Cuddle your Teddy Bear in Troubling Times!

Teddy twins reading in the library. Image: Sue Jane

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

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


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

Winnie the Pooh

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

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

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

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

 Anzac Ted

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

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

Josef’s Bear

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

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

Pink Rabbit

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

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


Leave a poppy

Online Cenotaph of the Auckland War Memorial

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



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

Edward Tulane

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

Lockdown Bear

There’s a bear in the window / Pitman-Hayes, June
“There’s a bear in the window of the house across the street. It’s tall and round, with great big feet! I wonder what I would see if I were that bear, and that bear were me? From singer-songwriter June Pitman-Hayes comes a story told in both English and Māori that celebrates the great teddy bear hunt, that entertained thousands of children during lockdown in 2020” (Catalogue)

Commemorate ANZAC Day 2021

ANZAC Day is a very special public New Zealand holiday that falls this year on Sunday 25th April.image courtesy of wikipedia

What is ANZAC Day?

ANZAC is an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is a very special day where New Zealanders and Australians remember the men and women that served and lost their lives in War.

Why is ANZAC Day commemorated on 25th April?

April 25th was the day when the New Zealand and Australian soldiers first landed at Gallipoli in 1915.

image courtesy of rsa.co.nzHow do we commemorate this day?

  • Going to the Dawn Parade and watching the service men and women march to their local war memorial where they are met by family and the community.
  • Going to the ANZAC Day Service were the community come to lay wreaths in remembrance of the fallen soldiers.
  • Wearing a red poppy. Why? These flowers were the first to bloom over the graves of soldiers in France and Belgium and have become a symbol of remembrance. Information about the red poppy can be found on New Zealand History and the Returned Services Association (RSA).
  • Eating ANZAC biscuits. Why? The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Click here for a yummy recipe!
  • Recite the Ode of Remembrance:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

FACT: The Ode of Remembrance came from Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen and it was first published in The Times of London in September 1914. Since then, it has been incorporated into the ritual of remembrance in many countries.


Will the libraries be open on ANZAC Day? 

We are closed on ANZAC Day and Monday 26th April (Anzac Day Holiday). Wellington City Libraries  will open usual hours from Tuesday 27th April.


Where can I find information about the ANZACs and Anzac Day?

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about the ANZACs and ANZAC Day. You can also refer to last year’s blog post, 2019’s post and this previous post, which  provides a list of websites that will provide you with reliable information about ANZAC Day and World War 1.
  • The Returned Services Association (RSA) has some brief information on ANZAC Day, and is good for finding out about what happens at an ANZAC Day service and where they are happening.
  • New Zealand History provides information about the history of the day, the ceremony, and modern ANZAC day.
  • Wellington City Libraries has some amazing fiction and non fiction about ANZAC day and World War 1 such as:


Non Fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Anzac violin : Alexander Aitken’s story.

“This a WWI-era picture book intended for children and based on true events and a real-life young soldier from Dunedin named Alexander Aitken, who was a brilliant mathematician and a gifted violinist, as well as an artifact – the violin – that has survived the war and remains on display at Otago Boys High to this day” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsArchie’s letter : an Anzac day story.

“On Anzac Day 2010, a 96-year-old man in Hobart, a returned soldier from World War II, wrote a letter to the local paper thanking the people who were going to that morning’s dawn service. Who was this man? Why did he write this letter? Archie’s Letter tells the story of an ordinary man who went off to fight in World War II. His experiences included surviving the Burma Railway, where he was under the command of Australian war hero, Weary Dunlop. Archie’s Letter also tells how he dealt with his wartime experiences; how, at the age of 91, he agreed to meet a group of elderly Japanese women interested in world peace; how he could never forget the young men who were with him during the war and who didn’t come back” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Anzacs at Gallipoli : a story for Anzac day.

“Explains the history behind Anzac day describing how New Zealand and Australian soldiers went to fight on the battlefields of Gallipoli. Includes personal narratives from New Zealand soldiers describing the horrific conditions they were subjected too and the events which took place including, the Battle for Chunuk Bair and the Battle for Hill. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMeet the ANZACs.

“A picture book series about the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australian history. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is the name given to the troops who fought in the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I. The name ANZAC is now a symbol of bravery and mateship. This is the story of how the ANZAC legend began.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsAnzac Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it matters.

“This book exposes the rich history behind Anzac Day, seeking to answer the many questions children often ask their parents and teachers around the 25th of April every year. It covers all aspects of Anzac Day, from the Gallipoli Campaign and the Great War, right through to the format of the commemorative services held annually throughout the country. The author identifies important memorials around New Zealand, examines the national anthem, the tradition of Anzac biscuits and the Last Post, Reveille music, plus much more. She also offers websites and projects for further study. The thoroughly researched information is presented alongside numerous images, both historic and contemporary, giving children a very clear view of the significance and background to Anzac Day” (Catalogue)


Picture Books:
image courtesy of syndeticsAnzac Ted.

“The poignant story of a little boy’s teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. He might look scary now but he’s got a great story to tell, for Anzac Ted went to war. Watercolour illustrations combine with rhyming text to create a picture book that will touch the hearts of children and adults alike.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMy grandad marches on Anzac Day.

“This is a simple, moving look at Anzac Day through the eyes of a little girl. It explains what happens on the day and its significance in terms that a young child can understand.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsReflection : remembering those who serve in war.

“Left! Left! Left! Right! Left! We make our way in the dark. A family journeys through the early morning darkness… A group of young men huddle in a cold muddy trench… Reflection is a powerful tribute to those who have served their country.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsGrandad’s Medals.

“Every year Grandad marches in the Anzac Day parade and wears his medals, walking proudly beside his old friends. But this year Grandad’s best mate is too sick to walk and the number of old soldiers still marching is getting smaller. A touching story about the relationship between a young boy and his granddad.” (Catalogue)


Fiction:


image courtesy of syndeticsThe poppy.

“On Anzac Day, 1918, a desperate night counter-attack in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux became one of Australia’s greatest victories. A bond was forged that night between France and Australia that has never been broken. Villers-Bretonneux is ‘the town that never forgets’. What was achieved that terrible night and what happened after is a story that, likewise, Australians should never forget.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStories of World War One.

“In this collection of short stories, twelve awarding-winning authors take you into the heart of the trenches and beyond – with powerful accounts of Zeppelin raids and front-line fighting, along with stories of everyday life lived under extraordinary circumstances. With tales of inspiring bravery, heartbreaking loss and overwhelming hope, this anthology brings to life the major events of World War One at home and around the globe.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsWar horse.

“In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?” (Catalogue).

Also check out the picture book!

image courtesy of syndeticsWar Horse the picture book. 

“Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has adapted his much-loved novel, War Horse, for a picture book audience. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse and is a gateway to help children understand the history and deadly chaos of the First World War. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across the world, War Horse remains an important book for generations to come.” (Catalogue)


Search our catalogue for more books about ANZAC Day.

Family Lockdown Challenge: Stand Apart Together this ANZAC Day

We will be celebrating ANZAC Day differently this year. ANZAC Services are cancelled for the first time in 104 years. However there are many ways for you you can honor our fallen and returned soldiers from the safety of your doorstep. You can:

Virtual Dawn Service:image courtesy of standatdawn.com

Take part in Stand at Dawn. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, your lounge rooms, etc, on Saturday 25th April at 6am to remember our fallen. The official dawn service starts at 6am on Saturday 25 April. It will be broadcasted on Radio NZ National. The morning service includes the Last Post, National Anthems, and an address by Hon. Ron Mark, Minister of Defence / Minister for Veterans. For more information about the virtual dawn service and other online events, please visit the Wellington City Council website.

Activities for kids:

You can make poppies at home. image courtesy of standatdawn.comYou can place them on your window, decorate your letter box and even create you own poppy garden. For more ideas, visit the Stand at Dawn Activities page

Bake ANZAC Biscuits:image courtesy of standatdawn.com

People are making the most of their time with cooking and baking since lockdown. Why not bake some yummy ANZAC biscuits with your whanau and serve them out of the oven with a nice cup of tea after the dawn service. Click here to view the recipe.

ANZAC Fact: The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.

Watch the Ballet from your living room:

Watch the ballet, with your ANZAC biscuit and cup of tea, from confort of your own bubble… and living room. image courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/nzballet/The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be livestreaming on Facebook a special broadcast of ‘Dear Horizon’ and ‘Passchendaele’, two works that were commissioned for our Salute programme back in 2015 and performed live with the New Zealand Army Band, to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. You can view the RNZB Facebook live event Anzac Salute here. For more information, visit the Royal New Zealand Ballet Facebook page and website.

Read up on the ANZACs and Anzac Day?

ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about the ANZACs and ANZAC Day. You can also refer to last year’s blog post and this previous post, which  provides a list of websites that will provide you with reliable information about ANZAC Day and World War 1.
Remember stay safe in your bubble, stay at home and be kind. Kia kaha!

Get your hands on these 6 new kids fiction books

Image courtesy of SyndeticsA Funny thing Happened on the Way to School by Benjamin Chaud

A humorous story about imaginative excuses for being late to school. Sophisticated picture book.

 

 

 

 

Murder Most Unladylike Image courtesy of Syndeticsby Robin Stevens

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls to solve the murder of their Science Mistress, Miss Bell.

 

 

 

 

 

Jim’s LettersImage courtesy of Syndetics by Glyn Harper

A moving story of two brothers separated by the First World War, based on the thousands of letters sent by and to Anzac soldiers fighting at Gallipoli.

 

 

 

 

White Horse of Zennor and other storiesImage courtesy of Syndetics by Michael Morpurgo

“At the furthest edge of Britain where the sea gently washes over the land and myths brush against reality, lies Zennor. Set in a churchtown where men become beasts and ghosts roam freely, are haunting and unforgettable tales where magic lies around every corner.” -back cover.

 

 

 

 

The Leaky Battery Sets Sail Image courtesy of Syndetics Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates ; 1  by Gareth. P. Jones

Causing chaos wherever they sail, the robotic Steampunk Pirates are roaming the high seas, hunting for gold! But the evil Iron Duke has other ideas…He’s determined to capture the pirates in return for a handsome reward from the King.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of SyndeticsThe Bad Book by Andy Griffiths

‘WARNING! This book contains nothing but bad stories,

bad drawings,

bad poems,

bad cartoons,

and bad riddles about bad characters doing bad things. It is a BAD book’- (inside cover).

 

 

ANZAC Holiday activities at Johnsonville Library

During the school holiday activities Johnsonville Library commemorated 100 years since the Gallipoli landings by listening to stories and music plus having the opportunity to make our own poppies.

Both wool and felt poppies were created. Children had fun learning the art of felt making using natural fibre and then making the poppies from it. To make the wool poppies we used a little cardboard circular loom and wove the wool through to create our poppies.

A big thank you to the ladies from the Onslow Fibrecraft Guild who helped us with our creations.

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