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Friday, December 28, 2018

Poetry Friday--Winter Morning Walks

Winter Morning Walks [811.54 KOO] is a slender volume of one hundred postcard poems that Nebraskan poet, Ted Kooser, sent to fellow writer, Jim Harrison.

Kooser, recuperating from a bout with cancer in the late 1990s, began a daily practice of walking and writing a small poem to fit on a postcard. Each poem is prefaced with a single sentence about the conditions outdoors.

Photo courtesy National Archives.

Here is the poem dated December 28:
Windy and at the freezing point.

There are days when the world
has a hard time keeping its clouds on,
and its grass in place, and this
is one of them, tumbleweeds
huddled up under the skirts
of the cedars, oak trees
joining hands in the windy grove.
Even the dawn light, blocky
with pink and yellow and blue
like a comics section, quickly
fluttered away, leaving a Sunday
the color of news.
What a masterful little poem! Sadly, a dozen years from now, readers may no longer understand the references to a comics section, and, the news.

Head over to see Donna at Mainely Write. She is hosting the last of this year's Poetry Friday Round-Ups from her new home in PA.

Finally, join me in wishing a happy retirement to Library Director, Carl Heidenblad! He has new adventures in store.

Happy New Year to all! See you in 2019.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Romantic Comedies

Yesterday we looked at the category of film known as the "Screwball Comedy," which featured socialites and other members of the upper classes; its heyday was the 1930s and early 40s.

World War II, and the equalization of the social classes led to a type of film more broadly known at the "Romantic Comedy," in which the main characters came from all walks of life. You'll also find that many of the romantic comedies from this period include music. And quite of number of them balance the comedic elements with rather serious social issues!

Look for these romantic comedies from the 1950s and 1960s:

The Apartment (1960). [DVD APA]

Can-Can (1960). [DVD CAN]

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). [DVD HOW]

Love With the Proper Stranger (1963). [DVD LOV]

Operation Petticoat (1959). [DVD OPE]

Pillow Talk (1959) [DVD PIL]

The Seven Year Itch (1955). [DVD SEV]

Some Like it Hot (1959). [DVD SOM]

Three Coins in the Fountain (1959). [DVD THR]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Phew! Now You Can Sit Down

The rush of the holidaya is over! Now you can sit down and put your feet up and relax. Since you're relaxing, you may as well watch a movie. But, nothing too heavy. A laugh or two would be nice...

So, how about a good, old-fashioned "screwball comedy"? If you're not familiar with the term, here's how Wikipedia describes it:
Screwball comedy is a subgenre of the romantic comedy film that became popular during the Great Depression, originating in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s. It is widely known for satirizing the traditional love story. Many secondary characteristics of this genre are similar to film noir, but it distinguishes itself for being characterized by a female that dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged. The two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes, which was a new theme for Hollywood and audiences at the time. What sets the screwball comedy apart from the generic romantic comedy is that "screwball comedy puts its emphasis on a funny spoofing of love, while the more traditional romantic ultimately accents love." Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage.

We have a nice classic movie collection and it includes a number of screwball comedies such as these five:

Bringing Up Baby (1938). [DVD BRI]
An heiress determined to catch a zoologist uses her pet leopard, Baby, to get his attention.

The Front Page (1931). [DVD FRO]
An unscurpulous newspaper editor tries to convince his star reporter to do one last story about a condemned man awaiting execution while at the same time, he tries to prevent that same reporter from marrying.

It Happened One Night (1934). [DVD IT]
A rich young woman marries an idle playboy against her father's will. Her father holds her captive on his yacht but she escapes and, while on her way to New York, becomes entangled with an unemployed news reporter.

The Thin Man (there were six films in "The Thin Man" series released 1934-1947). [DVD THI]
The jaunty whodunit that made William Powell and Myrna Loy the champagne elite of sleuthing. Nick and Nora Charles combine screwball romance with mystery.

Top Hat (1935). [DVD TOP]
Rogers and Astaire are caught up in a mistaken-identity plot, in which Rogers assumes that Astaire is already married and is alternately charmed and disgusted by Astaire's advances.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Poetry Friday--Phenomenal Sky!

If you happened to have been in New Hampshire's north country last week, you may have been lucky enough to see a wonderful display of sky phenomena. Surprisingly, I didn't learn of it from our regional media. I discovered it on Facebook from someone who had read about it in the Washington Post!

Photo of ice halos by Steve LeBaron and posted on NH Department of Transportation Facebook page.

The Washington Post article explains the science behind the unusual atmospheric conditions. It is a fascinating account!

The picture above puts me in mind of moonbeams, and moonbeams led to "Heigho, My Dearie" by Eugene Field. It is also known as "Orkney Lullaby," but is titled "Heigho, My Dearie" in our copy of Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field (with illustrations by Maxfield Parrish) [J 811 FIE]. It is a reproduction of the original "Scribner Illustrated Classic" volume published in 1904.
A moonbeam floateth from the skies,
Whispering: "Heigho, my dearie!
I would spin a web before your eyes--
A beautiful web of silver light,
Wherein is many a wondrous sight
Of a radiant garden leagues away,
Where the softly tinkling lilies sway,
And the snow-white lambkins are at play--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

A brownie stealeth from the vine
      Singing: "Heigho, my dearie;
And will you hear this song of mine--
A song of the land of murk and mist
Where bideth the bud the dew hath kist?
Then let the moonbeam's web of light
Be spun before thee silvery white,
And I shall sing the livelong night--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

The night wind speedeth from the sea,
      Murmuring: "Heigho, my dearie;
I bring a mariner's prayer for thee;
So let the moonbeam veil thine eyes,
And the brownie sing thee lullabies--
But I shall rock thee to and fro,
Kissing the brow he loveth so,
And the prayer shall guard thy bed, I trow--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

Laura Shovan is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up today from Maryland. Be sure to stop by!

After today I'm taking a brief break from blogging. I plan to begin again on December 26, so, for now, I'll wish everyone happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Cooking

Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day have passed. Las Posadas, the Winter Solstice, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve (and Day), and the Three Kings Day remain. There are many, many others to celebrate, too, at this time of year. Almost all involve sharing food.

Explore different holidays through special food items. Look for these books, and then break out those pots, pans, and mixing bowls:

Berenstain, Mike. The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult. [J 641.568 BER]

Copage, Eric V. Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking. [641.592 COP]

Kaufman, Cheryl Davidson. Cooking the Caribbean Way. [J 641.59729 KAU] (Look for other areas of the world which are covered in the "Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks" series in the children's room. The individual titles all cover holiday cooking.)

Lemoine, Yvan D. Foodfest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook. [eBook]

Nathan, Joan. Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook. [eBook]

Simonds, Nina. Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes. [J 394.26 SIM]

Zalben, Jane Breskin. To Every Season: A Family Holiday Cookbook. [J 641.568 ZAL]

Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


The online site, goodreads, has been sharing book recommendations for more than a decade and has been steadily growing since it is readers, like you, who review books. 2018 is also the tenth year goodreads has issued a "best of the year" list, which is voted on by readers in the goodreads community. The 2018 list was determined on the basis of more than five million votes! You read that right, 5,000,000+!

Find the 2018 results here.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Billy Strayhorn

On November 30, the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, announced the acquisition of the Billy Strayhorn archives. If the name, Billy Strayhorn doesn't ring a bell, then how about "Take the 'A' Train"?

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn collaborated on more than 200 pieces of music, the most famous being "Take the 'A' Train."

Saxophone player, Joe Henderson, recorded a tribute album, Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn [CD JAZ HEN], which includes "Take the "A" Train."

Friday, December 07, 2018

Poetry Friday--Winter Lights

We're in the middle of the Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah, which runs through Monday, December 10, so it's the perfect time to share a poem from the amazing collection by Anna Grossnickle Hines titled, Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts [J 811 HIN]:
Small Miracles

Hanukkah lights,
another each night,
until there are
eight in a row.
Flames romp on their heads,
and I don't go to bed
until they burn
down to their toes.

Just this small part of the quilt that accompanies the poem will give you an idea of the intricate fabric design and craft work found in the book:

If you're not familiar with Winter Lights, be sure to check it out for it is a celebration of all types of lights of the season from solstice fires to Christmas tree lights to Nian lanterns to the glow of the moon!

Visit Elizabeth Steinglass for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Edison and Recording

This is truly a momentous date for on December 6, 1877, inventor and visionary, Thomas A. Edison, recorded himself reciting the simple children's poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

The idea that sound could be recorded and then played again and again, must have been an absolute marvel to 19th century citizens.

Today, our options have increased many-fold and the modes of recordings have gone through numerous changes--from wax cylinders to shellac 78s to tape to vinyl to...

Some of the history of recording can be found in A Century of Recorded Music: Listening to Musical History by Timothy Day [780 DAY].

Do you think even Thomas A. Edison could have envisioned the sound recording capabilities we have today?

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

President Polk and the Gold Rush

What do you know about President James K. Polk? If truth be told, I know absolutely nothing!

In looking, I found that on this day in 1848, James Polk announced the discovery of gold in California and set in motion the part of U. S. history known as "the California Gold Rush."

For a quick brush-up (a minute's worth) on Polk, watch this:

And, here's a short film on the how the Gold Rush began:

Many in the east traveled west in search of gold. A true story of those who were left behind in Keene, NH, can be found in Sisters of Fortune: Being the True Story of How Three Motherless Sisters Saved Their Home in New England and Raised Their Younger Brother While Their Father Went Fortune Hunting in the California Gold Rush by Nancy Coffey Heffernan and Ann Page Stecker.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Marble Science

On Thursday, December 13, 4:00 pm, the SEE Science Center of Manchester will be at the Library to conduct a maker space program for kids in grades three and up. "Magnetic Marble Race" challenges kids to think outside the box. Participants will be divided into small groups and will engineer a course for a marble to travel at a slow rate of speed. However, the marbles they will be working with are not glass, but magnets in marble-shaped form.

Through experimentation and play, the kids will learn more about the science of motion and magnetism. If they'd like to do some pre-reading, our children's room science section has books on magnetism in J 538. Look for The Science Book of Magnets by Neil Ardley, or Science Experiments with Magnets by Alex Kuskowski.

Just for fun, watch this video of a good old-fashioned glass marble race and think about motion and gravity:

Monday, December 03, 2018

Do You Have a Business Plan?

If you're all finished with holiday shopping and you have a little time on your hands this month, consider this: December is "National Write a Business Plan Month."

If you have a small business, do you have a plan? If you don't have a business, do you have a plan for your career?

Before 2018 comes to an end, write a plan. You may find it will enable you to move forward when you seem to have been spinning your wheels.

Look for these to help you get started:

Blanchard, Kenneth H. Full Steam Ahead!: Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Company and Your Life. [AB/CD 650.1 BLA]

Covello, Joseph A. The Complete Book of Business Plans: Simple Steps to Writing Powerful Business Plans. [658.4 COV]

DuDell, Michael Parrish. Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business: How to Grow a Business from Concept to Cash. [658.1 DUD]

Elizaga, Karen. Find Your Sweet Spot A Guide to Personal and Professional Excellence. [eBook]

Hawley, Casey. 10 Make-or-Break Career Moments: Navigate, Negotiate, and Communicate for Success. [650.1 HAW]

Selk, Jason. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life. [eBook]

Williams, Edward E. Business Planning: 25 Keys to a Sound Business Plan. [eAudioback]

Friday, November 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Shirley Chisholm!

Shirley Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924. In 1968, she became the first first African American woman elected to Congress, and, four years later, she became the first African American candidate for a major party nomination for President of the United States! Shirley Chisholm was a mover and a shaker!

Source: Equality Now.

As a birthday remembrance, I've taken several of Chisholm's quotations and mashed them together to make this "found poem":
Shirley Ate a Bushelful
(A Found Poem)

There is little place...

for an independent
creative personality

for a fighter.

Anyone who
takes that role

must pay a price.

Be as bold as
the first man
or [woman]
to eat an oyster.


If they don't give you
a seat at the table,
bring a folding chair.

Sorry, I don't have birthday cake to offer! But, there are plenty of poetry treats found today at Carol's Corner.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Atari brought Pong to the world on November 29, 1972. At first it was an arcade game, but it soon found its way into the home as a video game. How many of you remember that awful sound and being mesmerized by the rather tedious back and forth of the simulated "ping pong" ball? Looking back 46 years it is almost comical how simplistic the system was!

Video games have come a long way since then!
Gamers around the world will likely spend around $138 billion on games this year, according to Newzoo's Global Games Market Report. The market research firm tracks usage and trends of video games, mobile and esports. The figure represents a 13.3 percent increase year over year, or an extra $16.2 billion.

Source: CNBC.com/.

Did you know that the Nesmith Library has video games you can borrow? They go out for two weeks. Click here to see what's available.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From Haverhill to Hollywood

Famed Hollywood producer and studio head, Louis B. Mayer, was a junk dealer before venturing into the early field of movie entertainment. He opened a movie theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts on this date in 1907. From that time, until his death 50 years later, his rise to the pinnacle of Hollywood legends is a true American success story.

Mayer was born Lazar Meir in 1884 in Russia. His family emigrated to Canada, then Mayer relocated to Boston. By 1907 he purchased a burlesque theater, the "Gem" on Essex Street in Haverhill. (It was popularly known as the "Garlic Box," due to its Italian immigrant clientele.) Mayer did extensive renovations and renamed the theater the "Orpheum," hoping to attract a more up-scale clientele. The Orpheum opened on Thanksgiving Day (11/28/1907), and began showing films and plays, which, the city's many workers paid 10 or 15 cents to see. It was such a success that by September 1908, Mayer had expanded the theater to accommodate the crowds, and, changed its name to the "New Orpheum." He also began booking larger theater productions such as "Peter Pan." Mayer soon owned a half-dozen additional theaters in the city, and then the "Colonial," which had seating for over a thousand. He expanded his theater managerial business to other states in the northeast.

In 1912, Mayer became a U. S. citizen. The next step up from showing movies, was to make them, and the rest is Hollywood history!

Read Louis B. Mayer's extensive biography in Lion of Hollywood: the Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer by Scott Eyman [B MAY].

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Robin Hood, Part 2

Many Americans grew up with the print version of Robin Hood by Paul Creswick and illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, first published in 1917. You can read it online here.

Others may have been exposed to a version written and illustrated by Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, which was first published in 1883. This cover and title page is from 1892:

Read it online here.

Fast forward to 2018 and you'll find a comix format version of Pyle's Robin Hood, adapted by Joe Dunn, illustrated by Ben Dunn [J CX DUN] and another comix version, Robin Hood: Outlaw of Sherwood Forest: An English Legend adapted by Paul D. Storrie, pencils and inks by Thomas Yeates [YA CX STO].

Monday, November 26, 2018

Another Robin Hood

Robin Hood is one legendary character who has been filmed again and again. You'd be hard-pressed to find another whose story has been adapted as often Robin Hood's has. The latest came out last week, and it stars Taron Egerton (Robin), Jamie Foxx (Little John), Ben Mendelsohn (Sheriff of Nottingham), and Eve Hewson (Marian).

We have a number of earlier adaptations and spoofs including:

The Adventures of Robin Hood. [DVD ADV] Starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1938.

Robin Hood. [DVD ROB] Starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, 2010.

"Robin Hood Daffy" in Looney Tunes Golden Collection. Vol. 3. [DVD LOO] Starring Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, 1958. (You can also watch it here.)

Robin Hood: Men in Tights. [DVD ROB] Starring Cary Elwes in a Mel Brooks film, 1993.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. [DVD ROB] Starring Kevin Costner and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, 1991.

One title we used to own, but is no longer found on our shelf is Robin and Marian starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. The film came out in 1976 and portrays the two as growing old, but still in love. The Disney animated version has also gone missing. I'll be sure to reorder both, so that there will be many versions for you to compare in the near future.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Time!

If you need a cookbook, or a few movies to entertain the kids over the next day or two, hurry down to the Library because we close at noon today! We will be closed all day Thursday and Friday, but will be open regular weekend hours, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 1-5.

Perhaps you need to entertain the kids right now? If so, here's a video of a musical adaptation of the Thanksgiving favorite, Run, Turkey, Run! by local writer, Diane Mayr [JP MAY].

The performance was filmed in Portsmouth at the Seacoast Rep in 2014:

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Word of the Year

Most years the celebrated "Word of the Year" is a reflection of recent technology or something from popular culture (last year's word was "youthquake"). This year may be a disappointment to logophiles since the word of choice has been in use for a long time, and, it is a rather ordinary word. The word of 2018, as selected by the Oxford Dictionaries is "toxic."

Here's an explanation behind the selection:
Oxford Dictionaries says it found a 45 percent increase in look-ups of toxic and it was used in so many situations that "the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title."

This morning I heard the term "toxic rhetoric" used on the radio. And I also heard about the "toxic" air ("the world's worst") the residents of California have been breathing due to the recent fires. I fully concur with the word choice for 2018!

If you look at our catalog, you'll find the word "toxic" in a variety of titles, covering a variety of subjects:

Everything's Cool: A Toxic Comedy about Global Warming! [DVD 363.738 EVE]

Landrigan, Philip J. Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World: 101 Smart Solutions for Every Family. [615.9 LAN]

Payne, Kim John. Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment. [eBook]

Press, Bill. Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned America's Airwaves. [791.446 PRE]

Shepard, Sara. Toxic: A Pretty Little Liars Novel. [YA SHE, eBook]

Monday, November 19, 2018


If you're unfamiliar with the term Kindertransport, it was a program that rescued thousands of Jewish children just prior to World War II:
In 1938, immediately after the November 9, 1938 Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) pogrom in the German Reich, the Jews of Britain initiated the unique rescue operation now known as 'Kindertransport'. Within days they obtained the permission of the government and, in the nine months leading up to World War II, with aid from Quaker and other non-Jewish refugee organizations, brought nearly ten thousand unaccompanied children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to safety in Britain. Most of the children, but not all, were Jews. Most of the parents who had sent them to safety perished in the Holocaust. Most of the children settled in Britain; others re-emigrated to Israel, the Americas, and elsewhere, scattering over the world.

From The Kindertransport Association exhibit, "The Kindertransport Journey: Memory into History..

Kristallnacht took place 80 years ago this month, and a recent NPR segment featured a man who, as a child, was separated from his family when he was sent on the Kindertransport. I urge you to listen to his remembrance. (Tissues may be required.)

If you'd like to learn more, we have two books specifically on the Kindertransport, Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Emma Carlson Berne [J 940.5318 BER] and Rescuing the Children: The Story of the Kindertransport by Deborah Hodge [YA 940.5318 HOD].

Friday, November 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--Thanksgiving Poems

Yes, it's coming! Thanksgiving Day is a week away. How did that happen?

Don't you love this illustration by Stephen Gammell?

At this time of year I turn to an old favorite, Thanksgiving Poems selected by Myra Cohn Livingston (illustrated by Stephen Gammell) [J 808.81 THA]. Even though the book was published 33 years ago, whenever I browse through it, there always seems to be a poem that is perfect for the particular year. In 2018, this poem by Emanuel di Pasquale, "Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving," resonates:
Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving
by Emanuel di Pasquale

Like a bird grown weak in a land
where it always rains
and where all the trees have died,
I have flown long and long
to find sunlight pouring over branches
and leaves. I have journeyed, oh God,
to find a land where I can build a dry nest,
a land where my song can echo.

Travel now to the western part of the country where Linda at Teacher Dance is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Safe travels to wherever you're going for Thanksgiving! Have a great holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Oh, No! Snow!

You know winter's right around the corner when they start naming the storms. First up is Avery!

So, it's time to review the Library's weather-related closings procedures. Whenever possible (always dependent on a staff member having Wifi access and/or electricity) we will post closings on our Facebook page. If you've never visited our page, head there now and "follow" us https://www.facebook.com/nesmithlibrary/. If you use Twitter, be aware that everything posted to our Facebook page will also appear on Twitter @NesmithLibrary. If you have access to WMUR on your tv or device, we will post a notice there, too. However, do not look for us under "W" for Windham. We'll be listed under "N" for Nesmith.

On days when Windham schools are closed/delayed due to weather, we will cancel our story hours.

When in doubt, please stay home! It is easier for snowplows to do their work when the roads are empty of vehicles.

Speaking of snowplows...

Resident of New Hampshire, and writer of children's books, Deborah Bruss, has a new picture book that was just released. The timing is perfect since her book is titled, Good Morning, Snowplow! [JP BRU].

As the town goes to sleep, a snowstorm begins, and the man who drives the snowplow goes to work, keeping the streets clear throughout the night.
You're going to love this book! It's got everything one could ask for in a children's picture book--rhythm and rhyme, gorgeous illustrations (by the team of Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson), SNOW, a DOG, and, a TRUCK (snowplow). If you need a holiday gift for a NH preschooler, this would definitely fit the bill!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Groups: Here Are Some Titles Worth Discussing

A few years ago, every book group in the state wanted to discuss All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr [F DOE]. Then it was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles [F TOW]. This year it has been Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng [F NG] and Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate [F WIN]--don't even suggest either one to your book group for the next six months or so!

Here are five titles well worth discussing that you may have missed over the past few years:

Blume, Judy. In the Unlikely Event. [F BLU]

Cleave, Chris. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. [F CLE]

Hoffman, Alice. The Marriage of Opposites. [F HOF]

McLain, Paula. Circling the Sun. [F MCL]

Sweeney, Cynthia. The Nest. [F SWE]

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Unusual Items

For the past two years or so, we've been developing a collection we call our "Unusual Items." These are items that are not books or audio/visual materials, but are things you wouldn't normally expect to borrow from the Library.

We have a telescope, ukelele, sock loom, metal detector, games, thermal leak detector, Dremel drill, bodhran (Irish drum), and more! Please stop by and browse our collection, and also look for these brand-new items: jigsaw puzzles, a snare drum, and a full-sized acoustic guitar! We will be adding more items over the next few months, so stay tuned! We also welcome suggestions, so if there's something you think we should loan, let us know!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day

Veterans Day was formerly known as Armistice Day to remember the end to "The Great War" on November 11, 1918. Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of that day. If you missed this segment on Weekend Edition Sunday on NPR, it's worth listening to:

The Library is closed today for the Federal Holiday observance.

Thank a veteran for his/her service. Please work for peace in the world.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Poetry Friday--"The Little Girl by the Fence at School"

Autumn leaves were swept away by pouring rains earlier this week. Now they make up matted piles of decaying matter on lawns, under trees, on the roads. It won't be long before the trees are totally bare, and rains will be replaced by snow...but we won't think about that today.

Autumn, being the bridge between the active life of summer and the repose of winter, often becomes a poetic theme used in writing about difficult subjects. An example is "The Little Girl by the Fence at School" by William Stafford.
The Little Girl by the Fence at School

Grass that was moving found all shades of brown,
moved them along, flowed autumn away
galloping southward where summer had gone.

And that was the morning someone’s heart stopped
and all became still. A girl said, "Forever?"
And the grass. "Yes. Forever." While the sky--

The sky--the sky--the sky.
This simple poem could make for a great discussion with kids. I found it in Poetry Rocks! Contemporary American Poetry: "Not the End, But the Beginning" by Sheila Griffin Llanas [YA 811.54 LLA], which conveniently includes discussion starters with most of the poems.

Head over to Today's Little Ditty where my friend, Michelle, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Enjoy what little remains of the fall!

National STEM/STEAM Day!

Today is National STEM/STEAM Day, and if STEM/STEAM is a new concept for you, it simply an abbreviation for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. The A in STEAM stands for ART. You'll often find the STEM/STEAM paired with "makerspace." The STEM/STEAM and makerspace movement has been growing during the 2010s, and if you need to know why, take a look at this chart from the Learning Counsel:

We have beefed up our collections to keep up with the educational trend, and, to provide a way to get, and keep, kids interested in a field which will have employment opportunities for years to come.

Burke, Lisa. The STEAM Team: Simple Science Explained. [J 500 BUR]

Challoner, Jack. Maker Lab Outdoors: 25 Super Cool Projects: Build, Invent, Create, Discover. [J 507.8 CHA]

Heinecke, Liz Lee. Star Wars Maker Lab.. [J 507.8 HEI]

Heinecke, Liz Lee. STEAM Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Hands-On Projects Using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. [J 507.8 HEI]

Junior Maker. [J 745.5 JUN]

Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects: Build, Invent, Create, Discover. [J 507.8 MAK]

Miller, John. Unofficial Minecraft STEM Lab for Kids: Family-Friendly Projects For Exploring Concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. [J 793.932 MIL]

Purcell, Karen D. Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. [331.48 PUR]

Vasquez, Jo Anne. STEM Lesson Essentials, Grades 3-8: Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. [372.35 VAS]

Wagner, Tony. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. [373 WAG]

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Civics and Citizenship

Yesterday was all about a citizen's right to vote. And we've all heard about the "First Amendment" to the U. S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And, there are even more rights to be aware of.

Civics education in American schools is spotty at best. If you're interested, the American Federation of Teachers has provided "A Look at Civics Education in the United States."

So, how much do you know about the U. S. government and a citizen's rights and responsibilities? Probably not as much as you should! How would you know? Try taking the civics test required for American Citizenship.

If you'd like to brush up on your basic civics knowledge, we have recently added a graphic format book (meaning: using comics instead of text only) titled How to be an American: A Field Guide to Citizenship by Silvia Hidalgo [323.623 HID]. In it you'll find a "Civics" section, as well as one on "History & Geography," and another on "Immigration."

Those who are interested in becoming U. S. citizens, can explore the citizenship process by borrowing our kit Civics and Citizenship Toolkit: A Collection of Educational Resources for Immigrants [KIT 323.62 CIV 2016].

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Today's the day we've all been waiting for--Election Day--if not because we want to do our civic duty and exercise our right to vote, then because it means the end of political ads!

For 2018 we have several new books on voting, so you can brush up on this most important of rights.

For children we have When You Grow Up to Vote: How Our Government Works For You [J 324.6 ROO]. It was written by none other than Eleanor Roosevelt who served as First Lady, when her husband Franklin was President, 1932-1944. The book was first published back in 1932 and has been updated by Michelle Markel, and illustrated by Grace Lin, for today's young people.

For young adults we have two books that include the issue of voting. The first is Beyond High School: A Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities [349.73 BEY] and was published by the New Hampshire Bar Association, so it is quite specific for this area. The other is Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today by Cynthia Levinson [YA 343.7302 LEV], which is a historical look at the rights outlined in the U. S. Constitution.

For adults we have a look at the women's suffrage movement, which culminated in 1920 with the 19th Amendment: The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss [eBook]. And for kids, there's Women's Suffrage by Duchess Harris [J 324.623 HAR]. Many celebrations of women, and the ones who worked arduously to gain the right to vote, are already being planned for 2020. Read about the suffrage movement now and you'll be ahead of the game.

Happy voting!

Monday, November 05, 2018

What's New At the Library of Congress?

Photo by Levin C. Handy circa 1895-97, courtesy Library of Congress.

One thing that is new is the Library of Congress logo! The Library of Congress was looking for a more modern symbol than the one they had been using for close to a decade. The new logo was put in place over the summer. Here are old and new side-by-side:

The Library of Congress is using "crowd-sourcing" in an effort to get the scores of hand-written materials, which have not yet been transcribed, ready for access to the public. One of the projects involves letters sent to Abraham Lincoln, another is materials related to Clara Barton, the nurse who began the American Red Cross.

If you can read cursive, or if you're good at editing or tagging, there's a volunteer opportunity waiting for you! Click here for more. (Just a little aside: the skill of reading cursive is going to become scarcer in the years to come!)

Also new is the National Screening Room, which is a collection of free-for-viewing digitized historical films, television commercials, newsreels, and more! One example is a short commercial for Warner's corsets that was shown in silent movie theaters in 1910! Click here.

Those films that are in the public domain (out-of-copyright protection) may be downloaded to your computer or device. This is a great resource for students of history and American culture. Be prepared to get lost for a few hours!

Friday, November 02, 2018

Poetry Friday--Vote!

Don't forget that Tuesday, November 6, is election day! (As if you could forget!)

Here's repeat poem (also posted November 08, 2016) titled "Voting." It appears in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, [teacher/librarian edition 372.64 POE, children's edition J 808.81 POE].


by Diane Mayr

Step in a line.
Someone hands you a ballot.
Then you'll head into a booth.
Pull a curtain.
Think carefully.
Make a choice.

Vote for a man or woman
to do a job--
An important job.
To run your town,
Or your state,
Or your country.

Turn in your ballot.
Your vote will be counted,
A winner will be named.
You have done your duty,
Made your voice heard,
A citizen voting on Election Day.


Esperas en fila.
Te dan una boleta de una pila.
Das despacio a la cabina.
Cierras muy bien la cortina.
Con cuidado determinas
por quién te inclinas.

Votas por un hombre o una mujer
para que cumpla
una tarea importante
en el gorbierno de tu pueblo,
tu estado,
o tu pais.

Entregas la boleta.
Tu voto contarán.
Dirán quién ganó en esa ocasión.
Compliste tu obligación,
y se escuchó tu voz
el Día de la Elección.

I love how the translator renders the poem in rhyme! I have it on good authority (wink, wink) that the writer of the original poem would never have attempted the poem in rhyme! If you'd like to listen to the poem, read in both English and Spanish, there is a free audio available here.

Visit Jama's Alphabet Soup for more poetry--election related and otherwise!

In case you're still undecided about Tuesday's candidates, and NH's ballot questions, our website has voting information and assistance here. If you're not from NH, some of the links will also direct you to your state's information.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month!

(My apologies to those with peanut allergies.) Many of us grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches--they were easy to fix, inexpensive, and with the jelly of choice--delicious! November is the month of Thanksgiving and is also Peanut Butter Lovers Month!

For a brief history of peanut butter, click here.

Photo courtesy Like the Grand Canyon.

In case your tastes have changed over the years, the Peanut Butter Lovers website features the ingredient in more sophisticated forms other than pb slathered on white bread. You'll find main dishes like baked salmon with peanut butter glaze, and sweet treats like peanut butter saltine brittle.

Many of our recipe books, especially in the children's section, contain peanut butter items. Look for one of these:

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

Johnson, Kristi. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi: And Other Party Recipes. [J 641.5 JOH]

La Penta, Marilyn. Cool Cookies. [J 641.8654 LAP]

O’Connell, Libby H. The American Plate. [eBook]

You'll even find peanut butter snacks for your dog!

Price, Pamela S. Cool Pet Treats: Easy Recipes for Kids to Bake. [J 636.7 PRI]

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mary Shelley and Her Monster

Today has been chosen to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Or, The modern Prometheus [F SHE].

The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City currently has an exhibit on Frankenstein titled "It's Alive! Frankenstein at 200." It provides an overview of Frankenstein in literature and culture and the way iconic figure has grown and continues to grow as a subject for writers and film-makers. Rather than me trying to summarize, here's a short video from The Morgan Library and Museum:

The Morgan also has digitized a copy of Frankenstein that was annotated by Mary Shelley with things she would like to have seen changed. A cool feature for those who may not have read the book, but have only seen one of the filmed versions, is a synopsis of the plot.

Mary Shelley is as interesting a subject as her monster character. Local writer, Lita Judge, created a highly illustrated free verse biography of Mary in Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein [YA B SHE]. And Elle Fanning played the role of Mary in Mary Shelley [DVD MAR].

We also have several of the filmed versions of Frankenstein including Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection [DVD FRA] and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [DVD FRA].

Happy 200th Birthday, Frankenstein!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Baba Yaga

You may not be familiar with the name, Baba Yaga, but, since it's nearly Halloween, it's the perfect time to look at this witch-like character. Here's a brief description of Baba Yaga from Wikipedia:
In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being (or one of a trio of sisters of the same name) who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role and has associations with forest wildlife. According to Vladimir Propp's folktale morphology, Baba Yaga commonly appears as either a donor, villain, or may be altogether ambiguous.
I first came upon Baba Yaga, in the easy reader, Bony-Legs by Joanna Cole [E COL]. The story is also included in a collection of scary stories titled The Scary Book [J SC SCA]. Since Bony-Legs has plans to eat the little girl who shows up at her door, I'd say in this book, she's definitely a villain.
When a terrible witch vows to eat her for supper, a little girl escapes with the help of a mirror and comb given to her by the witch's cat and dog.
Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco [JP POL] may be considered a more maternal character:
The villagers are afraid of her, so the legendary Baba Yaga disguises herself as an old woman in order to know the joys of being a grandmother.
Gregory Maguire (author of the wildly successful adult novel, Wicked [F MAG]), includes Baba Yaga in his novel for a younger audience, Egg & Spoon [YA MAG]. I think his Baba Yaga may fall into the "altogether ambiguous" category!
In 1905 czarist Russia, an impoverished country girl Elena and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.

Monday, October 29, 2018

National Cat Day! (And Barbara's Birthday)

It's a given that Kurious Kitty would celebrate National Cat Day. National Cat day originated as a way to bring awareness to the number of homeless cats. Sadly, many people consider cats as disposable. If you're thinking of getting a cat, please consider adopting from a shelter.

Cats are already provided with homes by millions of Americans, click here for statistics on pet ownership in the United States. And many children count cats as family members.

Here are recent children's books about cats:

Bernstein, Galia. I Am a Cat. [JP BER]

Brill, Calista. Cat Wishes. [JP BRI]

Brockington, Drew. CatStronauts: Robot Rescue. [J CX BRO #4]

Dean, James. Pete the Cat Goes Camping. [E DEA]

Foley, Greg E. Kat Writes a Song. [E FOL]
Hesselberth, Joyce. Mapping Sam. [JP HES]

Jacobs, Pat. Cat Pals. [J 636.8 JAC]

Mattern, Joanne. The Cat Encyclopedia for Kids. [J 636.8 MAT]

Watson, Tom. Stick Cat: Two Cats and a Baby. [J WAT #4]

Wells, Rosemary. Kit & Kaboodle. [JP WEL]

These are only ten from 2018 and the year isn't over!

Also, a big happy birthday to long-time staff member, Barbara!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Poetry Friday--The Tree That Time Built

Half the fun of poetry is listening to the musicality of the words. If you borrow The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination [J 808.81 TRE] you can read along as you listen to the CD that is included. The 100+ poems for this anthology were selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston. Forty-four of the poems are on the CD, and 18 of the readers are the poets themselves. There a nice mix of poets covering a variety of times and places.

Within the pages of the book you'll find explanatory notes with some of the poems. The notes either deal with the subject of the poem, or with the mechanics of the poem. (Mechanics is probably a poor choice of words, but I can't think of another!)

Here's a sample:

Their feet, planted into tar,
drew them down,
back to the core of birth,
and all they are
is found in earth,
recovered, bone by bone,
rising again, like stone
skeletons, naked, white,
to live again, staring,
head holes glaring,
towering, proud, tall,
in some museum hall.

Myra Cohn Livingston

Although a popular view holds that dinosaur fossils have been found in tar pits, that is not the case. Although many kinds of extinct animals and plants dating from the Ice Age have been excavated from the La Brea tar pits in California and more recently from other pits in South America, dinosaurs were extinct long before the pits existed.
There is a glossary at the end, suggested reading resources, and an "About the Poets" section.

Stop by A Journey through the Pages where Kay is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

International Magic Week

Most celebratory weeks begin on a Sunday and end on the following Saturday, but not International Magic Week. International Magic Week runs from October 25 through 31. The reason being, October 31 is the date upon which magician Harry Houdini passed away. It is also Halloween--reportedly a time of "magic."

Most people think "tricks" when the word "magic" is mentioned, and that's going to be my focus today. We have all sorts of magic trick books from card tricks to optical illusions!

Look through this list to get a sampling of what you'll find at the Library:

Barnhart, Norm. Amazing Magic Tricks: Apprentice Level. [J 793.8 BAR]

Blackstone, Harry. 200 Magic Tricks Anyone Can Do. [793.8 BLA]

Charney, Steve. Incredible Tricks at the Dinner Table. [J 793.8 CHA]

Fullman, Joe. Sleight of Hand. [J 793.8 FUL]

Gibson, Walter Brown. The Complete Beginner's Guide to Magic. [793.8 BRO]

Klingel, Cynthia and Robert Noyed. Card Tricks. [J 793.8 KLI]

Loh-Hagan, Virginia. D.I.Y. Make It Happen: Magic Show. [J 793.8 LOH]

Turnbull, Stephanie. Close-Up Tricks. [J 793.8 TUR]

Wick Walter. Walter Wick's Optical Tricks. [J 152.14 WIC]

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Happy Birthday, Belva Lockwood!

Belva Lockwood. Does the name sound familiar? Probably not, however, Belva Lockwood played an important role in U. S. history. She was born in New York state on October 24, 1830 and became a lawyer at a time when women weren't welcomed into the field of jurisprudence. She persevered, however, and in 1879 she was the first woman to be admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. As if that weren't enough, she was the first woman to be formally nominated for the U S. presidency! This occurred in 1884, when women weren't even allowed to vote! (Women were awarded that right in 1920.) Lockwood ran for president in 1884 and 1888.

Belva died in 1917, so she was never able to legally vote in a national presidential election.

We have a short children's biography of Belva Lockwood, Belva Lockwood Wins Her Case by Drollene P. Brown [J B BRO] and a brief overview of her life is found in Women of the Empire State: 25 New York Women you Should Know [J 920 WOM].

Now that you know Belva Lockwood's name, don't you wish you knew more?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Looking to the Future

Do you have a child in middle or high school who is beginning to think about a career for the future? Tech is definitely a way to go. However, "tech" is a broad topic and you want your child to find a good fit for his/her interests and skills. What can you do?

You're in luck because this year, on November 10, NH Techfest is taking place, 9:00-3:00, at Salem High School. NH Techfest is being co-hosted by Salem High School's The Blue Devils (FRC Team 6324) and Windham High School's Windham Windup (FRC Team 3467). (FRC stands for First Robotic Competition.)
Since 2009, NH TechFest has been showcasing those exciting STEM occupations by inviting cutting edge technology companies in New England to feature their innovations and ideas in a hands-on format for Middle and High School students. From video game developers to drone racers to roboticists, these are the STEM fields of the Future. And STEM touches all areas- the FBI forensics lab, meteorology, and assistive technologies. How can you be an active participant in the Future? Come see, touch, hear, and experience those ideas and inventions at NH TechFest. Meet the scientists, engineers, and technology professionals and be inspired.
Tickets are required, but they are free! To find out more about festivals such as this one, which are taking around the country, visit the Science Festival Alliance website.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Judy Blume's Best-Loved Book

Author, Judy Blume's best-loved book is undoubtedly Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret [J BLU, eBook]. It first came out in 1970 and has sold in the millions. It is still in print today. Judy Blume's books have never been brought to film for one reason, only, the author refused to sell the rights. She has finally relented, and it was announced last week that Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is being turned into a movie.

Now would be the time to reread it, or read it for the first time. I imagine that once the film nears it's release date, the demand will be great!

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is a children's book, but Judy Blume also writes for adults. Her 2015 novel, In the Unlikely Event [F BLU, AB/CD BLU, eBook, eAudiobook], would also make a great movie in my opinion.
Judy Blume takes us back to the 1950s and introduces us to the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where she herself grew up. Here she imagines and weaves together a vivid portrait of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed during one winter. At the center of an extraordinary cast of characters are fifteen-year-old Miri Ammerman and her spirited single mother, Rusty. Their warm and resonant stories are set against the backdrop of a real-life tragedy that struck the town when a series of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving the community reeling.

What other Judy Blume books do you think should be filmed?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Poetry Friday--A Belated World Octopus Day!

Photo courtesy NOAA.

I missed World Octopus Day! It was celebrated on October 8--I must have been out to lunch!

It's never too late to celebrate with an Octopus poem and here's one by William Stafford found in Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer's Vocation [811 STA].
If I Could Be Like Wallace Stevens

The octopus would be my model--
it wants to understand; it prowls
the rocks a hundred ways and holds
its head aloof but not ignoring.
All its fingers value what
they find. "I'd rather know," they say,
"I'd rather slime along than be heroic."

My pride would be to find out; I'd
bow to see, play the fool,
ask, beg, retreat like a wave--
but somewhere deep I'd hold the pearl,
never tell. "Mr. Charley,"
I'd say, "talk some more. Boast again."
And I'd play the banjo and sing.

"I'd rather slime along than be heroic." What a great line!

We have a new book in our children's room by Poetry Friday participant and poet, Irene Latham. The title is Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus [JP LAT]. If you haven't already read it, stop by the Library--it's a fun picture book for kids! While you're at it, borrow Ringo Starr's Octopus's Garden [JP STA] because the mere mention of the title has left you with a day-long earworm! Am I right?

Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week from over the border in Massachusetts!

Thursday, October 18, 2018


You may think that sourdough is a strange subject for a post, however, it is library-related! First of all, there is a sourdough library in Belgium that is a collection of sourdough starters from around the world.

And if that's not enough, there's a novel with sourdough as its subject and its title! Sourdough is by Robin Sloan [F SLO, AB/CD SLO, eBook] and although it may stretch your credulity at times, it is quite an amusing story!
A software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions, Lois Clary codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. When the brothers have Visa issues, they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her--and learn to bake with it.

If you're inspired to bake your own sourdough bread, we have many bread books in our baking section, 641.815. Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day: Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads [641.815 REI] would be a good place to start!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


If you commute to work or school, you may want to consider listening to audiobooks. Here at the Library we have physical format audiobooks--CDs in a case--and eAudiobooks through our CloudLibrary and NH Downloadables services, which can be downloaded to your phone or other electronic device.

At least once a month we add new physical audiobooks. They are most often those books that are on the bestsellers lists, in other words, titles in high demand. We also add new books in series. And, if we don't have a specific title that you are looking for, we consider requests for future purchases. Just be aware that not every book is released in an audiobook version, and that sometimes it will take a considerable amount of time between hardcover publication and when a book comes out in an audio version. The recent bestseller and book group favorite, Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, was published in book form in June 2017, but only came out in a physical audio version yesterday! An eAudio version had been released somewhere in between. Confusing, isn't it? And there also may be a problem due to author restrictions. J. D. Salinger refused to sell the rights to Catcher in the Rye, so despite demand, you will not find it in audio.

In any case, we still have plenty for you to listen to. Here are sample titles we've added in the past month:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan [AB/CD KWA].

Field of Bones by Judith A. Jance [AB/CD JAN].

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh [AB/CD WAL].

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis [AB/CD 158.1 HOL]

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King [AB/CD B ROG].

In His Father's Footsteps by Danielle Steel [AB/CD STE].

Lies by T. M. Logan [AB/CD LOG].

Transcription by Kate Atkinson [AB/CD ATK].

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Eugene O'Neill

Playwright, Eugene O'Neill was born in New York on this date in 1888. He is recognized as America's foremost playwright. O'Neill won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama four times, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, and his plays continue to be staged 130 years after his birth.

We have his plays in a three-volume set from "The Library of America" series: volume 1 Complete Plays 1913-1920; volume 2 Complete Plays 1920-1931; volume 3 Complete Plays 1932-1943. All are found under 812 ONE.

Several dramas have found their way into film, and Long Day's Journey into Night [DVD LON], released in 1962, starred Katharine Hepburn. It is a semi-autobiographical account of O'Neill's family, which, if you watch the preview below, you realize must have been completely dysfunctional. The subject matter of family relationships and alcohol and drug addiction sadly continue to be relevant to 21st century viewers.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell's latest movie, Beautiful Boy, opened on Friday:

The film is based on the book Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Addiction [362.299 SHE, eBook, eAudiobook] by David Sheff, and Tweaked: Growing Up on Methamphetamines [YA AB/CD B SHE] by his son, Nic.

Several years after publishing Beautiful Boy, David Sheff wrote a guide for everyone on dealing with addiction--Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy [362.29 SHE].

Friday, October 12, 2018

Poetry Friday--Pastoral

On October 12, 1872, the great English composer [Ralph] Vaughan Williams was born. His music has great appeal to those who think of England as a land of gentle sheep on gently rolling hills. Williams even titled one of symphonic works, Symphony No. 3, "Pastoral." Pastoral comes from the Latin word, pastor, meaning shepherd.

The term pastoral also refers to a type of poem described by Babette Deutsch in Poetry Handbook: A Dictionary of Terms [808.1 DEU] as
A poem about shepherds and other herdsmen or in praise of such a life as they lead, but often deceptive in its simplicity, since it may be the vehicle of a grave theme unrelated to the rural scene.

"The Shepherd" from Songs of Innocence by William Blake is an example of a pastoral poem, and, it is one that Vaughan Williams set to music as part of his song cycle, "Ten Blake Songs."

Here is the poem:
The Shepherd

How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lamb's innocent call,
And he hears the ewe's tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

Found in Poems and Prophecies [821 BLA].

And here is the song:

Visit Laura at Writing the World for Kids for this week's round-up of poetry links.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

It's International Day of the Girl Child

October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child. This year's theme is "With Her: A Skilled GirlForce."

© UNICEF/UN0206982/Herwig

International Day of the Girl Child is a United Nations initiative
On International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), themed “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force”, join UN Women as we stand with girls everywhere as they inspire, innovate and take charge of their own future.

The 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are challenging the status quo. They’re redefining girlhood, and they’re doing so against the odds.

Across the world, girls face adversities that hinder their education, training and entry into the workforce.They have less access to information, communication technology and resources, such as the internet where the global gender gap is growing.

A quarter of young people, most of them girls, are neither employed nor getting an education or training.

This year alone, 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years will become pregnant in developing regions.

And yet, they persist, they succeed. They are innovating technology to solve global challenges, they are standing up for the environment, they are raising their voices against violence and they are preparing to run for office.

Look for one of these books about girls:

Alabed, Bana. Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace. [eBook]

Girls to the Rescue: Tales of Clever, Courageous Girls From Around the World. [J GIR]

Global Baby Girls: A Global Fund for Children Book. [BB GLO]

McCarney, Rosemary A. Dear Malala, We Stand With You. [J 371.822 MCC]

Winter, Jeanette. Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan. [J 371.823 WIN]

Yousafzai, Malala. Malala's Magic Pencil. [JP YOU]

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NH Assistance

You might not need it today, but there may come a time when you'll need a "Health and Human Service" resource, such as place that could help a family member prepare for the GED/High School Equivalency Test. Where do you look?

If you live in New Hampshire, much of the information you may need is now available at 2-1-1 New Hampshire Community Resources. Resources exist in each of these categories:

Here's more on 2-1-1 NH:
2-1-1 NH is the connection for New Hampshire residents to the most up to date resources they need from specially trained Information and Referral Specialists. 2-1-1 NH is available 24 hours, 365 days a year. Multilingual assistance and TDD access is also available. For those outside of New Hampshire, call 1.866.444.4211.

2-1-1 NH is an initiative of Granite United Way and relies on the generosity of donors and partners like Eversource, the State of New Hampshire, Volunteer NH and local United Ways.

Take note of the web address: https://www.211nh.org/, because some day, you may have a problem that you won't be able to solve on your own.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Jokes on...?

Famed British street artist, Banksy, played a big joke on the art world by creating a work, "Girl with a Balloon" that sold at a Sotheby's auction for $1.3M (yes, you read that right, 1.3 MILLION dollars). As the gavel came down to end the bidding, the painting began to self-destruct! Read all about it here.

A documentary about Banksy, Exit through the Gift Shop [DVD 751.78 EXI] was on the shelf the last time I looked. I found it fascinating and would recommend it if you want to learn more about this grand art trickster!

There is also a section on Banksy in the children's book, 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel [J 759 WEN]. There was a period of time when the identity of the artist behind the art that appeared on British streets was unknown.

Banksy's creations have popped up in other locations around the world. Here's one from California:

Photo by Joseph Voves.

If you have an eReader, also look for This Is Not a Photo Opportunity: The Street Art of Banksy [eBook]. It might actually be better to view it on a desktop computer since an iPhone or other small screen would not do justice to the art.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Chester A. Arthur

On this date in 1829, Chester A. Arthur was born in Vermont. Arthur grew up in New York, became a lawyer, and found his way into politics becoming the 20th Vice-President of the United States in the election of 1880. He served as V-P for four months until the 20th President, James A. Garfield, was assassinated. Arthur was not particularly well-liked and he became one of the very few, one-term presidents, serving less than four full years.

So, it being Chester A. Arthur's birthday, and Poetry Friday, I'm going to share a poem about Arthur (yes, there really is a poem about him) from The President's Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents by Susan Katz (illustrated by Robert Neubecker) [811.54 KAT].


"Hail to the Chief"

Our official presidential theme
made Chester Arthur want to scream.
Its entire history was terribly wrong.
First it began as a boating song,
which gave Chester Arthur a sinking feeling.
But the problem that really sent him reeling
was the fact that this ballad, to Arthur's dismay,
had been sung on the stage in a musical play
called The Lady of the Lake.
That was more than he could take.

He spoke to musician John Philip Sousa
and told him how desperately we could use a
new song. With that, the subject was closed,
and President Arthur felt much more composed.
So that's how our country's official motif
was changed from the former "Hail to the Chief"
to the famed "Presidential Polonaise,"
which became so beloved it last for...days.

I had to trim the page at the bottom, so you can't see the nugget of information that has been presented about the presidential song. You'll just have to borrow the book!

I don't think I need post a version of "Hail to the Chief," because it is so well-known, but you probably don't know "Presidential Polonaise." Here it is:

The Opposite of Indifference is where Tabatha is serving as this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up hostess. See you there!