Get in the Pink and Make Bullying a Thing of the Past!

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“On Pink Shirt Day, Friday 20 May 2022, Aotearoa will be transformed into a sea of māwhero/pink as we stand together to spread aroha, celebrate diversity and end bullying!” (Pink Shirt Day Rangitahi toolkit resource)

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against bullying after another year 9 student was harassed on his first day at the school for wearing pink. The bullies called him names for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

In Aotearoa, Pink Shirt Day has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2012. They work to reduce the impact of bullying behaviour and the harm it causes.

“By taking part in Pink Shirt Day, you become a part of a powerful movement to celebrate diversity and end bullying.”

Bullying at school is a serious issue for New Zealand young people. We have the dubious record of having the third highest rate of school bullying out of 36 OECD countries. 

happy birthday greeting card on green and red textileWhat Can I Do?

  • Wear pink! The brighter the better. Then if someone comments on your “out there” clothing choices, you can talk to them about why you love the colour pink and what it stands for. You don’t have to limit your pink wearing to just one day of the year. Pink is a beautiful colour and stopping bullying and heightening bullying awareness is a 24/7 mission!
  • Hold a Pink Shirt Day quiz with your friends or classmates. This helps create camaraderie as well as have some fun. A Pink Quiz starter is HERE but you could make your own quiz to share.
  • Create a kindness wall or white board in your class or at your school where you and your classmates can leave positive messages of hope. Photograph them and feature in your next school newsletter.
  • Become a RAKtivist. Did you know that New Zealand also celebrates a Random Acts of Kindness day on 1 September? But you can make every day a RAK day!

Some Handy Websites

Pink Shirt Day

Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health for Kids

Bullying Free NZ


Some Wellington City Libraries Kids’ Blog Links

Wellington pride festival blog

Keep Calm and Carry on with Mindfulness blog

Become a RAKtivist blog


Some Great Reading from the WCL Catalogue

How to beat bullying at school : simple steps to put an end to bullying.
“Unfortunately, bullying is one of the biggest problems for schoolchildren, and recent technological developments have only made things worse. But there is no need to suffer in silence! The best thing you – or your child – can do is to talk about it. Although it may seem that things will never get better, there are several effective ways to deal with bullies.” (Catalogue)
Bullying / Spilsbury, Louise
“Helping children to recognise [bullying] and know what to do about it. The … series encourages children to explore their emotions and discuss topics they may find difficult to understand. There are practical tips and activities as well as advice for parents and teachers”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)
Teasing isn’t funny : what to do about emotional bullying / Higgins, Melissa
“Jesse and the other animals at the bus stop make fun of Kelly’s fluffy fur and plain clothes. The constant teasing makes Kelly the cat feel sad. Young readers watch Kelly struggle with the teasing and learn safe ways to make it stop. Sensitive illustrations of gender-neutral animal characters help all children relate to the issue of emotional bullying.” (Catalogue)
You be you! : the kid’s guide to gender, sexuality, and family / Branfman, Jonathan
“You Be You! is an illustrated children’s book for ages 5 and up that makes gender identity, sexual orientation and family diversity easy to explain to children. Throughout the book kids learn that there are many kinds of people in the world and that diversity is something to be celebrated. It covers gender, romantic orientation, discrimination, intersectionality, privilege, and how to stand up for what’s right. With charming illustrations, clear explanations, and short sections that can be dipped in and out of, this book helps children think about how to create a kinder, more tolerant world.” (Catalogue)
Say something / Reynolds, Peter H.
“The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something! If you see an injustice… say something! In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, has the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voice. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!” (Catalogue)
Be who you are / Parr, Todd
“Picture book encouraging kids to be proud of what makes them unique, where they come from, and how they express themselves and see the world.” (Catalogue)
Be your own superhero / Meek, Laura
“A fun and practical guide of achievable micro-actions to help young readers feel more in control of their mental health, empowering them to grow their confidence and change the world for the better. Do you want someone else to help you out of a hard situation? Would you prefer another person swooped in and saved the day? I didn’t think so. You want to be a superhero. With this guide, you can. It’s full of activities to help develop your powers. It’ll teach you everything you need to know about growing your abilities, feeling happier and getting more confident. Written by child psychiatrist Dr Laura Meek, this fun and practical guide will empower young readers to become more aware of their own mental health and will help them to improve their confidence.” (Catalogue)
Wonder / Palacio, R. J
“August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school until now. He s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power. “Wonder” is a book with such a big, wide heart it shows how we are all fragile, imperfect, and perfectly beautiful creatures. A wonderful novel by a wonder of a writer! Julia Alvarez, author of “Return to Sender,” “Before We Were Free,” “Finding Miracles,” and the Tia Lola Stories”.” (Catalogue)

Pink is for boys / Pearlman, Robb
“A celebration of how colours are for everyone depicts characters engaging in their favourite activities.” (Catalogue)
Along came a different / McLaughlin, Tom
“Reds love being red. Yellows love being yellow. And Blues love being blue. The problem is that they just don’t like each other. Maybe being different doesn’t mean you can’t be friends… But one day, along comes a different colour who likes Reds, Yellows and Blues, and suddenly everything starts to change. A very special picture book that supports the adage that there is more that unites us than divides us. Along Came a Different just goes to show how much better we can all be when we come together to find common ground as friends.” (Catalogue)
Friendships and bullying / Head, Honor
“Kids can find the world we live in daunting and a bit scary. There’s just so much going on with climate change, social media and pressures to work out what it is you want to do in life – even at this young age! This book will help young readers explore some common areas of anxiety and conflict on the topic of FRIENDSHIPS and BULLYING in a fun and gentle way.” (Catalogue)

Book Endings: The Way You Want Them to Be!

Apples and Oranges - Kids Environment Kids Health - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Which would you choose?

Is the way a book ends important to you? Do you sometimes wish that you could write the ending so that the book finishes just the way you want it to? Or do you sometimes wonder what would happen to the story if the main character chose a different path to the one they did choose?

You sound like a perfect candidate for reading ‘choose your own ending’ books. These books give you alternatives.  They might say something like: “If you think this happens, turn to page XX, but if you want this to happen, turn to page XXX”.

Then everyone’s happy! You get the ending you want, and the hero or heroine gets to fight another day (or not, depending on what you choose!).

Oh the power! So… let’s get started:


If you like adventure non-fiction books with a you-choose ending, try these:

You Choose book series

Here are a couple of examples of action adventure books from this nail-biting series:

Could you escape a deserted island? : an interactive survival adventure / Hoena, B. A
“When an adventure at sea goes awry, the reader’s choices determine if survival is possible for two friends marooned on a desert island with a deflated raft and few supplies.” (Catalogue)

Surviving Mount Everest : an interactive extreme sports adventure / Hoena, B. A
“Since the beginning of time, we have been fascinated with heights. Mount Everest, therefore, is at the tip top of our fascination. In this tale, you call the shots in trying to conquer dizzying heights. Each decision becomes more important than the last as you climb higher and higher. Will you make it? Will you fall? Will you survive at all? YOU CHOOSE how this adventure ends. — back cover.” (Catalogue)


If you like adventure fiction, try these:

Choose Your Own Adventure book series

Here’s a couple of adventures you won’t want to miss the ending/s of:

House of danger / Montgomery, R. A
“You are a successful young detective, and the creepy Marsden residence and its missing owner have haunted you more than any other case. Maybe this is a sign you shouldn’t continue? Do you call in your best friends for support? Or perhaps you should turn to the police for help? Are you ready to take on mutant chimpanzees, time travel, and a counterfeiting ring to solve the case? House of Danger takes YOU on a thrilling adventure investigating criminal activity and a dark history in your town!” (Catalogue)

Journey under the sea / Montgomery, R. A
“Did the lost city of Atlantis really exist? Or is it just a myth? You are a highly experienced deep sea explorer, buut your search for the lost city of Atlantis is the trip of a lifetime. You must make choices necessary to go deeper, hoping one will lead you to your quarry, the mythical lost continent of Atlantis. Choose from forty-two possible endings.” (Catalogue)


Or maybe Sci-fi and fantasy is your jam?

Fighting Fantasy gamebooks

Starship Traveller / Jackson, Steve
“Sucked through the nightmare of the Seltsian Void, the starship Traveller emerges at the other side of the black hole into an unknown universe. You are the captain of the Traveller and her fate depends on you. Will you be able to discover the way back to Earth from the alien peoples and planets you encounter?” (Catalogue)

Spellbreaker / Green, Jonathan
“Rassin Abbey has guarded its arcane treasures for centuries. But when their Black Grimoire spellbook is stolen, the land of Ruddlestone is plunged into a crisis of epic proportions. Should the legendary Casket of Shadows be opened, the Infernal Beast will be unleashed to wreak its terrible carnage across the Old World.” (Catalogue)


Are you into your sports? These extreme sport adventures might be just for you:

You Choose: Surviving Extreme Sports

Surviving the Iditarod : an interactive extreme sports adventure / Jacobsmeyer, Nicki
“Set in the Alaskan wilds, the Iditarod is one of the most extreme races on the planet. As the musher and leader of a high-powered dog sledding team, choosing the right lead dog is just the first of your important decisions. From there, each choice you make will affect whether you come in first, fifth, last, or not at all. You choose how this adventure ends.” (Catalogue)

Surviving the Le Mans auto race : an interactive extreme sports adventure / Hoena, B. A
“The Le Mans auto race in France is a true test of endurance, and as you sit behind the wheel of a high-powered racecar, you’re in control. The decisions you make may take you across the finish line as a champion–or send you careening off course. Will you find a way to win–or even survive? YOU CHOOSE how this adventure story ends.” (Catalogue)

Cuddle your Teddy Bear in Troubling Times!

Teddy twins reading in the library. Image: Sue Jane

Why are teddy bears so popular with children and adults alike? Is it because they can be your softest, most huggable companions?! You can hug them for as long as you want, and in return get the best ‘cuddly’ feel ever. Their soft fur and smooth textures make you feel better and immediately cheers you up. Psychologists refer to them as “comfort objects,” and they can help us feel a greater sense of security when moving from one life stage to another, or when things get a little sad and scary.

We love our teddy bears so much that there’s even a Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day to help celebrate your special friend.


Some of our best loved bear stories are based on real events, and, sadly, these events are often about war and conflict. Here are just a few that will make you want to cuddle up with your own teddy and get reading:

Winnie the Pooh

Everyone knows about Winnie the Pooh, but did you know that these stories came about because of a real bear called Winnie? The real Winnie was a black bear who was brought to England from Canada with a vet on his way to World War 1.

Finding Winnie : the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh / Mattick, Lindsay
“Before there was Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. Here begins the moving true story of the real bear named Winnie adopted by soldiers during World War 1, and the inspiration behind the nation’s best-loved bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a vet on his way to tend horses in World War 1, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, and he took her to war. Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey – from the fields of Canada to an army base in England …and finally to London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend – a boy named Christopher Robin Milne” (Catalogue)

This amazing story has also been published as a chapter book:

Winnie’s Great War / Mattick, Lindsay
“Everyone has heard of Winnie-the-Pooh, but not everyone knows about the real Canadian bear who lent him her name. This is a wonderful tale of courage and friendship, for fans of Michael Morpurgo. Come on a heart-warming adventure, inspired by the journey undertaken by an extraordinary bear called Winnie during World War One.” (Catalogue)

 Anzac Ted

Anzac Ted, tells the story of a teddy bear, that was taken to the front line in World War 1 and then passed through the generations. Although this book is fictional, many ANZAC soldiers did in fact take treasured toys to the front line as a reminder of home and happier times.

Anzac Ted / Landsberry, Belinda
“Anzac Ted is the powerful, poignant story of a little boy’s teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. Battered, torn, missing an eye and an ear, he might look scary but he’s got a great story to tell. For Anzac Ted went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort. And while he never won a medal, and now doesn’t even attract a single vote at classroom Toy Shows, if only everyone looked a little deeper: ‘They’d see a hero, plain as day who sits upon my bed. A hero, who saved me and you. His name …is Anzac Ted.’ While several children’s picture books cover the world wars, none has ever made the conflict so accessible to children by telling the story of a bear who went to war. Belinda’s exquisite watercolour illustrations combine with her rhyming text to create a book that, while perfect for parents and teachers to share with children, is also guaranteed to touch the heart of every adult.” (Catalogue)

Josef’s Bear

Josef’s bear is a little wooden bear that was his father’s. This story is set in Germany just after World War 2…

Josef’s bear / Beames, Margaret
“It is Germany in 1948 and the war is over, but 11-year-old Josef still dreams of finding his father. All he has to remember him by is a little wooden bear. When Josef’s home in Berlin was destroyed during the war, he was rescued by Helga, a farmer’s wife, but now Josef is driven from the farm by Helga’s husband. With the bear in his pocket and a pistol in his pack, he heads for Berlin. In the war-ravaged city, now in the throes of the Russian blockade, he is befriended by Elsa and 6-year-old Trudi. Survival is a daily struggle, made possible by the Allied airlift. Josef tries to find work, while continuing to search for his father, and is drawn into an attempt to smuggle a German scientist, wanted by the Russians, out of Berlin. When he meets the Professor and sees a collection of hand-carved animals in his room he realises his search is over – but the house is burning, the Russians are closing in and the only way out is over the roof-tops” (Catalogue)

Pink Rabbit

You couldn’t call Pink Rabbit a teddy Bear, but it is still a cuddly and much-loved soft toy. The book “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit” is also set in World War 2 and is based on the true story of the book’s author, Judith Kerr. In the book Anna has to choose which toy she wishes to take with her when her family flee their home. She opts to take her new woolly dog, and leave behind her pink rabbit toy, believing she will return to Berlin after a short time. It is from this that the title is derived as she considers that Hitler and the Nazis have “stolen” her much-loved toy.

When Hitler stole pink rabbit / Kerr, Judith
“Suppose your country began to change. Suppose that without your noticing, it became dangerous for some people to live in Germany any longer. Suppose you found, to your complete surprise, that your own father was one of those people. That is what happened to Anna in 1933. She was nine years old when it began, too busy with her schoolwork and toboganning to take much notice of political posters, but out of them glared the face of Adolf Hitler, the man who would soon change the whole of Europe — starting with her own small life. Anna suddenly found things moving too fast for her to understand. One day, her father was unaccountably missing. Then she herself and her brother Max were being rushed by their mother, in alarming secrecy, away from everything they knew — home and schoolmates and well-loved toys — right out of Germany!” (Catalogue)


Leave a poppy

Online Cenotaph of the Auckland War Memorial

image courtesy of rsa.co.nzIf you want to do some searching for family members who fought for New Zealand in World War I or World War II, the Online Cenotaph of the Auckland War Memorial is a great resource. You can even lay a virtual poppy on the wall of a loved one, or the UNKNOWN WARRIOR



And some of our furry friends have overcome scary times to give their humans comfort:

Edward Tulane

The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane / DiCamillo, Kate
“Edward Tulane, a cold-hearted and proud toy rabbit, loves only himself until he is separated from the little girl who adores him and travels across the country, acquiring new owners and listening to their hopes, dreams, and histories.” (Catalogue)

Lockdown Bear

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” (Catalogue)

Paper Planes Go Global

Do you like making and folding paper planes (sometimes called paper darts)? You’re not alone! Every year in March, paper dart enthusiasts from around the world compete in the Red Bull Paper Wings Competition for paper planes folded out of an A4 piece of paper – no engines or fuel allowed. In 2022 nearly 500 people from 62 countries competed in three categories:

  • Distance: 50 metres is the distance to beat in 2022… so far
  • Hangtime: 14.80 seconds is the longest time in the air in the 2022 competition… so far
  • Aerobatics: An online contest of fancy moves and innovative design

In New Zealand our national finals event was held at Motat (Museum of Transport and Technology) in Auckland, on Saturday 26 March where the finalists competed in two categories, distance and hangtime. Dan Kingsley from Auckland won the hangtime category sending his paper plane gliding above for 7.93 seconds; and Bailey Parsons, also from Auckland, won the distance category with his 43m throw. Both Dan and Bailey will be off to the Paper Wings World Final in Salzburg, Austria on 13 and 14 May 2022.

Meet the Kiwis representing NZ in the global paper plane throwing competition

Check out some fun flight facts and detail:

Paper Airplane Folding Designs

Fantastic Fundamentals of Flight

How Planes Fly

Bird Flight Facts


You can hone your paper plane making and flying skills with these great reads from our shelves:

Paper airplanes! / Zoo, Keith
“Show-How Guides are joyful primers for curious minds-collectible, visual, step-by-step handbooks that teach the skills every kid should know! This pocket-sized 101 series introduces kids of all ages to the perennial talents, hobbies, skills, and hands-on activities they’ll treasure for a lifetime. Each book includes a curated collection of essential skills and every step is illustrated, allowing kids to truly and easily master the basics, regardless of how they learn. Finally, fun and friendly tutorials you can understand at a glance! Show-How Guides are an affordable stocking stuffer, birthday gift, or impulse buy. Want to fly? This Show-How Guide gives you the know-how on paper airplanes. Through illustrated, step-by-step tutorials on eleven essential models (plus key tips and tricks), you’ll quickly and easily master folding and flying skills. What are you waiting for? Get off to a flying start!” (Catalogue)

Unlock your imagination
“Provides instruction for games, crafts, performances, puzzles, and other activities from running a lemonade stand to starting a newspaper.” (Catalogue)

Paper planes / Worland, Steve
“One paper plane flies straight and fast and true. Dylan’s. Twelve-year-old Dylan Webber lives in outback Western Australia in a small country town. When he discovers he has a talent for folding and flying paper planes, Dylan begins a journey to reach the World Junior Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Along the way he makes unlikely new friends, clashes with powerful rivals and comes to terms with his family’s past before facing his greatest challenge – to create a paper plane that will compete with the best in the world.” (Catalogue)

The science of flight : the air-mazing truth about planes and helicopters / Graham, Ian
“This fascinating guide to how humans mastered the power of flight combines fact-packed, easy-to-read text with colourful illustrations, From hot air balloons and the Wright brothers to today’s super-fast jets, this is an introduction to the mechanics and marvels of flight. Each spread has multiple entry points, including an introductory paragraph, illustrations and handy advice.” (Catalogue)

Higher, steeper, faster : the daredevils who conquered the skies / Goldstone, Lawrence
“The pioneers of early flight performed death-defying feats and broke new technological ground as they took to the skies to thrill crowds and advance the boundaries of human innovation”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

How birds fly / Williams, Nick
“This series helps to answer some of the most fascinating questions about the natural world, showing how nature works and all its amazing aspects. Encourages investigative skills and scientific enquiry. Ages 8+.” (Catalogue)

 

Feel the Beat with World Piano Day!

File:Cartoon Piano Keyboard.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 29 March is World Piano Day! Interesting… why today you ask? It’s because 29 March is 88 days into the year, and the humble piano has 88 keys – 52 white keys and 36 black keys.

brown piano interior keys

Hammers inside a piano. Image: Unsplash

A Brief History

The piano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Italy. Cristofori was unsatisfied by the lack of control that musicians had over the volume level of the harpsichord. He is credited for switching out the plucking mechanism with a hammer to create the modern piano in around the year 1700. By using hammers to hit the piano strings, he could create a loud or soft sound depending on how hard he hit the keys. This method is still used today and is called “the action” of the piano.

How did the piano get its name?

The instrument was actually first named “clavicembalo col piano e forte” (literally, a harpsichord that can play soft and loud noises). This was shortened to the now common name, “piano.”

What’s the difference between an upright and grand piano?

Upright or Grand: What Type of Piano Is Right For You? - Merriam Music - Toronto's Top Piano Store & Music SchoolGrand piano strings lie horizontal to the ground. Once a hammer has struck the string, gravity does the work of resetting the hammer. The quicker you can reset a hammer, the faster you can play that note again. So yes, on average, grands play faster than uprights.

Upright strings lie, well… upright! So once a hammer strikes a string, it relies on a series of complex mechanisms to reset the hammer.

Fun Piano Facts

  • By the time a piano is put together it can be quite heavy. A Steinway Concert Grand can weigh up to 500 kg – about the same weight as an adult horse!
  • The largest piano is the ‘Alexander Piano’ is  5.7 metres long, and weighs around one tonne. That’s over twice the length of your usual concert grand piano, and weighs almost as much as a small car.
  • Piano playing is sometimes referred to as “tickling the ivories”. That’s because originally the white piano keys were made from ivory. but this has changed since the ivory trade has been banned to save elephants and rhinos from extinction. Black keys were originally made from the black hardwood ebony. These days modern piano keys are coated in a hard plastic.

Becoming a Concert Pianist

Becoming a concert pianist requires loads of dedication and hard work. On average, it takes most concert pianists 15+ years, 3-5 hours a day of  practice, and quite a bit of study to achieve their goals!

Check out this video of New Zealand pianist Richard Farrell performing in 1952. He was widely thought of as one of the most talented pianists in the world when his life was tragically cut short in a car accident in 1958, when he was only 31 years old.

Want to dig deeper into the piano world?

Blog: What are piano keys made of and why?

Johnsonville Library’s Lockdown 2020 Quarantunes (with library staff playing the piano and other instruments)

Piano sheet music for kids

Britannica Kids – the piano

New Zealand Pianists

Kids’ Blog: Reaching for the Stars – What Makes a Champion?


Want to read more piano books?

My first piano book / Helsby, Genevieve
“Following the success of “My First Classical Music Book,” author Genevieve Helsby and illustrator Jason Chapman return with “My First Piano Book.” Bursting with life and humour, this is a uniquely comprehensive introduction to the piano, designed first and foremost to inspire. Text and illustrations are so perfectly in tune with each other that every page is a treat to explore. With a cast of animal characters showing what they know (and what they don’t!), this truly is both informative and great fun. Book and two CDs, with online music, and narration. Part 1: “Why is the Piano So Special?” How the piano works and sounds. 23 music tracks including: Bach – Prelude in C; Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 21; Joplin – The Entertainer; Debussy – Clair de lune; Faure – Berceuse; John Cage – Perilous Night No. 6; Satie – Gymnopedie No. 1 Part 2: “How Do I Play It?” A clear introduction to playing the piano. Play along with 12 specially written pieces with “Guide Me” narration option.” (Catalogue)

The bear and the piano / Litchfield, David
“One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind. A moving tale of exploration and belonging.” (Catalogue)

Easy piano pieces for children.
“The compositions in Easy Piano Pieces for Children have all been carefully selected for the beginner pianist. Over 100 selections in this songbook are progressively graded, with editorial markings and suggested fingering, allowing beginner children to learn with specially selected songs that they will enjoy playing. This large songbook includes classic favorites by Mozart, Debussy and Grieg, piano miniatures by Schumann, Arensky and Turk, as well as selections from Bartok’s For Children, among many others. Each piece is graded with a star to indicate difficulty, while a glossary of music symbols and a keyboard chart are included to help early students with note and key recognition.” (Catalogue)

The piano and other keyboard instruments / Storey, Rita
“Introduces children to groups of musical instruments and how they make music with them.” (Catalogue)

The piano recital / Miyakoshi, Akiko
“It’s the day of Momo’s very first piano recital, and she is terribly nervous. Today is the day of a little mouseling’s very first performance, too, and she’s just as nervous as Momo. The mouseling invites Mom to watch her performance. Momo follows the mouseling through a small door backstage, where she’s met with an amazing sight: an elaborate miniature theatre, and an audience of finely dressed mice! When the Grand Mouse-ter takes the stage, a hush falls over the crowd and a magical show unfolds – a circus, a magic act, acrobats! Momo is delighted. And when it’s the mouseling’s turn to take the stage, Momo soothes her little friend’s nerves – her own now long forgotten – and accompanies her on piano. As Momo finishes her piece and gives a bow, she’s surprised to see that her audience isn’t furry and miniature, but human! And they’re all clapping – for her! A proud Momo is quite sure she can hear mouse paw-clapping, too…” (Catalogue)

Elton John / Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel
“As a child, Elton started playing his grandmothers piano in Harrow, London. He could pick tunes out by ear and was soon attending lessons at the Royal Academy. After answering an advertisement in a newspaper, Elton teamed up with a lyric-writing buddy: Bernie Taupin. The rest was history. Elton’s songwriting talent, musical skill and dazzling outfits have made him one of the all-time greats. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the musician’s life.” (Catalogue)

Children’s songs : a superfast way to learn awesome songs on your piano or keyboard / Kemmeter, Jennifer
“A fun and easy way to learn to play the piano or keyboard, with helpful instruction on classic and favorite songs. Written by the author of the best-selling Build It! series in collaboration with an experienced piano teacher, the Play It! books teach how to play the piano or keyboard in a simple, effective way. Using color-coded notes and character icons, the books include piano sheets of popular and favorite songs as well as a primer on how to read sheet music and some basic techniques. For beginners ages 5 and up, Play It! is the perfect companion on your musical journey.” (Catalogue)

Too Precious to Lose: Celebrating our Forests

Kahikitea Forest, West Coast NZ. Image: Sue Jane

Tuesday 21 March marks International Day of Forests. The 2022 theme is

“Too Precious to Lose”

which I think we can all agree is a very good theme! We often take trees, forests and natural areas for granted, but without them we simply wouldn’t survive. Trees are truly amazing (a word I’ll use often in this post!) 🙂

Here are some fun facts about our amazing trees:

  • Forests influence and slow climate change mainly by affecting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • An average mature tree can absorb almost 36% of rainfall it comes in contact with.
  • Forests are helpful in improving water quality by extracting pollutants through tree roots.
  • More than ¼ of all medicines we use originate in rainforests.
  • The largest tree-dwelling mammal is the orang-utan.
  • The General Sherman Giant Redwood Tree is the largest in the world at 1,487 cubic metres. A coast redwood from California is the tallest tree in the world with an incredible height of 115.61 metres. It is called Hyperion.
  • Forests are home to 80% of the world’s land-based biodiversity – the variety of living things in any given place – with more than 60,000 tree species alone.
  • Forests cycle water between the soil and the atmosphere and help make rain
  • Trees also produce oxygen for us to breathe.

Weird but true!

Trees actually talk to each other! Not in the way we think about ‘talking’, but scientists believe there’s enough evidence to show that there is communication going on in the forests. Scientists have nicknamed this phenomenon “The Wood-Wide Web“! Here’s an interesting vid that explains all:

How can I help save the trees?

You can help protect our forests. When you visit a forest be sure to keep all of your rubbish with you, keep on the tracks to avoid damaging plants, roots, and spreading diseases and get your hands dirty by volunteering to plant, weed, or control pests.


Wellington City Libraries have lots of resources to help you with your quest to protect our trees. Follow these simple steps on our website to find out more:

1. Click on Kids’ Search from the search drop-down on the Wellington City Libraries landing page

 

2. Scroll down to “Explore New Zealand topics” and find “Nature”. Click on each button to find lots of library resources that have been gathered together by our librarians. Enjoy!


Trees are AMAZING! Why not explore further with these resources from our catalogue:

The wonder of trees / Davies, Nicola
“Did you know that there are over 60,000 tree species? This stunning book explores the extraordinary diversity of trees and forests – the lungs of our earth. A glorious celebration of trees by non-fiction specialist Nicola Davies, illustrated by rising star Lorna Scobie, creators of the beautiful THE VARIETY OF LIFE. There is something to delight on every page with fascinating facts and figures. This exquisite book will encourage children to treasure the world’s biodiversity and help to stop it slipping away.” (Catalogue)
Deep roots : how trees sustain our planet / Tate, Nikki
“Presents facts about trees, explaining how they maintain a vibrant ecosystem and provide food, fuel, and shelter for people across the globe.” (Catalogue)
Trees : kings of the forest / Hirsch, Andy
“In Trees we follow an acorn as it learns about its future as Earth’s largest, longest-living plant. Starting with the seed’s germination, we learn about each stage until the tree’s maturation, different types of trees, and the roles trees take on in our ecosystem.” (Catalogue)
The wisdom of trees : how trees work together to form a natural kingdom / Judge, Lita
“A lyrical and informational nonfiction picture book that tells the story of trees and the hidden ecosystems they create” (Catalogue)
The giving tree / Silverstein, Shel
“A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Earthkids: New Zealand conservation stories, activities and games by Andrew CroweEarthkids : New Zealand conservation stories, activities and games / Crowe, Andrew
“Describes efforts by New Zealanders to protect the environment and wildlife. Includes puzzles, quizzes and projects such as making a bird feeder, paper, a mobile and more. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Audiobooks and You: Get Reading With Your Ears!

Have you ever been on a looooong car journey and really want to read your book but know that you’ll start to feel ‘icky’ if you look at the page for too long? Ever thought about plugging into an audiobook? You can watch the scenery go by AND escape to your fav fantasy world at the same time!

Duvall Hecht (1930 – 2022), the founder of the audiobook company, Books on Tape thought the same thing – but he was thinking that this new way of ‘reading’ would be good for himself and other adults who had to make long and boring commutes to and from work every day. Although this wasn’t the first time that someone had thought about recording audio versions of books, many of these were abridged. Duvall Hecht wanted to hear new and modern books as well as some classics without any bits cut out (his Books on Tape version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace ran to 45 tapes)!

Fun fact #1

Duvall Hecht was also an Olympic gold medallist in rowing and once was Marine Corps pilot!

“Radio offered little more than bad music and worse news.”

– Duvall Hecht, the founder of Books on Tape

Fun Fact #2

Books on Tape was first launched back in 1975 using the relatively new technology of the audio cassette tape. An audio cassette is a small device that can store music and sounds. To play a tape, a cassette player or cassette recorder is used. Cassettes store the sound on a magnetic tape that is wound around the two reels in the cassette.

royaltyfri kassettband foton | Piqsels

Image: Cassette tape (Piqsels)

Many people were against the idea of having books turned into audiobooks, worried that people would stop reading, but they’ve continued to thrive alongside their paperback cousins.



Audiobooks now come in a variety of formats and are available at Wellington City Libraries:

Audiobooks on CD with accompanying book:

These can be found in the library as part of our children’s collections. Many of these are attached to a physical book so you can read along as you listen… or simply listen!

Some favourites include:

Hairy Maclary treasury : the complete adventures of Hairy Maclary / Dodd, Lynley
“A collection of ten stories featuring the mischief and mayhem of Hairy Maclary.” (Catalogue)
Badjelly the witch : a fairy story / Milligan, Spike
“Rose and Tim encounter Badjelly the witch who can turn children into sausages or chop them into boy-girl soup, but they are rescued by Jim the Giant Eagle.” (Catalogue)
Thomas & friends the railway stories, vol.3
“This audiobook features original adventures about Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends from the Railway Stories by the Reverend W. Awdry.” (Catalogue)


Vox Books:  

These popular picture books are a great intro to audiobooks. No need for a CD player – simply turn on and listen to the story as you turn the pages!

Here’s a couple to whet the appetite:

That’s not a hippopotamus! / MacIver, Juliette
“In That’s Not a Hippopotamus, a class trip to the zoo descends into a chaotic hunt for the missing hippopotamus. Teacher, zookeeper and all the children join the search. The noise and drama reach a pitch, and no one thinks to listen to quiet Liam.” (Catalogue)
From egg to butterfly / Knudsen, Shannon
“Follows the development of a butterfly from the egg its mother lays on a plant to the fully developed insect that flies away.” (Catalogue)
The book tree / Czajak, Paul
“When young Arlo accidentally drops a book on the Mayor’s head, the Mayor decides books are dangerous and destroys all the books in town! But thanks to Arlo’s imagination and perseverance, the Mayor finds that suppressing stories cannot stop them from blossoming more beautifully than ever. This timely allegorical tale will be a useful tool for starting conversations with children about the power of activism and the written word.” (Catalogue)


Audiobooks on CD: 

Many of our most popular kids’ chapter books and series are available on audiobook on CD. These are especially good for picking up an entire series or collection of books by one author.

Popular Audiobook series and collections include:

The world of David Walliams : CD story collection / Walliams, David
“Five screamingly funny stories from number one bestselling children’s author David Walliams, together for the first time in this big, bumper CD boxset, performed by the King of Comedy himself. The Boy in the Dress, Mr. Stink, Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Ratburger.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The bad book : & the very bad book / Griffiths, Andy
“In a very bad wood, there was a very bad house. And in that very bad house, there was a very bad room. And in that very bad room, there was a very bad cupboard. And in that very bad cupboard, there was a very bad shelf. And on that very bad shelf, there was a very bad box. And in that very bad box, there was a very bad book. And this is it!” (Catalogue)
The brilliant world of Tom Gates / Pichon, Liz
“Tom Gates is a master of excuses, expert doodler, comic story writer extraordinaire – and the bane of his grumpy teacher, Mr Fullerman. In his first wacky journal of scribbles and silliness, you’ll find all sorts of comic craziness to make you groan with glee! Will Tom ever manage to get his homework in on time, avoid the rage of his teacher – and impress Amy Porter, who sits next to him? Warning! Do not attempt to read this in public. You will snigger loudly!” (Catalogue)


eAudiobooks:

With the advent of e-books, you can now go one step further and borrow e-books and eAudiobooks onto your device through the Wellington City Library’s eLibrary service. Jump onto either OverDrive or Libby  or BorrowBox, and get reading with your ears!

Some of our more popular eAudiobooks:

Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone / Rowling, J. K
“Strange things always seem to happen when Harry Potter is around. Things that unsettle his guardians, the Dursleys. They strongly disapprove of strangeness. It’s only when a letter arrives, delivered by a shaggy giant of a man called Hagrid, that Harry learns the truth that will transform his entire future: his parents were killed by the evil Lord Voldemort, and he, Harry, is a wizard. Whisked away to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry discovers a world of enchantments, ghosts, Quidditch, and friends who will stand, through everything, by his side…” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The Llama Llama audiobook collection / Dewdney, Anna
This audio collection includes: Llama Llama Misses Mama, Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Nighty-Night, Llama Llama Wakey-Wake, Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom!, Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop! (Catalogue)
Mega Weird! (Weirdo 7)Mega weird! / Do, Anh
“What do you call a dinosaur that stomps on everything? Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! Life for WeirDo is MEGA BUSY! He’s planning on making MEGA bucks from the Street Garage Sale, plus he’s helping Bella write a winning song! It won’t be easy but it will be FUNNY!” (Catalogue)
The Wizards of Once: Never and ForeverNever and forever / Cowell, Cressida
“Warriors and Wizards combine forces against the dreadful power of the Kingwitch, whose searing evil threatens not only the Wildwoods, but all its creatures. Xar and Wish are on the final leg of their journey. First stop – The Mines of Unhappiness. Here, starvation is never far away for the Magical creatures who toil in its horrible depths…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Feisty Cats and Fearless Dogs: Our furry friends are superheroes!

via GIPHY

Throughout history there have been amazing stories of our furry friends coming to our rescue – whether it is waking the household in time to escape their burning house, finding lost people in the snow and staying with them until help arrives, to our wonderful companion animals who help their humans to lead a good life.  And even when we humans don’t treat them as well as we should, or the going gets touch for our feline and canine friends, there are so many heart-warming stories of their resilience and death-defying journeys.

We love our cats and dogs in Aotearoa. Nearly two thirds of Kiwi households have at least one companion animal. With 41% of New Zealand households having a cat, our rates of cat ownership are higher than both Australia and the US, and more than double the rate of the UK. Dogs are also an increasingly popular pet, with 34% of New Zealand households having at least one dog.

Our pets are such an important part of our lives that we have even created special days to celebrate them:

International Cat Day: 8 August 2022

Black Cat Appreciation Day: 17 August 2022

International Dog Day: 26 August 2022


Here are just a few stories of real-life heroes to give you that “awwww” moment you’ve all been waiting for:

Feisty Cats

Quaky cat / Noonan, Diana
“Tiger the cat flees for his life during the Canterbury earthquake that destroys his home. Frightened and in despair he wanders the city of Christchurch, searching for his caregiver Emma. As the city rocks and buildings tumble around him, he sniffs out the comforting smell of stew and finds his way to an emergency hall, where he is reunited with Emma. Although his house is in ruins and city battered he realises that none of it matters when the people you love are safe. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Cleo & Rob / Brown, Helen
“Sometimes hope has four paws, golden eyes and soft black fur. A kitten called Cleo steps into six-year-old Rob’s life after his big brother Sam dies. Based on true events in author Helen Brown’s family”– Back cover.” (Catalogue)

The Adventures of Mittens by Silvio Bruinsma - Penguin Books New ZealandThe adventures of Mittens : Wellington’s famous purr-sonality / Bruinsma, Silvio
“Meet Mittens, Wellington’s world-famous cat-about-town. He has thousands of followers, a hit song, an exhibition of fan art, and with his exploring paws he brings joy to everyone he meets!” (Catalogue)

Dozer the Fire Cat : a New Zealand story : inspired by true events / Prokop, Robyn
“In February 2019, a tiny spark in a Pigeon Valley paddock became the largest fire in New Zealand since 1955. Up to 150 volunteer firefighters fought the blaze. Around 3,500 people were evacuated, including the whole town of Wakefield. Story is based on a real cat that survived the fires. While his family is busy packing up to evacuate, Dozer is oblivious, busy doing what Dozer does . . . stalking, pouncing, washing . . . and sleeping. But when he wakes up, his family has gone and the world is a frightening place!” (Catalogue)

Lost and found cat : the true story of Kunkush’s incredible journey / Kuntz, Doug
“When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they can’t bear to leave their beloved cat, Kunkush, behind. So they carry him with them from Iraq to Greece, keeping their secret passenger hidden away. But during the crowded boat crossing to Greece, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs from the chaos. In one moment, he is gone. This remarkable true story is told by the real people involved, with the full cooperation of Kunkush’s family.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The cat from Muzzle : a high-country cat’s incredible walk home / Sutton, Sally
“Dwayne is a rumble-tumble tabby cat who knows where he belongs — up on the farm at Muzzle Station. So, when he’s taken to live far away in the town of Kaikoura, what’s a cat to do? Shake the dust off his paws and start walking, of course! The trouble is, home is a very long way away … true tale of feline audacity” (Catalogue)

The little war cat / Khan, Hiba Noor
“Inspired by a true story, The Little War Cat follows the story of a little grey cat who is caught up in the BANGS and CRASHES of the humans in boots, who have changed the city of Aleppo she knew so well into one that’s harder to recognize. She is roaming the streets looking for food and shelter when an unlikely friend appears. He shows her that kindness is still there when you look for it, and soon the little grey cat knows exactly what to do to made a difference herself.” (Catalogue)


Fearless Dogs

Mac: A High Country Working DogMac : a high country working dog / Pitts, Hayley
“Mac lives at Mount Gladstone, in Marlborough’s high country. Mustering sheep, cattle and deer is Mac’s life-long job. His puppyish enthusiasm and hard work has earned him a special place in the farm dog team. Join Mac at work in this glimpse into high country farm life.” (Catalogue)

Dogs : fun facts and amazing stories / Bates, Dianne
“Dogs really are the perfect best friend. They are loyal, smart, fun and totally awesome! In this fabulous combination of remarkable true stories, amazing facts and lots of fun stuff, we get to discover just how incredible our canine friends really are. From stories about dogs in history, heroic dogs and working dogs to bizarre facts and wacky dog jokes, this book will entertain and make you smile. This gorgeous book also features lots of beautiful illustrations and images of the adorable dogs from Best Friends Pet Rescue.” (Catalogue)

Paws of courage : true tales of heroic dogs that protect and serve / Furstinger, Nancy
“Modern wars recruit more than just human soldiers. Our canine companions also serve in the line of duty and under fire, whether helping police protect our home turf or accompanying soldiers on missions abroad. Readers will cheer for the hero dogs featured in this collection, profiled with stunning photos and inspiring tales of bravery, friendship, heroism, and devotion.” (Catalogue)

Rescue & Jessica : a life-changing friendship / Kensky, Jessica
“When he is paired with a girl who has lost her legs, Rescue worries that he isn’t up to the task of being her service dog.” (Catalogue)

Lola goes to work / Goldman, Marcia
“Lola, the Yorkshire terrier, learns to be a therapy dog and then enjoys visits to schools, hospitals, and centres for elderly people.” (Catalogue)

Dog finds lost dolphins : and more true stories of amazing animal heroes / Carney, Elizabeth
“The first in a line of Animal Rescues chapter books, Dog Finds Lost Dolphins will be a tale you’ll not soon forget. In this charm- ing and awe-inspiring story you’ll meet Cloud, the black lab with a nose for rescue. She’s the only dog certified to sniff out stranded dolphins. Cloud can sniff out a dolphin over a mile off the coast of the Florida Keys. She’s even become friends with them, waiting on the dock for them to pop up and give her a kiss. This and two more amazing stories are so engaging, readers will never want to put the book down!” (Catalogue)

Courageous canine : and more true stories of amazing animal heroes/ / Halls, Kelly Milner
“Courageous Canine features an amazing pup named Lilly who sacrifices her own life to save her owner, a brave pod of dolphins who face a great white shark to save a stranger, and a mother gorilla, who in mourning her own baby, saves a 3-year-old boy who falls into her zoo enclosure. Filled with gorgeous photographs, sidebars, and fun facts, Courageous Canine will leave young readers hungry for more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reaching for the Stars: What Makes a Champion?

“Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” – Thomas Edison

Beijing 2022 unveils official emblems - Olympic NewsWith Nico Porteous winning Gold and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott winning a gold and silver medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, New Zealand has had its best medal haul at a Winter Olympics for 70 years!

But what makes someone so good at what they do, that they go on to win a world title or an Olympic medal? Are they born like it? Do they have really good coaches or dedicated parents? Do they like what they do so much that they practise A LOT? Or is it a combination of all these things?

If you want to take up a sport, learn a musical instrument or learn to paint or write… any skill really…here’s a few tips to help achieve your goals

Brown Wooden Blocks on White Table

Image: Pexels

  1. Start with something you love – this might take a wee bit of time to figure out, but you’ll know it when you find it! Maybe you could try doing lots of different sports or activities offered at your school or community centre to see what really ‘floats your boat’. Be prepared to give new things a go.
  2. Practise, practise, practise! All those amazing athletes, musicians, innovators, writers and artists don’t get to where they are today by not practising. Sometimes this might seem really boring or hard (especially when you think your friends are having a good time and you’re stuck practising), but it’ll be worth it in the end. And it’s exciting when all that practice pays off and you see yourself getting better and better! Kia kaha!
  3. Persevere! There will be times when you have failures or feel like you’re not getting any better. As the saying goes: “Keep Calm and Try, Try and Try Again.”
  4. Have faith in yourself! And make sure you encourage others on you team that are struggling. You’ve got this!
  5. Listen to your coach or teacher. They’re a coach/teacher for a reason – they know stuff! Your coach wants to see you improve so do the exercises and drills they set and turn up to practise sessions and lessons.
  6. Always stick to the rules and play fairly. You will feel good about yourself and you’ll be a good role model for others.

Links to get you thinking:

Beijing 2022 – NZ Team

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame

New Zealand Book Award Winners 2021

New Zealand Chamber Music Contest 2022

Halberg Awards

Weetbix Kids’ Trythlon

The Wonder Project

YMCA NZ

Science Kids


Books to inspire:

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame : 25 Kiwi champions / Maria Gill ; illustrated by Marco Ivancic. / Gill, Maria
“Features 25 famous New Zealand sportspeople across a wide range of different sporting disciplines. Includes a caricature, an action photograph, a profile of the person, timeline, inspirational quote, description of the sport, training regime and trophy board”–Publisher’s information.” (Catalogue)

Rising above. Inspiring women in sports / Zuckerman, Gregory
“These are the inspirational real-life stories of female superstar athletes Serena and Venus Williams, Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and more — role models all. For sports fans, aspiring athletes and readers of sports biographies. The athletes featured in this book met earth-shaking challenges head on, and through hard work and perseverance, went on to conquer the sports world. This collection of mini biographies, complete with first-hand content drawn from interviews, is a source of inspiration and self-empowerment for kids and sports fans of all ages. ”  (Catalogue, abridged)

I am, I can : 365 affirmations for kids / Kinder, Wynne
“I am strong. I am brave. I can handle anything. Using the power of positive thinking, children can build their self-esteem and resilience by focusing on what matters to them and remembering to champion themselves.” (Catalogue)
Skateboarding champion / Nixon, James
“This series is all about the exhilarating world of extreme sports and what it takes to become a top professional. Each title lists the essential equipment you need and examines the basic skills, before going on to look at the more demanding tricks and stunts. There are also profiles of some of the greatest names in the sport, the biggest competitions in the world and the most fearsome locations that these daring competitors come up against. BMX Champion opens up the world of BMX biking, both racing and freestyle. Techniques, facts, stats and competitor profiles grab young readers’ attention and ensure a thrilling read from cover to cover.” (Catalogue)

The bomb / Cotter, Sacha
“In this story about being true to oneself, a boy searches for the secret to doing the perfect bomb into the water. With training from Nan, an expert and former champion, and by listening to his own voice, he finds his unique style and pulls off a wonderful, acrobatic, truly awe-inspiring bomb”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The flea thing / Falkner, Brian
“Twelve-year-old Daniel has a secret that turns his life upside down when he wins a place on the New Zealand Warrior’s rugby league team. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Volleyball ace / Rodriguez, Cindy L.
“Until now, Layla has balanced her school work and volleyball easily enough. At high school, though, academic expectations are tougher. When Layla’s dedication to volleyball puts her maths test results at risk, her chances of making the school team next year are on the line. Can she find a way to ace her classes like she does on the court?” (Catalogue)
The soccer star / Rippin, Sally
“Billie wants to play soccer, but the boys at school say she can’t. How can Billie prove that girls can play soccer too?” (Book cover)

Raising an amazing musician : you, your child and music.

Whatever stage of learning your child has reached, Raising an Amazing Musician will empower you to make the right decisions for your young musician, and enrich their experience of music as an enjoyable, life-enhancing activity.

Black music greats / Cachin, Olivier
“The biggest names… The coolest sounds… The 40 most inspirational movers, shakers and innovators in black music history are here! Learn how these black musicians changed music in this book packed with incredible facts. Meet the Godfather of Funk, the High Priestess of Soul and the King of Reggae. Learn how Marvin Gaye shaped the sound of Motown, how N.W.A redefined rap, and what made the Supremes, supreme. Each artist is an icon of their age, but who will you add to your playlist?” (Catalogue)

Be a super awesome artist / Carroll, Henry
“Become a super-awesome artist with this fantastic new book. Using real examples of art for inspiration, this great book features 20 exciting art challenges to help you create your own masterpieces. Channel the artistic genius within and you’ll be painting like Pollock, doodling like Duchamp and creating like Kahlo in no time!” (Catalogue)

This book thinks you’re a scientist : experiment, imagine, create : fill-in pages for your ideas / Russell, Harriet
“This book thinks you’re a scientist. Get into it before anyone tells it otherwise! Inside you’ll do everything a scientist does: look, ask questions, wonder and test your ideas. You’ll also do things scientists don’t necessarily do: eat your experiments, levitate paper clips and play a drinking straw like an oboe. There are even portable laboratory pages for you to experiment on, so that by the end, you’ll know how to invent your own fun ways of finding out about the world.” (Catalogue)

Schools Past, Present and Future

group of people wearing white and orange backpacks walking on gray concrete pavement during daytime

Image: Unsplash: School children

“Back to school, back to school,
Now the holiday’s done.
We love our teacher, we love our class,
We think our school work is fun!” (an old rhyme)

If it’s February, it must be back to school time! Ever since New Zealand was colonised in the late 1800’s, schools have been built around the country. Many early schools were small, single-room buildings with one teacher who taught everything to students of varying ages. There were strict rules on how to behave, and often physical punishment (usually a cane or leather strap across the hand – ouch!) was administered if you misbehaved! By around 1910, all children between seven and 14 had to attend school.  In 1913, secondary schooling became free to attend in New Zealand. Children who passed Standard 6 (Year 8) in a number of subjects were awarded Proficiency. This meant they could go onto high school.

Today New Zealand has over 2,500 primary and secondary schools.

Fun School Fact #1: Daily School Milk in NZ Schools

Milk In Schools | On 2 April 1937, the free milk in schools … | Flickr

Milk in Schools, 1937. Image: Flickr

New Zealand schoolchildren received free milk between 1937 and 1967. This scheme was introduced – a world first – to improve the health of young New Zealanders (and make use of surplus milk).

Each day, class milk monitors handed out a half-pint (284 ml) of milk to each pupil. By 1940 the milk was available to over 80 per cent of schoolchildren. For a few years during the Second World War, pupils also received an apple a day.

Fun School Fact #2: The world’s largest school

City Montessori School in Lucknow, India takes the prize as the largest school in the world. It has around 52,000 students (from kindergarten age through to secondary school) and 1,050 classrooms! Each class has around 45 students, and there is even a whole school department just to write letters of congratulations to students. As there are so many pupils, the school’s classrooms are spread across the city.

See if you can find the city of Lucknow in India on a world map HERE

Fun School Fact #3: Correspondence School | Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) is New Zealand’s largest school, providing education programmes to more than 23,000 students every year! The students learn remotely for lots of reasons – they  may live a long way away from their nearest school, or they might be living overseas with their family for a time.

The Correspondence School was established in 1922 to provide lessons to approximately 100 isolated primary school children scattered throughout New Zealand. All the lessons and letters to students were written by hand by the school’s first teacher, Miss Janet Mackenzie.

Check out Te Kura’s interesting timeline HERE.

What will schools look like in the future?

Today’s schools rely heavily on technology, from having laptops and tablets available to students for research, creative writing and presenting, to many schools requiring their students to BYOD – Bring Your Own Device… a far cry from slates and slate pencils in Victorian times (1830’s – 1910’s) and blackboards and chalk in 20th century schools!

boy wearing black and white VR headset

Image: Unsplash: VR headset

With multiple lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic, school students throughout the country (and the world) have already started to learn in different ways to even five years ago.  This includes virtual classrooms using online video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Teams, and having your own school online account and log-in to allow for work to be uploaded and submitted online.

Many schools and libraries already have Makerspaces offering everything from building blocks to 3-D printing, laser cutting and virtual reality headsets. Very soon we may see holograms being used to help with teaching, or maybe students will be taught by robots!


School Jubilee Histories – finding out about your school

Want to find out more about the history of the school you attend? Wellington City Libraries have a great online resource you could use. In our Wellington City Recollect page, we have a collection called School Jubilee Histories.

Here’s a step-by-step to help you find this page:

On the Wellington City Libraries main website page


Wellington City Libraries have got loads of books  about schools from around the world, the past and the future:

Schools : then & now / Hope, Charles
“Children have been going to school for thousands of years. While some things about schools are the same – teachers and students. Subjects and classrooms – in many ways the schools of today are different to the schools of the past.” (Catalogue)
My school in 2055 / Lewis, Carrie
“In the school of the future, children might use tech such as interactive screens, holo projectors, and virtual reality to set their own pace and make learning is personalized” (Catalogue)
A school like mine : a unique celebration of schools around the world / Smith, Penny
“Introduces children from around the world and describes what school life is like for them.” (Catalogue)
What’s for lunch? : how school children eat around the world / Curtis, Andrea
“An examination of the food consumption by school children in thirteen countries; focusing on school lunches, as well as the inequality of food and the importance of health, nutritious food.” (Catalogue)
Children just like me.
“Photographs and text depict the homes, schools, family life, and culture of young people around the world.” (Catalogue)
Off to class : incredible and unusual schools around the world / Hughes, Susan
“Travel around the globe to visit some of the world’s most incredible schools, and meet the students who attend them.” (Catalogue)
Bots! : robotic engineering : with hands-on makerspace activities / Ceceri, Kathy
“Robots are everywhere! In Bots! Robotics Engineering with Hands-On Makerspace Activities, middle schoolers learn about these devices that vacuum our houses, work in our factories, help us learn at school, sample rocks from other planets, and even bring back images from the bottom of the ocean. In Bots! you can find hands-on STEM activities, coding challenges that use free online software, essential questions, and links to online primary resources!” (Catalogue)
The makerspace librarian’s sourcebook
“This collection leads librarians through how to start their own makerspace from the ground up, covering strategic planning, funding sources, starter equipment lists, space design, and safety guidelines; discusses the transformative teaching and learning opportunities that makerspaces offer, with tips on how to empower and encourage a diverse maker culture within the library.” (Catalogue, abridged)