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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Children's Emotional Health

Inside Out, a new animated film, recently opened in theaters. It has been well-reviewed and is sure to be a blockbuster this summer for both parents and kids. NPR aired a piece that called it, "an animated fantasy that remains remarkably true to what scientists have learned about the mind, emotion and memory." It's more than your average cartoon.

The age of the film's main character is 11 and that age is sometimes referred to the "tween" years. Parents concern themselves with feeding their tweens well, keeping them well-exercised and physically healthy, but sometimes, understanding emotional health goes beyond a parent's expertise. If you're one of those parents, you'll probably find Inside Out enlightening.

If you still have more questions about tweens, look for How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years by Julie A. Ross [FT 649.124 ROS].

Monday, June 29, 2015

Curious George Part II

On Thursday, I shared an old Curious George video from 30 years ago. Today, I want to alert you to the fact that we have, right here in the state of New Hampshire, the Margret and H.A. Rey Center and Curious George Cottage.
Margret and H.A. Rey, authors of the Curious George children’s book series and former summer residents of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, were artists and adventurers, historians and naturalists, gardeners and stewards. Today their pursuits live on in the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the Reys’ spirit of curiosity and discovery by increasing understanding and participation in art, science, and nature through programs for youth, adults and families.

The lives of Margret and H.A. Rey were filled with continued learning and community service. The Reys were active in writing and illustration; astronomy; natural history; photography; environmental action (including calls for renewable energy); concern for animals; the simple joys of gardening, walking and bicycle-riding; and, of course, children's experiential learning. These life pursuits of the Reys form the basis Rey Center programs. This mixture of art and science, the physical and intellectual, young and old, and ever-present curiosity, is the foundation for a multi-generational center for learning and exploration.
If you don't get to travel to Waterville Valley to the Rey Center, you can still have some Curious George fun by visiting CuriousGeorge.com. You'll find stories, videos, games, and activities to keep the kids occupied for hours.

Adults interested in Curious George can visit The Jewish Museum's exhibit, "Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey." The exhibition, originally shown five years ago, has been made available online.
Nearly 80 original drawings for Margret and H. A. Rey’s children’s books and documentation related to their escape from Nazi-occupied Europe are on view.
Read the amazing story of the Reys' escape in The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden [J 920 BOR].

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Poetry Friday--Seriously Funny

I like the ambiguity of the title of this anthology: Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby [811.6 SER]. If you can't wrap your head around the term "seriously funny," here's a poem that makes the concept perfectly obvious:
by Ginger Andrews

God bless the chick in Alaska
who took in my sister’s ex,
an abusive alcoholic hunk.
Bless all borderline brainless ex-cheerleaders
with long blonde hair, boobs,
and waists no bigger around than a coke bottle
who’ve broken up somebody else’s home.
Forgive my thrill
should they put on seventy-five pounds,
develop stretch marks, spider veins,
and suffer through endless days of deep depression.

Bless those who remarry on the rebound.
Bless me and all my sisters,
the ball and chain baggage
we carried into our second marriages.
Bless my broken brother and his live-in.
Grant him SSI. Consider
how the deeper the wounds in my family,
the funnier we’ve become.
Bless those who’ve learned to laugh at what’s longed for.
Keep us from becoming hilarious.
Bless our children.
Bless all our ex’s,
and bless the fat chick in Alaska.
This last Poetry Friday Round-Up for June is taking place at Carol's Corner. Stop by before you head off to the beach!

The Ever-Curious George

The first Curious George book, by Margret and H. A. Rey [JP REY], came out in 1941 and was followed by other adventures starring the little monkey. The plot structure was always the same. His friend, the Man with the yellow hat, leaves George alone. George lets his curiosity get the better of him and he ends up doing something he shouldn't have. He has a moment of fear about being caught. He is indeed caught, and chastised, but, his bit of naughtiness turns out to save the day! The clueless Man with the yellow hat comes along to collect George. All's well that ends well.

About thirty years ago, some of the books were filmed as short cartoons, like the one below. Curious George was made into a feature-length film in 2006 [J DVD CUR], with a delightful soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George by Jack Johnson and Friends [J CD CUR]. Today, Curious George is computer-animated and is shown on PBS [J DVD CUR].

The original George books are still in print after more than 70 years! Curious George is one very old monkey!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Breakfast Anyone?

My favorite meal is breakfast. I love the relative ease with which it can be prepared. And, I like simple foods.

Have you ever wondered what other countries and cultures serve for breakfast? If so, this video will provide some answers:

If you're inspired to try something new for your breakfast, maybe one of these books should be on your reading list:

Cunningham, Marion. The Breakfast Book. [641.52 CUN]

Fauchald, Nick. Puffy Popevers: And Other Get-Out-of-Bed Breakfasts. [J 641.52 FAU]

Gand, Gale. Gale Gand's Brunch! [641.532 GAN]

Haedrich, Ken. Country Breakfasts. [641.52 HAE]

Hibbert, Clare. Let's Eat Breakfast. [J 641.52 HIB]

Maynard, Kitty. The American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbook. [641.5 MAY]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Yesterday I posted photos of this year's butterfly garden. In the times I've been out there, I've only seen one white butterfly, but it wasn't a small cabbage white butterfly. It was a brilliant white, larger than a cabbage white. It moved too fast for me the identify any other markings, so its identity is a mystery.

Monarch butterflies are something children take an interest in. They certainly are beautiful to look at! In school they may have learned about the perilous migration of the Monarch. Some classrooms hatch them. Others may take part in regional tracking through Monarch Watch.

We have a nice collection of butterfly books in our children's room, too!

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again!

Our butterfly garden (planted and maintained by the Windham Garden Club) is in bloom here are photos from April through last week to show the progress. It will probably be a few more weeks before the butterfly bush is in bloom, and then, with any luck, the butterflies and moths will be hanging out at the Library!

If you would like to plant your own butterfly garden, look for either one of these:

Mikula, Rick. The Family Butterfly Book: Discover the Joy of Attracting, Raising & Nurturing Butterflies. [595.78 MIK]

Stokes, Donald W. The Butterfly Book: An Easy Guide to Butterfly Gardening, Identification, and Behavior. [595.78 STO]

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Poetry Friday--Poisoned Apples

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann [YA 811.6 HEP] came out last October and garnered starred reviews and praise. A review in The Horn Book, starts off with, "For this poet, there is no dividing line between fairy tales and reality" and ends, "These poems dwell fiercely and angrily within the visual and verbal cacophony heard and seen by girls, offering an acerbic critique, mourning, and compassionate, unrelenting honesty."

Wow! Sounds pretty heavy, doesn't it? Believe me, it is! Here's one of the 50 short poems that are included in this collection:
Light as a Feather,
Stiff as a Board

There was already enough dark magic
at those slumber parties. Still we played
the game: You are riding the bus
or You are crossing the street
or You are walking through the park,
and then
the brakes failed,
the lightning struck,
Your killer drags you down into the leaves....

My friends chanted and slipped
a few fingers under my corpse.
If the spell worked, my soul was gone;

I was light as a feather, stiff as a board,
drifting high above their heads.

If not, they laughed and dropped me.

One of the mysteries of adolescent--how can your friends, those you've trusted, simply drop you--captured so well! And, on different levels.

Today my friend Mary Lee is hosting the Round-Up at A Year of Reading!


Suffragette is a new film that will be opening later this year. It stars Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, and Carey Mulligan. Read more about the film here.

The story takes place in England. The title itself gives the location away. Suffragette was the name given to British woman who worked for the right to vote. Here in the United States, they were called suffragists. English suffragettes were not adverse to using violent actions to bring their issue to light. In the U. S. the women was a little more subdued.

In both England and the U.S., the movement had plenty of detractors as is evidenced by the illustration below:

The caption reads, "The Feminine of Jekyll and Hyde." Udo J. Keppler, artist, 1913, courtesy Library of Congress.

Children generally have no idea that 100 years ago, women couldn't vote. Here are a few books that should open a few eyes:

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

Kamma, Anne. If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights. [J 324.623 KAM]

Nash, Carol Rust. The Fight for Women's Right to Vote in American History. [J 324.6 NAS]

Rossi, Ann. Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote, 1840-1920. [J 324.623 ROS]

VanRynbach, Iris. The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story about Suffrage. [JP VAN]

And this video from PBS, One Woman, One Vote. [DVD 324.623 ONE]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Knitting Things With Faces

I don't know how to knit, and I know I'll never learn, however, that doesn't stop me from admiring knitted items, especially ones with faces that tickle my fancy.

Here is one such item:

Courtesy TeaCosyFolk.

Pinterest is full of ideas for knitting things with faces. Here's a favorite board called "Creatures."

If you are one of the fortunate ones who can knit AND follow knitting directions, look for one of these titles:

Anderson, Susan B. Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. [746.432 AND]

Long, Laura. Knitted Toy Tales: Irresistible Characters For All Ages. [746.432 LON]

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Hamsters make great movie stars! They are also a favorite subject for children's book writers. A search in our catalog under the term, "hamsters" brings up dozens of results. Here are a few:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hunger in America

Hunger is a problem most Americans would like to pretend doesn't exist in the U. S. The attitude, "We're number one," precludes the idea that a portion of our population is food insecure. But, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, in 2013,
Children and adults were food insecure at times during the year in 9.9 percent of households with children. At times during the year, these 3.8 million households were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.
That's one in ten!

Many people donate money to food pantries or other charitable organizations for the distribution of food. Others contribute goods or volunteer. This giving typically occurs during the November-December holiday season. But, food is needed year-round. Children who receive free lunches during the school year, may be left without a lunch during the summer months. Or, cash-strapped parents may have a difficult time juggling the added costs of feeding growing children during the summer with other monthly living costs.

What can you do? The answer is quite obvious.

If you'd prefer to give something other than monetary donations, you can take care to shop better. Here's an article that spells out what food pantries really need.

The Shepherd's Pantry is Windham's food source for food insecure Windhamites. Help if you are able.

Hunger in America IS a problem. To learn more, look for the video A Place at the Table [DVD 338.19 PLA]

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Poetry Friday--1915

On its website, The Poetry Foundation has been celebrating the publication of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," by T. S. Eliot, one hundred years ago this month in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse edited by Harriet Monroe. A featured article discusses the poem and how Ezra Pound hurried its publication along.

That particular year, 1915, saw the publication of many of the poets whose works continue to be read in the 21st century--Robert Frost, Amy Lowell, Wallace Stevens, Sara Teasdale, and Louis Untermeyer. Also published in 1915 was Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology [811.4 MAS]. Some of the poems were originally published in a magazine titled Reedy's Mirror and were gathered, and added to, to make the Spoon River Anthology. An additional thirty-five poems were included in a 1916 edition.

In the Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1915: And Year Book of American Poetry, William Stanley Braithwaite said of Spoon River Anthology, "This has been the most widely discussed volume of verse published this year. There has been nothing like it before, and I doubt if there will ever be again." He went on to say it is, "a novel in verse; it is the first successful novel in verse we have had in American literature. It brings more character into its pages than have ever been brought into any American novel."

If you're not familiar with Spoon River Anthology, it is a collection of 244 epitaph poems portraying the citizens of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois. Here is one of the poems from Reedy's Mirror, which went into the Spoon River Anthology, and also appeared in the Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1915:
Hannah Armstrong

I wrote him a letter asking him for old times' sake
To discharge my sick boy from the army;
But maybe he couldn't read it.
Then I went to town and had James Garber,
Who wrote beautifully, write him a letter;
But maybe that was lost in the mails.
So I travelled all the way to Washington,
I was more than an hour finding the White House.
And when I found it they turned me away,
Hiding their smiles. Then I thought:
"Oh, well, he ain't the same as when I boarded him
And he and my husband worked together
And all of us called him Abe, there in Menard."
As a last attempt I turned to a guard and said:
"Please say it's old Aunt Hannah Armstrong
From Illinois, come to see him about her sick boy
In the army."
Well, just in a moment they let me in!
And when he saw me he broke in a laugh,
And dropped his business as president,
And wrote in his own hand Doug's discharge,
Talking the while of the early days,
And telling stories.

In June of 1957, a radio adaptation of The Spoon River Anthology was broadcast on CBS radio. You can listen to it below:

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week, head over to Jama's Alphabet Soup. Jama always has something cookin' at her blog. Literally!

A Fine Dessert

Today a dessert often takes the shape of high caloric cookies and cakes "enhanced" with crushed candy. Have you bought a bakery shop treat lately? A cookie may be 6" in diameter (or larger) with more chopped up candy than cookie. Cupcakes are slathered with 4" of icing, and even that is sprinkled with a coating of crushed candy. Simple ingredients and simply presented desserts are rare!

We recently added a unique picture book to our collection, A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins [JP JEN]. It's a book that shows the reader that in a dessert, less can be more!

The author, and the illustrator, Sophie Blackall, are interviewed in the video below:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


This Friday marks the beginning of the Adult Summer Reading Program. The kick-off event is a "Game Night" on the 12th, 6-8 PM. The idea is to play a traditional board or strategy game, make new friends, and to learn about this summer's events.

If the game portion of the evening is a success, it may pave the way for future "Game Nights." Come with a team or come by yourself. Bring your own favorite game! Call the Library at 432-7154 to register. Pizza will be served.

If you look at the woodprint above, you will notice that the go players must be having some disagreement about the rules. The New Complete Hoyle Revised: The Authoritative Guide of the Official Rules of All Popular Games of Skill and Chance [794 NEW] has the rules to Go, so if there is ever a disagreement, you needn't resort to fisty-cuffs!

Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures by Sally Wilkins [790 WIL] has simple to follow directions for playing Go, as well as games that originated in other regions of the world, including South America and Oceania!

If you can't get to the Library to borrow a book, Masters Traditional Games is a website that has rules for traditional games.

Print by Kiyonaga Torii, circa 1781-1789, courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

What's a Blackboard?

Blackboards haven't been black for a half a century now. In the 1960s they were green, and in the early 21st century they've been replaced by white boards and smart boards. But, back a hundred years ago, blackboards were heavy black slate boards that covered the front of a classroom so that a teacher could demonstrate a math concept, write a poem to memorize, or simply act as a reminder to students of classroom rules.

In Oklahoma City recently, a school renovation projected revealed blackboards untouched since 1917! Here's a short news video of the discovery:

The Washington Post also covered the story.

The story of education throughout our history is quite interesting, especially for children who are still in their elementary school days. For more information about education in American history, look for these children's books Going to School in Colonial America by Shelley Swanson Sateren [J 370.9 SAT] and Going to School in Pioneer Times by Kerry A. Graves [J 370.9 GRA], both of which are part of the "Going to school in history" series. Or Don't Whistle in School: The History of America's Public Schools by Ruth Tenzer Feldman [J 370 FEL]. For adults we have School, the Story of American Public Education [370 SCH].

Monday, June 08, 2015

The Nelsons of Goshen, NH

How many of you can tell me where Goshen, NH is located? I didn't know. I looked it up and found it is near Mt. Sunapee and it has a population of less than 1000. It's an old town, having been incorporated in 1791.

Amherst College, has a collection of a photographs and handcrafted books from the Nelson family of Goshen, dating from the 1880s and 90s. They have digitized the collection, along with items from the Goshen Historical Society's collection. The books have been transcribed. The whole collection is available to the general public through a website: The Worlds and Works of the Nelson Brothers. (To learn about the project, click here.) Spend a few hours reading the small books created by the Nelson brothers, and looking through the photos taken by brothers.

Here's a photo that caught my fancy:

"Woman with Large Lap Cat," courtesy The Worlds and Works of the Nelson Brothers.

For today's children, the realization that there were no smart phones, no computers, no TVs, no radios or CDs a hundred years ago, could lead to some interesting conversations. People entertained themselves by reading, and in the case of the Nelson brothers, by writing their own books, military uniforms catalog, etc. What would you and your kids do to entertain yourselves?

If your family becomes inspired to collect its own history, stop by the Library to borrow Finding Out about Your Family History by Nick Hunter [J 929.2 HUN].

Friday, June 05, 2015

Poetry Friday--It's National Donut Day!

Donut. Quick--what pops into your head? For me it's a jelly donut. For some, most likely those who live in New England, it might be apple cider donuts at the local orchard. For others it could be a date at a donut shop, or "The Doughnut," a story in Robert McCloskey's Homer Price [J MCC].

Donuts have a long--they donuts arrived with the Pilgrims--and proud--think of the "donut girls" of the two world wars--history.

With the proliferation of Dunkin' Donuts and other chain shops, donuts may have lost their status as a special treat, which is sad.

Since it is Poetry Friday, and since it is National Donut Day, I'll put the regrets aside and offer a non-caloric donut treat:

We have this song on A Twinkle in Your Eye by Burl Ives [CD CHILDREN IVE].

Here's one that I used to sing as a kid, having learned it at camp when I was about 8 years old. I remember the opening lines as, "Oh, I went to Toledo, and I walked around the block, and I walked right into a bakery shop."

Instead of the closing line, "Thanks for the donut, so long!" we sang, "Shave and a haircut--two bits." What that had to do with a donut I'll never know. A version of "The Donut Song" can be found in The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays, and Chants compiled by Jackie Silberg and Pam Schiller [372.6 COM]. It comes with a CD.

Who knows, if you head over to Buffy's Blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, you may find more donut-related verse!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

June is GLBT Book Month!

The American Library Association is sponsoring GLBT Book Month this year in June.
The American Library Association (ALA) has designated June 2015 as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community...

Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, June 2015 will mark the first commemoration of GLBT Book Month™ to be held under ALA’s auspices.

With the fast changing attitudinal changes of American society with regard to GLBT issues, it is imperative upon public libraries that their collections reflect all aspects of society! Here's a selection of our GLBT books:

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

June is National Zoo & Aquarium Month

The month of June is devoted to zoos and aquariums. Did you know that there are over 10,000 zoos worldwide? We have several in New England, the closest being Zoo New England (Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham). The New England Aquarium in Boston is probably the closest aquarium, but there are also three aquariums in Maine, and two in Connecticut.

Lucky for you, the library pass to the New England Aquarium is bookable during the celebratory month of June. The Aquarium does not honor library passes during July and August. We also have passes to Zoo New England, available year-round. Both of these passes have been donated to the Library by FLOW and may be booked online here (please have your Nesmith library card ready). Money raised at the recent Strawberry Festival and Book Sale go toward the purchase of museum passes, library events, and other library improvement projects.

Some of my favorite children's picture books from years past are about zoos. Here are a few titles:

Carrick, Carol. Patrick's Dinosaurs. [JP CAR]

Fatio. Louise. The Happy Lion. [JP FAT]

Hendrick, Mary Jean. If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo. [JP HEN]

Lopshire, Robert. Put Me in the Zoo. [E LOP]

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

June is Great Outdoors Month!

A great time of year to be outdoors is June--winter has long gone, trees are in full leaf providing shade when needed, and, it's not usually overwhelmingly hot.

I'd like to once again remind you to check out the Nesmith Library's "Travel Close to Home" Pinterest board. The board contains many outdoor locations and activities located within a couple hours' drive from Windham. (Also included are museums.)

We have several new books on the great outdoors including one by a writer whose mother volunteers here at the Library--Jeffrey Romano: Day Trips New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island [917.4 ROM]. We have two others of Jeff's books in out collection, 100 Classic Hikes in New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut [917.4 ROM], and, Best Loop Hikes: New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Maine Coast [917.4 ROM].

Others of our New England travel guides include AMC's best backpacking in New England: A Guide to 37 of the Best Multiday Trips from Maine to Connecticut by Matt Heid [917.404 HEI], Rockhounding New England: A Guide to 100 of the Region's Best Rockhounding Sites by Peter Cristofono [552.0974 CRI], Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont: 75 of the Best Family Hiking, Camping, and Paddling Trips by Ethan Hipple [796.50974 HIP], and Birdwatching in New Hampshire by Eric A. Masterson [598.072 MAS].

Head outdoors this month, bring a camera, but don't forget the bug repellant!

Monday, June 01, 2015

June is National Candy Month!

It's June and it's a month full of celebrations! Top on my list is its designation as "National Candy Month!"

If you believe in the axiom, "everything in moderation," then you'll know that candy, in judicious amounts, is perfectly OKAY! Just don't forget to brush!

Candy has a long history, much of it tied to holidays such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween. It also used to be a treat enjoyed at the movies (before the advent of the super-sized packaging).

In Europe, there is a long tradition of marzipan--tiny sculptured fruits or animals made from almond paste. In Japan, there is Amezaiku, which is the art of candy sculpture.

Even if you don't eat candy, you can borrow one of the many books or movies written about the subject: