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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This has been a pretty weird week, so there won't be trick-or-treating tonight in Windham, but, it has been rescheduled for Saturday 5 to 8 PM.

If you look at the chart below, you might come to the conclusion that it's okay if you skip this year and don't get bagsful of candy!

Rather than bemoan the loss of candy, get the kids involved in putting together some of the fun AND healthy snacks found in FamilyFun Super Snacks: 125 Quick Snacks That Are Fun to Make and to Eat [641.539 FAM].

Graphic courtesy visual.ly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Tuesday?

Next Tuesday is election day. If you've asked yourself, Why on a Tuesday?, then you're not alone. NPR had a segment that addressed this question, "Why Are Elections On Tuesdays?". Read or listen to find out why, back in 1845, Tuesday was the perfect choice.

If you'd like to learn more about the way elections are run, then look for The United States Election System [324 UNI]. This title in "The Reference Shelf" series explores elections and election history by compiling articles by writers from newspapers and magazines such as The American Prospect, Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, etc.

Image courtesy Open Clip Art Library.

Monday, October 29, 2012


We're right in the middle of what has been named the "Frankenstorm," because there are actually two events coming together, one, Hurricane Sandy heading north and west, and the other a cold front heading to the east. To track the storm, and to find other information and advice, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a great website.

This post is being written on Sunday, so please call the Library at 432-7154 to make sure we are open prior to your coming down for a visit. You can also visit our Facebook page and check for closings on WMUR, channel 9--look for us under "N" for Nesmith.

After the storm is over, your kids can learn more about hurricanes from a book such as this one in our children's room collection: Anatomy of a Hurricane by Terri Dougherty [J 551.552 DOU].

Stay safe and dry!

Image courtesy NOAA.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Friday--Builder Goose

I've always thought that if I could write a book about construction equipment, I would be guaranteed to sell it. Books on construction equipment, especially trucks, are always in high demand in our children's room. The sticking point however, is to make it good and something that's not going to make a mother groan when her little one asks to be read it again...and again...and again.

If you're looking for something new in the way of construction equipment books, you may want to try Builder Goose.

Builder Goose: It's Construction Rhyme Time! by Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Sergio de Giori [JP ASH], is a new addition to our picture book section. It's also a different way of approaching construction equipment--through rhymes. The rhymes are based on traditional nursery rhymes or songs. This can actually can get in the way if the reader is too familiar with the original. And, some of the entries are an example of "trying too hard" to make the rhyme fit, but, overall, the collection should be a welcomed change for those tasked with reading to little boys. (Not to be sexist, but in all my years, I've never had a girl ask me for a truck book! A girl however, might enjoy this one!)

Here's an example of a rhyme that I think works well:
It's Spinning, It's Roaring!

It's spinning, it's roaring!
It's mixing the flooring.
It tumbles around,
puts a chute to the ground,
and then it starts a-pouring.
Without the illustrations were you able to guess it's a cement mixer?

Chug on over to TeacherDance for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saints Be Praised!

This past weekend, Pope Benedict XVI welcomed seven new saints into the canon of saints. Two were born in New York, and one of these native New Yorkers, Kateri Tekakwitha, is the first American Indian saint.

Saints have always been popular subjects for artists and writers, and continue to be so to this day. Here are a few modern examples:

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. Priestess of Avalon. [SF BRA] "Myth, magic, and romance" and the story of St. Helena.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon. [DVD BRO] Dramatizes the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Cutter, Kimberly. The Maid. [F CUT] A novel about St. Jean of Arc.

De Paola, Tomie. Christopher: The Holy Giant. [JP DEP] Tells the legend of St. Christopher.

Gauch, Patricia Lee. The Little Friar Who Flew. [JP GAU] The story of St. Joseph, of Cupertino, who was known for his ability to levitate.

Llywelyn, Morgan. Brendan. [F LLY] A novel of the life of St. Brendan the Voyager.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

National Chemistry Week

Not only is this New Hampshire History Week, it is also National Chemistry Week! And unlike NH History Week, which has only been celebrated for the past few years, National Chemistry Week has been celebrated for 25! Who woulda thunk it?

This year's celebration centers around nanotechnology.
a technology executed on the scale of less than 100 nanometers, the goal of which is to control individual atoms and molecules, especially to create computer chips and other microscopic devices.
Definition courtesy Dictionary.com
Nanotechnology is the "new thing" in science, and as such, has spawned a sub-genre of speculative fiction called "nanotechnology fiction." Here are a few examples:

Grant, Michael. BZRK. [YA GRA] In the near future, the conjoined Armstrong twins, under the guise of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, plot to create their own version of utopia using nanobots, while a guerilla group known as BZRK develops a DNA-based biot that can stop bots, but at risk of the host's brain.

Koontz, Dean R. Dean Koontz Frankenstein, Book Four: Lost Souls. [F KOO] Victor Leben, once Frankenstein, has not only seen the future--he's ready to populate it. Using stem cells, "organic" silicon circuitry, and nanotechnology, he will engender a race of superhumans--the perfect melding of flesh and machine. With a powerful, enigmatic backer eager to see his dream come to fruition and a secret location where the enemies of progress can't find him, Victor is certain that this time, nothing and no one can stop him. It is up to five people to prove him wrong.

Ludlum, Robert. Robert Ludlum's the Lazarus Vendetta. [F LUD] Lt. Col. Jon Smith, activated in the wake of a deadly attack on a nano-technology research facility, sets out to learn the truth about the leader of the eco-conscious, anti-technology Lazarus Movement, and uncovers a plot that could change the very nature of the world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NH History Week!

New Hampshire History Week is being celebrated this week with a gathering today, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the New Hampshire Historical Society Library, 30 Park Street in Concord. This event, is free, and is sponsored by the NH Historical Society, the NH Humanities Council, the NH Preservation Alliance, the NH Division of Historical Resources, the NH Department of Cultural Resources and the NH Department of Education.

We are proud to have an extensive and varied collection of books on NH history on our shelves including these titles that you can borrow:

Claflin, James. Lighthouses and Life Saving along the Maine and New Hampshire Coast [974.1 CLA].

Garvin, Donna-Belle. On the Road North of Boston: New Hampshire Taverns and Turnpikes, 1700-1900. [974.2 GAR]

Heald, Bruce D. Main Street New Hampshire. [974.2 HEA]

The History and Economics of the New Hampshire Dairy Industry. [338.176 HIS]

Knoblock, Glenn A. "Strong and Brave Fellows": New Hampshire's Black Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution, 1775-1784. [973.3442 KNO]

Lassonde, Barbara Mills. Maple Sugaring in New Hampshire. [974.2 LAS]

New Hampshire State Organization Daughters of the American Revolution. Living in the Lap of History: A Checklist of Some Historic Sites in New Hampshire. [974.2 NEW]

Rice, Jane. Bob Fogg and New Hampshire's Golden Age of Aviation: Flying over Winnipesaukee and Beyond. [629.1309 RIC]

Shaffer, Duane E. Men of Granite: New Hampshire's Soldiers in the Civil War.
[973.7442 SHA]

Whitney, D. Quincy. Hidden History of New Hampshire. [974.2 WHI]

Women of the Granite State: 25 New Hampshire Women You Should Know. [J 920 WOM]

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nobel Prize Winner

This year's Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to the Chinese writer, Mo Yan. In our collection we currently have two of Mo Yan's books, one, a novel, The Garlic Ballads, is [F MO]
...an epic novel of love, brutality and magic realism, which was banned in China. A glut on the garlic market leaves farmers watching the crop rot in the field--until they storm the Communist establishment in an apocalyptic riot. Thus, unfolds three intricately entwined tales of love and consequence.
The other is a book of essays, Cang ying men ya: Mo Yan xiao shuo jing duan xi lie, and is found in our foreign language section [CHINESE 895.14 MO].

Mo Yan's latest release in the U.S. is the novel Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. In an interview after the announcement of his winning the Nobel Prize, Mo Yan recommended starting with this work saying, "I think this book is a relatively perfect and uniform combination between attention to reality and the exploration of creative style." The book is on order and is expected to arrive soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Poetry Friday--Lucille Clifton

The memory of Lucille Clifton was honored last Sunday at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Three of Clifton's daughters shared stories of their mother, while two poets read favorites from Clifton's works. The audience added to an already emotionally moving tribute by contributing stories of their encounters with Clifton. The session was videotaped, so, check the Dodge site in a few months to see if it is available for viewing. A short video from one of the past Dodge Festivals that Clifton attended is available here.

Although Lucille Clifton's poems appear in many anthologies in our collection, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980 [811 CLI], is the only one of her poetry books that we own. That will soon be remedied! On order we have The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010, which was released in September. The book contains over 700 pages--full of poems!

Here's one of Clifton's poems that appears in the children's anthology, Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children, selected by Wade Hudson [J 811 PAS]. It is the last poem in the book, and a line from it gives the book its title:
Listen Children

listen children
keep this in the place
you have for keeping
keep it all ways

we have never hated black

we have been ashamed
hopeless    tired    mad
but always
all ways
we loved us

we have always loved each other
children    all ways

pass it on
The Round-Up this week is being hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.... This is an especially busy week for Irene--her latest children's novel, Don't Feed the Boy, was published on Tuesday! Congratulations, Irene!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Civil War Quilts

If our history section is any indication, the Civil War is a subject of great interest to people, and if our quilt section is any indication, there is also a great interest in quilts and quilting. If you find yourself interested in both topics, then head down to Lexington, MA on Saturday for a lecture at the Museum of Our National Heritage entitled, "Quilts for Civil War Soldiers: Stories from the Home Front and the Battlefield."

The lecture will be given by Pamela Weeks, curator at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. Ms. Weeks will tell the stories behind three rare Civil War quilts. This lecture is free to the public.

"Elm Creek Quilts" series writer, Jennifer Chiaverini, has a novel about the Civil War, The Union Quilters [F CHI], "a Civil War-era tale of love and sacrifice behind Union lines."

Just a reminder, we have a museum pass to the New England Quilt Museum. It was made possible through proceeds from the Nesmith Library Quilters Group annual quilt raffle. To book the pass, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Are you someone who likes to tinker, but you're not necessarily interested in the arts and crafts side of being crafty, then I'd like to introduce you to MAKE Magazine. MAKE Magazine's online site and blog are full of projects for those who are skilled in mechanics or computers or in other ways. For instance, you can build "a solenoid powered dancebot"! (Click here.)

If tinkering appeals to you, on our shelves you'll find books like 62 Projects to Make With a Dead Computer by Randy Sarafan [YA 745.5 SAR] or Electronic Sensors for the Evil Genius by Thomas Petruzzellis [621.389 PET]. Look for other books in the "Evil Genius" series, too; we have at least nine titles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Math Anxiety

Education Week recently posted an article titled, "Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety."

Many people, including myself, suffer from math anxiety. I'm old, and my anxiety developed long, long, ago, but, kids should no longer be subject to math anxiety with the increased interest and research in math education over the past few decades. It seems to me that the emphasis on testing, if it raises problems with math (and other testing) anxiety, may need to be reexamined.

Two books dealing with the subject of educational testing are The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch [379.73 RAV] and The Assessment Debate: A Reference Handbook by Valerie J. Janesick [371.26 JAN].

On the subject of math anxiety, we have Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias [370.15 TOB]. And for a slightly skewed look at the subject, in our children's room you'll find Math Curse by John Scieszka [JP SCI].

Monday, October 15, 2012

Escaping the Stuff

Each week another person I know tells me that he/she is "downsizing." Downsizing in most cases means getting rid of STUFF! If you've been thinking about clearing out some of your superfluous possessions, you may want to start by viewing this TED talk:

When you're ready to start removing/recycling/repurposing/regifting/reorganizing, start at the library with one of these:

Blanke, Gail. Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life. [648.5 BLA]

Cronstrom, Kendell. Real Simple: The Organized Home. [747 CRO]

Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff: The Q.U.I.C.K. Way to Bring Lasting Order to Household Chaos. [648 CUT]

Home Made Simple: Fresh Ideas to Make Your Own
. [640 HOM]

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poetry Friday--Madly Singing

Browsing the shelves I came upon this book edited by Czeslaw Milosz, A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry [808.81 BOO]. There are several reasons why I like it: 1. all the poems are relatively short; 2. it gets away from the Euro-centric view of poetry; 3. the collection spans at least a thousand years; 4. Milosz introduces each poem with a brief note of explanation.

Here's a poem by Po Chü-I, who lived 772-846. It was translated from the Chinese by Arthur Waley.
Madly Singing in the Mountains

There is no one among men that has not a special failing;
And my failing consists of writing verses.
I have broken away from the thousand ties of life;
But this infirmity still remains behind.
Each time that I look at a fine landscape,
Each time that I meet a loved friend,
I raise my voice and recite a stanza of poetry
And marvel as though a God had crossed my path.
Ever since the day I was banished to Hsün-yang
Half my time I have lived among the hills
And often, when I have finished a new poem,
Alone I climb the road to the Eastern Rock.
I lean my body on the banks of white Stone;
I pull down with my hands a green cassia branch.
My mad singing startles the valleys and hills;
The apes and birds all come to peep.
Fearing to become a laughing-stock to the world,
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men.
Stop by Teaching Young Writers for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Have a lovely weekend!

Hiroshige woodcut print courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SNL is 37!

Saturday Night Live premiered on this date in 1975. It originally was titled NBC's Saturday Night.

It's hard to believe that the show has been around for 37 years! That makes the 25th anniversary video, SNL 25 [DVD SAT] 12 years old, but it's definitely still worth watching, as is Saturday Night Live: The Best of Steve Martin [DVD SAT].

Here's a classic SNL sketch (warning: not for kids); Robert DeNiro is awesome!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Timelapse Transformation

Timelapse photography is an amazing tool to see progress being made on something which you may not have been able otherwise to witness. We've all seen the short films showing the growth of plants, or the progression of a day, but, I bet you've never seen the transformation of an art gallery. Now you can:

The Grand European Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts is open for your enjoyment. The Nesmith Library has a museum pass to the MFA that makes it less expensive to visit the museum on your own or with your family. To learn more, click on our website's museum page.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Happy Birthday to Zoo...

Last Thursday, October 4, was the 100th birthday of the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. The park and zoo were planned by Frederick Law Olmsted who also was responsible for Central Park in New York City.

Why not celebrate this milestone by visiting the Franklin Park Zoo using one of the Library's museum passes. Start here and click on "Museums" and then "Zoo New England."

You may also want to read James Patterson's new book titled Zoo [F PAT or AB/CD PAT]. It's a thriller, so don't read it expecting a nice animal/human interest story like We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee [B MEE, AB/CD B MEE, or DVD WE]!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day, which celebrates Columbus's first trip to the "new world." Columbus made several trips after 1492, and his second trip is the subject of a surprising picture book, All Pigs on Deck: Christopher Columbus's Second Marvelous Voyage by Laura Fischetto [JP FIS].

The Library is closed today for the Columbus Day holiday. We will re-open tomorrow at 9:00 AM, see you then!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Tell Me a Story"

Here's a fine poem by Robert Penn Warren from Selected Poems 1923-1975 [811 WAR]:
Tell Me a Story

        [ A ]

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward.

        [ B ]

Tell me a story.

In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.

Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.

The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.

Tell me a story of deep delight.

It's almost perfect for this first week in October except that the geese are heading in the opposite direction. No matter, the heart still feels the same.

Today the Round-Up is being hosted by my friend Laura Salas. Stop by and say "hello."

Photo by Simmo1024.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Scientific Inquiry--For Preschoolers?

Scientific inquiry, or, as it's known to parents, curiosity, was the subject of a recent New York Times article, "Scientific Inquiry Among the Preschool Set."

To summarize, it seems that allowing children to play without adult interference might be the best thing one can do to develop scientific inquiry in a child. The work of childhood is play! Parents need to keep this in mind when scheduling activities for their children. Too much adult directed activity may actually inhibit learning.

To learn more about the importance of play, look for Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn--And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek [305.231 HIR] or The Secret of Play: How to Raise Smart, Healthy, Caring Kids from Birth to Age 12 by Ann Pleshette Murphy [649.1 MUR].

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


'Tis the season for ghosties and ghoulies! Before Twilight, and the proliferation of vampire fiction, ghosts ruled. They're still fairly popular, probably because most people can be convinced that ghosts really exist.

We have a ghost book for every age and every reading interest in our collection:

Blackwood, Gary L. Spooky Spectres. [J 133.1 BLA]

Bodine, Echo L. Relax, It's Only a Ghost: My Adventures With Spirits, Hauntings and Things That Go Bump in the Night. [133.1 BOD]

Bohjalian, Chris. The Night Strangers. [F BOH]

Cohen, Daniel. The Restless Dead: Ghostly Tales From Around the World. [J SC COH]

Crewe, Megan. Give Up the Ghost. [YA CRE]

Funke, Cornelia Carolina. Ghost Knight. [J FUN]

Graham-Barber, Lynda. Say Boo! [BB GRA]

Guiley, Rosemary. The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits. [133.1 GUI]

Kehret, Peg. The Ghost's Grave. [J KEH]

LaRochelle, David. The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories. [JP LAR]

The Mammoth Book of Twentieth Century Ghost Stories. [SC MAM]

Miller, Margaret. My First Ghost. [JP MIL]

Moore, Mark. Spooky Sillies: A Book of Ghost Jokes. [J 818 MOO]

Schwartz, Alvin. Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore. [E SCH]

We have a number of ghost DVDs, too, including Ghost starring Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swazey [DVD SWA].

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Guinness World Records

The Chicago Tribune ran an interesting article last week titled, "Guinness Records Not What They Once Were: Why Is Simultaneous Head-Shaving a Category?"

The article speaks about the proliferation (in the writer's opinion) of less-than-serious record categories, such as "most Twinkies eaten in a minute." A Guinness spokesman, Stuart Claxton explained, 'We try to make sure the book is always a reflection of the year and the times that we live in.'

Guinness gets "about 50,000 inquiries on potential records each year, only a small percentage of which are ultimately approved."

The Guinness World Records books are very popular here at the library, and we generally buy two copies each year, one for the adult section and one for the children's section [031 GUI and J 031 GUI]. The children's copies are almost always out!

The 2013 edition, which just came out, should be arriving here at Nesmith in the near future.

Guinness World Records has its own channel on YouTube where you can watch videos of various world record attempts.

Monday, October 01, 2012

It's Banned Books Week!

This is the 30th year that the American Library Association is celebrating "Banned Books Week."

Some may question why we would want to highlight books that someone decides are not appropriate for children, teens, and/or adults. After all, the books may mention sex, be irreverent, or otherwise make people uncomfortable.

In America we do not infringe upon the rights of others to read books of their choosing. We have a Constitution that protects us. So, in essence, by celebrating "Banned Books Week" we are celebrating being American and all that America stands for!

Here's Bill Moyers to explain more:

If you take a look at any list of books that have been banned or challenged, you may find some that surprise you. It gives credence to the expression, "There's something in my library to offend everyone!" How great is that?

Graphic reprinted by permission of the American Library Association.