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!

Summer safety summed up

Summer is finally here! BBQs, long evenings, sunbathing, swimming and days at the beach are just some of the things we’ve been looking forward to. But as exciting as this time of year can be (especially once school finishes for the year –  wahoo!) it is really important that we keep reminding ourselves about keeping safe in the sun, in the water and at the beach.

Sun SmartSun safety

Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation is what causes our skin to burn and potentially lead to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in New Zealand. We have to be especially careful here, because the UV levels in our country are higher than other countries around the world, so it is easier to get sunburnt in a short amount of time. Although it is good for us to get out in the sun to build up the vitamin D in our bodies, it is really important that we keep our skin protected.

During daylight savings months (September to April) it is recommended that we wear sunscreen, particularly during the middle of the day (between 10am and 4pm) when the sun is at its hottest. It is a good idea to wear a sunhat at all times outside, and cover up whenever possible. This could mean sitting under an umbrella or a tree, and throwing a t-shirt on over your togs when you’ve finished swimming. The sun can also damage your eyes, so a pair of sunglasses is also a great summer addition. Check out the Sunsmart New Zealand website for more sun safety tips.


Water safety

Taking a dip is a great way to cool off during the hot Summer months, but sadly a large number of kiwis and people from overseas drown in New Zealand every year. We are lucky to have lots of wonderful places to swim, be it rivers, beaches or swimming pools, but we must always remember to keep ourselves safe from harm while in the water. Learning to swim, using appropriate equipment like life jackets and arm bands, and keeping an eye on others (especially young children) is the first step to preventing drowning.

If we are swimming in a river, we can also check for shallow rocks, floating trees or other debris, and fast flowing currents before jumping in to ensure that it is a safe spot. When swimming at the beach, getting caught in a rip that can pull you out to deeper water is a very scary possibility. Check the water before you get in for discolouration or a rippled look – this could indicate a rip. However, your best bet is to swim between the flags, where trained lifesavers can keep an eye on you, and never go deeper than you feel comfortable. The Water Safety New Zealand website has answers to any other water safety questions you might have.


And don’t forget, if the weather is bad there’s no need to be stuck at home because you can always visit our libraries for some summer fun.



4 great new books for kids

Clare and her Captain by Michael Morpurgo

On holiday in the Devon countryside, Clare is bored by her parents’ squabbling and longs for an adventure of her own. Her summer is transformed by a new friendship with retired horse Captain and his reclusive owner. This is a must-have for every fan of Morpurgo’s classic storytelling and Rayner’s highly sought-after artwork, and a gift to treasure for young and old.


Image courtesy of SyndeticsMemoirs of a Neurotic Zombie by Jeff Norton

“My name is Adam Meltzer and the last thing I remember was being stung by a bee while swinging at a robot-shaped pinata on my twelfth birthday. I was dead before the candy hit the ground”. ‘Memoirs of a neurotic zombie’ is narrated by the hilarious Adam Meltzer – pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. Adam’s family gets the fright of their lives when he turns up at their door … three months after his funeral. Soon Adam’s back at school trying to fit in and not draw extra attention to himself, but when he sees his neighbour Ernesto transform into a chupacubra, and the beautiful Corina (Adam’s number one mega-crush) turns out to be a (vegan) vampire, undead life is never going to be the same again. This is a hilarious adventure caper all about friendship and being yourself … even if you’re undead.”


The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon

An eccentric like all Helmsleys, eleven-year-old Archer escapes his overprotective mother and recruits two friends, Oliver and Adelaide, to help him plan a rescue of his long-lost grandparents, world-famous explorers who disappeared atop an iceberg in the Antarctic.



Image courtesy of SyndeticsUpside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski

With their magic being unpredictable, Nory, Elliott, Andres, and Bax are sent to the upside-down magic room at Dunwiddle Magic School.



How many can you read? Find out with the Summer Reading Challenge.

Summer is approaching, which means school holidays, beaches, Christmas, warm weather, ice creams, and lots of amazing books for you to get stuck into.

Booklet cover imageReading’s not just for school you know, it’s a fun year-round activity where you can let your imagination loose, have an adventure, solve a crime, and be anything (and anyone) you want to be!

And the Summer Reading Challenge is the perfect way to explore the possibilities.

Starting on December 1st, and running for 9 weeks, the challenge is to read and review as many titles as you can from the Summer Reading Challenge booklist (available soon from your local library and online).

You’ll receive prizes for your reviews, and each review you write is an entry into the main prize draw – so the more you read and review, the better your chances at winning!

Each of the Wellington City Libraries also has a fun activity for you to do. Pop into your local library, complete the Summer Reading Challenge activity, and have your booklet signed off by the librarian. Each activity you complete is an entry into another prize draw.

Make sure you hand in your booklet to the library at the end of the challenge to have your activities counted.

The Summer Reading Challenge is FREE, and you don’t have to register. It’s open to all Wellington City Library members aged 5-12 years old. So what’s stopping you!?


Click through to the Summer Reading Challenge.

Kids’ Club Review by Chiara: Tales from a not-so-smart Miss Know-It-All

Tales from a not-so-smart Miss Know-It-All, by Rachel Renee Russell

Again it is a really good book. Nikki Maxwell finds out out that Mackenzie Hollister (the mean girl) is going to spread rumours. Nikki needs to make sure that Mackenzie doesn’t spread them so she joins the school newspaper team and becomes Miss know-it-all on the advice column. My favourite part was when Nikki was answering the letters that she had got from students for her advice column.

5 stars

Reviewed by Chiara from Miramar, 12 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Tiffany: Incredible Incas

Incredible IncasIncredible Incas, by Terry Deary

This book is filled with a lot of gruesome facts! I never knew the Incas loved chopping peoples heads off, sacrificing children by burying them alive for the gods, or dunking babies into a bucjet of pee hoping it will cure their fever. Would you like to live with the Incas, many, many, many years ago? How do you think they cured people of headaches? The easiest way but not the safest: they drilled a hole in the person’s hole, lifted out the bone then let the evil spirits drift away. Alo, did you know, if women wanted to make themselves beautiful, they washed their hair with stewed pee? Also, llamas were a very great sacrifice. Some people sacrifice llams to the gods, about a 100 is killed each month for the gods. This book was so gruesome, so horrific, so true, I just couldn’t stop reading, which made me even more disgusted by each page! Would you like to be a lord, but then get killed in the end by your brother, best man or your so called friend?! That’s how the Incas lived their everyday lives, until the spainish came… When you pick up this book, get ready for yucky tales full of blood and enter the Incas lives.

4 stars

Reviewed by Tiffany from Kilbirnie, 12 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Xavier: Charlie Joe Jackson’s guide to summer vacation

Charlie Joe Jackson’s guide to summer vacation, by Tommy Greenwald

This is the third book in the series about Charlie Joe Jackson and it is great.

Charlie Joe Jackson gets sent to summer school camp. He really hates it. He tries to make everyone be normal and not nerdy but in the end he enjoys it and becomes the leader of the basketball team.

This is quite fun to read so get it out.

4 stars

Reviewed by Xavier from Tawa, 8 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Hannah: The sisterhood of the travelling pants

The sisterhood of the travelling pants, by Anne Brashares

Four very different friends.

One pair of very special pants.

A summer apart.

Most people would say that rating a book five stars is you over exagerating, but this is one of the books that couldn’t deserve it more.

You see, the sisterhood, that’s Bridget, Tibby, Lena and Carmen, are having thier very first summer apart. The only thing that will measure the bond between them this summer is The Pants.

When energetic Bridgit travels to Mexico for soccor camp, and meets muscle boy of her dreams, what can go wrong? Needless to say, when things get serious, how can Bridget have her calm sensible friends to guide her?

When serious but fun Carmen goes to her father’s place up in South Carolina she expects to have time with her dad, swimming, playing tennis, eating out on the beach. Instead, she’s in for the shock of her life when Her dad hasn’t told her something big. Very, very big.

Who can help poor Carmen with her anger?

When the doll of the girls, Lena, travels to Grease to visit her grand parents, what will happen to herself, her paintings, and Kostos, the greek boy who Lena claims to detest but, really, can’t figure out? Lena needs a friend to confide.

And poor Tibby, left at home in Washington DC, meets a young 12 year old girl named Bailey, who has cancer. Tibby points out straight away that there is an age difference between them, but Bailey brushes that aside. Reluctantly, Tibby agrees in a disgrunteled manner to let them hang out. But when Bailey’s cancer gets worse, Tibby realises that Bailey is a true friend. All Tibby has to do is tell her this. But can Tibby get there before something awful happens?

So the pants keep the girls together this summer. They all need a friend, so can the pants stand by them?

*only read this book 11+, mild innapropriate launguage.

5 stars

Reviewed by Hannah from Cummings Park, 11 years old