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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!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Today Is World Teacher Day!

World Teacher Day
Infographic courtesy Grammerly.

We're celebrating teachers today. Our future lies in their hands. It's an awesome responsibility!

Let's look at a few fictional teachers found in our children's and teen's collections;

Brown, Peter. My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not). [JP BRO]

Coville, Bruce. My Teacher Fried My Brains. [J COV]

Houston, Gloria. My Great-Aunt Arizona. [JP HOU]

Jones, Patrick. Bridge. [YA JON]

Marzollo, Jean. Shanna's Teacher Show. [JP MAR]

Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Avonlea. [J AB/CD MON, also ebook]

Peck, Richard. The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts. [YA PEC]

Polacco, Patricia. The Junkyard Wonders. [JP POL]

Pulver, Robin. Mrs. Toggle's Beautiful Blue Shoe. [JP PUL]

Winters, Ben H. The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman. [J WIN]

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Owl and the Pussycat"

I cannot resist sharing this video!

And of course, I couldn't help thinking of the Edward Lear poem:
The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
        You are,
        You are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
        His nose,
        His nose,
    With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
        The moon,
        The moon,
    They danced by the light of the moon.

Not surprisingly, we have this much-loved classic poem in many forms at the library. Two illustrated versions, one of them by James Marshall in his easily recognizable style [JP LEA]. An audio version found on Vintage Children's Favourites [CD CHILDREN VIN], which has been "transcribed from original 78s." And in numerous poetry collections including The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis [808.81 BES].

Have a great weekend, but not before stopping by My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

October Is National Stop Bullying Month!

I hope by now that everyone is aware that we have bullying problem we have here in the United States. Bullying isn't restricted to schools or the playgrounds. There are workplace bullies, cyberbullies and internet trolls, and even politicians who think it is okay to disrespect others by shouting them down!

To learn more, the Library has these materials that cover the topic for both children and adults, including many for parents and teachers to use:

The only way to begin to change the culture is to first acknowledge the problem, secondly, learn to recognize instances of bullying (some of it is subtle), and thirdly to work to eliminate it. Let's declare every month “Stop Bullying Month!”