Hot new back to school reads!

Whether you are still in holiday mode or gearing up to head back to school, Wellington City Libraries have got you covered when it comes to juicy reading material!

You need some great reads so you can brag to your friends about what’s cool when you get back to school, and start up a new trend.

Read on for a taste of some of the awesome new fiction we have coming to a shelf near you…

 

The Fairy Caravan by Beatrix Potter

A new edition of a 1929 creation from beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter (she wrote the Peter Rabbit books).

Meet Tuppenny the guinea pig, who leaves home determined to start a new, more exciting life. He is soon adopted by an animal circus who are travelling the countryside, performing for the animals of the farms and fields. Join Tuppenny and his new friends for many magical adventures and enjoy the beautiful illustrations hidden away in the middle of the book. Perfect for those who love animal stories!

 

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

The first book in the ‘Song of the Lioness’ series from popular fantasy fiction author Tamora Pierce.

Alanna has always craved the adventurous life only allowed to the boys of her village, while her twin brother Thom dreams of learning the art of magic, a special skill reserved for girls. So they switch places, a decision that will change their lives forever. Join Alanna as she begins on her road to knighthood, filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil.

 

How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke the School by Simon Mayle

Book two from the hilarious and equally ridiculous ‘Shoutykid’ series (we also have books one, three and four by the way).

Harry’s dad has been nagging him to do more sport and less gaming, which is really dumb because Harry sucks at sports but is totally awesome at gaming and has been working on a new zombie game that could make him a mega-millionaire. So he’s written to some famous sports stars for advice (and also to some other people in the hope of getting rid of his sister Charlotte). Told through emails, letters and text messages, this one is sure to tickle your funny bone!

 

Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Joe Sutphin

A new release from number one bestselling author James Patterson.

Isaiah, a blue haired mouse that was raised in a science laboratory, is super smart but scared of almost everything. When he escapes, leaving his family behind, Isaiah finds himself alone in the big wide world and more terrified than ever. However, he soon meets a girl that is just as unusual as he is, and who teaches Isaiah that even someone small and frightened like him can have the power to change the world.

 

Don’t forget, reserves are free when you use your Children or Young Adult card!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover your green thumb and get into gardening this summer!

Gardening is a fun activity to get involved in during the summer months, and one that many people all around the world find very fulfilling.

Gardening is also really good for you in all sorts of ways. Firstly, gardening outside is a great way to get out in the sun and soak up some vitamin D, just don’t forget to be sun smart and chuck on a sunhat and sunscreen before you head outside.

Gardening is  good exercise and an enjoyable way to keep busy and stay active in the summer months. It is also a fun introduction to science and enables us to learn about the natural world around us using all of our senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound).

But best of all, gardening makes you happy! In fact, scientific experiments have shown that when you connect with soil, your brain releases a feel-good chemical called serotonin that actually helps to improve your mood. How cool is that!?

Gardening is also a very rewarding activity, as you get to watch all of your hard work grow and flourish (and it might even end up on the dinner table).

Gardening can be a peaceful activity to do on your own, but you can have fun gardening with a friend or family member, or even in a group. You might know someone that likes gardening, perhaps your Grandparent or a neighbour, that you could help out their garden.

If you have limited outdoor space at your house, try starting small using a planter box, an old car tyre, or plant straight into a bag of compost.

The libraries have HEAPS of awesome books on gardening to inspire you and help you get started. Check out the catalogue to find out what’s available in your local branch library and don’t forget children can place reserves for free using your library card all summer long!

Summer safety summed up

Summer is finally here! BBQs, long evenings, sunbathing, swimming and days at the beach are just some of the things we’ve been looking forward to. But as exciting as this time of year can be (especially once school finishes for the year -  wahoo!) it is really important that we keep reminding ourselves about keeping safe in the sun, in the water and at the beach.

Sun SmartSun safety

Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation is what causes our skin to burn and potentially lead to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in New Zealand. We have to be especially careful here, because the UV levels in our country are higher than other countries around the world, so it is easier to get sunburnt in a short amount of time. Although it is good for us to get out in the sun to build up the vitamin D in our bodies, it is really important that we keep our skin protected.

During daylight savings months (September to April) it is recommended that we wear sunscreen, particularly during the middle of the day (between 10am and 4pm) when the sun is at its hottest. It is a good idea to wear a sunhat at all times outside, and cover up whenever possible. This could mean sitting under an umbrella or a tree, and throwing a t-shirt on over your togs when you’ve finished swimming. The sun can also damage your eyes, so a pair of sunglasses is also a great summer addition. Check out the Sunsmart New Zealand website for more sun safety tips.

 

Water safety

Taking a dip is a great way to cool off during the hot Summer months, but sadly a large number of kiwis and people from overseas drown in New Zealand every year. We are lucky to have lots of wonderful places to swim, be it rivers, beaches or swimming pools, but we must always remember to keep ourselves safe from harm while in the water. Learning to swim, using appropriate equipment like life jackets and arm bands, and keeping an eye on others (especially young children) is the first step to preventing drowning.

If we are swimming in a river, we can also check for shallow rocks, floating trees or other debris, and fast flowing currents before jumping in to ensure that it is a safe spot. When swimming at the beach, getting caught in a rip that can pull you out to deeper water is a very scary possibility. Check the water before you get in for discolouration or a rippled look – this could indicate a rip. However, your best bet is to swim between the flags, where trained lifesavers can keep an eye on you, and never go deeper than you feel comfortable. The Water Safety New Zealand website has answers to any other water safety questions you might have.

 

And don’t forget, if the weather is bad there’s no need to be stuck at home because you can always visit our libraries for some summer fun.

 

 

Get crafty this Christmas with homemade gifts

The giving of gifts at Christmas time is a long held and well-known tradition across the world.

Some people believe that this started as a Christian tradition to reminder us of the gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men at his birth. However, other records date back to ancient Roman celebrations when people thought that their generosity would bring good fortune in the year to come.

Either way, exchanging gifts has become an expectation, and Christmas can be an expensive time of year for many families. A great way to save money and make gift giving more personal is to create your own Christmas presents, and with school holidays starting in the next few weeks you might just need some extra activities to keep you busy!

Making your own gifts for Christmas also allows you to get really creative and give something your own signature style, and there are so many different directions you can go in.

Some cool ideas to get you inspired are: sweet treats like fudge or gingerbread cookies, artwork or sculptures, jewellery, candles, cosmetics or even a home-sewn soft toy. Just chuck a colourful ribbon on it and, voila! A thoughtful, inexpensive gift that your friends and family are going to love.

 

We have a great selection of Christmas craft and cooking books for kids, so head over to the catalogue to start searching and reserving your copy today!

                

Happy Birthday C. S. Lewis!

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on the 29 of November 1898 (that’s nearly 120 years ago now). His mother died when Lewis was just 10 years old, and he received his education in boarding schools and with private tutors.

As a small child, Lewis played a lot with his older brother Warren, and the two boys created an imaginary land called ‘Boxen’, which they continued for many years. Perhaps these early experiences were the inspiration for Narnia?

 

C. S. Lewis married once to an American writer named Joy Davidman. Joy sadly passed away from cancer only four years later. Lewis died in 1963 after suffering a heart attack, exactly one week before his 65th birthday.

Lewis was most famous for writing poetry and novels, but also worked as a university teacher. He was very spiritual as an adult, and wrote a lot about Christianity. C. S. Lewis published a total of 74 books in his lifetime for both children and adults, his most famous series being ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, which were published between 1949 and 1954 when Lewis was in his early 50s.

 

Since his death, C. S. Lewis’s stories have continued to be very popular and are considered to be classics in British literature. Some have even been made into movies! If you would like to read or listen to a book by C. S. Lewis, head over to the catalogue to check whether any are available in your local library, or place a free reserve.

Read up on Earthquake facts

It’s been a pretty scary couple of days here in Wellington (and all over New Zealand) after the big 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit on Monday morning! Maybe it even woke you up? I thought this would be a good time to refresh our knowledge on earthquakes and what we need to do in an emergency.

 

So, what IS an earthquake?

 

The surface of the earth is covered in large rocks (or plates), which we call the earth’s crust. Earthquakes happen when these rocks move, causing a great release of energy that travels through the earth.

 

The edges where different plates in the earth’s crust meet are called fault lines, and these are often where earthquakes are most likely to centre, although people will feel them from a long way away.

 

After a major earthquake, it is also normal to feel lots of smaller aftershocks for days or even weeks afterwards. An instrument called a seismograph records and measures the size of an earthquake. Geonet keeps a record of all the earthquakes that have occurred across the country, so check out their website to see just how many aftershocks we’ve had in the past couple of days!

 

Because we never know when an earthquake might happen, it is really important that we are prepared and know what to do when an earthquake hits.

 

The first thing you need to remember if you feel an earthquake is to drop. If you are close to a sturdy table or desk, you can crouch underneath, otherwise cover your head with your arms to protect yourself from things that could fall on you. Lastly, hold your position until you feel the shaking stop, or until an adult tells you it is safe.

 

Drop, cover, hold – pretty easy right? You might like to have a quick practice now.

 

If you are interested to learn more about earthquakes, or how and why they happen, we’ve got lots of great books available through the catalogue. You might also like to read this information from Civil Defence about how to be prepared for an emergency, or check out the science kids website for more earthquake facts.

Stay safe out there!

 

LOVE your leftovers…nom nom nom

November is ‘Love your Leftovers‘ month, a special event created by the folks at Love Food Hate Waste to encourage kiwi families to eat their leftover food. Every year in New Zealand a whopping $870 million worth of uneaten food goes to waste when people throw it away.  That’s enough to buy over 60 private islands in the Carribean! Meanwhile, we also have many families who struggle to buy groceries each week.

 

 

There are a few things that YOU can do to help, and one of the big ones is making sure that good, edible food is not going into the rubbish bin. It might not be very exciting to eat the same food two days in a row, but there are lots of easy ways to jazz up your leftovers to create a tasty new meal, and it might even save you some money.

 

 

Couldn’t finish those vegetables? Try reusing them in an omelette or putting them on top of a pizza. Cooked too much meat to feed the crew? Try creating a new flavour of pie. You can even chuck those potato peels in the oven for a delicious crispy snack. For more inspiration, check out these leftover recipes. And don’t forget, freezing food is a great way to store it for later!

 

 

Wellington City Libraries are supporting this wonderful event by creating book displays that encourage using leftovers. Keep an eye out for one in your local library, or head over to the catalogue to start searching (and reserving for free!).

Rio 2016 Paralympics review

This year at the Paralympic Games the New Zealand team absolutely nailed it! In fact, we came 13th place overall – rather impressive for a country with such a small population!

Our incredible athletes did particularly well in the athletics and swimming events, making up for a whopping 19 out of our total 21 medals. Lets have a look at our medal winners…….

Sophie Pascoe, our very own swimming sensation, made history as the most successful New Zealand Paralympian ever. Sophie won gold medals in the women’s 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley, as well as silver medals in both the women’s 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle.

Nikita Howarth, New Zealand’s youngest ever Paralympian, also won multiple medals in the pool, scoring herself a gold medal in the women’s 200m individual medley and a bronze in the 50m butterfly.

Other successful New Zealand swimmers are Mary Fisher, who came first in the women’s 100m backstroke, Cameron Leslie, who earned gold in the men’s 150m individual medley, and Rebecca Dubber who won a bronze medal in the women’s 100m backstroke.

Now onto the athletic wins. Liam Malone, the dude on blades, came first in the men’s 200m sprint as well as the men’s 400m, and second in the 100m, earning him two golds and a silver medal.

William Stedman won multiple medals in running events too, coming third in both the men’s 400m and the men’s 800m.

Rory McSweeney also won a bronze medal in the men’s javelin throw.

Several of our female paralympians also had success in the athletic category. Anna Grimaldi won gold in the women’s long jump, Holly Robinson scored silver in the women’s javelin throw, and Jessica Hamill came in at third place in the women’s shot put event.

And lets not forget cycling duo Emma Foy and Laura Thompson who won silver in the women’s individual pursuit at the end of week one, and bronze in the women’s road race in week two.

What a fantastic couple of weeks we had at the Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio. The New Zealand team did an amazing job and managed to smash the target of 18 medals, winning 21 overall. Huge congratulations to all the athletes for their hard work and dedication, you have done our country proud!

 

Daylight savings is on the horizon…..

Get ready for longer evenings and family BBQs because daylight savings is just around the corner!

Daylight saving, also called ‘summer time’ in some countries, is when we change the clocks by an hour in order to shorten or lengthen the amount of sunlight in the evenings. With summer approaching, we will be turning clocks forward so that we have an extra hour of light before the sun sets at night. Sometimes we refer to this as “springing forward” because we are currently in the Spring season. In Autumn, we “fall back” and turn the clocks back an hour so that it is dark earlier in the evenings over Winter.

The idea of daylight savings was thought up in 1895 by a New Zealander called George Hudson, although many ancient people were flexible in changing the times of their days to suit the sun and seasons.

Hudson studied entomology (insects) and astronomy (space), and wanted more leisure time in the evenings to collect insects. He presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society after lots of people became interested in his idea, and the Summer-Time Act was passed in 1927 (nearly 100 years ago).

Daylight savings is practiced in lots of countries all around the world. Many people find that longer evenings allow more time for activities like sports and socialising, however it can be troublesome for some professions such as farming in which workers start their days early. Another benefit of daylight savings is that we can save on energy, as we don’t need to turn our lights on as early in the evening.

In New Zealand, daylight savings happens overnight on the last Sunday of September, which will be the 25th this year. How are you going to spend your extra time?

Check out the library catalogue for inspiration on fun outdoor activities and to learn more about seasons!

It’s nearly NZ Chinese Language Week!

There are currently nearly 90,00 Chinese born people living in New Zealand, with many more Chinese New Zealanders born here every year. New Zealand also has a strong trade relationship with China. For these reasons, we were the first western country to introduce a Chinese Language Week, which was launched in 2014.

 

 

New Zealand Chinese Language Week is celebrated in the second week of September each year to match up with the Chinese Moon Festival. This year it starts on Monday 12 September and runs through to Sunday 18th. New Zealand Chinese Language Week aims to increase Kiwi’s knowledge and understanding of Chinese language, and it is also a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.

 

To celebrate the occasion, special events will be held around the country (click here to check out what will be happening in Wellington), and we are all encouraged to learn some new words in Mandarin, the official language of China. We have some great books on our library catalogue to help you get started with this, otherwise check out the New Zealand Chinese Language Week website to learn Mandarin online.

 

Pop along to one of our Mandarin Storytimes during Chinese language Week. They are free and fun and perfect for little ones aged 3-5 years old.