World Braille Day and Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4th!

January 4th was World Braille Day. World Braille Day is celebrated around the world every year on January 4th, which is also the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille language.

Why is World Braille Day important? It raises the awareness of the importance of braille in education, communication, and social inclusion.

What is Braille? A system of writing used by and for blind persons and consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell

Who was Louis Braille? Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille.

We have an amazing collection of braille books, Louis Braille and other famous inspiring people – both in fiction and real life that changed the world, despite being blind.

Enjoy!

Braille Books.

Counting.

Learn how to count to 10 with DK Braille Counting. Designed especially for visually-impaired pre-school children and their parents, this touch-and-feel book takes readers through a collection of tactile objects made in all sorts of exciting textures, including silky flowers, crackly leaves, and sticky worms. Each image is also printed in high-contrast colours to engage partially-sighted readers, while the rhyming counting story is printed in both braille and clear printed text to suit the needs of every child and parent. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille Counting is a wonderful book for learning to count with braille.


It can’t be true.

A fascinating collection of tactile comparisons reveals astonishing facts about the world around us.


The black book of colours.

Thomas can’t see colours, but he can hear them and smell them and touch them and taste them. Now you can try to see the world the way Thomas sees.


Animals : knowledge you can touch.

Discover the amazing world of animals with DK Braille Animals. Designed especially for the young braille reader, this tactile reference book features over 30 pages of entries on a fascinating selection of creatures, from bears and big cats to birds and bugs.


Louis Braille.

Six dots : a story of young Louis Braille.

Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet — a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.


Helen Keller.

Helen Keller.

The fascinating life of one of the most popular historical figures is told through images — most rarely, if ever, seen — from the American Foundation for the Blind and The Perkins School for the Blind. The images trace Keller’s life from birth, to childhood with Annie Sullivan in the cottage, to college, and on to her many years as a dedicated social activist and spokesperson.


An inspiring read…

Footsteps through the fog.

When Anthea and her brothers and sisters walk down to the sea, a thick fog rolls in. It’s up to Anthea, who is blind, to lead her family to safety.

Fiction and Non Fiction to read this Halloween.

Hey Kids!

Halloween has arrived at the library! Time to get your scare on reading up about the history of Halloween; getting some cool ideas for Halloween costumes and crafts and maybe some fiction for a quiet (scare) night in.

Enjoy!


Celebrate Halloween.

Describes the origins of Halloween and how various countries celebrate it. Suggested level: junior, primary.

10 minute Halloween crafts.

In 10 Minute Crafts: Halloween, children can learn how to make Halloween decorations such as bat hangings and black cat lanterns and create spookily brilliant zombie finger puppets and witches on broomsticks, plus lots more amazing Halloween ideas.

How to create spectacular Halloween costumes.

“Provides step-by-step instructions for making Halloween costumes using household materials”–Provided by publisher.

Ghoulish get-ups.

“Fifi Colston shares her years of experience in costuming and the wearable arts. Crammed with tricky tips and terrifying techniques for making an outrageous outfit for any occasion, especially Halloween”–Publisher information.

Laugh-out-loud spooky jokes for kids.

A spooktacular collection of jokes about goblins, ghouls and other Halloween-oriented subjects.– Source other than Library of Congress.

Haunted Halloween : movie novel.

When Sonny and Sam find a ventriloquist dummy labeled “Slappy” in an abandoned house and bring him home, the dummy comes to life, and soon begins using dark magic powers to make Halloween a living nightmare in town.

The secrets tree.

It’s Halloween at Penhallow Hall and while celebrations are in full swing at the stately home, Polly and Rex are in search of a new ghost dog. Down in the old stable block they come across a dog’s head carved in a wooden door and wake a terrier called Patch. The little dog is terrified of the changes to his old home and runs off. When Polly and Rex find Patch hiding in a hollow tree they find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message from Patch’s master, Jack, to his older brother. From Patch’s description Polly and Rex realize that Jack’s brother must have been a highwayman! But the message remains unread. Can Polly and Rex discover what happened to the brothers?

 


Frankie Fish and the Viking fiasco.

From Australia’s favourite comedian Peter Helliar comes the third adventure in his hilarious and best-selling Frankie Fishseries! Just when you thought our time-travellers had everything under control, it all comes crashing down … Best friends Frankie and Drew are desperate to win this year’s Halloween costume parade, and they know exactly what will give them the edge: authentic Viking costumes from olden-day Norway! The plan is simple: use their secret Sonic Suitcase to get in, get helmets, and get out. But they weren’t counting on accidentally bringing back a Viking called Birger with them – plus his angry brother Brynjar, who really has it in for Frankie and Drew. Can the boys round up the vikings, get them back home and win the costume parade before anyone discovers what they’ve done?

 


Stumpkin.

Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. There’s just one problem–Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window. As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?

 


Apocalypse.

It’s Benjamin Roy’s first Halloween as a zombie and he’s keen to see if being a real one gets him more candy. But it doesn’t take long before the tricks become dangerous and the treats turn deadly. Then when the only bridge out of town is destroyed, and corpses start creeping from their caskets, he realises there’s something rotten in his town and it’s not just the zombies… But how will Ben save anyone else, when he’s barely alive himself?

 


Hotel Transylvania. Vol. 1 : Kakieland katastrophe.

When the owner of a local amusement park starts a campaign claiming monsters are scary, it is up to Drac and the gang to prove him wrong and save the hotel from ruin.

Author Visit: Des Hunt at Central Library.

Attention all literary fans! Come on down to the Central Library and learn how to create amazing stories with a master storyteller! Join 2017 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award winner Des Hunt for a writing workshop like no other. This event is part of Beyond the Page, a literary festival for children and youth on from 8-23 July, for more information, check out the website.

Where: Wellington Central Library, Young Adults area.

When: Tuesday 11th July, 1pm to 2pm.

Age Group: This workshop is aimed at ages 9-12 and spaces are limited. Make sure you register to secure a spot.

About Des Hunt: Des Hunt was a science and technology teacher for many years, interspersed with periods of curriculum development both in New Zealand and overseas. During this time he had several textbooks published to support the New Zealand curriculum. Over the last twenty years he has experimented with other ways of interesting youngsters in science, creating computer games and writing non-fiction and fiction with scientific themes.

After living in Auckland for much of his life he moved with his wife, Lynne, to Matarangi on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. He retired from the classroom in 2007 to concentrate on writing fiction for children. He continues his aims of fostering young peoples’ natural interest in the science of their surroundings by visiting schools and libraries where he runs workshops and presentations.

Five Des Hunt books have been finalists at the Children’s Book Awards. Cry of the Taniwha was awarded the 2016 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book. Then, in 2017, Des was the recipient of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for lifetime achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Find out more about Des and his books: www.deshunt.com

While You’re at it, check out some of Des Hunt’s books that you can find at your local library.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPhantom of Terawhiti.

“It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild south-west coast. Zac and his father witness a shipwreck off the coast. Investigating further, he finds a set of unusual paw prints on the beach. Whose yacht it is? And what animal could have made the paw prints? Soon Zac is drawn into a mystery which threatens his life and those around him. He must protect the secret of the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it – and him – down”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsFrog Whistle Mine.

Twelve-year-old Tony has travelled all around New Zealand with his nomadic mother, and desperately wants somewhere to belong. When they arrive in Charleston, a gold-mining ghost town, he is almost afraid to hope this might finally be the place. But things aren’t as they seem, and he finds himself caught up in mysterious events.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere cuckoos call.

Twelve-year-old Ben is a keen ornithologist who looks after endangered birds on his family farm in the Coromandel Peninsula. But Ben must grow up fast in the face of threats to his home, his family and his beloved birds.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhale Pot Bay.

Jake lives with his father in a remote part of the Wairarapa, where he can surf and watch the whales. But then Jake’s dad begins a relationship with a new partner, who moves in with her daughter Stephanie, and at the same time a local photographer starts stalking their next door neighbour Milton Summer, an international rock celebrity, and Jake’s peaceful life erupts into violence and deceit. An when a whale and her calf get into trouble on the treacherous coast, the history of Whale Pot Bay seems doomed to repeat itself unless Jake, Milton and Stephanie can survive the deadly tide.

image couresty of syndeticsCry of the taniwha.

Matt Logan isn’t looking forward to spending the school holidays in Rotorua with his grandmother and her new husband. Matt has taken his metal detector along, and when he and Juzza – the boy next door – unearth a handcuffed skeleton, a dangerous chain of events begins to coil around them.

 

Beauty and the Beast overload in the library!

This is a blog post that pays tribute to popular fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast. Beauty and the Beast  is a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales).

The story that a young woman named Beauty, who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, after stealing a rose from the beast’s garden, which was intended for Beauty as a gift. She discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise, who must find true love, despite his ugliness, to revert back to his former self. The question is can Beauty look beyond the beast’s ugly exterior and find true beauty within his heart?

Check out other versions and retellings of this classic fairy tale that the library holds:

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the Beast, illustrated by Dan Taylor.

Beauty and the Beast is a perfect introduction to this classic fairytale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters: Beauty, her father, and of course the Beast! This well-loved fairytale is beautifully imagined for a new generation by children’s illustrator Dan Taylor.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / retold by Michael Morpurgo ; illustrated by Loretta Schauer.

A captivating retelling of the nation’s favourite fairy tale, from the nation’s favourite storyteller, Michael Morpurgo. After encountering a fearsome beast at a mysterious palace, down-on-his-luck merchant Marco is forced to make a promise in exchange for his life: he must persuade one of his three daughters to return to the palace in his place – but she must come of her own free will. Beautiful, kind-hearted Belle agrees at once to return to the palace, and there she and the Beast exist companionably, with the Beast asking of Belle the same question at the end of each day: “Dearest Belle, will you marry me?” After a return home to consult with her father, Belle resolves to follow her heart and return to the Beast, but her plans are thwarted by the trickery of her jealous sisters. When, at last, Belle is able to find her way back to the palace, she finds her beloved Beast lying as still as death on the ground. As Belle’s tears fall on his face, the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince the ancient spell upon him broken by Belle’s tears of true love.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the Beast / by Melissa Lagonegro ; illustrated by the Disney Storybook Art Team.

Belle is trapped in a castle, under a terrible curse. Can she break the spell?

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / [retold by] Berlie Doherty ; illustrated by Jane Ray.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / Ursula Jones ; Sarah Gibb.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast  retold by Max Eilenberg ; illustrated by Angela Barrett.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast by Geraldine McCaughrean ; illustrated by Gary Blythe.

 

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty and the Beast by Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe beast within : a tale of beauty‘s prince  by Serena Valentino.

Presents an adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale from the perspective of the cursed prince who is transformed from a beloved and jovial ruler into a reclusive and bitter monster in search of true love.

Love to watch stories? Now we have Walt Disney’s Animated classic of Beauty and the Beast available on DVD at your local library!

image courtest of amazon.comWalt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

A Walt Disney movie about a tough no nonsense heroine, named Belle (French word for Beauty), who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, and discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise. While the situation is anything than ideal, this Beauty and the Beast must learn, in a very Pride and Prejudice-like way to overcome their pride and stubbornness, in the hopes of falling in love and breaking the beast’s enchantment. This film is beautifully constructed and made! Filled with lots of quirky characters, in the form of Lumiere (a candle stick), Cogsworth (a cynical clock), Mrs Potts (a mother-hen teapot) and many musical numbers. A film that the entire family can enjoy – especially on a Saturday night!

 

image courtesy of amazon.comMovie Review: Beauty and the Beast.

Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, recognising the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

This film is beautifully constructed and made! Overall it was an interesting revamp of the original animated 1992 classic. Filled with the same musical numbers and dance sequences, there a few twists, turns and few surprises during the film. Sorry, no spoilers in this review. The ballroom scene where Belle and the beast are dancing is fantastic. Belle’s dress and the dance moves – WOW, could possibly put the previous Disney Princess, Cinderella to shame!

All the characters had a part to play, had more depth, personality and beautifully showcased their uniqueness on screen. Even actor, Luke Evans did a very good job at playing arrogant, vain and sadistic baddie, Gaston, who foolishly hopes to win Belle’s hand, who in turn politely, but firmly rejects him! He didn’t have a bad singing voice either.

The characters:  Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts were wonderful and entertaining. I particularly loved Lumiere’s number “Be Our Guest”, beautifully sung by Ewen McGregor.

Dan Stevens is phenomenal (and perhaps a tad bad tempered) as the beast. I always cracked up over his dry sense of humour. Overall he did the character of the beast justice to its original predecessor. I found there was more depth to the characters: Belle and the beast, and perhaps more of a back story as to how their background, experiences and personalities shaped the people that they came to be. I think in a sense these two are portrayed as mirror images of each other and have great, not to mention a unique chemistry.

I think Emma Watson plays Belle as more lady-like in this film. Not as openly stubborn and strong willed as the original Belle, but more quietly assertive and determined. Not to mention she is very polite in standing up to the beast and Gaston.

As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. This movie is a must see and has been worth the long wait. A film that the entire family can enjoy on a night out on the town– especially on a Saturday night! 9/10 all the way!

Also check out the trailer and some musical numbers from the film.

 

 

 

5 Years of Award Winning Kids’ Fiction

Stuck for new book ideas? Try one of these New Zealand Book Awards winners!

2015 winner: Monkey Boy by Donovan Bixley

“This is not a story of cotton candy-candy capers. It is a story of gruesome horrors, awful amputations and ghastly ghouls…….. It’s a rough life at sea, so grab a bucket and hold onto your guts. This is going to get really ugly.”

 

 

2014 winner: Dunger by Joy Cowley

“William and Melissa have been roped into helping their hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they are concerned, this is NOT a holiday.”

 

 

2013 winner: My Brother’s War by David Hill

“It’s New Zealand, 1914, and World War One has just broken out in Europe. William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, refuses to fight and gets arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields, but their journeys there are very different.”

 

 

2012 winner: Super Finn by Leonie Agnew 

“When Mr Patel asks his class what they’d like to be when they grow up, Finn chooses ‘Superhero’. Finn knows what he needs: superpowers, a hideout, an outfit and….oh, yeah, to save someone’s life. Impossible? Not with a sidekick like the amazing Brian.”

 

 

2011 winner: Finnigan and the Pirates by Sherryl Jordan

“Wildbloode the Wicked is the fiercest, most ferocious pirate in all the seven seas. All she wants is for her nephew to follow in her footsteps. But Finnigan’s not interest-all he wants to do is dance!”

 

 

Head into your nearest library to find a copy, or reserve one online!

Top 10 children’s fiction for May

Leading legendary loans

1.   Diary of a wimpy kid series by Jeff  Kinney

2.   Dirty Bertie series by Alan MacDonald

3.   Where’s Wally? series by Martin Handford

4.   Conspiracy 365  series by Gabrielle  Lord

5.   Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce

6.   Puzzle pirates series by Susannah Leigh

7.   Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone by J. K. Rowling

8.   Judy Moody & Stink series by Megan McDonald

9.   The house of Hades by Rick Riordan

10. Return of the vampire by Geronimo Stilton