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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Poetry Friday--Remembering Maxine Kumin

New Hampshire poet, Maxine Kumin, passed away in February 2014 at the age of 88. In her long career as a writer, she not only wrote poetry, she was novelist, a writer for children, and an essayist. She served as the U. S. Poet Laureate 1981-1982.

After she passed, Kumin's estate contained a significant number of copies of her books. They were recently offered to libraries within the state. We were able to add several titles to our collection of Kumin poetry books, including a copy of And Short the Season: Poems [811.54 KUM], which was published the year she died.

Here's a poem from that collection:

JoAnn at Teaching Authors is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

The Week is Winding Down

It's Thursday and April vacation week is almost over. If you want to do something close to home, how about the kitchen? Put on a chef's hat and cook up a storm with the kids. Reading cookbooks and working in the kitchen are good for furthering reading skills, math skills, cooperative living skills, and, for satisfying one's appetite.

Start with one of these today:

Bass, Jules. Cooking with Herb the Vegetarian Dragon: A Cookbook for Kids. [J 641.5 BAS]

Fauchald, Nick. Indoor S'mores: And Other Tasty Treats for Special Occasions. [J 641.5 FAU]

Pérez, Camilla. Baking with Kids: Inspiring a Love of Cooking with Recipes for Bread, Cupcakes, Cheesecake, and More! [eBook]

Schuette, Sarah L. An Astronaut Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids. [J 641.5123 SCH]

Seaver, Barton. National Geographic Kids Cookbook: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure. [J 641.5 SEA]

Tuminelly, Nancy. Let's Cook with Apples!: Delicious & Fun Apple Dishes Kids Can Make. [J 641.6 TUM]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Amoskeag Fishways

It's a special time of year--when certain fish (known as Anadromous fish) travel up river to spawn. That means the Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester should be on your list of places to visit during April vacation week.
The center houses an impressive interactive exhibit hall that allows visitors to explore the Merrimack River. The exhibits focus on the Merrimack River watershed, historical use of the Amoskeag area, and river wildlife. Visitors can view live turtles, frogs and salmon, play a salmon migration game, generate electricity, and more. In May and June, visitors can experience the unique opportunity to view migrating shad, herring and sea lamprey in our underwater viewing windows. These windows look into a 54-step fish ladder that allows migrating fish to swim around the Amoskeag Dam and continue on their way up the river to reproduce.
If you've never been there, take it from me, it's awesome watching the valiant creatures tackle the fish ladder!

Tomorrow there is a special event scheduled:
2017 Fish Festival
Featuring Dash and Splash
Thursday, April 27
10 am - 3 pm

Line up and cheer on biologists when they deliver fish to stock our fish passage at 10 am. Our fish ladder is open but the wild anadromous species have yet to swim up the Merrimack River. While we wait, the stocked fish will be here for up close underwater viewing. Fish crafts, fish hats, fish games and fishy fun throughout the day!
Cost: $3 per person, $6 per family (fee does not cover extended family). No registration required.

For a copy of Amoskeag Fishways' newsletter, click here.

Before or after your trip, come to the Library to borrow one of these:

Eyewitness: Fish. [J DVD EYE]

Greenberg, Paul. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food. [333.956 GRE, also eBook]

Huggins-Cooper, Lynn. Freaky Fish. [J 597 HUG]

Lundblad, Kristina. Animals Called Fish. [J 597 LUN]

Royston, Angela. Fish. [J 597 ROY]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Attention April vacationers: tomorrow, April 26 from 10:00 to noon, the Library is having an animal themed drop-in craft.

You can paint your own animal suncatcher to hang in a window at home. Choose from a frog, hedgehog, owl, or turtle. There will also be foam animal masks available to color.

The crafts are recommended for ages four and up. A parent or guardian must accompany children. Crafts available while supplies last. No registration is required.

After crafting, if the weather is nice, go for a walk on the Windham Rail Trail and look for ducks, squirrels, chipmunks, garter snakes, and other local wildlife.

Take one of these along on your walk:

Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to the Birds: A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. [598 PET]

Silverberg, Judith K. New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide. [974.2 SIL, also J 974.2 SIL]

Taylor, James. The Amphibians & Reptiles of New Hampshire: With Keys to Larval, Immature and Adult Forms. [597.9742 TAY]

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's April Vacation!

Although Earth Day wasn't good weather-wise, there is a lot of good that came of it--a support for science and science education, an acknowledgement that the Earth's resources are finite (that includes clean air and water) and something must be done to halt climate change, and, on social media, many people shared photos and videos such as this one on baby elephants:

Since it is April vacation for Windham school children, perhaps you and the kids might want to visit the zoo? To reserve the pass to Zoo New England, start here. (Please have your library card handy.)

Zoo New England does not have elephants, so you'll have to travel a little further south to New Bedford, MA to the Buttonwood Park Zoo, "one of the finest small zoos in the United States." Buttonwood has Asian elephants and the website tells us that the best time to visit the elephants is "mid day."

Monday, April 17, 2017

International Haiku Poetry Day

I'm sure you all know that April is National Poetry Month, but today there is an international celebration taking place--International Haiku Poetry Day.

Today, on The Haiku Foundation website, EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017 is taking place. It is the internet's largest collaborative poem with contributors from around the world. The theme for 2017 is "reconciliation." You can read through the many entries and/or you can contribute a haiku of your own.

Keep in mind that the definition of haiku IS NOT a poem in three lines with 5-7-5 syllables. For purposes of the collaborative poem try to remember that a haiku is "the essence of a moment keenly perceived." You can write in 3 lines, but don't worry about counting syllables--less is more. Don't write your haiku as a sentence. Don't put a title on it. And. don't use the typical poetic devices of simile or metaphor. The keenly perceived moment is what it is--there's no need for the writer to direct the reader by making comparisons. Of course, you can always read, read, read haiku and come to your own conclusion about its form. I'd suggest you start with The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English [811 HAI] or Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball [811.041 BAS]. A haiku is about the natural world, while a senryu has the same form as a haiku, but it deals with human nature.

Have fun reading and writing. This is the only post for this week as Kurious Kitty is taking time off. See you next week.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern"

Since it is finally spring and it's nearly Easter, and, since I saw a little rabbit skittering through my yard, I thought I'd share a rabbit poem today. This one is by Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893–1986). Coatsworth was a talented writer of fiction and poetry for both children and adults. She is best remembered as the author of The Cat Who Went to Heaven [J COA], which won the Newbery Award for children's literature in 1931. If you don't know The Cat Who Went to Heaven, I highly recommend you pick up a copy!

"Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern" is found in the anthology assembled by NH poet, Donald Hall, titled The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America [J 811 OXF]:
Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern
by Elizabeth Coatsworth

We who play under the pines,
We who dance in the snow
That shines blue in the light of the moon
Sometimes halt as we go,
Stand with our ears erect,
Our noses testing the air,
To gaze at the golden world
Behind the windows there.

Suns they have in a cave,
And stars each on a tall white stem
And the thought of fox or of owl
Seems never to bother them.
They laugh and eat and are warm,
Their food is ready at hand
While hungry out in the cold
We little rabbits stand.

But they never dance as we dance
They have not the speed nor the grace,
We scorn both the cat and the dog
Who lie by their fireplace,
We scorn them, licking their paws
Their eyes on an upraised spoon--
We who dance hungry and wild
Under a winter's moon!

Dori Reads is the host of this mid-National Poetry Month, Friday Round-Up. Be sure to head there before you start this spring-is-finally-here weekend.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!

April 13, 1743, was the date upon which Thomas Jefferson was born. He grew up to write the Declaration of Independence, become the third president of the United States, and, his library formed the basis of what is billed as the largest library in the world--the Library of Congress. (After the British burned Washington in the War of 1812, and with it the collection of the Library of Congress, Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the Library of Congress.)

Jefferson and his time in history continue to be a subject of much fascination to writers and readers of both nonfiction and fiction. Here are just three of the books that were published in 2016:

Dray, Stephanie. America's First Daughter. [F DRA, eBook]

Gordon-Reed, Annette. "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. [eBook]

Taylor, Alan. American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. [973.3 TAY]

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I Kid You Not!

Today, April 12, has been designated as National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Yes, indeed, a day devoted to one of America's best-loved comfort foods--the grilled cheese sandwich!

I'm sure for most Americans, grilled cheese sandwich brings to mind melted American cheese, and often accompanied by a bowl of Campbell's cream of tomato soup. If that's your vision, then more power to you, but I like my sandwich made with swiss cheese and sliced tomato, and, if I'm really feeling indulgent, a few slices of crispy bacon!

Others have their favorites, and writer, Heidi Gibson, seems to have more than one favorite--a whole book's worth. Look for Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Bread + Cheese + Everything in Between [641.84 GIB].

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Woman of Mystery--Emily Dickinson

It is well-known that Emily Dickinson lived as a recluse. The reasons for her reclusiveness are the subject of much speculation and over the years books, plays, and screenplays have been written putting forth various theories. A new film is coming out titled A Quiet Passion, and in an article about Dickinson and the film, novelist William Nicholson wrote,
Did she suffer from acute social anxiety, or epilepsy, or bipolar disorder? Was she lesbian, a proto-feminist, a religious radical, a sexual pioneer? The poems support almost every theory and feed almost every taste.
Doesn't that want to make you look again at the poetry of Emily Dickinson? You can find her poems in:

Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. [811 DIC]

I'm Nobody! Who Are You?: Poems of Emily Dickinson for Children. [J 811 DIC]

New Poems of Emily Dickinson. [811 DIC]

Individual Dickinson poems may be found in hundreds of anthologies!

To learn about Dickinson and her family, look for The Dickinsons of Amherst by Jerome Liebling [B DIC] or either of these similarly titled books. Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon [B DIC] or A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century by Jerome Charyn [B DIC]. Or, pick up this titillating one, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia [809 PAG].

Monday, April 10, 2017

Coming June 2!

This "epic" animated film is opening on June 2. We expect it to be released on DVD about six months after that (maybe in time for holiday gift-giving?). Until then, there are twelve titles in the Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey, to make your way through. The first is The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel [J PIL] and the last is Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot: The Twelfth Epic Novel [J PIL].

Friday, April 07, 2017

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Billie Holiday!

Today would have been jazz singer Billie Holiday's 102nd birthday! She was born on April 7, 1915. By the time she was 20, Holiday had a recording contract. Sadly, due to alcohol and drug abuse, and the effects of relationships and legal problems, Holiday passed away at the age of 44.

Poet, Langston Hughes, wrote many poems related to jazz and jazz singers, so it is not surprising that he wrote a poem especially for her.
Song for Billie Holiday

What can purge my heart
     Of the song
     And the sadness?
What can purge my heart
     But the song
     Of the sadness?
What can purge my heart
     Of the sadness
     Of the song?

Do not speak of sorrow
With dust in her hair,
Or bits of dust in eyes
A chance wind blows there.
The sorrow that I speak of
Is dusted with despair.

Voice of muted trumpet,
Cold brass in warm air.
Bitter television blurred
By sound that shimmers–

Found in The Collected Poems Of Langston Hughes [811 HUG].

Head down to Live Your Poem where Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

It's a Wimpy World?

When I did my earlier post on the celebrations taking place in April, I didn't realize that another one is also taking place--Wimpy Kid Month!

The month's celebration is based on the character from the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney [J KIN, J AB/CD KIN, eBook, J DVD DIA]. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid title hit library shelves back in 2006.

The books, which are a combination of comics and text, were a hit from the get-go. I've heard of children, who were not readers, getting hooked on reading with the "Wimpy Kid" books. They are non-threatening series--by "non-threatening" I mean no big blocks of text, plenty of pictures to provide visual clues, and lots of white space to give eyes a rest. They don't require a large investment of time on the part of a kid not invested in reading, and, they are funny! (Who doesn't like funny?)

Happy anniversary Wimpy Kid!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Icing on the Cake!

There are two types of cake lovers--those who prefer the cake and those who prefer the icing. And those who prefer the icing can be further divided into those who prefer the flavor and those who prefer the decorating aspects. This video is for the person who loves a beautifully decorated cake, but if you need a few minutes of relaxation, this video is for you too. It's rather hypnotic!

We have books for all types of cake lovers--those who like cake itself and those who like the icing. Here is a sampling of titles for those who like the decoration:

Carpenter, Autumn. The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating. [641.86539 CAR]

Sullivan, Karen. Step-By-Step Kids' Birthday Cakes: Over 50 Fabulous Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cake Pops. [641.8653 SUL]

Tack, Karen. What's New, Cupcake? [641.8653 TAC]

Weinstock, Sylvia. Sweet Celebrations: The Art of Decorating Beautiful Cakes. [641.8653 WEI]

Yates, Jen. Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets "Festive." [eBook]

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A Spring Drive

Spring weather is coming and people will want to get out and go places. Living in a New Hampshire suburb, though, the only way to get anywhere is by car and having a license has become a necessity.

If you, or someone you know is looking to get a driver's license, or refresh one's driving skills, then start at the Library.

Getting Ready to Drive: A How-To Guide by Eva Apelqvist [YA 629.283 APE] would be a good start for a teen, as would Rules of the Road, a DVD [DVD 629.28 RUL]. Someone brushing up on skills might benefit from Advanced Highway Driving: Tactics for Safety and Optimization by Paul Maravelias [629.283 MAR].

A complete driver education course can be found in Driver Ed in a Box. Parent Taught Driver Education [KIT 629.283 DRI]. The kit comes with instruction manuals, DVDs, and audio CDs.

Internet resources make New Hampshire driver testing easy. Click on Driving-Tests.org
...provides free and interactive practice tests based on the New Hampshire driver's license manual. No registration information is collected, and the site is ad-free! Study for the permit test, the driver's license test, and the senior citizens' refresher test. Online driver's manuals, as well as practice tests, for car, truck, and motorcycle licenses! Accessibility features allows pages to be read aloud, translated into other languages, and magnified!

Also, practice for a learner's permit at DMV Permit Practice Test.

Once you're safely on the road, take one of the drives found in Scenic Driving New Hampshire: Exploring the State's Most Spectacular Byways and Back Roads by Stewart M. Green [917.42 GRE 2016].

Monday, April 03, 2017

So Much to Celebrate!

April, besides being a month of blossoming flowers and trees, is also a month designated for celebrating! April is officially "National Poetry Month," "Jazz Appreciation Month," and "National Humor Month!" We can help you celebrate all three.

Either of these collections would be a good entre into poetry if you're not already a poetry fan: When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano [J 811.6 FOG] or Felicity by Mary Oliver [818.54 OLI]. By reading Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer [JP ARC] to a young child, you can introduce the concept of poetry being just a different way of looking at things.

The "Jazz Appreciation Month" focus this year is on women in jazz. We've got many women jazz singers in our CD collection from Norah Jones' 2016 release Day Break [CD JAZZ JON], to the 16 CD set The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books [CD JAZZ FIT]. We even have Ella Fitzgerald on a CD for kids titled, Jazz For Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle and Shake [CD CHILDREN JAZ].

And, if you're looking to laugh we have joke books for kids [J 818], the work of cartoonists like Matthew Diffee's Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People [818.602 DIF], hilarious, recorded, old comedy routines such as 2000 years with Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks [CD COMEDY REI], and movie comedy classics like Some Like It Hot [DVD SOM]. We have more than enough humor to carry you through April AND May!