2022 Round-Up: Picture Books

We’ve already highlighted some of the wonderful Children’s Fiction titles that have been published this year, and now it’s time for the Picture Books to shine!

Picture Books are wonderful things to read with your tamariki. While they’re written for a younger audience they can still cover some pretty serious topics. With themes from grief and loss to friendship and fun, these books are a wonderful tool to use to help build our children’s understanding of the world around them.

While this list is quite a short one, if you would like to browse through a longer selection we have a list of the Best Picture Books of 2022 available over on the Libby App. Or you can scroll through the latest titles we’ve added to our collection on our New Material page – you can browse back through each month of the year, and filter books by age and genre too.


The cream of the 2022 Picture Book crop has got to be Ruth Paul’s Lion Guards the Cake, which won the Picture Book Award at this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (NZCYA Book Awards).

Lion guards the cake / Paul, Ruth
We’re big fans of Ruth Paul here at Wellington City Libraries (she is a local author, after all!) and are really thrilled that this book has been recognised by the Awards. We predict this book will be a favourite bed-time read for ages to come, as it’s already a favourite for storytime in our libraries — it’s impossible not to feel some kinship with this cheeky lion as he fabricates more and more reasons why perhaps just a little bit more of the cake needs to be nibbled away… it’s a sacrifice, but someone’s got to do it!

To read more about this year’s NZCYA award winners you can read our blog post about the winners, or head over to the NZCYA Book Awards website itself!


Is this your class pet / Cummings, Troy
Arfy is a wonder of a dog – he can write! And when he accidentally fetches a turtle and can’t figure out which classroom the turtle belongs to, he writes letters to all the classes to try to find its home.

Also available as an ebook.
Two dogs / Falconer, Ian
From the author of the Olivia picture books comes the story of these two very noble looking, but very mischievous dachshunds. One is cautious, one is reckless. What happens when they escape out their back door?
Words about birds of Aotearoa New Zealand / Fuller, G. F.
This book combines our native birds, poetry, and the art of Geoffrey Fuller. Each double page spread highlights a different bird in their habitat, alongside a charming poem about them.

This is a New Zealand picture book.


Goat on a trampoline / Harrop, Amy
Lily Goat discovers a new skill, which should be pretty easy to guess from the title! But when her prideful boasting lands her in trouble she needs her friends to come to her rescue and teach her (and us) something about kindness.

This is a New Zealand picture book.
Kororā and the Sushi Shop / Keegan, Linda, Jane
This picture book tells the true (and local!) story of a penguin who kept coming back to a sushi shop, right by the Wellington Railway Station. The shop was so enticing that the little kororā even took a friend along! And now we can read the story in this delightful book.

This is a New Zealand picture book.
Mama and mummy and me in the middle / LaCour, Nina
This is a lovely story about a little girl with two wonderful parents, but when her Mummy goes away on a work trip things aren’t quite the same at home with only Mama around. This book explores what it’s like to miss someone, and then the awkwardness when they return.
The Grizzled Grist does not exist / MacIver, Juliette
A class goes on a trip through the Dismal Hills, with their teacher reminding them that “The Grizzled Grist does not exist!” But when she’s proven wrong it’s lucky that one student is very skilled at hiding. This is a fun rhyming story, with lots of details to look for in the illustrations.

This is a New Zealand picture book.
Cat’s first baby / Nelson, Natalie
When there’s a new baby around, it’s not only the human members of the family who have to get used to the changes! After all, there’s this new creature in the house that Cat is pretty sure isn’t also a cat. This board book is a companion to Dog’s First Baby.
Daddy’s rainbow / Rowland, Lucy
This picture book explores what it is like for a child to lose a parent. Erin’s daddy shows her all the different ways to find colour in the world, even when the day is dismal and wet. But when he’s not there anymore and the world goes grey, will Erin be able to find those colours again?
No home for a wētā / Thatcher, Stephanie
Wētā is sick of living with her rowdy and rambunctious family, so she decides to move out. But when she finally finds her perfect, quiet, and peaceful new home she realises there’s something missing. This is a fun rhyming story about family and the things you can find outside in Aotearoa.

This is a New Zealand picture book.

2022 Round-Up: Children’s Fiction

Now that we have reached the end of 2022, it’s time to take a look back through some of the books that have been published over the last twelve months. This is in no way an exhaustive list, merely a selection of titles that caught our eyes and stuck in our memories over the past year.

We have a longer list of the top 2022 eaudiobook and ebook titles that are available over on the Libby App for you to check out! Did your top read of 2022 make the list?

If you’d rather browse through the newest books we have added to our shelves, head on over to the New Material page on our website. Here you can browse month by month through our new titles, and to make it easier you can filter by audience and genre so you’re only looking through what you’re interested in.

If you are interested in knowing more about the top New Zealand children’s books of this year, have a read of our previous post about the 2022 NZCYA Book Award winners (that stands for New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults). If you haven’t already, these books are definitely worth checking out!

Now read on for a selection of 2022 Children’s Fiction… And feel free to let us know what your favourite books of 2022 have been!

Bruno and Frida / Bradman, Tony
Orphaned Bruno, struggling through war-torn eastern Germany in 1945, finds an unlikely friend in Frida, a Russian dog sent into Germany with a bomb strapped to her. If you’re a fan of Michael Morpurgo, this book is for you.

This is a dyslexia-friendly book.

The lords of night : a shadow bruja novel / Cervantes, Jennifer
This is the latest book we have in the Rick Riordan Presents publishing series. Percy Jackson fans will enjoy the story of Renata, shadow bruja, as she finds herself on a quest to stop the nine Aztec Lords of Night from being awakened.

Also available as an eaudiobook and an ebook.


Fire horse / Chapman, Linda
Fire Horse is the first in Moonlight Riders, a new series by Linda Chapman, who is also the author of many other series including Star Friends and My Secret Unicorn. In Fire Horse, Amara joins the Moonlight Stables and immediately feels a special connection with a pony called Ember. When she discovers that Ember is a magical Fire Pony, will she be able to keep him safe from the rival Night Riders?
Echo / Kelly, Arlo
Arlo Kelly, author of Echo, is a Kāpiti teenager who was only fifteen when Echo was published! Inspired by holidays spent in Gisborne, Echo is about Eric, a boy with low vision, and his struggle for independence and his friendship with a whale.
Answers in the pages / Levithan, David
A book for younger readers by well-known YA author David Levithan. Donovan’s class is reading The Adventurers, but when his mum reads it she tries to get it banned from the school because two characters might be gay. The story is told from Donovan and his classmate Gideon’s points of view, with chapters from The Adventurers scattered throughout.
Sadiq series / Nuurali, Siman
2022 brought with it four new books in the Sadiq series by Siman Nuurali. Sadiq and his family are (like the author) Somali American. Throughout the series Sadiq explores friendship, his community, and trying new things.
Emma Every Day series / Reid, C. L
Emma is Deaf, uses a cochlear implant to help her hear, and uses sign language as well. In this series of short chapter books, Emma and her best friend Izzie go apple picking, learn to tap dance, and play soccer – and often things don’t always go exactly to plan!
The best liars in Riverview / Thompson, Lin
When Joel goes missing, Aubrey feels responsible and also that they’re the only person who can find him and bring him home. Joining Aubrey on the day-long search through the woods and along the river, we learn about their friendship and the events that led to Joel disappearing, and the journey turns inward as Aubrey makes some discoveries about gender identity, friendship, and family.
Showtym Viking / Wilson, Kelly
An autobiographical story by sisters Kelly and Amanda Wilson about Amanda’s decision to make horses her future. Kelly, Amanda, and their sister Vicki are all showjumpers and prominent equestrians, and have worked with New Zealand’s Kaimanawa horses.
Elisabeth and the box of colours / Woodfine, Katherine
Away at boarding school, Elisabeth loves to paint and draw and fill the world with colour. But when her father dies and her world goes grey, will she be able to find her colours again? This short book is based on the childhood of French painter Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun.

This is a dyslexia-friendly book.

Te ‘Epetoma ō Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani: Cook Islands Language Week 2022

Kia Orāna! It’s Te ʻEpetoma ō Te Reo Māori Kūki ʻĀirani | Cook Islands Language Week 2022!

Pacific Language Weeks are about all New Zealanders learning more about Pacific people that make up a big part of our population and are some of our closest neighbours!

The overarching theme for the 2022 Pacific Language Weeks is sustainability. Cook Islands Language Week has been celebrated every year in Aotearoa since 2012, with events running this year from Sunday 31st July to Saturday 6th August.

This year’s theme is:

‘Ātuitui’ia au ki te Oneone o tōku ‘Ui Tupuna | Connect me to the soil of my ancestors.

Help us celebrate this special time for the community by learning more about the unique culture, language and history of the Cook Islands through the information, books, and other resources below!

Where are the Cook Islands?

They are located in the South Pacific neighbouring Sāmoa, Niuē and French Polynesia. There are 15 islands altogether with a total land area of 240 square kilometres.

How many people speak Cook Islands Māori, and where do they live?

Te Reo Māori Kūki ʻĀirani (Cook Islands Māori) refers to several dialects (slightly different versions of the same language) spoken in the Cook Islands, with the most common language dialect being spoken in Rarotonga. In New Zealand, about 80,500 people are Cook Islanders, or of Cook Islands descent. Peoples of Cook Islands descent make up a significant portion of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and Aotearoa’s Pasifika population, with significant numbers living in our Northern suburbs and nearby Porirua. (Source: 2018 Census)

Why are they called the Cook Islands?

The area was first settled around 1000CE by Polynesian people who probably came from Tahiti, which is where the famous navigator Tupaia would come from over 700 years later. You can learn more about Tupaia here: Tupaia | Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. They gave the islands names like Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Rakahanga.

The first European contact with the islands took place in 1595, but the Cook Islands name comes from the British navigator Captain James Cook, who arrived first in 1773 and again in 1777. Strangely enough, the name ‘Cook Islands’ first appeared on a Russian map in the 1820s.

There is still a lot of debate today about whether the Cook Islands should take a new name that reflects the Polynesian history and heritage of the area. Visit Britannica Online to learn more about the history and people of the Cook Islands: Cook Islands | Encyclopaedia Britannica


Books

Visit your local library and have a look at our amazing books to learn more about Cook Islands cultures and practice the language. At Newtown Library we also stock the Cook Islands News.
If you don’t have a library card, you can sign up for free!

Te ‘anga’anga ‘ōu ‘ā māmā = Mum’s new job / Tainui, Bronwyn
“Tiāki finds it difficult when his mother goes back to work, but discovers it is fun to help out at home by making lunch.” (Catalogue)

Kua kitea ‘a māmā = Finding mum / Long, Don
“In the supermarket, a little boy retraces his footsteps in order to find his mum.” (Catalogue)

Cook Islands heroes / Riley, David
“Cook Islands Heroes tells the inspirational stories of achievers who have Cook Islands ancestry. It includes legends like Ina, Maui, Ngaru and Ru; historical figures such as […] Alistair Te Ariki Campbell; and contemporary heroes Kevin Iro […] The book is written to inspire young Cook Islanders, to encourage reading and promote literacy.” (Publisher description)

‘Ei for the day / MacGregor, Jill
“Yvette and Kiikii wear an ‘ei and an ‘ei katu when their dance group performs at the Saturday Morning Market in Rarotonga​​.” (Catalogue)

Also, visit this link to find even more children’s books in Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani at your local library.


More Resources

This is a good time to learn some Te Reo Māori Kūki ʻĀirani. Here are some useful phrases to help get started. Pronunciation is mostly similar to Te Reo Māori – so don’t be shy, give it a go!

Kia orāna – Greetings/Hello
ʻAere rā / ʻĒ noʻo rā – Goodbye (to those going/to those staying)
ʻInē? – Please
Meitaki maʻata – Thank you very much
Tatarāʻara – Sorry
Inā ake ana – Excuse me
Pēʻea koe/kōrua/kōtou? – How are you?
Meitaki maʻata au/māua/mātou – I am/We are well

There are lots of cool things happening across the country to celebrate this time. For more information on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit these websites:

Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa 2022

Samoan Language Week Banner

Tālofa Lava! 

Sāmoa Language Week | Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 29 May 2021 until Saturday, 4th June 2022. This is a chance for all New Zealanders to celebrate Sāmoan language, Sāmoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Sāmoan language in schools, at work and at home.

Did you know that nearly 4% of New Zealanders are Sāmoan? That’s almost 200,000 people! Gagana Sāmoa is the 3rd most spoken language in Aotearoa, New Zealand!

Sāmoa has a unique historical relationship with New Zealand. It is the only country that New Zealand has a Treaty of Friendship. The Treaty of Friendship between Sāmoa and New Zealand is like a mutual project to support Tagata Sāmoa (Sāmoan people) to have better opportunities. Being proud of your language is such an important part of feeling proud of your culture.

This year’s theme for Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa is:

Fa’aāuāu le Folauga i le Va’a o Tautai – Continue the Voyage with Competent Wayfinders of the Ocean.

2022 is also a significant year for the Samoan community, being the 60th anniversary of Samoa Independence. Communities are organising activities to commemorate this milestone, which coincides with Samoa Language Week.

Events for Samoa Language Week

As part of Samoa Language Week, there will be a Pasifika Pool Party! Find out more about the council events here.

Our friend the wonderful librarian Lewis from Johnsonville Library presents a special story in English and Gagana Sāmoa, How Do You Say ‘Thank You’? by Karamia Müller. Many thanks to the publisher Beatnik Publishing for allowing us to share this story!

Find Out More:

You can also visit your local library and borrow some amazing books to learn more about Samoan culture, and practice the language. All our libraries have Samoan books and Newtown Library has the biggest collection! If you don’t have a library card- you can sign up for free. If you are worried about fines- just talk to the staff, they can help.

Awesome Samoan books in our collection:

Losi the Giant fisherman : Samoan myths and legends pick a path collection / Malaeulu, Dahlia
Losi the Giant was the greatest fisherman across all the moana. A mischievous and loyal friend to sea creatures and all humans, Losi will always be remembered as the hero who brought taro, the food of the Gods’, to Earth.

Author and Publisher Dahlia Malaeulu lives in Wellington and has written and published lots of Samoan books. You can read her blog about how Losi the Giant fisherman was shaped by her son Mase who has Autism.

Available from Mila’s Books!

Also, read this really interesting article on the Spinoff!

Samoan heroes / Riley, David
“A collection of inspirational stories of achievers who have Samoan ancestry. It includes: contemporary heroes like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Judge Ida Mālosi, Savage and Associate Professor Donna Adis; historical figures like Emma Coe, Tamasese, Salamāsina and Lauaki; legends like Sina, Tiʻitiʻi and Tigilau”–Back cover.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

Fanene Peter Maivia : son of Samoa / Riley, David
“Fanene Peter Maivia – Son of Samoa is the remarkable story of the first Polynesian to become a star of professional wrestling. Fanene’s life began in Samoa and he took Samoa to the world. He was a pioneer who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers the world has known, including his own grandson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

Brush up on your geography and history with…

Samoa / Aiono-Iosefa, Sarona
“Did you know that the English word ‘tattoo’ is supposedly derived from the Samoan word ‘tatau’? Find out about the traditional methods still used by Samoans to apply the amazing tattoos worn by many of the islands’ people today. In this book you will discover that an ‘ie toga is a beautiful and intricate fine mat, woven by Samoan women and used as highly prized gifts, which are made and given to celebrate important occasions. You can also study the climate, population, social structure and political history of the thirteen islands that make up the beautiful countries of American Samoa and independent Samoa (formerly Western Samoa).” (Catalogue).

Samoa & Tuvalu / Guile, Melanie
This book contains information about the history, culture and people of Samoa and nearby Tuvalu. A great book to have just in time for Samoan Language week.
Learn some simple words and phrases

  • Tālofa lava: Hello (formal)
  • Mālō le soifua: Hello/Good health
  • ‘O ā mai ‘oe? How are you? (to one person only)
  • Manuia fa‘afetai: Good, thank you
  • Manuia le aso: Have a great day
  • Tōfā soifua: Good bye (formal)

Faʻafetai lava ma ʻia manuia tele le Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa!

Thank you and have a very blessed Sāmoan Language Week

View Finders Photo Competition

This April School Holidays, tell us a story by taking a photo!

From the 16th of April to the 1st of May, we’re running View Findersa photo competition for tamariki and rangatahi across Wellington City. There are heaps of cool prizes to be won — and a special exhibition to take part in at the end!

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

Don’t forget to check out our special View Finders Beanstack Challenge to earn spot prizes, log your reading, and do some simple activities to get your photography skills into top gear for the competition!

Submissions for View Finders are now closed! We will be announcing the winners on the 13th of May — keep an eye on this blog for updates!

Nature:

Take a picture of something that blows your mind in a local park, down at the beach, or high in the hills! See what flora and fauna you can discover in the great outdoors of Aotearoa.

While you’re out and about, you might want to check out iNaturalist NZ – Mātaki Taiao, which is an app that you can use to record what you see in the natural world! There is also an annual City Nature Challenge for Pōneke/Wellington where us locals can make a big effort to see what we can find!

Whānau:

In a literal sense, whānau means family in Te Reo Māori, and is based on shared whakapapa and descent from a common ancestor.

Whānau is also used by non-Māori to talk about their family. Sometimes, Whānau is used to describe groups of people who come together bound by a common purpose, this could also be called whānau ā kaupapa.

So, for our photo competition, you can take a picture that tells a story about your family, or you can take a broader view of whānau to tell a story about a team or group you are involved in, or even a group of friends.

Objects or Books:

Tell us a story about a physical object that is important to you. It could be a cherished toy, or your comfiest couch! Maybe the object would even be a book (we do love books at the library!) With ComicFest coming up on May 7th, you could find a creative way to photograph your favourite comic book, maybe by putting it in a funny or unexpected location!


View Finders

Get your phone, tablet, or camera at the ready!


You can enter once per category. If anyone else appears in your photo, make sure you have permission to share it with us.

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.

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!

Lunar New Year & Chinese New Year of the Tiger

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by many countries and communities, particularly throughout East Asia. The Chinese New Year is an annual 15-day festival in China, and in Chinese communities around the world, that begins with the new moon.

This blog post will focus on the Chinese New Year of 2022, which falls on February 1st (Tuesday) with a festival lasting until February 15th, about 15 days in total.

The Chinese New Year animal sign this year is the Tiger.
Image courtesy of chinesenewyear.net

Did you know? Tigers are the third of the Chinese zodiacs. According to legend, Tiger was confident that no one could compete with its speed and vigor for the celestial race that would decide the order of the zodiacs. However, when Tiger climbed out of the river, thinking it was first, it was informed that Rat placed first for its cunning and Ox placed second for its diligence. This left the king of the jungle having to settle for third place.

To learn more about the year of the tiger, click here and read: 

Image courtesy of syndeticsIn the year of the tiger.

This Chinese folk tale traces the cycles of village life through the rich community celebration of the Lion Dance performed during the Spring Festival. Chiu Wing and his neighbours eagerly await the festival each year. (Catalogue).

 


For more information on what events are on around Wellington, check out the Chinese New Year website.

With New Zealand moving to Red Settings, Asian Events Trust will be implementing its COVID-19 back-up plan. For more information, click here.

How can you celebrate?

  • Create decorations to help join in the festive spirit.
  • Chow down on festive treats.
  • Watch the fireworks and traditional dancing.
  • Spending time with loved ones.
  • Giving red envelopes to kids.

Did you know: The colour red is regarded as the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. Sending red envelopes is a way to send good wishes and luck (as well as money).

For more more craft ideas and recipes for festive treats, click on this link.

Where can I find information about Chinese New Year?

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about Chinese New Year.
  • NZ History has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Kids World Travel guide has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Also check out these amazing books!
    Books about Chinese New Year:

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

This book explores the festival of Chinese New Year and the story behind it and features eight simple origami projects for your own festive fun! The book shows how people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and what the Chinese calendar and the animals of the zodiac are. Attractively designed, its simple text and wonderful full-colour photos make this an essential book for children celebrating or learning about the festival. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year : a celebration for everyone.

Part of the nonfiction Orca Origins series, Chinese New Year is illustrated with color photographs throughout. Readers will learn how a simple gathering of family and friends grew into a weeklong, worldwide festival. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

Learn about the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world. This series encourages children to consider religious beliefs and cultural practices via easy to read text and informative, full color images. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

“Chinese New Year is a time of hope and hapiness. During the festival, some people eat special foods and give gifts. Others watch parades and light fireworks. One thing all people do at Chinese New Year is have fun!” – Back cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsRuby’s Chinese New Year.

“As Ruby travels to her grandmother’s house to bring her a gift for Chinese New Year, she is joined by all of the animals of the zodiac. Includes the legend of the Chinese horoscope and instructions for crafts.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHome for Chinese New Year : a story told in English and Chinese.

“The Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions. This Chinese children’s story tells a delightful trip with lots of cultural details along the way! Jia Jun’s Dad worked out of town all year around. Now it’s time for him to come home.” ( Adapted from catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMaisy’s Chinese New Year.

“Maisy’s friend Tiger is coming home especially for Chinese New Year! Once the house is tidy and the decorations are up, Maisy changes into her lovely red dress and throws a big party for all her friends. They have a delicious feast, tell stories, see the fireworks together and, on new year’s day, watch a spectacular parade – with an amazing dragon dance!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe runaway wok : a Chinese New Year tale.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty–but magic–wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe little pigs and the sweet rice cakes : a story told in English and Chinese.

“Told in a bilingual Chinese and English edition, this is the story of three little pigs whose appetites initially get the better of them. In a shared dream, they met an old man who tells them to deliver sweet rice cakes to him a week before New Year’s Eve. The next morning, they see some sweet rice cakes on their kitchen table. The three little pigs completely forget the old man and eat every bit of them.”  Find out what happens next! –Adapted from publisher.

image courtesy of syndeticsPeppa’s Chinese New Year

“It is Chinese New Year and Madame Gazelle is teaching the children all about this very special celebration. Peppa and George and their friends make Chinese New Year cards, try tasty Chinese treats and even take part in their very own dragon parade!”(Catalogue).

Books about Tigers:

image courtesy of syndeticsMy big cats journal : in search of lions, leopards, cheetahs and tigers.

Follow Steve Bloom as he travels across continents taking photographs. Find out how big-cat predators survive in tough conditions; how they live, grow up, hunt and have babies. Bloom’s account makes a compelling narrative in the same way that the voiceover on a natural-history television programme is both informative and pacy.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsCan we save the tiger?

The tiger is just one of thousands of animals — including the ground iguana, the white-rumped vulture, and the partula snail — currently in danger of becoming extinct, joining the dodo, the marsupial wolf, the great auk, and countless others we will never see again. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsAll about tigers : a description text.

This series uses the topic of big cats to present different text structures commonly used in informational writing. The interesting topics will engage independent readers and provide useful stimulus for teachers planning to teach how non-fiction texts are structured and presented. (Catalogue).

 

Wellington Beaches for Summer Swimming

Let’s talk about one of the most Kiwi summer activities Wellington has to offer – going to the beach!

There’s so much to do at the beach. You can build sandcastles, go swimming and jump over waves, draw pictures in the sand and follow the footprints in the sand left by birds. You can collect shells, have a picnic, search for sea life in a rockpool, and there’s so much more!

When you’re planning your beach trip, it’s a good idea to be prepared with lots of sunscreen, buckets and boogie boards, and also some thoughts towards safety. If you’re not already familiar with the Water Safety Code, we recommend having a read so you know how best to keep yourself and your family safe. If you’re visiting a beach for the first time, Find a Beach is a great website created by Surf Life Saving New Zealand that has profiles for pretty much every beach around Aotearoa. On this site you can search up the beach you’re planning to visit, check out the forecast, find out if there will be lifeguards, and learn about any hazards to watch out for. They’ve got a good safety information page too!

There are so many beaches around Wellington for you to explore, so lets take a look at some of them:

Balaena Bay

Balaena Bay is the first of the smaller beaches along Evans Bay Parade.

There’s a carpark at one end, and changing rooms at the other. The water here is quite shallow and calm, so is good for just splashing about if you’re not yet ready for swimming.

Freyberg Beach/Oriental Bay

Freyberg Beach and Oriental Bay are so close together that they’re sharing an entry in this list.

These two beaches are right next to each other, and very close to the central city.

There are changing rooms and wheelchair access at Freyberg, as well as parking and a playground! There’s also a beach wheelchair at Freyberg pool that’s available to borrow. There are also a few cafes, ice cream stores, and food trucks around on Oriental Parade in case you’re after a post-swim snack.

If you’re worried about safety, then relax! Oriental Bay is patrolled by lifeguards over the summer.

Hataitai Beach

Hataitai Beach, like Balaena Bay, is along Evans Bay Parade. The beach here is quite small and the water is very calm but it gets deep more quickly than at Balaena Bay so if you’re not a very confident swimmer make sure to stay close to the shore. Cog Park is right next door, so if you are a confident swimmer and the tide is in there’s a small wharf you can jump off!

Cog Park has plenty of picnicking spots, and at the other end of Hataitai Beach are the changing rooms with steps that go straight down into the sea.

Island Bay

Island Bay is easy to get to on the bus – just hop on a number 1 and you’re pretty much there. If you’re keen for a swim or a walk along the beach, Island Bay is a good option for you. Just remember that it looks out on the open sea so the water will be a bit cooler than any of the beaches inside the Wellington harbour.

There are changing rooms and picnic tables at the park across the road, and also a playground!

Lyall Bay

Lyall Bay is a wonderfully long stretch of beach to walk along – and the eastern end of the beach allows off leash dogs if you have a furry friend who would like to join you!

You can use the changing rooms in the Lyall Bay Surf Life Saving Club, and they also have beach wheelchairs available to borrow. Lyall Bay is a patrolled beach over the summer so let the lifeguards keep you safe!

Princess Bay

Princess Bay is another beach along the south coast. It’s further east than Island Bay and quite a bit smaller. Princess Bay is good for a sheltered swim and if you’re interested in sea life you can explore the rockpools out along the point. If it’s a clear day you might even be able to see the South Island!

Leave your car in the carpark at the eastern end of the bay by the changing rooms.

Scorching Bay

Out along the Miramar Peninsula is Scorching Bay. It’s got golden sand, a nice grassy area, changing rooms and outdoor showers, and the Scorch-O-Rama café across the road.

Scorching Bay is a patrolled beach, so make sure you swim between the flags.

Worser Bay

Worser Bay is another beach along the Miramar Peninsula, out on the eastern side.

You’ll be well taken care of with changing rooms, a picnic area, and across the road from the beach is the famous Worser Bay swing. Be sure to check it out!


If you can’t get out to the beach but you can make it to the library, or would like to know more about the creatures you might find in a rockpool, here are some beach-themed New Zealand reads to get you inspired:

At the beach : explore & discover the New Zealand seashore / Candler, Gillian
“At the Beach is a delightful introduction to the natural history of the New Zealand seashore. The stage is set with beautiful, factually correct illustrations (including detailed cross-sections) of three familiar habitats – the sandy beach, rockpools and mudflats. Many of the plants and animals that play a part in these rich ecosystems are shown in situ, and readers are directed from there to pages dedicated to detailed coverage of: crabs; sea stars, kina and sea anemones; shellfish; seaweeds, sponges and sandhoppers; fish, jellyfish & shrimps; birds. Aimed at children 5-8 years old, but with appeal for anyone curious about New Zealand’s natural environment, At the Beach is a must for the home, bach, classroom and library. Comes with a removable, waterproof quick-reference guide to common seashore animals.” (Catalogue)

Freddy Bear and the beach / Cowley, Joy
“Freddy Bear is playing at the beach with Dad – running, playing, chasing seagulls. He falls over running, but Dad picks him up and takes him home.” (Catalogue)

The life-size guide to the New Zealand beach : featuring the odd things that get washed up on the sand / Crowe, Andrew
“Pictorial guide to identifying various items and curious objects that are commonly found on New Zealand beaches. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary.” (Catalogue)

Dashing dog / Mahy, Margaret
“When a dashing dog gets into messy mischief, his family is exasperated. Then baby Betty falls off the jetty, and it’s up to the brave dashing dog to save the day.” (Catalogue)

A summery Saturday morning / Mahy, Margaret
“The children go down to the sea on a summery, Saturday morning, down the wiggly track, scattering shells and leaping logs. But first their dogs chase a cat, then they chase a boy on a rattly bike, then wild geese hiss and chase the children and the dogs and the walk is not so peacful after all. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

A is for Aotearoa : a lift-the-flap New Zealand treasure hunt / Newcombe, Diane
“Our story starts with a bottle containing a secret message, washed up on a beach. The bottle begins a trail of clues, and children lift the flap to reveal the clue that takes them on an alphabet journey all over New Zealand. Included is a glossary with interesting facts about each location”–Publisher information.” (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”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Splish, splash, safety : a book about water safety.
“Join The Wiggles as they practise water safety!” (Catalogue)
Summer days : stories and poems celebrating the Kiwi summer.
“A beautiful collection of children’s stories and poems that celebrates the golden days of summer, by some of New Zealand’s finest writers and illustrators. The great Kiwi summer conjures images of the beach, swimming, boating, fishing, families, friends adventures… This collection of seven stories and ten poems capture that quintessential summer feeling, and is perfect summertime reading to share with children. Dive in to find all sorts of treasures by well-known New Zealand writers and illustrators, including Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop, Pamela Allen, Gwenda Turner, Fiona Farrell, Elena de Roo, Melanie Drewery, Sandra Morris, Sue Wootton, Brian Turner, Jenny Cooper, Vasanti Unka and David Elliot. Target age 3-7 years”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

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.

Summer Reading Tips: The Community Reading Goal

Kia ora! The Summer Reading Adventure is now in full swing, and hundreds of you have already started logging your reading, writing or drawing book reviews, and completing quests in the name of honour and glory. Hurrah!

You might have noticed that on the Summer Reading Adventure website, if you scroll down just a little bit, you’ll see a live counter that looks a little like this:

A live ticker on the Summer Reading Adventure website, with a progress bar that is 20% full and text saying "It's dangerous to go alone! Let's work together to reach this community reading goal."

Did you catch the reference to The Legend of Zelda games? There are classic gaming references hidden everywhere on the Summer Reading Adventure website — can you find them all?

This counter tells us how many books the kids of Wellington have read so far on their Summer Reading Adventures. We have set a goal for us to read 5,000 books together before the 31st of January — and yes, you read that correctly, we’ve already read over 1,000 books! After just one week! Ka pai tō mahi, that is amazing!

What happens when we reach our Community Reading Goal? Well, the text on the left will change, for one thing. So that’s cute. But as for other effects, you’ll just have to wait and see!

Celebrate a Festival of lights with Hanukkah 2021!

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

חנוכה שמח! Happy Hanukkah! חג אורים שמח! Happy Festival of Lights!

Hanukkah 2021, also known as Festival of the Lights, will fall this year on the 28th November until 6th December.

What is Hannukah?

Hanukkah, or Chanukkah, is a Jewish festival that is observed for eight days and eight nights. It officially starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which can occur anywhere from late November to mid-December.

Did you know? Hannukah can be broken down into חנו כ”ה, “[they] rested [on the] twenty-fifth”, referring to the fact that the Jews ceased fighting on the 25th day of Kislev, the day on which the holiday begins.

To learn more about Hannukah, check out this clip from Clarendon Learning on YouTube down below:


How do people celebrate Hannukah?

To commemorate this, Jewish people who celebrate Hanukkah light candles in special nine-branch candelabrum known as a Hanukkah menorah (מנורת חנוכה).  One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and then this continues until all the candles are lit. The candles themselves are not used for any other purpose, even to light the other candles in the Menorah, so the ninth candle is used to light all the others. 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. A game is also traditionally played during Hanukkah that involves a driedel, which is a spinning top.

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org


For more craft and gift ideas, have a read of:

image courtesy of syndeticsFestive fun.

“Presents craft projects relating to special days and festive occasions: Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Passover, Easter, April Fool’s Day, May Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Includes step-by-step instructions. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Where can I find information about Hannukah?

Non fiction about Hannukah, Judaism and other religious festivals:

image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrate! : a book of Jewish holiday.

“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)

image courtesy of syndeticsA Jewish life.

“A Jewish Life explores some of the cornerstones of what it means to be Jewish today, through Passover and Hanukkah celebrations, christening and wedding ceremonies, what happens in a synagogue and why many Jewish people go on pilgrimages to Israel.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe big book of festivals.

“Kids aged 7+ with an interest in the world around them will adore this collection of fantastic festivities, crazy celebrations and happy holy days from across the globe. The big book of festivals introduces young people to some major festivals and some lesser-known regional festivals from around the world. This gorgeously illustrated hardback features a total of 38 festivals, including: Lunar New Year, Day of the Dead, Kumbh Mela, Holi, Diwali, Gelede, Christmas, La Tomatina, Eid-ul-Fitr, Konaki Sumo, Carnaval, Hanukkah, Anastenaria, Festival of Giants, Matariki, Halloween, The Birthday of Guru Nanuk, Buddha’s Birthday, Bunya Cone Harvest Festival, Easter, Inti Raymi, Venetian Masquerade Ball, and more.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA faith like mine : a celebration of the world’s religions– seen through the eyes of children.

“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.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsReligious celebrations.

“This interesting book is part of a series written for young students that focuses on a wide variety of celebrations and festivals held for special occasions throughout the world. It focuses on religious celebrations. Written in simple language, this colourful book takes a global approach highlighting similarities and differences between how events are celebrated within different cultures.” (Catalogue)

Picture Books and fiction about Hannukah.

image courtesy of syndeticsNonna’s Hanukkah surprise.

“When Rachel loses the special menorah her mother gave her so she could share Hanukkah with her cousins, Rachel’s grandmother comes to the rescue with a creative and crafty solution.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIs it Hanukkah yet?

“From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHana the Hanukkah fairy.

“When Hana the Hanukkah Fairy’s hanukkah is stolen by naughty Jack Frost, Hanukkah celebrations everywhere are at risk. Rachel and Kirsty must help Hani find her magical object!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe latke who couldn’t stop screaming : a Christmas story.

“Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukah. Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. People who are interested in either or both of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as if Hanukah is being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.” (Catalogue)