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Friday, July 29, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Cricket Jackets"

How quickly the summer goes. To adults it's gone in a flash. To kids, hopefully, the summer goes a little slower. I'd love to think that today's kids are like the kids of my youth, where summer stretched on and on and each day brought something new to delight in. Here's a poem about one of summer's surprises, molting--its fancy term is ecdysis:
Cricket Jackets
by Aileen Fisher

The day a cricket's jacket
gets pinchy, he can crack it
and hang it on a bracket
as he goes hopping by.

He doesn't need a mother
to go and buy another,
he doesn't need a mother,
and I will tell you why:

Beneath the pinchy jacket
the cricket sheds with vigor
he has a new one growing
that's just a little bigger,
to last him till July.

And then, again, he'll crack it,
his pinchy cricket jacket,
and hang it on a bracket
as he goes hopping by.
This poem is found in the collection A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets [J 811.54 JAR].

Visit the Book Aunt for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get Ready For the Next Heat Wave

By Saturday the temperatures are supposed to be back in the 90s. I came across a yoga breathing technique, "air conditioner breath," that will cool down the body. Try it and let us know how it works.

Yoga is a popular exercise and relaxation tool, and our book and DVD collection includes materials for all levels. Some of our DVD titles include:

A.M. and P.M. Yoga for Beginners. [DVD 613.7046 AM] Two 20-minute yoga workouts for morning and evening.

Cappy, Peggy. Yoga for the Rest of Us. and More Yoga for the Rest of Us. [DVD 613.7046 CAP] Presents yoga exercises designed for any age or skill level that can be done with or without the aid of a chair to increase balance, flexibility, and energy and reduce stress.

Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates [2 Complete 20-Minute Sessions Including Yoga]. [DVD 613.71 MAT] TV's renowned home fitness star, Denise Austen, mixes exercises inspired by J.H. Pilates with yoga, creating two meditative, 20 minute workouts for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Power Yoga Total Body. [DVD 613.7046 POW] A sixty-minute workout program that uses the elements of yoga to help people build strength, increase flexibility, balance the body, and connect the mind, body, and breath.

Yoga. [DVD 613.7046 YOG] Produced by MTV, this video gives an upbeat spin on traditional yoga techniques.

Yoga Weight-Loss Workout for Dummies. [DVD 613.7046 YOG] Offers step-by-step instruction for the twelve essential yoga postures and makes it easy to practice at your own level.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Is An Equal Opportunity Blog

It was suggested that I also have a post on Ginger Rogers since I had one on Gene Kelly and another on Fred Astaire earlier in the month. So, without further ado...

The clip is a deleted segment from the 1942 film Roxie Hart, which we do not own in DVD, but we do own these:

Follow the Fleet. [DVD FOL]

Shall We Dance. [DVD SHA]

Stage Door. [DVD STA]

Swing Time. [DVD SWI]

For everything you want to know about Ginger Rogers, visit the Ginger Rogers Official Site.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Literary Road Trips

Yesterday I reviewed Wendy McClure's new book about her visits to the locations featured in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. The Wilder Life [813.52 MCC] made me a little envious of the writer's travels. But then I thought, Hey, I live in New England--the literary capital of the United States (my designation, not an official one)! There are many literature-related places to visit within an hour's drive of Windham!

There's Jack Kerouac's grave, and the Kerouac Park, both in Lowell. On the Road is his most famous work [F KER, also AB/CD KER].

How about Celia's Thaxter's garden on the Isles of Shoals. Celia wrote about the garden in An Island Garden [635.9 THA].

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's home in Cambridge is open to the public. He wrote many of his poems there. Look for Poems and Other Writings [811 LON].

Probably the most famous New England literary destination is the House of Seven Gables, located in Salem, MA, and the subject of the book of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne found in Collected Novels [F HAW]. Salem, is a treasure trove for literature lovers!

Come back tomorrow for more New England literary destinations!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Wilder Life

I recently finished a book that I really liked: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure [813.52 MCC, also AB/CD 813.52 MCC]. This nonfiction title takes us, along with its writer, on a big field trip to all the locations portrayed in the "Little House" series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder [J WIL]. During the long, strange trip, McClure examines her place in 1970s America, and the effect one writer had on a generation of young readers. She also shows us a way of life--the pioneer movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries--and how contemporary Americans long for this not-so-simple, "simpler way of living."

I've only read Little House in the Big Woods and I enjoyed The Wilder Life, if you've read the entire "Little House" series in your youth, you'll probably LOVE it!

Some other adult books about Laura Ingalls Wilder include A Little House Sampler, edited by William T. Anderson [B WIL], which includes writings of both Wilder, and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, as well as The Horn Book's Laura Ingalls Wilder: Articles About and By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams, and the Little House Books, also edited by Anderson [813 HOR].

In our children's room we have a gazillion biographies of Laura Ingalls Wilder [J B WIL]! (And that's only a slight exaggeration!)

Wendy McClure talks about The Little House Cookbook many times in The Wilder Life, so, I ordered it for our children's room collection! Look for it to arrive within the next month or so.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Poetry Friday--Poetry Rocks

We have two books in the poetry series "Poetry Rocks": Early American Poetry: "Beauty in Words" by Stephanie Buckwalter [YA 811.3 BUC] and Contemporary American Poetry: "Not the End, But the Beginning" by Sheila Griffin Llanas [YA 811.54 LLA]. They are both concentrated looks at poetry of the time period. Each book contains a brief "Introduction" in which some elements of poetry are explained, about a dozen representative poets of the time frame covered, short bios of each, a few sample poems with a brief explanation and critical analysis, and, a "Read More About" section. Overall it's a neat little introductory package for teens!

Here's a sample poem from the Early American Poetry title:
Old Ironsides
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

The poem, we are told, was written after Holmes heard an erroneous rumor that the USS Constitution was to be destroyed. The frigate was not destroyed, and remains to this day in Boston, where it can be visited. There is also a nearby museum that is also open to the public.

Visit Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Have a great weekend!

Image courtesy U.S. Navy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kids Writing

We always like to see kids reading over the summer months so that they haven't lost any skills when they go back to school in September. It would also be nice if we could see kids writing. A good way to encourage keeping up with writing skills is to send postcards from vacation spots. It's a fun outing on a rainy day--spend time looking through picture postcards and picking out just the right one for grandparents or a BBF, then carefully composing a little message.

Borrow the picture book, Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea by Vera B. Williams [JP WIL], to provide inspiration. The story involves a child on a trip out West who keeps in touch through postcards.

Another fun reason to write is the possibility that a child's writing could be published. Several children's magazines such as Highlights for Children [J MAG HIG], and Cricket [J MAG CRI], often publish children's letters, poems, and art. There are also places online that will publish children's work. One such place is Scribblitt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Keep Reading

One of the purposes of our summer reading program for kids is to make reading a year-round activity--not just something that is done during the school year.

It has been proven that parents who model reading behavior have kids who are more likely to read themselves. The fact that a parent reads proves its worth as an activity in the mind of a child. Look at The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller [372.6 MIL] where there is a section called "The Need for Reading Role Models: The Crux of the Reading Crisis" for some startling statistics.

The American Library Association has long produced library posters that show celebrities reading, such as the poster below:

Image courtesy ALA.

Adults might be interested to find some of their celebrity heroes were captured in the act of reading. Click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Tonight on PBS's POV, there will be a showing of a library-related film called Biblioburro: The Donkey Library. Here's a preview:

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

The film's PBS page contains additional information.

To read about other unusual libraries, look for either of these:

Appelt, Kathi. Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky. [J 027.0769]

Ruurs, Margriet. My Librarian Is a Camel. [J 027.42 RUU]

If you miss Biblioburro tonight, you can watch it online starting tomorrow (click on "Watch the full episode" under the preview).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter Movie

Were you one of the millions who saw the new Harry Potter movie this weekend? No? Oh, because you wanted to rewatch the old ones to refresh your memory? You can do that in seven minutes by watching the video below:

Or, you can borrow our DVDs, or you could go back and reread all the books--we have them both in book and audio formats.

And, if you've had enough Harry Potter to last you a lifetime, then there's always other authors for you to tackle like Terry Pratchett [SF PRA] or Ursula K. Le Guin [SF LEG]!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Poetry Friday--Toasting Marshmallows

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems [J 811 GEO], by Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Kate Kiesler, is a fun read for this time of year.

From the tent-shaped poem entitled, "Tent," to "Sleeping Bag," with its comparison of a camper to a caterpillar and cocoon, it's a lively collection that is sure to appeal to a young camper. Even if you're not a camper, and I'm not, there's still plenty to enjoy. This one is my favorite because it relays an everyday occurrence in a most simple and delightful manner:
Rain Dance

It was dry
under these trees,
until a confetti of birds
in the wet leaves

rain shower.
Head over to A Year of Reading for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coming Soon

Yesterday, I spoke briefly about Lisa See's last two novels. Today, I'd like to mention that one of her earlier novels, the one that rocketed her to the top of the bestseller list, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan [F SEE], has been made into a film. It opens in select theaters tomorrow, and it should be opening everywhere else within the next two or three weeks. I would have thought that most everyone has read the book already, but there is always a revived interest in a book once the filmed version is out.

If you're on Facebook, check out the Snow Flower and the Secret Fan page where you can find your own lao tong using a special app. It's like a virtual "secret fan."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Immigrant Experience on the West Coast

Some of you may be fans of author Lisa See's novel, Shanghai Girls, which covers the Chinese immigrant experience in California. Her latest, a follow-up to Shanghai Girls, is Dreams of Joy [both F SEE].

See is a Chinese-American, and her heritage has greatly influenced her writing. See wrote about her family history in On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family [B SEE]. Gold Mountain is the term the Chinese used to describe California. It also refers to western North America as a whole since British Columbia is also a destination for Chinese immigrants.

Angel Island is the California counterpart to New York's Ellis Island, but with this difference:
Arrivals at Ellis Island were welcomed to this country, by the nearby Statue of Liberty and screened primarily for medical reasons leaving an average of 2-3 hours of arriving. At Angel Island, the objective was to exclude new arrivals...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The photo above, taken by Jack Pfaller, comes to us courtesy NASA. It was taken at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which just so happens to be near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

We have osprey here in New Hampshire, too. There are several places where you can go to view osprey, click here for more information.

There are several photos of an osprey nest and chicks on Colby Marsh along the NH coast, click here.

The Daywatchers, by Peter Parnall [598.91 PAR] has general information on osprey and other birds of prey.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Only Fair

It's only fair that since I highlighted Gene Kelly on Friday, I should highlight Fred Astaire today!

We have many, many Astaire movies including:

The Band Wagon. [DVD BAN]

Easter Parade. [DVD EAS]

Funny Face. [DVD FUN]

Royal Wedding. [DVD ROY]

Top Hat. [DVD TOP]

And, if you also like the way Astaire sings, we also have Fred Astaire: The Great American Songbook [CD MALE VOCALIST AST].

Here's Fred with Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway:

Friday, July 08, 2011

Poetry Friday--A Gene Kelly Kind of Day

There are days when the weather is fine and you just feel like dancing. Perhaps today is one of those days for you?

In our children's room we have a poetry collection, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, titled Got Geography! [811.008 GOT]. It is what you'd expect, poems about geography. Poems with titles like, "Mapping the World," "If I Were the Equator," and "Compass." The title of very last poem came as a surprise, "from Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance To." What do geography and Gene Kelly have in common?
from Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance To
by Carl Sandburg

Why we got geography?
Because we go from place to place. Because the earth used
    to be flat and had four corners, and you could jump off
    from any of the corners.
But now the earth is not flat any more. Now it is round all
    over. Now it is a globe, a ball, round all over, and we
    would all fall off it and tumble away into space if it wasn't
    for the magnetic poles. And when you dance it is the
    North Pole or the South Pole pulling on your feet like
    magnets to keep your feet on the earth.
And that's why we got geography.
And it's nice to have it that way.
Is that fun or what?

Now, you didn't expect this post to end without seeing Gene Kelly dance, did you?

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Wild Rose Reader. Make sure to stop by!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Happy 264th Birthday!

Yesterday, July 6 was the anniversary of the birth of John Paul Jones. He was born in 1747 in Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Jones lived for a time in Portsmouth, NH. You can visit his Portsmouth home; it's open every day this summer from 11 am to 5 pm.

There's a nice album of Jones-related pictures on the Naval History & Heritage Command Facebook page. Check it out here.

We have a number of Jones biographies in both the adult and children's sections [B JON or J B JON], including one by New England's noted maritime historian, Samuel Eliot Morison.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Amazing Things

Amazing things can come from little cameras. This video was shot on a cell phone:

Splitscreen: A Love Story from JW Griffiths on Vimeo.

More amazing things--this from someone with a little too much time on his/her hands:

And here's a different way of doing art:

Polargraph / slow drawing show preview from Sandy Noble on Vimeo.

And talk about amazing--we have more than 400 kids signed up for our Summer Reading Programs. There's still time to sign up and read! So come down to the Library today!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

NH Downloadable Books Tip

The best way to find the downloadable audiobook or ebook that you want is to go directly to the NH Downloadable Books website and Sign In at the top right. (You will need your library card, and a 4 digit code that you get at the front desk or by calling the library.)

If you're looking for a specific title, of course you can search on that title or the author's name. But, if you're just looking to read/listen to a book immediately, it pays to know this little tip:

In the search box at the upper right-hand side of the page, click on "Advanced Search." On the next screen go to the "Format" drop-down box. Click on either eBook or Audiobook. Click the little box to the left of "Only show titles with copies available." Do not fill in, or click on, any other box. Click on "Search."

The results will only include those items that are available. When you're looking at eBook results, in some cases you will see a little gold seal on the right. Titles with a seal are available exclusively for Nesmith Library cardholders! We currently have 100 titles in our exclusive collection. You can see the list here.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Celebrate this national holiday by reading the document that started it all, The Declaration of Independence.

We have books that cover the document and its signers, the reasons for its creation, the ramifications of it, etc. Whether you're an adult reader, or a child, we've got something for you:

The Declaration of Independence. [973.313 DEC]

Graves, Kerry A. The Declaration of Independence: The Story Behind Our Founding Document. [J 973.313 GRA]

Pierce, Alan. The Declaration of Independence. [J 973.313 PIE]

Viegas, Jennifer. The Declaration of Independence: A Primary Source Investigation Into the Action of the Second Continental Congress. [973.313 VIE]

You can borrow one of these books when we reopen again tomorrow! Have a safe and happy holiday!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Poetry Friday--Happy 4th!

Besides the standard fireworks display, the 4th of July, a.k.a. Independence Day, is also celebrated with a parade. On this particular occasion the flag is proudly displayed. Here's a poem that is found in an old book (published in 1928) from our collection, One Hundred and One Famous Poems, edited by Roy J. Cook [811 COO]:
The Flag Goes By
by Henry Holcomb Bennett

    Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
    Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

Blue and crimson and white it shines,
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
    Hats off!
The colors before us fly;
But more than the flag is passing by.

Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State;
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;

Days of plenty and years of peace,
March of a strong land's swift increase:
Equal justice, right and law,
Stately honor and reverent awe;

Sign of a nation, great and strong,
To ward her people from foreign wrong;
Pride and glory and honor, all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.

    Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
And loyal hearts are beating high:
    Hats off!
The flag is passing by!
Before you leave for the long holiday weekend, stop by A Wrung Sponge for this week's Round-Up.