Starting Soon – Ni Hao Chinese Stories & Rhymes

StoriesandRhymes Launch Poster MEDIUMNi Hao Children’s Community Stories & Rhymes provides a time for parents and children to play and learn Mandarin as a Second/Foreign Language together through stories, fun rhymes and action songs. It’s also a great opportunity to hear and use Mandarin in a welcoming and social environment.

Starting from Thursday 9 July 2015, these free sessions are held weekly at the Wellington Central Library children’s area (near the big window by the waterfall), Thursdays, 10 to 10:30am. 

Stories & Rhymes! sessions are led by teachers from the Ni Hao Children’s Community Charitable Trust, and designed for Mandarin for Speakers of Other Languages (MSOL) families who are wanting to learn the language as a second/foreign language.  Fluent Mandarin speakers would also enjoy these sessions! These Stories & Rhymes! sessions are a great introduction to the Mandarin language and a very small taster of our fun class programmes.

Parents and children are most welcome to hang around and mingle in the library’s children’s area after the session has finished.

See you at Stories & Rhymes!

(bookings not required)

How to make a zine – by kids for kids

If you know or have any kids that would like to try out making a zine, then looky here…

How to make a zine - by kids for kids

Come along to the free children’s zine workshop and have a go at making your very own zine!

Thirteen-year-old Zora Patrick has been making zines for almost five years. In 2011 she won Wellington Zinefest’s ‘Best of the Fest’ trophy, and in 2012 was invited to the 2012 KOMACON (children’s comic competition) in Bucheon, Korea.

Zora and her zine-making younger sisters Oki (9) and Dune (8), whose work was also recently included in the exhibition Small Press at RAMP Gallery in Hamilton, will be talking about ideas for zines, zine-making techniques, and presenting some of their favourite creations.

This workshop aims to encourage children to participate in zine-making and introduce them to Wellington Zinefest, and will include a session of zine-making with materials provided by Wellington Zinefest and Wellington City Libraries.

When: Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:30am – 12pm
Where: Central Library, 65 Victoria St, Wellington
Audience: Children
Cost: free!!

Get mad about science during the October School Holidays!

Grab your test tubes, clipboards and lab coats and get ready for mad science mysteries these school holidays! Hands on science experiments and stories that are perfect for 7-12 year olds. These fun events are free, and bookings are not required.

When and where:

Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library: Tuesday 30 September 11am – 12pm

Central Library: Wednesday 1 October 11am – 12pm

Karori Library: Thursday 2 October 2pm – 3pm

Miramar Library: Thursday 2 October 2pm – 3pm

Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library: Wednesday 8 October 11am – 12pm

Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: Thursday 9 October 11am – 12pm

Khandallah Library: Friday 10 October 11am – 12pm

Contact your local library for more information.


Sustainability Trust Presents: Mini Worm Farms for Kids at Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library

FBYou’re invited to join in this fun session on worms and all the good work they do for us and our planet.

Together, we’ll take a closeup look at how worms can turn our food scraps into useful compost, and learn how to build our very own mini-worm farm.

So come along and get friendly with worms!

RSVP to Ngaio Library: 479 2344 or at the library front desk

I love reading with my Mum and Dad – Books for families

It’s family reading time! Share your hobbies and favourite books, and enjoy the laughter and joy they create.

For engine and speed lovers:
Syndetics book coverSupercars / [written by Mark Hillsdon].
“Your heart is pumping faster to the revs and roars of the engines. Yes, the love of cars is in the big and small boys’ gene.” (Staff review)

Syndetics book coverTop Gear : the cool 500 : the coolest cars ever made / Matt Master.
“Ever since Karl Benz first powered up his Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, man has salivated and swooned over automobiles. And none more so than the motoring fanatics at Top Gear Magazine, who have test-driven, critiqued and worshipped some of the finest cars in motoring history.” (Library catalogue)

For the creative science fantasists:
Syndetics book coverEnder’s game / Orson Scott Card.
“Six-year-old Ender Wiggins, a star pupil in Battle School, suddenly finds himself in a real war when he’s chosen to lead Earth’s people to victory in an interstellar battle against insectoid aliens.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverAirborn / Kenneth Oppel.Airborn
“A swashbuckling new fantasy by the bestselling author of the Silverwing trilogy. In the early 20th century, a young orphan serves as a cabin boy aboard an airship and is witness to life-and-death battles in the sea and above land.” (Syndetics summary)

For those with unstoppable feet and adventurous minds:
Syndetics book coverThe world is waiting for you / Barbara Kerley.
“”What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question kids get asked over and over. But very few connections are made for kids between the present and the future. This book shows kids a pathway from their current interests and talents to a future career or interest. And in so doing, it also encourages adventure, exploration, and discovery, three core principles of National Geographic’s mission. It’s a celebration of possibility–so simple and so profound.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book cover125 years : the moments, the people, the discoveries that changed the world.
“A collection of memorable National Geographic programs to celebrate 125 years of the society.” (Syndetics summary)

For the colour and flavour cultivators:
Syndetics book coverPasta sauce! : grow your own ingredients / Cassie Liversidge.
“K-Gr 4-Kids interested in digging into this project will need to bring an engaged grown-up along for the ride, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one. Adorable, friendly vegetables take readers on a chapter-by-chapter guide through each ingredient in the garden: tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, and garlic. Supplies for growing each one are laid out, and step-by-step instructions follow, with a few hilarious veggie jokes interspersed throughout. The introduction provides a “rough guide” for when to sow and harvest, but makes the wise recommendation to check the local weather. Some terms are defined while others, like “worm tea” and “wormery” are not. The pasta-sauce recipe is a little vague at times, using “about ten big handfuls” and “a bunch” as measurements. Each step is illustrated with photos and includes instructions for kids to cut onions and garlic, but recommend asking an adult to help cut the pepper. In spite of a few inconsistencies, this is a fun concept in an attractive package that could get kids growing and cooking their own food.” (Adapted from School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“Using a variety of simple propagation techniques, learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Syndetics summary)

Those running little feet and me – Home and garden for family and kids.

Syndetics book coverI [love] my room : children’s rooms you and your children will love / made by Megan Morton, Jason Busch and Penny Shek.
“Kids’ bedrooms can be a series of challenges and charms from precious first drawings to piles of toys and dirty washing. I Love My Room showcases the charms and presents solutions for the challenges. Rather than a collection of immaculate children’s rooms created by interior designers, the pages are filled with spaces which celebrate the young occupants themselves. From whimsical nurseries to expressive teen rooms, you will find clever storage methods and inspiring ideas on how to decorate in a way that is true to your something-year-old’s personality.” (annotation courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSmall garden handbook : making the most of your outdoor space / Andrew Wilson ; special photography, Steven Wooster.
“Expert garden designer Andrew Wilson guides you through the process of planning, planting and maintaining a small garden that will make you happy every time you step outside.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe kitchen garden cookbook / Jeanne Kelley ; photographs Ray Kachatorian. “There are few things more rewarding than sitting down to enjoy a delicious meal made with items harvested right outside your back yard. This gorgeous kitchen gardening cookbook is filled with simple and inspiring recipes as well as practical, useful information for anyone interested in growing the foods they love to eat.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverGrowing up modern : 16 quilt projects for babies & kids / Allison Harris. “Allison Harris shows how beginner and expert sewists alike can make a child’s quilt that will be cherished for years to come. Growing Up Modern —16 Quilt Projects for Babies & Kids provides inspiration and guidance in 16 versatile keepsake projects. 7 of the patterns adapt to make crib- and twin-sized quilts. There’s a comprehensive overview on quiltmaking basics, step-by-step instructions, and vibrant photographs to help you from start to finish. For those who believe that quilting is impossible when you have kids, the author (and mother of 3) includes helpful hints on finding the time and keeping it fun.” (

Syndetics book coverBig ideas for small gardens: clever ways to enhance New Zealand outdoor spaces. “Big or small, a garden is an expression of your interests, personality and lifestyle. The smaller the garden, the easier it should be to convey this message. The aim of this book is to help small garden owners turn their outdoor spaces into beautiful, well-designed places that complement their lifestyle and reflect their own creative vision. Small gardens are no longer just about plants. Today they are places for dining, entertaining, bathing, exercising, playing games, even working. So whether you’re a dedicated plantaholic, a laid-back leisure lover or a more private and contemplative soul, your garden has to be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Big Ideas for Small Gardens shows you how.” (

Syndetics book coverThe intelligent gardener : growing nutrient-dense food / Steve Solomon ; with Erica Reinheimer. “Because of intensive agriculture and the use of fertilizers, the food we consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals than centuries ago. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process of re-mineralization while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverBring the outdoors in : garden projects for decorating and styling your home / Shane Powers with Jennifer Cegielski ; photographs by Gentl & Hyers.
“Probably everyone knows someone who’s a natural arranger. The question is whether that flair can be taught – “you can achieve a great look even if you aren’t a green thumb!” the book promises – by slavishly following instructions, even those in a profusely illustrated book. Powers, a stylist and former editor at Martha Stewart Living, clearly has a flair for arranging stunning combinations of containers and live, dried, or pressed plants. Undoubtedly, her ideas are inspirational, perhaps especially so to those who are already talented with lichens and moss. Among the 22 beautiful combinations are a colorful floral garland, a sophisticated braided willow wreath, and a revival of flower pockets, small holders made of fabric and designed to hang from doorknobs. Detailed care needs, which are demanding in some cases while low- to no-maintenance in others, complete the descriptions. An appendix lists sources. If you already have a vision, you’re good. If you aren’t an artiste, not so much.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverSlow flowers : four seasons of locally grown bouquets from the garden, meadow and farm / Debra Prinzing. “We’d all prefer fresh, fragrant flowers in our bouquets, but what to do in those seasons when not much is growing locally? Acclaimed garden writer Debra Prinzing challenged herself to create a beautiful, locally-grown bouquet for each of 52 weeks of one year (going beyond flowers to include ornamental twigs, foliage, greenhouse plants, dried pods, and more), to demonstrate that all four seasons have their own botanical character to be celebrated. She provides extensive design tips, bouquet “recipes” and region-by-region floral ingredient lists that can be found in all climate zones through the year. Slow Flowers is written from a DIY floral designer’s point of view, to inspire anyone to go green and make a beautiful bouquet with what’s at hand, no matter the season.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverChildren’s spaces : from zero to ten / Judith Wilson ; photography by Debi Treloar.
“A brilliant book for design-conscious parents and kids alike! Children’s Spaces helps you to plan all the practical aspects of children’s rooms and provides plenty of affordable ideas and inspiration when it comes to their design and decoration. Judith Wilson looks at rooms for children between birth and ten years old, with chapters on babies’ rooms, rooms for girls, rooms for boys, and shared bedrooms. There are also chapters on sensible storage and areas that children and adults share – bathrooms, play areas, eating areas and outside space. Children’s Spaces contains a wealth of inspiration drawn from the homes of real families, with real kids, which amply proves that children and great design can happily co-exist without compromising on style.”  (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverPlant breeding for the home gardener : how to create unique vegetables & flowers / Joseph Tychonievich.
“Creating new plant varieties sounds like an activity that should be carried out by botanists in sterile labs, but Tychonievich (nursery manager, Arrowhead Alpines) skillfully explains how anyone can develop new plants in a backyard garden. The book covers the history of plant breeding, plant genetics, breeding goals, evaluating and selecting plants, how to make a cross (i.e., cross breed or hybridize plants), and advanced plant-breeding techniques. The final chapter includes directions for breeding particular flowers and vegetables. Despite the specialized topic, the author has written an accessible, easy-to-read book, one that novice gardeners will be able to use to create tastier tomatoes or more fragrant carnations. Concepts, ideas, and steps are clearly described, and line illustrations are included where useful. Tychonievich also includes recommended readings, useful websites, and a list of plant sources. Verdict: New and seasoned gardeners will appreciate this nicely presented book. It could even spur caregivers or teachers to get kids into the garden, growing their very own varieties of vegetables..” (Adapted from Library Journal)

School holiday activities

Here are the free fun activities happening during these school holidays to celebrate Matariki:

Saturday 13th July, 10.30am at Wellington Central Library:

Wellington Children’s Community Choir, featuring 5-12 year old choristers, will be putting on a special performance for all. Come along and watch, listen and participate.

Tuesday 16th July, 11am at Wadestown Library and Community Space:

Matariki Magic: Celebrate Matariki, our Aotearoa New Year, with a free school holiday activity session. Story reading, waiata and legends, plus a fun Matariki badge-making craft activity

Wednesday 17th July, 11am at Wellington Central Library:

Matariki Magic: Celebrate the close of Matariki, our Aotearoa New Year, with a free school holiday activity session at Central Library. Explore our myths and legends with a fun Matariki badge-making craft activity afterwards.

Thursday 18th July, 11am at Kilbirnie Library:

Multicultural Matariki: Take a mythical voyage with us and find out what Matariki means to people around the world. Make your own Matariki star or kite to fly.

Tuesday 23rd July, 11am at Karori Library:

Join in games and stories about Maui the trickster god these holidays. Catch your fingers and your friends with string games, and find where Maui is hiding in a Matariki treasure hunt at Karori library

Wednesday 24th July, 11am at Miramar Library:

Multicultural Matariki: Take a mythical voyage with us and find out what Matariki means to people around the world. Make your own Matariki star or kite to fly.

Wednesday 24th July, 2pm at Tawa Library:

Maui Matariki: activities and games, including fishing for place names to put on a map of New Zealand

Picture books to make you chuckle

Some sweet picture books that will keep you and your family entertained.

Syndetics book coverThe wreck of the Diddley / Fatcat & Fishface ; illustrations by Stephen Templer.
“The wreck of the Diddley is a cheerfully dark tale of shipwreck on the South Seas. The Captain and his extremely rude parrot tell the story, but cannot agree on a single detail of their adventure.” –Back cover.

Syndetics book coverHey, Al / story by Arthur Yorinks ; pictures by Richard Egielski.
“A city janitor and his treasured canine companion are transported by a large colorful bird to an island in the sky, where their comfortable paradise existence threatens to turn them into birds as well.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe old man and the cat / by Anthony Holcroft ; illustrated by Leah Palmer Preiss.
“When an old man carves a wooden flute he discovers he has created something magical. But magic can have unforeseen consequences if it is misused. Suggested level: primary.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLooking for Rex / Jan Ormerod, Carol Thompson.
“The children are sure that Gramps would never feel lonely if he had a dog of his own. They say the dog should be called Rex, but what would Rex look like? So they play Looking for Rex, and pretend to see Rex, but whenever they think they find Rex…it is never really the right Rex.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe dreadful fluff / Aaron Blabey.
“Serenity’s life was perfect. But then she discovered something perfectly awful… The dreadful fluff!” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Goobledygook is eating a book / Justine Clarke and Arthur Baysting ; illustrated by Tom Jellett.
“Something is coming. Can you see? It snuffles and shuffles. What can it be? Look! look! it’s a Gobbledygook! It’s ripping up pages and eating a book!” (Library Catalogue)

Picture books that have gone to the dogs (and the cats).

Cats and dogs are everyone’s best friends in these great picture books.

Syndetics book coverRaj, the bookstore tiger / Kathleen T. Pelley ; illustrated by Paige Keiser.
“Raj loves being a bookstore “tiger”. He greets the customers, patrols the storerooms, and relishes stoytime. But when teh cranky cat Snowball arrives, his comments make Raj doubt his own tigerness. Is Raj just an ordinary kitty-cat, or is it Snowball who’s got it all wrong?” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverBailey at the museum / Harry Bliss.
“Precocious, school-going dog Bailey joins his human classmates on a field trip to the Museum of Natural History in his second picture book. As the class observes a dinosaur exhibits, Bailey gets distracted by T. rex bones. An understanding museum guard swoops in (“I think he’s hungry. I feel his tummy growling,” he reports), and the two become friends. ……. The tender relationship between Bailey and the steadfast guard is the heart of this light, funny story.Bailey the dog is excited to go on a school trip to the Museum of Natural History.”(adapted from Publishers Weekly)

Syndetics book coverCat tale / Michael Hall.“Hall cleverly plays with homophones in this diverting word adventure. Three curious cats, propelled by their imaginations, bring books to life as they traverse spacious, white spreads. Together they “flee a steer,” “steer a plane,” “plane a board” and “board a train.” Each sentence or scenario offers hints of what’s to come. Discerning compositions and a rhyming text further drive the momentum until, alas! The words’ many meanings confound these friendly felines. Humorous permutations ensue as the kitties try to untangle their tales. After they successfully “shoo a truly naughty gnu,” (it’s munching shoes—truly naughty indeed!), things go sadly awry. “They use their paws to rock a squashberry! Rock a squashberry?” Once back on track, they befriend a bear, sail a whale and ultimately find comfort and contentment in words…..”(adapted from

Syndetics book coverCat Heaven / written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant.“Via simple verse and bold, folk-art illustrations, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant invites readers to visit Cat Heaven, a place where cats have an eternal supply of catnip, tuna, and warm laps.” (Scholastic)

Syndetics book coverDog Heaven / written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant.“This Newbery Medalist makes her debut as an illustrator in a warm, whimsical picture book about the wonderful place where all good dogs go for an endless supply of ham biscuits, good meals and lots of petting.” (Scholastic)

Syndetics book coverRocket writes a story / by Tad Hills.“For new reader Rocket, every new book is a treasure and an adventure, “like a place he’d never been to, like a friend he’d never met.” The little yellow bird introduced in How Rocket Learned to Read (2010) continues to teach and encourage this special dog. Rocket sniffs out wonderful new words in his environment, and the bird helps him create a glorious word tree……A perfect choice to inspire new readers and writers.”(adapted from

Picture books that are bound to charm.

Learning your ABCs and 123s is easy and lots of fun with these hilarious and entertaining books.

Syndetics book coverAnimal 1 2 3 / Britta Teckentrup.
“Learn to count and make friends along the way with wriggly snales, marching elephants, creeping bears and dancing dragonsflies. Britta Teckentrup’s gorgeous illustrations are brought to life in this colourful book, which has a surprise around every corner.” (Art Gallery of NSW)

Syndetics book coverGuinea pig party / Holly Surplice.
“Based on traditional counting rhymes, this lively story from Scottish author/ illustrator Surplice features 10 guinea pigs going wild at a birthday party. “Ten little guinea pigs, dancing in a line./ Bump! go the guinea pigs, and then there are… [page turn] 9.” Like an Agatha Christie for toddlers, Surplice uses ingenuity and variety to get rid of her characters (gently) one by one. The first guinea pig departs after getting stuck with a “pin the tail on the donkey” pin, another leaves after bumping his nose during a “jump and dive” session on a pile of pillows, and another floats “up and up and up” holding onto a balloon. At the end of the party, the birthday boy, all alone, “makes a wish… And once more there are… ten!” Surplice differentiates the guinea pigs with capes, tutus, and other accessories (all wear brightly colored party hats) to aid children with counting; the pigs and their brightly colored toys, gift bags, and other party fare pop against the white backdrops. As energetic and entertaining as a party full of higgledy-piggledy toddlers.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverCount the sheep to sleep / Philippa Rae ; illustrated by Stéphanie Röhr.
“Philippa Rae’s sing-songy verse and Stephanie Rohr’s bright, whimsical illustrations provide a visual counting aid, as well as complete entertainment in the monments before bedtime. Count the sheep the sleep is sure to help children to fall asleep to their own leaping sheep, transforming bedtime from a struggle into a fluffy white parade!” (book cover)

Syndetics book cover1-2-3 peas / Keith Baker.
“A welcome companion to Baker’s alphabet book, LMNO Peas (2010), this counting book features a large cast of the same odd but charming little characters: green peas with skinny arms and legs, occasional footwear or headgear, and abundant energy……. Children will enjoy finding the right number of characters in each scene in this inviting introduction to counting.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverApple / Nikki McClure.“Follow the life stages of an apple from the time it falls from the tree, ripe and red, to its return to the soil. Written in single words, the story is told primarily through the images that are done in exquisite cut paper. In each image, red is used solely to illuminate the apple with the rest of the image in black and white. This serves to not only highlight the apple as the focus, but also makes for a dynamic minimalist style.
The simplicity and minimalism really work here. It is a stunning book both in the strength of the illustrations and the focus on life stages. This is a book I would suggest for parents reading to infants, because it has that strong contrast of black, white and red that infants’ brains respond to. Even better, it’s a book that adults will enjoy reading again and again.” (

Syndetics book coverAnteaters to zebras / Alan Fletcher.“From anteaters to zebras, from bears to x-ray fish and yetis, this witty and playful introduction to the alphabet will captivate children and adults alike. Created by legendary British designer Alan Fletcher, its bold colours and quirky characters are set to make it an instant and much-loved classic.” (book cover)