Beyond the Page is back in July 2019!

I know we’re only halfway through the school term, but we had some big news we couldn’t wait to share with you — the Beyond the Page festival is returning from 6-21 July 2019! Beyond the Page is New Zealand’s largest literary festival for kids and their families, and this year we’ve organised over 140 free events at libraries and community centres from Island Bay to Ōtaki!

We’re super excited to be able to introduce our four headline acts to you here. For full details about these events, check out the Beyond the Page website, or follow the festival on Facebook!

First up is Bea Lee-Smith from the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Join her 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. Donovan has had over 100 books published around the world — I can’t even imagine what it’s like having one book published! 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.

Our next headliner is the fabulously spellbinding storyteller Tanya Batt. Tanya describes herself as a “green-fingered witch, a word warbler and a story stitcher” — which sounds like just my cup of tea! 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.

Last but certainly not least is Toro Pikopiko, New Zealand’s most established puppetry theatre company. Yep, you heard that right — puppets! And over 80 of Toro Pikopiko’s amazing hand-crafted puppets star in their incredible rock-art musical extravaganza, Te Rereka (The Flight). This incredible show is bound to inspire and amaze — so don’t miss out! Suitable for children of all ages with their caregivers.

There will be heaps more info coming out soon about the rest of the festival schedule. There’s everything from zine-making and book-creating workshops to robots, coding, and theatre-making. Keep checking the Beyond the Page website and at your local library as the school holidays draw closer to keep up to date with what’s on in your neighbourhood!

ComicFest 2019 is nearly here!

Do you like free comics? Do you like winning prizes just for wearing a cool costume? Or for drawing a super nerdy picture? Would you like to meet some of the awesome people behind some of your favourite comics, including the Tea Dragon Society, Snarked, and even Batman?

You can do all that and more at ComicFest 2019, running from Thursday the 2nd to Saturday the 4th of May. Come on down to the National Library, just across the road from the Beehive, for all kinds of super-amazing stuff to do, from drawing workshops to drawing competitions, making your own comic zines to winning your own comic at Free Comic Book Day. ComicFest is one of our favourite times of the literary year, and we’d love to see you all there!

Check out some of the comic books by some of the artists and writers you might get to meet at ComicFest 2019:

Snarked!. Book one, Forks and hope / Langridge, Roger Roger Langridge is one of the insanely talented comic book creators joining us for ComicFest. He’s well known for his work on Thor: The Mighty Avenger and The Muppet Show, but the Snarked! books are probably my favourite by him! They’re set in the crazy world of Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), which only makes them cooler!

The Tea Dragon Society / O’Neill, Katie I totally love Katie O’Neill’s Tea Dragon Society — apprentive blacksmith Greta’s amazing journey is told through the some of the most beautiful art you’ll ever see in a comic book. Don’t miss Katie’s Tea Dragon Workshop during ComicFest — join her in the National Library Programme Rooms on Saturday the 4th of May at 9.00am to see a new species of Tea Dragon take flight before your eyes. I know I can’t wait!

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas / Sang, Anthony Ant Sang’s Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas should be a go-to comic for older kids. Set in Auckland deep in the future, Helen is enlisted by a group of time-travelling ninjas to save the world from the tyranny of the Peace Balls — will she succeed in her quest? It’s truly a read that keeps you on the edge of your seat right ’til the end. Love it!

There’s heaps more to see and do, and heaps more books to read, at ComicFest 2019. Can’t wait to see you there! Click the banner below to see the whole programme of events.

Special Seaweek Storytime at Newtown Library!

Get those flippers on and dust off your snorkel, we’re helping you celebrate New Zealand Seaweek 2019 with a special Seaweek storytime at Newtown Library! Join us this Wednesday, the 6th of March, at 10.30am, for a shimmering submerged safari of more seaworthy stories than even the saltiest sailor could shake a stick at.

We’d love to see you there! While you’re here, why not check out all the other stuff that’s going on in Wellington for Seaweek this year?

The theme for Kaupapa Mōana NZ Seaweek 2019 is Tiakina i tātou Mōana — Care for our Seas.

Seaweek 2019 – Kaupapa Mōana – is here!

New Zealand Seaweek 2019 has officially begun!

This year the theme of Seaweek is Tiakina i tātou Mōana — Caring for our Seas, and it runs from the 2nd to the 10th of March. We know that looking after the ocean is really important. We rely on it for food and fun (and a whole bunch of other things, too!), but sometimes the things we do can have a bad effect on the overall health of our seas. Plastic packaging is often thrown away carelessly, and ends up in the ocean, where it can be eaten by sea creatures who mistake it for food. Fertilisers that we use to grow our food on land can make it into the ocean due to runoff into streams and rivers, which feed into the sea. Fertilisers in our waterways often cause toxic algae to grow, which makes it impossible for most animals to live in the area.

Seaweek 2019 is your chance to learn about how you can help! Zoom out to the beach and see if you can help organise a local clean-up, or head along to one of the over 40 events taking place in Wellington for Seaweek this year!

Your library has a bunch of books that can help you learn about what you can do to care for our seas. Check the list below, or ask a friendly librarian to help you find the perfect read for Kaupapa Mōana 2019!

Ocean / Howell, Izzi
This book helps you learn all about ocean habitats, what creatures live there, and what we can do to protect these precious parts of the planet’s ecosystem.

The sea book / Milner, Charlotte
Featuring fascinating fishy facts accompanied by bright, bold, and beautiful illustrations, this book takes you on a journey through the sea and all its zones.

Go green! / Gogerly, Liz
Learn all about ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle your way to a healthier planet — and a happier ocean!

Hero of the sea : Sir Peter Blake’s mighty ocean quests / Hill, David
Read this awesome and inspiring book about the life of Sir Peter Blake and how he contributed to safeguarding our oceans and waterways for future generations.

Under the ocean : explore & discover the seas around New Zealand / Candler, Gillian
Learn more about all of the amazing animals that live in and around the oceans of Aotearoa New Zealand, and find out what makes our little corner of the marine world so special!

Let’s Go LEGO Schedule Update

With another new year comes another set of LEGO adventures for Wellington library-goers! We’re making some changes to the Let’s Go LEGO schedule this year, so check the days and times below to see when it’s on at your local library!

Khandallah Library: 1st Friday of the month, 3:30-4:30pm
Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: 2nd Thursday of the month, 3:30-4:30pm
Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library: 2nd Thursday of the month, 3:30-4:30pm
Johnsonville Library: 2nd Friday of the month, 3:30-4:30pm
Karori Library: 3rd Saturday of the month, 2:00-3:00pm

Let’s Go LEGO is a free, interactive LEGO-based programme for children aged 5+. In Let’s Go LEGO, your creative skills will be put to the test as you use the library’s LEGO collections to design and build your masterpieces. Each session will have a different theme that will inspire you to hone your skills and become your library’s very own LEGO legend.

For more information, contact your local branch library.

Ghosts, monsters, and naughty gods: All you need to know about Halloween!

To many of us, Halloween is not much more than an excuse to wear a spooky costume, listen to some scary stories and maybe carve up a pumpkin, all while hoovering up more lollies than is probably wise. However, to find out more about why people the world over celebrate this holiday, we have to step back in time to visit the ancient Celts, with quick stopovers in 7th-century Rome and 16th-century Germany along the way.

Let’s go for a spooky ride through time.

The brainy people who study such things generally agree that Halloween finds its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sa-win). Samhain was traditionally held on November 1, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “dark half” of the year. Ancient Celts believed that during Samhain the world of the gods became visible to ordinary people, and the gods delighted in frightening and playing tricks on their worshippers. Sometimes they appeared as monsters in the dead of night. Sound familiar?

When the Romans conquered Britain in the 1st century CE, they merged Samhain with their own festival of the dead, Feralia. Now the frightening monsters and delicious treats of the harvest were joined by ghosts and restless spirits. The traditions that make up modern Halloween were starting to take form.

Fastforward to Rome, 7th century CE. Pope Boniface IV brought in All Saints’ Day, originally celebrated on May 13 — within a century, the date was changed to November 1, perhaps in an attempt to replace the pagan Samhain festival with a Christian equivalent. The day before All Saints’ Day was considered holy, or ‘hallowed.’ This is where the word ‘Halloween’ comes from — it is the Hallowed Eve.

Zoom forwards in time again to Germany, 16th century CE. The Protestant Reformation, led by people like Martin Luther and John Calvin, put a stop to the still pagan-influenced Halloween festival in most Protestant countries. However, in Britain and Ireland, the festival remained in place as a secular (non-religious) holiday, and the tradition followed English-speaking settlers to the United States, where it is still a hugely important part of the festive calendar. Many of the traditions introduced in the dark and mysterious woods and cairns of ancient Celtia live on to this day in the form of the modern Halloween festival.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating and era-spanning festival, and the people who celebrated it? Why not check out some of these books at your local library:

Celts by Sonya Newland
“The Celts were fearsome warriors, but they also developed trade routes across Europe and made beautiful jewellery. Find out about Celtic tribes, how Boudicca rebelled against the Romans, and how the Celts celebrated with feasts and festivals.” (Catalogue)


Prehistoric Britain by Alex Frith
“From the age of dinosaurs to the Roman invasion, this book tells the story of this vast and exciting period of British history. It describes when and how people first came to Britain, and includes information on the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Celts and the mysteries of Stonehenge. Full of facts, illustrations, photographs, maps and timelines.” (Catalogue)


Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman
“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)


Traditional celebrations by Ian Rohr
“This interesting book is part of a series written for young students that focuses on a wide variety of celebrations and festivals held for special occasions throughout the world. It focuses on traditional celebrations.” (Catalogue)

Chinese Language Week at Karori Library

For Chinese Language Week, Karori Library will be holding a special Mandarin storytime session for children of all ages on Tuesday 25th of September, 10:30-11:00am. Everyone is welcome to come along to our free, fun-filled, storytime session featuring songs, stories, and rhymes in Mandarin and English.

中文周 — 普通话故事会
9 月25日星期二, 10.30-11.00am
Karori 图书馆
欢迎大家参加妙趣横生的普通话和英语双语故事会。
我们一起唱儿歌、听童谣、讲故事。

Karori Library also holds regular Mandarin Storytimes on the third Tuesday of each month, from 10:30-11:00am, as well as conversational English classes for the Chinese senior community every Tuesday from 10:30-12:00. Contact the Library on 476 8413 to find out more!

中国龙制作 – Dragon Making for Chinese Language Week @ Khandallah Library

Come along and celebrate Chinese language week at Khandallah Library by making paper dragons! Supplies will be provided to help you make your own elegant, wise or fierce dragon. Join us at Khandallah Library on Thursday 27th September from 6:30 to 7:00pm.
No RSVP required. Suitable all ages!

Check out these books to learn more about Chinese language and culture: 

First words. Mandarin / Mansfield, Andy

Lonely Planet have put together this gorgeous children’s guide to 100 basic mandarin words for topics like food and weather.

All about China : stories, songs, crafts and games for kids / Branscombe, Allison

Explore Chinese history, tradition and art with this beautiful book.

Gordon & Li Li : words for everyday / McSween, Michele Wong

Meet Li Li and Gordon as they learn to communicate in simple Mandarin and English.

Super simple Chinese art : fun and easy art from around the world / Kuskowski, Alex

Learn how to create a range of Chinese crafts, adapted for kids with a step-by-step guide.

See you at Khandallah Library!

Teddy Bear Sleepover at Khandallah Library

Yes, you heard right — the Great Teddy Bear Sleepover is coming to Khandallah Library again! Bring your favourite teddy bear or soft toy and join us for a super fun half hour of stories, songs, and activities, then leave your teddies behind to have a big sleepover with all their new friends. Who knows what they’ll get up to in the library after hours… pick them up on Friday to find out!

Where? Khandallah Library, 8 Ganges Road, Khandallah
When? Thursday 26th July, 6:30pm

Teddy bears read!

Teddies can read too, you know!

At Khandallah Library, we host special events for children and their families on the last Thursday of each month at 6:30pm. Keep an eye on the Kids Blog and the library noticeboard, or call the library on 479 7535 to find out more!

Matariki, Matariki, Matariki – te tau hou o te iwi Māori e!

Tēnā koutou kātoa! Join us in celebrating Matariki at Wellington City Libraries this winter! Matariki means “tiny eyes,” or “eyes of god,” and is celebrated in June and early July when a group of stars called the Pleiades rises above the horizon. Many Māori tribes have used the rising of Matariki to mark the beginning of the new year. It’s a time of celebration and reflection, of whānau and of kōrerorero — and a time to cook and eat delicious kai! Whether you want to celebrate with others or just learn more about this wonderful festival, your library has you covered with books, resources and events for the whole family.

Many of our usual preschool storytime and Kōhunga Kōrero sessions this month will be Matariki-themed, but we’re also running special Matariki events with stories, songs and crafts for tamariki and their families at some libraries — ask your local librarian if you’d like to find out more:

Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: Monday 18th June, 6:30pm
Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library: Wednesday 20th June, 4:00pm
Island Bay Community Centre: Thursday 21st June, 10:30am
Karori Library: Thursday 21st June, 6:30pm
Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library: Thursday 28th June, 3:30pm
Khandallah Library: Thursday 28th June, 6:30pm
Johnsonville Library: Friday 29th June, 3:30pm
 
Also, check out some of our favourite Matariki books and resources below. As always, you can check our catalogue for more!

Matariki / Holt, Sharon
“The newest book in the popular award winning Te Reo Singalong series follows a family through their Matariki celebrations over the course of a day. The family wakes at dawn to see the Matariki star cluster and the book takes the family as visitors arrive for a traditional Matariki feast. As the evening draws in, the children create their own stars using sparklers. Each Te Reo Singalong book includes a song CD, English translation, guitar chords and extension ideas. This book also includes information about Matariki.” (Catalogue)
 

Ngā whetū Matariki whānakotia / Kamo, Miriama
“Behind dusty orange hills, where the sky stretches down to the sea, theres a magical, wild, windy place called Te Mata Hapuku. Sam and Te Rerehua love to visit their Grandma and Poua at Te Mata Hapuku (aka Birdlings Flat). They like to collect agate from the stories, with a backdrop of whipping wind, flashing torchlight, and the splash of Pouas gaff in the water. But one night, Grandma notices something mysterious. Someone has stolen some stars from the sky.” (Catalogue)
 

Tawhirimātea : a song for Matariki / Pitman-Hayes, June “Singer/songwriter June Pitman-Hayes wrote this waiata for the children at the Montessori School where she was teaching music. With its delightful, lyrical melody, it warmly weaves together aspects of Māori mythology with the seasons, as a family welcomes Matariki.
A te reo Māori version by Ngaere Roberts is also included in the book and on the CD.” (Scholastic)
 

The little kiwi’s Matariki / Slade-Robinson, Nikki “The little kiwi is fast asleep in her burrow. A beam of moonlight shines right down into her burrow. She wakes, and realises it is time […] This gentle tale about celebrating Matariki, the Maori New Year, finishes with an explanation of Matariki – its origins, traditions and how it is celebrated today. The constellation is also shown, with the Maori names for each star. The text contains some simple words in Te Reo Maori alongside the English equivalent.” (adapted from Catalogue)