Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2024

Windham author publishes second children’s book

By Masha Yurkevich

Jeanine Faietta Eastman is not your typical children’s book author. Along with her books being entertaining, fascinating, and captivating to young eyes, they also add a historical element for young minds.

Windham author Janine Faietta Eastman will be
available to meet the public and sign copies of
her new children's book called 
'Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse' at Sherman's  
Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham on June 8.
She was born and raised in Maine and currently resides with her family on Highland Lake in Windham, where generations of her family have spent summers together.

“I have fond memories of my grandfather’s stories of ice harvesting that took place on the lake during the early 1900s,” says Eastman. “I wanted to share the story to the younger generation of today so that they would have an idea of what life was like during that time. And, how the frozen lake garden provided such an important commodity to so many families. Everyone worked together; life certainly was very different then compared to our lives today. After all, walking two miles to school, every day, uphill both ways during a snowstorm was a thing!”

Prior to writing a book, Eastman says that she does research to make sure that her books are not only interesting, but also factually correct. When writing her most recent book, “Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse,” Eastman researched the history of ice harvesting in Maine, the process used, and the tools involved.

“And of course, I had all the stories told to me about the harvest,” she says.

Her motivation for writing her most recent book “Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse” was all about the importance of history to be shared.

“I hope that children will learn about the past in an informative and fun way,” she said. “With Blizzard the horse telling his story straight from the mouth of the horse, I also hope that it will also be a fun read for adults as well.”

Although there are so many wonderful children’s books and authors, Eastman says that she wanted to add to the genre with a story about ice harvesting in Maine. She also wanted to present children with something new to learn about and have lots of smiles while doing so.

“I love when the story comes together, how a story flows when writing it, along with the perfect illustrations that help tell the story and move it along,” says Eastman.

She prefers to write pen to paper and then type her manuscripts when the pen to paper process is complete and the manuscript is ready to be submitted to her publisher.

So far, Eastman has written two children’s novels and plans to write more books in the future.

Her first children’s book, “The Very Same Moon” was published in 2023 by Page Publishing, Inc. Her second book, “Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse” was published just last month.

“When you read ‘The Very Same Moon,’ you will know that every boy loon sings a different tune,” reads the summary from the back of the book. “It’s true! They even have their own boy band and perform for the very same moon. So come hang out for a while, as the very same moon leads the way with a glowing light. Just like it has since the very first night. Meet all the animal friends and neighbors that have been guided through the lake waters and forest trees. Then, you will surely know why Maine is the way that life should be.”

All of Eastman’s books are available online at Amazon and from Barnes & Noble Booksellers. They can also be purchased at Sherman’s Maine Coast Bookstore in Windham.

“I encourage everyone to support local, small Maine business and purchase my book there,” says Eastman.

Here’s a sneak peek into the summary of her most recent book, “Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse.”

“Blizzard is the ice harvesting horse. Isn’t it so cool that ice was harvested from the frozen waters of Highland Lake? That’s how it was done during the early 1900s, so many years ago! Saddle up as Blizzard shares his adventures while he and his neighbors work together during the frigid Maine weather. With the cold wind blowing, it messes up his long mane. Oh well, lake hair, he doesn’t care. After all, Blizzard’s mane keeps him warm. He can make it through any storm! Neighbors helping neighbors, you will surely see why Maine has always been the way that life should be!”

Eastman will have a book signing for Blizzard the Ice-Harvesting Horse at Sherman’s Maine Coast Bookstore in Windham, scheduled for Saturday, June 8, with the time of that event yet to be determined. <

Friday, March 18, 2022

Curriculum a critical factor in RSU 14 student academic success

Curriculum choices including books and instructional
materials play a major role in a student's academic success
and challenging young minds is a top priority for educators
in selecting curriculum for RSU 14 students, officials say.
By Collette Hayes

Through the years, studies have shown that a school district’s curriculum choices are a major factor in a student’s academic success. And with that in mind, challenging young minds remains at the forefront of how curriculum is selected for RSU 14 students.

District officials say that curriculum that is graduating in difficulty as a student progresses through the school system fosters learning, intellectual growth and the ability to make clear and concise decisions later in life by developing critical thinking skills needed to solve and overcome problems.

According to Christine Frost-Bertinet, RSU 14’s assistant superintendent, the challenge that local schools must meet is to inspire, nurture and provide every learner with the tools necessary to become responsible, informed citizens while meeting the Maine Learning Results Standards.

Strong curriculum and interactions with teachers, mentors and peers, offers the possibility for engaging learning experiences that can meaningfully shape lives and transform communities, she said.

“There are policies established by the RSU 14 Board of Directors that guide the work of selecting instructional materials,” said Frost-Bertinet.

The district’s instructional program and library media centers align with district policies and support its strategic plan to meet short- and long-term goals.

“A student should be able to see themselves in a positive light in any text,” said Christine Hesler, RSU 14’s Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. “When selecting texts, you are looking at your students and their needs and where they are coming from with varied reading skills, interests and backgrounds. Through texts, students should be broadening their perspectives, building empathy and developing a more global understanding of others.”

According to Frost-Bertinet, when selecting materials, teachers take into consideration developmental appropriateness, as well as the varied ability levels within a class, while often focusing on the same
theme and standards.

She said that teachers identify instructional tools needed to support the school district’s curriculum and strive to teach in transformative ways by personalizing learning at high levels regardless of ability level.

Licensed teachers in the state of Maine complete a teacher-certification program that includes extensive educational course work to meet licensing requirements. Then they must regularly participate in professional development to renew their credentials.

Frost-Bertinet said teachers address a student’s social and emotional well-being by weaving Maine’s Guiding Principles into academic core standards to ensure all areas of their development and learning are supported and they grow academically, intellectually and personally.

“We know that students are exposed to a wide range of issues in school, at home and in their global community. Our work as educators is to create a learning atmosphere that supports a deep understanding of varied topics and promotes respect,” Frost-Bertinet said. “RSU 14 teachers need to be mindful when teaching controversial, sensitive issues and follow the guidelines outlined in our policy.”

Board policies recognize the educational expertise of professional staff and the need for such staff to be involved in the recommendation of instructional materials, Frost-Bertinet said.

“The Board delegates responsibility for the selection of instructional materials and Library-media resources to the professionally trained personnel employed by RSU 14, subject to the criteria and procedures for selection and the board’s policy,” she said.

From time to time there could be topics in the curriculum which may be objectionable to individual students and or parents/legal guardian based on their particular religious, moral or philosophical beliefs. To address that, the RSU 14 Board of Directors has established a policy in which parents and guardians of students have the right to request exemption from instruction when it infringes on their beliefs.

“Multiple policies that focus on instructional materials are being reviewed by the board’s Policy Committee in response to more recent concerns that have been brought forward,” said Frost-Bertinet. “Any proposed revisions will be presented to the full board for review.”    

Overall, the Maine Department of Education provides oversight management of RSU 14’s curriculum, instructional and assessment practices throughout the district’s schools in Windham and Raymond.

Additional curriculum information can be found by visiting the Windham/Raymond Schools RSU 14 Curriculum website at <

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book lending resumes at Windham and Raymond libraries

Both the Windham Public Library (shown) and the Raymond Village
Library have reopened and are once again offering checkout
for books and other items after several months of only being
able to provide online/digital services as a result of the
By Elizabeth Richards

June brings good news for library lovers in Windham and Raymond, as both the Windham Public Library and the Raymond Village Library resume lending physical materials after an extended period of offering online/digital services only.

Library staff were far from idle when their doors were closed to the public, even if traditional library services weren’t available. At the Windham Public Library, some of the things staff worked on included online programming, including story times for all ages, craft activities, discussion groups and book chats; did inventory, removed old materials and ordered new items for the collection; conducted welfare checks on community members; provided phone or email support to patrons; planned the online Summer Reading Program; and instituted curbside service after securing grant funding, and participated in statewide discussions about library services and best practices, said Director Jennifer Alvino.

In Raymond, staff spent a lot of time helping patrons get set up to access digital/online resources.  The library’s book club met via Zoom, and staff provided reference services online or by telephone according to Library Director Allison Griffin.  The Children’s librarian also spent time compiling baby book bundles, which contain three board books, a song or game, and another activity related to the books, and similar Storytime sets for preschoolers that include a related craft and materials.

Both libraries kept patrons updated and engaged through their websites and Facebook pages while closed, including posting recorded story times, craft ideas, resources and announcements., the Windham Public Library is open to Windham residents or current Windham Public Library card holders only.  There is a limit of 10 people inside the library at one time, and the first two open hours of the day are only open to vulnerable patrons, including seniors and those with underlying health concerns.  The library will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their curbside service also continues Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Alvino said that although things look different at the library, and hours have changed, they continue to work hard to provide the best possible service under the current circumstances.

“We will slowly bring back services and hours as it is safe to do so but our main goal is and always remains to provide our patrons with the services and materials that they need from us,” she said.

In Raymond, the library building is still not open to the public, but no-contact parking lot pick up of books, audiobooks, and movies has been available since June 1.  Patrons can use their online account to put items on hold, or call/email the library to request materials, including the baby book bundles and Storytime bundles. 

The Raymond Village Library is also offering limited home deliveries to patrons unable to come to the library. 

Curbside pickup will continue through the month of June, with a goal of opening the building in a limited way in July. 

Because it’s a small library, Griffin said, there’s a need to control how many people are inside at a time. They will either designate someone to ensure that limit is followed, or they will offer “library by appointment,” she said.
Currently, however, they are still trying to get some of the protective barriers in place – and finding plexiglass is proving difficult.

The Raymond Village Library currently has both a book sale and a plant sale taking place. The plant sale had been by appointment only, but this week remaining available plants were placed out front with payment envelopes.  The sale is operating on the honor system, and patrons can place payment envelopes in the book drop.  Anyone wishing to pay via credit card can contact the library to make those arrangements.

A link to a document listing items available in the book sale is posted on the Raymond Village Library Facebook page.  Listings will be updated weekly, and the sale continues for the month of June.  In addition to individual books for adults and children, leveled reading book bundles are available, as are some movies.

The staff at the libraries in Windham and Raymond both remain committed to offering their valuable services to the communities they serve in whatever ways they can.

“As a community gathering place, I think the library’s role has shifted to finding alternative ways to connect with our patrons,” Alvino said.  “For now, since our in-person programming cannot take place, we are continuing online programming utilizing Youtube, Facebook Live, and Zoom.”  Other services, such as access to public computers, will be slowly resumed when alternative ways to offer them safely are found, she added. 

In Raymond, Griffin said they saw a large increase in the use of digital and online resources, particularly ebooks.  She said many people who had not explored these resources before had a chance to learn how to use them.
Griffin said that she believes that the increased use of digital tools will continue, but she said that there were many patrons who were not interested in using those resources.  She said that when the library can safely reopen, digital resources won’t change the way many patrons use the library.  

Both libraries offer a range of online services and resources, which can be explored via their Facebook pages and websites.  One unique resource that Windham library card holders can access is an online database of courses called Universal Class, which offers classes from Excel to Knitting to Cake Decorating, Alvino said.

For more information or to access digital services visit the library websites at and <