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)

Focus On: Niuean Language

Hello! Fakaalofa atu!

Recently New Zealand celebrated Niuean Language Week – Vagahau Niue Weekand we have books to help you discover and explore the language, the culture and the people of Niue.

 

Give it a go! Here are some handy phrases to try:

 

Ko au he Fale Tohi.

I am at the library.

 

Ko au ne totou tohi.

I am reading a book.

 

Iloa nakai e koe ha vagahau Niue?

Do you know any Niuean langauge?

 

Nàkai.    

No.

 

Begin your language learning journey here:

Tau matatohi Faka-Niue : Niue alphabet with English translation, by Bettina Ikenasio-Thorpe. Learn the basics of the language, the alphabet, numbers and colours.

 

To find out more about the people and the place, dive into these:

The rat and the octopus, by Jill MacGregor. Pita, who lives in the village of Tuapa on the island of Niue, describes how to catch an octopus with a lure shaped like a rat. Includes some Niuean words and a glossary.

The uga hunt, by Jill MacGregor. Arfa, who lives in Niue, describes how he and his father hunt for huge coconut crabs called uga.

Show day, by Jill MacGregor. Livisia, who lives in the village of Alofi South on the island of Niue, describes how her village hosts Show Day, a day of celebrations for the whole island. Includes some Niuean words and a glossary. In picture book format.

 

Haia! Allright!

Focus On: Fijian Language

Bula! Hello!

Recently is was Macawa ni Vosa Vakaviti- Fijian Language Week. So we thought we would highlight some cool facts and books about the beautiful Fijian Language! Wellington City Libraries would love to journey with you as you learn more about the language, the culture and the people of Fiji.

Here are some handy things to say:

Au tiko ena vale ni vola.
I am at the library.

Au wili vola tiko
I am reading a book

Ko kila e dua na vosa vakaviti?
Do you know any Fijian language?

Sega
‘No.

If you would like to learn some Fijian, you could choose to borrow these books from ena vale (the library):

Fijian for kids by Jahri Jah Jah

 

Matanivola vaka viti = Fijian alphabets by T. Vunidilo

 

 

 

Would you like to find out more about Fiji – the people and the place? Try these books:

 

Go Fiji, Go! by David Riley

The inspiring story behind Fiji’s first Olympic gold medal … and the incredible joy it brought to the nation. Wananavu (awesome) for ages 7 – 10.

 

 

 

Billy’s Weekend by Jill MacGregor

Billy, who lives on the island of Ovalau in Fiji, describes some of the things he does on the weekend. Includes some Fijian words, and a glossary. Wananavu (awesome) for ages 3 – 6.

 

Vinaka vakalevu! – Thankyou very much!

 

Bee Aware Month!

September is Bee Awareness month and this year Apiculture New Zealand are focusing on bee health by educating us on how we can feed the bees and help protect our precious bee population.

Did you know that bees support New Zealand’s agri-industry exports by over $5 billion annually – that is heaps! Plus they help grow one third of all the food we eat as well as helping our gardens flourish and look beautiful.

There is heaps that we can do to help out our little buzzing friends and one of the easiest way is by planting bee friendly plants and flowers. Bees need food so that they can help pollinate the food we eat. Bees will feed on pollen and nectar and this helps them to grow and Bee strong which helps them to fight off disease and parasites.

Bees also need clean water so why not make a shallow container for them to drink from. Just make sure you put pebbles and twigs in the water so the bees have something to rest on while they are drinking.

Another way we can help the bees is to stop spraying our gardens with harmful pesticides which kill the bees.

Palmers Garden Centre who are supporting Bee Awareness Month have information and competitions on their website plus check out their 5 top tips for a bee friendly backyard.

The library also has heaps of books on bees so take a look and… Lets save our bees!

Live online homework help with AnyQuestions

Need help with those tricky school subjects? Not sure where to start on your project? Have a topic that you want to know more about? Just need a good website?

Then you need to go to AnyQuestions.co.nz

AnyQuestions offers free online schoolwork help to New Zealand school students. You can log on to the website from 1pm to 6pm weekdays during the school year and chat online with a friendly librarian about a schoolwork question.

AnyQuestions librarians are specially trained to help you find the answers you need, without giving you the answers of course! They will guide you to quality information sources and help you gain the skills to do future searches yourself.

AnyQuestions will work with any internet enabled device, such as a computer, tablet or a smartphone. AnyQuestions does look a bit different on different devices but you’re still talking to a librarian, somewhere in New Zealand.

The site is backed by the Ministry of Education and is staffed by librarians from Wellington City Libraries and other libraries around New Zealand.

For more information visit AnyQuestions.

Autumn has arrived!

March is here and Autumn has begun.  In New Zealand Autumn starts on the 1st March through until 31st May.  You might start to notice the change of seasons as the weather begins to cool after our hot Summer, and the days gradually become shorter.  The Maori term for Autumn is Ngahuru which refers to the 10th month of the Maori calendar and is traditionally the time for crop-lifting and the kūmara harvest in March.  While New Zealand’s native flora is evergreen, the leaves on our deciduous trees (ones that shed their leaves each year) turn bright yellows, oranges and reds for Autumn.

Want to learn more?  Check out our homework help page for useful databases and resources to help with topics like this.  AnyQuestions and Encyclopedia Britannica will be particularly helpful.  (Encyclopedia Britannica is available at MyGateway).

Here’s some seasonal books to enjoy.  Happy Autumn!

Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics

 

6 New Non Fiction just in time for the school holidays.

Hey Kids! The last few weeks have been full on with Elections 2017, Day Lights Savings, and now school holidays and sunny days! Whoohoo! Time to bring on the sunscreen and sunnies finally! While you’re at it, come on down to your local library and check out the latest releases of new junior non fiction. This blog post will feature new books to awaken and enhance your creativity in the minecraft world, real life stories about influential women that changed the world and a impact on the people around them and back to school read – I know, early at this stage – to help improve your grammar and punctuation.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of sydneticsMinecraft: Guide to Creative.

Get into Creative Mode with this official Minecraft book from Mojang. Learn the finer points of architecture, art and other creative disciplines with Minecraft Guide to Creative, and put theory into practice to build incredible constructions in Minecraft. Find out how to combine colours and textures to create different themes, devise intricate plans for complex builds, and discover secret hacks to use blocks in clever ways. With insider info and tips from the experts at Mojang, this is the definitive guide to creating in Minecraft.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMinecraft: Guide to the Nether & the End.

“Survival is difficult in the perilous Nether and End dimensions, and you’ll need to up your game if you want to make it back to the Overworld. The official Minecraft : Guide to the Nether & the End will teach you how to navigate the alien terrain, battle the native mobs and find rare blocks and items. With insider info and tips from the experts at Mojang, this is the definitive guide to survival in the Nether and the End”–Back cover.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMinecraft: Guide to Exploration.

The mysterious world of Minecraft is just waiting to be explored. But danger lurks around every corner and survival can prove difficult for even the bravest adventurer. The official Minecraft Guide to Exploration from Mojang will help you to survive and thrive. You’ll learn how to find resources, craft equipment and protect yourself from hostile mobs. Discover which biomes to avoid when starting out, how to build a mob-proof shelter and where to look for naturally-generated structures laden with loot. With insider info and tips from the experts at Mojang, this is the definitive guide to exploration and survival in Minecraft.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWho says Women Can’t be Doctors?

The inspiring and highly recommended story, life and achievements of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor – and certainly not the last- doctor in America. This book also describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women. A Librarian’s choice all the way!

 

image courtesy of sydnetics
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing. Another Librarian’s choice all the way!

 

image courtesy of syndeticsVisual guide to grammar and punctuation.

Get to grips with grammar and punctuation with this simple clear visual guide. Supports curriculum teaching for ages 6 and up.

 

 

 

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Non Fiction Award Finalists!

Check it out, kids! Wellington City Libraries are jam packed full of Non Fiction goodies that have been shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards – Whoohoo! So what are you waiting for, come on down to the library or place a reserve to ensure you get hold of one or all of these amazing books that will widen your knowledge of New Zealand wildlife, creatures and some good old fashioned history.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syendticsFrom Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand.

Prepare to go on a journey where you will get a glimpse of the animals that lived in ancient New Zealand just before people arrived. It then goes back in time, providing snapshots of particular periods, as far back as 180 million years ago. The range of animals covered in this book include: moa and other extraordinary birds that are now extinct; crocodilians and turtles; the shark-toothed dolphin and giant penguins; dinosaurs such as sauropods and theropods; as well as those resilient survivors who can still be found in New Zealand today, such as kiwi, native bats, giant weta and tuatara. Overall I found this beautifully illustrated and a wonderful resource that will intrigue and encourage children to learn something about the origins of New Zealand.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsJack and Charlie: Boys of the bush.

“The true story of two boys who live on the wild and rugged West Coast of the South Island. Join Jack and Charlie as they go whitebaiting and fishing, panning for gold, chopping wood with their tomahawks, firing at targets with their bows and arrows, plucking ducks, camping in the bush and rafting down rivers”–Publisher information.

 

image courtesy of sydneticsThe Cuckoo and the Warbler.

This book tells the true story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness. Overall a beautiful, heart warming story that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

The Genius of Bugs.

Discover a world of insects as you have never seen it before. “Inspired by the science exhibition Bug Lab, which was brought to Wellington in December 2016 by Te Papa and Weta Workshop”, The Genius of Bugs presents a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā”–Publisher information. This book is guaranteed to be a favourite.

Torty and the Soldier.

“Meet Torty! She’s one tough little tortoise with a beat-up shell and some missing toes. Torty survived a great war that raged in Europe one hundred years ago. She was rescued back then by a young Kiwi solder. Torty is a true World War One survivor. “–Publisher information. This book is in one word – AWESOME! and is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

8 New (and not so new) Non Fiction on Lego mania, innovative gaming and science trends!

Has the back to school blues finally sunk in? Have no fear, there’s more and exciting new non fiction in stock at your local library.

Featured in this blog post are books on the latest and innovative trends in the world of gaming, science and technology, not to mention an old favourite Pokémon, which has been reinvented, evolved and rebranded as Pokémon GO! Not to mention, Lego mania has been unleashed in the library once again with some new and not so new books on the original Lego Movie and the upcoming release of The Lego Batman Movie!  I for one am excited about The Lego Batman movie because this is where the world of Lego, DC comics, innovation, play and imagination comes together and opens you up to a world of endless possibilities, creativity and entertainment.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Lego Bricks has been applauded by teachers and parents as one of the best toys for learning, building creativity, and strengthening fine-motor skills, not to mention Lego Bricks are an open-ended toy, meaning they can become just about anything a child or adult imagines, including an educational tool. See more about this on  Inner Child Learning,

But enough about Lego, the 8 non fiction books featured in this post will keep you amused and entertained for hours and also will keep you informed and up to date with the latest trends and technological developments in the modern world.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndetics The Lego Batman movie : the essential guide.

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Lego Batman Movie, the spin off of The Lego Movie, which will released in NZ cinemas on the 6th of April just in time for the school holidays, the library has in stock for your viewing and reading pleasure, The Batman movie : the essential guide. This book will enable you to go behind the scenes and discover everything there is to know about The LEGO Batman Movie with this ultimate guide. Featuring the latest LEGO Batman set and mini-figures.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhile you’re at it, why not check out The LEGO movie : the essential guide. This guide will tell you need to know about the original LEGO Movie, including character profiles and location spreads from the upcoming movie.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Lego Movie Handbook.

Seen the movie? (I haven’t – Naughty me!) Now is the time to read the movie handbook. Join Brickburg, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, Batman and the rest of the gang in reading this book where you will learn everything you need to know about the Lego Movie, including Stories from Bricksburg’s happiest residents, a special message from President Business and a never before seen episode of Where Are My Pants. Overall I enjoyed this book. It was very funny, humorous, gave me the opportunity to revisit and embrace my inner child and has inspired to go and see the movie.  Also check out the move trailer.

As a special treat, why not check out the latest The Lego Batman Movie trailer here.

image courtesy of syndeticsGaming Live!

Want to watch the BEST gamers in the world but don’t know where to start? This guide enables you to watch the pros in action as they teach you how to dominate your favourite games! A must have resource for the avid gamer!

image courtesy of syndeticsPokémon Go!

The world of Pokémon and mobile games collides with Pokémon GO! The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide. This book is a must-read companion to the hit mobile game that has taken the world by storm.  This guide includes everything you need to know about Lures, PokéBalls, Eggsand much more.

image courtesy of syndeticsThis Book Thinks You’re a scientist!

The title does justice to the information contained within this book.  Read this book and learn all the tricks of the trade of what is essential to becoming a scientist, which includes look, ask questions, wonder and test your ideas. You’ll also do things scientists don’t necessarily do: eat your experiments, levitate paper clips and play a drinking straw like an oboe. There are even portable laboratory pages for you to experiment on, so that by the end, you’ll know how to invent your own fun ways of finding out about the world. Overall, this book is a must have read for the avid scientist enthusiast! 

image courtesy of syndeticsMistakes that worked: The World’s familiar inventions and how they came to be.

Do you know how many things in your daily life were invented by accident? SANDWICHES came about when an English earl was too busy gambling to eat his meal and needed to keep one hand free. POTATO CHIPS were first cooked by a chef who was furious when a customer complained that his fried potatoes weren’t thin enough. Coca-Cola, Silly Putty, and X rays have fascinating stories behind them too! Their unusual tales, and many more, along with hilarious cartoons and weird, amazing facts, make up this fun-filled book about everyday items that had surprisingly haphazard beginnings.

image cpurtesy of syndeticsHow Super Cool Stuff Works.

Discover the mind-blowing high-tech inventions of the future in How Super Cool Stuff Works. Contained in this book are incredible images that reveal the secret to inner workings of everything from drones and supercomputers to underwater hotels and flying cars. In short, this book features a futuristic world I don’t think anyone saw coming.

 

The Modern Olympics

You might think the Olympics are over, but the countdown to the Paralympics has only just begun. These games, for athletes with impaired physical abilities, start on 7th September in the same place as the Olympics – Rio De Janerio.

 

While we wait, here is some cool info on the Modern Olympics. You can read our post about the Ancient History of the Olympics to catch up.

 

The ancient Olympic games officially began in 776 BC in Greece and occurred every four years, or Olympiads, ending in 393 AD (after about 1000 years) because they were considered a pagan practice.

Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator, believed in the importance of physical education, and in international competition. Coubertin helped to revive the idea of the olympic games in the 1890s and was a founding member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.

The modern olympic games began with the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Olympic_ringA couple of well known symbols that are used to promote the games are the olympic flag and the olympic flame. The rings on the Olympic flag represent the five parts of the world: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

 

 

The number of sports that are played in the current olympics are much higher and more diverse than at the ancient olympic games; they include archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

And that’s just the summer olympics! The winter olympics are held every four years as well, the next one will be in 2018 in PyeongChang, Korea. The sports at the winter olympics are all done in snow or ice; skiing, bobsleigh, curling, skating, ice hockey, luge, ski jumping, and snowboarding.

 

Check out this Enyclopaedia Britannica article about the history of the Olympic games! (You’ll need your library card to login)

 

Want to know more? Find these books in your local library:

Syndetics book coverThe story of the Olympics : the wacky facts about the Olympics and Olympic champions down the centuries! by Richard Brassey
“Records and reputations, cheats and champs, victors and venues – here’s the lowdown on the modern Olympic games, from bestselling author and illustrator, Richard Brassey. From the games of ancient Greece to the twenty-first century, and with individual tales of heroes and heroines, this is a lively, witty and entertaining guide for young readers everywhere. As always with Richard Brassey’s popular books, this is packed with comic strips, fact boxes, hilarious captions and speech bubbles, plus amazing information and entertaining insight.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverThe Olympics : ancient and modern by Joe Fullman
The Olympics Ancient to Modern is a fascinating look at the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, from the first events in Ancient Greece right the way up to London 2012 and Sochi 2014. It focusses on when and where each Games has been held, and some key stats, such as how much it cost, how many athletes competed, and how many spectators came to watch.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverModern Olympic Games by Haydn Middleton
“‘The Olympics’ tells you all about the world’s greatest sporting festival. From ancient Greece to the 21st century, you will read about the winners, losers, triumphs, and tragedies of the Olympic Games.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

 

Overdrive book coverThe Olympics by Graham Douglas (eBook)
“The Olympic Games: a major international amateur sporting competition that brings together hundreds of nations and thousands of athletes. This book is a collection of fun, facts and figures about the Games (from ancient to modern times) for sports lovers all over the world. ‘The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well’ Pierre de Coubertin.” (Syndetics summary)