View Finders Beanstack Challenge!

This April School Holidays, take part in our View Finders Photography Challenge! 

We have a holiday challenge for you on our Beanstack platform!

This Beanstack challenge will guide you down the path of learning about photography so that you can get your submissions in before the deadline of the 1st of May — and there are some cool spot prizes for people who complete book reviews and take part in activities. We’re choosing a random book reviewer or challenge completer EVERY DAY to win a spot prize, so don’t miss out!

To jump right into Beanstack, click here! 🎞

Our Beanstack challenge is full of tips and activities to help you take great portraits of people, find flora and fauna in our wonderful city, and get inspired by excellent object photography!

Beanstack challenges

Some of the digital badges you can earn on our Beanstack!


For our photo competition, we’re taking submissions in three categories: Nature, Whānau, and Objects/Books, and in two age groups, 5-12 and 13-18.

The first prize for each category is a reusable Kodak film camera, some black-and-white film roll, and free development with Splendid Photo!

The Beanstack activities lead to a link to enter your own photos.

We look forward to seeing your photos and hearing the story behind them! You may want to display your photo at your local branch library at the end of the competition.

View Finders 1st Place Category Prizes

Our 1st place category prizes! You could win your very own film camera!


Special thanks to our friends at Splendid Photo, who are helping us to judge the competition, and Ben & Jerry’s Wellington, Light House Cinema, and Unity Books, who are kindly providing us with spot prizes to give away. Ka rawe!

Arabic Language Day and New Books in Arabic!

ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ!

The 18th of December marks the United Nations Arabic Language Day. Did you know that there are over 300 million native Arabic speakers worldwide?

This makes the Arabic language one of the most widely spoken languages in the word.

It is spoken by a diverse range of people across the African continent and the Middle East, including Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, and many more. At Wellington City Libraries we’re lucky enough to offer our community a wide selection of books in Arabic for everyone to enjoy!

Here is our librarian, Khadro, showing us two more brand new Arabic books in the Newtown Library collection:

A smiling librarian, wearing a colourful facemask and hijab, is holding two beautiful picture books in Arabic. Behind her, you can see the children's world languages collection at Newtown Library, with lots of books in colourful shelving and comfortable seats nearby.

Our friendly librarians love helping you find good books to read!

Here are some of our favourite books for children in Arabic. Click on the title to find out more. If the book you want is in a library that is too far away, you can click ‘Place Reserve‘ to have it sent to a library which is closer, where you can pick it up.

Mā arwaʻ al-ṭaʻām = Food, food, fabulous food / Clynes, Kate
A fun story about the diversity of food and all the ways it enriches our lives. Food brings people together from all walks of life and is a great way to connect with each other.

Ikhtalafat fa-tamayyazatu / Nājim, Alāʼ Saʻd

Our Differences are Distinguished: This story is a dive into everything that makes us different and unique. Through music the characters of this book learn that there are different ways to express themselves.

Time to pray = Awqāt al-ṣalāh / Addasi, Maha

This story follows young Yasmin as she learns about one of the core tenants of her religion: prayer. It also teaches Yasmin the importance of family and community.

Samakat qaws qazah = The rainbow fish. / Pfister, Marcus

Leaning to share your beauty with others makes everyone shine. This classic tale is now available in English and Arabic for new and native Arabic speakers to enjoy.

Ayyuhā al-dub al-asmar, ayyuhā al-dub al-asmar mādhā tará? / Martin, Bill

I see a bear, what about you? A fun rhyming book that covers all the bases, from magical blue horses to cute purple cats. This book has it all.

Click here to see more Arabic children’s books at Wellington City Libraries

Joining the Library is free! You can take these books home for three weeks and then get some new ones! If you would like to learn more, here is some information about how to join the library, written in Arabic.

Awesomely Austen series: kick-start your love of Jane Austen novels

A drawn image of a young women in Georgian-era dress with an umbrella and elbow-length gloves, checking the time on a pocket watch.

Image: Free vintage drawing of 1802 women’s fashion law, Licence CCO Public Domain

At some point in your school life you’ll be asked to read and study a Jane Austen novel. It’ll happen. Yes, really! These books are considered classics but the language used in the stories, and the way the characters behave is often quite different to what you find in our modern society. That’s because Jane Austen was born in England a long time ago – in 1775 – and her novels reflect the society she grew up in. This was a time when English society was sharply divided by wealth and women were expected to marry young (often in their teens).

Jane grew up in a family of seven children. Her dad was a clergyman, so the family was well-respected in their local community. This meant that Jane could observe their society, especially the role women played in it, and write about it – often in a witty and humorous way.  Sadly, her novels were not widely read or praised in her lifetime (Jane only lived to the age of 41), but they are now and have gone on to inspire countless poems, books, plays and films.

Why read the Awesomely Austen series?

The Awesomely Austen series are a fresh, funny and accessible retelling of Jane Austen’s well-known stories, all with black and white illustrations throughout.  The language is fun and easy to read and, even though the books still follow the plot of the original novels, the writing is modern, understandable and makes the characters very relatable. There’s also a family tree of main characters in the front of each book to help you with who’s who, and some interesting facts about the era the book was written in in the back.

All six of Jane Austen’s books have been retold in this fun series:

Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice / Woodfine, Katherine
“Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in a family of five daughters. Although their mother is very keen to see them all married to wealthy men, Elizabeth is determined that she will only ever marry for love. At a ball, Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy, who at first she believes is proud and haughty. But perhaps there is more to him than first meets the eye.” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Persuasion / Dhami, Narinder
“When she was just 19, Anne Elliot followed the wishes of her father and turned down the proposal of the man she loved – a naval officer called Frederick Wentworth. Years later, Captain Wentworth returns from his time at sea, and Anne dares to hope that their paths might cross once more. But the course of true love is bumpy at best – will Anne and Frederick ever be reunited?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Emma / Birchall, Katy
“Emma Woodhouse is pretty, clever and rich, and sees no reason why she would ever need to get married. But she loves matchmaking for her neighbours, despite the advice of her friend Mr Knightley, who warns her against meddling. Her latest success – the wedding of her governess – makes her certain that she can find the right match for anyone. Can Emma’s lucky streak continue? Or will best laid plans unravel as they always seem to do?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Sense and sensibility / Nadin, Joanna
“When Elinor and Marianne Dashwood’s father dies, they are forced to leave their home behind and move far away to a tiny cottage. Their lives look set to change for ever, in ways neither had expected. Elinor must leave behind the man she loves, whereas Marianne falls for their charming – but entirely unsuitable – new neighbour. The sisters will need each other’s support if they are to find happiness, but will they ever find the right balance of sense and sensibility?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park / Malik, Ayisha
“Fanny Price is one of nine children, and her family are very poor. So when a distant relative offers to take her in – giving her the opportunity to grow up wealthy and comfortable – her parents jump at the chance. But money doesn’t always bring happiness, and Fanny struggles to settle into her new home, where the family are very cold towards her. Her only friend amongst them is Edmund, who tries his best to help her be happy. As she grows up, Fanny realises that Edmund is the most important person in her life. But will he ever see her as more than the timid little girl who arrived at his home so many years before?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey / Butler, Steven
“Catherine Morland loves nothing more than reading a romantic novel, but as one of ten children she doesn’t have much time for reading or for romance. When she is seventeen, her wealthy neighbours invite her to spend the winter season with them in Bath – to experience balls, the theatre and other social delights for the first time. Catherine makes friends with the passionate Isabella, and dances with a handsome man called Henry, and it seems that all her dreams are coming true. But real life doesn’t always play out like a novel, and Catherine will have to overcome many obstacles before she can find her happy ending …” (Catalogue)

Kids’ Fiction 2020: Picks of the Bunch

Let’s face it, 2020 was…umm…different! BUT our topsy-turvy year, that will surely go down in history, hasn’t stopped us from getting some great kids’ fiction onto the Wellington Library shelves!

But how do you pick the best from such a great selection? Trust me, it’s hard! Here are just TEN stand-outs from an awesome year, book-wise. But if you think we’ve missed out a real sizzler, let us know in the comments section below, or jump onto the Kids’ Club review form, and write a review of your own.

So, here goes, and in no particular order…

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. 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)

 

Continue reading

Family Lockdown Challenge: Kids’ Club eBook Reviews

Our last two Family Lockdown Challenges have focussed on things you can do and things you can build from the comfort of your own bubble. For this next one, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your chair. Read on to find out more!

Libraries, as I’m sure you know, are generally known for having books. Heaps and heaps and heaps of books. And even though our buildings are closed, making the 800,000-odd books they hold unavailable for now, we still have plenty of books for you — eBooks! Our eBook services, like OverDrive, BorrowBox, TumbleBooks, and more, are available 24/7 from the eLibrary — all you need is your library card number and PIN, and you’re set.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to borrow a book from our eLibrary, write a book review, and post it to the Kids’ Club review section on this very blog. At the top of the screen, click Kids’ Club, then follow the instructions to access the review form and submit it! Once that’s all done, and your review has been read by one of our lovely librarians, it will be published online for everyone to read.

Even better, once our libraries reopen, you’ll be able to redeem your book reviews for special prizes from your local library. The more reviews you write, the more prizes you’ll earn. How awesome is that?!

Did you know that eBooks can fly? They fly right around our heads until they land in your device, ready to be read!

Before you all rush off to write your first review, here are a couple of words about writing a good book review:

  • Tell us what you thought about the book! We don’t want to just read a description of the plot.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include:
    • How did I feel at the beginning of the book?
    • How did I feel at the end? Was there a change?
    • Who was my favourite/least favourite character? Why?
    • Did this book give me any new ideas? If so, what are they?
    • Who else might like this book? Why?
    • If I had written this book, would I have changed anything about it? What, and why?
  • Be creative! We love to read reviews in the form of poems, short stories, reviews written with emojis.
  • Be careful with the boring things like spelling and punctuation. This isn’t school — you won’t be disqualified if you spell “discombobulated” wrong — but having good spelling and punctuation makes it easier for everyone else to understand what you mean!

While you’re writing your reviews, don’t forget to read through other kids’ reviews too — there are thousands and thousands of them and who knows, you may just find a book you’d like to read yourself! Happy reading!

Special Summer Reading Challenge Competition! Win some books!

Hope you have all been enjoying some of the wonderful sunny summer days and better still reading some of the fabulous books on our Summer Reading Challenge book list! Judging by the fantastic reviews that I have been reading, I know many of you have been wildly reading over the school holidays which makes me very happy! Now I know we all have a favourite books to read but I would really like to see some of the books being reviewed from the list that no one has reviewed yet soooo…. I’m going make a bit of an incentive for you. I have 5 books to give away for the first reviews I receive in on the following books, but you must have at least 3 sentences about the book in the review. They are all great reads and if you are a Harry Potter or a Northern Light fan you’ll especially enjoy these! Continue reading

Talk Like a Pirate!

Well “Shiver me timbers” and “Hoist the mainsail” it’s International Talk Like a Pirate day on Tuesday the 19th of September! So how good is your pirate language? Ever wanted to learn how to speak pirate? Well now you can through Mango Languages! If you go to My Gateway on the Library website: www.wcl.govt.nz/mygateway then select Mango Languages on the database, put in your library card number and surname, then select Pirate you’ll come up with the “Booty”! Soon you’ll be confounding your teachers and classmates by asking them to “Belay yer carsouin’ and haul wind smartly”. So try introducing yourself on Tuesday as “A fine gentleman of fortune, I may tell ye plainly” and see how many people turn tail and run before they have to walk the plank!

Want to find out more about the real pirates who sailed the seven seas? We have loads of books with information about what really happened on the high seas. There were many famous pirates such as Captain Kid and Blackbeard who I most definitely would not want to have met! But did you know that there were female pirates as well? Anne Bonny was one of the most famous and could handle a cutlass as well as any man. Lots of interesting facts to find out about pirates in this book, “The Everything Pirate book: A swashbuckling history of adventure on the high seas” by Barb Karg and Arjean Spaite.

Have you ever read “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson? “When young Jim Hawkins is left a treasure map by the dying buccaneer Billy Bones, he sets sail on the Hispaniola in search of the island. Among the crew, the one-legged Long John Silver becomes his greatest friend, but Silver has a shocking secret in store, and when they reach their destination, Jim faces danger and adventure greater than he could ever have imagined.” A truly great read! Continue reading

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Picture Book Award Finalists!

Well, the shortlist for the Picture Book Award in this year’s NZ Book Awards is out, and there are some fabulous books on there! We love getting to see all these fantastic new books by New Zealand authors coming in through the library doors, so read on to see what we thought of this year’s batch of finalists. Check out these beautiful, funny, and touching picture books at your local library, or click the link to reserve a copy!

Syndetics book coverFuzzy Doodle / written by Melinda Szymanik ; pictures by Donovan Bixley.

A gorgeously illustrated book whose wonderfully whimsical doodly protagonist will whisk you up and take you on a journey through the world of words and your own imagination. The poetic text puts us somewhat in mind of Margaret Mahy. This is a book that will give you something new to think about each time you pick it up. And, it’s a favourite in library storytimes!

Syndetics book coverGwendolyn! / Juliette MacIver ; Terri Rose Baynton.

This brightly-coloured, uplifting book about friendship and learning to find your place in the world puts us right inside the jungle home of Gwendolyn the penguin. Hold on — a penguin in the jungle?! Each page gives us a fresh new world of colours, textures, and places to explore. We’d recommend it for ages 2 and up!

Syndetics book coverMy grandpa is a dinosaur / Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones.

What do you do when your grandpa’s footprints attract palaeontologists to your door? Anyone in need of a good laugh will love this hilarious story about Wanda and her somewhat unconventional family. We loved the stylised illustrations and the laugh-out-loud twist at the end — we’re sure you will too!

Syndetics book coverThat’s not a hippopotamus! / written by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.

The wonderfully clever and deft wordplay in this rollicking tale of a school trip gone awry had us hooked from the very beginning. The character we most identified with was the teacher, for reasons that will become increasingly obvious as the book pulls you towards its hilarious conclusion!

Syndetics book coverThe singing dolphin = Te aihe i waiata / by Mere Whaanga.

Award-winning author Mere Whaanga’s new book, The Singing Dolphin/Te aihe i waiata, is the only book in te reo Māori to make it onto this year’s shortlist, and it certainly is fantastic. This enchanting story, told in Māori and English side-by-side, weaves a touching story of family, acceptance, and transformation. The evocative illustrations, particularly towards the end of the book, make this a really satisfying read.

That’s it for the Picture Book Award shortlist! Let us know in the comments what your favourites were 🙂 Keep an eye on the blog for more upcoming book reviews for NZ Book Awards finalists! We can’t wait to share them with you!

Top 10 Children’s Fiction October 2016

Conundrums, convoluted doodles and confusion abound in this month’s favourite childrens fiction.

Puzzle books are high on the list where people pitch their skills of against skilled doodlers and designers creating cool adventures.  Detection and deceit are captivating our audience of young readers as they read through some of the great series found on our library shelves.  Great series that didn’t quite make the top 10 were Lincoln Peirce Big Nate and Thea Stilton (penned in her very own hand!)

Top 10:

1. Diary of a wimpy kid, by Jeff Kinney

2. Tom Gates Series, by Liz Pichon

3. Treehouse series, by Andy Griffiths

4. Puzzle Book series, by Susannah Leigh

5. Where’s Wally? by Martin Handford

6. Dork Diaries series, by Rachel Renee Russell

7. Dirty Bertie series, by Alan MacDonald

8. The BFG, by Road Dahl

9. The Secret Seven, by Enid Blyton

10. George’s marvellous medicine, by Road Dahl

Top 10 Childrens comics March 2016

=^^= The feline world meets the animated in this month’s leader board, featuring Garfield and Chi’s Sweet Home. Garfield is famous for translating our needs for sleep-ins and delicious food, thanks to the talents of Jim Davis.  Davis grew up on a farm in Indiana, USA with 25 cats!. New Writers and other illustrators now help to keep the whole shebang rolling on.  Did you know that Garfield has a world record for being the most syndicated cartoon ever?!

1. Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz
2. Big Nate, by Lincoln Peirce
3. Pokémon, by Hidenori Kusaka
4. Garfield, by Jim Davis and Mark Evanier
5. Asterix, by Goscinny and Udzero
6. Adventure time, by Ryan North
7. Amulet, by Kazu Kibuishi
8. Chi’s sweet home, by Kanata Konmai
9. My little pony, by Ted Anderson
10. Uncle $crooge and Donald Duck, by Don Rosa