Understanding Ukraine and Russia: A Guide for Kids and their Adults

Wellington is home to thousands of people of Ukrainian and Russian descent, as well as people from Polish, Belarusian, and other Eastern or Central-Eastern European backgrounds. The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia means that people who have moved here from those countries, or who have family there, are probably feeling pretty anxious, scared, or upset right now. And of course, whenever there is conflict happening somewhere in the world, it tends to find its way into our everyday lives — through the news, through TV or internet content, or through our friends or teachers at school talking about it — and it’s completely normal for that to make us feel a bit scared or anxious as well.

A man in Ukrainian cultural dress, including a tall fur cap and an elaborately-knotted brocade, is holding a small child in front of a festival stall which is decorated with sunflowers.

The Ukrainian stall at the Palmerston North Festival of Cultures in 2018. Note the Ukrainian flag in the background, as well as all the sunflowers — the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Image courtesy of Palmerston North City Library, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

One way that we can help ourselves, and others, is by learning as much as we can about the history and culture of those places, and how news gets created and reported. If we learn about that, we can understand more about what’s going on at the moment in Ukraine and Russia — which means we’ll be more aware of, and better able to process, what’s being reported in the media and what our friends, whānau, and the wider community are talking about.

The good news is that the library has a whole heap of resources — books and other things — to help you learn more about Ukraine, Russia, international conflict, and the media more generally. Read on to find out how the library can help you understand what’s going on in the world at the moment.


HINT: Many of the links in this blog go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Kids. This is accessible to all Wellington City Libraries patrons. But to access this wonderful resource, and the others mentioned in this blog, you’ll need to login using your library card number (on the back of your card) and 4 digit pin (last FOUR numbers of the phone number listed on your library account), and the link will take you straight there.


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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)

Get into the spirit of Halloween ’21 at the library — Part One!

image courtesy of stuff.co.nz

Halloween has arrived at the library! In addition to dressing up and eating treats, now is the time to get your scare on reading up about the history of Halloween, and getting some cool ideas for Halloween costumes and crafts. Soon to come is Part Two, where we’ll share with you some extra-spooky fiction, picture books, eBooks and movies for a quiet (scare) night in. Let the scare fest begin! AHHHWWOOOOOO!

About Halloween:

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is celebrated on October 31st. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1 in contemporary calendars. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits. Today Halloween is considered a holiday (especially in the United States) for dress-up, (traditionally witches, ghosts and zombies), treats and fun, especially for children. For more information about the history of Halloween, read our previous post.

Some ways that people around the world celebrate Halloween include:

  • Dressing up in costume,
  • Handing out treats to trick or treaters,
  • Decorating the house with Halloween party favours,
  • Reading or sharing ghost stories (we have heaps of those!),
  • Watching scary movies (we have heaps of those as well!)

Immediately following Halloween, on November 1st, Día de Muertos is a traditional Central American holiday that reunites the living and dead. It is a holiday for celebrating life and death, a holiday where mourning is exchanged for celebration. Below are a couple of books from our collection where you can read up more about this festival:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe day of the dead = El dia de los muertos.

@This book tells the story of two children as they celebrate their ancestors on the vibrant holiday: The day of the dead. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals and joyful songs, Hispanic families welcome back ancestors on this holiday. Complete with lush college and lyrical text in both English and Spanish, this wonderful picture book creates the perfect introduction to this festival (and perhaps also to the Spanish language).” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsDía de los muertos.

“It’s Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style.” (Catalogue)


Where can I find more information about Halloween:


image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrate Halloween.

“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to make frightening Halloween decorations.

“Do you like to scare and gross out your friends? Create frightening Halloween decorations with just a few simple supplies. Surprise your friends with glowing alien heads and sicken them with bloody intestines. Whether you’re decorating for a party or just for fun, these projects will turn an ordinary Halloween into a howling good time.”(Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to create spectacular Halloween costumes.

“Are you searching for a Halloween costume that will get you noticed? Then How to Create Spectacular Halloween Costumes is the book for you! From a guitar-playing vampire to the floor of a movie theater, these easy-to-make costumes are sure to impress your friends. They might even cause a few screams!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndetics10 minute Halloween crafts.

“In 10 Minute Crafts: Halloween, children can learn how to make Halloween decorations such as bat hangings and black cat lanterns and create spookily brilliant zombie finger puppets and witches on broomsticks, plus lots more amazing Halloween ideas.” (Catalogue)

New to the collection is…

image courtesy of syndeticsHalloween : 300 spooky facts to scare you silly.

“The wildly popular Weird But True line is all dressed up for Halloween with 300 all-new spooky facts about candy, costumes, pumpkin carving, and more Calling all boys and ghouls: You’re in for a treat of freaky facts, stats, tidbits, and trivia about one of the most popular holidays Did you know that there is an underwater pumpkin carving contest? Or that the U.S. Defense Department has a zombie apocalypse plan? Maybe you’d be amazed to discover that there are more Halloween emojis than there are U.S. states? It’s all weird–and it’s all true–in this latest and greatest edition, packed with hilarious and terrifying tidbits on Halloween.” (Catalogue)


Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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

 

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that aims to make people more aware of plastic pollution, and the things they can do to reduce it. This includes you! You can take the Plastic Free Challenge at home or at school to help get you started, check out some of our tips below, or borrow some of the awesome books listed below from your local library.

Posters are available to download on plasticfreejuly.org/resources/posters/

What can I do at home?

  • Talk to your family and get everyone on board with reducing plastic consumption
  • Set out your ideas and suggestions on the fridge!
  • Learn to bake! Home-baked snacks are way yummier (and cheaper) than bought ones anyway 🙂
  • Think twice about single-use bottled water and fruit juices
  • Use soap and shampoo bars instead of liquid soaps and shampoos
  • Reduce the amount of things you buy, reuse what you have to, and recycle what you no longer need. Think to yourself before you buy “Do I really need this?”
  • Take better care of your clothes, swap with friends, or get excited about hand-me-downs! Did you know that many of our clothes contain plastics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide? In fact most new fabrics are made of plastic – up to 64% of them. The thing is, every time we wash these materials they shed millions of plastic microfibres into our drains which ultimately end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans.

What can I do at School?

  • Try to bring people together and create a team to look at how your school can reduce plastic consumption.
  • Get both students and teachers on board, you never know who might be concerned!
  • Start small by looking at the simple changes you can make. For example, take your lunch to school in a reusable container and bring reusable cutlery
  • Try to empower others by sharing positive solutions rather than just identifying the problems!

“As a future guardian of the planet, you can say no to plastic. Your actions, however small, can make a big difference every day. Are you up to the challenge?” — Aubre Andrus, “The Plastic Problem

Plastic planet / Amson-Bradshaw, Georgia
“Plastic Planet offers young readers a non-alarmist introduction to Earth’s plastic crisis. Plastic pollution is now found in every environment on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the driest deserts and the most remote ice sheets. Plastic Planet offers readers aged 8 and up a look at plastic through the ages, exploring what it is, how it’s made and how we have become so dependent on it in a single-use, disposable world. It highlights the social inequality of plastic pollution and explores how plastic has become a widespread and dangerous pollutant that is inextricably linked to climate change. The book looks ahead to possible solutions to our plastic crisis, from global changes such as changing people’s mindsets, to innovations such as compostable plastics, to practical solutions such as recycling and bottle return schemes.” (Catalogue)


Kids vs. plastic : ditch the straw and find the pollution solution to bottles, bags, and other single-use plastics : how you can be a waste warrior! / Beer, Julie
“Jam-packed with surprising information about plastic’s effect on the environment, plus loads of practical ways kids can cut down on their plastic footprint, this is the kids guide to being part of the pollution solution!”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The plastic problem : 60 small ways to reduce waste and save the Earth / Andrus, Aubre
“Look around you–plastic is everywhere! It’s in your shoes, pens, toothbrush, car, toys, TV, water bottles, food packaging… It’s almost impossible to get through one day without using it. And it’s creating major problems for our world, our oceans, our animals and marine life, and ourselves. In The Plastic Problem, from the team that brought you 101 Small Ways to Save the World, you’ll learn how to become a ‘plastic patroller’ instead of a plastic polluter by learning about the easy ways you can cut plastic out of your life. The simple actions found in this practical guide will help you protect our world and inspire your friends and family to do the same. ” (Catalogue, abridged)

Kids fight plastic / Dorey, Martin
“Have you got 2 minutes? That’s all the time it takes to become a #2minutesuperhero. Plastic is everywhere. It is in the rivers and it is in the sea. We need superheroes to fight plastic and help save our oceans.” (Catalogue)



Further ideas to help you explore a clean, green future!

ZEALANDIA ECOSANCTUARY– This is what’s called a ‘mainland island’ in the heart of Wellington. Predator-proof fencing has meant that the native wildlife and plants can thrive as it should to maintain Aotearoa’s wonderful biodiversity. Every visit is a new adventure, AND in July kids get free entry into this natural wonderland!
 
HELP WITH LOCAL BEACH CLEAN UPS
Plastics and glass can take up to 400 years to break down in the sea, and our poor oceans are getting clogged with this pollution. You could organise your own beach clean up with friends, family or your school; or maybe you could volunteer to help with an organised event. There are some great websites to inspire you to get beach cleaning and help you get organised:

Kia kaha, and thank you from Mother Earth!

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2021: Children’s Finalists!

The announcement of the finalists for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is always an extremely exciting time of year for us! This year saw a truly huge number of books entered by authors and illustrators from around Aotearoa — and the suite of books chosen for the shortlist are by turns beautiful, quirky, profound, funny, and all-in-all could only have come from here.

To help you make up your mind about which books you think should win their categories, we thought we’d share the full list with here, with links to all the books on our catalogue. Just click on the title and you’ll be able to reserve the next available copy to read. But get in quick — we don’t think they’ll stay on the shelf for very long!

PS — head over to the Teen Blog to find out about the books that have made the shortlist in the Young Adult Fiction category!

Picture Book Award

Judges’ comments: “This year’s Picture Book Award shortlist beautifully combines delicate illustrations that connect to and enhance sometimes delicate themes. There are laughs, tears, sighs (both contented and wistful) to be had in equal measure.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

Hound the detective / Andrews, Kimberly
“Meet Hound, a brilliant detective who ALWAYS solves his case. But this latest trail of clues has him perplexed … what has he missed? This gorgeous, multi-layered and engaging whodunnit by an award-winning writer has a delightful surprise at the end. Readers will love studying each action-packed illustration, poring over the details of Hound’s secret passages and map, spotting the adorable animals lurking in the pictures, and finding the caterpillar hidden on every page.” (Catalogue)

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)
The hug blanket / Gurney, Chris
“A heartfelt exploration of the unconditional love between a child and their grandparent. A book to help children understand grief. It smells like sunshine. It sounds like whispers. It looks like rainbows… It feels like love.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

This is where I stand / Werry, Philippa
“Provides a glimpse into the life of a soldier immortalised as a statue, reflecting the passage of time. The soldier on a war memorial tells the story of what he has seen over the years. Although the soldier is based on the ‘Untidy Soldier’ statue in Devonport, it could be any statue in any town. The story begins in a modern day setting, then moves back to WWI, WWII to finish again in contemporary times.” (Catalogue)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

Judges’ comments: “The books vying for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award presented the judges with eclectic plotlines and endearing characters, and they struggled to narrow down to a shortlist from the well-crafted titles.”

Across the risen sea / Bren MacDibble. / MacDibble, Bren
“Across the Risen Sea is an action-packed, compelling and heartfelt middle-fiction adventure, set in a post-climate change landscape, from the multi-award winning author of How to Bee.” (Catalogue)

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

Also available as an eBook!

Red edge / Hunt, Des
“Twelve-year-old Cassi Whelan and her dad have just moved into a repaired house on the edge of Christchurch’s Red Zone. Although Cassi was only four when earthquakes decimated Christchurch, her memories still haunt her. An obsessive runner, she finds the wide-open spaces of the cleared Red Zone suit her perfectly. However, she becomes suspicious about strange comings and goings at the broken-down house next door. A chance meeting with a boy who lives on the other side of the house, who is a tech geek, leads to them setting up a surveillance system to investigate what’s happening.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

The Inkberg Enigma / King, Jonathan
“Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books ; Zia is never without her camera. The they meet, they stumble upon a secret. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook!

The tunnel of dreams / Beckett, Bernard
“In an abandoned house at the end of their street, twin brothers Stefan and Arlo discover a young girl hiding in its dusty shadows. Alice needs their help as her twin sister is locked in a cage suspended high above a mysterious mine in a strange parallel world and she asks an impossible favour. Will they meet her on the next full moon at the entrance to a tunnel they both know doesn’t exist? Except that it does…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

Judges’ comments: “The judges found the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction a particularly strong category this year, stating ‘to say there is something for everyone is an understatement; this list has everything, for everyone!'”

Egg & spoon : an illustrated cookbook / Tylee, Alexandra
“A beautiful illustrated cookbook for children–and their families–that celebrates imagination and pleasure in cooking. A fun and modern cookbook for families packed with recipes for meals, snacks, treats, and a whole lot of humour. Alexandra Tylee’s lively inner ten-year-old knows exactly what food appeals to children and how to talk to kids about food. She trusts them to choose flavours and handle equipment in this joyful book that will set them on a lifetime love of healthy cooking and eating. Giselle Clarkson’s illustrations are salivatingly delicious and subversively playful.” (Catalogue)

Mophead tu : the Queen’s poem / Marsh, Selina Tusitala
“Selina is invited to perform for the Queen at Westminster Abbey. But when a colleague calls her a ‘sellout’, Selina starts doubting herself. Can she stand with her people who struggled against the Queen … and still serve the Queen? From the sinking islands in the South Seas to the smoggy streets of London, this is a hilariously thought-provoking take on colonial histories and one poet’s journey to bridge the divide.” (Catalogue)

New Zealand disasters : our response, resilience and recovery / Gill, Maria
“Inspiring stories of courage, resilience and determination in the face of disaster New Zealanders have endured phenomenal natural and human disasters throughout the ages. This inspiring book documents some of these key moments in our history and, more importantly, how we responded and grew stronger; what changes/improvements were made as a result. Cyclones, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, fires, aeroplane crashes, pandemics and other disasters are just some of the many themes covered in this comprehensive, vibrantly illustrated account.” (Catalogue)

North and south / Morris, Sandra
“A beautiful non-fiction picture book about animals around the world. This non-fiction picture book takes readers around the world through the months of the year, looking at seasons in both the northern and southern hemisphere. It focuses on a species in each hemisphere for that month, e.g. March in the northern hemisphere is polar bear cubs in the Canadian Arctic and also saltwater crocodiles in Australia. There are a range of countries, habitats, species and animal activities included.” (Catalogue)

You’re joking : become an expert joke-teller / Moffatt, Tom E
“Tired of no one laughing at your jokes? You don’t have to be. Joke-telling is a skill, like playing the piano or juggling live hedgehogs. This book teaches you that skill with easy-to-follow instructions and simple exercises. With 101 hilarious jokes (and lots of practice), you’ll soon get the laughter and applause you deserve. Without ever needing to juggle hedgehogs.” (Publisher summary courtesy of Wright Laugh Books)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration

Judges’ comments: “The judges faced an outstandingly strong and large pool of entries for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration. The finalists are characterised by a diversity of styles and media, but the books all have in common an expert use of colour and line to communicate emotion and pace and skilfully add texture to the narrative.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

I am the universe / Unka, Vasanti
“I am the Universe, an infinite space of glittering galaxies. It’s a starlit journey through space that will lead you to a wonderful planet brimming with all kinds of life – including yours. This stunning story demonstrating the scale of the Universe and our place in it was created specially for children aged three years and up by the award-winning author-illustrator Vasanti Unka, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, the Earth, the Solar System, the Galaxy, the Milky Way, the Universe.” (Catalogue)

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)

Moon & Sun / Szymanik, Melinda
“Moon is sad. She feels dull next to her bright happy sister, Sun. She hides away at night until Sun tells Moon how special she is and how she would love to share the sky with her. This beautifully illustrated children’s book explains how our diffrerences are our strengths, and how together we can make the world a better place!” (Catalogue)

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi / Winitana, Chris.
“This is the story, told in te reo Māori, of the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape and subduing of kaitiaki, such as the guardian of Tarawera, Tamaohoi; the guardian of water on Kaingaroa, Torepatutai; and the King of the Patupaiarehe, fairy folk, Ririō. This adventure story traces the places Ngātoroirangi travelled through, such as Waimahunga, the large spring where he conducted his cleansing ceremonies, and Te Whārua o Ngātoroirangi, where his footprints are still visible in the land today.”

(Publisher summary courtesy of Huia Publishers)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award

Judges’ comments: “The finalists in the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written entirely in te reo Māori will appeal to a broad range of abilities. Te reo in its simplest form will lift the language for beginners, while there are also titles with a depth of language to send the imaginations of confident speakers soaring. The judges were pleased to see a marked increase in the number of books written in te reo Māori, rather than translated from English.”

Aroha te whai ora : he mahere piropiro mā te tamariki / Phillips, Craig
“Nau mai, hoake tātou ko Aroha, i a ia e kaupare ana i te taiatea, i te mataku, i te māharahara, me te anipā, ki ana tukanga māmā ka taea e te katoa. Come along on a journey with Aroha as she wards off nervousness, fear, worrying thoughts and apprehension, with simple, yet effect tools that everyone can use.” (Catalogue)

Also read this book in te reo Pākehā!

Mihi / Bishop, Gavin
“This beautiful baby book introduces ideas of me and my place in the world in the shape of a simple mihi or pepeha… Repeating colours and shapes show the connections between waka, mountain, and iwi through to mama, papa, and the baby reader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pīpī kiwi / Taylor, Helen J.
“Young Kiwi Iti waits impatiently for his baby sister, Pīpī Kiwi, to hatch. Will she ever arrive? When will she be ready to play with him? His father Kiwi Nui explains to him that love takes time. Ahea RAWA pao ai te hua? This Māori-language story is for all children eagerly awaiting a new sibling.” (Catalogue)

Also read this book in te reo Pākehā!

Ngake me Whātaitai / Ngaia, Ben
“A traditional story told in te reo Māori from the perspective of the Kāhui Maunga people about Ngake and Whātaitai. These two taniwha inhabited Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour, long before the ancestral migrations. The story tells how the shape and landscape of Wellington, its harbour and the Lower Hutt area came about because of the actions of Ngake and Whātaitai.” (Catalogue)

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi / Winitana, Chris.
“This is the story, told in te reo Māori, of the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape and subduing of kaitiaki, such as the guardian of Tarawera, Tamaohoi; the guardian of water on Kaingaroa, Torepatutai; and the King of the Patupaiarehe, fairy folk, Ririō. This adventure story traces the places Ngātoroirangi travelled through, such as Waimahunga, the large spring where he conducted his cleansing ceremonies, and Te Whārua o Ngātoroirangi, where his footprints are still visible in the land today.” (Publisher summary courtesy of Huia Publishers)

Best First Book Award

Judges’ comments: “The finalists for the Best First Book Award left the judges reassured that the future of children’s literature in New Zealand is in good hands. In fact, the standard is so high, that four of the books are also finalists in one or more of the main categories.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue).

Read this book in te reo Māori!

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)

The Inkberg Enigma / King, Jonathan
“Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books ; Zia is never without her camera. The they meet, they stumble upon a secret. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

The midnight adventures of Ruru and Kiwi / Scott, Clare
“Ruru and Kiwi invite you to their midnight forest feast, in this delightful twist on the tale of the Owl and the Pussycat. Drawing on a cast of nocturnal New Zealand creatures, with award-winning illustrations by Amy Haarhoff, Clare Scott’s story imagines Edward Lear’s famous nonsense poem taking place in a moonlit forest in Aotearoa.” (Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo
“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies.” (Catalogue)

World Poetry Day: 21 March 2021

What I say is: “Yay for this day”, becauseSunday 21 March is World Poetry Day!

This special day was adopted by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999 to encourage and keep alive poetry and verse in its many forms and languages throughout the world. Poetry has been around since ancient times, with this form of expression being part of a rich oral history in many cultures. Today poetry can be as diverse and vibrant as the cultures that write, read and speak it, and even the simplest verse can be a catalyst for change in a community.  Just think how powerful the recital of “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 was, and you’ll get some sense of the power of poetry. Speaking before the inauguration, Amanda said: “Poetry is a weapon, it is an instrument of social change. Poetry is one of the most political arts out there.”

At Wellington City Libraries, 2021 has seen an exciting focus on children and youth poetry with our inaugural edition of Tūhono: A journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 now out on the shelves and e-library for you to borrow. All the poems in this volume were written by Wellington kids and teens, with the poetry reflecting on ‘connection’ and what that means for them in these turbulent times. Some are inward looking, some look to the universe and the future. Some are sad, some are happy. Some are short and some are long, but all are about connection:

Book Jacket for: Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :For connection you must first love
and create relationships.

Feel empathy, care
and show compassion to others.

Make a link,
Make a bond,
Make a friend.

You can’t make connections without people.

So love,
And share your love.

(By William, aged 8)


Verse is here for you
Just check our website for more
You will be amazed…

What is poetry? : the essential guide to reading & writing poems / Rosen, Michael
“A detailed and very personal guide to reading and writing poetry by one of the country’s leading children’s poets. Over many years as a working poet, Michael Rosen has thought a great deal about what poems are, what they can do and the pleasure that comes from writing and reading poetry. In this invaluable handbook, he shares this knowledge and experience in book form for the very first time. Starting with a detailed analysis of a number of classic poems, he offers a real “writer’s guide” to writing and performing poems, as well as a wealth of technical information and tips.” (Catalogue)

Feel a little : little poems about big feelings / Palmer, Jenny
“Feel A Little is a colourful, character-filled book about big feelings for little ones. Youth emotional and mental health are huge issues in our communities, with children maturing earlier and facing an isolating modern world with modern challenges. As a community we need to start focussing on understanding and encouraging communication around feelings from an early age – equipping children with the tools they need to best face the ups and downs (and in-betweens) of life. Parents, caregivers and educators need a variety of ways to encourage these conversations and the safe space of engaged reading together is a proven, effective beginning. Feel A Little creates poetic and imaginative word prompts and a visual language for emotions, providing a starting point for discussions that you can come back to again and again.” (Catalogue)

Tiger, tiger, burning bright!
“A breathtaking, illustrated anthology featuring an animal poem for every day of the year by award-winning artist, Britta Teckentrup.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

With my hands : poems about making things / VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig
“Brief, lively poems illustrated by a New York Times-bestselling duo invite young makers and artists to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poems aloud / Coelho, Joseph
“A wittily illustrated anthology of poems, written to be read aloud. 20 poems arm children with techniques for lifting poetry off the page and performing with confidence. Poems are made to read OUT LOUD! There are tongue twisters, poems to project, poems to whisper, poems to make you laugh. There are poems to perform to a whole class and others to whisper in somebody’s ear.” (Catalogue)

100 best poems for children
“A collection of the very best poems for children, edited by Roger McGough.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

More Books from the ‘Little People Big Dreams’ Series

Little People Big Dreamswritten by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, is a collection of biographies with simple text and eye catching illustrations, about famous people, (mainly women), who pursued a dream no matter how impossible it seemed and who truly made a difference. Wellington City Libraries has various books by Sanchez in the collection and continues to grow with the edition of five new books from the series.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPrince.

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Prince, one of the most iconic performers in music history. From a young age, Prince was obsessed with music. Even though he couldn’t read it, his talent – whether on piano, drums, guitar or vocals – turned him into an icon. Combining funk, disco, soul and almost every other genre out there, his songs are some of the best-loved all around the world. Prince knew that he didn’t have to be like anyone else to be a star – and there was no one quite like Prince. This inspiring 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 music legend’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsJohn Lennon.

“From the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of John Lennon, the boy from Liverpool who dreamed of peace. When John Lennon formed a band while still in school, he couldn’t have known they were about to change music forever. With their exciting new sounds, rebel attitudes and gift for songwriting, everyone went crazy for The Beatles. Today, John is remembered not just as a musical icon, but as a champion of world peace. This inspiring 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 legendary Beatle’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCharles Darwin.

“From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Charles Darwin, the scientist who changed the way people see the world. Although he didn’t do very well at school, Charles Darwin was passionately curious about wildlife, humans and plants. After a journey to South America, he developed his landmark theory: that all living things are related. Today, he is regarded as one of the most brilliant scientists who ever lived, and a hero to those who dare to think differently. This inspiring 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 iconic naturalist’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStevie Wonder.

“Discover the life of Stevie Wonder, the genius behind some of the world’s best-loved songs. At just 8 years old, it was clear that Steveland Judkins was going to be a star. Renamed Stevie Wonder for his astonishing talent on the piano and other instruments, he wrote and performed some of the biggest hits of the 1970s. Stevie became known for his inventiveness, his soulful voice and the social commentary in his lyrics. He is a UN Messenger of Peace and remains one of the music world’s most iconic figures. This inspiring 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 great musician’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMegan Rapinoe.

“Discover the life of Megan Rapinoe, the world record-breaking footballer and activist. Chasing a ball in the school playground, Megan discovered her calling at a young age. Even if she didn’t always fit in at school, she was a star on the field- and her teammates thought so too. Her passion, skill and leadership took Team USA to Olympic Gold and a World Cup victory, while she continues to champion women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and representation in sport.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCaptain Tom Moore.

“Discover the life of Captain Tom Moore, the veteran who raised over £30 million for the UK’s National Health Service during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” (Catalogue)


Coming soon:

We have more books coming soon to the library, but you can place a reserve to ensure you receive it when it arrives:

image courtesy of syndeticsEvonne Goolagong.

“Be amazed by one of Australia’s most inspiring tennis players- Evonne Goolagong – who overcame adversity and went on to win 13 majors, 84 singles, 50 doubles and 5 mixed doubles titles throughout her illustrious career.” (Catalogue)
image courtesy of syndeticsMary Anning.

“Discover the life of Mary Anning, the first palaeontologist and daring fossil hunter.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMalala Yousafzai.

“When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHans Christian Andersen.

“When Hans Christian Andersen was a little boy, he treated storybooks as jewels to be treasured. He wanted to perform on stage, but was always cast as the troll. Luckily, through theatre, he found a love for writing. He wrote about both the ordinary and fantastic, never talking down to children.” (Catalogue)
Search our catalogue for more books from the Little People Big Dreams series!

Discover Wicked Bugs for Summer Holiday Fun!

The summer holidays are here – sunshine, barbeques, swimming, staying up late… and mosquitoes biting, flies buzzing around the cooked food, moths beating against your torch as you try to read at night, and crickets and cicadas making a racquet when you’re trying to sleep in you tent!  Anyone would think bugs were put here to ruin your summer fun!

But did you know that we humans wouldn’t survive on this big, beautiful planet without our friendly creepy-crawlies to help us along? At last count it is estimated that there are ten quintillion insects alive on Earth right now, which means that for each one of us, there are two hundred million of them! But don’t panic! They all have a job to do, and if you dig deeper (and many of them do live underground), what the insects do for us and the health of the planet is pretty amazing.

File:Cook Strait Giant Weta (5601688959).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsTake New Zealand’s GIANT WĒTĀ (wētāpunga) for example. This big daddy of an insect features in the Guinness Book of Records as being one of the world’s largest insects, and some of them weigh in around 70 grams – about the same weight as a saddleback or sparrow! Department of Conservation staff refer to them as the ‘mouse of the forest’ because their equally giant poos help fertilise the forest floor and help with regeneration of native bush. What a hero! And the Auckland Zoo think so too and have joined forces with DoC and local iwi to reintroduce wētāpunga to islands in the Hauraki Gulf so that they can do their fertilising work and bring back the bush.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, did you know that the wētā’s ears are located in their knees?! Yes, really!


File:Chorus Cicada... (6926902643).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsYou really know Summer has arrived when the CICADAS start their noise! But why do they do it? And how?

The high-pitched ‘song’ is actually a mating call belted out by males. Each species has its own distinctive song that only attracts females of its own kind. This allows several different species to live together in one area.

Cicadas are the only insects capable of producing such a unique and loud sound, and they do it by contracting special muscles called tymbals in their abdomen. Some larger species can produce a call in excess of 120 decibels at close range (120 decibels is the equivalent of a thunderclap or a chainsaw)! Smaller species sing in such a high pitch that it cannot be heard by humans, but may cause dogs and other animals to howl in pain.


File:Housefly on Table.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve all experienced the FLIES massing as soon as the barbeque is cooking and the salads are out on the picnic table. But why do they do this? The common house fly has a pretty powerful sense of smell and is attracted to strong smells – especially meat, and especially rotting meat! They like to lay their eggs in rotting material so that when their babies – maggots – hatch they have something to eat, yum! But just like the rest of us, adult flies have to eat too so that they’ve got the energy to fly. To eat their food, flies regurgitate (bring up) saliva from their stomachs, which dissolves the food until it is digestible. The house fly then uses its proboscis – like an attached straw where your nose should be – to suck up the liquefied food. Though they eat with their mouths, house flies taste with their feet. This is why they are always crawling on your food.

Lego Weta by EzraCRITTER OF THE WEEK: To tweak you interest further, check out “Critter of the Week”  on Radio New Zealand every Thursday in Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan.  Nicola Toki is the Threatened Species Ambassador for the Department of Conservation and a self-confessed “nature nerd”. Each week she talks  about a lovable member of New Zealand’s wildlife community, many of them our creepy-crawly friends. There was even a competition earlier in the year for you to make the most interesting critter out of Lego and send in a photo. Check out some of the entries here.

“An understanding of the natural world is a source of not only great curiosity, but great fulfilment.”

(David Attenborough – natural historian, environmentalist and planet-hero)



Wellington City Libraries have loads of fantastic books about insects, creepy-crawlies and the people that study insects (entomologists). Take a dive into the fascinating world of bugs… go on! There’s nothing to be afraid of!

The genius of bugs / Pollard, Simon
This book contains a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā.

 


New Zealand’s backyard beasts / Barraud, Ned
In the garden, creeping along branches, hiding under stones or flitting from flower to flower, a whole universe of creatures is waiting to be discovered. Butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, spiders. Did you know that  cicadas live underground for most of their life? That bumblebees have smelly feet? That some species of stick insect are all female? Or that earwigs don’t actually crawl into ears? In this book you can learn to identify some of the creatures most commonly found in the backyard.


The bug girl : (a true story) / Spencer, Sophia
Real-life 7-year-old Sophia Spencer was bullied for loving bugs until hundreds of women scientists rallied around her. Sophia tells her inspiring story in this picture book that celebrates women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself. Sophia Spencer has always loved bugs but when she was bullied at school she stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos, and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs.


World's Biggest Baddest Bugs (Ruud Kleinpaste) Image at Mighty Ape NZWorld’s biggest baddest bugs
To find the good, the bad and ugly of the insect world, Ruud Kleinpaste – New Zealand’s very own BugMan – embarks on an entomological journey in search of the biggest and the baddest of them all in this two part DVD. From killer bees and army ants, to cockroaches and tarantula, Ruud explains exactly what makes the “stars” of the show so incredible. Through a series of deadly stunts Ruud reveals what makes these crawlies the kings of the bugs and how they are capable of so much more than just scaring us silly.


World’s strangest creepy-crawlies / Derrick, Stuart
This book includes 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranks them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, the pages reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.   Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, you’ll discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with the ‘strange-o-meter’, you can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!


I’m trying to love spiders : (it isn’t easy) / Barton, Bethany
What do you do when you see a spider? a. Lay on a BIG spidey smoocheroo. b. Smile, but back away slowly. c. Grab the closest object, wind up, and let it fly. d. Run away screaming.
If you chose b, c, or d, then this book is for you.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

Books to Celebrate and Learn About Hanukkah!

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)