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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Women's History Month

Today's the last day of March and thus the end of Women's History Month. The Women's History Month website is a joint project:
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

Be sure to check it out, especially the "Images" slideshow.

It's never too late to read about women and history. Although the month is winding down, our collection is available year-round and is full of biographies of women and these other items you may have missed:

Monday, March 30, 2015


Remember Reading Rainbow, the PBS show for kids that celebrated books and reading? LaVar Burton and crew are resurrecting Reading Rainbow for the technology age, that is, kids will be able to read books online with their tablets or ereaders. It's a crowd-sourced project that is moving ahead rapidly. In the meantime, Reading Rainbow has partnered with YouTube to come up with a series of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) video for kids. The first four have been released. Here's the first:

You'll find the rest, and any newly added segments, by going to YouTube and using "utech reading rainbow" as your search term.

We have STEM topic books for children of all ages:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan, the jazz singer who performed many songs from "the Great American Songbook" [her recordings are found in the CD JAZZ collection] was born on March 27 in 1924. On this poetry Friday we're going to celebrate Sarah's role as a poetry lover. I was quite surprised to come across a mention of a recording she made in 1984 of the poems of Pope John Paul II, The Planet Is Alive...Let it Live! Who knew that such a recording existed? Of course, I checked YouTube and found a video of Sarah Vaughan in performance.

Sarah Vaughan has even been the subject of a poem! To see the late Amiri Baraka performing it, click here.

Jone, at Check It Out, is a fellow librarian who blogs on the west coast. Stop by for the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Happy Birthday Keira Knightley!

British actress, Keira Knightley, turned 30 today! You can read about the extent of her career here--it is truly impressive!

We have many Knightley films in our collection, so look for one of these on your next visit:

In addition to the ones in our collection, the GMILCS libraries of our consortium have twice the number of movies in total! When doing a search in the catalog, be sure to pick "All GMILCS Libraries" from the drop-down menu under "Limit by."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Have you ever seen the AsapSCIENCE channel on YouTube? In short videos, Mitchell Moffitt and Greg Brown answer the tiny nagging science questions that may come up in your everyday life. For example, remember the big brouhaha over the "dress" and its colors? Some saw the colors as gold and white, while others saw them as black and blue (or, as I did, brown and blue). AsapSCIENCE took on the question and created this:

If you watched the video, you saw that it began with a commercial of sorts for Moffitt and Brown's new book, Asap SCIENCE: Answers to the World's Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors & Unexplained Phenomena [500 MOF].

The questions tackled in the book include the perennial favorites, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?", "Could a zombie apocalypse happen?", and "Why does time feel faster as we age?" and more.

The book has arrived here at the Library, and, I just put it out on the "New Books" shelf near the check-out desk!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Harry!

On this day in 1874, Erich Weisz was born in Budapest, Hungary. You might not recognize the name, but, Erich changed his name to Harry Houdini when he started performing. We have quite a number of books on Houdini in both the adult and children's biography sections. There are also books of fiction in which Houdini figures in the plot.

The History Channel ran a mini-series, Houdini, last fall starring Adrien Brody. Maybe it'll appear on our DVD shelves soon!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reading Inclusively

One of the past two years' most popular books for kids is Wonder by R. J. Palacio [J PAL]. The publisher describes the book:
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid--but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

The fact that the book has won numerous awards, plus the fact that it's so popular with kids, leads one to think that maybe it is time for us adults to look at reading inclusively. By that I mean encouraging children to read about kids who are not exactly like themselves. By looking at the differences and recognizing the similarities in all of us, we can go a long way to becoming, and to raising kids who are, empathetic.

Here are a few additional titles to consider if your child or teen has read Wonder and is looking for more (note: some are memoirs, so are based upon real people]:

Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. [J BLO]

Burcaw, Shane. Laughing At My Nightmare. [YA B BUR]

Chen, Justina. North of Beautiful. [YA CHE]

Connolly, Kevin Michael. Double Take: A Memoir. [YA B CON]

Giles, Gail. Girls Like Us. [3M ebook]

Gantos, Jack. What Would Joey Do? [J GAN]

Johnson, Harriet McBryde. Accidents of Nature. [YA JOH]

Lord, Cynthia. Rules. [J LOR]

Martin, Ann. Rain Reign. [J MAR, also J AB/CD MAR]

Mass, Wendy. A Mango-Shaped Space. [YA MAS]

McGovern, Cammie. Say What You Will: [They told each other...everything...except what matters most]. [YA MCG]

Van Draanen, Wendelin. The Running Dream. [YA VAN, also 3M ebook]

Vlahos, Len. Scar Boys. [3M ebook]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--It's Officially Spring!

Today, at 6:45 pm, is the vernal equinox. Spring officially arrives and not a moment too soon! Let's hope we've seen the end of the snow, and that what's left on the ground slowly melts so as to avoid burying us all in mud!

Here's a poem by Wallace Stevens that is perfect for transitioning us. It can be found in She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey in Poems, selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy [808.81 SHE].
The Poems of Our Climate

Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations--one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.

Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one’s torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

Head over to Reading to the Core where I'm sure you'll get a full dose of spring poetry!

Moss Graffiti

Yesterday I featured a some of the landscaping design books we have in our collection. Today, I'm going to direct you to a project I found online for creating "moss graffiti." In essence it is creating a paint-like substance from living moss, and using it to decorate outdoor walls and other spaces. I think it's totally amazing and just had to share it with you; click here. Here's a photo of what a completed project might look like:

Now, to tie this into a book in our collection, I'm going to recommend a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things [F GIL, AB/CD GIL, 3M ebook], a fascinating story of the adventures of a woman who studies moss! I kid you not.
Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction, into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist, but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green Projects

Now, while you still have a month or two to plan, is a good time to investigate landscaping projects for this upcoming growing season. With the success of cable network programs such as "Curb Appeal," people have become more attuned to the outside of their home.

Before you jump right in, here are a few items to look to for projects and advice:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Series For Kids

Sometimes all kids need is the first in a series book to lure them into wanting to read for fun. Here are some humorous series that may do the trick in getting your child into reading:

Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon. [J COW] Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third must capture and train a dragon.

DeCamillo, Kate. Mercy Watson to the Rescue. [J DIC] Who knew that Mercy, a toast-loving pig, could get into so much trouble? (Kids might also enjoy the Mercy Watson webpage.)

Lowry, Lois. Gooney Bird Greene. [J LOW] A new to the school 2nd-grader likes to tell "absolutely true" stories about herself.

Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine. [J PEN] Clementine, an 8-year-old, deals with the "major" problems in her

Sachar, Louis. Sideways Stories from Wayside School. [J SAC] A classroom on the thirtieth floor of a strangely constructed school is the setting for many crazy stories.

Vernon, Ursula. Dragonbreath. [J VER] Readers follow the adventures of Danny Dragonbreath (a young dragon) and his best friend Wendell (an iguana).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Read the Book Now!

It's going to be a good year for book to film and mini-series adaptations. Here's a bunch more scheduled to come out later in the year (see this earlier post for more titles):

Brown, Dan. Inferno. [F BRO, 3M ebook, AB/CD BRO, also CHINESE F BRO] (12/18)

Dashner, James. The Scorch Trials. [YA DAS, 3M ebook, YA AB/CD DAS] (9/18)

Flynn, Gillian. Dark Places. [F FLY, 3M ebook, AB/CD FLY]

Lehr, Dick. Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil's Deal. [364.1 LEH, 3M ebook] (9/18)

Moyes, Jojo. Me Before You. [F MOY, 3M ebook, AB/CD MOY] (8/21)

Rowling, J. K. The Casual Vacancy. [F ROW, AB/CD ROW] (mini-series, 4/29 - 4/30)

Stedman, M. L. The Light Between Oceans. [F STE, AB/CD STE]

Tougias, Mike. The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue. [910.91 TOU, 3M ebook, also a children's version J 910.9163] (10/9)

Here's the trailer for the BBC production of The Casual Vacancy, which is coming up next month:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Tomorrow is Pi Day!

Each year on March 14, nerdy, and not so nerdy, types celebrate Pi Day! Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is 3.141592 etc. It is expressed by the π symbol.

This year is extra special since it is 3/14/15 and follows the same number sequence as Pi. Two years ago BuzzFeed ran "24 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Pi(e) Day," which is relevant for any Pi Day, including tomorrow.

Perhaps you'd like to celebrate with a numbers poem? Here's one from a great book we have in our collection called, Verse & Universe: Poems About Science And Mathematics, edited by Kurt Brown [811.008 VER]:
The Mathematician's Disclaimer
by Ira Sadoff

What I would give for a clear field
of vision, to rid myself of the crippling
disorder of my desk, my only child
standing before my wife, the wild
grass growing slowly over my shoetops.
I have given my life to numbers, and these
numbers, in return, have given me a life
I cannot control. But that is all
beside the point. Nothing is really solved:
as the photograph resolves in its pan,
the plan to map the path of the sun
cannot be won. What a relief to know
that if my days are numbered I have numbered
them myself, the pleasure in the music
of my life is not left in the clock, nor
the tock of the metronome, but in the moment
between moments, the measure left unmeasured.

Ira Sadoff is from up the road in Maine. There is a lot of poetic talent in New England!

Eat some pie, play with some numbers, read (or write) some poetry for Pi Day. Before that, though, visit Laura at Author Amok for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

The scrumptious apple pie photo is by Matman from Lublin, courtesy Wikimedia.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac

March 12, 1922 marks the 93rd birthday of Jack Kerouac. Kerouac, as you probably know, was born and raised in Lowell, MA. He went on to become a novelist and poet before his death in 1969 at the age of 47.

He is perhaps best known for On the Road [F KER], "the classic novel of the beat generation." If you've never read On the Road, you may want to start off with Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road [CD MISCELLANEOUS KER]. It consists of songs sung, and excerpts from the novel read by Jack Kerouac, with musical accompaniment. It was recorded in the 1950s and is on one CD, so is not the complete novel. We have the complete novel, also read by Kerouac, on 8 disks [AB/CD KER].

Here's Kerouac performing one his poems to musical accompaniment by Steve Allen:

Now that the weather is getting better, it's time to go exploring. Lowell is a short drive away, and has lots of Kerouac-related points of interest, including his gravesite, which is always covered with little remembrance trinkets left by visitors.

The National Park Service has background information on Kerouac, which you can access here. Click here for information about a self-directed walking tour of Jack Kerouac's Lowell. Check out Jack's Lowell webpage to learn about projects about Kerouac and Lowell.

If you have money to spare, and you want to own a piece of Jack Kerouac history, his former St. Petersburg, FL home is on the market!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter Book Sale

Tomorrow, the Friends of the Library of Windham, FLOW, is holding a pre-sale of used books and materials, 3 to 6 PM, for FLOW members, teachers, and senior citizens. It is part of three days of the FLOW Library Luau and Winter Book Sale celebration! Money raised is used to provide events and to purchase materials beyond what has been allocated in the Library's annual budget.

The items being sold at the book sale are gently used and generally published within the past 5 years. By Saturday, FLOW is hoping to have sold out, but if they don't, then, between the hours of 1 and 2 pm you can fill a bag for just $5.00! A bargain!

Even books you aren't going to read may be worthwhile purchasing for art projects. We have many materials that explain how to craft with books. And, if you think of books as paper, you can repurpose the paper for collage projects, origami, gift wrap, etc. Here are a few items that may spark a project for you:

If you're not already a FLOW member, you can purchase a membership at the pre-sale. It's win-win!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Now That Downton Abbey Has Finished

The fifth season of Downton Abbey has drawn to a close, and it won't be until January of 2016 that we get to find out how Tom is getting along in Boston, if Lady Mary has found a suitor with a fancy motor car, and if Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes have tied the knot!

If you missed any of the fifth season, or, if you've never watched the PBS blockbuster, we have seasons one through five on DVD [DVD DOW].

We try to keep up with the latest seasons for television series we already own, but if you notice we have missed one, please let us know. We recently added additional seasons for these series:

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ramen Noodles!

If you did a Google search last Thursday, you probably saw this search box:

The illustration was created in honor of the 105th birthday of Ando Momofuku, the man responsible for the development of instant Ramen noodles!

Ramen noodles have long been a staple of college students--the noodles are cheap and filling (but also loaded with sodium). Some awesome recipes have been created using ramen noodles, my personal favorite is a salad with crushed, uncooked ramen. It must be a favorite of others, too, because if you do a Pinterest search on the term "ramen noodle salad," you'll find a gazillion recipes (okay, only 71, but that's quite a few).

In our collection we have a 3M ebook titled 101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles by Toni Patrick. If you're a ramen noodle fan, you may enjoy it!

On your next visit to Japan, be sure to try freshly made ramen noodles. There's a regional guide to ramen here, and, believe it or not, there's "the world's first food-themed amusement park"--the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Poetry Friday--Happy Oreo Cookie Day!

A big fan of Oreo cookies alerted me to the fact that today is National Oreo Cookie Day! So, let's celebrate!

If you have recently arrived from outer space, and you don't know what an Oreo cookie is, then hurry over to Wikipedia where there's more information than you could possibly want about a cookie!

I went looking for an Oreo cookie poem for today and ended up on YouTube where I found a number of short videos of Oreo poems. I recommend the one by Tucker Bryant.

Today is also the 103rd birthday of the Oreo cookie! The advertisement graphic above came from a Duke University blog post on the occasion of the Oreo cookie's centennial.

No Oreos in the video below, but there are cookies thrown about when Kermit and Cookie Monster talk about rhyming words:

I suppose the very idea of dunking and eating an Oreo is poetry enough, so treat yourself to package and pour a big glass of milk, and have fun!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Robyn Campbell's blog. Stop by!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Sweet Dreams!

We spend several hours a day sleeping. The exact amount that is best for us, has long been up for debate. However, if you can't fall asleep, then that can result in real problems--physically and emotionally.

Here's something I read about recently that maybe you will find useful if you sometimes have trouble falling asleep--the 4-7-8 breathing trick.

Other bits of sleep advice may be found in Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath [AB/CD 613 RAT], or Good Nights: How to Stop Sleep Deprivation, Overcome Insomnia, and Get the Sleep You Need by Gary K. Zammit [616.8498 ZAM]

There are quite a number of picture books about sleep, and, counting sheep. One that may hold some interest for adults is Henry's Night by D. B. Johnson (a New Hampshire author/illustrator) [JP JOH]. It is part of a series of Henry books based upon the writings of Henry David Thoreau, but, in the picture books, Henry is a bear!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Boston is coming close to breaking its record of snowiest winter on record. The people of Boston have had over 100" of the white stuff. We, in southern NH, must be pretty close to that, too.

Records can be a lot of fun for kids, they love little tidbits of knowledge that will wow an adult. It's one of the reasons why our Guinness World Records books are so popular [031 GUI]. The books are large format, with each page filled with photos and records. They're a delight to browse through. And, they may inspire a kid to dream about one day appearing in the record book.

As you can imagine, there several works of children's fiction about record-breaking. One is called The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward [J WAR]. The main character, 11-year-old Arthur, is the only one in his family not to be a record-holder! Another is Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows [J BAR].

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

If March Is Here, Can Spring Be Far Behind?

March arrived like the proverbial lion, with snow Sunday night, but yesterday was rather lamb-like with bright sunshine and a bit of warmth.

It is especially hard on kids (and dogs), who haven't been able to play outside in months! But, spring is coming. Enjoy one of these with your kids, and before long, spring dreams will become reality:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Crows--Einsteins of the Bird World

We've always suspected that crows are smart, but how smart are they? Watch this video about crows that leave "gifts" for a young girl in Seattle.

I have a fondness for crows, but some people, especially farmers, may consider them pests. It's too bad, since, in human beings' attempts at correcting "problems," they often make things worse!

In California, crows have moved into urban areas, and are currently shaking up the people of Santa Cruz; click here to read more.

There are quite a number of children's books about crows, ravens, and blackbirds in our collection, including these:

Check out this older post about crows, and be sure to watch the short video clip!