Wellington Beaches for Summer Swimming

Let’s talk about one of the most Kiwi summer activities Wellington has to offer – going to the beach!

There’s so much to do at the beach. You can build sandcastles, go swimming and jump over waves, draw pictures in the sand and follow the footprints in the sand left by birds. You can collect shells, have a picnic, search for sea life in a rockpool, and there’s so much more!

When you’re planning your beach trip, it’s a good idea to be prepared with lots of sunscreen, buckets and boogie boards, and also some thoughts towards safety. If you’re not already familiar with the Water Safety Code, we recommend having a read so you know how best to keep yourself and your family safe. If you’re visiting a beach for the first time, Find a Beach is a great website created by Surf Life Saving New Zealand that has profiles for pretty much every beach around Aotearoa. On this site you can search up the beach you’re planning to visit, check out the forecast, find out if there will be lifeguards, and learn about any hazards to watch out for. They’ve got a good safety information page too!

There are so many beaches around Wellington for you to explore, so lets take a look at some of them:

Balaena Bay

Balaena Bay is the first of the smaller beaches along Evans Bay Parade.

There’s a carpark at one end, and changing rooms at the other. The water here is quite shallow and calm, so is good for just splashing about if you’re not yet ready for swimming.

Freyberg Beach/Oriental Bay

Freyberg Beach and Oriental Bay are so close together that they’re sharing an entry in this list.

These two beaches are right next to each other, and very close to the central city.

There are changing rooms and wheelchair access at Freyberg, as well as parking and a playground! There’s also a beach wheelchair at Freyberg pool that’s available to borrow. There are also a few cafes, ice cream stores, and food trucks around on Oriental Parade in case you’re after a post-swim snack.

If you’re worried about safety, then relax! Oriental Bay is patrolled by lifeguards over the summer.

Hataitai Beach

Hataitai Beach, like Balaena Bay, is along Evans Bay Parade. The beach here is quite small and the water is very calm but it gets deep more quickly than at Balaena Bay so if you’re not a very confident swimmer make sure to stay close to the shore. Cog Park is right next door, so if you are a confident swimmer and the tide is in there’s a small wharf you can jump off!

Cog Park has plenty of picnicking spots, and at the other end of Hataitai Beach are the changing rooms with steps that go straight down into the sea.

Island Bay

Island Bay is easy to get to on the bus – just hop on a number 1 and you’re pretty much there. If you’re keen for a swim or a walk along the beach, Island Bay is a good option for you. Just remember that it looks out on the open sea so the water will be a bit cooler than any of the beaches inside the Wellington harbour.

There are changing rooms and picnic tables at the park across the road, and also a playground!

Lyall Bay

Lyall Bay is a wonderfully long stretch of beach to walk along – and the eastern end of the beach allows off leash dogs if you have a furry friend who would like to join you!

You can use the changing rooms in the Lyall Bay Surf Life Saving Club, and they also have beach wheelchairs available to borrow. Lyall Bay is a patrolled beach over the summer so let the lifeguards keep you safe!

Princess Bay

Princess Bay is another beach along the south coast. It’s further east than Island Bay and quite a bit smaller. Princess Bay is good for a sheltered swim and if you’re interested in sea life you can explore the rockpools out along the point. If it’s a clear day you might even be able to see the South Island!

Leave your car in the carpark at the eastern end of the bay by the changing rooms.

Scorching Bay

Out along the Miramar Peninsula is Scorching Bay. It’s got golden sand, a nice grassy area, changing rooms and outdoor showers, and the Scorch-O-Rama café across the road.

Scorching Bay is a patrolled beach, so make sure you swim between the flags.

Worser Bay

Worser Bay is another beach along the Miramar Peninsula, out on the eastern side.

You’ll be well taken care of with changing rooms, a picnic area, and across the road from the beach is the famous Worser Bay swing. Be sure to check it out!


If you can’t get out to the beach but you can make it to the library, or would like to know more about the creatures you might find in a rockpool, here are some beach-themed New Zealand reads to get you inspired:

At the beach : explore & discover the New Zealand seashore / Candler, Gillian
“At the Beach is a delightful introduction to the natural history of the New Zealand seashore. The stage is set with beautiful, factually correct illustrations (including detailed cross-sections) of three familiar habitats – the sandy beach, rockpools and mudflats. Many of the plants and animals that play a part in these rich ecosystems are shown in situ, and readers are directed from there to pages dedicated to detailed coverage of: crabs; sea stars, kina and sea anemones; shellfish; seaweeds, sponges and sandhoppers; fish, jellyfish & shrimps; birds. Aimed at children 5-8 years old, but with appeal for anyone curious about New Zealand’s natural environment, At the Beach is a must for the home, bach, classroom and library. Comes with a removable, waterproof quick-reference guide to common seashore animals.” (Catalogue)

Freddy Bear and the beach / Cowley, Joy
“Freddy Bear is playing at the beach with Dad – running, playing, chasing seagulls. He falls over running, but Dad picks him up and takes him home.” (Catalogue)

The life-size guide to the New Zealand beach : featuring the odd things that get washed up on the sand / Crowe, Andrew
“Pictorial guide to identifying various items and curious objects that are commonly found on New Zealand beaches. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary.” (Catalogue)

Dashing dog / Mahy, Margaret
“When a dashing dog gets into messy mischief, his family is exasperated. Then baby Betty falls off the jetty, and it’s up to the brave dashing dog to save the day.” (Catalogue)

A summery Saturday morning / Mahy, Margaret
“The children go down to the sea on a summery, Saturday morning, down the wiggly track, scattering shells and leaping logs. But first their dogs chase a cat, then they chase a boy on a rattly bike, then wild geese hiss and chase the children and the dogs and the walk is not so peacful after all. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

A is for Aotearoa : a lift-the-flap New Zealand treasure hunt / Newcombe, Diane
“Our story starts with a bottle containing a secret message, washed up on a beach. The bottle begins a trail of clues, and children lift the flap to reveal the clue that takes them on an alphabet journey all over New Zealand. Included is a glossary with interesting facts about each location”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Charlie Tangaroa and the creature from the sea / Roxborogh, Tania Kelly
“On a beach clean-up, thirteen-year-old Charlie and his brother, Robbie, find a ponaturi, a mermaid, washed up on a beach. An ancient grudge between the Māori gods Tane and Tangaroa has flared up because a port being built in the bay is polluting the ocean and creatures are fleeing the sea. This has reignited anger between the gods, which breaks out in storms, earthquakes and huge seas. The ponaturi believes Charlie is the only one who can stop the destruction. So begins Charlie’s journey to find a way to reunite the gods and discover why he is the one for the task”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Splish, splash, safety : a book about water safety.
“Join The Wiggles as they practise water safety!” (Catalogue)
Summer days : stories and poems celebrating the Kiwi summer.
“A beautiful collection of children’s stories and poems that celebrates the golden days of summer, by some of New Zealand’s finest writers and illustrators. The great Kiwi summer conjures images of the beach, swimming, boating, fishing, families, friends adventures… This collection of seven stories and ten poems capture that quintessential summer feeling, and is perfect summertime reading to share with children. Dive in to find all sorts of treasures by well-known New Zealand writers and illustrators, including Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop, Pamela Allen, Gwenda Turner, Fiona Farrell, Elena de Roo, Melanie Drewery, Sandra Morris, Sue Wootton, Brian Turner, Jenny Cooper, Vasanti Unka and David Elliot. Target age 3-7 years”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Kids Audiobooks for the Summer Holidays

Since the summer holidays are fast approaching, and our Summer Reading Adventure has already launched, now is the perfect time to highlight our children’s audiobook collection.

Audiobooks are a great distraction for long car trips, and are also a good way for more reluctant readers to keep up their reading over the summer. And we have so many audiobooks for you to choose from, and so many ways to access them as well!

via GIPHY

Audiobooks on CD

If you prefer to use a CD player to listen to your audiobooks, then head on down to one of our branches and keep an eye out for the Children’s Audiobook section where you can browse the collection of available books-on-CD. You can also search and reserve audiobooks through our catalogue so the titles you’re after are ready and waiting for your next library visit – and check out our Quick Searches page! Here you can get a quick list of hundreds of kids audiobooks to scroll through.

If you’re into eAudiobooks, we have two different services you can use to listen. Both are free to use – you can use them in your browser or just download the app onto your phone, tablet, computer, whatever device you have, and sign in with your library card barcode number and your 4-digit pin.

Our eAudiobooks show up on our catalogue when you’re searching, just like our regular audiobooks. All you have to do is check which kind of eAudiobook it is, Borrowbox or Overdrive!

Screenshot of the catalogue search record for Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones. Underneath the author's name the call number is listed as Children eAudiobook Overdrive.

The description in the catalogue search results will tell you what kind of book it is, and where to get it! This one is an Overdrive eAudiobook.


Borrowbox

Borrowbox has several thousand different titles, and a big focus on eAudiobooks. They’re an Australian company so are a bit more likely to have titles from closer to home.

With Borrowbox you can search for specific titles, or filter by age and explore featured lists such as Chart Toppers or new books, and you can have 25 eAudiobooks and 25 eBooks out at a time!


Libby by Overdrive

Overdrive has got two apps you can use, Libby and Overdrive, but both have exactly the same books on them and you can use both or either, whichever you like best!

There are a lot of curated booklists available on Libby and Overdrive, such as the Stay At Home Audiobook Selection from earlier this year, Alternative Fairy Tales and Folklore, and even a dog themed booklist! Probably the most exciting of these lists though is the Unlimited Loans: Kids Audiobooks collection. With this list of 100 eAudiobooks you don’t have to wait for the person before you to return them to the library – they’re always available!

You can have 20 titles – eAudiobooks and eBooks – out a time through Libby and Overdrive.


So now you have all these different options for accessing audiobooks, but when are you going to listen to them, and what kind of book do you want? Do you want a nice long chapter book with an adventure in it to listen to on the long car trip to your grandparent’s house? Or maybe you’d like a Christmas story to listen to as you decorate your tree? Or some shorter stories to help lull you off to sleep?

In case you’re having a hard time deciding what to listen to, here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Quentin Blake collection / Blake, Quentin
“A collection of gorgeous stories from Quentin Blake, one of the best-known and most highly regarded illustrators of our time, internationally celebrated for his partnership with Roald Dahl.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Christmas stories / Blyton, Enid
“In this collection there is mystery and magic, laughter and mischief, the joy of shared times and plenty of delicious food, many of the ingredients that have been delighting Enid Blyton’s fans for more than seventy years.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Holiday stories / Blyton, Enid
“A wonderful selection of stories to read and share. From sandcastles at the beach to enchanted ice-creams, step into the summer with these delightful characters. Adventure, fun and magic can all be found on holiday with Enid Blyton, who has been delighting readers for more than seventy years.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Artemis Fowl / Colfer, Eoin
“When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Hairy Maclary story collection / Dodd, Lynley
“Collection of amusing stories about the adventures of the dog Hairy Maclary and his friends who just want to have fun, but trouble is never far away! Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

The Julia Donaldson collection / Donaldson, Julia
“Follow the Swallow: When Apollo the swallow flies to Africa, Chack the blackbird wants to send him a message. But Africa is far away. Can a jumpy dolphin, a grumpy camel, a greedy crocodile or a playful monkey help to deliver the message? […]” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook
Good night stories for rebel girls : [100 tales of extraordinary women] / Favilli, Elena
“To the rebel girls of the world: dream bigger, aim higher, fight harder, and, when in doubt, remember you are right”–Introduction. “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 heroic women […]” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

The pirates’ mixed-up voyage / Mahy, Margaret
“Captain Lionel Wafer and his fellow-pirates, Toad, Brace-and-Bit and Winkle, are no ordinary ruffians. Clinging to the belief that life should be simple, free and unplanned they set off in a converted teashop of a ship[…] to sail backwards and forwards over the bounding blue […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

The lightning thief / Riordan, Rick
“Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson learns he is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea. His mother sends him to a summer camp for demigods where he and his new friends set out on a quest to prevent a war between the gods. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Nevermoor : the trials of Morrigan Crow / Townsend, Jessica
“A cursed child destined to die on her eleventh birthday is rescued and whisked away to a secret realm called Nevermoor and given the chance to compete for a place in a prestigious organization called the Wundrous Society.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook

Our first Bat of the Year!

For the first time since it was established in 2005, the annual Bird of the Year competition has not been won by a bird!

Bird of the Year/Te Manu Rongonui o te Tau is a competition organised by Forest & Bird every year to raise awareness of our native birds and the threats they face. This year was the first time a non-bird has been part of the competition when the pekapeka-tou-roa (long-tailed bat) was allowed to enter. Some people weren’t very happy that a bat was allowed to enter Bird of the Year, but since Aotearoa only has two native land mammals, and they’re both bats, holding a “Bat of the Year” wouldn’t be much of a competition!

Our native birds and our native bats face a lot of the same threats. They both have to deal with predators, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. We do have a lot more birds than bats though, since there are 168 species of native New Zealand birds, and only two native species of bat. And Bird of the Year means that the competing birds get a lot of attention as people choose their favourite birds to vote for. When the pekapeka-tou-roa was allowed to compete in Bird of the Year it started getting a lot more attention as well, which is a very good thing since it is classed as “nationally critical” – the term used for the most threatened species in New Zealand. All this attention and newfound competitive spirit led up to…

Earlier this week the 2021 Bird of the Year competition was won by the pekapeka-tou-roa!

Congratulations to the 2021 Bird (Bat) of the Year!

A close-up of a furry, chocolate brown pekapeka that is hanging upside down on the trunk of a tree. Its wings are held in close against its body, and one ear and eye are pointed towards the camera.

Photo by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation, licensed under CC BY 4.0

One very interesting and adorable fact about the pekapeka-tou-roa is that they’re tiny. It’s hard to know how big the bat in this photo is because there isn’t much to show the scale of it, but it really is much smaller than you’d expect – this bat weighs about the same as a $2 coin, and its body is only the size of your thumb! That’s so small! Our other native bat, the pekapeka-tou-poto (short-tailed bat) is slightly bigger, but only by a few grams.

If you’d like to know more about our native pekapeka, here are a few places you can go to learn more:

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC) looks after New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage, and has a lot of information about our National Parks, Great Walks, Conservation, and our native plants and animals! They’ve got a great section on our native pekapeka, and have even caught them on video!

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is a wonderful online encyclopedia with information on all things Aotearoa. You can find stories about the history of our cities, biographies of historical New Zealanders, as well as about our native animals and plants. Check out their story about our two native bats – full of facts and pictures!

Bats / Arkins, Alina
If you’d rather not read about our pekapeka on a website and would prefer a book, this book is a great introduction to both of our native bats. It describes them both and where they live, how they raise their babies, what they eat and how they manage to catch their food.


While the top award this year was taken out by the pekapeka-tou-roa, the other four competitors rounding out the top five were all (unsurprisingly) birds.

Second place went to the kākāpō, which won Bird of the Year in both 2020 and 2008.

The kākāpō is the world’s heaviest parrot and is also classed as nationally critical.


A small, pale green titipounamu perches on a branch with its beak slightly turned upwards.

Photo: 124445324 by thibaudaronson on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The titipounamu (rifleman) came in third place.

Titipounamu are New Zealand’s smallest bird and were recently seen in Wellington for possibly the first time in a century!

Photo: 124445324 by thibaudaronson on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


A kea in flight. Photographed from below so you can see the vibrant red feathers under its wings.

Photo: 112601911 by christopherstephens on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fourth place went to the kea, which won Bird of the Year in 2017.

Kea are the only alpine (mountain-living) parrot in the world, and are well-known for their cheeky natures.


A smug looking toroa sits on a tussock, surrounded by ferns.

Photo: 137728076 by M Rutherford on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY 4.0

The toroa (antipodean albatross) came in fifth and is the only seabird in the top five.

Toroa spend most of their lives at sea, and only come in to land when it is time to raise their young.


If you want more information about the many native birds of Aotearoa, New Zealand Native Birds Online lets you look up birds by name, search by location, or browse by conservation status. What’s even cooler is that if you’ve seen a bird out on a walk, you can use the “Identify that bird” feature to figure out exactly what kind of bird you’ve seen!


There are a lot of books that you can find in our libraries all about our native birds and bats. We also have books about our extinct animals and why we have to be so careful caring for the species we still have. Here’s a selection of titles you can find at your local libraries:

In the bush : explore & discover New Zealand’s native forests / Candler, Gillian
“In the Bush is the fourth in the popular Explore & Discover series. It includes insects and other invertebrates, fungi, ferns and mosses, birds, bats, introduced pests, vines, epiphytes, and trees. Includes removeable, waterproof reference guide.” (Catalogue)


Lost wonders : vanished creatures of Aotearoa / Ell, Sarah
“The story of the lost wonders of New Zealand’s natural history: the extinct species which are now gone forever. Lost Wonders also features some key species which are on the brink – critically endangered – and the efforts that are being made to save them for future generations. The stories of these fascinating creatures – birds, insects, reptiles and plants – are told in an entertaining and accessible style, drawing on first-hand accounts and supported with useful illustrations. It draws on accounts of their demise, and of the social climate in New Zealand in which these extinctions occurred.” (Abridged from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook


Bird’s-eye view : through the eyes of New Zealand birds / Gill, Maria
“Reveals what 13 New Zealand birds see in their natural habitats, and uses the latest avian-vision research to show various bird’s-eye views in a series of panoramic images. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)


On the brink : New Zealand’s most endangered species / Gill, Maria
“Discover our most threatened animals in New Zealand. From the beautiful forest ringlet butterfly to the down-right ugly southern elephant seal, the cheeky kākāpō to the super-sensory-powered ambush hunters the great white sharks. Every one of the unique species in our waters and on our land is threatened by predators, land changes, pollution, and other human-induced disturbances. As well as finding out how unique these animals are, you’ll read what is harming them, and most importantly what we can do to help them.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook


All about New Zealand birds / Gunson, Dave
“This fun and educational book features dozens of vibrant illustrations by talented artist, children’s book writer and bird fanatic Dave Gunson. Over 50 of our most interesting and most loved native and introduced birds have been illustrated especially for this book by Dave. Each page features one large illustration of a bird and 100 words of text. All About New Zealand Birds is an ideal introduction to many of the birds of New Zealand for people of all ages.” (Abridged from Catalogue)


The cuckoo and the warbler : a true New Zealand story / Warne, Kennedy
“The Cuckoo and the Warbler tells the story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness.” (Catalogue)

Let loose your inner pirate with Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy there crew! This Sunday be Talk Like a Pirate Day. This special day comes but once a year on the 19th of September and when it comes around there’s only one thing for you to do: talk like a pirate, of course!

So shiver yer timbers, batten down the hatches, and prepare to prattle properly piratical!

If you need to brush up on yer Pirate-speak, look no further than Mango Languages! Mango Languages contains a veritable A-Y of languages for you to learn. From Arabic to Yiddish, there are over 70 language courses for you to choose from, and one of those languages is Pirate!

The Mango Languages Pirate course will teach you how to talk like the most swashing of bucklers. They give you all sorts of interesting grammar tips and tricks, like this one right here:

Text in image reads: Grammar Note. Make sure to add extra Rs onto lots of words when speaking like a pirate. This will happen a lot at the end of words ending in a vowel, like here where "to" turns to "ter". Just remember, a pirate's favourite letter is ARRR!Each lesson starts with an example sentence in English, and you are shown how to translate it into Pirate. Here’s one of the sentences you can learn:

Screenshot of two sentences. The first sentence in English reads "Great, my friend! You're a fine pirate!" The second sentence in Pirate reads "Arr, me heartie! A fine gentleman o' fortune be ya!"

They’ve even colour-coded the sentence so you can see which part of the sentence in English becomes which part of the sentence in Pirate-talk. You’ll be talking like a pirate in no time!

Just sign in with your library card barcode number and your 4-digit pin, and ye’ll be off and away!


The language options available on a self-check machineIf you’ve visited one of our libraries and issued your books on a self-check machine, you may have already discovered the language options. After you’ve first touched the screen, a whole lot of little circles with flags inside them appear down in the bottom left hand corner. Do you see that skull and crossbones there? One of the languages on our self-check machines is Pirate!

If you haven’t discovered this feature before, then this Sunday is the perfect time to try it out for the first time. It will make issuing your books so much more fun. You’ll be treated to all the classic library self-check phrases, but with that piratical twist.

The options screen on our self-check machines, but in Pirate. The options are "Borrowin' status", "View reserved stuff", "Check out yer books", and "Unlock yer Dvds"

If you’re worried that you won’t be able properly follow the steps to issue your items with the machine spouting another language, don’t fret. Pirate as a language has certain similarities with English, and our machines still have the normal symbols to guide you on your issuing voyage. As always, when you’re finished issuing your books don’t forget to abandon ship!


If you’re feeling sleepy after a hard day of sailing, scrubbing the decks, and speaking in your best pirate voice, then why not relax with a bedtime story! We have Margaret Mahy’s The Great Piratical Rumbustification, expertly read by our own splendid scallywag Stephen, available on our Facebook page. We have quite a few bedtime stories available, so check out our Bedtime Story playlist!

If you’d rather read your own book, then we have a few other pirate-themed reads to recommend.

If you feel like reading a fantastically silly picture book about an unusual babysitter and his two charges, you might enjoy:

Pirate stew / Gaiman, Neil
“Pirate stew! Pirate stew! Pirate stew for me and you! Pirate stew! Pirate stew! Eat it and you won’t be blue. You can be a pirate too!” (Catalogue)

Maybe you’re after a short chapter book about a crew of scurvy pirates who find themselves faced with the most terrifying of creature – a baby!

Nappy the pirate baby / MacDonald, Alan
“Stinky McFlea, Irish Stew, Long Johns, Nitty Nora and Captain Spratt are pirates aboard the Salty Herring. They love nothing more than lazing about on deck and sailing the high seas – until one day, a strange wailing noise changes everything. There’s a stowaway baby on board the ship, and the crew have decided to raise him like a proper pirate. But are they really up to the task of looking after a baby? And where exactly did Nappy come from?” (Catalogue)

This is a dyslexia-friendly book.

If you prefer to read comics and like adventurous and heart-warming stories, check out:

Tell no tales : pirates of the southern seas / Maggs, Sam
“Anne Bonny had it all – her own ship, a pirate crew, and a fearsome reputation – but a new enemy has her on the run and it’ll take all of Anne’s courage to stay afloat. The night before a major heist, Anne has an unsettling dream, and come morning, the robbery is thwarted by Woodes Rogers, a zealot who has sworn to eliminate piracy. With no plan to escape, Anne must persuade her crew to seek the meaning of her dream – or perish. A graphic novel about belonging, belief, and how far we’re willing to go to protect the ones we love.”–Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

If a picture book by a fantastic New Zealand author about an accountant and his (formerly) piratical mother, then look no further than:

The man whose mother was a pirate / Mahy, Margaret
“Sam has an ordinary life – but his mother used to be a pirate! One day at breakfast, they decide to go to sea and an amazing adventure begins.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What’s not to like about a brave girl journeying to the icy Arctic to rescue her sister from a terrifying pirate captain?

The ice sea pirates / Nilsson, Frida
“Captain Whitehead wants children, the smaller the better. They say he has a diamond mine, and to be taken there is the worst thing that can happen to a child. Miki has been kidnapped and nothing will stop Siri from saving her little sister… –Adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

How about a piratical classic?

Treasure Island / Stevenson, Robert Louis
“Join Jim Hawkins as he sails the high seas aboard the Hispaniola in search of lost treasure…”-Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook, and a comic.

 

Using your library – from home!

With our libraries closed while Wellington is at Alert Level 4 we thought it would be a good idea remind you about all the ways you can still use your library from the comfort and safety of your own home – we’ve got you covered!

We have so many really cool resources available in our eLibrary! If you want to have a browse yourself you can check our our Kids’ Guide or have a look through what’s available on our Kids’ Home Page, or just read on…

Stories and Storytimes

If you’re after a book to read, look no further than Borrowbox or Libby. These apps are both free to download – just log in with your library card number and PIN and you’re away! These two have plenty of eBooks and eAudiobooks to keep you occupied on a rainy day at home.

If you’d rather listen to someone read you a story we’ve got more options for you! You can listen to great stories being read aloud by Australian and New Zealand storytellers through the Story Box Library, or you can try out something interactive with the TumbleBook Library. It’s the same deal with these – just log on with your library card!

We also have a whole lot of virtual storytimes from our own librarians available through our Facebook page. Check out the Virtual Storytime and Bedtime Storytime playlists for some great stories we recorded last year.

Things to do

If you’re after a challenge, read through our collection of Family Lockdown Challenges! These are full of exciting activities and ideas for you to do while at home. If you do any of the challenges (particularly the Book Domino Challenge!) be sure to tag us in any photos or videos you take on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Our Kids’ Club Book Reviews are still up and running, so you can start earning prizes by writing book reviews! We’ve got a great post here with some tips about how to write a fantastic review. When our libraries are open again you can come on in and collect a plethora of prizes – how cool is that?!

If you’re missing Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme or CRAFTerschool go check out the Johnsonville and Tawa Library Facebook pages! If you go through the Videos tab on each page you can easily find the recorded Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme sessions from last year, as well as some wonderful craft tutorials.

How adorable are these hedgehogs – and you could make one yourself!

Movies and TV

If there’s someone in your household with an adult library card they’ll be able to access our online streaming services – we have two! Beamafilm and Kanopy are both free to use. You can watch as much as you like on Beamafilm and there are no limits to any of the kids’ content on Kanopy.

Kia kaha, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you again in person on the other side.

Black Cat Appreciation Day

You may not have known it, but the 17th of August is Black Cat Appreciation Day. This is a day for us to celebrate, share pictures of, and appreciate black cats. But why should we celebrate black cats, when there are so many cats out there?

Black cats have been considered both lucky and unlucky across the world. Unfortunately for them, a lot of well-known superstitions around at the moment paint them as bad luck so in many places black cats take longer to be adopted or just aren’t adopted at all. Over in the UK Cats Protection (who celebrate National Black Cat Day on the 27th of October) found that it took up to a week longer for black cats to find their forever home.

But black cats are great! Quite a few of us who work at the library think so, and some of us share our homes and hearts with a black cat. In honour of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here are some of the black cats who belong to your librarians:

Two cats sitting on someone's knees. The left cat is white with black ears and a black spot on her back. The right cat is black with white whiskers and a white chest.This is Le Beau (right), sitting here with Princess Holly (left).



A black cat looking off to the right. He has a bright blue bow around his neck.This is Oz, who will snuggle with ANYONE.



A black cat lying in the sun on top of a newspaper. His head is resting on his front paws and his back paws are pointing towards the camera showing you their toe beans.This is Poot, who quite likes snoozing in the sun.



A black cat being carried. Her light yellow eyes are open extremely wide.This is Shavana, who likes to think she’s too independent to be carried.



A black cat sitting demurely on the shelf of a cat tree. She is looking downwards and her front paws are curled over the edge of the shelf.This is Tove, who was named after the wonderful Moomin author Tove Jansson.



A large grey and white dog at the bottom of the frame is using a large black cat as a pillow.This is Wolfram, who doesn’t mind being used as a pillow by his friend Tama.


Such an excellent groups of cats! Do any of you have a black cat of your own that you appreciate?

If you don’t, or even if you do, you might be interested in some of the literary black cats you can find in the books we have in our libraries.

This one here is a very funny chapter book about the Gaskitt family – which includes their cat!

The woman who won things / Ahlberg, Allan
“One lucky morning …Mrs Gaskitt opens the post and finds she’s won a prize! Next she kisses the postman! Never mind, though – the postman is Mr Gaskitt doing his very latest job. Meanwhile, Gus and Gloria get a new teacher, Mrs Plum, with silvery hair, a big smile and a huge suitcase, who’s ever so helpful when things start to go missing in the classroom. And then Mrs Gaskitt finds she’s won another prize! What happens next?.” (Catalogue)

Here’s the classic New Zealand black cat – but watch out for Scarface Claw!

Slinky Malinki / Dodd, Lynley
“A rhyming account of the night an adventurous cat goes thieving and becomes entangled in his ill-gotten gains.” (Catalogue)

We’ve got many other books about Slinky Malinki in our collection too!

If you feel like reading a slightly creepy chapter book with a very independent black cat you should try:

Coraline / Gaiman, Neil
“There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house ? the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back. 9 yrs+” (Catalogue)

Also available as an audiobook, eAudiobook, and eBook.


This is a lovely New Zealand picture book about a special black cat who befriends a lonely Grandpop:

Blackie the fisher-cat / Pereira, Janet
“An unexpected friendship develops between an adventurous cat and a grandfather who loves to fish. Blackie is no ordinary cat. Blackie is a cat with character and a cat with a kind heart. She also knows what’s good for her – food, fishing and friendship! And Grandpop is in need of a friend. He has returned to his favourite camping ground, but this trip is different – Grandpop is alone. One morning, Grandpop discovers Blackie on his caravan step. Over the next few weeks, a very special friendship emerges between Blackie and Grandpop.” (Catalogue)

If you feel like reading a chapter book about a girl who accidentally buys a Royal black cat, we recommend:

Carbonel : the Prince of cats / Sleigh, Barbara
“This is the story of a cat, a broomstick and an ordinary schoolgirl called Rosemary. She bought them both in the market, quite cheaply. Of course, neither the cat nor the broomstick were just what they seemed, and they turned up just when Rosemary badly needed something nice to happen to her. A good cat is apt to be independent, so she did not have things all her own way, and as Carbonel proved to be a Royal cat in a very special sense, that was understandable. Between the cat and the broomstick, Rosemary picked up some useful spells and magic, and the adventures they brought about turned a dull-looking holiday into one long to be remembered for its unexpected excitements and rewards.” (Catalogue)

If you like witches trying to solve problems, you should read this book:

Winnie the witch / Thomas, Valerie
“Winnie shares her big black house with Wilbur her big black cat. So sometimes she accidentally trips over him. Ouch! After some spells that make Wilbur look very silly, Winnie finds just the right magic to make sure she can always see him. It’s a colourful Winnie and Wilbur adventure! Korky Paul’s intricate artwork is full of madcap humour and crazy details to pore over. The spellbinding new look of this bestselling series celebrates the wonderful relationship that exists between Winnie the Witch and her big black cat, Wilbur. Since Winnie and Wilbur first appeared in 1987 they have been delighting children and adults in homes and schools all over the world and more than 7 million books have been sold. Ages 0+” (Catalogue)

And we’ve got many more books about Winnie and Wilbur’s other adventures!

Our Favourite Picture Books

It should be no surprise to you that librarians like books. We work here for a reason! We are surrounded by books at work and a good number of them often manage to find their way home with us at the end of the day. We choose books for book clubs, displays, and storytimes, and a very important part of what we do is helping people like you find a book that you’re going to love.

To help you find a picture book you’ll love, we thought we’d tell you about some of the picture books we love, and why we like them. So read on for a list of your local librarians’ favourite picture books.

Amy’s favourite:

My cat likes to hide in boxes / Sutton, Eve

The illustrations are super cute and my cat also likes to hide in boxes (or any other tiny spot he can squeeze into).


Andree’s favourite:

Stack the cats / Ghahremani, Susie

Counting and Cats, what’s not to love!

Will the cats stack or tumble and fall? How is the best way to stack your cats?

A fun way to put a little bit of maths and a little bit of cute into your life.


Catherine’s favourite:

The pout-pout fish / Diesen, Deborah

I love the rhythm and rhyme and how a frown turned upside down is a smile ( I have a song that goes with it) and the value of a loving kiss to change your perspective on life. Wonderful illustrations too with just enough detail to be interesting. With the illustrations I think the book could do double duty as just an undersea looking/talk-about book if you are one to one with a child.


Claire’s favourite:

Poor Louie / Fucile, Tony

Poor Louie is very sweet – You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor puppy dealing with lots of changes, going from being the centre of attention to… not so much… The very sweet twist at the end is what makes it great though.


Debbie’s favourite:

The Lorax / Seuss

Even though it was a children’s book  it was read to a small group of peers at a college biology camp by a teacher. It has always remained a special book for me because of his wonderful rendition of the story.

Plus I love the environmental message.


El’s favourite:

The lamb who came for dinner / Smallman, Steve

This story makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside whenever I read it.


Emma’s favourite:

The bear who wasn’t there / Pham, LeUyen

I like it because it’s as funny for adults as it is for kids (probably for slightly older kids like 8+), and there’s lots of different characters which you can do all sorts of voices for, and it gets meta and it’s just great!


Jonno’s favourite:

Bark, George / Feiffer, Jules

This book is the greatest thing put to paper since the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is a delightful book with so many hilarious moments, plot twists, and animal sounds, that kids are rapt by it.


Kath’s favourite:

The legend of rock paper scissors / Daywalt, Drew

This book has the best illustrations, and made me laugh out loud when I read it. When I read it to kids, they love the battle scenes and I always have fun giving the characters voices. I wish I could have posters of the illustrations!


Mary’s favourite:

Dr. Seuss’s sleep book. / Seuss

A favourite from my childhood! I love all the illustrations, all the funny creatures, and how you can choose your favourite creature on each page. Dr. Seuss is great at rhyming so it’s easy to read aloud, and at the end of the book you’re told to turn off your light and go to sleep which is a great hint!


Sandy’s favourite:

Supermarket, zoopermarket : a fun flap book / Sharratt, Nick

I am a great fan of Nick Sharratt, both because of his delightful and quirky illustrations in collaboration with others but also his own picture books. One that gets the attention of both children and adults at story time is a lift the flap ‘Supermarket Zoopermarket’. Very funny and a delightful play with words. Snappetizing…crocolate drops. I bet you can guess what they are. Crazy Crisps …Salt and Fin-egar crisps…fangtastic flavour.


Sara’s favourite:

Winnie the witch / Thomas, Valerie

Who could fail to be charmed by Winnie and her black cat Wilbur?  The adventures they have! The fun and the scrapes and the quirky naughtiness appeal to kids and grownups alike.


Stephen’s favourite:

The book with no pictures / Novak, B. J.

We know, we know, a picture book with no pictures in it! But trust us, this is one book you will definitely want to hear read aloud!


Te Atawhai’s favourite:

Pete the cat and his magic sunglasses / Dean, James

Such a fun, groovy read! Always in a good mood after reading Pete the Cat!


Tessa’s favourite:

The great white man-eating shark : a cautionary tale / Mahy, Margaret

I love the illustrations (especially Norvin’s shifty eyes), I love when Norvin gets his comeuppance and most importantly, I love Sharks!


When you’re around books all day, every day, it can be hard to pick just one favourite. Particularly when there are so many good books out there! One librarian couldn’t narrow it down to just one picture book, so here are her top picks.

Sue’s picks:

The black book of colours / Cottin, Menena

Such expressive language. A great one to get your audience to shut their eyes to. Makes for a good segue into discussions about disability etc with smaller children.

Nicketty-nacketty, noo-noo-noo / Cowley, Joy

A great rhyming read, and I love it that the wee wishy woman sticks it to the giant. Yay!  One for the underdogs!

Along came a different / McLaughlin, Tom

Bright and colourful, and another fun read that teaches tolerance (and shapes while you’re at it!)

Love you forever / Munsch, Robert N.

I first heard this book read by a grandchild at her nana’s funeral, and it’s made me cry ever since. All about a mother’s love. It got read to my children A LOT!

We’re going on a bear hunt / Rosen, Michael

A classic! Did you know that this can successfully be acted out to Edvard Grieg’s music “In the Hall of the Mountain King”?!


Now you’ve seen our favourite picture books, what do you think? Have you read any of them, or do you want to read any of them? And what’s your favourite picture book?

Fun things to do on National Teddy Bear Picnic Day

We’re at the end of Term 2 and the school holidays are almost here. In fact, they’re starting this Saturday. But that’s not the only thing happening this Saturday!

This Saturday the 10th of July is National Teddy Bear Picnic day, so we thought we’d welcome you into the school holidays with some activity ideas for both you and your teddy.

via GIPHY

Idea number one: Take your teddy bear on a picnic!
Set up a picnic blanket in your garden, or go on down to the Wellington Botanic Gardens and find a spot to sit down and eat with your teddy. If the weather is miserable we suggest moving your picnic inside. For an extra-special indoor picnic we recommend building a blanket fort to eat it in. Everyone knows teddy bears love blanket forts!

Idea number two: Come to our Teddy Bear Storytime at Te Awe!
In honour of this very special day we’ll be having an extra special storytime at Te Awe Library. Bring your teddy bear along and settle in for a fun session of stories, songs, and bear themed crafts. We hope to see you there at 2pm!

Idea number three: Make something with your teddy bear!
If you’re going out on a picnic you’ll need to have something to eat. If you’re a beginner baker then Time for Tea is a good cookbook to start you off. Or if you and your teddy have been reading a book by Enid Blyton together and you like the sound of the tasty treats she describes in her books then head towards Jolly Good Food for some literary and delicious recipes. We also have a list of great websites with recipes, tips, and tricks over on our Fun Stuff page.

It’s not just food you can make! If you feel like putting together some decorations for your picnic, perhaps you might like to have some Fun with Paper? Or if you have some yarn lying around you might want to check out My First Pompom Book for some exciting ideas. There’s also this blog post on other craft books available through our elibrary. Let your creativity run wild!

Idea number four: Read a bear-themed book!
There are a lot of books out there perfect for you and your teddy bear to read together, and we’ve picked out some of our favourites:

A bear called Paddington / Bond, Michael
“Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, “Please look after this bear. Thank you” So that is just what they did. From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. Jonathan and Judy were delighted with this havoc and even Mr. and Mrs. Brown had to admit that life seemed to be more filled with adventure when there was a bear in the house.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

The best-loved bear / Noonan, Diana
“When all the children take their teddybears to school for a best-loved bear contest, Tim is embarrassed because his teddy is so worn out. Suggested level: junior.” (Catalogue)

The everywhere bear / Donaldson, Julia
“The Everywhere Bear has a home on a shelf. But he doesn’t spend very much time by himself, For each boy and girl in the class is a friend. And he goes home with one of them every weekend. The Everywhere Bear has a wonderful time with the children in Class One, but one day he gets more than he bargained for when he falls unnoticed from a backpack and embarks on his own big adventure! He’s washed down a drain and whooshed out to sea, rescued by a fishing boat, loaded onto a lorry, carried off by a seagull …how will he ever make it back to Class One?” (Catalogue)

There’s a bear in the window / Pitman-Hayes, June
“There’s a bear in the window of the house across the street. It’s tall and round, with great big feet! I wonder what I would see if I were that bear, and that bear were me? From singer-songwriter June Pitman-Hayes comes a story told in both English and Māori that celebrates the great teddy bear hunt, that entertained thousands of children during lockdown in 2020″–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

We’re going on a bear hunt / Rosen, Michael
“Brave bear hunters go through grass, a river, mud, and other obstacles before the inevitable encounter with the bear forces a headlong retreat.” (Catalogue)

Winnie-the-Pooh / Milne, A. A.
“Meet the world’s favourite bear in the delightful collection, in which Pooh gets into a tight place, nearly catches a Woozle, and discovers the wrong sort of honey – amongst other things.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an audiobook, an eAudiobook, and an eBook

Not All Dragons are Super Scary

What do you think of when you picture a dragon: a huge winged scaly creature flying over a village breathing fire? Or maybe you picture a great red beast slumbering on a pile of gold. Perhaps the dragon you think of is one that lets out a deafening roar and shows its terrible teeth as it makes off with a princess. Terrifying! But not all dragons are so scary. These wonderful mythical beasts can be found in stories all over the world and some are very well-loved instead of being feared.

In China, dragons lived in the water and were thought to be very powerful and lucky. They could bring rain, and though they didn’t have wings they could fly. There are dragon dancers during Chinese New Year to bring good fortune, and the dragon is one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.

In Wales a red dragon and a white dragon sleeping under the ground kept knocking down the new castle walls above until Merlin convinced the king to dig down to where the dragons were. The red dragon chased the white dragon away, the castle was built, and the red dragon is still on the flag of Wales today.

Here in New Zealand we have taniwha, great creatures who usually live in or near our lakes and rivers. Some had wings, come could shape-shift, some were wild and dangerous, and some were kaitiaki, protectors and guardians of those who lived nearby.

Dragons in books aren’t all terrifying fire-breathing creatures either: just think of Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon who just wants to sit and read poetry, or the dragons in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series who work and fight alongside their humans. Dragons can be written as wise or mischievous, large or small, and we certainly have a LOT of books about dragons who aren’t just big and scary.

If you love dragons, or really liked either of these two books mentioned above, or just want to try something new you might enjoy some of these books in our collection!

If a three-thousand year old dragon with an artistic human for a pet seems like someone you’d like to read about, then try out:

A dragon’s guide to the care and feeding of humans / Yep, Laurence
“Crusty dragon Miss Drake’s new pet human, precocious ten-year-old Winnie, not only thinks Miss Drake is her pet, she accidentally brings to life her “sketchlings” of mysterious and fantastic creatures hidden in San Francisco, causing mayhem among its residents.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook


If you want to read about a princess who gets tired of curtseying and embroidery and runs off to live with the dragons then you should read:

Dealing with dragons / Wrede, Patricia C.
“Bored with her proper, circumscribed life as a princess, Cimorene runs away to join a powerful, fascinating dragon named Kazul and encounters a host of adventures along the way.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook

If you’d like to know a bit more about the different dragons all over the world then maybe you’ll enjoy:

Dragon world / Macfarlane, Tamara
“Meet the fire breathing beasts of mythology. Lurking in every corner of the world. From mountain peaks to ocean depths, and even under the very ground you tread, dragons watch and wait… Whether as powerful gods, wise friends, or fearsome foes, dragons take many forms, and exist in myths from cultures all around the world. So turn the pages to enter the dragon’s domain. Soar through their skies, look into their lairs, witness their power, and discover their incredible world”–back cover.” (Catalogue)

Perhaps you’re a fan of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and would like to read some poems about dragons and other mythical creatures that have all been illustrated by Eric Carle:

Eric Carle’s dragons dragons & other creatures that never were / Carle, Eric
“An illustrated collection of poems about dragons and other fantastic creatures by a variety of authors.” (Catalogue)

If a series by a New Zealand author about a half boy, half dragon who wants to be a knight sounds like something you want to read, then try out Kyle Mewburn’s Dragon Knight series:

Fire! / Mewburn, Kyle
“Merek is a shape-shifting half-boy, half-dragon who is desperate to get into knight school, but to do so he’ll have to conceal his secret and try not to set anything on fire.” (Catalogue)

If a picture book about a taniwha who was asleep for a very long time while the world changed around him sounds interesting, then we recommend:

Guardian of the bridge / Harris, Diana
“Tells the tale of how a taniwha, who was the guardian, the kaitiaki, of a very deep lake becomes the guardian of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. Includes facts, figures and images of Auckland Harbour Bridge and a brief history of the area. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Maybe you like the sound of a picture book about a dragon who’s forgotten how to breathe fire:

How to light your dragon / Lévy, Didier
“Has your dragon forgotten how to breathe fire? Have no fear. This imaginative story follows the exploits of one frustrated dragon owner as she tries increasingly hilarious tricks to rekindle her dragon’s flame. Covering everything from the simplest tactics (tickling the dragon), to the sneakiest ones (surprising it with unlit birthday candles), this book is perfect for children who love to guess what’s going to happen next. Readers will learn that in the end, the most important thing is loving the dragon unconditionally. If a person can do that, and if they mean it from the bottom of their heart, then they might discover a truly magical result.” (Catalogue)

If you’re a fan of adventure stories with ancient artefacts, martial arts, and international criminals you should try reading:

The relic of the Blue Dragon / Lim, Rebecca
“When Harley Spark accidentally releases Qing, one of five dragon sisters, from the ancient vase she’s been trapped in for centuries, he is soon on a dangerous international mission with Qing to find and free her four sisters. Harley Spark is just an ordinary thirteen-year-old kid who lives with his mum, Delia. Rumour has it that his dad, Ray, is an international crime figure with a talent for nicking old, valuable things. So when Harley finds an antique Chinese vase on the footpath, something compels him to stuff it under his school jumper and run for home. Little does he know he’s about to reignite a centuries-old war between two ancient, supernatural families.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

And if a comic full of tiny dragons who grow different herbs on their horns is your cup of tea, then you should like:

The Tea Dragon Society / O’Neill, Katie
“After discovering a lost Tea Dragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of Tea Dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook


Family Lockdown Challenge: Bubble Scavenger Hunts!

Are you looking for something to fill in a spare hour at home? Or maybe you need an activity to do on your daily walk around your neighbourhood. Have you considered a scavenger hunt?

An example of a scavenger hunt you could make at home!

A scavenger hunt is so much easier than a treasure hunt, because you don’t have to make any clues or hide any treasure! You just create a list of things to find, then get searching.

When you’re creating your list you can be as vague or specific as you like, from a red leaf or yellow flower, to something that makes a noise or something you use at school. You can give your scavenger hunts different themes too, from things inside the house (if it’s a rainy day!), to things out in your garden, or even things connected by a theme such as technology, pets, or colour. If your theme is colour, you can use the same list for every colour of the rainbow!

If you’re doing your scavenger hunt within your bubble at home, then of course you’re free to gather together all the objects you find. If you’ve created a scavenger hunt to complete while you’re out on a walk, picking things up and carrying them around isn’t the best idea at the moment. We suggest you just tick off or write down what you see, or you can turn it into a photo challenge and take pictures of all the things you find. Or you can join in the nation-wide Bear Hunt, and count how many Teddy Bears you can see in your neighbours’ windows.

Another idea is a literary scavenger hunt! Challenge yourself to read books on different subjects, by different authors, and about different characters. Can you read a book with a bear in it? How about a turtle, or one by a New Zealand author?

If you want some inspiration, check out the scavenger hunts that we’ve created to inspire you:

So get to it! Challenge yourself, or send one off and challenge your friends. We’d love to see what you come up with, so show us what you’ve been up to on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!