What’s new in our Learning English collection?

Lots! From beginners to IELTS, there is something for everyone! This collection is available at Johnsonville, Karori, Central, Newtown, Kilbirnie and Miramar libraries. There is also a small trial collection available at Tawa.
Here are a few examples:

Syndetics book coverSing with me! : English grammar, conversation and song. Book 1 / Carmel Davies and Sharon Duff.
Sing with me is a collection of fifteen songs and accompanying exercises for students learning English and others who enjoy learning through music. The songs are a starting point for language practice. Each song is followed by five language exercises: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, reading and writing, and conversation. The songs also stand alone for class enjoyment and group cohesion. They convey important cultural knowledge and describe settling into a new environment, language development and daily activities. The lyrics are poetic with simple rhymes and a pinch of humour. They are accompanied by infectious rhythms. The book includes answers and a CD recording of each song.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSkills for effective writing. 1, [Student's book].
“Students are better writers when they master discrete writing skills. Skills for Effective Writing teaches these skills, such as identifying topic sentences and recognizing irrelevant information, and offers extensive practice opportunities. When students master discrete skills, all of their writing improves. This allows teachers to focus their time and feedback on the content of student work.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfrican adventure / Julia Allen and Margaret Iggulden.
“‘You must talk to this medicine woman for me.’ ‘But why me? Why don’t you use a Kenyan?’ asked Karen. ‘Because I want it to be a secret. And you don’t know anyone here.’ Karen Dunn is on her way to Africa to help a famous doctor. The doctor needs Karen’s help to find a cure for river blindness. However, Dr McCall starts to behave strangely. Does he want to help the African people? What’s really going on? Level 3 1,000 headwords Story word count: 5,725.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReading and vocabulary focus. 1 / Jo McEntire ; series consultant Lawrence J. Zwier.
“A comprehensive, three-part vocabulary development program builds student confidence as learners encounter new or unfamiliar words in academic texts: Academic Vocabulary sections develop the language that students will encounter in academic readings. Multiword Vocabulary sections identify words that are commonly grouped together and then prompt learners to work with them in different contexts for enhanced comprehension. Topic Vocabulary is presented as a reading preview strategy to enhance learner comprehension of the text.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBob Marley / Vicky Shipton.
“Extensive reading improves fluency and there is a real need in the ELT classroom for motivating, contemporary graded material that will instantly appeal to students. Bob Marley was one of the world’s most influential reggae artists, famous for his ground-breaking music and strong Rastafarian beliefs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete guide to IELTS. Student’s book : Band 5.5-7+ / Bruce Rogers, Nick Kenny.
The Complete Guide to IELTS deconstructs the IELTS test and works systematically through each paper, covering all task types, text types and skills. No stone is left unturned. The material can be used in class or by students working on the own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollins easy learning English conversation 2 : the easiest way to improve your spoken English / [written by Elizabeth Walter and Kate Woodford]
Collins Easy Learning English Conversation: Book 2 is a unique guide to communicating in English. Building on the phrases and vocabulary learnt in Book 1, it has been specially designed for intermediate-level learners who want to communicate successfully and with confidence in everyday situations, at work, or when traveling or studying.” (Syndetics summary)

Ramadan Mubarak!

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Ramadan started Friday 19 June. What does this mean for our Muslim community? Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and worship during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. The dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon.

Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Ramadan is thought to establish a link between themselves and God through prayer, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting.

At the end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrates the conclusion of the month of dawn-to-sunset fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fitr means “breaking the fast”.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it; this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need.

Have you visited our Popular Topics pages on beliefs? On the page we have for Islam you will find a cross-section of what the library holds on this religion, some quick links into our online databases and the library’s catalogue, and links to websites on Islam selected by our subject librarians. The Dewey Decimal call number for Islam as a subject is 297.

Some books on Islam recently added to our collection are

Syndetics book coverThe handy Islam answer book / John Renard, Ph.D.
“In an age of continued Middle East volatility, religious extremists, and terrorist threats, the mere mention of Islam and Muslims too often provokes misunderstanding and even rancor. Often overlooked are the important links between the Qur’an and the Bible. Also ignored are the significant historical overlap between Islamic interpretation of history with those of Christianity and Judaism, including the monotheistic belief in a single God. Islam is too often confusing and even opaque to those unfamiliar with it. The Handy Islam Answer Book , is clearly and eloquently written by John Renard, Ph.D., a scholar of Islam with more than 40 years of research and teaching experience. He provides detailed descriptions of the history, beliefs, symbols, rituals, observations, customs, leaders, and organization of the world’s second largest religion. Renard explains the significance of the Five Pillars, Muhammad, various sects, the Qur’an, Islamic law, and much more. This engaging primer is a resource for reliable information about Islam and Muslims and it brings an understanding of the shared humanity that joins Muslims and non-Muslims far more deeply than cultural or religious differences separate them. Truly a must-have reference for our changing and trying times, this user-friendly guide answers nearly 800 questions and offers fun facts that cover Islamic history, religious practices, and Muslim cultural perspectives, including … * When did Islam begin? * Why is Mecca a holy city for Muslims? * Do Muslims worship Muhammad? * What was the fate of Medieval Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land? * What do Muslims mean by the term “Allah”? * What does the crescent moon and star symbol mean to Muslims? * What is the Muslim “call to prayer”? Is it similar to “church bells”? * Do Muslims believe that God “tests” people? * Does Muhammad play a role in Islamic spirituality in a manner similar to Jesus’ role in Christianity? * Is jihad a legal concept for Muslims? * Is it true that Muhammad both preached and engaged in military campaigns? * Do Muslims, Christians, and Jews worship the “same God”? * Why do Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim parts of Israel/Palestine as “Holy Land”? * Why do some people, such as the Taliban, not want girls to get an education? * Does Islam require wearing face veils? * Does Islam have theologians like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and the other great Christian thinkers? * Is there any similarity between Muslim and Christian art? Muslims are diverse, and they have a vast spectrum of views about Islam. The Handy Islam Answer Book aims for understanding, which is the first step to uniting, instead of dividing. This helpful books provides a historic timeline, a glossary of commonly used terms, a genealogy from Adam to Muhammad and beyond, a calendar of major observances, and a bibliography help further exploration of one of the world’s great religions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy way : a Muslim woman’s journey / Mona Siddiqui.
“Polarized debates about ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ are now so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget how damaging they can be. The vast majority of Muslims do not wish to see Islam used as a divisive force within the largely secular societies in which they live. How then can Muslim stereotyping be challenged? Mona Siddiqui is one of the foremost Western authorities on the reconciliation of 21st-century life and Islamic custom. In this new and searching book, she applies a uniquely probing intelligence, as well as a female sensibility, to crucial issues of faith and identity (such as wearing the veil) within society at large. While speaking from within a particular tradition, she touches on matters of universal concern. Who are we? How do we cope with growing older? What kind of world will we leave to our children? Placing her rich personal journey in a wider context, the author is able to explore love and sex, multiculturalism and diversity, and ageing and death through the prism of her experience as both a Muslim and a modern woman. Her book shows why she is one of the most vital thinkers of our age.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIznik : the artistry of Ottoman ceramics / Walter B. Denny.
“Covering both Iznik pièces de forme and the famous Iznik tiles that decorate Ottoman imperial monuments, Iznik integrates the entire spectrum of Iznik production, both tiles and wares, and the broader artistic tradition in which it originated. Walter B. Denny begins with a description of the particular nature of Islamic art under the Ottoman empire, as well as the methods of the craftsmen who worked under the imperial auspices. He then examines the links between the court style of Istanbul and the ceramic ateliers in Iznik itself, and the crucial role of the dominant styles of the golden age of Iznik ceramics and their most famous creators, Shah Kulu and Kara Memi. The book showcases the array of motifs floral, vegetal and figurative used on Iznik wares, looks at the relationship between non-Muslim communities and the Ottoman empire, and closes with an examination of the rich stylistic heritage that Iznik ceramics have given to Western art. Lavishly illustrated in full colour throughout, this is a panoramic overview of a spectacular and refined artform.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt of Islam [electronic resource] / Gaston Migeon.
“Islamic art is not the art of a nation or of a people, but that of a religion: Islam. Spreading from the Arabian Peninsula, the proselyte believers conquered, in a few centuries, a territory spreading from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Multicultural and multi-ethnical, this polymorphic and highly spiritual art, in which all representation of Man and God were prohibited, developed canons and various motives of great decorative value. Thorough and inventive, these artists expressed their beliefs by creating monumental masterpieces such as the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Alhambra in Granada, architectural works in which one recognises the stylisation of motives of the Muslim ceramics. Lively and coloured, Islamic art mirrors the richness of these people whose common denominator was the belief in one singular truth: the absolute necessity of creating works whose beauty equaled their respect for God.” (Syndetics summary)

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day falls on June 20, a day to honour the courage, strength and resilience of more than 50 million people around the world. Aotearoa New Zealand has a long history of accepting refugees, starting with the Polish orphans during the Second World War. Imagine losing everything simply because of your race, ethnicity or beliefs.

Here is a selection of adult and children’s books we have in our collection, both fiction and non-fiction.

Syndetics book coverGive us this day : a memoir of family and exile / Helena Wiśniewska Brow.
“In June 1944, when 14-year-old Stefan Wisniewski stood by his mother’s dusty Tehran grave, he knew his world was about to change again, forever. Give Us This Day: A Memoir of Family and Exile explores the story of one of the 732 Polish child survivors of wartime Soviet deportation offered unlikely refuge in New Zealand. Seventy years later, and no closer to a longed-for Polish homecoming, Stefan’s New Zealand-born daughter revisits his past. What is the burden her father has carried all these years? And why is he unable–or unwilling–to let it go? With an aging father and the ghost of a namesake aunt as her guides, Helena Wisniewska Brow searches for meaning in the family lives shaped by exile: her father’s, her mother’s, and her own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStefania’s dancing slippers / Jennifer Beck ; [illustrated by] Lindy Fisher.
“As a five-year-old in Poland, Stefania loved to dance, but war came and her father went away to fight. Then she and her mother were sent to work camps in Siberia. The two struggled through until they were released and allowed to travel south again. But now her mother is sick and Stefania must leave her. At the parting Stefania drops one of her precious dancing slippers. She holds on to her one remaining slipper as a link to home and her parents as she is finally sent to the other side of the world – NZ. At the age of twelve, Stefania finally hears news of her parents and there is a reunion but it’s not a totally happy ending. Her mother had returned to Poland and now that country is closed.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking with a fragile heart : short stories and poems by young refugees in New Zealand / edited by Pauline Frances.
“WALKING WITH A FRAGILE HEART is the third book published by Refugee Trauma Recovery. It has seven young people, all former refugees originating from Afghanistan, Burma (Karen people), Ethiopia and Rwanda, sharing their stories not just about their journey to Aotearoa New Zealand, but also their experiences settling in NZ. A special and extra feature of the book is the addition of poems composed by the same writers. Dame Fiona Kidman has written the preface which states as follows: “All the stories and poems moved me deeply. I am glad that this written record now exists, and commend all who have contributed to it.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rose hotel : a memoir of secrets, loss, and love from Iran to America / Rahimeh Andalibian.
“Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, solved by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. She takes us first into her family’s tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity in their luxury hotel in Mashhad, Iran. Their life is ruptured by the 1979 revolution as they flee: first to the safety of a mansion in Tehran, next to a squalid one-room flat in London, and finally to California, where they suffer a different kind of revolution. Struggling to adjust to a new host culture, they soon discover that although they escaped Iran, they are not free from their own lies and hidden truths. As the family comes to grips with their new home, the strength of their bonds are tested by love, loyalty, compassion, hate, pain, loss–and the will to survive. Heartbreaking and intimately told, this is a universal story of healing, rebirth after tragedy, and hard-won redemption” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverTeacup / Rebecca Young, Matt Ottley.
“Once there was a boy who had to leave home… and find another. In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play. This is one boy’s story of leaving his homeland, surviving a long journey by sea… and finding a safe, new place to call home..” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA man of good hope / Jonny Steinberg.
“In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city’s population fled. Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militia, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept alone into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world. This … book tells Asad’s story, [from a childhood living in a bewildering number of places to an adulthood of financial and romantic success]“–Dust jacket flap.

Syndetics book coverA king in hiding : how a child refugee became a world chess champion / Fahim with Sophie Le Callennec and Xavier Parmentier ; translated from the French by Barbara Mellor.

Syndetics book coverHamid’s story … : a real-life account of his journey from Eritrea / created by Andy Glynne ; illustrated & designed by Tom Senior.
“This is the story of Hamid who was forced to flee with his mother from war-torn Eritrea. It is the story of how they arrived in the UK as refugees with no understanding of the language and culture, and how they rebuilt their lives. When Hamid starts school, it is difficult at first, but then he makes some friends and things start to get better. But the horrors of the war in Eritrea are never far from their thoughts as the family learn of the death of Hamid’s father.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat is the what : the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng : a novel / Dave Eggers.
“In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life as he’s driven from his home as a boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia, where he finds safety — for a time. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where this novel is narrated. In this book, written with expansive humanity and surprising humor, we come to understand the nature of the conflicts in Sudan, the refugee experience in America, the dreams of the Dinka people, and the challenge one indomitable man faces in a world collapsing around him.” (Syndetics summary)

How can you help empower people from refugee backgrounds to achieve their goals and contribute to their new home in Aotearoa, New Zealand?
If you would like to know how you can help a family who has lost everything to start again, visit the Red Cross website to find out more.

Celebrate Race Relations Day, support our Assyrian community

race relations day 2015New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth and we are also one of the most peaceful: it’s up to everyday New Zealanders to ensure this is a legacy we leave for future generations. Race Relations Day reminds us all of the crucial role positive race relations and human rights play in our communities and lives.

Every 21st March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination marks the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 black South African citizens – including 10 children – were shot to death by their own Police for protesting against racial apartheid laws. In New Zealand, communities across the country host hundreds of events on and around the 21st of March to mark Race Relations Day.

bellbirdThis year’s Race Relations Day theme “Big Change Starts Small” was created by a Vietnamese Kiwi who had lived in Auckland for less than a year when he won last year’s Race Unity Speech Competition.

“Secondary school student Thai An Vo’s winning speech captures the spirit of positive race relations and human rights: Big Change Starts Small,” says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Positive race relations don’t just live in a document at the United Nations, they must live in our communities, suburbs and lives.”

This year’s te reo Maori theme is the proverb “Itiiti Rearea, Kahika Teitei, Ka Taea” – “The smallest bellbird is able to climb to the heights of the tallest Kahika tree.”

“New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth and yet we are also one of the most peaceful nations on the planet. This is something I’m grateful for and proud of but it’s also something we can’t take for granted,” said Dame Susan.

Escalator Press, a new Wellington publisher, and Wellington Libraries are presenting a special event for Race Relations Day,
Hear Kate Carty speak about her compelling new novel Run Thomas Run, set in Iraq and England.

Meet Sarjon Warde and other Assyrians, and hear about thie exceptional history, their current situation in Iraq, and their vibrant Wellington Community.

6.30-7.30pm, Thursday 26 March
Ruth Gotlieb Library, Kilbirnie.

This is a free event, all welcome!

Syndetics book coverRun Thomas run / Kate Carty.
“A wedding, a poem, a shortcut home – what happens next will shake Thomas Odishu, wife Esther and children Ramina and George to the core. For this is Iraq in 1991 and there are no such things as coincidences. Informants are everywhere and once you’ve had a run-in with Saddam’s regime, your only chance of survival is escape. But no matter how hard you run, the past is always there, right behind you. Set in Iraq and England over three decades, Run Thomas Run is the gripping story of a father’s contorted love, a daughter’s coming of age, guilt, redemption and a child’s promise made forty years earlier that should never have been kept.” (Syndetics summary)

We have some beautiful books in our collection about the Assyrian language, history and art. Have a look at these:

Syndetics book coverThe church of the East : an illustrated history of Assyrian Christianity / Christoph Baumer.
“Christoph Baumer is one of the very few Westerners to have visited many of the most important Assyrian sites, and has written the only comprehensive history of the “Nestorian” (or Apostolic Assyrian) Church, which now fights for survival in its country of origin, Iraq. He traces its apostolic beginnings to the present day, and discusses the Church’s theology, christology and uniquely vigorous spirituality. He analyzes the Church’s turbulent relationship with other Christian chuches and itsdialogue with neighboring world religions such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism. Richly illustrated with maps and over 150 full-color photographs, the book will be essential reading for those interested in a fascinating but neglected Christian community which has profoundly shaped the history of civilization in both East and West.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAssyrian palace sculptures / Paul Collins ; with photography by Lisa Baylis and Sandra Marshall.
“Between the ninth and seventh centuries BC the small kingdom of Assyria in northern Iraq expanded through conquest to dominate the region from Egypt to Iran. The power of the Assyrian kings was reflected in the creation of a series of magnificent palaces in which the walls of principal rooms and courtyards were lined with huge panels of alabaster carved with images of the monarch as priest, victorious warrior and hunter. Together, the sculptures constitute some of the most impressive and eloquent witnesses of the ancient Middle East. This book serves as a superb visual introduction to what are undoubtedly some of the greatest works of art from the ancient world, showcasing a series of specially taken photographs of the British Museum’s unrivalled collection of Assyrian sculptures.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom Nineveh to New York : the strange story of the Assyrian reliefs in the Metropolitan Museum and the hidden masterpiece at Canford School / John Malcolm Russell, with contributions by Judith McKenzie and Stephanie Dalley
“The story of Sir Austen Henry Layard’s rediscovery of ancient Assyria and its fabled capital, Nineveh, is one of the great tales of the 19th century. No less remarkable is the story of the collection, dispersal and then re-acquisition in the 20th century of the world’s greatest Assyrian collection ever to be in private hands.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA history of the ancient Near East, c. 3000-323 BC / Marc van de Mieroop.
“This book presents a clear, concise history of the extraordinarily multicultural civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Beginning with the emergence of writing around 3000 BC, the narrative ranges from the origins of the first cities in Mesopotamia, through the growth of the Babylonian and Hittite kingdoms, to the Assyrian and Persian empires. It ends with the transformation of the Ancient Near East by the conquests of Alexander the Great. A straightforward and concise narrative of the complex history of the ancient Near East. Addresses political, social, and cultural developments. Contains in-depth discussion of key texts and sources, including the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Includes a selection of Near Eastern texts in translation. Accompanied by plentiful maps and illustrations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginner’s Assyrian / D.G. Lyon.
“This book includes a detailed outline of Assyrian grammar, transliterated texts, an extensive glossary and a comprehensive list of alphabets. Aramaic is also known as Assyrian and knowledge of it is a must for any serious scholar of the bible. The instruction guide is designed for those intere4sted in learning to read the language.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIntroductory Assyrian grammar / Samuel A.B. Mercer.
A passport to an important language of the ancient world, this grammar presents an introduction to Assyrian, a linguistic relative of Hebrew that derives from the northern group of Semitic languages. The Assyro-Babylonian language emerged as long ago as 3000 b.c., and remained in use until the first century before the Christian era, after which it disappeared until the nineteenth century. A wealth of archeological work since then has uncovered thousands of examples of the language, and with this concise treatment, students of archeology, anthropology, and world history study the language’s complexities. Both simple and well supplied with exercises, the text divides grammar and syntax into chapter-by-chapter lessons.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

New Zealand is the first country in the world to observe the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Auschwitz liberation day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an international memorial day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand invites you to join them at the Holocaust Memorial at Makara Cemetery for a commemoration ceremony on Tuesday 27  January at 1pm.  You are also invited to the “Auschwitz to Aotearoa” exhibition at Bowen House from 27 January to 20 February which  is open to the public from Wednesdays to Fridays from 12-3pm. Come and see this compelling exhibition about 9 Jewish women who survived incarceration in Auschwitz.

Syndetics book coverSuch good girls : the journey of the Holocaust’s hidden child survivors / R.D. Rosen.
“Rosen reconstructs the experiences of three childhood survivors of the Holocaust. As Jewish children, Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, Flora Hogman, and Carla Lessing spent their early years in hiding in Poland, France, and Holland, respectively. Although their individual stories are unique, each spent significant years of her youth living in fear. Inevitably, the trauma that defined their hidden years informed their adult years, including their career choices in the helping professions. As adults, these women all experienced an ever-increasing need to confront their fears and anxieties by connecting with others who spent the war as hidden children. Recognizing that children who survived by hiding lacked an organized support group, each of these woman was instrumental in establishing networks and conferences for their unique peer group. By focusing on an often-overlooked group of survivors, Rosen has made a significant contribution to the Holocaust record.–Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2014 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe commandant of Lubizec : a novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard / Patrick Hicks.
“Readers who have not read extensively about the Holocaust may be surprised, and perhaps puzzled, to learn at this novel’s end that the Nazi death camp in Poland described in agonizing and moving detail is fictional. For those able to put aside the question of why poet (This London) and debut novelist Hicks made the choice not to describe an actual death camp, his tale will serve as a solid depiction of historical horrors. The eponymous commandant, Hans-Peter Guth, is believably painted with the schizophrenic personality required for a good family man who plays with his children before heading off to work as an architect of genocide. Hicks goes to gruesome lengths to show that those living near such extermination centers knew what was going on, graphically depicting how the windows of surrounding houses were stained by human fat. His methodical style, which mimics an actual history book, down to the inclusion of footnotes, presents the Nazis’ logical approach to mass murder via the accumulation of small but damning details. No one will mistake this for Night or Schindler’s List, but it’s nonetheless a grim eye-opener. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe holocaust sites of Europe : an historical guide
“With this one-volume work, Winstone (independent scholar) offers a very important addition to reference collections holding materials on the Holocaust and European Jewish history. For both researchers and laypeople, this is an unprecedented, comprehensive guide to places of interest including camps, massacre sites, cities and ghettos, euthanasia centers, and museums and memorials in all of the major Holocaust sites in Europe–from Belgium, Belarus, and Greece to Serbia and Ukraine. The work also includes information on Sinti and Roma sites, along with a detailed and authoritative “suggested reading” section of leading historical studies. Beyond the narrative of genocide that typifies reference works on this subject matter, this volume’s historical context, provided for each country and region, is both impressive and extremely well researched. This work will be very valuable for all researchers and travelers interested in learning more about this chapter in world history. Its maps and illustrations are informative and well selected in terms of geography and historical significance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. L. Lampert California State University–NorthridgeCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” (CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverMeasure of a man : from Auschwitz survivor to presidents’ tailor : a memoir / Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall.
“He’s been called ‘America’s greatest living tailor’ and ‘the most interesting man in the world.’ Now, for the first time, Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield tells his incredible life story. Taken from his Czechoslovakian home at age fifteen and transported to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz with his family, Greenfield came face to face with ‘Angel of Death’ Dr. Joseph Mengele and was divided forever from his [family] … He learned how to sew; and when he began wearing the shirt under his prisoner uniform, he learned that clothes possess great power and could even help save his life [and led ultimately to his] founding America’s premier custom suit company”– Provided by publisher.


Learning English

Kia ora and happy new year to you all!

What’s new in the Learning English collection? Heaps! Here are some examples from beginners to IELTS!

Syndetics book coverPicture this! : learning English through pictures. 1 / Tim Harris, Allan Rowe.
“”Picture This!: Learning English Through Pictures,” by Tim Harris, and illustrated by Allan Rowe, is a two-level multiskills course that enables beginning students to master the core language needed for effective communication in English. Eight distinctively illustrated chapters that use engaging, original art provide everything a teacher needs to introduce key vocabulary and systematically present new grammar structures. A colorful cast of characters personalizes the themes presented in each chapter, and makes learning more enjoyable. The program’s integrated skills approach includes a strong writing component, with activities designed to promote the rapid development of listening, speaking, and reading skills.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEasy English step-by-step for ESL learners / Danielle Pelletier.
“You’ve come to the right place for learning English quickly and easily! This book is based on the idea that the quickest route to learning this subject is building a solid foundation in the basics. The first steps introduce you to the everyday expressions of the English language, allowing you to communicate in a variety of everyday situations almost immediately.” (Back Cover)

Syndetics book coverHarry’s holiday / Antoinette Moses.
“The graded readers series of original fiction, adapted fiction and factbooks especially written for teenagers. Harry doesn’t live a typical teenage life. His dad works away from home and his mother needs a lot of help, so he can’t see his friends after school or at weekends. Then Harry sees a competition – a chance for his family to take a break. But the competition changes Harry’s life more than he could ever expect.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverSpeaking / Rhona Snelling.
“This book gives you everything you need to improve your pre-intermediate speaking skills for the IELTS speaking test. Comes with complete IELTS speaking practice test, answer keys, glossary, audio scripts and audio CD provided.” (Back Cover)

Our Learning English collection is available at Central, Johnsonville, Karori, Miramar, Kilbirnie and Newtown libraries. The collection at Central library has moved to the first floor next to the foreign language books.

Author talk: meet Adrienne Jansen

ada-author-talkOn Thursday 20 March, starting at 6pm at the Central Library, we will have a special celebration for Race Relations Day! Meet Adrienne Jansen and Samson Sahele – these two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. Well-known musican Sam Manzanza will start this event with his amazing drumming!

I have introduced you to Samson a few days ago, now meet Adrienne!

Adrienne is a writer, editor and teacher. She is a fourth generation New Zealander and lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua. She loves the physical beauty of the area and is a very strong Porirua supporter enjoying its diversity.
Adrienne Jansen writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has lived and worked among immigrants in New Zealand for many years, and her writing draws strongly on that experience. She wrote the text for The Crescent Moon: Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand, with photography by Ans Westra. Her latest novel The Score is about messy lives, shaky pasts and even shakier futures. Adrienne founded the Whitireia Polytechnic Creative Writing Programme, and was its coordinator until 1999. She now teaches fiction and editing on the programme, and has written several of its online courses. She is part of the writing team at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum, and does some freelance work.

But there is so much more!  Have a look here on the Book Council website.

I asked Adrienne about her hobbies and favourite movies and authors. One thing we both enjoy is a love of Moroccan food. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she has been working with Abdel El Adraoui from the Marrakech Cafe on his new cookbook Abdel’s Favourites from the Marrakech Café. You may remember Adbel from my post on our Communities Stories and Traditions page.

One favourite film of Adrienne is the French comedy The Intouchables. Our library catalogue has this summary: “An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust, and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicapped millionaire and his street-smart ex-con caretaker, The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.”

Favourite author: it changes depending on what Adrienne is reading, but she is a great fan of Australian writer Tim Winton. Especially his novel Syndetics book coverCloudstreet :  “[this novel] concerns the everyday lives of two country families who move to the city. ‘It pulses with a sense of wonder and shines with the clear light of truth’ – P Robert Drewe.” (Syndetics summary)

I am very excited about this author talk on Thursday, hope you can make it! A great opportunity to meet very different writers, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions. Remember this is a free event at the Central Library, starting at 6pm.

Author Talk – Samson Sahele


Celebrate Race Relations Day and meet Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen! These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together.  This is a FREE event – no need to book and will be held at Central Library in Victoria Street Thursday March 20 from 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will launch the event with his amazing drumming skills!

Samson cropIn this post I would like to introduce you to Samson. Samson was a journalist in Ehtiopia when he had to flee for his life. His journey as a political refugee took him through four African countries before spending two and half years in South Africa. He arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2000.
I first met Samson back in 2007 at Newtown library when his community were looking for a place to celebrate their very special Ethiopian Millenium! I invited them to have this event at the library and organise a display about their ancient culture! We even had a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony, best coffee ever!
Samson works at Refugee Trauma Recovery. which is a non-governmental organisation offering confidential and free services to former refugees and their families in Wellington. They provide specialist mental health services for those who have experienced trauma and torture, and deliver capacity building for their families and community. More information about this organisation.

etiopian millennium 020aSamson is the driving force behind creative writing workshops for young refugees, and the resulting publications, Earthless Trees, Beyond the Dark Journey and Walking with a Fragile Heart. Dame Fiona Kidman has been a supporter of all three books including attending writing workshops with the young authors. Samson also published a poetry collection Journey with My Shadow. Dame Fiona Kidman writes in the preface, “This book represents Samson’s own journey, from the beloved and beautiful Ethiopia of his childhood to Aotearoa, New Zealand. It is a journey, in one sense, from lightness and enchantment, to a safe, but perhaps, by contrast, more grey land. In between, there is an account of intolerable darkness and should be compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to learn how war has destroyed some parts of the African continent.” Dame Kidman concludes with: “As New Zealand, Aotearoa becomes increasingly multi-cultural, it would be well for us to learn more of these flights, taken in fear and with regret from beloved homelands. In order to offer a land that welcomes people from other cultures, we need to understand better that which has gone before. Journey with my Shadow offers this oppurtunity. I highly recommend Samson’s book.”

I asked Samson what he likes doing in his spare time and no surprises there. He likes supporting the community, reading, and listening to music, especially Ethiopian music and Reggae. Also enjoys walking and following our global current affairs.

Do join us on the 20 March at Central library celebrating Race Relations Day, this will be a very interesting session, we are looking forward to seeing you there!
Next post I will introduce you to Adrienne Jansen.

Race Relations Day Author Talk

rrd2014 posterRace Relations Day, 21 March, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world. Wellington City Libraries is a proud participant in the Diversity in Action Programme facilitated by the Human Rights Commission. The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme is a community initiative. It began in 2004, in response to the outrage at the desecration of Jewish community gravesites in Wellington. The programme has been active in promoting and encouraging positive race relations.

The 2014 theme in New Zealand is “I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.” This year’s poster features portraits from six of New Zealand’s top illustrators (clockwise from top left): Max Thompson, Rebecca Kereopa, Rebecca Terborg, Angus Gomes, Donna Cross and Henrietta Harris.

stacked-nz-diversity-logo-webThis year we are celebrating Race Relations Day with a free author talk – in conversation with Samson Sahele and Adrienne Jansen. These two very different writers will cast their eye on New Zealand’s multicultural society and talk about their own work and about writing together. They will be joined by refugee youth who will read poems from Walking with a Fragile Heart. This is a free event and will be held at the Wellington Central Library, Thursday 20 March 6-7 pm. Well known musician Sam Manzanza will play the drum at the beginning of this session calling you all to attend! Pencil this in your diary now! Next post I will tell you more about the authors.

slider for authortalk

New learning English books!

It’s a new year, and there are lots of new books to help you with English!

There is something for everyone, from beginners to more advanced. Here are a few examples:

Syndetics book coverJourney through Arabia / Andy Hopkins.
More than two thousand years ago, traders brought spices and incense by camel caravan across deserts and mountains from the south of Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. This is the story of that journey, and of the rich and beautiful cities on the way.

This is a Penguin Active Reading book, elementary level with 600 headwords and is supported by an interactive CD-ROM which contains additional activities and the complete audio recording. (from book cover)

Syndetics book coverSkills for effective writing. 1, [Student's book].    
Students are better writers when they master discrete writing skills.
* Clear and easy-to-understand presentation of each writing skill.
* Extensive practice so that students can truly master each important aspect of writing.
* Skill quizzes to give teachers a snapshot of students’ understanding.
* Stimulating academic themes to keep students engaged.
(from book cover)

Syndetics book coverWork on your grammar. Elementary A1.
This is a new practice book that will help you to improve your spoken and written English. Work through the exercises and see the difference good grammar can make to your success in Englsih. This books is suitable for self-study and classroom use. It has an answer key so you can check your progress. (from book cover)

Are you new to Wellington? Have you heard of Newcomers Network? The Wellington Newcomers Network (WNN) was initiated at the end of 2013 at the request of Wellington City Council in conjunction with the Multi Cultural Services Centre. Its aim is to support relatively new arrivals in Wellington in building up contacts and friends and to provide them with an opportunity to savour some of the social activities that Wellington has to offer with others in order to enhance their lives and feel settled quickly in their new home town. For more information visit them on Facebook!
They have some great social events organised!

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