Absolutely Positively Wellington Short Story Competition

This summer, young scribes and aspiring writers around the city are invited to enter the The Mayor and Deputy Mayors Absolutely Positively Wellington Short Story Competition!

The theme for this year is ‘The City of Wind.’ Mayor Andy Foster adds that “Wellington is famous for its iconic wind – and whether you love it or hate it – it shapes our lives.”

You can write your story in Te Reo Māori or English and/or a combination.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says: “We are looking for fact or fiction stories that explore the love hate relationship people have with this force of nature. Serious or fun, futuristic, or based on a historical chapter in Wellington’s history, now is the moment to unsheathe your pen, sharpen your pencil and fire up your word processor.”

There are some exciting prizes up for grabs, including a $200 book voucher, a lunch with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and a creative development session with the competition judge, and award-winning writer Lauren Keenan.

Categories:

  • Best Story: 9-12 year old, up to 1500 words
  • Best Story 13-18 year olds, up to 3000 words
  • Best Title of a Story
  • Best Premise of a Story
  • Most Imaginative Story

The competition closes at 11:59pm on 25 February 2022. We look forward to reading all your stories!

Find more details and the online entry form here.

Books to check out!

Unleash your creative monster : a children’s guide to writing / Jones, Andy
“A side-splitting and informative guide to creative writing by author/illustrator comedic duo Andy and Olaf, jam-packed with lashings of monster-inspired fun. Unleash your creative monster and write stories to inspire, amaze and awe your friends. With top tips on getting your story started, learn essential skills for storytellers in this brilliant guide to writing. Give your descriptions claws, add a little bite to your writing and feed your monster inspiration with over 50 writing prompts and exercises”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

How to be a young #writer / Edge, Christopher
“This is an authoritative book from the word experts at Oxford to get budding writers crafting brilliant stories. It will help you think about how to develop an idea into a gripping and powerful story, with examples and tips from the best known authors to show you how it’s done. For children aged 11 and over, it covers all the key elements of plot, characterization, building a believable world, thinking about tone and style, weaving description into stories, through to endings and editing your work. Practical tips will get any struggling writer to beat the fear of the blank page and inspirational advice will help young authors to achieve their creative writing goals. It includes information on sharing stories and how to get people reading your work.” (Catalogue)

Kid authors : true tales of childhood from famous writers / Stabler, David
“Presents stories featuring authors when they were children, including Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Zora Neale Hurston.” (Catalogue)

Before they were authors : famous writers as kids / Haidle, Elizabeth
“This exciting debut in graphic novel format tells the childhood stories of literary legends including Maya Angelou, Roald Dahl, and Sandra Cisneros. Perfect for fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World.” (Catalogue)

Bee Aware – Feed the Bees This September

Feed the bees! banner courtesy of Apiculture NZ

September is “Bee Aware Month” in New Zealand. For Bee Aware Month 2021, we are being asked to ‘Feed the Bees’ by planting bee-friendly trees and plants.

According to Apiculture NZ, who look after bees and beekeepers in Aotearoa, “planting for bees is a fantastic way to look after nature’s tiniest superheroes as they keep our gardens, food crops and native bush growing.” As they busily buzz around the plants and flowers looking for food for themselves and their hives, they also help to pollinate the plants so that fruit, veges and crops continue to grow and thrive. Humans simply cannot survive without these amazing insects to keep our food on the table. Superheroes indeed!

Some plants are better sources of nectar and pollen than others.  And some plants produce nectar and pollen at times when there is not a lot else around for bees to feed on.

Don’t know what to plant? Some awesome ideas from Apiculture NZ include plants such as rosemary, sunflowers, harakeke, and citrus fruits!

bunch of sunflowers



Want to find out more?

Here’s a bee-friendly gardening guide to get you started

Learn about bees

Products made by bees

Fun activities and competitions

The Bee Aware BIG BEE QUIZ

The Bee Aware month Art Competition


And yes, you guessed it, Wellington City Libraries have got LOADS of books crammed full of facts about bees, gardening for bees and fiction bee books… so we’ve included some suggestions for you and the adults in your lives:

BEE BOOKS FOR KIDSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The secret life of bees / Butterfield, Moira
“Did you know that bees love to dance? Or that they have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers? In The Secret Life of Bees, Buzzwing shares with you all the details of her life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.” (Catalogue)
The book of bees / Socha, Piotr
“How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees? Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight.” (Catalogue)
Sunflower shoots and muddy boots : a child’s guide to gardening / Halligan, Katherine
“Packed with brilliant indoor and outdoor gardening activities, this is the perfect introduction to growing plants for little children and grown-ups to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)
Give bees a chance / Barton, Bethany
“In this nonfiction picture book an enthusiastic bee-loving narrator tries to convince a bee-phobic friend that our fuzzy, flying neighbours are our friends– we should all give bees a chance!” (Catalogue)
Why do we need bees? / Daynes, Katie
“Why do we need bees? How do they make honey? And who’s who in a beehive? Children can find the answers to these questions and many more in this informative lift-the-flap book. With colourful illustrations, simple text and chunky flaps to lift, young children can discover lots of amazing facts about bees and why they need our help.” (Catalogue)
The very clever bee / Marshall, Felicity
“A non-fiction illustrated book about bees, their life-cycle, pollination, and benefits for humans. Written for children 6 years and upwards.” (Catalogue)
How to bee / MacDibble, Bren
“Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe. How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.” (Catalogue)


BEE BOOKS FOR ADULTSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The bee friendly garden : easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow / Purdie, Doug
“A grower’s handbook to attracting bees and other beneficial insects. The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space…Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.” (Catalogue)


Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from th loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden. With advice on the blooms to grow, and when and where to plant them, this book reveals the tips and tricks to creating a buzz and a better future for our apian friends.” (Catalogue)

The history of bees / Lunde, Maja
“In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees–and to their children and one another–against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive–one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity” (Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Aleppo / Lefteri, Christy
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.” (Catalogue)

Tūhono 2021: We Want Your Poems

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens, is open for submissions until 14 November 2021! All throughout the month of October (and part of November), we are accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Last time we had so many poems that it was hard to fit them all into a single book — so this time, we’ll be publishing two volumes — one for kids, and one for teens.

Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono itself — the collection of poetry from young people all over Wellington — will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, and in a limited print run for our libraries, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory! Check out Tūhono 2020 on OverDrive here.

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2021:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 October – 14 November 2021.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2021.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted. The journal will be published in late December 2021.

Who?

  • Everyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write a poem reflecting on something that has happened to you, you could write about a literal reflection in a mirror, window, or lake. The world is your oyster. We recommend you check out the definitions of the words ‘whakaata‘ and ‘reflection‘ in a dictionary to find out all the hidden meanings before you start writing. They don’t mean exactly the same thing — and that is intentional, to give you a wider range of stuff to write about.
  • LengthYour poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published on an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the great authors and poets represented on our shelves. The last edition of Tūhono proved itself to be a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We are so excited to see what you come up with this time!

Throughout the month of October, we will be posting regular updates providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone!

Conservation Week 2021: 4 – 12 September

Conservation Week: Get involved

Conservation Week 2021. Image courtesy of Department of Conservation.

Conservation Week 2021 is from Saturday 4 September – Sunday 12 September.

The theme this year is a simple one – “Take a moment to notice nature”.

So get outside and feel connected to the world. It can be as simple as stopping to listen to the birds singing, helping in the garden, walking with the whānau or taking your dog for a walk and noticing the natural world all around us.

But of course, if you’re still at Alert Level 3 or 4, you’ll need to stay in your bubbles and stay safe. BUT there are still loads of activities to help you learn and feel comfortable in nature that you can do at any alert level:

Kids Outside: You can enjoy nature wherever you are. From your window, balcony, backyard or on your local neighbourhood walk.

40 ka pai things to do outside: Getting outside makes us feel good. Rain or shine, there’s heaps of fun you can have right outside your backdoor. From playing hide and seek, to watching the stars and jumping in puddles. Check out the activities in the above link.

Birdwatching with the family: Birdwatching is a great way to discover what is truly special about our natural world and our country. Taking time to get to know the birds around us is a wonderful way to build respect and compassion for nature and all living things. Here’s a handy 10 common birds in your area link to get you started.

Gardening for kids: Getting outside and getting your hands dirty in the soil is so good for you! It also teaches you a love of nature and the environment, where food comes from, how to care for plants, and the joy of reaching a goal. Here are some ideas to get you outside and in the garden.

And here are a couple of nature-based ideas where you can still enjoy the great outdoors, even if you can’t get there in person:

Digital Treasure Hunt Competition: Take a moment to discover nature virtually this Conservation Week with DOC’s Digital Treasure Hunt. The competition is open now and closes 5 pm on 9 September 2021.

Virtual Hub: Take a moment to notice nature:  Enjoy a virtual walk and soak in the views on the Kepler Track, or experience kākāpō and erect-crested penguins through the eyes of DOC rangers and scientists.


Wellington City Libraries have lots of e-resources that you can access right now to help with your nature exploration. Here’s just a few to get you started:

Overdrive cover 101 Small Ways to Change the World, Lonely Planet Kids; Aubre Andrus (ebook)

It’s hard to believe that you could change the world, but it’s true! We’ll show you loads of awesome ways to help out family, friends, yourself and the planet – and show how you’re never too young to make a big difference. Includes random acts of kindness, craft projects, energy-saving ideas and much more.

101 Small Ideas to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond! Remember, all big ideas start with just one person who decides to do things differently. You could be that person. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, Liz Lee Heinecke (ebook)

Learn physics, chemistry, and biology in your own backyard! In Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, scientist and mom Liz Heinecke has created 52 family-friendly labs designed to get you and yours outside in every season.
From playground physics to backyard bugs, this book makes it fun and easy to dig into the natural sciences and learn more about the world around you (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Wild In the City, Lonely Planet Kids;Kate Baker (ebook)

Discover the secret lives of more than 30 extraordinary creatures that share our cities. From red foxes sneaking rides on London buses to leopards prowling the backstreets of Mumbai, this book explores the clever ways animals have adapted to the urban environment and explains how you can help protect our wild neighbours.

Crammed with buildings, traffic and people, urban spaces are the last place you’d expect to see wildlife. But all kinds of animals live alongside us in the hidden corners of our towns and cities – from teeny ants living under pavement cracks to pick-pocketing monkeys and spotted hyenas being fed by locals. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel Bartholomew (ebook)

Mel Bartholomew’s top-selling Square Foot Gardening books have made his revolutionary garden system available to millions of people.
In Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel reveals his tips, tricks, and fun projects in one of his most cherished pursuits: teaching youngsters to build and grow a SFG of their own.
The easy geometry of the gridded box breaks the complex world of gardening into digestible bites for enthusiastic young learners, and the sequence of tasks required to grow plants from seeds is repeatable and reassuring.
Kids learn many valuable life lessons when tending their own garden — such as the importance of following instructions and doing your chores, basic skills like counting and water conservation, and learning to appreciate the nature of food and why it is important to respect it. Most importantly though, they learn that growing your own food is both fun and rewarding. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Greening Up Spaces, Megan Kopp (ebook)

Creative readers with a green thumb and an eye for design will be inspired to create their own gardening and landscaping projects in unique spaces. From vertical gardens to urban parklets, this title will motivate readers to “green up” spaces in their communities in a way that promotes environmental awareness, collaboration, and group planning. Profiles of innovators and their green creations encourage readers to embrace their own ideas and create their Maker visions. (Overdrive description)



“When Papatūānuku thrives, we all thrive.” 

Department of Conservation

 

Get your poetry game-face on!

person doing wall graffiti

Image: Upsplash free images & pictures

Do you know why August 2021 is special? No, not because we’ve gone into another lockdown 🙁 At the end of this month, it’s Phantom National Poetry Day! (Friday 27 August).

Now I know some of you may sigh and think “poetry-smoetry!” but the poetry world is all around us in the music lyrics we sing along to, the books we read (many picture books and even some chapter books are written in verse), to even the random thoughts that pop into our heads! It’s also a great way to express how your feeling in this topsy-turvy world of ours right now.

And it’s fun to do because there are no rules! You can start your sentence halfway through, OR WRITE THE ENTIRE POEM IN CAPITAL LETTERS, or don’t use any capital letters at all! Your poems don’t even have to rhyme to still be poetry. It’s up to you – it’s your creation.


Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Predictive poetry

Grab you phone and start a text by writing the first couple of words from a book (or newspaper article). Then simply keep adding the next word in the predictive text that you feel fits the poem you’re creating.

Here’s my example which I’ve named “The unnamed thing”:

The Unnamed Thing

And itself was very good but

The pussycat was a bit surreal.

The lake was still

Not sure how to feel…

Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry is when you take a written piece of text from a book, newspaper, or magazine and circle the words you want to keep and cross out the ones you don’t, in order to come up with your very own poetry!

If you’ve got an iPad at home, why not try your hand at some digital blackout poetry:

Here’s my blackout poem using this Stuff Kea Kids news article:

Teddy Takes Lead

Teddy is a therapy dog

Helps people

providing plenty of cuddles

maths games and reading

See Teddy in action!

Poetry Box Lockdown Challenge

On this great NZ poetry page, there’s a new theme for you to explore every month. The August theme is

“Look at the sky and skydream”

Want to read more poetry?

…but your stuck at home? Don’t worry! Wellington City Libraries have got loads of e-resources for you to borrow. Check out our OVERDRIVE KIDS POETRY RESOURCES HERE

Want to find out more about poetry?

Brain Bunny

New Zealand Poetry Society

Family Friendly Poems

poetry4kids.com

Rainbow Poetry

The Wonderful World of LEGO®

What is LEGO®?

This simple concept of colourful, interlocking plastic bricks that, when built together, can create almost anything has entertained children and adults for years. Originating in Denmark, the popularity of LEGO® has remained strong to this day, and people have used LEGO® blocks to create everything from massive replicas of famous monuments (such as the Eiffel Tower) to modern art. The original LEGO® blocks were created in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen in a town called Billund, Denmark in 1949. Two years later he named his company LEGO® after the Danish phrase leg godt (“play well”). Christiansen’s son Godtfred Kirk, who replaced his father as the head of the company, patented the brick in 1958, which has remained the same design since it was patented.

Legoland Billund | Legoland Billund, Danmark | bobbsled | Flickr

Image: Legoland Billund, Denmark by bobbsled on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

LEGO® has become such a creative success, it has given rise to features such as

  • The LEGOLAND theme park in Billund – This opened in 1968 and offers rides and attractions featuring large LEGO models.
  • DUPLO® – In 1969 the company started selling the DUPLO® line of larger bricks for young children.
  • MINDSTORMS® – In 1998 LEGO® started production of customised bricks to make programmable robots.
  • LEGO® MASTERS NZ – This television show has become a huge hit both here and overseas. Contestants build some wonderful creations all in the bid to win the TV competition. And Aotearoa is about to start filming its own version! Stay tuned!

LEGO® Fun at Wellington City Libraries

Let's Go LEGO®Check out the Events pages on our website to see when the next LEGO® activity is happening near you:


Build Wellington’s Heritage in LEGO® – COMPETITION!

LEGO GardenThis is a great new competition run by the Department of Conservation to celebrate NZ Heritage Week. Go to this page to find out more!

This competition is open to all ages of young from 1 August to 30 September 2021.  All you have to do is build your favourite  heritage site LEGO® from the Wellington / Kāpiti region, take a photo of it and send it into DoC at this email: agents@doc.govt.nz.

Easy-peasy!


LEGO® Books to Explore!

Wellington City Libraries have LOTS of LEGO® books as a go-to for all your creations. Simply check out 688.72 in the Children’s Non Fiction section of your library, or trawl through the E-T-Rs (Easy to Reads) for some great LEGO® adventures.

Here’re some recently added LEGO® books to get you excited:

LEGO minifigure handbook / Dolan, Hannah
“Meet the coolest LEGO Minifigures ever! The strange, the spooky, and the silly – all of your favourite LEGO minifigures are here. Go back in time with retro minifigures from the LEGO archives. Meet new characters from fun LEGO themes, including LEGO NINJAGO, LEGO City, and LEGO Collectible Minifigures. Your guide to more than 300 awesome minifigures!” (Catalogue)

Bricks & tricks : the new big unofficial Lego builders book / Klang, Joachim
“Joachim Klang and Uwe Kurth show how to re-purpose a varied assortment of Lego bricks, tiles and plates to create even newer models, scenes, and entire worlds.” (Catalogue)

Amazing brick mosaics : fantastic projects to build with the Lego blocks you already have / Brack, Amanda
“Every LEGO-loving kid has at least one huge bin of bricks the sets are built, dismantled, and typically never built again and this book gives them dozens of ways to reusethem in fun projects that range from easy to challenging. Featuring a simple yet elegant mosaic technique, step-by-step instructions, and full-color photographs for making 25 cool two-dimensional pictures, Amazing Brick Mosaics offers unique projects that will delight any LEGO enthusiast”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

100 ways to rebuild the world / Murray, Helen
“You’re never too young to change the world! Discover 100 fun ideas to be kind and spread joy to the world around you. Get creative with your LEGO bricks and be inspired to care for others, yourself, and the planet. For example: Make a neighbour a LEGO thank-you card; Get active with a LEGO building race; Create a LEGO emoji to make your friend smile. How will you rebuild the world?” (Catalogue)

Brickman’s family challenge book / McNaught, Ryan
“Challenge each member of your household to a building competition that is the brainchild of Brickman himself, star judge of smash hit TV show LEGO (R) Masters and a LEGO Certified Professional. Each of the 30 challenges can be attempted at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. So whether you’re 5 or 105, an infrequent brick builder or a huge LEGO fan, these challenges will get you off the screens, and your creative juices flowing with even the most basic of LEGO collections. Is your family up for the challenge?” (Catalogue)

Incredible LEGO creations from space : with bricks you already have : 25 new spaceships, rovers, aliens and other fun projects to expand your LEGO Universe / Dees, Sarah
“Turn your bucket of LEGO® bricks into fun new space expeditions–complete with epic spaceships, kooky aliens and cool vehicles!” — back cover.” (Catalogue)

Spot the crook : a search-and-find book.
“Can you spot the crook? There’s a crook hiding in the crowds in Lego City, and it’s your job to find him! This search-and-find book is packed with amazing detailed scenes featuring all your favourite Lego City characters. Once you’ve found the Red Scarf Crook, there are loads of extra cool things to spot for hours of Lego fun!” (Catalogue)

Read Books, Earn Pizza!

Love pizza? Love reading? Then boy, do we have the deal for you!

The famous Hell Pizza Reading Challenge has returned for another year, and from now until the end of January 2022, Hell Pizza will give you one free kids’ pizza from their 333 menu for every seven books you borrow and read from the library.

Does it sound too good to be true? We thought you might think that, but trust us: we’d never lie to you. Especially when it comes to books and pizza.

So here’s the deal:

The next time you go to your local library, ask the friendly librarian for a pizza wheel. They look a bit like this:

A circular card divided into seven segments, each of which has a space to be stamped by a librarian. once seven segments are stamped, the card can be redeemed for one free 333 kids' pizza at any Hell Pizza store.

All those books just waiting to be read; all those pizzas just waiting to be eaten!

Whenever you issue a book from the library, ask the librarian to stamp and sign one segment of your pizza wheel. You can have one segment of your wheel signed for each book you read from the library! Our librarians love to talk to you about the books you’re reading, so come to the desk prepared to talk about bookish things!

Once you have all seven segments of your pizza wheel stamped and signed, the librarian will finish it off with The Master Stamp, and you can take the completed wheel to any Hell Pizza store and exchange it for one free 333 kids’ pizza. It really is as simple as that!

Rules:

  • You must be in Years 1-8 in order to participate in the Challenge.
  • Pizza wheels can be redeemed at any Hell Pizza store until 31 January 2022.
  • There’s no limit to how many pizza wheels you can earn across the year, but remember that Hell Pizza will only redeem one pizza wheel per visit per child! So you can’t stockpile 10 pizza wheels and get 10 free pizzas all at once.

We know lots of you have already started your 2021 Hell Pizza Reading Challenge journey already — but for those of you that haven’t, it’s never too late to start! You can pick up and sign off pizza wheels at any of our 14 libraries across the city! Last year Wellington City Libraries kids racked up nearly 15,000 free pizzas as part of the Hell Pizza Reading Challenge — that’s over 100,000 books read! Let’s see if we can beat that number this year!

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Become an Environmental Scientist with the City Nature Challenge!

Finish off the school holidays in environmental style by taking part in the City Nature Challenge this weekend! From Friday 30 April to Monday 3 May, Wellington will be transformed into a giant nature playground — and you will be turned into scientists, should you choose to take up the challenge of embarking on a four-day bioblitz!

WCC gardener photographing a plant using the iNaturalist app at a Wellington City garden.

Nate Rigler, WCC gardener, investigating some local flora! Photo credit: Tim Park.

So what is the City Nature Challenge? It’s a global event that sees people from over 250 cities across the world search for, report, and log any sightings of wild plants, creatures, or organisms, living or dead, on the land, up the mountains, and in the sea — and around our backyards.

It’s super easy to get involved using the iNaturalist app (free on the app store). Join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group, go for a walk in the city (looking out for local flora and fauna as you go!) and when you spot something cool, upload it to the app. There are prizes to be won and a natural environment to be discovered, so pick up a flyer from your local library, or head over to the City Nature Challenge website, to find out more!

If nature is your kind of thing, Wellington City Libraries has a huge range of books and other resources on the topic. Use the following links to find books on our catalogue about various topics relating to the plants, animals, and environment of New Zealand — or use the Dewey Decimal numbers to help you search the shelves the next time you visit the library!

Here are some that you might find particularly useful as you participate in the City Nature Challenge this weekend:

New Zealand nature heroes / Candler, Gillian
“New Zealand Nature Heroes is designed to inspire and empower New Zealand kids to be naturalists and conservationists. Aimed at the 8-12 age range, the book features stories of 15 different nature heroes, people who, in the past, or currently, are working to protect and understand New Zealand’s natural world. These inspirational profiles are complemented with information about key animals, plants or habitats, and then each matched with an authentic activity that kids can do to make a difference.” (Catalogue)

A New Zealand nature journal / Morris, Sandra
“A New Zealand Nature Journal will teach you how to keep a nature journal to record your amazing discoveries. Have you ever noticed that ladybirds have different numbers of spots? Or that leaves can be pointed or round, long or short, soft or hard? There is so much to explore in the natural world. And keeping a nature journal is the best way to record all your amazing discoveries.” (Catalogue)

New Zealand birds in pictures / Chen, Kimball
“From the barely-visible wings of the flightless kiwi to the immense wingspan of the wandering albatross, New Zealand’s fragile island ecosystem is home to a diverse array of spectacular birds. Delve into the fascinating world of our feathered friends with author and wildlife photographer Kimball Chen. From intimate portraits of endangered creatures and their glamorous breeding plumage, to dramatic wide-angle birdscapes encompassing rugged sub-antarctic habitats, to magical fleeting encounters of birds courting and mating and hatching, Chen’s passion for nature shines with artistic and aesthetic photographs sure to pique a greater appreciation of New Zealand birds. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The life-size guide to insects & other land vertebrates of New Zealand / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying New Zealand’s insects, spiders and other land invertebrates is made simple with this new guide. Over 300 life-size colour photographs make it fun for all the family to learn more about the natural world of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

The life-size guide to native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest can be fun for all the family with this new pictorial guide. Match leaves, flowers, seeds, berries and bark against beautiful, life-sized photographs for fast, accurate identification. Written by one of New Zealand’s foremost writers on native plants, The Life-Size Guide offers a new opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world of our native plants.” (Catalogue)

Wildlife of Aotearoa / Bishop, Gavin
“Long before waka touched Aotearoa’s shores, the land of the long white cloud was home to an array of creatures uniquely adapted to its environments and protected by its isolation. Encounter New Zealand’s incredible wildlife in this spectacular visual exploration. Journey through ocean, sky and land to meet a marvellous range of organisms. Discover fascinating facts, and learn how we influence the survival of our living treasures. In this magnificent companion volume to Aotearoa- The New Zealand Story, Gavin Bishop weaves a compelling visual narrative of our land, our people and our wildlife – past, present and future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Need Help Writing Your Poem for Tūhono?

Kia ora! We have loved receiving all of your entries so far for Tūhono, our brand new poetry journal for young Wellington writers! If you need a refresher on what Tūhono is, feel free to check out our first blog post about it.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting some useful tips and tricks on writing poetry on this blog, to help you with your submission! We thought we would start by recommending some really good books you can borrow from our libraries that are all about how to write poetry, and what poetry is all about. Big thanks to Stephanie, the wonderful librarian who buys all of our books for children and teenagers, for putting this list together for us!

How to write poems / Coelho, Joseph
Our first books is packed with exciting activities and starting points to get you creating your own poetic masterpieces! This book is really great for beginners as well as more experienced poets. There are many different types of poetry covered in this comprehensive ‘how to’ guide. If you want to reserve it, you can click on the book’s title, and then the orange “Place Reserve” button — then just choose which library you would like to collect the book from!

What is poetry? : the essential guide to reading & writing poems / Rosen, Michael
Michael Rosen is a well-known and popular British poet. In this book, he draws on his many years of experience to share information and tips on how you can become a poet too. What makes this book especially interesting is that he takes the time to walk you through a number of his own poems, explaining how and why he wrote them. Understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of poetry is really important if you want to write your own some day!

Jabberwalking / Herrera, Juan Felipe
What exactly is ‘Jabberwalking’? The author Juan Felipe Herrera (a well-known American poet) explains that jabberwalking poets aim to create something that’s not like a typical poem. To be a jabberwalking poet you must move and write at the same time! You must write everything that comes into your head — things you see, things you hear, and things you feel. The challenge then is to interpret all your scribbles and turn them into a poem. This is an incredibly creative and unusual way to craft a weird, wild poem — just the kind of poetry we’d love to see in Tūhono.

The Usborne creative writer’s handbook / Daynes, Katie
This super useful handbook covers many different forms of creative writing, including a useful section on poetry. You will find though that much of the advice you can find throughout this books is relevant to crafting poems — for example, coming up with ideas, planning, grammar, and punctuation. With this book in your poetic toolbelt, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a super successful writer!

Tūhono — We Want Your Poems!

We are excited to announce that Wellington City Libraries is launching its very own poetry journal for kids and teens — Tūhono! All throughout the month of November, we will be accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono itself — the collection of poetry from young people all over Wellington — will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory!

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2020:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 – 30 November 2020.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2020.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono 2020 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who sent us their work!

Who?

  • Everyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Tūhono — Connection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write about your family; friends; your connection with history or your place in the world; disconnection during lockdown — anything at all. We can’t wait to see what you create!
  • LengthYour poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published in an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the great authors and poets represented on our shelves. We hope that Tūhono grows into a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We are so excited to see what you come up with!

Throughout the month of November, we will be posting regular updates providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone!