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!

What’s your favourite children’s toy?

Everyone loves toys – yes even adults love them. I bet a lot of mums and dads out there have a special toy from their childhood tucked away in the cupboard somewhere.

If you had to pick a favourite toy, what would it be? Do you love lego, or Star Wars toys. Maybe you are a Barbie or a My Little Pony fan. Perhaps you have a drone that you fly around or do you prefer to ride on your bike or scooter.

Whatever it is you might like to learn some funny and interesting facts about toys.

Did you know that:

  • The word “toy” comes from an Old English word meaning “tool”.
  • Dolls are considered to be the oldest toys in history.
  • The Yo-yo is believed to be the second-oldest toy in the world. It was used in 500BC in Ancient Greece.
  • Barbie was introduced in 1959 and cost $3. Every second, two Barbie dolls are sold in the world.
  • The first toy advertised on television was Mr. Potato Head.
  • Play-Doh was originally used to clean wallpaper.
  • Kermit the Frog is left-handed.

And last but not least did you know that LEGO is the world’s No. 1 tyre manufacturer. It produces 318 million tyres every year. That is 870,000 tiny tyres in a day. Wow that’s amazing!

There are heaps of cool books in the library about the history of toys as well as books that teach how to build and construct them.

So have some toy fun!

 

 

 

                    

 

Top 10 Children’s Non-Fiction September 2016

Harry Potter in the Non-Fiction section? What’s going on?

As the new Harry Potter book came out in the format of a play, or script, it can be found with other theatrical greats in the literature section where the other plays hang out.  The play version of The Witches by Roald Dahl hangs out there along with Shakespeare!

 

1. Minecraft, by Stephanie Milton

2. LEGO, by Daniel Lipkowitz

3. Minecraft, by Megan Miller

4. Star Wars, by David West Reynolds

5. Minecraft, by Nick Farwell

6. Harry Potter and the cursed child, by Jack Thorne, J. K. Rowling and John Tiffany

7. Star Wars character encyclopedia, by Simon Beecroft

8. Minecraft, by Matthew Needler and Phil Southam

9. Small scenes from a big galaxy, by Vesa Lehtimaki

10. How Maui found his father and the magic jawbone, by Peter Gossage

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!

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games: History

The 2016 Olympics finished less than a month ago, but already we are on to the next biggest worldwide sporting event: the Paralympic Games.

Like the Olympics, the Paralympics give athletes with disabilities from all around the world the opportunity to compete for international success.

The disabilities of competitors in the Paralympic Games are wide ranging and are divided into categories and classifications. Some examples include people in wheelchairs, people with missing limbs, blind people, and people with an intellectual disability like down syndrome or autism, just to name a few.

Before the first official Paralympic Games was held in Italy in 1960, athletes with disabilities participated in the Olympics. However, smaller competitions like the International Wheelchair Games held in 1948 and 1952 were so popular that an organised event especially for athletes with disabilities was needed.

At first, only wheelchair-bound people could compete, but this changed in 1976 when athletes with lots of different disabilities were included in the Paralympics.

Nowadays, the Summer and Winter Paralympics happen on the same year and in the same country as the Olympic Games, usually very shortly after.

This year the Paralympics, which started yesterday, is held in Rio, Brazil. Head over to the Rio Paralympic Games website to check out the sports and to keep track of the medal board.

The New Zealand Paralympic team has 31 athletes in the team this year, who will be competing against over 4,000 others from nearly 180 countries around the globe. TVNZ will also be showing the Paralympics on TV for the first time in 10 years, so keep an eye out for our Kiwis in black and wish them well!

 

6 New children’s non fiction to read just time for spring

Spring is around the corner… almost. So why not spring on down to your local library and check out some new non fiction in our Junior Collection that can help you with your science homework, help you unleash your inner clothes designer and learn some weird, wonderful and sometimes gross facts from the latest Ripley’s Believe it or not series.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsI Can Make My Own Accessories

Eat you heart out, Christian Louboutin, Karen Walker and Dolce & Gabbana, You don’t have to shop for the latest fashion trends and break your budget to dress in style. This new book, I Can Make My Own Accessories is jam packed full of ideas for making your own fashion accessories! You will be able to make and customize unique, stylish jewelry, hair accessories, bags, belts, and much more. A great book to have on hand for the budding fashion designer.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsAll new Ripley’s Believe it or not : unlock the weird

Believe it or not, it’s back! Ripley’s has a 100% new book out on the weird, wonderful and wacky world records around the world. Come on down to the library and grab this book, where you can read all about how a monk walks on water, a woman that only eats sand and a baby cow born with five mouths. You have to read it to believe it!

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsUsborne Big Picture Atlas

With 15 big and beautifully illustrated maps for you to pore over, use this picture atlas to explore our fascinating world. Find landmarks, discover where different animals and people live around the world, and lots more.

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsCollins Science Fascinating Facts

This book tells you all you need to know to become the next great scientist! From atoms to lightning, from android robots of the future right back to the start of life on Earth, you’ll learn all about the secrets of science. A brightly illustrated and engaging book, Science offers hours of reading pleasure and is also a great support for schoolwork and projects.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsElectricity

“A hands-on first science series that uses fun and practical activities to explore electricity, light and dark, materials and pushes and pulls.We use electricity all the time so it’s important children know how it works and where it comes from. Discover what an electric circuit is and why static electricity makes your hair stand on end. Using simple explanations and engaging photos, this book encourages children to think about how their senses work, while taking their first steps into scientific discovery.” –Publisher’s website.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsDid dinosaurs lay eggs and other questions and answers about prehistoric reptiles

Read this and find out all the answers to every question you have ever had about dinosaurs. Also goes into full detail of  different types of dinosaurs and reconstructs their habits and behaviour.

 

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)

The ancient history of the Olympics

Syndetics book cover

The Olympic games began in Olympia, Greece in 776 BC (that’s almost 3000 years ago!). It was a sporting competition to celebrate excellence and honour the god Zeus.

The first few olympics just had a running race and only lasted one day, but more events got added on later and it became a five day event. Because ancient Greece would often have conflicts going on between city-states there would be a sacred truce (Ekecheiria) during the games so that athletes and spectators could travel to and from Olympia safely.

 

 

 

Competitors from all over Greece and sometimes beyond would compete in sporting events including foot-races (running), the pentathlon (running, long jump, discus, javelin and wrestling), boxing, wrestling, the pankration, and equestrian races (horse and chariot). Pankration is a combination of boxing and wresting and was a particularly brutal event.

Fun Fact: the participants would also compete naked! In fact the Greek word for nude was gymnós which is where our word for gymnasiums comes from.

The ancient olympics also did not allow women to compete in the events, and only unmarried women were allowed to be spectators. Despite this, in 396 BC Kyniska of Sparta became the first female Olympic victor for the chariot race, because the owners of the horses were considered the winners of the race, not the riders.

Instead of receiving gold, silver and bronze medals, there was only one victor in each of the events and they were rewarded with a wreath (wild olive leaf crown), and of course the glory and honour of being an olympic victor (in other words – bragging rights!)

In 393 AD the new Roman emperor and Christian, Theodosius, banned the olympic games because he considered them a pagan practice. So ended 1,000 years of tradition, during which 293 olympics games were held. That is until Pierre de Coubertin, a French academic and historian, pushed to resurrect them and so began the modern olympic games in 1896 Athens, Greece.

 

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

Syndetics book coverThe first Olympics of ancient Greece by Lisa M. Bolt Simons

“In ancient Greece different city-states often fought one another in deadly battles. But every four years the Greeks set aside their differences to honor the gods and compete peacefully in the Olympic Games. Learn all about the athletes, competitions, and religious ceremonies of the ancient Olympics.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Syndetics book coverOlympics by Richard Platt
“‘In the same spirit as the previous Through Time titles, this book explores the evolution of the Olympic Games, from its ancient origins to modern times. The chronological format allows the reader to experience life in many diverse cities and cultures during different historical periods. Through Time: The Olympic Games tells the complete story of history’s most famous, and most international, sporting competition. The narrative runs from city to city, exploring the impact of the Games on each host nation as well as the key social, political and cultural events of the time. Woven into this narrative are all the major sporting highlights, facts and record-breakers.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Flaming Olympics by Michael Coleman

This hilarious guide tells readers everything they need to know, from the torture of Olympic training, to some of the best performances dating back as far as 776 BC.