Summer Reading Challenge for Kids

All of a sudden the end of the school year and Summer are nearly upon us, and lo and behold, it RAINS! Need an activity to occupy your kids’ imaginations? Come down to the library, get some fabulous books, and pick up a Wild About Reading: Summer Reading Challenge booklet for them (and explore our interactive list online!).

Every year the team at Wellington City Libraries put their heads together and come up with a list of 60+ amazing books. We then challenge kids aged 5 – 13 years to read as many books as possible from our Summer Reading Booklist between the 1st of December and the 31st of January. Once the kids have read a book, they go to the kids page, write a review for our Kids Club and win prizes! So don’t forget to pick up the Summer Reading Challenge booklet, available from the 18th of November at all Wellington City Libraries (printable version here).

P.S. You might find yourself reading their Summer Reading Challenge books as well!

Feel Brave book event: Little Stories about Big Feelings

It’s hard to be brave sometimes as a child, and often as adults we forget what the world is like for children – shadows in the corners of rooms, strange noises, bullying at school, not being invited to a birthday party, no one to play with and the death of a grandparent are often part of their world. How do we help children as they confront these situations while growing up?

UK based NZ author Avril McDonald has come up with a wonderful series of books that follow the adventures of Wolfgang the wolf as he encounters these emotional situations. The Feel Brave book series is designed to help children understand their feelings and give them strategies and techniques they can use when feeling upset or anxious.

Avril McDonald, a former primary school teacher, is currently in New Zealand and has been touring schools with her books reading the stories and doing Feel Brave Wellbeing Workshops with the children. Discover the Feel Brave series for yourself when Avril comes to Wellington Central Library on Saturday the 26th of August. The Feel Brave books are officially for 4 – 7 year olds but all ages enjoy them. So come along and bring the children to this special Feel Brave event.

Where: Wellington Central Library
When: Saturday 26th of August, 10.30 – 11.30am

This Monday, special pre-school storytimes and kids’ press conference!

All systems are go, down at Central Library on Monday the 14th of August as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults kicks off with a day full of exciting events. These unique awards celebrate the wonderful writers and illustrators from Aotearoa who give us so many great books to read and help to shape our identity as a country.

The day starts with three fantastic storytime sessions featuring finalists from the Book Awards so come along to hear the stories being read by their very own authors and illustrators.

9.30am-11am: Storytime sessions 

9.30am: “My Grandpa is a Dinosaur” read by Richard Fairgray and “The Day the Costumes Stuck” read by Toby Morris. Both of these books are very funny and destined to become family favourites. What would you do if your Grandpa’s pants needed tail holes? Imagine if you couldn’t get your party costume off and your parents didn’t even notice!

Continue reading “This Monday, special pre-school storytimes and kids’ press conference!”

Classical Music Recent Picks

Syndetics book coverImperfect harmony : finding happiness singing with others / Stacy Horn.
“Horn is not a great singer. But the 30 years she has spent with the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York have been about greatness beyond self, the importance of community, and the joy of creating. Part memoir, part history, part case study, Imperfect Harmony is accessible and infectious. With the enthusiasm of a hobbyist and the discipline of a professional, Horn unfolds the history of choral music, the neurological science underpinning what happens in listeners’ and performers’ brains, and the effort it takes to put on a performance.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

coloursinthedarkColours in the dark [sound recording] : the instrumental music of Alexander Agricola. “The Ensemble Leones deliver this early music album of Agricola’s instrumental works with aplomb and refinement. This album illustrates the darker side of Agricola’s compositions that his contemporaries in the late 1400s would have certainly considered odd. We can now appreciate them for their tight harmonies and masterful treatment of counterpoint. Listening to this album was affecting and did in fact invoke the colours in the dark that the album title suggests.” (Summary by Emily)

Syndetics book coverNeujahrskonzert 2012 [videorecording] = New Year’s concert 2012 / an ORF production in collaboration with the Wiener Philharmoniker ; directed by Karina Fibich. “While this DVD is of a New Year’s concert over a year ago (!) it is still an exciting concert with high energy and entertainment much like the New Zealand Air Force Band ‘Proms’. The music (like always) is of an exceptionally high standard performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker. Quite the spectacle.” (Summary by Emily)

Syndetics book coverBritten’s century : celebrating 100 years of Benjamin Britten / edited by Mark Bostridge ; introduced by Nicholas Kenyon. “This biography canvasses all aspects of Britten’s life and works. With a star-studed list of contributors ranging from Dame Janet Baker, to playwrite Alan Bennett, and musicologist/conductor Philip Brett (who had particular influence in LGBT musicology) this book provides fascinating insight into what was already a fascinating man and life.” (Summary by Emily)

Two new scores have come into the library comprising of two volumes of musical theatre hits for women! And with a new production of ‘Annie’ set for New Zealand stages mid-2014, maybe you’d like to brush up an audition piece…

Syndetics book coverThe singer’s musical theatre anthology. Soprano. Volume 1 / compiled and edited by Richard Walters.
“The most comprehensive collection of Broadway selections ever organized specifically for the singer. Each of the five volumes in the series contains important songs chosen because they are appropriate fpr each voice. All selections are in their authentic, original form, and taken from the original vocal score. The songs in The Singer’s Musical Theatre Anthology, written by such noted composers as Kurt Weill, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, and Jerome Kern, are vocal masterpieces ideal for the auditioning, practicing or performing vocalists. Contents: Barbara Song; Bill; Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man; Climb Ev’ry Mountain; Come Home; Falling In Love With Love; Far From The Home I Love; Glad To Be Unhappy; Goodnight, My Someone; Green Finch And Linnet Bird; Hello, Young Lovers; I Could Have Danced All Night; I Loved You Once In Silence; If I Loved You; Love, Look Away; Many A New Day; Mister Snow; Much More; My Funny Valentine; My Lord And Master; My Ship; My White Knight; No Other Love; Not A Day Goes By; Old Maid; One More Kiss; Out Of My Dreams; Pirate Jenny; Show Me; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; So In Love; Solomon Song; Somebody, Somewhere; Somehow I Never Could Believe; Something Wonderful; Summertime; Surabaya Johnny; Ten Minutes Ago; That’ll Show Him; The Golden Ram; The Saga Of Jenny; The Simple Joys Of Maidenhood; Till There Was You; Under The Tree; What Good Would The Moon Be?; What’s The Use Of Wond’rin’; Where Or When; You’ll Never Walk Alone.” (Amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe singer’s musical theatre anthology. Mezzo-soprano/belter. Volume 2 / compiled and edited by Richard Walters.
“The selections are presented in their authentic settings, excerpted from the original vocal scores.” (Syndetics summary)

And while these next two books are from a series held in our Childrens’ collection, they are both entertaining, informative, and pretty to look at!

Syndetics book coverBeethoven for kids : his life and music : with 21 activities / Helen Bauer.
“Gr 6-8-This well-written text tells the story of Beethoven’s life and music from his birth in Bohn to his death in Vienna. The text winds above and around rather lengthy information boxes that describe places and people who influenced Beethoven. The material in them is interesting but reading it breaks up and slows down the main narrative. The book is handsomely formatted with decorative boarders and illustrated with black-and-white reproductions of archival artwork.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVerdi for kids : his life and music : with 21 activities / Helen Bauer ; foreword by Deborah Voigt.
“Giuseppe Verdi, one of the great composers of the nineteenth century, lived in a turbulent time in Italy. Bauer competently ties together Verdi’s life and the development of Italy into a unified country in a way that helps readers (both youth and adult) understand the complexity of each. Photographs and informational text boxes enhance the text. As with previous books in the series, 21 related creative activities are included. Back matter is highlighted by recommended recordings of Verdi’s operas. Of particular interest to budding musicians and music educators.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Children’s booksale this week

Kids booksale2Head down to the Central Library this week and stock up on children’s books to keep on your bookshelf – we’ve decided to keep our our mini booksale going after its popularity last weekend.
Our sales table includes picture books, fiction books and non-fiction Books for kids up to 12 years old and they’re only $1 each!  It’s never too late to come and have a look – we’ll have new stock on sale regularly throughout the week.
Why not come to the World Wide Weird holiday activity on Wednesday and check out the sales table afterwards?

Children’s booksale on this weekend!

Kids booksale2Head down to the Central Library this weekend and stock up on Children’s books for the school holidays.
Our sales table includes Picture Books, Fiction books and Non-Fiction Books for kids up to 12 years old and they’re only $1 each!
You have three days only (starting today) to make the most of our sale. It’s never too late to come and have a look as we’ll have new stock on sale regularly throughout the weekend.
Our Saturday morning storytime at Central is the ideal opportunity to bring your kids along and choose a few books together!

Ten children’s books that are too sad to read out loud (properly)

Here’s a list of books we think are a real challenge to get all the way through in one piece, especially with an audience. We dare you to read them out loud. Bonus points if you read them to a child all the way through without getting the puzzled “what’s up with the adult?” stare.

(helpfully supplied by some central library storytime readers and other picture book enthusiasts)

  1. The Big Ugly Monster and The Little Stone Rabbit, Chris Wormell – a story of feeling lonely, the need for friendship, and death (in general, rather than “the need for”). The monster is so ugly that nothing can stand him; ponds evaporate, and the stone statues he creates to keep him company shatter… except for the little stone rabbit.
  2. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein – the tree gives, well, basically everything. Incidentally, don’t be put off by the author photo (he looks like Mr T).
  3. Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, Michael Rosen with illustrations by Quentin Blake – yes it is very sad. The product description says: “What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died.”
  4. Always and Forever, Alan Durant – on the subject of grief, Fox dies very early in the piece, leaving his friends bereft until they rally and find ways to honour his memory.
  5. Badger’s Parting Gifts, Susan Varley – similar to Always and Forever. “So cute it makes your teeth ache” says one library staff member.
  6. Duck, Death and The Tulip, Wulf Erlbruch – first published in German. Duck befriends Death, but is this a good idea really? Vielleicht nicht.
  7. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch – as time passes family roles are reversed.
  8. Goodbye Mog, Judith Kerr – sad perhaps because people have invested a lot of time in the Mog stories. It’s like losing a pet. The forgetfulness is maybe a forewarning.
  9. The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde (in Fairy tales of Oscar Wilde) – as far as children’s stories go, Oscar Wilde knew how to make em wistful. Here the titular giant learns a lesson the Giving Tree could have taught him – selflessness is what makes the flowers grow.
  10. The Happy Prince, Oscar Wilde (here illustrated by Jane Ray) – one of the biggest tearjerkers like ever. The Giving Tree’s big brother, this one might well be.

LIANZA Book Awards 2010

The LIANZA Book Awards were announced yesterday, with an ecclectic collection of winners, showcasing the best of the New Zealand publishing world. For more information on the awards visit the NZ Book Council news page. The winners were:

The Russell Clark Award (contribution to illustrated children’s books): There Was a Crooked Man, Gavin Bishop. The English rhyme about the man with the crooked smile, illustrated by one of New Zealand’s best known children’s writer/illustrators. This is a board book, suitable for very young people.

The Elsie Locke Award (for children’s non-fiction): Dear Alison, edited by Simon Pollard. “A reproduction of the diary of Dudley Muff, a New Zealand prisoner of war in Germany written for his niece, Alison, who was four and living in Timaru.” (library catalogue)

The Esther Glen Award (for junior fiction): The Billionaire’s Curse, Richard Newsome. Gerald is left a 13 year old billionaire after his great aunt dies. When he becomes entangled in the theft of a rather large diamond he must uncover the mystery that surrounds his great aunt’s death (was she murdered?) and her connection to the diamond.

The LIANZA Young Adult Award (awarded for the first time): Banquo’s Son, Tania Roxborogh. Fleance, Banquo’s son, gets one short reference in Macbeth (told to “fly” by the mortally wounded Banquo). In this novel, Fleance is ten years down the line, haunted by ghosts: it’s time to avenge his father’s death.

Te Kura Pounamu: Hewa, Darryn Joseph. “Hewa” is fantasy in Māori, and Hewa is a fantasy story written in te Reo Māori “about a boy who wants to help protect his family and friends from a baddie. It’s set in an online game and involves American military software, a futuristic battleship called the USS Barack Obama, and artificial intelligences gaining sentience and self determination.” (from Massey University website)

Te Tohu Hoani Whatahoro (for te waihanga Pukapuka Pono (children’s non-fiction)): Ngā Rākau series by Huia Publishers.

Te Tohu Pounamu (for te wahanga Kaiwhakamaori): Hautipua Rererangi, edited by Julian Arahanga and illustrated by Andrew Burdan. A Te Reo graphic novel about John Porokoru Pohe, a World War II pilot who was a prisoner at Stalag Luft III (of The Great Escape fame). While he escaped, John Pohe was recaptured and subsequently killed.

Te Tohu Taurapa (for te wahanga Pukapuka Pikitia (picture books)): Hūhū Koroheke, Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Rachel Driscoll and translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira. Old Huhu in English (from the author of the loved Kiss, Kiss, Yuck, Yuck), this book picked up the Supreme Award at the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards earlier this year.

Te Tohu Nga Kete e toru (for mo te waihanga Pukapuka Paki (fiction)): Hewa, Darryn Joseph.