Want to be the creator of the next Flappy Bird?
Book your place at our free coding and game making workshops in February. Places are limited, so register quickly! The awesome folk over at Gamefroot will be running the workshops, and will cover topics like programming and coding, game strategy, creating characters and artificial intelligence, and game design and principles.
We know, we know; it sounds great -right?
Friday 26th February
9.30am – 3.30pm
Wellington Central Library, Mezzanine Meeting Room
Register at PublicLibraries.org.nz
Ever wanted to create your own website or online game? Book your place at the two FREE coding workshops during the October School Holidays.
Building with jQuery – 1Oct, 9.30am-3.30pm, Wellington Central Library (Mezzanine Meeting Room)
-Confidence with writing HTML and CSS
-Familiarity with copying, renaming and moving files
-A Mac or Windows computer with Internet access
-Admin rights to install new applications
-Excitement about learning jQuery!
Attendees leave the workshop at the end of the day with their work published online as a live website.
This workshop is free, and open to those aged 10-18yrs old (and any teachers that want to learn also!). Places are limited, registrations are essential. Go to gathergather.co.nz for more info and to register
Building with Python – 2Oct, 9.30am – 3.30pm, Wellington Central Library (Mezzanine Meeting Room)
A great option for beginners with little or no prior programming experience, Building with Python offers a broad taster of the language, while providing a solid basis for more advanced programming.
-Familiarity with copying, renaming and moving files
-A Mac or Windows computer with internet access
-Python 3 pre-installed (from Python.org)
-Excitement about learning to code!
Attendees leave the workshop at the end of the day with a simple text-based game of their own creation.
This workshop is free, and open to those aged 13-18yrs old (and any teachers who want to learn also!). Places are limited, registrations are essential. Go to gathergather.co.nz for more info and to register.
COMICFEST! The top fest in Wellington according to me. You guys should totally check it out for free comics and other awesome things ALSO check out a large number of graphic novels from our collection in honour of it. We’ve got a rad blog with all the details of what’s up during the festival – you can follow the blog here. In honour of Comicfest here’s a list of cool graphic novels for teens we have in our collection:
Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
“China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from ‘foreign devils.'” (Goodreads)
Cardboard by Doug TenNapel.
“Cam’s down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it’s the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!” (Goodreads)
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
“After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying. Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same. Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures. Missing mothers… distant brothers… high school… new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing. MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.” (Goodreads)
Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
“Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.” (Goodreads)
Rapunzel’s Revenge Shannon Hale.
“Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother. Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall. And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond. Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.” (Goodreads)
And since we’re talking about ComicFest here’s some work from the clever folk who will be at the festival:
The art of The adventures of Tintin by Chris Guise
“The artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop were thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg to bring Hergés wonderful characters to the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin. They spent five years working on this movie. This book tells the story of how the filmmakers started with the original Hergé artwork and books and ended up with what is seen on-screen. It features early concept drawings, previs sequences, models, costume designs and final stills from the film. The book focuses on the creative process, showing the many designs that made it into the movie and others that didnt. It highlights the attention to detail, skill and creativity of all the artists involved in the making of the movie. The story is told by the artists themselves, who talk about their inspirations, techniques and experiences. Through them we gain a true insight into the creative thinking behind this groundbreaking feature film.” (Goodreads)
Chris Guise will actually be at Comicfest on Saturday the 2nd of May from 12pm-1pm. Chatting about the process of transforming a much-loved comic into the successful film version of The Adventures of Tintin – the Secret of the Unicorn. It would be well worth going along to listen to such a talented NZer talk about working with Weta Digital!
Dreamboat dreamboat by Toby Morris
“Set in Dannevirke, New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s this is the story of a group of teenagers who set up a rock’n’roll band. The teenagers encounter some of the good and bad of the culture of the time – along with legendary music and the cars – there is the seedier side where racism, sexism and parochialism come to the fore.”
Toby Morris will in a panel discussion at the Fest about the relationship between cartoon and comic. It’s on Thursday the 30th of April from 6-7pm. It’ll be mean to attend. Check out this book as a thank you to the talented comic book writer for participating in the panel! Go on, do it. Be a sport.
Got an idea for a website but don’t know how to develop it? Get along to these two free coding classes during the April school holidays. They’re perfect for beginners and a great way to learn how to code using CSS/HTML, and you’ll get a chance to create your own live website. BYOD.
Places are limited and bookings are required: bookings and info
Sunday 12th April, 9am – 3pm, Central Library: for 12-14 yr olds
Monday 13th April, 9am-3pm, Central Library: for 15-18yr olds
It’s no secret that I love graphic novels, which is why I’m so excited about ComicFest, an event that the library is running from the 2nd-3rd of May. We’ve got some great events lined up: a panel on Friday night with some of the best cartoonists in New Zealand, plus more events on the Saturday. You can find out more on the event page, but here are just some of the events running:
A panel on Friday Night featuring Ant Sang, who wrote and drew the awesome comic Shaolin Burning and worked on Bro’ Town. There’s also Robyn Kenealy who’s a brilliant webcomic artist and creator of Steve Rogers’ American Captain, which chronicles Steve Rogers’ attempts to work out his place in the twenty-first century. Grant Buist, another one of our awesome panelists, has been working in comics for almost twenty years. He’s currently working on a graphic novel and draws Jitterati for Fishhead Magazine. His website is well worth a look, since he’s done a heap of great reviews of our graphic novel collection. This is definitely the panel you want to attend if you want to know what it’s like working in comics today.
There are also some wicked workshops: Ant Sang is running “Comics 101” from 4:30-6:30 for those aspiring artists among you, and then there’s another workshop run on the Saturday by Gavin Mouldey, a Wellington-based animator and illustrator. He’s done all the gorgeous promotional art for all our advertising, and owns the dittybox shop and gallery in Island Bay.
There’s a costume competition all day Saturday with a special category for teens and great prizes for you to win, generously provided by Unity Books and and White Cloud Worlds. A fair few of the library staff will be in costume too, so try and work out who we’re being!
Finally, last but certainly not least, we are giving away FREE, yes, FREE comics from when we open. We have limited stock, so get in early! This is because the library is participating in Free Comic Book Day, a day where all over the world stores and librariess give away a selection of comics and graphic novels. We decided to use this as an opportunity to promote a great (and steadily growing) part of our collection and bring together some of the best comic artists working in New Zealand today. You can find the main Facebook event here, and interviews with our featured panelists and artists on our main blog.
Ulf Stark, author of around 30 books for children and young adults, is in town for the New Zealand Festival’s Writers Week. This Swedish author has also written film, TV and theatre scripts and been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
See Ulf live at the Hannah Playhouse (Downstage Theatre) on Sunday March 9th at 12:15pm
We have three of Ulf’s books, including a signed copy, to give away to one lucky individual thanks to Gecko Press. To win please tell us Ulf’s home country by email to email@example.com, Tweet @WCL_LIbrary or comment on the post on our Facebook page. (We will announce a winner on the morning of Thursday March 13th).
Justin from the library Online Services Team meet with Ulf on Saturday morning. Here is their Q & A:
(J) How did you get into making books?
(U)So, I was not very talented in anything. And actually I disliked writing when I was very young because I was left-handed and we were forced to do right-handed in school. So that was the worst thing to have to write things. Then during my teen ages a lot of things changed. When you are a teenager you are looking in the mirror and you don’t recognise your face, you don’t recognise your feelings either. And then I read a lot of books. Not the younger books I had read before, but the real books. I think there is something, when you are in your teenage years you don’t feel confident to talk to your parents, or you don’t want to talk to them about the subjects that are near you – not about sexuality, not about a lot of things. So I had those conversations with the books and that was fine I think. Then we got a teacher in school who I liked very much and she liked my writing as well. I don’t think that teachers are aware of the power they have. So I started writing and then I came in contact with young authors and I was beginning to write. I wrote my first book when I was 18. It was a collection of poems. It was not that good – it was awful I would say.
(J)Did it get published?
(U)Yes it was. I got 500 Swedish Crowns and then I wrote another collection of poems, a little bit better and then a novel for the adults. Then I was 25 and I understood that I hadn’t anything else to write about. So I worked a little bit, for ten years or something. Then I started writing again in 1984 I think with this one [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] and it was a little success in Sweden and the Nordic countries. Suddenly I got money for writing. I had been working in the bureaucracy beforehand for a lot of years, training in education so it was quite good.
(J)Do you think the break helped?
(U)I think what helped with the job was that I was teaching about the differences about the male and the female. I was very interested in this difference, what is it to be a man and what is it to be a female? Why are we so different? So this is [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] sort of an investigation of the differences. An investigation of me being a male writer taking place in a girl.
(J)That would have been quite difficult?
(U)Yeah. It was quite difficult so I decided to let her be a boy after a while. It was much easier that way. It was published in a lot of countries. It is still published in a lot of new countries – in Russia for example. And they do a new edition now because of [Vladimir] Putin’s laws.
(J)Has it been censored?
(U)You cannot write anything about sexuality for young people under 16 years.
(J)Is that frustrating for you, knowing that they’re censoring your work?
(U)A little bit frustrating but on the other hand this edition [uncensored Fruitloops & Dipsticks] still exists in Russia. So I think the interest for the first edition has increased because it is forbidden.
(J)I think that’s a good way to make people interested in something, isn’t it. Tell them they can’t have it.
(U)Yeah. What could there be in this book? I’m not so disturbed by it. I am disturbed by Putin.
(J)Your books are originally written in Swedish aren’t they? Do you feel like they lose something when translated? Is there is a stark difference in the mood or the feel?
(U)There could be. I don’t think it’s because of the translation, it’s more because of the cultural differences.
(J)Yeah, I know that in German for instance there are words for things that would take a sentence to say in English.
(U)Yes – different associations and all this. But when it’s translated into so many countries I think it’s more universal.
(J)Have you ever had any unexpected reactions to your work?
(U)Yeah. Perhaps, take this one for example [Fruitloops & Dipsticks]. I was in Belarus, which is almost a dictatorship.
(J)Ex-Soviet isn’t it?
(U)Yes. I wrote a book called The Dictator and I was there and we had readings. It was translated so a local was reading it. They had to read in Russian [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] and I was astonished by the interest in sexuality. I mean there is not much in that book, I just felt like a sexual therapist or something when I came there. In Sweden now I can be astonished because of how they react. In this one [Can You Whistle, Johanna?] there is a Grandfather smoking a cigar. It could be a problem and that was why it was very hard to get the book into the USA. Just because he was smoking. I told her [literary agent] that he was dyeing at the end.
(J)So there is a health message there?
(U)Yes. If you smoke a cigar you will die. So there are moralistic reactions to the books. Often it is the parents who complain about the books.
(J)What we can we expect to hear or learn in your Writers Week programme?
(U)I just don’t know because I don’t know the questions. Perhaps you could get a clue about Swedish books. I mean, I am not representative of all the authors in Sweden, but I think what is common for us is a view from the child’s perspective. To be loyal with the child’s side, not being a story teller from up high. I think that is important. Some of these books are biographical in some way. In this one [My Friend Percy’s Magical Gym Shoes] the character Ulf is almost burning up society because he wants his friend Percy to see the fireworks coming. Then he sprays water on the fire and I got applause for that. But they didn’t like that in Spain. They thought the parents would have hit him at least a little bit.
(J)At least you don’t have to live there!
(U)But I think it’s better to hear of us making a lot of crazy things. He has to think about himself, his feeling, and think it was wrong, “I did wrong.” It’s an inner process. He has to think, I have done something stupid and see the consequences already, not that the act itself is punishable.
(J)Do you feel like there is a big difference between Swedish writing when compared to English?
(U)Yes, I think I was in England and they have very few books for the smaller kids that have discussions on things like death. That was a taboo.
(J)Do you find they are for entertainment?
(U)We have a lot of animals dying in Swedish literature. Even here [Can You Whistle, Johanna?] the grandfather is dying at the end. Often when you are writing about death, even in Sweden I would say it is just the rituals that you are writing about. Whether it’s something like putting flowers on or saying something because you are afraid of the reaction of sadness. I think it’s good. I think children have to be confronted with real feelings, so they should be a little bit sorry. They are not dying and hopefully they have their parents to discuss things and say something to. I have no fear of writing about something.
(J)What would be your advice to a young author?
(U)Not taking any advice I think. You have to find your own way but I think reading is a very good way of learning how to write because you could say I don’t like that way of writing. You could find your own way by reading other books, not imitating them but see what you want to do and see how it is made in other books. Start with poems, I think that’s a good short way to see what happens. And then perhaps short stories, I think starting a big novel project when you are thirteen is not good.
(J)It’s one way to pop your self-esteem isn’t it? Do you have any personal author recommendations?
(U)I don’t know if we read the same books here in New Zealand and in Sweden. My mother used to read a lot of Astrid Lindgren and so did I. I think for my own kids I read a lot of Roald Dahl books to my son and more tragic stores for my daughter who just loved tragedy. You could also read a lot of the old books, not just the new ones. These days everything is so up-to-date I think it is good to have a historical perspective as a child. I am writing books now about the 60s and 50s, there are no mobile telephones in this and they don’t want to read it. But it’s just like you could read a book from Sweden, I think it is important to take part of and experience different cultures.
(J)Do you think kids have changed?
(U)Yeah. I think the technique is changing a lot in the daily life of children. When I was coming here on my flight for 40 hours I saw what people were doing. People choose a lot of films and the whole time they were looking at blue screens and they got a blue face. It was reflecting and I was doing the same. I had a lot of good books I thought I would read but it is an easy way just to put my finger on the screen. You have to have dull time I think. Dull time is where you awaken creativeness. I am trying to have a dull life.
(J)Do you have much of a relationship with the internet? Do you use social media or blogs?
(U)No very little actually. My wife does but I really think that I have a need for moral contemplation and not so much being on the net. Perhaps I prefer meeting personally, I’m a bit afraid of being addicted the screen.
(J)We’ve already kind of touched on it – what is your process of writing, how do you turn an idea into a book?
(U)I see it more like an organic process. I have a lot of writing friends who are doing very exact shadows of what they should do in each chapter and also the schools are teaching children how to write and the disposition is so mechanical. I’ve tried that model too. Now I just start a story and see what happens. The more interesting persons are more interesting than the story.
(J)So you focus on the character than the character?
(U)Yes, for instance there are lots of books for the very, very young people but then I was thinking that there are no books for the unborn. So I did a book about a boy having a chat with a mother’s stomach to the child inside giving answers to the child in there about what happens when you come out. That was the theme.
(J)That’s a strange sort of thing to think up, where did an idea like that come from?
(U)I think I saw a stomach somewhere and thought what would I teach a small child or say this the life coming to you.
(J)Do you think you’re quite a curious person by nature?
(U)Yeah. I think so. I’m curious about all the things that haven’t got answers. I think the daily life of children, coming to school and learning things, there are answers. Often education is built on a question and an answer and then they could have the idea that there are answers for everything. But for the very, most important things there are no answers. You have to make up the answers yourself. What is the meaning of life? Okay, this is the meaning of life. Okay there it was. Why are you falling in love with a person and not with another person? Why are we dying? What’s in the universe? There are a lot of things that children from the beginning are very interested in.
(J)But they stop asking?
(J)If you could have a coffee with any human being, either been or alive, who would it be and what would you ask them?
(U)Umm. I think it would be nice to meet god.
(U)Yeah. I have a lot of questions. I wrote a book about god, it was my last book. God created the earth but he was a little bit tired of inventing everything. So he first invented the Darwinist evolution theory so that he only had to do the small things like the fishes and now the creation could go on. But then when he woke up there are human beings, the animals – but he didn’t plan to make the shadows. They are dark so he decided to put them to the other side of earth, the side he couldn’t see. They call this the night. And what happens is you get a sort of Prozac world, no shadows, no darkness, no sadness.
(J)Fake smiles on everybody?
(U)Yes, everyone is going about smiling. So there are no stories, no fairytales, no dreams. It’s a drugged world. I find it quite funny to write about the fear of happiness and that you have a need for the shadows. Then there is a boy and a girl just going to find their shadows again and they found it the god is there to clean it up again. They say no, no don’t do that we need our shadows, even the sorrowness. God is thinking okay, okay you are write and he puts them back again. I think that applies to books also. You need to have the shadow sides and the night sides. I think we will have a lot to discuss over coffee.
Wellington City Libraries has many of Ulf’s books available for loan, check them out here.
What up! Another weekend looms and here’s some sweet stuff to do with it.
No doubt you’ve heard about The Great Gatsby (a lot) by now, it feels like they’ve been building hype for eternity. It’s finally here and it looks pretty suave! (Rated M)
But did you know it was a book first? Sure was, it’s an American Classic by one great F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also, it’s not The GG’s first dance across the silver screen.
Sporty peepz! The Championship Tournament of the Woman’s Basketball League is at Te Rauparaha Arena over at neighb’s Porirua. Maori ball game Ki o Rahi will have a Matariki special in Waitangi Park from 6pm Friday night (brought to you by body R2R).
The other big thing this weekend is our (Wellington’s) Jazz Festival. Before you scoff take note, Jazz is the original bad boy of music. You can thank it for paving the way to all our modern jams and the term “hipster”. Appreciate. There is a caps worthy TONNE of events going down for it. One pretty special looking one is the pop up jams planned for the city streets Friday and Saturday – keep your eyes peeled.
Feeling exhausted yet?
Mal Peet, award-winning author of Tamar, Exposure, and Life: An Unexploded Diagram is in Wellington this month, and he’ll be the guest star at a free, one-off workshop at the central library. The details are:
Sunday 16 June, 1 to 4pm
Wellington Central Library
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Most of us learn to write by stealing from other writers. This event is an invitation to aspiring writers to do some serious shoplifting.” (Mal Peet)
Welcome to the weekend. What to do, what to do?
If you find yourself wandering about Newtown this weekend why not check out Wellington Festival Of Circus? If having clowning & cabaret up in your face isn’t doing it for you maybe Darren Shan could keep you in theme but through the safety of bound text?
If you’re more of a performer then a watcher have you considered entering this years Smokefree Rockquest? It’s the 25th year this right-of-passage is running and man has it fostered all sorts of household name kiwi musicians. Need some inspiration? Here’s a surface scratching list of previous contestants including Kimbra and last years winners New Vinyl. Take yourself on a journey through our CD collection.
The curtain falls on Game Masters at Te Papa this weekend. The amazing exhibition that caters to almost every level of gamer was borrowed from the incredible ACMI in Melbourne’s Federation Square and includes Pacman, Space Invaders and Sonic!
Ever wondered what happens when you wring a soggy towel out in space? Here’s the answer:
– Physics, fascinating!
That’s what’s a going down.
Highlights this week; term time’s almost up, we’re seven days into having brought the sun forward for winter and apparently the rain’s coming back for a visit. Enough small talk though, here’s this week’s ender-entry to give you a two day break from the school work.
If you’re an adventurous titan, and like to work alliteratively, here are some things to do on Saturday – that start with ‘S’:
Skating takes over the waterfront in two forms. The Richter City roller derby season kicks off on Saturday night at the TSB arena in a home season battle between Smash Malice and Comic Slams. For a quick scrub-up on the ins and outs of the game look no further than Y/A novel Whip It and its sister movie starring Ellen Page.
Still keen on skating but not so sure about all the aggression – why not try your hands, or feet – or feet then hands, on the ice? The ice rink is in full operation on Queens wharf just a short hop from the TSB. For our older readers Blades Of Glory might be a quick introduction on how not to act on the ice but for some pointers and to figure out if you can make a career out of it why not check out some of our literature?
Okay, okay enough with the skates. I wouldn’t leap into the water at the moment on account of its chill factor but one way you could get some surfing in is by checking it this sweet free free flick by Alex Monteith at The Dowse Gallery in Lower Hutt.
And here’s a quick weekly musical digest to help shape your weekend playlist:
Pete Wentz’s Fall Out Boy graced our shores this week on the back of their latest album drop.
Kiwi band Tahuna Breaks are in town this weekend for their Shadow Lights album release tour and are currently sitting near the top of the NZ album charts.
Ever wondered how animals eat their food? Here’s this weeks viral vid’ – courtesy Mister Epic Mann;