חנוכה שמח! Happy Hanukkah! חג אורים שמח! Happy Festival of Lights!
Today marks the final day of Hanukkah in New Zealand. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a festival celebrated by Jewish people around the world for eight days and eight nights. It offically starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which can occur anywhere from late November to mid-December. One important part of the festival involves the lighting of candles on a special nine-branched candelabrum called a Hanukkah menorah (מנורת חנוכה). During Hanukkah, Jewish people make music together, share food (especially yummy fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot jam-filled doughnuts), exchange gelt, or gift money, and spend time with family and loved ones.
At the library, we have a bunch of books you can read to learn more about Hanukkah and other Jewish festivals and traditions. We’ve pulled out a selection for you below, but you can always find more by searching for ‘Judaism‘ on the catalogue, or looking on the shelf in the non-fiction section under J 296.
Celebrate! : a book of Jewish holidays / Gross, Judith
“This wonderful charmingly illustrated book celebrates Jewish holidays all year long. From Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to Sukkot, the celebration of the harvest, to Hanukkah, the festival of lights, this is the perfect book for families to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)
A Jewish life / Senker, Cath
“The faith you follow is with you from the moment you are born, until the moment you die and beyond. Following a Faith: A Jewish Life explores some of the cornerstones of what it means to be Jewish today, through Passover and Hanukkah celebrations, wedding ceremonies, what happens in a synagogue and why many Jewish people go on pilgrimages to Israel. ” (Catalogue)
A faith like mine : a celebration of the world’s religions– seen through the eyes of children / Buller, Laura
“Using revealing photography and detailed personal accounts to give unique insight into the diversity of religious faith as experienced by children across the world, this is an ideal book for families to read together. A perfect book for children and parents to read together, A Faith Like Mine uses revealing photography and detailed personal accounts to give unique insight into the diversity of religious faith as experienced through the lives of children across the world.” (Catalogue)
Judaism / Howell, Izzi
“Explore the religion of Judaism, from what people believe, to a Jewish life, special days and festivals. The Info Buzz series, for age 5+, helps children develop their knowledge and understanding of the world by covering a wide range of topics in a fun, colourful and interactive way. The books have a lively design, engaging text and photos, questions to get children thinking and talking and teaching notes. Each title is written in conjunction with a literacy consultant and features book band guidance and downloadable activity sheets online.” (Catalogue)
Judaism / Marsico, Katie
This book is part of a series that focusses on the six most popular world religions through their history, geography, civic impact, and economics. It is packed with reliable and up-to-date information about Judaism, its central philosophies, customs and traditions, and how it relates to society today. (Adapted from Catalogue)
Hanukkah is coming! / Newman, Tracy
“Readers join a cute family and their dog as they light the menorah, eat latkes, unwrap gifts, sing songs, play dreidel, eat chocolate Hanukkah gelt, and march like Maccabees during the eight nights of Hanukkah in this cute 12-page board book. Includes “3D-feeling”art by Viviana Garofoli.” (Catalogue)
Nonna’s Hanukkah surprise / Fisman, Karen
“Rachel loves visiting her grandmother, even though Nonna celebrates Christmas and Rachel and her parents celebrate Hanukkah. When Rachel’s special hanukkiah goes missing, Nonna steps in to save the day.” (Catalogue)
Is it Hanukkah yet? / Barash, Chris
“A family gathers and prepares to celebrate Hanukkah. From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this sweet, lyrical story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.” (Catalogue)
The latke who couldn’t stop screaming : a Christmas story / Snicket, Lemony
“Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.” (Catalogue)
Everyone knows the story of Christmas, but actually celebrations of this time of year go back thousands of years into the past. Two cultures, the Celts and the Norse each contribute to some of the world’s original festive celebrations at the Christmas time of year.
The Celts celebrated the Midwinter Solstice (and so do the Zuñi and Hopi peoples of America), whereas uniquely the Celts feature the Green King which was even used in the later Medieval Period, despite the greater popularity of Christianity.
It centred around the dawning of the new solstice, when the sun would return from the darkness during Winter and the use of two figures namely the Holly King and the Oak King. These two deities would battle one another, triumphing for six months of the year to rule over the seasons until the next fight (in which the victorious king would then reign). This would be celebrated at Midwinter (and Midsummer) when the respective king for the season was at the peak of their powers and thus claim victory over the other.
The Druids of Britain would use holly as a sacred symbol of life during the dark Winters, and offered it as a blessing (BBC, 2006).
The God Odin and Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt.
The Norse would celebrate the Wild Hunt, where the God Odin (or the All-Father) would hunt down trolls and other creatures as he gave gifts to children across settlements during Mid-Winter.
The winters in Northern Europe were dark and foreboding, and so it lent itself to the idea that Odin and his gang would ride across the winds, amid much howling and shrieking of the trolls and other creatures as they were hunted down by the party. Along the way, Odin – similar to and pre-dating Santa Claus – would send little gifts to the children he passed through the villages and towns during the Viking Age.
Odin could be seen riding on the winds, with his horse Sleipnir, the eight-legged child of the God Loki. He was the fastest and strongest horse in the world. Every year when the Midwinter sun came over the lands, it was said to be Odin and his party hunting down trolls and other nasty creatures. On this night in particular, Odin would leave gifts out for the children, and they in turn would leave a small parcel of food for Odin and of course a carrot or bits of hay for the horse Sleipnir.
If you’re browsing the shelves at your library for books on the Celts and the Norse, you can use the Dewey Decimal system to help you find the right book. Dewey Decimal numbers are magical numbers that help us organise which books go where. Here are some useful numbers for this topic:
And here are some of our favourite books in the collection about the Celts and the Norse:
Celts / Newland, Sonya
“Who were the Celts and who were their leaders? Why did they come to the British Isles and how did they live? Explore this ancient civilisation to understand how prehistoric people have influenced the way we live today. Discover the artefacts that give evidence of their way of life, and how historians have pieced together the evidence of their lives. Learn about the homes and communities that they lived in, the food that they ate, how they travelled and worshipped, and the influence of the Romans on their society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Myths and civilization of the Celts / Martell, Hazel
“Myths and Civilization of the Celts focuses on life during the Iron Age period when the Celts dominated much of Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire. The book looks at their way of life, their arts and crafts, trade and transport, religion, food and entertainment. It also includes a map of the Celtic tribes of Europe. Using double-page spreads, Celtic myths are retold & followed by historical & cultural background material.” (Catalogue)
Norse myths and legends / Ganeri, Anita
“The world’s myths are filled with characters, creatures, and stories that have fascinated people for thousands of years. This series mixes dramatic retellings and non-fiction information to give a full picture of a culture’s myths.” (Catalogue)
Illustrated Norse myths / Frith, Alex
“A brand-new collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, the battles of Thor the thunder god, and the tale of Sigurd the Dragonslayer and the curs A collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, and the battles of Thor the thunder god.” (Catalogue)
Tālofa Lava! Samoa Language Week will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 24 May 2020 until Saturday, 30 May 2020. The event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home. This year’s theme is “Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga” — “Prepare yourself a gift for your travels”.
For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:
“Contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Word lists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year”–Publisher information.
The Samoan Picture Dictionary is an excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan. It contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Sāmoan sentences to aid comprehension.
January 4th was World Braille Day. World Braille Day is celebrated around the world every year on January 4th, which is also the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille language.
Why is World Braille Day important? It raises the awareness of the importance of braille in education, communication, and social inclusion.
What is Braille? A system of writing used by and for blind persons and consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell
Who was Louis Braille? Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille.
We have an amazing collection of braille books, Louis Braille and other famous inspiring people – both in fiction and real life that changed the world, despite being blind.
Learn how to count to 10 with DK Braille Counting. Designed especially for visually-impaired pre-school children and their parents, this touch-and-feel book takes readers through a collection of tactile objects made in all sorts of exciting textures, including silky flowers, crackly leaves, and sticky worms. Each image is also printed in high-contrast colours to engage partially-sighted readers, while the rhyming counting story is printed in both braille and clear printed text to suit the needs of every child and parent. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille Counting is a wonderful book for learning to count with braille.
Discover the amazing world of animals with DK Braille Animals. Designed especially for the young braille reader, this tactile reference book features over 30 pages of entries on a fascinating selection of creatures, from bears and big cats to birds and bugs.
Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet — a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.
The fascinating life of one of the most popular historical figures is told through images — most rarely, if ever, seen — from the American Foundation for the Blind and The Perkins School for the Blind. The images trace Keller’s life from birth, to childhood with Annie Sullivan in the cottage, to college, and on to her many years as a dedicated social activist and spokesperson.
Christmas is coming to the Capital and to the library! Why not get into the Christmas spirit and check out the amazing Christmas themed books and DVDs we have in our collection in between Christmas shopping and life! The countdown to Christmas and the end of 2019 is on!
From baking Christmas pudding sweets to creating hand-printed angels. These projects include how to make a pop-up polar bear card, a snowman paper chain or glittery decorations. Two pages of stickers are included and each project is accompanied by simple step-by-step instructions and an illustration or photograph of the final creation.
This book explores the festival of Christmas and the story behind it and features six simple origami projects for your own festive fun! The book shows how people around the world celebrate Christmas both in church and at home. Attractively designed, its simple text and wonderful full-colour photos make this an essential book for children celebrating or learning about the festival. The origami activities are accessible to all and are explained with step-by-step illustrations. Your fantastic creations can be used as decorations for the festival, for presents, to impress your teacher for a Christmas school project or simply to wow your friends!
With all the excitement of Christmas approaching, it’s no surprise that Marley, the loveable pup with a nose for trouble, wants to get in on the action. Anticipating his very first snowfall and Santa’s arrival, Marley jumps in to help his family every way he can. But Marley, being Marley, always ends up on the wrong side of right.
When Simon sees a competition in the newspaper for the best decorated Christmas house, he is keen to enter it. His mother says she can’t afford expensive lights and decorations. So Simon decides to decorate their caravan in his own way.
Late one Christmas Eve, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him- the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.Liam Neeson’s gravitas lends the story just the right sense of magic and possibility in the book and CD edition.
There are just a few days to go before Christmas, and everyone’s busy putting up decorations, preparing food and getting ready for the big day. Then comes the shock news – Santa’s cancelled Christmas. Santa had so many disasters last year that he can’t face it again, and he’s quit. The elves try everything, but they can’t get him to change his mind. In this Aotearoa Christmas picture book, the kids come up with a clever plan and amazing gadgets to get Christmas back on and Santa back in the sleigh delivering presents.
A cup, a compass, a key: the magic tree house has brought siblings Annie and Jack to Camelot, where they embark on a mysterious mission to find these enigmatic gifts. In this special hardcover addition to the bestselling Magic Tree House series, the young adventurers must travel to the Otherworld, an “ancient, enchanted land beyond the edge of the Earth, the place where all magic began” to save Camelot from dark wizard Mordred’s evil spell. If they fail, Camelot will be forgotten forever. Fans of the beloved, highly readable series by Mary Pope Osborne will rise to the challenge of this longer, more complex companion to her other titles, which include Earthquake in the Early Morning and Twister on Tuesday. As in every story in the sequence, Jack and Annie bravely plunge into their quest, learning about a culture and time very far removed from their own, and prove once again that children can make a difference.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a cranky old mouse who is only concerned with his business and making money. Scrooge thinks Christmas is just a waste of time. But on the night of Christmas Eve, he is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through his past, present, and future. His experience could change him forever and teach him the true meaning of Christmas!
One year has passed since William Trundle’s incredible adventure with the most extraordinary dinosaur: the Christmasaurus. Now, William is swept back to the magical North Pole, where he meets a mysterious witch – whose power to control time allows Santa Claus to make the long journey all around the world every Christmas Eve. And when they learn that the fate of Christmas itself hangs in the balance, William and the Christmasaurus must work with the Winter Witch to protect it.
A beautiful edition of the timeless Christmas classic. A Christmas Carol is the book that defines the Christmas spirit. Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited miser, is visited by three ghosts one Christmas Eve. The ghosts show Scrooge the true value of Christmas: charity, good humour and love for his fellow man.
A re-telling of the classic tale about a grumpy old creature living in a cave on Mt. Crumpet who can’t stand to see his neighbors in Whoville enjoying themselves. Things are especially bad at Christmas, when the Whos kick their merriment into high gear with fantastic celebrations. This year, the Grinch decides to dress up like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and steal all the Christmas gifts and decorations so the Whos can’t enjoy the season. What he finds, however, is that Christmas in Whoville is much more than gifts and decorations, it’s a time to celebrate love and friendship.
Santa Claus does not exist. Or does he? For one doubting boy (voice of Daryl Sabara and Tom Hanks), an astonishing event occurs. Late on Christmas Eve night, he lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa’s sleigh. When to his surprise, a steam engine’s roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor (voice of Tom Hanks) invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pajama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience.
When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of children all over the world.
Olaf teams up with Sven on a merry mission. It’s the first holiday season since the gates re-opened and Anna and Elsa host a celebration for all of Arendelle. When the townspeople unexpectedly leave early to enjoy their individual holiday customs, the sisters realise they have no family traditions of their own. So, Olaf sets out to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions and save this first Christmas for his friends.
The Lion King is finally at WCL! Why rent the DVD… rent the original film this Christmas and relive the class tale of Simba, a delightful lion cub who is heir to the throne of the pride lands. However, when Simba’s father is killed… by Simba’s treacherous uncle, Scar, poor Simba, feeling guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile until the moment where he must confront his uncle and reclaim his identity , as well as destiny as the future King. Another movie trailer filled with (wild) animals and cute baby animals!!!
And coming soon to movie theaters…
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, produced, co-written and directed by J. J. Abrams. It will be the third installment of the Star Warssequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the ninth and final episode of the main Star Warsfilm franchise.
“The saga comes to an end”… on December 19th 2019, and from the looks of this trailer, they definitely saved the best for last.
To get into the spirit of a Kiwi Christmas, relive the magic of Kiwi Christmas song, Summer Wonderland so you can sing along and take part in the festive cheer while strolling through a summer wonderland. To recap, Summer Wonderland is a Kiwi spin on a much beloved classic Christmas carol Winter Wonderland, with a lyrical twist for the Southern Hemisphere and recorded for Air New Zealand. This Christmas carol really showcases and beautifully captures the spirit and essence of a Kiwi Christmas of tucking into ham and pavlova, playing cricket, mozzie spray and tan marks. Check it out!
On behalf of the staff at Wellington City Libraries, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
In 2019, Eid begins on Tuesday 4 June and ends on Wednesday 5 June. People traditionally greet each other on the day with the phrase “Eid Mubarak”, which means ‘blessed celebration’. Check out these books to find out more about this important international celebration.
Journey with George and his friend Kareem as they celebrate Eid. Together they try special treats, create baskets for others who have less money than they do and look for the crescent moon. This board book includes snappy rhyme that will appeal to school children.
May is New Zealand Music Month, which celebrates music from New Zealand, and the people who make it. So we thought we would share some music, (and picture books) by Kiwi musicians from the children’s collection!
For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:
Move over, The Wiggles! There’s a new (solo) performer, cheeky and beautiful Kiwi songwriter, Anika Moa returns with her albums for children: Songs for Bubbas One and Two. Filled with songs about love, laughter and… animal noises that will keep children… and parents entertained for hours on end!
The albums are half Te Reo Maori, half English. These songs will be enjoyed in every primary school and kindy around the country for years to come.
“The traditional song ‘Do Your Ears Hang Low?’, performed by the Topp Twins, featuring a number of animals with differently shaped ears, which includes a hound dog, a mouse, lop-eared rabbit, llama, pig, etc”.
“”Skip, skip, skip to the loo, Skip, skip, skip to the loo, Skip, skip, skip to the loo, Skip to the loo, my darlin’!” There’s a hullaballoo down on the farm. Animals are here, there and everywhere—even in the loo. Sing along to this song with Topp Twins Lynda and Jools. The barn animal mayhem includes sheep, cows, chickens, dog, tractor, horse – and a possum!”–Publisher information.
“Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O, and on that farm he had some fun and games and DRAMAS with those rascally, rowdy farm animals! Cluck, moo, woof and hum along to this all-time favourite song by the Topp Twins”–Publisher information.
Based on the traditional Christmas song Jingle Bells but rewritten (to same tune) as a jungle holiday animal Christmas. Featuring a cast of jungle characters including elephants, hippos, monkeys and even a dung beetle. Recording sung by Anika Moa”–Publisher information.
An oldie, but a goodie! Winner of the 2010 New Zealand Post Children’s Choice Awards, New Zealand Post Children’s Choice Award, Picture Book Category winner and APRA Children’s Song of the Year, 2008, this very funny, cumulative song, each page tells us something new about the donkey until we end up with a spunky, hanky-panky, cranky, stinky, dinky, lanky, honky-tonky, winky, wonky donkey which will have children in fits of laughter! You also might like Willbee the Bumblebee.Willbee’s yellow and black stripy jumper catches on a thorn and unravels completely, he’s too embarrassed to move. How will he make it home? Suggested level: junior.
An illustrated picture book and CD audio recording of the song ‘Row, row, row your waka. “New Zealand friends Pūkeko, Kiwi and Hōiho go on a journey. Join them in their waka, perform actions and sing along while you row, row, row. “–Back cover.
Walt Disney Records presents the All Time Favorite songs and scores from favorite Disney-Pixar films in one CD. The album includes music from Toy Story 1, 2, and 3, Cars 1 & 2, Brave, Finding Nemo, and more!
“Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams brings his beloved hit song to the youngest of readers in a blend of illustrations and photos of children celebrating what it means to be happy.”–Book jacket front flap.