.8 WEL].

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poetry Friday--Knock at a Star

For my money, Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry by X.J. and Dorothy M. Kennedy [J 811.008 KNO], originally published in 1982, remains one of the best books for explaining poetry to elementary school kids. The expository parts are minimal while the exemplary ones are maximal!

Since it is nearly spring by the calendar, I want to share this poem that the Kennedys use as an example under the section, "Word Music."
The pickety fence
by David McCord

The pickety fence
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A clickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A lickety fence
Give it a lick
Give it a lick
Give it a lick
With a rickety stick
Don't you want to run outside, grab a stick and find a pickety fence? I sure do!

Head over to A Wrung Sponge where Andi is hosting this week's P.F. Round-Up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dancing with the Museums?

There seems to be a never-ending number of television programs in which a prize is awarded for some talent or accomplishment--Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, The Biggest Loser, America's Top Model, etc. There is always some animated judges' comments and often there is a component whereby members of the general public get to vote.

In the U.K. there is a prize given to museums.
The purpose of The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is to recognise and stimulate originality and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK, and increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.
The Art Fund Prize has an online presence where tweeting is involved and the public gets to vote. Although there is no reality tv program attached, there are podcasts in which "Jeremy Deller will be recording an audio diary series for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, telling stories and personal reflections as he visits the long listed museums alongside his fellow judges."

Can you imagine anything like that happening in this country? Neither can I, and it's too bad. But, over here we do have many, many museums and galleries worthy of a visit, and, for quite a few of our regional ones, the Nesmith Library, has a reduced admission pass. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

150 Years of "Keeping America Informed"

The United States Government Printing Office celebrated its 150th birthday on March 4. It begin on the same day that Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861!

The GPO publishes such page-turners as the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012. Surprisingly, the budget is a manageable 216 pages, but, the real meat comes with the 1368 page Appendix, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2012 , which
contains more detailed financial information on individual programs and appropriation accounts than any of the other budget documents. It includes for each agency: the proposed text of appropriations language, budget schedules for each account, new legislative proposals, and explanations of the work to be performed and the funds needed, and proposed general provisions applicable to the appropriations of entire agencies or group of agencies.
If you'd like a copy for your very own, you can purchase one by clicking here.

The GPO is more than budget reports, if you click here, you can find materials on all sorts of subjects, from the Accounting to World War II.

The video below provides a short history of the GPO:

So, Happy Birthday, GPO, and many more years of keeping us informed!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lessons from a Caterpillar

For what seems like a gazillion years (well, since 1969), Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar [JP CAR] has been delighting toddlers and preschoolers with its romp through a world of food and its tactile appeal (who can resist putting a finger through a slice of salami?). Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics is going to be using the book in a campaign to teach children to make wiser food choices, with the ultimate goal of preventing overeating.

I agree that childhood obesity is a problem, but I wonder about the co-opting of the caterpillar for purposes other than to delight a child. Must everything have a lesson?

Monday, March 14, 2011


The long road toward recovery is now taking place in Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that took place on Friday.

It is hard enough for an adult to comprehend, so undoubtedly, the kids in your life have questions, too. Look for one of these books from our children's room:

Allen, John. Predicting Natural Disasters. [J 363.34 ALL]

Bonar, Samantha. Tsunamis. [J 363.34 BON]

Lassieur, Allison. Earthquakes. [J 551.22 LAS]

Osborne, Mary Pope. Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters.. [J 363.349 OSB] This is a nonfiction companion to the fictional title High Tide in Hawaii, but, the information it contains is not dependent on one having read the original.

Richards, Julie. Quivering Quakes. [J 551.22 RIC]

Looking to give to the relief efforts? Click here for list of aid providers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poetry Friday--The Making of a Poem

If you have difficulty understanding poetic forms, such as the sonnet, the pantoum, the ode, etc., then look for The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Stand and Eavan Boland [821 MAK] on your next visit to the library.

Let's say a sestina has you baffled. In the section portion there is a page "The Sestina at a Glance," which breaks the poem down to its 9 basic components. It is followed by a short "The History of the Form," then "The Contemporary Context," in which 12 sample sestinas are included. The final section is "Close-Up of a Sestina," which gives a little background information on one of the sample poems, in this case, "Sestina: Altaforte" by Ezra Pound.

There is, of course, a short section on meter!

Forms, such as the ode, elergy, and pastoral, are dealt with using simple overviews with examples. [The editors explain these poems thusly, "If metrical forms are the architecture of poetry, then the shaping forms of ode, elegy, and pastoral are its environment."]

One great feature of the anthology is that all the samples are by different poets, and, no poet's work is repeated even across the forms, so, the variety is fabulous!

There is a glossary, short bios of the poets, and recommendations for more reading.

Here's a poem that comes under the form, "pastoral":
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Visit Liz Scanlon for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, and make sure you also read about her week of mentoring.

Photo by kevandem

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We Now Tweet!

The Nesmith Library now officially tweets! We finally joined Twitter last week, and we invite you to follow us, we're @NesmithLibrary of course!

Our latest tweets will also appear in the upper right hand corner of the blog, in case you're not ready to join twitter yet.
This post will be exceptionally short since I'm working my tweeting skills--I have to say everything in 140 characters or less.

If you know nothing about tweeting, look for Twitter for Dummies by Laura Fitton [006.754 FIT] on your next visit to the library.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

One Man's Graffiti...

Dictionary.com defines graffiti as:
markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building or public restroom, or the like
Last week The Wall Street Journal had an article by Jeffrey Zaslow titled "Erasing Signatures From History." The article details a controversy over the removal of what is, in effect, graffiti in a Pennsylvania classroom. I'm sure you'll find it an interesting read!

The Dictionary.com definition also contains information about the word's origins. Graffiti comes from the Italian
plural of graffito incised inscription or design, derivative with -ito -ite of graffiare to scratch, perhaps influenced by presumed Latin graphire to write; both probably derivative of Latin graphium stylus
Graffiti has been found scratched on walls in the ruins of Pompeii and in such places as Signature Rock in Wyoming along the Oregon Trail. In 20th century America, cities were often covered in spray-painted graffiti. To some it's vandalism, to others it is an artistic expression. To see some examples of contemporary graffiti, look for these items in our collection:

Ganz, Nicholas. Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents. [YA 751.73 GAN]

Graffiti Planet: The Best Graffiti from Around the World. [YA 751.73 GRA]

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

March is Women's History Month

Why not celebrate by visiting the Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month blog? There will be many bloggers and children's authors contributing to the month-long celebration, which is a collaborative effort from the KidLitosphere: The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

Here are a few of the featured authors, and some of their Women's History related works:

Bolden, Tonya. Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl. [J B LYO]

Fleming, Candace. The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look At Abraham and Mary. [J B LIN]

Krull, Kathleen. Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (And What the Neighbors Thought). [J 920 KRU]

Macy, Sue. Bull's-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. [J B OAK]

Meyer, Carolyn. Duchessina, a Novel of Catherine de Medici. [YA MEY]

Silvey, Anita. I'll Pass For Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War. [YA 973.74 SIL]

Monday, March 07, 2011

Labor in the News

Over the past few weeks the big news from around the country has been the effort by various states to discredit and weaken the labor movement in the public sector. No matter what side you support, it may help you to understand what is going on now, if you understand what has happened in the past.

We recently purchased From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States by Priscilla Murolo and A.B. Chitty [331 MUR]. The book is written for a general audience and does not overwhelm the reader with footnotes and scholarly jargon. It even includes comic-like illustrations to aid in understanding. Particularly useful is a list of abbreviations found in the front of the book so that the reader is not overwhelmed by the alphabet soup of labor union and governmental agency names!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Eletelephony"

To wrap up this week of elephant postings, I have one of the most anthologized children's poems of the past century,
by Laura E. Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant-
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone-
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)

Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee-
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)
You can find this poem in The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America [J 811 OXF], The Random House Book of Poetry for Children [J 811.008 RAN], Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child's Book of Poems [J 808.81 SIN], The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury [J 811 TWE], and I'm sure a few more (I just got tired of looking!).

I researched Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards online and found that she was the daughter of Julia Ward Howe, the woman who wrote the words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." I guess writing was in her blood. Richards won a Pulitzer Prize for a biography of her mother, and she also wrote the book Captain January that was later made into a film starring Shirley Temple [J DVD SHI]. Although she's nearly forgotten today, in her time, 1850-1943, she was a well-known, and prolific author.

The Small Nouns is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week, see you there!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Elephants in Folklore

You would expect elephants to show up in Indian or African folklore, but Scandinavian? The Elephant Prince by Flavia Weedn [JP WEE], is not really about an elephant, it's a story of love and courage:
With only his heart to offer the princess, a poor man's son braves the climb of a steep glass hill to try and bring her happiness. His courage shows that true love can give us the strength to do the impossible.
The illustrator has elected to tell the story using an elephant character.

The more traditional, The Blind Men and the Elephant by Karen Backstein [E BAC], hails from India, and the elephant is integral to the story in which six blind men all touch a different part of an elephant. Each man comes up with a limited idea of what an elephant really is--no one gets the complete picture.

A tale from Africa is retold by Eric A. Kimmel in Anansi and the Talking Melon [JP KIM]. The elephant is the "sucker" in a trick played by the spider, Anansi.

Folktales are not just for kids! Adults might enjoy the collection The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales from Africa told by Alexander McCall Smith [398.089 MCC] in which is found the pourquoi story, "Why Elephant and Hyena Live Far from People." McCall Smith is better known as the author of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series [F MCC].

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

King of the Elephants

One of the longest lived elephants from children's literature is Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. Babar first appeared in 1933 (1931 in France) in The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant [JP BRU].

Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar [J BRU] contains all of the original Babar stories. After Jean de Brunhoff passed away in 1937, his son Laurent, continued to write Babar stories. Some of these include the more recently published Babar's Museum of Art: (Closed Mondays), Babar's Yoga for Elephants, and Babar's USA [all JP BRU].

Babar: The Movie [J DVD BAB] was released in 1989.

Through the wonders of the internet, courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum, you can see what the original Babar book looked like in an early draft from 1930 or 31.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

More Elephant Fiction

Yesterday I talked about the new film coming out that is based on the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen [F GRU].

Elephants are exotic and fascinating creatures and are the subject of several other adult fiction books. One is Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond [F HAM].
Samson Brown is overjoyed when Neva Wilson is hired to replace him as caretaker to Hannah, the only elephant at the Max L. Biedelman Zoo, but while Sam and Neva work together to move Hannah to an elephant sanctuary, the zoo's director tries to revitalize his business by spotlighting Hannah as a star attraction.
Another, by Christopher Nicholson, is The Elephant Keeper [F NIC].
Seeing a unique opportunity, a wealthy sugar merchant purchases the elephants for his country estate and turns their care over to a young stable boy, Tom Page. Tom's family has long cared for horses, but an elephant is something different altogether. It takes time for Tom and the elephants to understand one another, but to the surprise of everyone on the estate, a remarkable bond is formed.
The Elephant Keeper is a absorbing novel that would undoubtably make a great movie, but I'm afraid that if the film were true to the book, it would be too hard to watch!