Beyond the Page: a literary festival for tamariki and their whānau

Mark the date: from 6-21 July, public libraries from around the Wellington region are excited to be bringing Beyond the Page – New Zealand’s largest children’s literary festival – to the young people of Wellington and their families. 2019 marks the third year that this multi-disciplinary arts festival will delight, engage and inspire audiences and participants in public libraries and community venues from Ōtaki to Island Bay, and everywhere in between.

Beyond the Page is a collaboration between Wellington City Libraries, Hutt City Libraries, Upper Hutt City Libraries, Kāpiti Coast District Libraries, and Porirua City Libraries. This year’s festival will comprise over 140 events, from author talks, workshops, and live interactive theatre to Lego, puppets, stories, music, dance, robots and more. It aims to reflect the ‘other’ side of libraries – the side that fizzes, that is creative, energetic, entrepreneurial, tech-driven, and adventurous – and it’s all totally free!

You can find the full programme of Beyond the Page events on the festival website or follow us on Facebook, but check out some of the highlights below for a taster of what’s on around the city!

On the 10th of July, experience the wonder of Matariki storytelling as you never have before – while riding on the historic Wellington Cable Car! Take a return trip on the cable car (departure times are 10.00, 10.20, 10.40, or 11.00am) and enjoy beautiful stories and waiata from our wonderful Beyond the Page librarians. Be sure to book your free tickets by getting in touch with the Beyond the Page team. Suitable for children aged 3+ with their caregivers.

Bea Lee-Smith from the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be taking you on a magical journey into the world of Hansel and Gretel. Through music and mime, children will learn simple ballet steps and positions. This interactive telling of an old favourite tale will be a great appetizer for you and your family in advance of the RNZB’s exciting new production of Hansel and Gretel later in the year. Suitable for pre-schoolers and primary school aged children.

Next up we have the amazing New Zealand author Donovan Bixley, who has had over 100 books published around the world. His show will have you laughing with amazement as you dive into a world of letters, words, and fuzzy doodles. Suitable for children aged 5+ with their caregivers.

Next up is the fabulously spellbinding storyteller Tanya Batt. Tanya describes herself as a “green-fingered witch, a word warbler and a story stitcher.” You can join Tanya in one of her imagined worlds as part of this year’s festival, with amazing costumes, live music, and tantalising tales to boot. Suitable for children aged 4+ with their caregivers.

You definitely shouldn’t miss Toro Pikopiko, New Zealand’s most established puppetry theatre company, in their performances of the world’s first Māori rock-art musical for puppets! This incredible show featuring over 80 hand-crafted puppets is bound to inspire and amaze, and is suitable for children of all ages with their caregivers.

There’s something on for everyone during Beyond the Page this July. We can’t wait to see you there!

ComicFest 2019: That’s a Wrap!

This year was the fourth time Wellington City Libraries has put together an extravaganza celebrating comics and cartoons in all their forms. With the closure of the Central Library, the National Library of New Zealand came to the rescue, hosting the festival for three extremely busy days from the 2nd to the 4th of May. The festival continues to build on its past successes, this year featuring a veritable pantheon of New Zealand comic greats for panel discussions, workshops, drawing demonstrations, book signings, and exhibitions. Thousands of Free Comic Book Day books were given away to the record number of comic enthusiasts who turned up to share in the chaos and fun of ComicFest 2019.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of our sponsors, including New Zealand Book Council, Graphic Comics, the New Zealand Cartoon Archive, Creative New Zealand, CoNZealand: the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, Penguin Books, Unity Books, Weta Workshop, and of course the National Library of New Zealand/Alexander Turnbull Library.

To relive the awesomeness, check out our Facebook album of photos from the festivities on Saturday the 4th of May.

We also had over 130 entries to our “Can You Comicify That?” drawing competition! Entrants were given the task of drawing a ‘comicified’ version of their favourite character from a book, movie or TV show, or a person in real life. Check out the galleries below to see the prizewinners for each age category!

8-and-under

9-13

14+

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the drawing competition, and a huge thanks to everyone who came to ComicFest 2019. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

If you missed ComicFest 2019, or would love to see the panel discussions and presentations again, check our playlist on Youtube:

You can also get them as podcasts: