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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Poetry Friday--"To the New Year"

Photo by Wyncliffe.

A simple wish for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017: "our hopes such as they are...still possible."
To the New Year

by W. S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

You'll find many of Merwin's poems in the various anthologies in our American poetry section including The Poets Laureate Anthology [811.5 POE]. We also have two of his collections: Migration: New & Selected Poems, and The Shadow of Sirius [both 811.54 MER].

Donna, in the neighboring state of Maine, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Visit her at Mainely Write.

See you next year!

Science on a Sphere

Have you heard of Science on a Sphere (SOS)? It's
a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.
To learn more, click here.

One of the features of the SOS website is a list of various datasets that provide detailed information on a number of topics. For instance, there's a list of Snow and Ice datasets including one titled, "Climate Model: Sea Ice Change (GFDL a1b) 1861 - 2100." Besides explanatory information, there's a model sphere that rotates, and, by using sliders on the left side and bottom of the page you can move the sphere to provide a better view of what is happening at the top and bottom of the globe. Pardon the pun, but the sea ice model is COOL!

Some of the dataset pages have short narrated videos, and they all have links to more information. The SOS site is a great resource for answering questions on climate change, so check it out!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

End of Year Lists

They started coming in the beginning of December. Now that New Year's Eve is nearly upon us, we've been caught up in a deluge of "the year's best movies," "best CDs of 2016," "celebrities who left us in 2016," etc.

Here are a baker's dozen of adult titles that appear on multiple "best books of 2016" lists:

Cline, Emma. The Girls. [F CLI, eBook, eAudio]

Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. [339.46 DES, eBook]

French, Tana. The Trespasser. [F FRE, AB/CD FRE, eBook, eAudio]

Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing. [F GYA, AB/CD GYA, eBook, eAudio]

Hill, Nathan. The Nix. [F HIL, AB/CD HIL, eBook]

Jiles, Paulette. News of the World. [F JIL, eBook]

Kalanithi, Paul. When Breath Becomes Air. [B KAL, AB/CD B KAL, eBook, eAudio]

Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Gene: An Intimate History. [576.5 MUK, eBook, eAudio]

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. [F SMI, AB/CD SMI, eBook, eAudio]

Springsteen, Bruce. Born to Run. [B SPR, LP B SPR, AB/CD B SPR, eBook, eAudio]

Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow. [F TOW, AB/CD TOW, eBook, eAudio]

Vance, J. D. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. [B VAN, AB/CD B VAN, eBook, eAudio]

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. [F WHI, AB/CD WHI, eBook, eAudio]

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the 2016 Ladybug Picture Book Award is It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee [JP AGE]. Here's how the publisher describes the story:
Mysterious noises keep waking up the Wimbledon family. "That's very odd," says Mr. Wimbledon each time, but when he returns from checking on the sounds, he's always reassuring: "It's only Stanley; he's fixing the oil tank." "It's only Stanley; he's clearing the bathtub drain."

But what Stanley the dog is actually doing while his oblivious family goes back to bed is deliciously absurd: he's turning the house into a rocket ship to zoom himself and his family to another planet for an alien encounter.

The Ladybug Picture Book Award
is designed to promote early literacy and honor the best in recent children's picture books. A committee of children's librarians from around the state selects 10 picture book titles each spring. Then, during November, New Hampshire children from preschoolers to those in third grade choose the award winner.
The award has been given annually since 2003 and the Nesmith Library owns the winning titles.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Poetry Friday--Manger

If you haven't seen the Christmas anthology, Manger [J 811.008 MAN], with poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, I'd say you're in for a treat. From the animals, on the endpapers, illustrated by Helen Cann, to the simple but moving poems throughout, this would be a lovely book to read to a child on Christmas Eve. The premise of the collection is that animals received the gift of speech on the night Christ was born.

I have no doubt that even the youngest child can appreciate this gem of a poem:
Littlest Goat
by Alice Schertle

Donkey pushed in front of me.
I couldn't see at all.
Bossy Sheep said, "Go Outside!
No jumping in the stall!"

But Mary smiled and Joseph rubbed
my muzzle with his staff
when I jumped over Donkey's back
and made the baby laugh.

Before you go off to visit Buffy's Blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, I want to wish you love and happiness during this holiday season, and peace and justice in the coming new year!

The Library will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. See you on Tuesday!

Last Minute Gifts

Just when you think you've finished purchasing all the gifts you'll need for giving over the holidays, you remember...that you forgot...to get something for [fill in a name here]! If you can't bear one more trip to the mall and you know that with online shopping the chance you'll get what you need in time has slipped away, borrow one of these:

Baker, Lucy. Edible DIY: Simple, Giftable Recipes to Savor and Share. [eBook]

Engelbreit, Mary. Wrap It Up!: Gifts to Make, Wrap and Give. [745.54 ENG]

Hoverson, Joelle. Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. [eBook]

Hoverson, Joelle. More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. [eBook]

Taylor, Carol. Last-Minute Christmas Gifts: Crafting Quick & Classy Presents For Everyone on Your List. [745.59412 TAY]

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's Official!

Today at 5:44 AM, we entered winter. Let's hope it won't be a repeat of 2015 with record-breaking snow, but, a little snow would be nice for outdoor activities such as...

Downhill skiing

Details here.

Cross-country skiing

Details here.


Details here.


Details here.

Ice fishing

Details here.

And a whole lot more!

Details here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Look Up!

Earlier this month we had a gorgeous full moon. The moon is now waning. How do I know that? By checking the widget that has been added to the right-hand side of this page. It comes courtesy of MoonConnection.com.

There is plenty going on in the sky if you just take the time to look! This month there is also the Ursids meteor shower coming our way--a relatively small one, but still it's an amazing sight to "catch a falling star."

To learn more about what you might find in the sky, look for Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects To See in a Small Telescope-- and How to Find Them by Guy Consolmagno [523 CON]. If you don't have a telescope, borrow our Orion StarBlast 4.5" telescope [KIT TELESCOPE]. If you think you may need an introduction to astronomy, then sign up for the Library's Winter Skywatch taking place next Wednesday at 5:00.

Some of you oldies may remember "Catch a Falling Star" sung by Perry Como and included on The Very Best of Perry Como [CD MALE VOCALIST COM].

Monday, December 19, 2016

Thoughts on Christmas Songs

You've been hearing Christmas music, probably since before Thanksgiving. By this time you must have heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," 150 times. The song was released back in 1994 and after 22 years is still #1. Imagine how many times you've heard it in those 22 years...

If you're curious about the popularity ranking of Christmas songs, click here. And if you haven't heard it enough already, look for the tune on the Mariah Carey CDs, Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas II You [CD HOLIDAY CAR].

The song is featured prominently in the film Love Actually [DVD LOV], but it is sung by someone other than Carey.

Mariah Carey has been made a millionaire fifty times over by "All I Want For Christmas Is You." It seems impossible that royalties from one song could bring in so much money, doesn't it? Yet, the idea that a Christmas song could provide continuous income for years and years is the premise of another movie, About a Boy [DVD ABO] starring Hugh Grant, who, coincidentally, also stars in Love Actually! About a Boy, the film, is based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby [F HOR].

The following song is a little less popular than "All I Want for Christmas Is You." If you're lucky enough (unlucky enough?) you'll hear at least once each year. (I don't think you'll ever find Hugh Grant starring in a filmed version.)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Poetry Friday--Winter Lights

It's a season of lights to counteract the long hours of darkness found at this time of year. Anna Grossnickle Hines, as part of her series of books of poetry illustrated with quilts, wrote Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts [J 811 HIN].

The amazing thing about the book is the fabric wonders created by the author. This from the jacket flap:
Two of the quilts in the book, "Solstice" and "Star Catcher," each contain 8,450 triangles and took four hundred hours to sew.

The book is also a tribute to cultural diversity of seasonal celebrations and the idea of lighting one's world. Look for the poems titled, "Holiday Magic,""Morning Light," "Solstice," "Small Miracles,""Christmas Path,""Kwanzaa," and "Nian Is Coming."

A Sight to See

Aurora borealis!
Aurora borealis!
The words ring out
in a joyful shout.
Come see!

Come see
this amazing sight,
the shifting colors,
a billowing curtain
of swirling,
swooping light.

Aurora borealis!
Aurora borealis!
The words slip out
in a whisper.

Adults, especially quilters, will enjoy reading the quilt-making processes that Hines employed in illustrating the book; find "Making the Winter Lights Quilts" at the end. With long winter evenings ahead, quilting may be a way for you to while away the hours, if so, we have a treasure trove of quilting books on our shelves.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted this week at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

LEGO® Time at the Library

Town of Windham's IT director, Eric DeLong, has set up his annual LEGO® display in the Library's display case (on the left as you enter the front door). This is the third time he has set up the popular display that has the power to engage both kids and adult. The theme for this year is "Famous people at the Library." (If you see Eric, thank him for starting and continuing this holiday tradition!)

Stop by soon, since the display will only be up for a few weeks. Kids can also fill out a raffle ticket to win one of about a dozen prizes (prizes made possible by the generosity of Windham Town employees). Winners will be drawn on Friday, December 23, at noon--children need not be present to win.

When you come to the Library to see the display, go home with one of our LEGO® books that will inspire you and your kids to create your own scenes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yet Another Star Wars Movie

If the last few Star Wars movies left you cold, then the new movie opening on Friday may restore your faith in the Star Wars saga. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the title of the latest film, and Variety reported, "Some observers in the crowd remarked afterward how surprisingly action packed and beautiful the film looked. Others noted how much they liked the new characters in the prequel..."

Rewatch all the Star War films [DVD STA]. We have them in our collection, as well as a great number of Star Wars books in both the adult [SF STA] and children's section [J STA, J CX STA, E STA, and many more in J 791.43 STA].

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Feathered Dinosaurs?

Yes! Some dinosaurs had feathers, and if you don't believe me, check out this article from National Geographic, "First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber."

Isn't it amazing to see dinosaur feathers? Who woulda thunk it? Discoveries happen all the time, so probably the best way to keep up is by way of the internet. However, if you're a child, you may enjoy reading about dinosaurs in the land of "make-believe." Here are some dinosaur titles for kids that were added in the past year or so:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Weather

Yes, this is one more reminder about winter weather.

The town is responsible for our parking lot and walkways and they are generally good at getting things cleared out as soon as possible. However, this doesn't mean that all of Windham and the surrounding communities' roads are perfect for traveling. So, please be aware that unless we have sufficient staff to safely open the Library, we may not be open at exactly 9. We'll try our best to get things up and running as quickly as possible.

Remember, if Windham schools are closed or have a delayed opening due to inclement weather, then Toddler Time and Story Hour will be canceled for the day.

If weather is really bad, then we will be closed, or perhaps be forced to closed early. How will you know? Check our Facebook and Twitter pages (whatever we post on Facebook automatically is posted on Twitter). We will also post the news on our website. Channel 9, WMUR, will be notified, so check your television or their weather closings page. IMPORTANT: look for us under "N" for Nesmith Library. The Library will not be found under the listings for Windham (this is a WMUR restriction, not ours).

When in doubt, please stay home and download an eBook or eAudiobook to your device. Consider calling us to check if we are open before venturing up the hill to the Library, 432-7154.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Poetry Friday--Clowns

On December 9, 1898, America's most famous clown, Emmett Kelly, was born in Kansas. Maybe his name isn't familiar to 21st century readers, but, the clown persona he made famous, "Weary Willy," is probably instantly recognizable as the face on a million black velvet paintings!

Here's a photo of Kelly as Willy, taken in 1947:

In honor of Emmett Kelly, I want to share a surprising circus picture book by Adam Rex, Three-Ring Circus [JP REX].

A quick summary from the publisher:
In a quiet little lea, several miles out of town, a tree grows. It becomes home to sparrows, chipmunks, a whopping big bee...a runaway clown? Two poodles? An ape? Wait a minute. . . .
In his quirky but realistic style, Rex creates the greatest show on earth--or at least, in a tree.
This book is a little bit of everything--a cumulative tale, a rhyming book, a counting book, and a pile of fun. (Even the credit page has its humor--"No animals were harmed in the making of this book. The cat complained of neck pain, but was later found to be faking.")

Here's a bit of the text:
The traveling circus of Barley & Brown
looks up and down for their runaway clown.

Because they both stare at the tree, they don't see
that two clever apes are stealing their key.

For a rhyming good time, also check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up being held this week at Check It Out!

10 More Days...

...to get a mitten from the Windham's Helping Hands Giving Tree, purchase the specified gift, and return it, unwrapped, to the Library (by December 18). Each mitten represents a wished-for item such as a toy, or a practical item, such as boots, or pajamas, or a package of sports socks. These items go to local parents who need a bit of holiday joy-making assistance. The parents get to wrap the gifts and see their children's faces when presents are exchanged. We ask that you consider taking more than one mitten as the demand this year is great.

If you don't like to shop, Helping Hands will take donations of money or gift cards to help the group purchase items for those people whose mittens weren't selected, or for those whose mittens were selected, but no gift item was returned to the Library. Please adhere to the December 18 deadline so that Helping Hands can determine how much shopping their volunteers need to do, and, most importantly, can distribute the gifts in time for a family's holiday celebration.

Thank you for caring!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Pearl Harbor

Today is the 75th anniversary of the day "that shall live in infamy," the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese. The action, in which 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were wounded, resulted in the United States entering World War II the following day.

2016 has seen a great number of books on Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific, being published to coincide with the 75th anniversary, including these three recent additions to our collection:

Atwood, Kathryn J. Women Heroes of World War II: The Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival. [YA 940.53092 ATW]

Otfinoski, Steven. Day of Infamy: The Story of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. [J 940.54 OTF]

Twomey, Steve. Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack. [940.5426 TWO]

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A Bit of Food History

I haven't come across many people who don't love the snack food, cheese curls. They're light, crunchy, and strangely addictive. But, there's the added benefit of orange-dyed lips and fingers to let you know when you've eaten a few too many! They are definitely not on a "clean eater's" diet!

You may have asked yourself, "Who invented these things?" It's not exactly the result of a normal cooking or baking accident. Wonder no more--the answer is found here, and it's not particularly appetizing!

That verse from the Bible, "The truth shall set you free," definitely applies here. After reading the story of cheese curls, you may be free from future cheese curl cravings!

To learn more about snack foods, look for Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger [641.308 ETT].

Photo by Mike Mozart.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Alan Alda

I'm sure everyone remembers Alan Alda as the star of the long-running tv series, M*A*S*H [DVD MAS], and in films such as The Four Seasons [DVD FOU]. He is a writer of several autobiographies such as Things I Overheard while talking to Myself [B ALD, AB/CD B ALD, also eAudiobook]. Did you also know of Alda's great interest in science and scientific communication?

For 14 years Alda hosted a PBS program titled, Scientific American Frontiers, which brought cutting edge science into the homes of Americans. Alda went on to create the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York. A yearly science communication competition, known as "The Flame Challenge," is one of the projects of the Alan Alda Center.
The Flame Challenge is an international competition in which scientists answer a technical question in a clear and entertaining way, specifically geared toward an audience of 11-year-olds. Launched in 2012, The Flame Challenge began with Alan Alda’s own childhood query, "What is a flame?"
The challenge for 2017 is to explain the concept of energy. Think you can do it? If you're a teacher, get your students involved in the 2017 "What is Energy?" question, click here.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Poetry Friday--Antarctic Antics

Yesterday was Antarctic Day, so let's keep it going through Poetry Friday with a book of penguin poetry!

Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems is a delightful children's book by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey. It would be a great book to pair with a viewing of the animated movie, Happy Feet [J DVD HAP].

How can you resist a book with so many Emperor Penguins frolicking on the cover? I don't think you can! Open it and enjoy!
Mother Penguin's Vacation

Two months out at sea
Is a penguin's great thrill.
Each evening my dinner
Floats right into my bill.
Oh, I might make a meal
Of a slippery eel.
Or a cod, or a squid.
(Gulp! I think I just did--
I feel a long tentacle
Tickling my ventricle.)
Several shrimp swimming south
Are approaching my mouth--
So I'll just open wide
And invite them inside.
Yes, two months' vacation
Is a penguinish wish.
I've got nothing to do
But slurp squadrons of fish.
I'll grow gorgeously fat,
Then swim home in July,
To sing my new baby
A deep-sea lullaby.

Poet, Judy Sierra, explains the "story behind the book" on her website; click here.

For this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up visit Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

It's Antarctica Day!

What is Antarctica Day?
After almost fifty-seven years, the Antarctic Treaty continues to shine as a rare beacon of international cooperation. To celebrate this milestone of peace in our civilization with hope and inspiration for future generations--ANTARCTICA DAY is recognized to be December 1st--the day when the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959. As an annual event, Antarctica Day encourages participation from around the world. Our aim is to continue expanding Antarctica Day on December 1st as a globally-accessible platform to share, interpret and cherish the values associated with Antarctica for the benefit of present and future generations.

From Our Spaces.

To say we have a gazillion books and DVDs on Antarctica is only a slight exaggeration! Here are five examples of the variety of materials we have on the topic--from science fiction to comic format:

Bledsoe, Lucy Jane. How to Survive in Antarctica. [YA 919.89 BLE]

Kostyal, K. M. Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton. [919.9 KOS]

March of the Penguins. [DVD 598.47 MAR]

Pipe, Jim. The Race to the South Pole. [J CX PIP]

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Antarctica. [SF ROB]