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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Library is closed today to celebrate Thanksgiving. We will also be closed tomorrow, but we will be open as usual on Saturday and Sunday.

This short film is from 1951. It is about as corny as can be, but I think it still has value. I hope you watch through to at least 6:58, when you may be surprised at the blessing mentioned there!

Have a safe and happy day! And to all our Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah, too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Greens Time!

Within the next few weeks front doors and walls will be sprouting a variety of holiday wreaths. You could purchase one yourself, or, you can embark upon a crafty adventure and make your own. The after-Thanksgiving weekend, if you're not out shopping, would be a great time to begin.

There are all kinds of wreaths, and instructions for constructing them, found in the pages of these books:

Smith, Ed. Making Classic Wreaths: Designing & Creating for All Occasions. [745.923 SMI]

Stewart, Martha. Great American Wreaths: The Best of Martha Stewart Living. [745.92 STE]

Veevers-Carter, Ming. Festive Decorations: Over 80 Decorative Ideas for Flowers, Wreaths, and Trees. [745.92 VEE]

We have plenty more on our shelves in the 745.92 section. If you're really good with your hands, and you don't want to venture outdoors to cut greens and other natural materials, we even have books that will show you how to make origami wreaths! One such book is Origami for Christmas by Chiyo Araki [736.982 ARA].

Photo courtesy NH Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The photo illustrates the "Adopt a Forevergreen" educational program.

It might also be a good weekend to look for a Christmas tree. There are numerous places around New Hampshire where you can cut your own.

I noticed that the Hallmark Channel has a new Christmas movie this year that revolves around a tree seller, it's called, appropriately enough, Fir Crazy. You might want to look for it when checking your tv listings, or preview it by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sojouner Truth

On this day in 1883, the abolitionist and woman's rights advocate, Sojouner Truth, passed away. She was about 86 years old--the exact date of her birth is unknown, but probably occurred about 1797.

Her long life was marred by slavery and abuse, but it also had its triumphs. It is a difficult enough story for adults to read, but imagine trying to relate the circumstances of her life to children. Surprisingly, we have three highly-illustrated biographies in our children's room collection [J B TRU]!

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Sojourner Truth.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride.

Rockwell, Anne F. Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth.

About an hour and a half drive from here, in Florence, MA, is one of the homes where Truth lived, and where a statue has been erected in her memory. Here is a short video about the site:


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Countdown!

Today is November 25 and Christmas is a month away!

If you're the type to make gifts for family and friends, and you like to knit, then it's not too late. Here are a few books we added to our collection since last year--there's no need to worry about repeating your gifts!

Curtis, Alice. Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles. [3M ebook]

Epstein, Nicky. Knitting in Circles: 100 Circular Patterns for Sweaters, Bags, Hats, Afghans, and More. [746.432 EPS]

Meldrum, Carol. 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour Or Less? [746.432 MEL]

Startzman, Katie. The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes For the Entire Family. [746.432 STA]

There is also a gazillion of patterns available online. One place to browse is AllFreeKnitting.com, where you can find a pattern for a gift card holder in case a knitted sweater or a pair of socks doesn't get beyond the planning stage!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Cat: Thanksgiving"

Thanksgiving Poems selected by Myra Cohn Livingston and illustrated by Stephen Gammell [J 808.81 THA] has been on our shelves for 28 Thanksgivings and is still going strong! Of course, one of my favorites from this collection is about a cat, and was written by one of the great children's poets, Valerie Worth. I posted it for Thanksgiving in 2010, but a good poem is worth a second or third or fourth read, so I'm sharing it again.

Cat: Thanksgiving

Now, in lean November,
The silent houses
Huddle in despair,
Every front porch
Forlorn, abandoned to
Its mailbox and its mat--
A patch of cold brown
Stubble, uncomfortable
Even to the cat;

But we, indoors,
Have company and clamor,
Fruitfulness and fire,
Luxury to spare--
So that when she
Runs in, complaining,
We offer her our laps,
And stroke her chilly fur,
And feed her turkey-scraps.

The illustration accompanies the poem in the book. Gammell has certainly got the cat "attitude" down pat!

The Library will be closed next Friday, so there will be no Poetry Friday at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet.

Today, head over to Write. Sketch. Repeat. for the pre-holiday Round-Up.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving--with plenty of turkey-scraps for all (or faux turkey if you're so inclined).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where Were You When?

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. It was one of those historical moments that always results in people telling you where they were when they heard the news. I was on the bus going home from junior high when the news made its way through the crowd. Most of us, didn't believe it, but, unfortunately it was true, and we spent many days thereafter, glued to our television sets.

Since half a century has gone by, and this is a big anniversary, we could have expected a rash of new books to be released on the topic. We were not disappointed. Here are a few that we've added to our collection in 2013:

Dallek, Robert. Camelot's Court Inside the Kennedy White House. [3M ebook]

Greenfield, Jeff. If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History. [973.922 GRE]

Shenon, Philip. A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination. [973.922 SHE]

Swanson, James L. "The President Has Been Shot!": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. [YA 973.922 SWA]

PBS Digital Studios, with Blank on Blank, have released this animated interview with Grace Kelly remembering JFK.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Monster Was Harmed in the Making...

The second "Hunger Games" series book to be released as a film is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins [YA COL]. It opens in local theaters tomorrow!

Put your name on the list for the book now, because if you haven't read it yet, you may have a long wait after the film opens!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

150 Years Ago

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave his stirring Gettysburg Address.

There are no pictures of Lincoln giving the speech, but there are pictures of the crowd taken that day. Here's the famous Bachrach photo:

I've cropped the photo to pinpoint Lincoln's location. He's hatless and wearing a sash. I believe his son, Tad, is the boy standing next to him. Tad often dressed in a uniform.

There's another photo here.

Documentary film maker, Ken Burns, has initiated a "Learn the Address" project in which he is collecting videos of Americans reciting the Gettysburg Address. People from all walks of life are participating, and so can you. Learn how here.

Here's mix video to inspire you:

We have these books on the Gettysburg Address, two for adults and one for kids:

Boritt, G. S. The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows. [973.7349 BOR]

Lincoln, Abraham. The Gettysburg Address. Illustrated by Michael McCurdy. [J 973.7 LIN]

Wills, Garry. Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America. [973.7 WIL]

As with any historical event, a certain mythological status has been given to the event. Read about it here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Prince Achmed

What is reportedly the oldest surviving animated film, "Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed" (English title: "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"), is a 1926 German animated fairytale by Lotte Reiniger and Carl Koch. The video is over an hour long, but, even if you don't watch it all, you'll still be amazed by the film maker's use of shadow puppetry. The soundtrack music is suitably menacing, too!

We've certainly come a long way from Prince Achmed to today's computer animated blockbusters. And, the future is still wide open! If you'd like to become a part of the future animation movement, check out this book: So You Want to work in Animation & Special Effects? by Torene Svitil. We look forward to seeing your next film!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Poetry Friday--Words with Wings

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes [J GRI] is a slender novel in verse that packs a wallop of a punch. It's the story of a girl, Gabby, whose family is torn apart by divorce. The divorce results in a move, a change of school, and emotional turmoil for Gabby.

Gabby's defining characteristic is her daydreaming. Random words set her mind off, but, not everyone understands the power or need for daydreams.
First Day

I duck down in the seat
of my new class.
To these kids,
I'm not Gabby yet.
I'm just Shy Girl
Who Lives
Inside Her Head.
No one even knock
on the door
for a visit.
They don't know
it's beautiful
in here.
Observant readers will pick up on the fact that Gabbie's word-inspired daydreams appear in a different font.

Say "spring,"
and I am bouncing
on the balls of my feet
in a field of wildflowers
while April showers
tickle me
till I am slippery
as a snake
and soaked straight through.
It's a great little book for classroom use or to give to a child who may be going through some rough times.

By the way, The Atlantic recently posted an article called, "Teach Kids to Daydream" by Jessica Lahey. "Mental downtime makes people more creative and less anxious." It's worth reading!

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week, head over to Jama's Alphabet Soup!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Think Pink

The color pink has long been associated with baby girls. It has more recently been co-opted by the breast cancer community with their pink ribbon campaign. Pink is the subject of an interdisciplinary exhibit that opened last month at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:
The fascinating exhibition "Think Pink" explores the history and changing meanings of the color as its popularity ebbed and flowed in fashion and visual culture from the 18th century to the present day. An interdisciplinary show drawing from across the MFA collections, “Think Pink” juxtaposes clothing, accessories, graphic illustrations, jewelry, and paintings to shed light on changes in style; the evolution of pink for girls, blue for boys; and advances in color technology.
I want to remind everyone that the Library has a pass to the MFA, which was provided by the Friends of the Library of Windham. It can be reserved online or by calling/visiting the Library.

Doll's dress in two parts (dress), late 18th century. Silk taffeta. The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection. Courtesy the MFA.

You may know of someone with a pink obsession. If that someone is between the ages 4 to 6, look for one of these decidedly pink picture books:

Doerrfeld, Cori. Penny Loves Pink. [JP DOE]

Gregory, Nan. Pink. [JP GRE]

Harper, Charise Mericle. Pink Me Up. [JP HAR]

Kann, Victoria. Pinkalicious. [JP KAN]

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Going Solar--Again

In 1986, the solar panels that President Jimmy Carter had installed at the White House were ordered to be removed by then-President Ronald Reagan. Carter, added the panels in 1979 due to the energy "crisis" created by the Arab oil embargo.

Fast forward to 2010--President Barack Obama pledges that the White House new solar panels are will be installed. They finally made their appearance in August.

To learn more about solar energy, look for Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun [DVD 333.7923 SAV], a Nova documentary produced by WGBH in Boston. We also have books on the subject, look in the 621.47 section.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave, based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup [B NOR, also available as an ebook], is now appearing in local theaters. If somehow you missed hearing about the film, here's the trailer:

There are several books in our collection that contain the writings of those who endured the life of a slave:

Blight, David W. A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom: Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation. [973.7115 BLI]

Douglass, Frederick. Autobiographies. [B DOU]

Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself. [B JAC]

McKissack, Pat. Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. [J 973.7 MCK]

Ward, Andrew. The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves. [973.711 WAR]

Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery. [B WAS]

Monday, November 11, 2013

Today is Veterans' Day

The Library will be closed to observe the holiday. We'll be back here tomorrow at 9:00 AM.

I watched a documentary on PBS on Saturday called We Served Too: The Story of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. It told the story of the women who served in World War II as WASPs. The WASPs were dismissed in 1944 and virtually forgotten until finally being awarded military status in the 1970s. The remaining women, and the families of those who have passed away, received the Congressional Gold Medal in July 2009. Here's a short radio story from 2009.

To learn more about the WASP, watch this short video, or visit the WASP Museum site. Look for these books in our adult collection American Women Pilots of World War II by Karen J. Donnelly [940.544 DON] or Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines: The Unknown Heroines of World War II by Sally Van Wagenen Keil [940.54 KEI]. Or, in our children's room, Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II by Amy Nathan [J 940.54 NAT].

One of the founders of the WASP was Nancy Harkness Love, she is profiled in the collected biography, Women of the Bay State: 25 Massachusetts Women You Should Know [J 920 WOM] also found in our children's collection.

The women who served as WASPs are veterans, so please keep them in your thoughts today.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Poetry Friday--"How to Find a Poem"

Just a drive-by post for today. One short poem about finding a poem.
How to Find a Poem
by Joyce Sidman

Wake with a dream-filled head.
Stumble out into the morning,
barely aware of how the sun
is laying down strips of silver
after three days’ rain,
of how the puddles
are singing with green.
Look up, startled
at the crackle of something large
moving through the underbrush.
Your pulse jumping,
gaze into its beautiful face.
The wary doe’s body,
the soft flames of ears.
As it bounds away,
listen to the rhythm
of your own heart’s disquiet.
Burn into memory
the white flag of its parting.
Before you return
to house and habit,
cast your eyes into the shadows,
where others stand waiting
on delicate hooves.

From What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings. [J 811.54 SID]
You'll find plenty of poems at the Poetry Friday Round-Up, which is being held at Random Noodling. Stop by.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

It's NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Each year, the month of November sees a flurry of writers working on the next Great American Novel. Officially, a writer is supposed to complete a novel of 50,000 words by the end of the month (that's 1,667 words a day). Many people use the month to put their butts in a chair and to just get started!

We have at least one Nesmith Library staff person working on her novel, but not on work time! However, if she, or anyone else wanted to come to the Library to work, we have plenty of table space, some quiet study rooms, and WiFi!

There are writing-related books on the end panels in the nonfiction section of the library. Titles such as these are on display:

Bauer, Marion Dane. What's your story?: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction. [YA 808.31 BAU]

Berg, Elizabeth. Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True. [808 BER]

Frey, James N. How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling. [808.3 FRE]

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. [808.02 LAM]

Rozakis, Laurie. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Writing. [808 ROZ]

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Blogoversary and the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2013

Today is the 7th blogoversary of Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet! That's right, the blog has been going strong since this day in 2006! This post brings the total number to 1,772! The great thing about a library blog is that there's always something to write about--the world is an interesting place and books continue to be published! Today we'll look at illustrated books.

Last week, The New York Times issued its annual list of "Best Illustrated Children's Books".

Here are the ten titles. Illustrators are listed, if the author is not also illustrator, and the call numbers of those we have in our collection are included.
Becker, Aaron. Journey. [JP BEC]

Blexbolex. Ballad.

Britt, Fanny. Jane, the Fox and Me (illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault).

Dematons, Charlotte. Holland.

Floca, Brian. Locomotive. [JP FLO]

Nelson, Kadir. Nelson Mandela. [J B MAN]

Sendak, Maurice. My Brother’s Book. [808 SEN]

Snicket, Lemony. The Dark, (illustrated by Jon Klassen). [JP SNI]

Uman, Jennifer and Valerio Vidali. Jemmy Button.

Ungerer, Tomi. Fog Island. [JP UNG]
Not all the titles listed each year on the NY Times' list are necessarily ones that appeal to kids, but, for those interested in art, they may be worth looking at!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

It's Here!

Today's November 5 and the new "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series book by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, is here! Hard Luck is number 8 in this wildly popular series. We have the first seven books, plus audiobook versions, plus three movie versions! You may want to check them out to see what the younger generation is reading and watching.

Author, Jeff Kinney, was recently interviewed by School Library Journal, click here.

Monday, November 04, 2013

November Is...

Of course, the first thing you think of when November is mentioned is Thanksgiving, but, did you know that November is also World Vegan Month! It seems an odd choice of months to Americans because of our holiday, which is based around THE ROAST TURKEY, but, it's World Vegan Month, and when all is said and done, America is only a small part of the world!

What exactly is vegan? The World English Dictionary defines the word this way: “a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose.“

So, say you want to try to eat vegan this month. How do you get started? By coming to the Library and looking for one of these:

Kramer, Sarah. La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin' Made Easy. [641.5636 KRA ]

Moskowitz, Isa Chandra. Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. [641.5636 MOS]

Moskowitz, Isa Chandra. Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock. [641.5636 MOS]

Rau, Dana Meachen. Going Vegan: A Healthy Guide to Making the Switch. [J 613.262 RAU]

There are dozens more titles available through our GMILCS consortium. When you do a search in our catalog on "vegan," pick "All GMILCS Libraries" from the "Limit by" drop-down menu. If the book is not checked out, the book can be delivered to the Nesmith Library in a matter of days.

If you don't want to go totally vegan, look into VB6: Eat Vegan before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health...for Good by Mark Bittman. Five GMILCS libraries own the title in book format, we have it as a 3M ebook.

Or, you can simply try veganism for a week or two and see what happens.

Happy November!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Poetry Friday--Dog Songs

Kurious Kitty doesn't make it a habit of suggesting books about dogs, but I'll make an exception for this new book of poetry by Mary Oliver, Dog Songs: Thirty-Five Dog Songs and One Essay [811.54 OLI]. From the jacket copy:
Oliver's poems begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers, but through her extraordinary vision these observations become higher meditations on the world and our place in it.
I love it when a poet celebrates the "small everyday moments," and Oliver does it so well as seen in this poem:
The Dog Has Run Off Again (Benjamin)

and I should start shouting his name
and clapping my hands,
but it has been raining all night
and the narrow creek has risen
is a tawny turbulence is rushing along
over the mossy stones
is surging forward
with a sweet loopy music
and therefore I don’t want to entangle it
with my own voice
calling summoning
my little dog to hurry back
look, the sunlight and the shadows are chasing each other
listen how the wind swirls and leaps and dives up and down
who am I to summon his hard and happy body
his four white feet that love to wheel and pedal
through the dark leaves
to come back to walk by my side, obedient.
It's one of those poems that make you stop, take a deep breath and say, "Nice..."

TeacherDance is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Next week I won't be here for P.F. since I'm taking the day off to play Round-Up host at my personal blog!