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Friday, June 28, 2013

Poetry Friday

Next Thursday we will be closed for the 4th of July holiday as will every other library in the United States, it's one of two days that all Americans celebrate regardless of race, religion, or national origin.

The holiday is marked by parades, picnics, and pyrotechnic displays.
A Rocket in My Pocket
by Anonymous

I've got a rocket
In my pocket;
I cannot stop to play.
Away it goes!
I've burned my toes.
It's Independence Day.

found in The Random House Book of Children's Poetry, selected by Jack Prelutsky [J 811.008 RAN]
This poem actually makes me cringe, and I wonder at its inclusion in the anthology. The book was published in 1983, which was a whole different world ago, and things that were acceptable then, are no longer so. There are some changes that are definitely for the better--taking fireworks out of the hands of kids is definitely one of them!

And speaking about changing standards of acceptability, imagine sending a postcard like this today:

Or this one:

I doubt that either one of those would have been sent in 1983, and today, you'd probably get arrested!

Over at The Poem Farm, Amy will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Postcards courtesy riptheskull.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Young Writers

Every once in a while I get a question from a parent who wants to know where his/her child can get published. I generally suggest Highlights for Children [J MAG HIG], and Cricket magazine [J MAG CRI] (and the other related "bug" magazines), but after that, I don't have many other suggestions.

I am very pleased to find a place for young writers that lists magazines, contests, and more, for young writers under the age of 18. The lists are compiled by WNY Young Writers' Studio, an organization in New York, that actively promotes writing by kids. WNY Young Writers' Studio has assembled the lists into a "binder" that is free for any child. What an admirable idea!

In New Hampshire we have an active organization for adult writers called the New Hampshire Writers Project. Parents may wish to contact the people at NHWP to ask if they are planning any events suitable for kids.

Summer is a good time for young people to practice their writing, as well as their reading skills!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Three Rs

"Recycle, Reuse, and Repurpose" is the cry of those who are looking to live responsibly--with an eye toward frugality as well as sustainability.

Many young people are turning to thrift stores to make fashion statements. They also find creative ways of using old fabrics, jewelry, etc. Last weekend I came across an online tutorial that shows how to cut a tee-shirt into one continuous strip of cloth that can then be knit or crocheted into a drawstring bag (or anything else). Click here to see it. A little ingenuity goes a long way!

If you browse our nonfiction section, you'll find titles such as these:

Alvarado, Melissa. Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads into Street Couture. [YA 646.34 ALV]

Beck, Susan Parker. Great Clothing from Sweatshirts, T-Shirts & Denim. [646.4 BEC]

Drew, Sarah. Junk Box Jewelry: 25 DIY Low Cost (Or No Cost) Jewelry Projects. [YA 739.27 DRE]

Ffrench, Crispina. The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-Kind Creations from Recycled Sweaters. [746 FFR]

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Butterflies, Part 2

Today, I have a bit more on butterflies. (If you missed yesterday's post, click here.)

Since the kids are now out of school, you'll need a way to keep them occupies besides the television or other electronic device. I'd recommend a visit to The Children's Butterfly Site.
Originally developed by renowned lepidopterist Paul A. Opler in conjunction with the Fort Collins Science Center. This project is based upon work previously supported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program. Today, the Children's Butterfly Site is now a project of the Butterfly and Moth Information Network. Funding support comes from advertisers.
There is not a lot of advertising, so I think it's worth a visit to see what's there.

One of the things you will find is a page of coloring sheets that deal with the life cycle of the Monarch. After reading and coloring, head outdoors to look for Monarchs, milkweed, and caterpillars. Later in the summer, you may come upon a chrysalis.

If you want to see more live butterflies, rather than looking at them in a book or online, plan a trip to The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA. It's only about a half-hour away! (Speaking of trips to area attractions, don't forget the Nesmith Library has a Pinterest account, and we have a board called, "Travel Close to Home," with close to 100 locations posted.)

I'm not saying, though, that looking at a book of butterflies isn't a good idea. It is! One could get lost for hours in a book such as Butterflies and Moths by David J. Carter [595.78 CAR]. Or, a film such as Eyewitness Butterfly & Moth [J DVD 595.78 EYE] can give you an up-close view that you couldn't possibly get without the aid of a camera.

The North American Butterfly Association sponsors a yearly butterfly count, which happens in early July. In our area there are counts taking place in Baker Ponds, New Hampshire and North Essex County, Massachusetts (see the map here). Or, you and your kids can plan an unofficial count right here in Windham. Stop by the library and count the butterflies in our garden!

Photo by Leeks & Bounds.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Today's post is just a mish-mash of butterfly related things. And why not--it is summer and our butterfly garden is in full bloom!

For planting your own butterfly garden, look for a book such as Donald W. Stokes' The Butterfly Book: An Easy Guide to Butterfly Gardening, Identification, and Behavior [595.78 STO].

This photo, while not of real butterflies, is just plain amazing! It's the Butterfly Nebula!

Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

It is one of the daily NASA images I get sent to my inbox each day. You can sign-up for the service here.

The photo below comes from IngridDikikers.com and doesn't need much explanation!

This would make a fun project for a rainy summer day. Put together a book of butterflies, then fill the pages with short butterfly poems. There's a book of butterfly poems in our children's room titled The Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings by Avis Harley [J 811 HAR].

Remembering the days when the book itself was a work of art, writer Beth Carswell introduces us to "25 Beautiful Butterfly Books." Visit the page, they really are spectacular!

If you need a quick introduction to butterflies and moths, North Carolina State University has a nice page on Lepidoptera here.

That's it for now, maybe there will be more another day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Poetry Friday--Charles Wright

Charles Wright is a prolific American poet of more than twenty collections. Some of his more recent work is included in Bye-And-Bye: Selected Late Poems [811.54 WRI], which was published in 2011.

For the first day of summer, I've selected a poem from Bye-And-Bye:
"It's Sweet To Be Remembered"

No one's remembered much longer than a rock
                                                  is remembered beside the road

If he's lucky or
Some tune or harsh word
                                    uttered in childhood or back in the day.

Still how nice to imagine some kid someday
                           picking that rock up and holding it in his hand
Briefly before he chucks it
Deep in the woods in a sunny spot in the tall grass.

You'll find the first Poetry Friday Round-Up of the summer at Carol's Corner--stop by and visit for a while.

Photo by solidaster.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Margaret Mitchell

One of our recent additions to our DVD collection is the PBS "American Masters" series episode, Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel [DVD B MIT]. I watched the documentary the other day and I was quite impressed by Margaret Mitchell and her accomplishments, not the least of which was the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With the Wind [F MIT].
After the movie of the same name was released [DVD GON], Mitchell became doubly famous.

If you're like me, you've never heard of the philanthropic work Mitchell did. What a difference her work made in the lives of many. I'm intentionally not mentioning what it is she did so that you'll be curious enough to borrow the film!

You may want to go back and reread, or rewatch, Gone With the Wind. The book has been in print continuously since 1936 and over the years, more than 30 million copies have been printed!

The book also inspired several other works of fiction including Alexandra Ripley's Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind / [F RIP], which was officially authorized by Mitchell's estate.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Garfield!

On this day in 1978, the fat cat cartoon character, Garfield, created by Jim Davis, first appeared. Garfield books are a perennial favorite in our children's room and we have several dozen for kids to work their way through. They all have clever titles such as Garfield: Older & Wider and Garfield Lard of the Jungle, and, they're all found in J 741.5 DAV.

We also own The Garfield Movie [J DVD GAR], as well as several other Garfield DVDs. Garfield has his own television program, The Garfield Show, and need I mention, his own Facebook page!

And now for something a little different--Garfield in Italian! Slapstick needs no translation!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Say Cheese!

Take a look at this infographic:

It's probably more than you ever wanted to know about cheese, but aren't you glad there are so many varieties to choose from?

To explore more about cheese, look for The Cheese Companion: The Connoisseur's Guide by Judy Ridgway [641.373 RID] or Immortal Milk: Adventures In Cheese by Eric Charles LeMay [641.373 LEM]. And, if you'd like to try your hand at making cheese, we have Cheesemaking by Rita Ash [637.3 ASH].

I would be remiss is I didn't mention the most famous cheese lover of all--Wallace, of the Wallace & Gromit films. I love when he says "cheese" in A Grand Day Out. A Grand Day Out is found in Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection [DVD WAL].

Monday, June 17, 2013

Princess Di--Coming to a Theater Near You

Although she's been gone since 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, remains a person of extreme interest. Now, actress Naomi Watts, is appearing in a biopic called Diana. IMDb lists the British release date at September 20, 2013, but no date for the U.S. release. Here's the trailer for the film:

Our shelves still have many books on the life of Diana, so if you want to review her life before seeing the film, look in our adult [B DIA] and children's [J B DIA] biography sections. We even have two fictionalized versions of Diana's life and death in Untold Story: A Novel by Monici Ali [F ALI] and The Accident Man: A Novel by Tom Cain [F CAI].

Friday, June 14, 2013

Poetry Friday--Happy Flag Day!

President Woodrow Wilson, Flag Day 1915. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Happy Flag Day! (In case you need a little background on Flag Day, click here.)

The flag has been celebrated over the years with a lot of pretty bad verse. However, the thought, rather than the execution, should be what counts. Here's an example of one such poem; I would describe it as a bit "overwrought":
from "The American Flag"
by Joseph Rodman Drake


Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high!
When speaks the signal-trumpet tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on,
(Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimmed the glist'ning bayonet),
Each soldier's eye shall brightly turn
To where thy meteor-glories burn,
And, as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance!
And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle-shroud,
And gory sabres rise and fall,
Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall!
There shall thy victor-glances glow,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath,
Each gallant arm that strikes below,
The lovely messenger of death.


found in Poems of American Patriotism, chosen by Brander Matthews, (C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920).
Caroline Kennedy has several anthologies, including A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love [810.8 PAT]. The whole first section of the book is devoted to the flag, and includes this song by the Grateful Dead (probably the polar opposite of the poem above):
U. S. Blues

Red and white, blue suede shoes, I'm Uncle Same, how do you do?
Gimme five, I'm still alive, ain't no luck, I learned to duck.
Check my pulse, it don't change. Stay seventy-two come shine or rain.
Wave the flag, pop the bag, rock the boat, skin the goat.
Wave that flag, wave it wide and high.
Summertime done, come and gone, my, oh, my.

Note: there are two more stanzas, so please borrow the book to read the rest, or, hear it sung in the following:

Visit Reflections on the Teche to take part in this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up and have a great Flag Day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

...And They Lived Happily Ever After!

Here's a little video I thought you might enjoy:

We have several of Cynthia Riggs' mysteries in our collection, all of which seem to have a flower or shrub in the title. Here are two: The Cemetery Yew and The Paperwhite Narcissus. If you get hooked on Riggs' Martha's Vineyard series, there are even more titles available through GMILCS.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reader Reviews

Have you ever been on one of the online bookselling sites and read a reader review that leaves you scratching your head with a "say what?"

Some enterprising individual took the time to collect a few reviews and posted them on a blog called Love Reading, Hate Books. The "About" page rather succinctly states, "It’s just not that great to me." That appears to be the opinion of most of the reviewers.

The one review that most has me puzzled is on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird [F LEE].
The truth is I found this book so dull and uninspiring that I couldn’t finish it...

Wow! You have to wonder what would inspire such a reader!

I noticed that the blog only shows posting from January and February of this year. It's too bad, because I would have enjoyed reading a bit more!

Speaking of reviews, did you know you can add short reviews of titles in our online catalog? Just click on "Add a review" if there are no reviews already appearing, or, add an additional review by clicking on the review/s that are already there. You will need to set up a review account before proceeding, and, your review will not appear for 24 hours. (Don't be put off by the location being listed as Hooksett, I believe this is simply because we're part of the GMILCS consortium and that's where the main GMILCS location is located.)

Poster courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Classics That Won't Put You to Sleep

If they're classics, and you have to read them, then you would hope that they don't put you to sleep, but, Kirkus Reviews, a magazine that reviews new books, has put together a list of 10 classics that will keep you awake. What do you think about this list?

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart [F ACG].

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man [F ELL].

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender Is the Night [F FIT].

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies [F GOL].

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls [F HEM].

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God [F HUR].

Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [F KES]

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird [F LEE].

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind [F MIT].

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple [F WAL].

These books were all published within the last 80 years, which may account for their readability. Earlier classics tended to be long and full of tedious descriptive passages. What we forget is that when those books were written, people had limited experience outside of their own cities or towns. There was no television, radio, magazines, movies, or internet, and description was all necessary to set the scene.

The Kirkus list titles are all readily available here or through our GMILCS consortium so check them out!

Graphic courtesy Open Clip Art Library.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pressing Flowers

Did you ever press flowers between the pages of a book? Today we might do it as part of scrapbooking. In Emily Dickinson's time it was called making an herbarium. Slate.com recently had an article with photos of some of Dickinson's pressed flowers. I find it interesting that a woman who seemed so reclusive would earlier in life partake in a girlish trend. She wrote to a classmate:
Have you made an herbarium yet? I hope you will if you have not, it would be such a treasure to you; most all the girls are making one.
However, it seems perfectly suited to Dickinson's great interest in nature and flowers, which is evident in her poetry.

If you're interested in preserving flowers, look for The Encyclopaedia of Everlastings: The Complete Guide to Growing, Preserving, and Arranging Dried Flowers by Barbara Rogers [745.92 ROG].

Looking to artfully arrange your pressed flowers in a scrapbook? We have tons of scrapbooking books, such as an Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking on our shelves in the 745.593 section.

Finally, if you want to do some nature crafts with the kids, look for Nature's Art Box: From T-Shirts to Twig Baskets: 65 Cool Projects for Crafty Kids to Make With Natural Materials You Can Find Anywhere by Laura C. Martin [J 745.5 MAR].

Friday, June 07, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Note, Passed to Superman"

If you, like me, need a little lightness this week, then this poem by Lucille Clifton from "The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010" [811.54 CLI], should fit the bill.
note, passed to superman

sweet jesus, superman,
if i had seen you
dressed in your blue suit
i would have known you.
maybe that choirboy clark
can stand around
listening to stories
but not you, not with
metropolis to save
and every crook in town
filthy with kryptonite.
lord, man of steel,
i understand the cape,
the leggings, the whole
ball of wax.
you can trust me,
there is no planet stranger
than the one i'm from.

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up taking place today at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference. Have a great weekend!

Photo by Hysterical Mark.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Mighty Mind

How amazing was that? The mind is powerful, even if we can't just think our way to fit and slim! However, the power of the mind also has its downside as one can see in a new book by Daniel B. Smith titled Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety [616.8522 SMI, also AB/CD 616.8522 SMI].
Daniel Smith’s Monkey Mind is the stunning articulation of what it is like to live with anxiety. As he travels through anxiety’s demonic layers, Smith defangs the disorder with great humor and evocatively expresses its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Old-Fashioned Poster

Way before the age of the internet, and even before the time of radio, things were advertised by poster. If you're unfamiliar with posters from the late 19th century, then you must take an afternoon and visit the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester to see the current exhibit titled, "Poster Mania! Leisure, Romance and Adventure in 1890s America."

Graphic courtesy Currier Museum.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Currier is also holding a poster contest for adults (professional and amateur) and youth (K-12).
This competition is in collaboration with the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism and the Department of Cultural Resources, and focuses on New Hampshire's Tourism "Live Free and..." campaign.

The Library has a pass to the Currier Museum donated by the Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW). The money to pay for museum passes, performances for adults and children, and more, is raised each year at the Strawberry Festival and Book Fair. We hope you were able to attend last Saturday--it was a fabulous event!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


On this day in 1942 the U.S. was engaged in a major air and sea action again the Japanese. It became known as "The Battle of Midway." The battle lasted until June 6 and was a decisive victory for the Americans.

Of course, Hollywood had a hand in keeping the history alive when it recreated the battle in 1976, in a film starring Henry Fonda and Charlton Heston. Midway [DVD MID] is in our film collection, along with more than 75 other world War II films, both fictional and documentary. Browse our collection the next time you visit!

Monday, June 03, 2013

June is National Safety Month

Although safety should be first and foremost at all times of the year, it is good to be reminded every once in a while, so, June has been designated "National Safety Month" by the National Safety Council. The National Safety Council website has tons of information and resources on safety at home, in your car, at work, and elsewhere.

We have a nice collection of safety themed items for kids, many in the J 613.7 section. We also have several in the "Disney's Wild about Safety" series of DVDs [J DVD DIS]. These videos, which star Timon and Pumbaa, two cartoon characters from the film The Lion King [J DVD LIO], are appealing to younger kids. Disney has a Wild about Safety website for you to explore with the kids before you head off to Florida for a Disney vacation.

With teens, parents are usually concerned about driving safety or internet safety. Teens learning to drive might benefit from the video titled, Rules of the Road [DVD 629.28 RUL]. Those having an active presence online may find Living With the Internet written for a young adult audience by Samuel C. McQuade [YA 303.48 MCQ], to be informative. Frequently Asked Questions about Online Romance, by Ann Boger [YA 646.77 BOG], may be good for teens who are looking for love online, and thus making themselves available to cyber predators.

Just to add a little levity to the otherwise serious subject of safety, here's a video from 1937 all about the work of a "safety patrol" member. Back then, it was a job for men and boys only, but nowadays, we hope, all should be considered capable!

It's a hazardous world, but, with the right information, life can be made a little safer for you and your family.