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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Vietnam War

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon--the event that brought the Vietnam War to an end. If you were born after 1975, you may not know what a frightening moment it was for the American troops and personnel stationed in Saigon. Here's a video, produced by WBUR in Boston:

To learn more about the Vietnam War, the History Channel has more videos online, and we have many books in the 959.704 section such as these.

Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. [959.704 ENC]

Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War. [959.704 EVE]

Ferguson, Amanda. American Women of the Vietnam War. [959.7043 FER]

Isaacs, Arnold R. Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy. [959.704 ISA]

Moore, Harold G. We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang, the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam. [959.704 MOO]

The Vietnam War Day by Day. [959.704 VIE]

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Rail Trail

We have a book in our collection Rail-Trails New England [917.4 RAI] by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy. It was published in 2007, but I really think it's time for a new edition! The rail-trail system has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 8 years. The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy's "TrailBlog" is featuring the New Hampshire system in an article by Carl Knoch titled: "Rail-Trail Provides Economic Engine in the Granite State."
In southern New Hampshire, the approximately eight miles of the combined Derry Rail Trail and Windham Rail Trail represent the longest paved section of the Granite State Rail Trail—and the longest section of paved abandoned rail corridor in New Hampshire!
The two links in the article take you to the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy's pages, but the two trails also have their own sites. Windham Rail Trail Alliance's website is here, Facebook page here. Derry Rail Trail Alliance Facebook page is here (they have an old website that does not seem to be utilized any more).

Click here if you'd like to see the Granite State Rail Trail on a map.

Since this is school vacation week, you may want to take a long walk along the adjoining rail trails. You'll get exercise and enjoy the wonders of the natural world right here in NH!

Photo © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved: taken along the Derry portion, September 2013.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Do You Want to Be a Writer?

Someone recently told me she wants to be a writer and asked if I could suggest a book? My first question was, "What do you want to write?" There are so many types of writing that it is easier to recommend something more specific. Without knowing, I put together these titles to consider:

I've only included 25 titles in the slideshow, we have plenty more! Books that I haven't listed include those on grammar, citing sources, etc., but we have those, too!

When all is said and done, I really only have two pieces of advice if you're looking to be a writer: 1. Read, read, read! 2. Sit down and actually write. (Then, rewrite.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Le Petit Prince

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a book you may have struggled through in French class back in your high school days. It has recently been remade into an animated film, The Little Prince, which is due to be released in France at the end of July. The American release date hasn't been made known, but we can probably expect it in late summer.

The Little Prince has a stellar cast of voices including Rachel McAdams, James Franco, Paul Giamatti, Jeff Bridges, and Ricky Gervais among others.

The Little Prince is available in a number of different forms at the Library--the English translation [J SAI, YA SAI, F SAI], a comix version by Joann Star [J CX STA], a second four-part comix verson by Guillaume Dorison [J CX LIT], and an earlier (1974) live action film version [J DVD LIT].

We also have books about the book's author, Saint-Exupéry:

Saint-Exupéry, Consuelo de. The Tale of the Rose: The Passion that Inspired The Little Prince. [920 SAI]

Sís, Peter. The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. [J B SAI]

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poetry Friday--Spring Waters

Now that the snow has melted here in southern New Hampshire, and it continues to melt further north of us, New England's rivers and brooks are full to overflowing. The power of these rising waters is astounding!

Here's a poem from Wendell Berry that is found in Leavings: Poems [811.6 BER]:
Give It Time

The river is of the earth
and it is free. It is rigorously
embanked and bound,
and yet is free. "To hell
with restraint," it says.
"I have got to be going."
It will grind out its dams.
It will go over or around them.
They will become pieces.

Let us not forget that Mother Nature always has the last word!

This video was filmed in March 2010, in Deerfield, NH:

Coincidentally, Renée at No Water River is this week's Round-Up hostess. How can there be a "no water river"--what does it all mean? Renée's explanation of the blog name is found here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Lost Generation

On Monday I posted about the movie Midnight in Paris [DVD MID].

In the movie Owen Wilson's character keeps meeting up with members of the "Lost Generation"--American and British writers and artists who took up residence in France in the 1920s. These people included Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, etc.

Many biographies and commentaries have been written on the "Lost Generation," but, these people also seem to hold a fascination for novelists who have imagined incidents in the lives of the "Lost Generation":

The Hemingway Project is a website devoted to "collecting stories about the enduring influence of Ernest Hemingway." If you wish to learn more about the "Lost Generation," this site is worth a visit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Please join with others around the world in preserving our planet for future generations.

Earth Day began back in 1970--this is the 40th year it has been celebrated. Children are introduced to the day through lots of Library materials such as these in hopes they will carry forth the ideas which spawned the original Earth Day movement:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Life among Animals

Gerald M. Durrell would have been 90 this year if he had lived beyond 1995. He was a man who devoted his life to animals and conservation and he left behind Durrell Wildlife Park, which he founded in 1958 on the Channel Island of Jersey.

I first encountered one of Durrell's nonfiction books back when I was in high school. I loved it and I purchased his many other titles and read them all. My favorite book, during that period, was the memoir, My Family and Other Animals. I thought it was hilarious--and who can't use a good laugh?

The book was adapted for a Masterpiece Theatre presentation about 10 years ago, and we have the DVD in our collection. I highly recommend it!

If you are interested in the plight of endangered animals, I suggest exploring www.durrell.org, especially the pages devoted to the Durrell Index.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Paris in the Springtime

Here's the trailer to one of my favorite films. It's perfect for this time of year when I imagine Paris is literally blooming!

Watch Midnight in Paris [DVD MID], then borrow one of the books by, or about, the writers and artists portrayed in the movie. You might start with Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast [B HEM].

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Friday--National Haiku Poetry Day!

I'm a big haiku fan as many of you know, so today's designation as National Haiku Poetry Day makes me happy! The Haiku Foundation website is the place to start if you're interested in learning more about haiku. For those of you who have only known haiku as a three-line poem of 5-7-5 syllables, you're in for a surprise!

If, after visiting The Haiku Foundation, you've been inspired to read more haiku, then look for one or more of these books that I can personally recommend:

Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for haiku, I always suggest The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English edited by Cor van den Heuvel [811 HAI]. This anthology presents an infinite variety of poems. Here is a sampling:

spring is here
      the cat's muddy pawprints
      on the windowsill

by Nick Avis

the plumber
kneeling in our tub
--talking to himself

by Tom Clausen

The last kid picked
running his fastest
to right field

by Mike Dillon

In my medicine cabinet,
   the winter fly
has died of old age.

by Jack Kerouac

by the autumn hill
my watercolor box

by Raymond Roseliep

behind sunglasses
I doze and wake...
the friendly man talks on

by Anita Virgil

In case you don't know the term "senryu," it is simply a poem in haiku form that is about human nature. Nature, with a capital "N" is the subject of a haiku. The poem by Nick Avis is a haiku. The one by Tom Clausen I would categorize as a senryu. The one by Anita Virgil could be either. It deals with human nature in that we all find ways to hide, but, it also deals with the effects of a bright summer's day where we must wear sunglasses and the sun's warmth can put us to sleep. You'll find the lines between the two are often blurred!

I invite you to visit Robyn Hood Black for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Robyn, too, is a fan of haiku. Maybe she will feature some today?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

On April 16, 1963 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a letter to the clergymen of Birmingham. The letter has become famous for its passionate plea in response to Birmingham's clergy labeling protestors as troublemakers. The letter outlines the segregation, racial hatred and its effects--including violence, that led to the protests. Negotiation had been ineffective and King wrote, "I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth."

He began his letter by explaining why he, a preacher from Atlanta, was compelled to be in Birmingham. It drew to a conclusion with this:
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

Dr. King's long thoughts inspired thought in others, and the struggle for freedom and equality moved forward. Sadly, the struggle continues to this day.

If you have a reading device look for Gospel of Freedom by Jonathan Rieder [Overdrive ebook], which provides background and analysis of the letter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sign Language

The first school for the deaf was founded on April 15, 1817 by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet with the assistance of Laurent Clerc. It continues to this day as the American School for the Deaf and is the home of American Sign Language (ASL).

The learning of sign language can take place in early childhood. In fact, parents are now being taught to communicate with their babies, both deaf and hearing, through signs.

To introduce you and your child to sign language, we have many resources available:

Here are signs that everyone can learn and use!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Animal Adaptations

Sunday night I posted this video on the Library's Facebook page.

زۆر جوانە...

Posted by Xendan on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I find it amazing the way a small animal has adapted to allow it to stuff its cheeks full of food and thus avoid wasting energy making multiple trips to its home.

Over time, animals have adapted to make survival, if not easier, at least less difficult than it may have been. They've done it by changing the way they look, fight, hide, etc. In the case of the chipmunk, it was able to develop cheeks the size of trumpet player's!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Webcams and Stuff

If you're an NPR listener, yesterday you may have heard the story, "Better Than 'Survivor': Wild Drama Hooks Viewers On Nest Web Cams."

Webcams are pointed at nests, zoos, and monuments and more, around the world. About a year ago, I rounded up a few for a post; click here.

For those of you who've wondered about the Great Blue herons that fly over Windham, and the various nesting areas (rookeries) in town, you can see herons up close on the Hericon Marsh Great Blue Heron Camera. Hericon Marsh is in Wisconsin, however, I'm sure the habits of NH herons and WI herons are pretty much the same!

The U. S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service has a number of webcams listed on its Nature Watch site. They call them "Critter Cams." I find the plain old birdfeeder site from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, sited in Ithaca, New York, to be a joyous experience since you can listen to a multitude of bird calls and songs when there's no "action" at the feeder.

There are resources for educators at the Cornell Lab's BirdSleuth K-12, so if you're a teacher or homeschooler, check it out. Also for parents and teachers I would recommend these books for getting the kids out into the natural lab, also known as the "great outdoors":

Cornell, Joseph. Sharing Nature with Children: The Classic Parents' & Teachers' Nature Awareness Guidebook. [372.3 COR]

Lang, Susan S. Nature in Your Backyard: Simple Activities for Children. [J 574.974 LAN]

Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. [155.418 LOU]

Silver, Donald M. Backyard "One Small Square" series. [J 577.5 SIL]

Sisson, Edith A. Nature with Children of All Ages: Activities & Adventures for Exploring, Learning & Enjoying the World around Us. [372.3 SIS]

Smith, Marilyn. The Kid's Guide to Exploring Nature. [J 508 SMI]

Ward, Jennifer. I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature. [FT 796.083 WAR]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Friday--Safety Pin

On April 10, 1849 a patent was issued to a tiny device that has saved many a person from a fashion disaster--the safety pin! How many times over the years have you had a snap or button suddenly decide it no longer wishes to be attached to your pants or skirt? Rather than leaving work and driving all the way home to change, a safety pin* is there to help. You can thank Walter Hunt, the man who was awarded the patent.

Patent 6281.jpg
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

For many years, before the advent of disposable diapers, a safety pin was essential for keeping a diaper on a baby.

So, the lowly safety pin is worthy of a little poetic recognition, and poet Valerie Worth did just that!
safety pin

Closed, it sleeps
On its side
The silver
Of some
Small fish;

Opened, it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a
Surprised eye.

Found in A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets (edited by Bernice E. Cullinan) [811.54 JAR].

Laura, at Writing the World for Kids, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up today.

*I say "a safety pin is there," but that really depends on the workplace. In those places, which predominantly employ men, coming upon a safety pin may be near impossible. I've seen stapled pants hems and duct tape repairs.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Let Freedom Sing!

On this day in 1939, Marian Anderson made history by singing a concert for more than 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. The Daughters of the American Revolution had refused Anderson permission to sing in Constitution Hall because she was black, as had officials of D.C. when she requested performing in the auditorium of a white public high school. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, on federal property, a significant acknowledgement of the concept of equality for all in the U. S.

Here's a documentary of Anderson which includes footage of the performance in 1939 (history of the performance begins at approximately 28:00):

We have two children's books that cover the 1939 event, The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman and When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan, both found in J B AND. And we also have an adult biography of Anderson, Marian Anderson: A Singer's Journey by Allan Keiler [B AND].

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Wall Treatments--Part 2

Yesterday I posted about wall decorations made from sticky notes. Today, I want to cover the more traditional ways of decorating walls--paint and wallpaper!

If you're a watcher of one of the several home-improvement cable channels, you know about the way standard paint jobs can be embellished with various techniques such as is found in 1,200 Paint Effects for the Home Decorator by Ray Bradshaw [698 BRA], or, Modern Paint Effects: A Guide to Contemporary Paint Finishes from Inspiration to Technique by Annie Sloan [745.7 SLO].

If you're a visual learner, rather than a reader, you can borrow Wall Treatments, an 83 minute DVD covering just about everything regarding wall paint and paper [DVD 747.3 WAL].

If you're not exactly sure what it is you want to do, then I'd suggest browsing one or more of the several dozen Pinterest boards devoted to painted walls and wall treatments.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Wall Treatments

Need a spring project? How about decorating a home or office wall? Here's a photo from an article on how one workplace livened up their wall space.

Photo courtesy ViralNova.

Any idea what they're doing? You'll have to read the article to find out!

I image you can replicate any cross-stitch design on a wall using colored sticky notes. Affix and coat them with a gel medium or Modge Podge, and you'll have a permanent mural.

Crafters know about our great collection of fiber arts books, but, if you don't, look in the 746.44 section for ones on cross-stitch designs and patterns. Here are a few to pick from:

Engelbreit, Mary. Mary Engelbreit Cross-Stitch for All Seasons. [746.44 EBG]

Hasler, Julie S. 500 Alphabets in Cross Stitch. [746.44 HAS]

101 Folk Art Designs for Counted Cross-Stitch and Other Needlecrafts. [746.44 ONE]

Monday, April 06, 2015

New-ish DVDs

We're always adding new DVDs to our collection. Most people are looking for the hot new releases, however, we also add many older titles that we may have missed in the past, are replacements for lost or damaged items, or are television programs that have an educational component. Here are a few DVD titles we've added in the last month that you may like to take home and watch:

Friday, April 03, 2015

Poetry Friday--Bunnies!

It's spring, and it's also nearly Easter, so I've been seeing bunnies all around. There are even wild ones coming out of hiding. Poor things will have to wait another week or so before things really start to green up!

In honor of bunnies, I've selected bunny/rabbit poems from two of the many animal poem books in our children's room:

The first is from Animal Trunk: Silly Poems to Read Aloud by Charles Ghigna [J 811 GHI]:

Bunnies nibble.
Bunnies doze.
Bunnies twitch
A bunny nose.

Bunnies huddle.
Bunnies hide.
Bunnies like to
Dig outside.

Bunnies run.
Bunnies stop.
Bunnies do
The bunny hop.

This next one is from the anthology, National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems With Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! edited by J Patrick Lewis [808.81 NAT]:

I had to scan it so that you can see the way it is laid out on the page. Like "Bunnies" above, it's a fun poem to read aloud!

Hop on over to The Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Enjoy the Easter holiday if you celebrate it, but take it easy on the jelly beans!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Happy International Children's Book Day!

Poster courtesy IBBY.

Today is International Children's Book Day! What better way to celebrate than to visit the library and borrow a book set in a country other than the United States. Here are a few titles to get you started:

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April Is...

April is so many things!

If you believe T. S. Eliot, it’s the "cruellest month." (See see Eliot’s poem, "The Wasteland" found in The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 [810.81 ELI].)

If you believe the Easter Bunny, then it’s a time for jelly beans and Easter eggs. (See Llama Llama Easter Egg by Anna Dewdney [BB DEW].)

If you believe the Red Sox, then it’s the beginning of a winning season of baseball. (See The 50 Greatest Players in Boston Red Sox History by Robert W. Cohen [796.357 COH].)

If you believe the calendar, then it really is spring, and any day now, all those dirty snow piles will melt away and trees and flowers will be blooming! (See Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson [JP RAW].)

April is also the month of Earth Day (see When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story by Linda Crotta Brennan [J 333.72 BRE]), Jazz Appreciation Month (see The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross [780.904 ROS]), National Poetry Month (see A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch [3M ebook]), and National Humor Month (See Jokelopedia: The Biggest, Best, Silliest, Dumbest Joke Book Ever! [see 3M ebook]).

And today, April 1, is April Fool's Day! You won't be a fool is you visit the Library today! As a matter of fact, I'd say you were pretty smart!

Happy April!