Read Books, Earn Pizza!

Love pizza? Love reading? Then boy, do we have the deal for you!

The famous Hell Pizza Reading Challenge has returned for another year, and from now until the end of January 2022, Hell Pizza will give you one free kids’ pizza from their 333 menu for every seven books you borrow and read from the library.

Does it sound too good to be true? We thought you might think that, but trust us: we’d never lie to you. Especially when it comes to books and pizza.

So here’s the deal:

The next time you go to your local library, ask the friendly librarian for a pizza wheel. They look a bit like this:

A circular card divided into seven segments, each of which has a space to be stamped by a librarian. once seven segments are stamped, the card can be redeemed for one free 333 kids' pizza at any Hell Pizza store.

All those books just waiting to be read; all those pizzas just waiting to be eaten!

Whenever you issue a book from the library, ask the librarian to stamp and sign one segment of your pizza wheel. You can have one segment of your wheel signed for each book you read from the library! Our librarians love to talk to you about the books you’re reading, so come to the desk prepared to talk about bookish things!

Once you have all seven segments of your pizza wheel stamped and signed, the librarian will finish it off with The Master Stamp, and you can take the completed wheel to any Hell Pizza store and exchange it for one free 333 kids’ pizza. It really is as simple as that!

Rules:

  • You must be in Years 1-8 in order to participate in the Challenge.
  • Pizza wheels can be redeemed at any Hell Pizza store until 31 January 2022.
  • There’s no limit to how many pizza wheels you can earn across the year, but remember that Hell Pizza will only redeem one pizza wheel per visit per child! So you can’t stockpile 10 pizza wheels and get 10 free pizzas all at once.

We know lots of you have already started your 2021 Hell Pizza Reading Challenge journey already — but for those of you that haven’t, it’s never too late to start! You can pick up and sign off pizza wheels at any of our 14 libraries across the city! Last year Wellington City Libraries kids racked up nearly 15,000 free pizzas as part of the Hell Pizza Reading Challenge — that’s over 100,000 books read! Let’s see if we can beat that number this year!

Happy reading, everyone! ūüôā

Not All Dragons are Super Scary

What do you think of when you picture a dragon: a huge winged scaly creature flying over a village breathing fire? Or maybe you picture a great red beast slumbering on a pile of gold. Perhaps the dragon you think of is one that lets out a deafening roar and shows its terrible teeth as it makes off with a princess. Terrifying! But not all dragons are so scary. These wonderful mythical beasts can be found in stories all over the world and some are very well-loved instead of being feared.

In China, dragons lived in the water and were thought to be very powerful and lucky. They could bring rain, and though they didn’t have wings they could fly. There are dragon dancers during Chinese New Year to bring good fortune, and the dragon is one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.

In Wales a red dragon and a white dragon sleeping under the ground kept knocking down the new castle walls above until Merlin convinced the king to dig down to where the dragons were. The red dragon chased the white dragon away, the castle was built, and the red dragon is still on the flag of Wales today.

Here in New Zealand we have taniwha, great creatures who usually live in or near our lakes and rivers. Some had wings, come could shape-shift, some were wild and dangerous, and some were kaitiaki, protectors and guardians of those who lived nearby.

Dragons in books aren‚Äôt all terrifying fire-breathing creatures either: just think of Kenneth Grahame‚Äôs The Reluctant Dragon who just wants to sit and read poetry, or the dragons in Cressida Cowell‚Äôs How to Train Your Dragon series who work and fight alongside their humans. Dragons can be written as wise or mischievous, large or small, and we certainly have a LOT of books about dragons who aren’t just big and scary.

If you love dragons, or really liked either of these two books mentioned above, or just want to try something new you might enjoy some of these books in our collection!

If a three-thousand year old dragon with an artistic human for a pet seems like someone you’d like to read about, then try out:

A dragon’s guide to the care and feeding of humans / Yep, Laurence
“Crusty dragon Miss Drake’s new pet human, precocious ten-year-old Winnie, not only thinks Miss Drake is her pet, she accidentally brings to life her “sketchlings” of mysterious and fantastic creatures hidden in San Francisco, causing mayhem among its residents.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook


If you want to read about a princess who gets tired of curtseying and embroidery and runs off to live with the dragons then you should read:

Dealing with dragons / Wrede, Patricia C.
“Bored with her proper, circumscribed life as a princess, Cimorene runs away to join a powerful, fascinating dragon named Kazul and encounters a host of adventures along the way.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook

If you’d like to know a bit more about the different dragons all over the world then maybe you’ll enjoy:

Dragon world / Macfarlane, Tamara
“Meet the fire breathing beasts of mythology. Lurking in every corner of the world. From mountain peaks to ocean depths, and even under the very ground you tread, dragons watch and wait… Whether as powerful gods, wise friends, or fearsome foes, dragons take many forms, and exist in myths from cultures all around the world. So turn the pages to enter the dragon’s domain. Soar through their skies, look into their lairs, witness their power, and discover their incredible world”–back cover.” (Catalogue)

Perhaps you’re a fan of¬†The Very Hungry Caterpillar and would like to read some poems about dragons and other mythical creatures that have all been illustrated by Eric Carle:

Eric Carle’s dragons dragons & other creatures that never were / Carle, Eric
“An illustrated collection of poems about dragons and other fantastic creatures by a variety of authors.” (Catalogue)

If a series by a New Zealand author about a half boy, half dragon who wants to be a knight sounds like something you want to read, then try out Kyle Mewburn’s Dragon Knight series:

Fire! / Mewburn, Kyle
“Merek is a shape-shifting half-boy, half-dragon who is desperate to get into knight school, but to do so he’ll have to conceal his secret and try not to set anything on fire.” (Catalogue)

If a picture book about a taniwha who was asleep for a very long time while the world changed around him sounds interesting, then we recommend:

Guardian of the bridge / Harris, Diana
“Tells the tale of how a taniwha, who was the guardian, the kaitiaki, of a very deep lake becomes the guardian of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. Includes facts, figures and images of Auckland Harbour Bridge and a brief history of the area. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Maybe you like the sound of a picture book about a dragon who’s forgotten how to breathe fire:

How to light your dragon / LeŐĀvy, Didier
“Has your dragon forgotten how to breathe fire? Have no fear. This imaginative story follows the exploits of one frustrated dragon owner as she tries increasingly hilarious tricks to rekindle her dragon’s flame. Covering everything from the simplest tactics (tickling the dragon), to the sneakiest ones (surprising it with unlit birthday candles), this book is perfect for children who love to guess what’s going to happen next. Readers will learn that in the end, the most important thing is loving the dragon unconditionally. If a person can do that, and if they mean it from the bottom of their heart, then they might discover a truly magical result.” (Catalogue)

If you’re a fan of adventure stories with ancient artefacts, martial arts, and international criminals you should try reading:

The relic of the Blue Dragon / Lim, Rebecca
“When Harley Spark accidentally releases Qing, one of five dragon sisters, from the ancient vase she’s been trapped in for centuries, he is soon on a dangerous international mission with Qing to find and free her four sisters. Harley Spark is just an ordinary thirteen-year-old kid who lives with his mum, Delia. Rumour has it that his dad, Ray, is an international crime figure with a talent for nicking old, valuable things. So when Harley finds an antique Chinese vase on the footpath, something compels him to stuff it under his school jumper and run for home. Little does he know he’s about to reignite a centuries-old war between two ancient, supernatural families.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

And if a comic full of tiny dragons who grow different herbs on their horns is your cup of tea, then you should like:

The Tea Dragon Society / O’Neill, Katie
“After discovering a lost Tea Dragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of Tea Dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook


Saint Patrick’s Day 2021: Painting the Town Green!

A day of leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and painting the town green! St Patrick’s Day is coming to the Capital and Wellington City Libraries on 17th of March!¬†Why not call into your local library and take out some amazing books about Saint Patrick‚Äôs Day and Ireland.¬†


image courtesy of wikimedia
What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural, religious and public holiday celebrated on 17 March, the anniversary of his death.It celebrates the life of  Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. On the day, people go to church services, wear green attire, attend public parades, eat Irish food and party the Irish way with music, singing and dancing, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers (or shamrocks).

image courtesy of wikimedia.org


Interesting facts:

  • Patrick was an Englishman who was captured as a boy by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland.¬†He managed eventually to escape and made his way to France where he studied to become a priest.¬†When he was made a bishop he was sent back to Ireland to spread the Christian faith among the tribes there.
  • The shamrock is now the emblem of Ireland and is used to explain the Christian belief of the Trinity or the idea that God is three in one – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • Over half a million New Zealanders have Irish ancestors, whose stories have been passed down the generations. Read more about this history of the Irish in New¬†Zealand¬†on¬†¬†Te Ara.

Where can I find information about Saint Patrick’s day?

  • ManyAnswers¬†has a¬†page¬†dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about festivals and celebrations in New Zealand, which includes Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • You can also find pages dedicated to Saint Patrick’s Day at Britannica and National Geographic for Kids.
  • Visit your local library and check out the find the following books:


Books about St. Patrick’s Day (and the Saint himself):

image courtesy of syndeticsThe St. Patrick’s Day shillelagh.

“On his way from Ireland to America to escape the potato famine, young Fergus carves a shillelagh from his favorite blackthorn tree, and each St. Patrick’s Day for generations, his story is retold by one of his descendants.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe life of St Patrick.

“This series explores the lives of saints, and includes the four patron saints of the UK. Each book tells the life story of the saint in a chronological manner, introducing evidence that survives from that era. The primary source materials are used to explain how we know about the saint’s life and how we can learn from events in the past. The books can be used in the Literacy Hour as examples of biographical recount, and they support the learning strand study the lives of famous people.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsSaint Patrick and the peddler.

“When a poor Irish peddler follows the instructions given to him by Saint Patrick in a dream, his life is greatly changed. Includes background on Saint Patrick and on the origin of the story.” (Catalogue)

Books about Ireland:

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“Known as the “Emerald Isle,” Ireland is an island famous for its green, grassy fields.¬†With tips and insights from an Irish native named Seamus, readers will take a trip across the Irish countryside and explore its biggest cities. Along the way, they will see how Irish people live, learn about Ireland’s fascinating history, learn to speak Gaelic, and much more.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“This series offers comprehensive coverage of countries around the world. Each book offers complete coverage of one country, including sections on history, geography, wildlife, infrastructure, culture, and peoples.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“What’s it like to live in Ireland? This book is part of a series which takes you on a tour so you can find out about the landscape, the weather, the people and the places.” (Catalogue)

Irish Folk Tales and Stories:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe names upon the harp.

“A collection of classic Irish legends, retold for children of eight and over. It includes tales of fiercely fought battles, passionate romances, spells and curses, heroes and villains, and loyalty and betrayal.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe cloak of feathers.

“Once every hundred years, the small, forgotten, rural Irish town of Lisahee welcomes The Fairy Festival – a week of celebration where the mysterious and magical ‘sidhe’ emerge from the hill above the town and take residence alongside their human counterparts for seven days of ancient traditions and games. Filled with dancing, music, goblin markets and fae-folk, the festival has only one rule: never, ever, say ‘the f word’ – that’s ‘fairies’ – a rule twelve-year-old Brian unfortunately breaks. When mayhem ensues, it’s up to Brian and his friends to avoid the wrath of the King and Queen and help keep the town in one piece. A magical adventure filled with myth, mischief and misunderstandings, perfect for fans of modern fairy tales with a comic twist.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMagical tales of Ireland.

“Fairy tales get a modern twist in this dazzling collection of newly written and illustrated Irish stories for the 6-9 year olds. This is a sparkling collection of newly commissioned stories and illustrations from Ireland’s best-known writers and illustrators. From Roddy Doyle’s poignant story of a young girl dealing with the loss of a parent, powerfully illustrated by PJ Lynch to Paul Muldoon’s witty narrative poem about a girl with a knack for seeing things backwards, accompanied by Niamh Sharkey’s zany illustrations and Malachy Doyles’s hero, famous Seamus who scores a very unusual ghostly goal 21st century tales combine contemporary realism and magic, making this a collection unlike any other. These tales are as diverse as the authors themselves.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsBetween worlds : folktales of Britain & Ireland.

“Rich and strange, these eerie and magical folktales from across Britain and Ireland have been passed down from generation to generation, and are gathered together in a definitive new collection from storyteller Kevin Crossley-Holland. Dark and funny, lyrical and earthy, these fifty stories are part of an important and enduring historical tradition that dates back hundreds of years.” (Catalogue)

International Women’s Day

Kia ora! Monday, March 8th marks International Women’s Day and the theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge.¬† To celebrate, we’ve selected a list of books that highlight women and girls who have chosen to challenge themselves and the world to make a difference.¬† From world leaders to sports women, artists to activists, scientists to pop stars and many many more, there is something for every reader to find inspiration from and celebrate women and girls who #ChooseToChallenge.

Anthology of amazing women / Lawrence, Sandra

“This beautifully illustrated collection tells the aw e-inspiring stories of 50 women who have pushed the boundaries of human excellence and endeavour. Standing out for their achievements in sport, science, the arts, politics, and history, these women have made huge contributions to today’s society. Featuring incredible women from the past and present such as Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Anning, Emmeline Pankhurst and Malala. The Anthology of Amazing Women is a wonderful read for anyone wanting to read up on the incredible women who have lived and changed our lives.” (Catalogue)

Amazing women of the Middle East : 25 stories from ancient times to present day / Tarnowska, Wafa’
“Discover Sheherazade, the famous storyteller, dive into the musical world of the beautiful singer Fairuz and meet Amal Clooney, an outstanding international lawyer. Feel inspired by twenty-five amazing women from the Middle East, who have created a legacy through strength of vision, leadership, courage, and determination. Written by award-winning author and trailblazer, Wafa’ Tarnowska, this stunning collection of life stories is illustrated by a team of internationally recognized artists. This book is an absolute must-have” (Catalogue)

Good night stories for rebel girls. 2 / Cavallo, Francesca

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 showcases 100 brand-new bedtime stories of incredible women throughout history and around the world.

In this book, readers will embark on an empowering journey through 100 new bedtime stories, featuring the adventures of extraordinary women through the ages, from Nefertiti to Beyonc√©. The unique narrative style of¬†Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls¬†transforms each biography into a fairytale, filling readers with wonder and a burning curiosity to know more about each hero.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

25 women who dared to go / Lassieur, Allison

“From the fearless to the feared, discover 25 women who dared. Dared to conquer their dreams, win wars, discover sights unseen, and more. Readers will learn about bold women who were determined to achieve something great in the face of adversity.” (Catalogue)

Like a girl / Degman, Lori

“Create, prevail, change the world…like a GIRL! This celebration of international girl power honours a multitude of women who made a difference.¬† Once upon a time, “like a girl” was an insult. Not anymore! In every walk of life, girls are demonstrating their creativity, perseverance, and strength. From artist Frida Kahlo and activist Malala Yousafzai to award-winning architect Zaha Hadid and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement Wangari Maathai, the 24 women profiled here took risks, broke barriers, and transformed the world.¬† This tribute to girl power will inspire young women everywhere. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazing women : 101 lives to inspire you / Beevor, Lucy

“Discover the stories of 101 extraordinary women of our time. Featuring an international selection of female figures, this carefully curated collection highlights those who have achieved significantly in their fields, ranging from science and politics to sport and the arts. Empowering and inspiring accounts of female pioneers include the likes of Rosalind Franklin, Beyonc√© Knowles, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel and Serena Williams.” (Catalogue)

Stories for South Asian supergirls / Khaira, Raj Kaur

“Through the inspirational stories of 50 famous and under-celebrated women from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, South Asian girls will have a chance to dream about lives for themselves that radically differ from the limited narratives and stereotypes written for them by their culture, wider society and the mainstream media. Bringing together illustrious entertainers (Meera Syal, Jameela Jamil, Mindy Kaling), pioneering business leaders (Indra Nooyi, Anjali Sud, Ruchi Sanghvi) and a host of other, equally remarkable yet less well known, figures (including the British Muslim spy, Noor Inayat Khan, and fearless activist, Jayaben Desai), Stories for South Asian Supergirls seeks to redress the imbalance for young girls of colour by empowering them to break new ground for themselves and to inspire others in the process. Illustrated with striking portraits by ten international South Asian female artists, this is a book for all ages – the perfect gift that will be treasured by parents as much as their children will enjoy reading them.” (Catalogue)

Rad women worldwide : artists and athletes, pirates and punks, and other revolutionaries who shaped history / Schatz, Kate

Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and amazing tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well-researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. The book features an array of diverse figures from 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica). ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Muslim girls rise : inspirational champions of our time / Mir, Saira

Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened doors to the world’s oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Once upon a time, they were children with dreams, just like you. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took “no” for an answer or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders. Through short, information-rich biographies and vibrant illustrations, Muslim Girls Rise introduces young readers to the diverse and important contributions Muslim women have made, and role models they may never have heard of before, but whose stories they will never forget.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The A-Z of wonder women / Lin, Yvonne

“Celebrate a whole alphabet of trailblazing, groundbreaking wonder women from around the world and through time, taking in Ada Lovelace, J. K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey and every letter in between.

Men and women, boys and girls need heroes to look up to, and to aspire to be. There are thousands upon thousands of books and films about amazing athletes, scientists, artists and explorers, but they’re almost all men. Girls get princesses and mermaids – sure, not necessarily the worst career choices, but there aren’t enough castles and beaches for the world’s 3.5 billion women. This book brings incredible women out of the shadows, celebrates their success and acknowledges their achievements. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rad girls can : stories of bold, brave, and brilliant young women / Schatz, Kate

“From the “New York Times”-bestselling authors of “Rad Women Worldwide” and “Rad American Women A-Z” comes a bold and brave collection of stories and art about inspiring and accomplished girls who have made positive impacts on the world before the age of 20. Full color.” (Catalogue)

Her story : 50 women and girls who shook the world / Halligan, Katherine

“Move aside history-it’s time for herstory. A gloriously illustrated, empowering book about 50 remarkable women who changed the world we live in.” (Catalogue)

Hinamatsuri: Japanese Doll Festival or Girls’ Day 2021

image courtesy of Kate McLachlan

Image: Kate McLachlan / Wellington City Libraries

Brace yourselves, girls! The Japanese Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri), or Girls’ Day, is being held on March 3rd in Japan. This festival is a time to pray for the health and well being of young girls. Most homes with daughters will set up a display of hina dolls. The main dolls used are Odairi-sama (a prince) and Ohina-sama. (a princess)  Around the display dedications of peach blossoms, rice cakes and white sake are made. The festival is celebrated not only within the family but in communities, which each have their unique ways of celebrating the occasion. 

Why Hinamatsuri is celebrated? The annual celebration is held to recognize the special place that daughters have in Japanese society.

Did you know? The tradition seems to have come from China and dates back to at least the 8th century. In the early days of the festival, dolls could be as large as 1 metre high, but eventually laws were passed to limit their size.

Check out some of the great stories about dolls that Wellington City Libraries has on offer:


image courtesy of syndeticsYoko’s show-and-tell.
“When Yoko’s grandparents send her a beautiful antique doll named Miki all the way from Japan, Yoko couldn’t be happier. She places Miki on her red carpet and brings her candy until Girls’ Festival on March 3. Even though Mama said no, Yoko decides to sneak Miki to school for show-and-tell. How could she have guessed that Miki would be in accident along the way? Looks like a trip to the Doll Hospital is in order
Rosemary Wells poignantly captures Yoko’s regret over a poor decision and subtly shows the healing power of love in this charming picture book for emerging readers.” (Catalogue)

Dolls of hope / Parenteau, Shirley
“A heart-warming tale based on a true story about the 1926 Friendship Doll exchange, in which American children sent thousands of dolls to children in Japan in the hopes of avoiding a future war. Eleven-year-old Chiyo Tamura finds herself wrapped up in this historic event when she is appointed the guardian of one of these American ‘Friendship Dolls,’ and given the responsibility of hand-crafting one of the 58 dolls to be sent to America in return.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndetics
The Little Girl and the tiny doll.
“There was once a tiny doll who belonged to a girl who did not care for dolls. One day when the little girl was shopping in the supermarket with her mother, she threw the tiny doll into a deep freeze. So the tiny doll had to stay there, cold and lonely, and frightened by people shuffling all the food round her. But someone came along who felt sorry for her, and thought of ways to make her happier, so the tiny doll began to smile again.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsDoll-E 1.0.
“A STEM-friendly tale of a girl and the doll she upgrades to be her new friend, for fans of¬†The Most Magnificent Thing¬†and¬†Rosie Revere, Engineer.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsKelsey and the quest of the porcelain doll.
“A captivating story of adversity, adventure and love from award-winning author Rosanne Hawke. ‘Nanna, can you tell me a story just as if I were with you?’ Kelsey is in Pakistan and wants to go home. Mum and Dad are busy helping flood victims and she misses her friends. But most of all, Kelsey misses Nanna Rose. Luckily, Kelsey can talk to Nanna on Skype. To help Kelsey feel better, they create a story about a porcelain doll called Amy Jo who wants to find someone to love her. As Kelsey and Nanna imagine Amy Jo’s quest, Kelsey starts to realise Pakistan isn’t that bad after all. But how will the porcelain doll’s story end? Will Amy Jo find the person she’s destined for or be on a quest forever?” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe beach at night.
“A story about a doll named Celina who experiences all the human emotions of fear, jealousy, and rejection when the little girl who owns her leaves her behind at the beach after receiving a kitten as a gift. Cerri’s ocean blue-hued illustrations are both sensitive and sophisticated.” (Catalogue)


Search out catalogue for more books about dolls.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Kia ora!  Thursday 11 of February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we love science!  From chemistry to astronomy, biology to geology, and beyond, there is something in science for everyone and on this day we celebrate the amazing roles women have played in science and encourage girls to be active in science.

If you’d like to read about famous women scientists try some of these titles:

Women in science : 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world / Ignotofsky, Rachel

This book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world.  Read about scientists like Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Hypatia, Barbara McClintock and many others. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more.

Ada Lovelace / SaŐĀnchez Vegara, Ma Isabel

As a child, Ada had a big imagination and a talent for mathematics. She grew up in a noble household in England, where she dedicated herself to studying. Her work with the famous inventor, Charles Babbage, on a very early kind of computer made her the world’s first computer programmer.

Jane Goodall / Romero, Libby

“Jane Goodall was a pioneer of primatology through her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees in Africa. When she embarked on her career, women were discouraged from conducting scientific research, especially when that work meant living side by side with wild animals. A self-taught scientist, Jane bravely ventured out into the bush of Tanzania to learn about the secret world of chimpanzees. Discover how, through perseverance and perceptive observation, she gained access to these elusive creatures and discovered that they are not so different from us.” (Catalogue)

Maria Montessori / MunŐÉoz, Isabel
“Maria Montessori developed a brand-new approach to education, building on the way children naturally learn. Now, her methods, which won her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, are practiced worldwide. This fascinating biography shows how Maria defied gender norms by earning a degree in physics and math, became one of Italy’s first women physicians, and revolutionized educational theory–experimenting and refining to discover what worked best.” (Catalogue)

Marie Curie / Demi
“Read about Marie Curie, the revolutionary scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes who discovered two elements: radium and polonium.” (Catalogue)

Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson / Johnson, Katherine G

“As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.” In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.” (Catalogue)

Forgotten women. The scientists / Tsjeng, Zing

“Forgotten Women is a new series of books that uncover the lost herstories of influential women who have refused over hundreds of years to accept the hand they’ve been dealt and, as a result, have formed, shaped and changed the course of our futures. From leaders and scientists to artists and writers, the fascinating stories of these women that time forgot are now celebrated, putting their achievements firmly back on the map. The Scientists celebrates 48* unsung scientific heroines whose hugely important, yet broadly unacknowledged or incorrectly attributed, discoveries have transformed our understanding of the scientific world. From Mary Anning, the amateur paleontologist whose fossil findings changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the Earth’s history to Emmy Noether dubbed “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of” and whose theorem is still critical to modern physics – these are the stories of some truly remarkable women.” (Publisher summary)

And if you’re ready to dabble in a little science yourself, try these out:

Programmers / Gibson, Karen Bush

“Do you like solving problems? Are you dying to automate even the simplest of processes? Do you always need to know how things work? Programming is the process of breaking down complex tasks into a set of instructions. This is what programmers do when they write code that will make your computer do what you tell it to! In¬†Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Programmers¬†with STEM Projects for Kids, readers ages 8 to 11 meet five female programmers who made revolutionary discoveries and inventions that changed the way people used technology!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

First science encyclopedia

Filled with fun science facts about many different subjects, from the human body and animals to facts about space and matter. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outdoor science lab for kids : 52 family-friendly experiments for the yard, garden, playground, and park / Heinecke, Liz Lee

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. Have fun learning about:

  • the laws of physics by constructing and using a marshmallow catapult.
  • centripetal forces by swinging a sock filled with gelatin snack and marbles.
  • earthworms by using ground mustard seed dissolved in water to make them wriggle to the surface.
  • germination by sprouting a sapling from a pinecone or tree seed.
  • surface tension and capillary action by growing baking soda stalagmites and stalactites.

The curious kid’s science book : 100+ creative hands-on activities for ages 4-8 / Citro, Asia

What happens if you water plants with juice? Where can you find bacteria in your house? Is slug slime as strong as a glue stick?

In The Curious Kid’s Science Book learn to design your own science investigations to determine the answers! Learn to ask their own scientific questions, discover value in failed experiments, and — most importantly — have a blast with science. The 100+ hands-on activities in the book use household items to playfully teach important science, technology, engineering, and math skills. (Catalogue)

Kitchen science lab for kids : 52 family friendly experiments from around the house / Heinecke, Liz Lee

Conduct physics, chemistry, and biology experiments with tools and ingredients found in any kitchen These 52 labs created by mom and scientist Liz Lee Heinecke introduce fundamental scientific principles in a fun and accessible format.

Have fun:

  • exploring physics marshmallow slingshots serve as a lesson on the transformation of energy and an egg-throwing experiment demonstrates the law of motion.
  • learning about microbiology by growing your own microbe zoo on a homemade petri plate.
  • learning about rocket science by making and launching bottle rockets, using water and a bike pump.

These are just a few titles you can borrow from the library to guide you in exploring science.  Remember, have fun, be curious and ask lots of questions!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious : How Do We Get New Words?

File:People talking.png - Wikimedia CommonsEver wondered about the sounds that come out of your mouth and how amazing it is that the people around you can actually understand those weird and wonderful noises? How do you know what to say and how do new words come into everyday use? Commonly used words or phrases are like anything that’s trending – the more people use it, the more normalised it will become.¬†In this techno-age¬†you’re probably using words and phrases that your grandparents (and definitely your great-grandparents!) would have never heard of. Think “wi-fi”, “smartphone”, “internet”. Or the words and phrases you use now meant wildly different things in the past. For example, if you say “she’s sick” to your grandad, he’d probably be concerned that the person you’re talking about was “feeling poorly” and would not realise that what you’re really saying is “she’s awesome”, lol (yes, another newbie in the language department).

524 Hello In Different Languages Illustrations, Royalty-Free Vector Graphics & Clip Art - iStockThere are approximately 7000 different languages spoken throughout¬†the world, with the top 5 (by total number of speakers) being English, Mandarin, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and French. Of those 7000 nearly half are in danger of extinction this century. These endangered languages are often indigenous languages that are being taken over by a more dominant language, eg. English. Here in Aotearoa te reo MńĀori was made an official language in 1987 and¬†Te Taura Whiri i te Reo MńĀori (The MńĀori Language Commission) was established to ensure that te reo grows and thrives.

Dictionary.com updates definitions, adds new words explaining COVID-19 outbreak

Image courtesy of dictionary.com

Each year, the major dictionaries publish lists of new and most commonly used words, and it’s no¬†surprise to anyone that 2020’s word of the year was pandemic, followed closely by coronavirus and lockdown. The word pandemic has been around for a long time and is built on two words from ancient Greek ‚Ästpan, meaning ‚Äúall‚ÄĚ, and¬†demos, ‚Äúpeople‚ÄĚ. Coronavirus simply wasn’t part of most people’s vocabulary until 2020 – now we all know what it means! Like pandemic, lockdown was already reasonably familiar. But¬† it has taken on a new meaning in 2020 – confinement to the home in order to stop the spread of the virus ‚Äď which means it will for ever be linked with disease control.

And if you’re still keen for more new words added to the dictionary in 2020, check out the following:


File:William Shakespeare sq.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsThe famous playwright William Shakespeare (think”Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet”, “Macbeth”) who died in 1616, so a rather long time ago, would simply make up words if he felt they were needed in his plays! And to this day we still use a huge number of his words in everyday language (over 1,700 of them). Words like “critic”, “elbow”, “lonely” all came from Shakespeare’s imagination. Shakespeare obviously like words starting with “un” because he created nearly 300 starting with this prefix. Here are just a few that popped into his, and now our, writing: “unaware”, “uncomfortable”, “undress”, “unreal”.

So, what is the longest word in the English language? Is it Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and is that even a word? It turns out that it only comes in at 5th place with Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis at 45 letters long, taking first place!

If visualiation is more your thing, maybe you could have a play around with some free word clouds.¬†Word clouds¬†create a pictorial representation of word frequency in a text.¬† The larger the word in¬† the picture the more common the word was in the written document. Here’s this blog post as a word cloud:


Wellington City Libraries have heaps of books and resources that focus on language and the written word – everything from cracking good reads to brain teasers. So don’t procrastinate! Immerse yourself in the verbiage!

Frindle / Clements, Andrew
Everyone knows that Mrs. Granger, the language arts teacher, has X-ray vision, and nobody gets away with anything in her classroom. To make matters worse, she’s also a fanatic about the dictionary, which is hopelessly boring to Nick. But when Nick learns an interesting tidbit about words and where they come from, it inspires his greatest plan yet: to invent a new word. From now on, a pen is no longer a pen — it’s a frindle. It doesn’t take long for frindle to take root, and soon the excitement spreads well beyond his school and town. His parents and Mrs. Granger would like Nick to put an end to all this nonsense. But frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. All he can do now is sit back and watch what happens.
This quirky, imaginative tale about creative thought and the power of words will have readers inventing their own words. Brian Selznick’s black-and-white illustrations enhance the humor in this unforgettable story. (Catalogue)

Jabberwocky / Carroll, Lewis
The award-winning first book in the Visions in Poetry series explores Lewis Carroll’s celebrated nonsense poem. An illustrated version of the classic nonsense poem from “Through the Looking Glass. The most celebrated nonsense poem in the English language, Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” has delighted readers of all ages since it was first published in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, in 1872. Stephane Jorisch’s stunningly inventive art adds a vibrant, surprising dimension to an already unforgettable poem. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wordplay : a Toon book / Brunetti, Ivan
Calling all bookworms! Go “outside,” “elsewhere,” and down the “rabbit hole” with this hilarious introduction to compound words. Young readers will fall in love with the English language as they watch star cartoonist Ivan Brunetti put his sly spin on vocabulary. The lesson here? Even “homework” is fun when you let yourself play with the words.

The 5 minute brain workout for kids : 365 amazing, fabulous, and fun word puzzles / Chamberlain, Kim
Our brains are an amazing organ! And just like our bodies, our brain functions best when it’s put to work. So get ready to give your brain a full workout each day with¬†The Five-Minute Brain Workout for Kids! Inside, you’ll find 365 word puzzles and games to keep your mind active and in great shape! Have fun with your family and friends as you learn about acronyms, anagrams, definitions, parts of speech, rhyming words, syllables, word structure, and more with these fun puzzles. From Alphabet Teasers and Mini Word Sudoku puzzles, to Speed Words and Word Store games, even doing one puzzle a day will help you to learn new words, spell better, problem solve with ease, and have better concentration.
Oxford first rhyming dictionary / Foster, John
“The Oxford First Rhyming Dictionary has over 1000 rhyming words to help young children with writing rhymes and poems, and expand vocabulary. Have fun in the sun, drink lemonade in the shade and be inspired to write about pirates, kings and magic rings in the Oxford First Rhyming Dictionary. The dictionary contains a clear and simple alphabetical list of over 1,000 words that rhyme along with rhyming sounds, and an index to make finding words simple. John Foster’s lively poems accompany the rhyming sounds, and every page features bright and colourful illustrations. Children can expand their vocabulary, practice phonic sounds to help with spelling, and being to write their own rhymes.
Access even more downloadable rhyming games, puzzles, activities and much more at: www.oxforddictionaries.com/schools


Everyday words in MaŐĄori
This is a bright and busy book that will give Maori language learners of all ages hours of enjoyment. A pronunciation guide and an alphabetical Maori/English list of all the words in the book are included.

Oxford Roald Dahl dictionary
A dictionary of real and invented words used by the world’s best storyteller. The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary reveals what they mean, where they came from and how he used them in his stories. It will inspire you to choose and use each word brilliantly in your own writing – whether it’s a real word, a Roald Dahl word or your own made-up one! This is not an ordinary dictionary. After all, you wouldn’t expect an Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary to be ordinary, would you? Lots of dictionaries tell you what an “alligator” is, or how to spell “balloon” but they won’t explain the difference between a “ringbeller” and a “trogglehumper,” or say why witches need “gruntles’ eggs” or suggest a word for the shape of a “Knid.” All the words that Roald Dahl invented are here, like “biffsquiggled” and “whizzpopping,” to remind you what means what. You’ll also find out where words came from, rhyming words, synonyms and lots of alternative words for words that are overused.

How to talk to your computer / Simon, Seymour
Have you ever wondered how to get a computer to do something First you need to speak in a way it can understand! Read and find out all about how to talk to your computer in this updated edition with brand-new illustrations and simple engaging text that introduces conditions, loops, and functions. How to Talk to Your Computer comes packed with visual aids like charts, sidebars, an infographic, and a computer-less coding activity!

Summer Reading Challenge 2020-21!

Snowy the Sandman wishes he could read books for the Summer Reading Challenge, but he only has sunglasses where his eyes should be!

Switch on your reading eyes, grab the nearest cat (the purr-fect reading companion!), and prepare your parents for many bookish bedtimes and beach barbecues — the Summer Reading Challenge is nearly here!

It starts tomorrow, the 1st of December 2020, and runs through to the 31st of January 2021. Your mission: to read as many books as you can from the official Summer Reading Challenge list, which you can download online or pick up from your local library, and complete the 9 brain-bustingly brilliant Book Bingo challenges you’ll find on the back of the booklet. There are lots of instant and major prizes to be won, so get reading quick-smart!

Read the whole story — and get started on the Challenge — at the Summer Reading Challenge page.

So, how many can you read?

Heroes All Around Us

Kia ora!¬† Hands up if you love superheroes!¬† We have lots and lots of books about superheroes in the library collection, all your favourites like Spiderman, Captain America, Batman, Wonder Woman, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ironman, and many more.¬† But do you know that there are superheroes all around us?¬† Everywhere, in the community, doing good deeds.¬† Ok maybe they can’t fly, or shoot web from their wrists, or have a seriously cool suit full of gadgets but there are plenty of people who do amazing things every day that make our world a better place.

The thing is, even you can be a superhero.  From recycling, picking up litter at the park or beach or planting a garden to help save the environment to giving a helping hand around your neighbourhood, there are lots of ways you can make the world a better place.  All it takes is thinking about others.

We even have books about everyday superheroes and how to be one yourself.  Here are a few that Sue at Brooklyn Library selected that you might like to check out:

Earth heroes / Dyu, Lily

Read about people all over the world who have found ways that they can help save the planet from climate change. From Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg to the amazing Sir David Attenborough, nature and science documentary film-maker, people are all over the world are taking steps to fight for the future of our planet.

Kids fight plastic / Dorey, Martin

Plastic is everywhere and becomes a big problem when it becomes rubbish.  This book shows you all the ways you can help reduce plastic in our world in no time at all.

Good night stories for rebel girls : 100 immigrant women who changed the world / Favilli, Elena

Read all about 100 amazing immigrant women who changed the world.  All sorts of women from Madeleine Albright to Rihanna can be found in this fabulous book of bedtime stories.

Oh boy : a storybook of epic NZ men / Lipshaw, Stuart

Chock full of stories about epic New Zealand men, from rugby players and mountaineers to ballet dancers and film-makers, there’s something for everyone in this book, and from right here in Aotearoa.

Forever young / Dylan, Bob

A timeless story about growing up from the twentieth century’s most celebrated musician, Bob Dylan.

The great realisation / Roberts, Tomos

This lovely book was created in our time of pandemic, to tell stories of kindness and care in our community.  It shares how we can learn and grow during tough times, and gives us hope for the future.

Be You! / Reynolds, Peter H

You were born to BE so many things. No matter where your journey leads, remember to… Be curious… Be adventurous… Be patient… Be brave… And most of all… BE YOU! A joyful celebration of individuality, persistence and staying true to YOU!