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)

Kids’ Activities Under Red Settings

To keep our young people and vulnerable communities safe under Red settings, we’re moving most of our programmes for children under the age of 12 and their families online! This is because even though our libraries are open, lots of our kids’ programmes, like CRAFTerschool, Code Club, and Baby Rock and Rhyme, involve lots of people getting very close together, and it’s just too tricky to provide the required social distancing for young people who can’t yet be vaccinated.

Soon, we will be starting up a whole bunch of activities and programmes, some of which you can do online, and some of which you will be able to do in a contactless way in the library, but in the meantime we thought it would be a good idea to remind you about all the awesome online resources and activities you can do with us online. If you love stories, arts and crafts, music, movies, and fun activities to do with your family, we’ve got you covered!

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

Awesome New Reads (and Listens) on OverDrive!

Awesome news for all you audiobook listeners out there — the lovely librarians who buy books for the eLibrary have added a whole new collection of 100 amazing audiobooks that are always available for you to listen to! That’s right, there’s no need for you to hang around waiting for someone to return the book that you want — no matter how many people have borrowed it, there’s always room for another listener!

Head on over to the Unlimited Loans: Kids’ Audiobooks page on OverDrive or Libby to start borrowing — and while you’re there, why not check out our new Kids’ Lucky Day collection too? It’s a round up of some of the most popular eBook and eAudiobook titles for kids to be found this side of the Milky Way. You can only have these ones for 14 days, and can’t place reserves on them — these are the hottest titles after all — so snaffle them up while you can! By the time you’ve finished the ones you’ve chosen, there’ll be a whole new selection up for grabs.

Can’t decide what to pick up? Read on for some of our favourite top picks from the Unlimited Loans: Kids’ Audiobooks and Kids’ Lucky Day lists…

Unlimited Loans: Kids’ Audiobooks

Overdrive cover Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts, Katie Tsang (Audiobook)

Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except he is). When a trip to the Space Museum goes terrifyingly wrong, Sam begins a mission to prove to the school bully, and all of his friends, that he is a fearless space adventurer. A truly laugh-out-loud, voice-led and madcap story of ghost hunting, snakes and mischievous pet cats called Butterbutt.

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Cloud Boy, Marcia Williams (Audiobook)

Harry Christmas and Angie Moon are best friends and almost-twins. Ever since they were born two days apart they’ve been partners in cloud-spotting, sweet-eating and treehouse-building. But when Harry is taken to hospital for headaches that won’t go away, he needs Angie more than ever. Because when things fall apart, only a best friend can stitch them back together. Told through Angie’s lively diary, this is a bittersweet story about friendship and growing up.

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Kid Normal, Chris Smith (Audiobook)

When Murph Cooper rocks up to his new school, he can’t help but feel a bit out of his depth. And it’s not because he’s worried about where to sit, and making friends, and fitting in, or not knowing where the loos are. It’s because his mum has enrolled him at a school for superheroes by mistake. And unlike his fellow students Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. But just because you don’t have superpowers, it doesn’t mean you can’t save the day…

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Brandon Sanderson (Audiobook)Alcatraz Smedry, practically the world champion of breaking things, never thought his most boring birthday present – a bag of sand – would get him into this much trouble. Yet now he’s fleeing from evil Librarians, releasing dinosaurs to create a diversion in the Fiction section, and learning that clumsiness can be a powerful talent!

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover To Be a Cat, Matt Haig (Audiobook)

Barney Willow thinks life couldn’t get any worse. He’s weedy, with sticky-out ears. Horrible Gavin Needle loves tormenting him. And worst of all, Dad has been missing for almost a year, and there’s no sign of him ever coming home. Barney just wants to escape, and find another life. Being a cat, for example. A quiet, lazy cat. Things would be so much easier—right?

(Overdrive description)

Kids’ Lucky Day Collection

Overdrive cover Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend (Audiobook)

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes. But worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her 11th birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears and whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor…

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover New Kid, Jerry Craft (ebook)

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enrol him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Karen’s Roller Skates, Ann M. Martin (ebook)

It’s going to be a great weekend! Karen has new roller skates and is a very good skater. She’s looking forward to trying some new tricks. But, oh no! Karen falls down and has to go to the hospital. Her wrist is broken!
Karen is determined to get everyone she knows — plus someone famous — to sign her cast. It isn’t going to be easy, but she won’t give up until the job is done.

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Dork Diaries, Rachel Renee Russell (ebook)

Nikki Maxwell and her bandmates are looking forward to an AWESOME time on tour as the opening act for the world famous Bad Boyz! The only downside? Nikki’s frenemy, MacKenzie Hollister, has weaselled her way onto the tour as a social media guru…
Nikki’s determined to stay out of MacKenzie’s way to avoid any drama, but then she learns that MacKenzie is going to be her roommate! TOTAL DISASTER! Will Nikki survive her dream tour as it quickly goes from AWESOME to AWFUL?!

(Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Deep End, Jeff Kinney (ebook)

In The Deep End, book 15 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney, Greg Heffley and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
But things take an unexpected turn, and they find themselves stranded at an RV park that’s not exactly a summertime paradise. When the skies open up and the water starts to rise, the Heffleys wonder if they can save their vacation – or if they’re already in too deep.

(Overdrive description)

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

Bird Watchers, Get Counting: It’s Bird Survey Time!

Manaaki Whenua | Landcare Research is running its annual Garden Bird Survey right now (from 26 June – 4 July). To participate you need to spend 60 minutes  in your garden, local park or reserve recording the birds you see at any one time between 26 June – 4 July.

To take part, go to gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz. There are heaps of resources on this website including helpful pictures of the birds you are most likely to see, printable tally sheets, quizzes, competitions, and how to enter as a school group, if that’s your jam!

Taking part is easy:

  1. Select your garden, park, or school
  2. Choose one day from 26th June to the 4th July
  3. Look and listen for birds for ONE hour.
  4. Record the HIGHEST number of a bird species observed at one time.
  5. Submit your survey results below.

Your survey results will be analysed by the Landcare Research scientists. This will help them know and understand things like how our bird populations are changing over time, and keep an eye on any population trends (good and bad).

Fantail 1So do your part to help care for our wonderful birdlife! Did you know that at the end of Day 1 alone

  • 282 Surveys were submitted
  • 12,187 Birds counted
  • 68 Species counted
 And if you still have some questions, jump onto the FAQ page on the website to answer the ones you have, and ones you hadn’t even thought about around all things birds + survey.


Book Jacket for: A bird in the hand : keeping New Zealand wildlife safeBook Jacket for: Discovering New Zealand birdsBook Jacket for: NZ birds

Wellington City Libraries have loads of books and resources about New Zealand birds.

Or you could browse the Non-Fiction shelves under the Dewey Number of 598.


Other useful websites:

Birds New Zealand

Department of Conservation

Forest and Bird

New Zealand Geographic

Become an ornithological expert and help understand and protect Aotearoa’s wonderfully diverse birdlife.


 

Family Lockdown Challenge: Coding Capers!

It’s nearly the end of another week of lockdown, so it’s time for another Family Lockdown Challenge! So far we’ve explored everything from Lego to scavenger hunts, movies to Music Month — but so far we have yet to explore the wonderful world of coding!

Many of you will know that our libraries run after-school and weekend Code Clubs with the assistance of the kind folks at Code Club Aotearoa, so we thought we’d share some ideas for a fun-filled learning adventure in coding, regardless of your level or ability.

Coding is everywhere, even behind the scenes of this very blog! Here’s a snippet of HTML from one of our recent posts — can you work out which one?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the Code Club project page, choose a project that interests you, and give it a go! There are heaps of projects to choose from, from creating a simple spacey animation in Scratch to creating a 2D version of Minecraft in Python. Each project includes full instructions to guide you from zero to hero — we recommend working your way up gradually through the projects so you can build on what you learn each time.

Here are some suggestions as to where you can start:

    • If you’re a total beginner to coding, start with the Rock Band project in Scratch. It’s a super simple and fun project that has you creating your own interactive rock band! What songs can you get your band to play?
    • If you’ve tried a bit of coding before, why not try creating a simple Ghost Busters game? Check out one we created below! How many ghosts can you catch?
    • Fancy yourself a bit of a Scratch pro? Try the Dodgeball challenge or — if you’re really up for it — Create Your Own World.

Scratch not your thing? Code Club Aotearoa also host awesome projects in HTML/CSS, Python, 3D animation in Blender, and much more. Jump in and see how you go!

Real Time, Real Person, Real Help with your Schoolwork

Note: this Kids’ Blog post is targeted at adults! Kids read on with caution.

In these strange new times, teachers, parents and other educators are looking to the Internet for homework help and educational resources to keep their kids’ brains active while schools are closed. Good news! The library can be an invaluable resource for anybody who is trying online education at this time, above and beyond eBooks and online databases. How? Enter AnyQuestions.

Have any questions? Why not try AnyQuestions!

AnyQuestions is a service run by the National Library and staffed by public librarians from around New Zealand, including Wellington City Libraries. On it, children are able to chat in real-time with a real librarian fully trained in web-based research about any question they might have. The librarian working with your child won’t just give them the answer directly — instead, they guide the student through the process of doing online research, checking their understanding every step of the way.

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the service’s opening hours are at the normal settings, with librarians on hand to help every weekday from 1pm – 6pm.

If you prefer to work outside those hours, or just want a place to find great resources, try AnyQuestions’ sister site, ManyAnswers. This is a service also provided by the National Library and public librarians, and it’s a fully searchable, always-available database of reliable information and vetted resources for the most commonly-asked questions we receive. You can even search by year level to make sure you’re getting information that’s curated for the right level.

Both services are available year-round, so why not start making use of them today?

KEA Kids News

Want to know more about the latest news and important issues? Tune in to watch KEA Kids News, which will help explain the tough stuff. KEA Kids News is a twice-weekly video bulletin of new by kids for kids.

Inquisitive kid reporters will pick and peck through local, national, and international news to find interesting stories and ask questions. It’s aimed at 7 – 11 year olds.

Tune in every Wednesday at midday, and Saturday at 9am for the latest video bulletin at stuff.co.nz/KEA

Here’s the most recent episode for you to enjoy.

 

Also, don’t forget about Kiwi Kids News, which is another amazing news site for New Zealand children that has daily updates on all sorts of interesting and inspiring things. Bookmark them both!

Live online homework help with AnyQuestions

Need help with those tricky school subjects? Not sure where to start on your project? Have a topic that you want to know more about? Just need a good website?

Then you need to go to AnyQuestions.co.nz

AnyQuestions offers free online schoolwork help to New Zealand school students. You can log on to the website from 1pm to 6pm weekdays during the school year and chat online with a friendly librarian about a schoolwork question.

AnyQuestions librarians are specially trained to help you find the answers you need, without giving you the answers of course! They will guide you to quality information sources and help you gain the skills to do future searches yourself.

AnyQuestions will work with any internet enabled device, such as a computer, tablet or a smartphone. AnyQuestions does look a bit different on different devices but you’re still talking to a librarian, somewhere in New Zealand.

The site is backed by the Ministry of Education and is staffed by librarians from Wellington City Libraries and other libraries around New Zealand.

For more information visit AnyQuestions.

Top 10 Children’s Non-Fiction March 2017

Great books to get your brains tingling! If you’re building a Minecraft empire or brushing up your acting skills with the Harry Potter script the top issuing non-fiction books have something you’ll love.

Batman and Lego fans are loving the new movie, The Batman movie : the essential guide, by Julia March and The Batman movie : the making of the movie, by Tracey Miller-Zarneke will give you inside knowledge into creating the new Lego legend.  Want to build your own Lego Batman? Minecraft may be the creative space you’ve been looking for!

  1. LEGO series, by Daniel Lipkowitz
  2. Minecraft, by Stephanie Milton
  3. Hacks for Minecrafters, by Megan Miller
  4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J. K. Rowling
  5. Minecraft, by Nick Farwell
  6. Star Wars character encyclopedia, by Simon Beecroft
  7. Minecraft : Construction Handbook, by Matthew Needler
  8. The Batman movie : the essential guide, by Julia March
  9. Dog, by Juliet Clutton-Brock
  10. Guinness World Records 2017, Craig Glenday editor in chief