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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celebrate History!

The old year is practically over, but there's a whole new year ahead. Something you can do as a family in 2016 is explore the multitude of historic offerings we have in our area.

One place to visit is the USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides." The Constitution is over 200 years old, and, is still capable of being sailed! It is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard, just north of Boston. One of the great things about the Constitution Museum is that it is admission by donation! So those with several children in tow will not have to face bankruptcy to go!

There's been a special exhibit of model ships at the museum that has been extended until March to allow you more of an opportunity to visit "Masters of Miniature."
The USS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild and the USS Constitution Museum present Masters of Miniature: The 37th Annual Model Ship Show. Exquisite ship models will be on display along with marine paintings by members of the American Society of Marine Artists. With over 50 handcrafted models of all sizes, types, and materials, you can explore the intricate art of model making as practiced today.

To read more about the USS Constitution, look for A Personal Tour of Old Ironsides by Robert Young [J 359.3 YOU].

The Library is closing today at noon and will be closed tomorrow, New Year's Day. We will be open regular weekend hours. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Traditions

Many cultures, and families, have New Year's traditions. What's yours? Some are as simple as leaving the front door open to welcome good luck. Others involve preparation of special meals. Still others involve religious observations.

To learn about meals created for New Year's, look in Holidays of the World Cookbook For Students by Lois Sinaiko Webb [641.568 WEB], or The World Religions Cookbook by Arno Schmidt and Paul Fieldhouse [641.59 SCH]. Within these cookbooks you'll find recipes for Osechi-Ryori (New Year's food) from Japan including O-zoni (New Year's soup), Kateh (golden rice cake) from Iran, Hagmanay bun (New Year's bun) from Scotland, and Bigos (Hunter's stew) from Poland.

You'll find plenty more recipes and traditions covered in cookbooks from individual countries. Come browse our shelves then have a Happy New Year!

Photo of Philadelphia's New Year's Mummer's parade by Carol M. Highsmith, Courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Break--Are You Ready to Break?

You need something to do with the kids before they drive you crazy, right? Here's where the Library comes in. You're familiar with our collections of DVDs and musical CDs, but did you also know we have children's books on CD? Everything from A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young & Now We Are Six [J AB/CD MIL] to Newbery Award winners such as Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech [J AB/CD CRE]. We have children's magazines like Ladybug [J MAG CRI] and Sports Illustrated for Kids [J MAG SPO].

And you know about our museum passes, right? If not, click here to get started. We have a pass to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center, and others with kid appeal.

Yes, we also have books. For this how-can-I-keep-them-busy week, you might find our children's crafts and activities titles to be of use. Here are a few:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trying To Think Like a Cat

Being a cat owner, I'm not sure that it's worth this classical musician's time to try to think like a cat.

Every time you believe you know what's going on in your cat's brain, she'll do the complete opposite. Maybe cats are psychic and are just out to get you?

Or maybe...cats are ALIENS? If you believe those who post videos on YouTube, that's exactly what they are. I typed in "cats are aliens" into the search box and got more than a dozen pages of results!

And, in our collection we have at least two cat vs. aliens books (Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner [JP WIE] and Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires [J CX SPI], but none on cat aliens. What's up with that?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Poetry Friday--Merry Christmas!

Here are a few illustrations from old editions of Clement C. Moore's classic poem, The Night before Christmas (also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas).

James G. Gregory, publisher, 1862. Illustrations from drawings by F. O. C. Darley.

L. Prang publisher, 1864.

Houghton Mifflin publisher, 1912. Illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith.

The Atlantic Monthly Press publisher, 1921.

Merry Christmas!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Live Your Poem.

The Library will be open again for business Saturday at 9:00 AM.

Old editions of The Night Before Christmas available to view at Open Library and the Project Gutenberg

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Letter from Santa

On NPR Saturday morning, Scott Simon read a letter Mark Twain wrote (as Santa) to his young daughter Susy. It is included here for you to enjoy!

To read more about Twain and his children, look for The Autobiography of Mark Twain (in three volumes, we have one and two [B TWA]. Volume three was recently released and should be arriving soon.

The Library closes today at noon and will reopen on Saturday at 9:00 AM for regular weekend hours. Have a safe and happy Christmas!

Photo of Susy Clemens courtesy the Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Memories

For those who have now grown up (in other words, everyone reading this), there are always memories from holidays that stick with one long into old age. Some people are lucky enough to be able write them down to share with others. Think Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" found in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories [F CAP, also in DVD CHR], or Jean Shepherd's memories that were turned into the classic movie, A Christmas Story [DVD CHR].

Christmas memories are also recreated specifically for children in stories such as Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant [JP], The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco [JP POL], and this one, of a memory which took place just down the road in Medford, MA:

I hope your memories of this Christmas inspire you for many years to come!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Seasonal Happenings

Today is the Winter Solstice--the shortest day and the longest night of the year. National Geographic has information and history of the Winter Solstice here.

Christmas Eve will see an asteroid zipping by our planet, and on Christmas Day, we'll be experiencing a full moon. NASA tells us a Christmas full moon will not happen again until 2034!

I'm sure Rudolph's red nose will enjoy the break afforded by the brightness of the moon (and an asteroid)! Come to the Library before Christmas Eve to once again enjoy the story of Rudolph's historic flight "one foggy Christmas Eve"--not that you'd ever have forgotten it! Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is found in many forms at the Library:

Animated version. [J DVD RUD] (Also found in The Original Christmas Classics [J DVD ORI].)

Easy Reader version. Adapted by Kristen L. Depken [E DEP].

Original author version by Robert L. May. We own several illustrated versions, all found under [JP MAY].
There is also, by the same author, Rudolph Shines Again [JP MAY], Rudolph's Second Christmas [JP MAY].

Song version. The most famous is probably by Gene Autry, which is found on The Ultimate Christmas Album [CD HOLIDAY ULT]. The Burl Ives version, from the video is found on Songs from the Christmas Classics: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ; Frosty the Snowman ; Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town; The Little Drummer Boy; and, Frosty Returns [CD CHILDREN SON]. There are many more versions found on additional holiday CDs by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Harry Connick, Jr., Raffi, Phil Spector, etc.

Don't forget that you and your little ones can track Santa's sleigh as it travels across the world, courtesy of NORAD.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Just Enough Time Left

I have a writer friend who works for the MSU extension service in Mississippi. She wrote the script for this video, and, it is rumored that she also plays an elf!

Well, it's the final days for Christmas gift-shopping. Cut down on your shopping by just going to the grocery store. There you can purchase Mason jars, some beans, flour, spices and you've got a bunch of hostess gifts or stocking stuffers.

On your way to the supermarket, stop by the Library and look for one of these to direct you in purchasing correct proportions!

Gifts in a Jar: Muffins & Breads, Recipes to Make Your Own Gifts. [641.815 GIF]

Gifts in a Jar For Kids: Recipes to Make Your Own Gifts. [641.815 GIF]

Parks, Lonnette. The Mason Jar Soup To Nuts Cookbook. [641.5 PAR]

Friday, December 18, 2015

Poetry Friday--Not Here!

Kurious Kitty is taking the day off to host the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Random Noodling. Please stop by!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just Because

Some days all you want to do is share animal videos. Today's that day!

Who isn't intrigued by a pink bird? Here's a whole flock of them dancing up a storm!

I'm surprised that there are so many books in our collection about flamingos! Most, however, are fantastical children's books like, Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper [JP HAR], Sylvie by Jennifer Gorton Sattler [JP SAT], or Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Schaar Idle [JP IDL].

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Songs in a Minor Key

I must say, my knowledge of the mechanics of music is limited at best. When someone says a song in a minor key, I go, "huh?"

A young musician, Chase Holfelder, has taken it upon himself to redo famous songs in minor keys. He records them and they are available on YouTube. It has been noted, by others who understand these things, that the change results in songs that take on a sad or eerie tone. This holiday season, the altered song I've been seeing on Facebook is "All I Want For Christmas Is You," by Mariah Carey. Here is Holfelder's version:

Here is Mariah Carey's "live" and livelier version:

I don't know about you, but I think if the tempo of the minor key version were speeded up somewhat, then the song would lose much of its creepiness. What do you think?

Many people love the original version, and, we have it available in the movie Love Actually [DVD LOV] and on Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas II You albums [both CD HOLIDAY CAR]. New this year is a picture book version illustrated by Colleen Madden [JP CAR].

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Keep a Box of Tissues Handy

Last week The Huffington Post published an article titled, "These Are The Best Movies To Watch When You Need An Ugly Cry."

We own most of the titles on the list, if you need an emotional release this holiday season.

A few of my favorite weepers don't appear on The Huffington Post's list, and as a bonus, some of them are Christmas movies:

Enchanted April. [DVD ENC] A movie with strong female characters, a lovely story line, and was filmed in a gorgeous location. What's not to like about a "tub of love"?

The Holiday. [DVD HOL] I know, I know, it stars Jack Black, however, he plays a character one can't help but liking! Please note: our copy has gone missing, so I will be reordering it! Several other GMILCS libraries also own it.

The King of Masks. [DVD KIN] Don't be turned off by the fact that the film is subtitled. It is well worth watching and is poignant, rather than melodramatic.

Love Actually. [DVD LOV] This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie! The opening and ending scenes, which filmed real people at the arrivals terminal at Heathrow, always make me weep.

Room With a View. [DVD ROO] A simple love story that always makes me happy, and a bit weepy. It's based on the book by E. M. Forster, and is the best adaptation of a film that I've come across.

I have plenty more tissue-worthy films to recommend if you're interested.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Please Give

It is sad to note that there are those who are unable to provide gifts for their kids during the holiday season. This is where Windham's Helping Hands comes in.

They place a tree with mittens in the Library each year. Each mitten represents one gift request for a child or teen. This year it seems that there are more requests than ever before. We kept putting out mittens, and more mittens, and even more mittens, remained to be hung on the tree!

Today, all gifts must be returned to the Library, however, since there are mittens remaining, Helping Hands will have to send volunteers out to shop during the upcoming days.

So, if you're feeling bad that you didn't get down to the library in time, please consider writing a check to Windham's Helping Hands so that the shoppers will have sufficient funds to make everyone's wishes come true.

Many thanks to all who have donated gifts, and to all the Windham's Helping Hands volunteers!

If you'd like to read a heart-warming Christmas gift story, look for The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith [394.2663 SMI], or, A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup [977.162 GUP].

Friday, December 11, 2015

Poetry Friday--Amazing Places

Lee Bennett Hopkins, is a poet with a Guinness World Record. He is the "Most Prolific Anthologist of Poetry for Children."

Mr. Hopkins recently published yet another anthology, this one, Amazing Places [J 811.008 AMA], contains poems of places and the things that made these places particularly notable. For example, there are poems about Niagara Falls, Fenway Park, Chinatown, and the Liberty Bell.

There is a map on the endpapers so that readers can place the locations, and, there are notes at the end of the book that tell us "More about the Amazing Places."

Here is a poem by Mr. Hopkins about the Watkins Museum of History in Lawrence Kansas, and Langston Hughes, who was a resident of Lawrence for a dozen years:

Who would have known
a young lad
door-to-door newspapers
in a small town
would one day
see people the world over
carrying his papers--

his reams of poems--

poems about--
rainy sidewalks,
stormy seas,
crystal stair memories,
but best of all,

         his dusts of dreams.

A Teaching Life is the place to be today for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


As we move into winter, you may need to find something to occupy your kids on snowy days. Have you thought of tangrams? Tangrams are an old puzzle game that came to us by way of the China trade in the early 1800s. It consists of seven flat shapes--two large triangles, one medium triangle, two small triangles, one small square, and one small parallelogram. All seven shapes can be cut from one square. The shapes are called tans, and are put together to form a variety of recognizable other shapes such as people, animals, etc.

You need not spend a lot of money on a tangram puzzle, although there are mahogany sets, magnetic sets, travel sets, etc. You can make your own tangrams out of paper or cardboard, instructions here. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can even make a puzzle out of a sandwich! Instructions here.

We have these books for children that include tangram activities:

Mattern, Joanne. Recipe and Craft Guide to China. [J 641.591 MAT]

McCallum, Ann. Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes For Hungry Minds. [J 510 MCC]

Pappas, Theoni. Fractals, Googols, and Other Mathematical Tales. [J 510 PAP]

You can buy books of tangram patterns or do an online search. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, a free clipart site for teachers and students, has a nice collection of tangram puzzle (and solution) sheets. Here's a seasonal example:

Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert [JP TOM] is a picture book that incorporates tangram foxes. It would make a good introduction to tangrams for the younger child.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Not Your Granny's Crochet

Yes, crocheting is generally associated with grannies. Just think of the granny square afghan, and the various crocheted vests and ponchos those of us who lived in the 70s received from our grannies as homemade gifts. Despite the granny label, crochet can be fun and fashionable.

Crochet something startling for yourself or a friend--maybe even for your grandkids!

Oscar de la Renta crocheted dress photo courtesy Vogue.com.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Yikes! Vandals!

Not your ordinary spray-paint type--the defacing medium of choice for these vandals is yarn!

Since scarves lend themselves to wrapping around things, if you want to take up yarn bombing, you may want to start with scarves. You'll find some great scarf patterns in Dress-To-Impress: Knitted Scarves by Pam Powers [746.432 POW] or It Girl Crochet: 23 Must-Have Accessories by Sharon Zientara [ebook] or any number of other crocheting books in our collection!

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Excitement Builds...

Less than a month from now is the start of the last season of Downton Abbey. Season 6 begins on January 3. For diehard fans this is a long anticipated event, however, after the season ends in March, most fans will be left bereft. It's true.

Yesterday, at the Red River Theatres in Concord, there was a preview screening of the first episode of season 6. Held in conjunction with NHPTV, there was tea, and the screening.

If you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you can catch up on the first five seasons, which we own [DVD DOW]. We also have a number of other Downton Abbey-related items such as:

Baines, Emily Ansara. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapés to Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding: More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs. [641.5 BAI].

Carnarvon, Fiona, Countess of. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle. [B CAR, AB/CD B CAR, ebook]

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff. [ebook]

Fellowes, Jessica. The World of Downton Abbey. [e-audiobook]

Fellowes, Jessica. A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes. [ebook]

The Manners of Downton Abbey. [DVD 395 MAN]

Believe it or not, that are even more! Search in our catalog under "Downton Abbey."

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Poetry Friday--Felicity

Reading Mary Oliver's newest book of poetry, Felicity [818.54 OLI] is like opening a bag of potato chips. You can't eat just one and before you know it, you've finished the whole bag. However, there is no guilt involved in reading every poem in this slim volume. Each one is a non-caloric treat that actually provides nourishment for the soul.

Oliver has divided her collection into three chapters and has begun each chapter with quotes from the 13th-century Persian poet, Rumi. Here's one for the chapter titled, "Felicity": "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there." In today's world, this is particularly resonant.

Oliver tells us about "The World I Live In," in this:

I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
    reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
    what's wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn't believe what once or
twice I have seen. I'll just
    tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
    ever, possibly, see one.

Felicity would make a great holiday gift or a stocking stuffer even for those who may not have read much poetry in the past. Oliver has a talent for saying things succinctly and making ideas accessible to the average reader.

I'll meet you at Buffy's Blog for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up!

New England Christmas

This weekend is really the beginning of the "everything Christmas" festivities that happen each year in New England. Between the small church fairs and the gala Boston Ballet performance of the "Nutcracker," you'll find plenty of mid-range (by that I mean inexpensive) activities to engage in.

Yankee Magazine
[MAG YAN] has assembled a list of New England holiday celebrations for you. Click here. One New Hampshire celebration is the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll, now in its 36th year. I have attended in the past and can strongly recommend it!

The last time I attended the Candlelight Stroll, in 2012, one of the attractions was a display of gingerbread. I won't exactly say they were gingerbread houses, since SpongeBob SquarePants does not live in a house, but let's just call it a display of gingerbread environments.

Shown is a lobster shack. A portion of Bikini Bottom is visible on the right.

Speaking of gingerbread, look for one of these fun gingerbread stories for your kids or grandkids:

Aylesworth, Jim. The Gingerbread Man. [JP AYL]

Bratun, Katy. Gingerbread Mouse. [JP BRA]

Brett, Jan. Gingerbread Baby. [JP BRE, also BB BRE]

Kladstrup, Kristin. The Gingerbread Pirates. [JP KLA]

Page, Nick. Gingerbread Fred. [E PAG]

Squires, Janet. The Gingerbread Cowboy. [JP SQU]

The above titles are only a few of the gingerbread books we own. We also have a several gingerbread house how-to books and an interesting history book, too! The history book is Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff [J 973.3 ROC]. The publisher describes it as "A stirring picture book biography about a forgotten hero of the American Revolution who rose to the occasion and served his country, not with muskets or canons, but with gingerbread!"

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Last week Adele appeared on Jimmy Fallon's late night show and sang the single from her instantaeous-bestseller CD, 25. The performance was a little out of the ordinary in that the musical accompaniment was on children's instruments such as kazoo, banana shaker, and a tinny xylophone. It was great!

25 is currently on order, but while you wait, you can listen to Adele's earlier CDs, 19 and 21 [CD ROCK ADE].

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Relax, It's Only December 1

Yesterday, we discussed the possibility of panic starting to set in. I suggested letting go of some of your expectations. Here's an example: this year you wanted to knit a sweater for your best friend. A hand-knit scarf takes a lot less time and your friend still has a handmade gift, knit with love. So why frustrate yourself? Relax, use some of that time you saved by reading a holiday book.

Each year publishers release short, often overly sentimental, Christmas novels by their bestselling writers. These books end up on the December bestsellers lists and we purchase them so that you don't have to!

We have titles in book form, ebook, and audio formats, so there's sure to be one available. Maybe one of these will make you realize that there's more to the holidays than rushing around:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holy Cows! Tomorrow It's the First of December!

Hasn't the fall just flown by? It's still officially autumn, but with tomorrow being December, and Hanukkah (begins 12/6) and Christmas looming, people need to relax and know that if tasks don't get done, then they don't get done. Will anyone really notice if you're missing a dozen cookies more cookies, or if you only have a wreath on your door, but no sparkly lights? I doubt it.

Take some time to relax. Watch a Hallmark movie. It may be overly sappy, but you'll cry anyway, and end up feeling warm and fuzzy. Or, listen to some traditional carols.

Here's a list to get you started:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I'm posting a short "virtual field trip" to Plymouth Plantation so that you can get an idea of what life was like 400 years ago.

Give thanks for what we have in the 21st century, and for those who endured throughout our history.

The Library will be closing at noon today and remain closed on Thursday and Friday. It will be open for regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Young Jack

For those of you lived in the Boston area prior to JFK's rise to the presidency, there's an exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, that should appeal to you. "Young Jack" shows us JFK "as a boy, a student, a decorated war hero, a young man seeking his life's path."

Kennedy definitely had humorous streak! "The future president as a Leaning Tower of Pisa tourist, August 1937," courtesy JFK Library.

Some items from our collection cover the pre-presidential period of his life:

Cooper, Ilene. Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy. [J B KEN]

Donovan, Robert J. PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II. [940.545 DON]

Graham, James W. Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea. [973.922 GRA]

Hamilton, Nigel. JFK, Reckless Youth. [B KEN]

Matthews, Chris. John Kennedy, Elusive Hero. [B KEN]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dancing for Your Brain

I read an article on a report that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine from the Bronx Aging Study. It showed that dancing reduces a person's chance of developing dementia by 76%! Let me say that again 76%!

The biggest barrier to dancing is one's own mindset. "I can't dance." "I have two left feet." "I look like a dork." get over yourself and just dance. No equipment necessary, other than a radio or other source of music. You can waltz or rhumba with a partner, or you can dance all by your lonesome.

If you want to increase the level of dance to also benefit your heart, there are forms of dance exercise such a Zumba, or something like this:

Start simply, borrow a video from our collection:

Ballroom Dancing for Beginners. [DVD 793.33 BAL]

Booty Bounce. [DVD 613.715 BOO]

Chair Dancing around the World. [DVD 613.71 CHA]

Dance Workout for Dummies. [DVD 613.715 DAN]

Latin Sensation Dance Workout. [DVD 613.715 TUT]

Swing: Invitation to Dance. [DVD 793.33 SWI]

Zumba Fitness Complete Total-Body Transformation System. [DVD 613.715 ZUM]

Friday, November 20, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Pilgrims Came"

"The First Thanksgiving, 1621" by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Right up there with the turkey as a symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday are the Pilgrims. Here's an old children's poem that appears in Our Holidays in Poetry, compiled by Mildred P. Harrington and Josephine H. Thomas [808.81 HAR]. The book was published in 1929, and the poem was originally published in 1919:
The Pilgrims Came
by Annette Wynne

The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;
And yet it's very strange the way
We think of them Thanksgiving Day.

We tell their story old and true
Of how they sailed across the blue,
And found a new land to be free
And built their homes quite near the sea.

Every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail,
And journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

The people think that they were sad,
And grave; I'm sure that they were glad--
They made Thanksgiving Day--that's fun--
We thank the Pilgrims, every one!

What a highly romanticized tale we've woven about the Pilgrims! However, the real story is somewhat less appealing. Ric Burns, brother of Ken, and a documentary film-maker himself, visited the studio of "On Point" at WBUR in Boston to tell listeners what he learned had really happened. You can listen to the complete segment below:

Burns' documentary film The Pilgrims, will be shown on PBS next week.

Visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dutch Treat

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston currently is showing "Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer." It runs through January 18. Masterpieces have been loaned to the MFA from institutions such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Here's a introduction to the exhibit:

To borrow the Library pass to the MFA, have your calendar and library card handy, and start here.

To prepare yourself for a visit to the exhibit, borrow by The Rembrandt Book by Gary Schwartz [759.9492 SCH] or Vermeer: A View of Delft by Anthony Bailey [B VER].

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Only a Month Away!

As if December isn't busy enough, a month from today, December 18, will see the opening of the lastest Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Theoretically, there's plenty of time to see the Star Wars movies that led up to this new one, we have them all, however, they are constantly going in and out, so you may want to put a hold on them to make sure you get them all by December 18.

Or, you can read one of the bazillion Star Wars books in our SF section or in our children's room collections; you'll find them in J STA, or E STA.

Another way to spend the time waiting for the new movie to be released is to cut out Star Wars: The Force Awakens snowflakes to decorate your Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is This a Week For Movies Or What?

Next week is Thanksgiving, so, movie theaters will be seeing an abundance of long-awaited movies opening this week and over the next few weeks. Here we go! Opening this week:

The 33 based upon the real story of 33 miners trapped for 69 days in 2010. Look for any of these for the complete story:

Aronson, Marc. Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet below the Chilean Desert. [J 363.119 ARO]

Franklin, Jonathan. 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners. [ebook and downloadable audio]

Lüsted, Marcia Amidon. The Chilean Miners' Rescue. [J 363.119 LUS]

Tobar, Héctor. Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free. [363.1196 TOB, also AB/CD 363.1196 TOB]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. This sensation started with The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, which can be found in our Young Adult collection, in audiobook, ebook, and in Chinese (Chōngjī yóuxì)! We also have the prior movies in DVD; Mockingjay Part 2 completes the series.

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, a documentary about the early life of one of the finest actresses of the twentieth whose life was also touched by scandal. Catch one of these movies Bergman starred in:
Anastasia. [DVD ANA]

Casablanca. [DVD CAS]

For Whom the Bell Tolls. [DVD FOR]

Indiscreet. [DVD IND]

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. [DVD INN]

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guess What?

Thanksgiving is 10 days away! Yes, you'd better start planning your menu. What will you be having besides turkey and stuffing? Potatoes, pie, and what else? Vegetables!

Surprise your family and guests with something new in the vegetable category. Browse through the table of contents of any one of these to find something that is good for you and tastes good, too!

Hesser, Amanda. The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside. [641.65 HES]

Krissoff, Liana. Vegetarian for a New Generation Seasonal Vegetable Dishes for Vegetarians, Vegans, and the Rest of Us. [ebook]

Ottolenghi, Yotam. Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. [641.5636 OTT]

Peterson, John. Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. [641.651 PET]

Silverstein, Clara. A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the First Family for Your Family. [641.597 SIL]

Friday, November 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Catch Your Breath

The book I want to share with you today includes a haiku that I wrote! It's Catch Your Breath: Writing Poignant Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas [808.1 SAL].
autumn wind
the cat in a frenzy
chasing leaves

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I'm not writing about the book just to toot my own horn, but because it is a fabulous book for teens (and adults, too) who want a little direction in writing poetry.

There is so much to admire in this slim volume. It is concise. It's conversational and easily understood, for example, I like this paragraph about rhyme:
Rhyme takes over meaning, resulting in nonsense or overused words. If you write a rhyming poem about a girl who skis, and you mention that she has fleas, your reader will know that you put that in just for the rhyme. Try to make your rhymes sound natural--like it's a coincidence that the perfect words for your poem happen to rhyme!

One feature that tickled my fancy is the section headings, such as this: Look Around (It's Like I've Never Seen a Jelly Bean Before!). Doesn't that make you want to read more? There are also short "Author Profiles" of contemporary poets and others who fall into the "dead poets" category, writing prompts, and scads of poems that illustrate the forms being covered.

The design is awesome--lots of white space, and colorful graphic elements, which are sure to be attractive to teens.

I only have one minor complaint. The subtitle is "Writing Poignant Poetry." I understand it is alliterative, but I can see it being a turn-off for some people who think poignant means poems that will tear at your heart, make you sad, or otherwise discomfort the reader. The subject of poignancy doesn't seem to be addressed within the book itself. It's a shame such a great book may not find its audience due to an unfortunate subtitle.

Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy 200th Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton!

One of the women instrumental in the women's fight for the right to vote was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton was born on this day in 1815, in Johnstown, New York; she died in 1902.

Photo of Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony, courtesy Library of Congress.

For adult readers we have Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: An Illustrated History, by Geoffrey C. Ward [920 WAR].

There are many more books for children written about Stanton Stone, here are three:

Fritz, Jean. You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? [J B STA]

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Ballot box Battle. [J B STA]

Tanya Lee. Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote. [J B STA]

It's hard to find a better role model for girls than this woman who was born two hundred years ago. She was a woman who spoke her mind and made a difference!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

The Library is closed today to observe Veterans Day. If you're not going out to purchase a new car or take advantage of other Veterans Day sales, spend some time at the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project: A Project of the American Folklife Center. It covers veterans of World War I through to the veterans of our most recent conflicts. If you have friends or loved ones who served, their stories may be found in the project's archives.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Monsters are a favored subject for kids all year round, not just as Halloween. They often get quite creative with their personal interpretations of what a monster would look like. I invite you to visit "The Monster Project 2015" in which children's monster drawings are redrawn by professional artists and illustrators. It is a real treat!

Art by Carlos Lerma, courtesy The Monster Project 2015.

Share "The Monster Project 2015" with your kids, too, and encourage them to express themselves with paper and crayons, clay, or whatever their favorite medium may be. A child who is not particularly comfortable with his/her drawing skills, may just prefer to look through a series of books called "Fantasy field guides" by Aaron Sautter (all found in the J 398 section). One title is A Field Guide to Dragons, Trolls, and Other Dangerous Monsters [J 398.2454 SAU].

And my favorite monster movie--Monsters, Inc. [J DVD MON], is fun for those kids who find scary monsters a bit too much to take.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Unusual Items Part 2

Back on October 28, I posted about a workshop the staff had attended on "unusual items" found in public libraries. In that post I listed a few of the unusual (by that I mean not books, movies, or CDs) the Nesmith already has in its collection.

Today we have one more ready to borrow (and a few more on their way--keep watching this space)!

What you see is a Kala Makala MK-S soprano ukulele [KIT 787.89 UKU]! The ukulele comes with a case, a tuner and instructions, an introductory DVD, and a cloth to keep it shiny!

"A ukulele?" you say. Yes, it seems to be a fairly common unusual item for libraries to loan out. (Click on this New York Times article with the title, "These Public Libraries Are for Snowshoes and Ukuleles.") Some libraries have local ukulele groups that meet at the library. Whipple Free Library in New Boston is one. Information about their group was on display when I visited there in September.

If you'd like to listen to a pro ukukele player, borrow our copy of Ka 'Ano'i by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole [CD INTERNATIONAL KAM]. Kamakawiwo'ole is the musician who had a hit several years ago with his rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"."

Once you learn the ukulele, you may want to accompany someone dancing the hula. In that case, look for Be a Hula Girl [J DVD BE] and get your kids to dance!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Subway"

Here's a simple poem with a powerful message I think. It's by poet David Ignatow, and is found in Wherever Home Begins: 100 Contemporary Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko [YA 811.54 WHE]:

I thought that if he could stoop
to pick out rubbish, each piece
placed in his bag--a tedious job
in front of crowds, all day
the trains at a steady roar,
the lighting dim, the air stagnant--
from bin to bin, searching
to the bottom for gum wrappers,
crumpled newspapers, torn sandwich
bags, cigarette stubs, particles
clinging to his fingers. All this
without a word, bending
at the foot of a steel pillar,
it was not too much for me
to be witness.

No words needed.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Sleigh Bells

This is a small portion of a six-minute 1928 cartoon by Walt Disney titled "Sleigh Bells." The cartoon was found in the archive of the British Film Institute and has been restored. It will be shown next month in England, and undoubtedly be shown here sometime thereafter. Read more here.

As you can see, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was easily morphed into the beloved Mickey Mouse. More early Mickey Mouse cartoons are found in Walt Disney's Vintage Mickey [DVD WAL]. Mickey, in a polished, later version, can be seen in The Three Musketeers [J DVD THR]

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


For those of you who may travel a lot, or who don't have time to visit the library, you should remember that the Library gives you access to thousands of downloadable ebooks (and audios, too). Go to your app store and download the 3M or Overdrive app (both are free) and you're good to go.

If you don't HAVE to read whatever is on this week's bestseller list, then your choices are wider. For instance, on this week's bestseller list you'll find Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. Every single copy of every format is checked out. However, if you look for last year's bestselling Grisham novel, Gray Mountain, you'll find 3 out 4 3M ebook copies are waiting to be checked out.

All copies of After You by Jojo Moyes are checked out, but if you look at Moyes' past titles, you'll find several available right now. One Plus One, The Ship of Brides, and Windfallen were all sitting on the virtual shelf when I checked last night!

The point being, you probably missed a few bestsellers from the past, now that interest has died down, they're waiting for you to download!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Halloween May Be Over, However...

I forgot to post a list of Halloween-type movies last week. There's no reason you can't watch scary movies at other times of the year! We ordered a bunch of creepy, scary, horror movies to beef up our collection.

Some of the titles below are films we've owned for a while, some have newly arrived, and some will be here shortly, so please keep checking back. (And please let us know of any we've missed!)

The Birds
The Blade Trilogy
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
Dawn of the Dead
Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection
The Exorcist
Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Land of the Dead
Night of the Ghouls
Night of the Living Dead
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
The Omen
Rosemary's Baby
Salem's Lot
The Shining
The Stepford Wives
Village of the Damned
Wait Until Dark

Some other titles that are not exactly scary, but still fun!

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Dracula Dead and Loving It
Edward Scissorhands
Hocus Pocus
Hotel Transylvania
Practical Magic
Young Frankenstein

Monday, November 02, 2015

November Is...

"National Inspirational Role Models Month!" It's a mouthful, isn't it? We have so many inspirational role model stories in our collection, it would take days to list them all! So, to make my job a little easier, I'm going to pick only those books in picture book format--ones that will show kids what handicaps or social restraints people overcame, or people who went over and above to achieve a goal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Alley Cat Love Song"

In case you missed it, yesterday was National Cat Day!

To celebrate I'd like to share a poem by Dana Gioia;
Alley Cat Love Song

Come into the garden, Fred,
For the neighborhood tabby is gone.
Come into the garden, Fred.
I have nothing but my flea collar on,
And the scent of catnip has gone to my head.
I'll wait by the screen door till dawn.

The fireflies court in the sweetgum tree.
The nightjar calls from the pine,
And she seems to say in her rhapsody,
"Oh, mustard-brown Fred, be mine!"
The full moon lights my whiskers afire,
And the fur goes erect on my spine.

I hear the frogs in the muddy lake
Croaking from shore to shore.
They've one swift season to soothe their ache.
In autumn they sing no more.
So ignore me now, and you'll hear my meow
As I scratch all night at the door.

Found in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, selected by Billy Collins [811 POE].

If you go to YouTube, you'll find a number of choral renditions of the poem, and this:

Jone at Check It Out, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for today. Have a fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sensory Play

At this week's conference I attended a session about children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A surprising statistic was mentioned--1 in 68 children are affected.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is now used to encompass the variety of disorders "that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others," according to the Mayo Clinic definition. ASD "includes disorders that were previously considered separate--autism, Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified."

Some of these children have "extra sensitivity or a lack of sensitivity to sensory input or an unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment."

The workshop presenter spoke about the importance of "sensory play." Not exactly sure what the term means? Here are "100 Sensory Play Activities" that may be helpful in understanding. There are many more websites dealing with sensory play; do a Google search using "sensory play" as your search term. Another place to look is Pinterest, using the same search term.

Don't forget that sensory play is also fun for all children! Look for these items on play--sensory or otherwise--in our collection:

Masi, Wendy S. The Parent's Guide to Play. [FT 649.5 MAS]

Miller, Linda G. Making Toys for Preschool Children: Using Ordinary Stuff for Extraordinary Play. [FT 371.337 MIL]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Unusual Items

We are back from the New England Library Association/New Hampshire Library Association joint conference that was held in Manchester Sunday through Tuesday.

Yesterday, many staff members attended a presentation titled, "Circulating Unusual Items." It was thoroughly enjoyable 75 minutes as we learned about the variety of items available for check-out at libraries around New England. We discovered libraries are loaning such items as selfie sticks, space binoculars, and stud finders (stud: the construction kind, not the date kind).

We have a number of unusual items, too, here at the Nesmith Library. Perhaps you didn't know we had these for adults and teens:

Driver Ed in a Box. Parent Taught Driver Education. [KIT 629.283 DRI]

Kill A Watt Energy Detector. [KIT 333.793 KIL]

Learn Crochet. [YA KIT 746.434 LEA]

Loom Knitting Primer. [KIT 746.432 PHE]

Microscope Activity. [YA KIT 502.82 MIC]

Quilt Display Stand. [EQUIPMENT 746.46 QUI] (Photography background stand.)

Sock Loom: Knit Your Own Socks! [KIT 746.432 SOC]

The staff was inspired by the presentation yesterday and we're considering adding more "unusual items" to our collection. What would you like to see us offer? A metal detector? Engraving pen (to add your name to your possessions or for an art project)? Sewing machine? Soil test kit? Let us know!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Conference Time!

The Library will be closed on Monday and Tuesday so that staff members may participate in the New England Library Association/New Hampshire Library Association joint conference.

We'll be back on Wednesday inspired and ready to go!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Sound of the Trees"

Over the past week or so, the sound of the trees has become appreciably louder. The leaves are rapidly
drying and the insistent autumn winds sound even louder with the rattling of the leaves.
The Sound of the Trees
by Robert Frost (from Mountain Interval)

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

Found in Early Frost: The First Three Books [811.52 FRO]

For me, the sound of trees is entrancing. It doesn't engender thoughts of going or staying (whether we acknowledge it or not, we're all going in the end). I am merely one who has "acquire[d] a listening air" and I'll "bear" it year after year.

Speaking of bears, head over to Jama's Alphabet Soup where Mr. Cornelius, one very bearable bear, is waiting to introduce you to even more delicious poetry!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October is Bat Month

I've seen October listed as "Bat Appreciation Month" and "Bat Awareness Month. Let's just call it "Bat Month."

Bats get a bum rap--generally because of the blood-sucking vampire bat and its association with Dracula and Halloween horror. Bat Conservation International is trying to reclaim Halloween for the bats by promoting the positive aspects of bats and moving the focus away from the vampire bat. Read more here.

We have many informational books on bats, most in the children's section. Here's a sampling:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who Knew a Simple Song Could Be So Complex?

Watch this examination of "Over the Rainbow":

I don't think I need remind you that we have The Wizard of Oz on DVD [DVD WIZ] and The Wizard of Oz: Selections from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [CD SOUNDTRACK WIZ].

If you've never read the Oz books, you could probably start with The Annotated Wizard of Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [F BAU]. We also have other books in the series in the children's section [J BAU].

If you have read the book and it has stuck with you, you're not alone. In Oz: The Hundredth Anniversary Celebration [J OZ], "...writers and artists express the influence that the book "The Wizard of Oz" had on them."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi!

Hungarian-American actor, Bela Lugosi, was born October 20, 1882. He is perhaps best known for his role as Count Dracula in the original 1931 film. The Library has tried to order Count Dracula, but it's out of stock. We'll try again at a later date.

Meanwhile, catch Bela Lugosi in the classic comedy film, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein [DVD ABB].

Or, you can read about him as a character in the novel, Alive! by Loren D. Estleman [F EST].
Everyone knows the Frankenstein monster was played by Boris Karloff. His portrayal is so famous that the play Arsenic and Old Lace was filled with Karloff/monster jokes--even when the part of the monstrously deformed villain was played by another actor. But before Karloff's memorable portrayal, another famous 1930s Hollywood icon, Bela Lugosi, tested for the part of the monster.The screen test footage was lost for decades, until Valentino, that never-say-die film archivist, gets a hot tip about the whereabouts of the incriminating (for really bad, heavily accented acting) footage. But it comes with a price far greater than the money he'll have to pay. Someone would kill to get that reel of film, and that makes Valentino a mortal obstacle who would rather not die for art.

Next week, I'll be posting a list of movies suitable for halloween. It'll be a strange mix of horror and comedy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Maxfield Parrish at the Currier

Now until January 10, the Currier Museum in Manchester has an exhibit of the work of Maxfield Parrish. Parrish was one of most popular artists of his time, and much of his work was done for advertising purposes.

Parrish illustrated the Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field. We have a reproduction in our children's room [J 811 FIE] and we have another book on his life and work in the adult collection Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966 by Sylvia Yount [760 YOU].

Parrish settled in New Hampshire and lived in our state for 40 years. He was a celebrated member of the Cornish Colony of artists, which is written about in New Hampshire's Cornish Colony by Fern K. Meyers [ebook].

Borrow the Library's pass to the Currier Museum, click here. Have your Nesmith Library card handy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Same Goose Moon"

I'm a proponent of "less is more," especially when it comes to poetry. My preference is haiku or other short forms. I came across a simple poem of six lines that is packed with significance, or, is simply the presentation of a pretty scene. It's all in how you choose to look at it!
The Same Goose Moon
by Jim Harrison

Peach sky
at sunset,
then (for a god's sake)
one leaf whirled
across the face
of the big October moon.

found in The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems [811 HAR]

The Poem Farm is harvesting this week's crop of Poetry Friday posts, so be sure to stop by.

Print by Hiroshige courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Adriana Trigiani

Novelist, Adriana Trigiani's latest book is All the Stars in the Heavens [F TRI, also ebook], and it was released on Tuesday. It is based upon the real-life romance between Clark Gable and Loretta Young in 1930's Hollywood. Here's how the publisher describes the plot:
The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he's already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young's secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

Trigiani's first book, Big Stone Gap [F TRI], published in 2001, has been made into a film starring Ashley Judd. It opened in theaters last Friday. It's been an exciting month for Ms. Trigiani!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Philippe Petit

Does the name Philippe Petit ring a bell? It belongs to the man who is the subject of this film that is opening in theaters:

Since his death-defying walk in 1974, Petit has been the subject of other films and books, both nonfiction and fiction that deal with his highwire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Fusselman, Amy. Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die. [ebook]

Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked between the Towers. [JP GER]

Man on Wire. [DVD 791.34 MAN]

McCann, Colum. Let the Great World Spin. [F MCC, LP MCC, ebook]

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Graphic Novels, Comics, Cartoons?

What do you call all these illustrated-type books? What's Manga? What's the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel? Are cartoons and toons the same thing? A nonfiction book in comic form isn't a graphic novel, so then what is it? I'm not sure there is a definitive answer to any of these questions. Go to 5 different people and you'll get 5 different answers.

Here in Windham, we tend to group all these types of illustrated works together under the heading CX (for comix).

You didn't know we had comix? We sure do! Here are a few from our collection that were published in 2015:

Right over the border in White River Junction, Vermont, there's even a school devoted to comic illustration, which has graduate level degrees in cartooning. It's The Center for Cartoon Studies. Interestingly, The Center has The Schulz Library,
Located in the historic Post Office building in White River, is CCS’s own Schulz Library. Thanks for generous donations from publishers, artists, and collectors the world over, our collection is abundant and unique. From our selection of contemporary graphic novels, to our out-of-print and rare collections of gag cartoons and classic newspaper strips, the Schulz Library is a dream come true for the cartoonist bibliophile.

In addition to comic books and graphic novels, the library holds an extensive collection of books about cartooning – both academic and instructional. Our reference section is a great resource on a variety of fine arts including design, illustration, animation, and photography. Our periodical section contains a near-complete run of The Comics Journal.

Unique to the Schulz library is our zine and mini-comic library, a one-of-a-kind collection of handmade publications. Students can browse through comics’ untold history, and draw on this collection when making their own publications. And of course, in honor of our namesake, the Schulz library has an admirable collection of rare Peanuts books which span Schulz’s career. The Schulz library is open to CCS students, faculty, and staff and is equipped with high speed wireless internet.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Library Closed Today!

The Library is closed today to observe the federal Columbus Day holiday.

Here's a little non-literary treat. It's the first episode of season 4 of a science fiction/history television series for children, which aired in December 1955, and is titled "Christopher Columbus."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Poetry Friday--John Lennon's Birthday

Today, if he had lived, John Lennon would have turned 75! I can't even imagine what his face would have looked like, since in 1980, when he was slain, he was only 40 years old and hadn't started to show signs of aging. To me he will be forever young.

As you can imagine, we have lots of biographies of Lennon [B LEN], as well as CDs, and DVDs that show his work. I could get all maudlin and share the lyrics to "Imagine," but I won't give way! Here's a poem by Lennon that I don't believe was written to be a song, although it has been recorded as such by someone not Lennon or a Beatle:
The Fat Budgie

I have a little budgie
He is my very pal
I take him walks in Britain
I hope I always shall.

I call my budgie Jeffrey
My grandads name's the same
I call him after grandad
Who had a feathered brain.

Some people don't like budgies
The little yellow brats
They eat them up for breakfast
Or give them to their cats.

My uncle ate a budgie
It was so fat and fair.
I cried and called him Ronnie
He didn't seem to care

Although his name was Arthur
It didn't mean a thing.
He went into a petshop
And ate up everything.

The doctors looked inside him,
To see what they could do,
But he had been too greedy
And died just like a zoo.

My Jeffrey chirps and twitters
When I walk into the room,
I make him scrambled egg on toast
And feed him with a spoon.

He sings like other budgies
But only when in trim
But most of all on Sunday
Thats when I plug him in.

He flies about the room sometimes
And sits upon my bed
And if he's really happy
He does it on my head.

He's on a diet now you know
From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch.

It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing til they're sick.

So that's my budgie Jeffrey
Fat and yellow too
I love him more than daddie
And I'm only thirty-two.

Click here to see the poem in manuscript form.

Visit Laura at Writing the World for Kids for this week's Round-Up.

October Is American Cheese Month

No, not a month devoted to the little squares of processed cheese called "American Cheese," but a month to celebrate the cheeses produced and consumed in the U. S.

In a short piece on WBUR radio, I learned that, "According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year." I'm sure I exceed that amount each year, since cheese is one of my favorite foods.

The WBUR piece was interesting in that I learned about cheese caves, something I had never heard of before. To learn more, listen here.

Here are some of the variety of cheese books we have in our collection:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Boston Book Festival

October is a busy month with harvest festivals and other events planned for before the cold weather sets in. Here's another event that is happening this month, October 23-24--the Boston Book Festival. The annual festival takes place in the Boston Public Library area with speakers appearing at the library, Trinity Church, vendor exhibits at Copley Square, and activities at other venues.

For a listing of the events, click here.

Here are a short list of some of the presenters. I've also added one or two of each presenter's books in case you like to read the work before attending the festival.

M. T. Anderson, author of Whales on Stilts [J MYS AND] and Feed [YA AND, also ebook]

Margaret Atwood, who wrote the modern classic The Handmaid's Tale [F ATW, also ebook]

The award winning young adult writer, Libba Bray: Going Bovine [YA BRA, also ebook] and A Great and Terrible Beauty [YA BRA, also ebook].

Bill Clegg, a novelist whose Did You Ever Have A Family [F CLE, also ebook], has been recently released to great acclaim.

Edwidge Danticat, born in Haiti, and the author of many novels incorporating the culture and history of the island. Her Breath, Eyes, Memory [F DAN] was an Oprah Book Club selection.

Neil Gaiman, who has written books for all audiences--from children to adults. Two of his works are The Graveyard Book, a Newbery Award winner [J GAI, J AB/CD GAI, also ebook], and The Ocean at the End of the Lane [F GAI, AB/CD GAI, also ebook].

Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the author of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End [362.175 GAW, AB/CD 362.175 GAW, also ebook].

Patricia Reilly Giff, the writer of hundreds of books for children, including the ever popular "Kids of the Polk Street School" series [J GIF].

Lauren Holmes, whose book Barbara the Slut and Other People [F HOL, also ebook] has to have the most arresting title of this past summer's crop of books.

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven [F MAN], one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in the past year.

There are dozens more writers and media people who will be presenting at the festival, and, in case you're fearing the cost of attending will be astronomical, fear not, all daytime events are free. You read that right, FREE! Of course, donations and sponsorships are welcomed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Wooly Mammoth

Photo by Daryl Marshke for University of Michigan Photography.

Recently the remains of a woolly mammoth were found in Michigan. The animal died between 11,000 and 15,000 years ago. And, the amazing thing is, the carcass shows signs of having been butchered. Imagine eating woolly mammoth!

Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant by Richard Stone [569.67 STO] tells the story of an international team of scientists who hunted woolly mammoth remains in Siberia. It looks like there are more mammoths waiting to be discovered!