Family Lockdown Challenge: Coding Capers!

It’s nearly the end of another week of lockdown, so it’s time for another Family Lockdown Challenge! So far we’ve explored everything from Lego to scavenger hunts, movies to Music Month — but so far we have yet to explore the wonderful world of coding!

Many of you will know that our libraries run after-school and weekend Code Clubs with the assistance of the kind folks at Code Club Aotearoa, so we thought we’d share some ideas for a fun-filled learning adventure in coding, regardless of your level or ability.

Coding is everywhere, even behind the scenes of this very blog! Here’s a snippet of HTML from one of our recent posts — can you work out which one?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the Code Club project page, choose a project that interests you, and give it a go! There are heaps of projects to choose from, from creating a simple spacey animation in Scratch to creating a 2D version of Minecraft in Python. Each project includes full instructions to guide you from zero to hero — we recommend working your way up gradually through the projects so you can build on what you learn each time.

Here are some suggestions as to where you can start:

    • If you’re a total beginner to coding, start with the Rock Band project in Scratch. It’s a super simple and fun project that has you creating your own interactive rock band! What songs can you get your band to play?
    • If you’ve tried a bit of coding before, why not try creating a simple Ghost Busters game? Check out one we created below! How many ghosts can you catch?
    • Fancy yourself a bit of a Scratch pro? Try the Dodgeball challenge or — if you’re really up for it — Create Your Own World.

Scratch not your thing? Code Club Aotearoa also host awesome projects in HTML/CSS, Python, 3D animation in Blender, and much more. Jump in and see how you go!

Real Time, Real Person, Real Help with your Schoolwork

Note: this Kids’ Blog post is targeted at adults! Kids read on with caution.

In these strange new times, teachers, parents and other educators are looking to the Internet for homework help and educational resources to keep their kids’ brains active while schools are closed. Good news! The library can be an invaluable resource for anybody who is trying online education at this time, above and beyond eBooks and online databases. How? Enter AnyQuestions.

Have any questions? Why not try AnyQuestions!

AnyQuestions is a service run by the National Library and staffed by public librarians from around New Zealand, including Wellington City Libraries. On it, children are able to chat in real-time with a real librarian fully trained in web-based research about any question they might have. The librarian working with your child won’t just give them the answer directly — instead, they guide the student through the process of doing online research, checking their understanding every step of the way.

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the service’s opening hours have been extended — now there are librarians on hand to help every weekday from 10am – 6pm.

If you prefer to work outside those hours, or just want a place to find great resources, try AnyQuestions’ sister site, ManyAnswers. This is a service also provided by the National Library and public librarians, and it’s a fully searchable, always-available database of reliable information and vetted resources for the most commonly-asked questions we receive. You can even search by year level to make sure you’re getting information that’s curated for the right level.

Both services are available year-round, so why not start making use of them today?

KEA Kids News

Want to know more about the latest news and important issues? Tune in to watch KEA Kids News, which will help explain the tough stuff. KEA Kids News is a twice-weekly video bulletin of new by kids for kids.

Inquisitive kid reporters will pick and peck through local, national, and international news to find interesting stories and ask questions. It’s aimed at 7 – 11 year olds.

Tune in every Wednesday at midday, and Saturday at 9am for the latest video bulletin at stuff.co.nz/KEA

Here’s the most recent episode for you to enjoy.

 

Also, don’t forget about Kiwi Kids News, which is another amazing news site for New Zealand children that has daily updates on all sorts of interesting and inspiring things. Bookmark them both!

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.

Top 10 Children’s Non-Fiction March 2017

Great books to get your brains tingling! If you’re building a Minecraft empire or brushing up your acting skills with the Harry Potter script the top issuing non-fiction books have something you’ll love.

Batman and Lego fans are loving the new movie, The Batman movie : the essential guide, by Julia March and The Batman movie : the making of the movie, by Tracey Miller-Zarneke will give you inside knowledge into creating the new Lego legend.  Want to build your own Lego Batman? Minecraft may be the creative space you’ve been looking for!

  1. LEGO series, by Daniel Lipkowitz
  2. Minecraft, by Stephanie Milton
  3. Hacks for Minecrafters, by Megan Miller
  4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J. K. Rowling
  5. Minecraft, by Nick Farwell
  6. Star Wars character encyclopedia, by Simon Beecroft
  7. Minecraft : Construction Handbook, by Matthew Needler
  8. The Batman movie : the essential guide, by Julia March
  9. Dog, by Juliet Clutton-Brock
  10. Guinness World Records 2017, Craig Glenday editor in chief

Top 10 Children’s eBooks February 2017

Adventures, supernatural foes and heroes of all shapes and sizes fill the pages of the eBooks available through the library’s Overdrive service.  Harry Potter dominates eBooks!  Other titles creeping up the ranks are also books that are movies. The recent Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has a great cast featuring Chris O’Dowd, as a moody Dad and Peculiars, Eva Green and Judi Dench get some amazing special effects treatments in their bird transformations.  So book or movie? How do you rate the film versions of these books?  Let us know in the comments?

 

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: The Official Script Book, by J. K.  Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J. K. Rowling,
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling,
  6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
  9. The Hobbit, by  J. R. R. Tolkien
  10. Mockingjay: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Have you voted for the ‘Bird of the Year’ yet?

Each year Forest and Bird gives the nation the chance to vote for their favourite New Zealand Bird. The winning bird becomes the ‘Bird of the Year’

Bird of the YearThe 5 previous winners have been the Fairy Tern (Tara Iti), Mohua, Karearea, Pukeko, and Karariki. Who will win the 2015 title?

New Zealand’s native birds are unique. Did you know that more than half the birds in New Zealand are not found in any other countries? Unfortunately due to predators and habitat loss, many of our birds are endangered and threatened with extinction.

At the Bird of the Year website you can find out about a wide variety of our birds, and vote for your favourite.

Will the 2015 bird be the Hihi? Kākā? Bar-Tailed Godwit? Kererū? Kōkako?

Voting closes on October 25th.

New eBooks for children

Winter weather has you stuck inside? Can’t get to the library? Here’s the newest eBook fiction added to our collection:

1. 11 Birthdays: Willow Falls Series, Book 1 by Wendy Mass (also an eAudiobook)

2. 13 Gifts: Willow Falls Series, Book 3 by Wendy Mass (also an eAudiobook)

3. Beauty and the Beast: Twice Upon a Time Series, Book 3 by Wendy Mass

4.  Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos

5. Finally: Willow Falls Series, Book 2 by Wendy Mass (also an eAudiobook)

6. Graceful: Willow Falls Series, Book 5 by Wendy Mass

7. Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-Off 4 by R. A. Spratt

8. Nanny Piggins and the Pursuit of Justice 6 by R. A. Spratt

9. Nanny Piggins and the Rival Ringmaster 5 by R. A. Spratt

10. Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion 3 by R. A. Spratt

11. Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan 2  by R. A. Spratt

12. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures: Pip Bartlett Series, Book 1 by Maggie Stiefvater (also an eAudiobook)

13. Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt (eBook with Narration)

14. Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair: Twice Upon a Time Series, Book 1 by Wendy Mass

15. Sisters: Smile Series, Book 2 by Raina Telgemeier (Comic)

16. Sleeping Beauty, the One Who Took the Really Long Nap: Twice Upon a Time Series, Book 2 by Wendy Mass

17. The Last Present: Willow Falls Series, Book 4 by Wendy Mass (also an eAudiobook)

18. The Whispering Trees: The Thickety Series, Book 2 by J. A. White (also an eAudiobook)

19. You Can’t Sit With Us: Mean Girl Makeover Trilogy, Book 2 by Nancy N. Rue

Free interactive ebooks for kids

Have you tried Tumblebooks yet? You can get your hands of a large collection of free interactive ebooks through your library membership. The collection is best for young and learner readers and contains many well-known picture book and junior chapter book titles (even some non-fiction too!). The books are animated with pictures and sounds, and you even have the option of reading the book yourself, or having it read to you.  As well as English, there are titles in French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean and German, which is perfect for those that are learning another language.

Prefer comics? Tumblebooks has those too! Geronimo Stilton, Archie, Nancy Drew, Max Finder Mysteries and more.

It gets better – there are interesting National Geographic videos to watch, and puzzles and games you can play. Tumblebooks has everything to keep you entertained for hours!