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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]