Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niuē 2021

Fakaalofa lahi atu ki a mutolu oti! Welcome to Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niuē | Niuē Language Week 2021. With over 30,000 people of Niuean descent living in New Zealand, the Niuean population is our fourth largest Pasifika community.

The theme for Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niuē this year is:

“Kia Tupuolaola e Moui he Tagata Niuē” | “May the Tagata Niuē thrive.”

Join us at Wellington City Libraries as we celebrate this special time by exploring Niuē’s unique culture and language through books and other resources below!


Books

Check out some of these books from our children’s section from and about Niuē, and in Vagahau Niuē:

The woman who was swallowed by a whale : a tale from Niue / Wilton, Briar
“The woman who was swallowed by a whale is a folktale ; Niue : rock of Polynesia is a short factual introduction to the country and culture.” (Catalogue)

Kuaka visits Niue / Peterson,Vanessa
“Uses a story format and the concept of bird migration to introduce places in Niue, food and customs.” (Catalogue)

Tales of Niue nukututaha : in Niuean and English / Feilo, Zora
“A collection of twelve stories in both English and Niuean set on the island if Niue, this is the author’s reinterpretation of myth, legend and storytelling from her native land. Each story is lavishly illustrated by Niuean artist Lange Taufelila.” (Catalogue)

The artist and the whale = Fifine pulotu mo e tafuā : a Niue legend / Riley, David
“Mataginifale is a Niue superhero with a difference. She isn’t known for her super powers, but for her super creativity. One day she had an argument with a whale that tested her thinking skills too”” (Catalogue)

Show day / MacGregor, Jill
“Livisia, who lives in the village of Alofi South on the island of Niue, describes how her village hosts Show Day, a day of celebrations for the whole island. Includes some Niuean words and a glossary. In picture book format.” (Catalogue)

We are the rock! / Riley, David
“In We are the Rock, contemporary Niueans, historical and legendary figures tell their stories of focus, expression and achievement. They are Niuean tāoga (treasure) and include: * Dr Vili Nosa – the first Niuean awarded a Phd* Tutina Pasene – business woman and fashion designer* Sully Paea – youth worker* Pero Cameron – basketballer* John Pule – artist and writer* Frank Bunce – All Black* Stephanie Tauevihi – actress and singer* Che Fu – rapper/ singer* Fao and Huanaki – discoverers of Niue* Leveimatagi and Leveifualolo – legendary explorers.” (Catalogue)

Niuean for kids / Jahri Jah Jah
“Learn to speak words and phrases in Niuean. This book packs in many common words and phrases., including greetings, colours, numbers, body parts, animals and farewells. It is a great resource for anybody wanting to learn some basic words in Niuean. Suitable for ages 1+.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated history of the South Pacific / Stenson, Marcia
“The South Pacific is not only our geographic environment, it is also our cultural environment, and many New Zealanders trace their ancestry to Polynesian seafarers. This book is an introduction to the history of the South Pacific. A companion book to Illustrated History of New Zealand, also written by Marcia Stenson, it covers the following topics: geology and geography, the arrival of the first people to the Pacific, European exploration, war in the Pacific, political issues both historic and current.” (Catalogue)


Also, visit this link to find hundreds of children’s books in Vagahau Niuē at your local library.


Virtual Storytime

Head on over to our YouTube channel where you can watch and listen to our librarian Lewis read a special bilingual story — Fifine pulotu mo e tofuā | The artist and the whale by David Riley — in English and Vagahau Niuē. We would like to thank David for allowing us to share this beautiful story with you throughout Niuē Language Week this year — fakaaue lahi, David! Make sure to check out the Reading Warrior website to find more stories of the Pacific from David and his collaborators.



More Resources

Check out the following websites to find out more about Niuē and its culture, language and history:

Tūhono Submissions Are Now Open!

The 1st of October has finally arrived, and so we have officially opened submissions for Tūhono 2021, our annual poetry journal for children and teens! Visit wcl.govt.nz/tuhono to read the guidelines and submit your poem on this year’s theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” We are so excited to read your entries this year — just make sure you get them in before the 14th of November! Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

To help you get inspired, Stephanie, one of the editors of Tūhono, has put together this list of awesome poetry books for kids. Why not reserve one to pick up at your local library? They just might give you the help you need to get started on your masterpiece!


Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” (Catalogue)

A treasury of NZ poems for children
This award-winning book includes poems by many of Aotearoa’s best and most well-known children’s authors, including Margaret Mahy, Hone Tuwhare and Denis Glover. A wonderful, comprehensive collection to delve into again and again.

A world full of poems / Vardell, Sylvia M
Wow this book has just about everything! It covers all sorts of different poetry styles and themes (like sport, science and friendship) and mixes well known historical poems with more contemporary selections. And then there’s the beautiful detailed illustrations, included along with activities and ideas to inspire you create your very own poetry.

Can I touch your hair? : poems of race, mistakes, and friendship / Latham, Irene
This thought-provoking book explores race from the perspective of two kids that start off as strangers and become friends. As well as showcasing wonderful poetry, this book also highlights how powerful poetry can be in helping us to give voice to and understand different life experiences.

Feel a little : little poems about big feelings / Palmer, Jenny
This lovely book, written right here in Aotearoa, uses poetry as a way to understand and work through all sorts of big feelings. Poems are accompanied by cute different shaped and coloured characters that represent each feeling.

My first book of haiku poems : a picture, a poem and a dream : classic poems by Japanese haiku masters
Haiku is a type of short form poetry that follows a pre-determined pattern and are pretty fun to write! Haiku originated from Japan and this book introduces 20 classic poems that speak to the connection we have with nature. Poems are written in both Japanese and English and are accompanied by original paintings.

My village : rhymes from around the world
What places are your family from? This book has rhymes originating from 22 different countries around the world. Maybe you’ll discover one or two that are special to you and your family? The rhymes are written both in the original language and English. An interesting and fun glimpse into different cultures and countries through poems and rhymes.

Poems aloud / Coelho, Joseph
A really fun and funny book of riddles, rhymes and tongue twisters! Includes 20 poems by the award-winning poet Joseph Coelho as well as tips and techniques to help you bring your own poems to life in front of an audience. This would be a great book to share with a friend 😊

Poems from a green & blue planet
This stunning book celebrates our planet and the diversity of life that can be found on Earth. Explore mountaintop peaks, forests, deserts, deep blue oceans and discover all the animals and people that call this place home. You’ll find lots of different styles of poetry to enjoy as well – from haikus to sonnets, from rap to love poems.

Poems out loud! : first poems to read and perform
The poems in this book demand to be spoken OUT LOUD! Featuring poetry from award winning poets as well as hip-hop artists and spoken-word performers, this exciting collection will have you laughing, thinking and joining in! Includes a CD so you can listen to the performances yourself – and maybe even get a few tips!

Also available as an eAudiobook.

This poem is a nest / Latham, Irene
This beautiful book introduces children to the concept of found poetry. The author writes a 37-line poem, “Nest,” then finds 160 smaller poems or “nestlings” within it. The nestlings cover a wide variety of topics – from emotions and wild animals to planets and natural wonders. A wonderfully creative book that also includes tips on how to write to your own found poem.

Also available as an eBook.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright!
Do you love animals by any chance? Well if you do, this is most definitely the poetry book for you! An animal poem for every day of the year – that is a mind boggling 366 poems! (366 to take into account leap years) Included are both classic and contemporary poems that have been brought together from around the world. Bonus – the illustrations in this book are SPECTACULAR!

Woke : a young poet’s call to justice / Browne, Mahogany L.
A vibrant collection of poems tackling social justice issues to inspire and empower kids to create their own poetry and speak out on issues that are important to them.

Vaiaso o te ‘Gana Tuvalu 2021

Talofa koutou! Welcome to Vaiaso o te ‘Gana Tuvalu | Tuvalu Language Week 2021. There are around 5,000 people of Tuvaluan descent currently living in Aotearoa, and around 500 of these people live in Wellington City.

The theme for Vaiaso o te ‘Gana Tuvalu this year is:

“Fakaakoigina tou iloga kae tukeli ke magoi mote ataeao” | “Embracing our culture for a more secure, vibrant future.”

Join us at the library or from home as we celebrate this special time by embracing Tuvalu’s unique language and culture by exploring some of the books and other resources below!


Books

Check out some of these books from the children’s collection in the Tuvaluan language or about Tuvalu:

Samoa & Tuvalu / Guile, Melanie

A comprehensive introduction to the life, history, and people of Samoa and Tuvalu for middle and upper primary students, including information about Tuvaluan land, people, food, customs and traditions, music, and lifestyle.

Illustrated history of the South Pacific / Stenson, Marcia

“The South Pacific is not only our geographic environment, it is also our cultural environment, and many New Zealanders trace their ancestry to Polynesian seafarers. This book is an introduction to the history of the South Pacific. A companion book to Illustrated History of New Zealand, also written by Marcia Stenson, it covers the following topics: geology and geography, the arrival of the first people to the Pacific, European exploration, war in the Pacific, political issues both historic and current.” (Catalogue)

The gifts of Pai and Vau = Meaalofa a Pai mo Vau / Riley, David
“Pai and Vau are Nanumea superheroes who created beautiful things in our world. One day a stranger named Tefolaha came to their island. “This is now my island,” he declared and challenged them to a contest. What kind of contest did he dream up? What would Pai and Vau do if they lost?” (Catalogue) Note: this book is bilingual with text in English and the Nanumean language of Tuvalu

What plants need : a poem from Tuvalu / Molu, Easter

An early reader picture book featuring a beautiful poem from a Tuvaluan author, about the lifecycle of plants from seed to flower. Perfect for very young readers of English.

Ko te kimoa ma te feke : ko te tala mai Tuvalu / Ielemia, Temukisa

A short, fun, and traditional story from Tuvalu all about rats and octopuses! This version of the book is in Tokelauan, but we also have it in Cook Islands Māori and Gagana Sāmoa.


Virtual Storytime

Head on over to our YouTube channel where you can watch and listen to Lewis from Johnsonville and Tawa Libraries read a special bilingual story — Meaalofa a Pai mo Vau by David Riley — in English and the Nanumean language of Tuvalu. We would like to thank David for allowing us to share this beautiful story with you throughout Tuvalu Language Week this year — fakafetai, David! Make sure to check out http://readingwarrior.com/ to find more stories of the Pacific from David and his collaborators.



More Resources

Check out the following websites to find out more about Tuvalu and its culture, language and history:

Great Te Reo Māori Reads for Kids!

Kia ora tamariki mā, pākeke mā! We’re sure you already know that all of our libraries have special sections where you can find books written in te reo Māori, with reorua (bilingual) books mixed in as well. What you might not know is that these sections have been growing, fast! Recently, and especially over the last few years, there have been many more books being written in te reo, some of which are translations of stories that already existed in other languages, and some of which are being written originally in te reo by tangata whenua authors. All of these gorgeous new books are so exciting to see, and we love to buy lots of copies for all of our libraries when they come out — but even more, we love to see those books being borrowed by you, the tamariki of Te Whanganui-ā-Tara!

To help you make that crucial choice of which book to borrow, and with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori being in full swing, we thought that we would share with you some of our favourite pukapuka in te reo Māori. Check them out next time you visit your local whare pukapuka, or use the links below to place a reserve on the ones you want most!

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

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

Kei hea a Spot? / Hill, Eric
“Join Sally, Spot’s mum, on her search to find where the mischievous puppy is hiding. A lift-the-flap story. This classic story, which has just turned 40 years old, is available once more in te reo Māori.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ko wai e huna ana? / Ōnishi, Satoru
“Simple sentences, counting, colours, recognising emotion, the names of animals, beginner-level te reo Māori for children and learners. 18 fun-loving animals can be found on each question-posing page, sending readers into an up-close, attention-to-detail discovery.” (Catalogue)

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

Hare Pota me te whatu manapou / Rowling, J. K
“No te huringa o te kopaki, i tana ringa e wiri ana, ka kite iho a Hare i tetahi hiri-wakihi waiporoporo e whakaatu ana i tetahi tohu kawai; he raiona, he ikara, he patiha me tetahi nakahi e karapoti ana i tetahi pu ‘H’ e rahi ana. Kaore ano a Hare Pota i paku rongo korero e pa ana ki Howata i te taenga haeretanga o nga reta ki a Mita H. Pota, i Te Kapata i raro i te Arapiki, i te 4 o te Ara o Piriweti…

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H.’ Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when letters start arriving for Mr H. Potter, The Cupboard under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive…

In the first volume of one of the greatest children’s stories of all time, Ron and Hermione, Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall introduce Harry and the reader to Quidditch and You-Know-Who, to the promise of magic and the inheritance of the past. Now inspirationally translated into te reo Maori by Leon Heketu Blake, the story starts here.” (Catalogue)

Kuwi & friends Māori picture dictionary / Merewether, Katherine Q.
“From the #1 bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of the Kuwi the Kiwi series, Kat Merewether, comes a large scale, stunningly illustrated visual dictionary. Full of over 1000 basic words in te reo Maori and English, perfect for every New Zealander.” (Catalogue)

The standing strong house = Te whare tū māia / Kahukiwa, Reina
“The fictional story of hapū Ngāti Tū Māia revolves around multiple generations, weaving their stories together in a way that celebrates tīpuna (ancestors, grandparents), mokopuna (grandchildren, descendants), and kaitiaki (guardian).” (Catalogue)

Ko Hea rāua ko Ruru : he takitaro mārire / Shallcrass, Laura
“Ko te wāhi noho o Hea, ko tētahi kokonga mārire. Engari, he wāhi turituri tonu… E kōrero ana te pūrākau nei mō Hea e momou ana, ki te kimi i te mārire, tae noa ki ngā wahi ukiuki. Ka tāwhai haere e Hea kit te kimi whakamāramatanga. He pūrākau Hūmāeika, he pūrākau mānawa, hei pānuitanga mō ēra e mamae ana i ngā āhuatanga o te turituri, o te āwangawanga, o ngā whakaaro turituri.” (Catalogue)

Tio Tiamu / Kurahau
“Gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell. Toe Jam is kind, but the people tease him and avoid him, and finally, they make him leave and live far away. Toe Jam never loses his kind heart, and when there are floods, wild winds and droughts, he returns to help his people. But afterwards, the people always send him away again. Until, one day, when Toe Jam saves the people from an eruption, they finally see Toe Jam’s goodness.” (Catalogue)

The Olympians: Available on Overdrive

Hey Kids! Did you know the series, The Olympians series is available on Overdrive? So why not check out the collection while in lockdown, be inspired by the lives and battles the Greek Gods and Goddesses and unleash your inner hero/heroine by fighting against Covid-19… by staying home, being kind and reading The Olympian Series from Overdrive.

For more information about the Olympian Series, check out our posts on how the Olympians do battle with the heroes from the DC and Marvel Universe: Welcome to the Arena and  Team Battle 1. Stay tuned for more epic battles and who will when the Olympians vs. DC/Marvel Superheroes team battle.

But as a friendly recap…

The Olympians, by George O’Connor is a series of graphic novels about Greek mythology.

Each volume of The Olympians tells the story of one of the gods, (Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes and Hesphaistos) in the Olympic pantheon. Also included in each book is extensive back matter that tells the history behind each myth and resources for further study and critical analysis of the Greek gods, history, culture, religion… Hmm, who would have thought homework would involve reading comics! You can find them all on the shelf at Wellington City Libraries and online at Overdrive Kids.

To find out more about The Olympians, check out the official website. You can also have fun with the activities and learn more about Greek mythology by visiting some of these sites.


image courtesy of syndeticsAthena: Grey eyed goddess.

Check out Volume 2 of the Olympian series, Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess, which tells the tale of the goddess of wisdom and war, recounting her many adventures. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of sydneticsHades: Lord of the Dead.

Hades: Lord of the Dead tells the story of the great God of the Underworld and one of the most famous of all Greek myths: Hades’ abduction of Persephone and her mother’s revenge. Be prepared to see a new side of Persephone in this dynamic adaptation of the story of the creation of the seasons. Perfect to read just in time for spring. (Catalogue).

Did you know? Hades and Persephone‘s story tells how the four seasons were born. During spring and summer, Persephone resides with her mother, Demeter and therefore all the crops begins to thrive. In autumn and winter, Persephone is with Hades, which would cause Demeter be sad and neglect the crops.

image courtesy of syndeticsApollo: The Brilliant One.

Mighty Apollo is known by all as the god of the sun, but there’s more to this Olympian than a bright smile and a shining chariot. In the latest volume of Olympians, New York Times bestselling author George O’Connor continues to turn his extensive knowledge of the original Greek myths into rip-roaring graphic novel storytelling. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of sydneticsArtemis, Goddess of the Hunt.

Shunned even before she was born and destined to live a life of solitude, Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, finds power through her skilled hunting ability and mighty bow. She slays those who wish to do harm to the innocent and takes care of the young and helpless. She protects women and young girls, helps in childbirth, soothes, and is unrivaled in her hunting abilities. In the latest volume of Olympians, New York Times–bestselling author George O’Connor continues to turn his extensive knowledge of the original Greek myths into rip-roaring graphic novel storytelling. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsPoseidon: Earth Shaker.

In the fifth installment of the Olympians series of graphic novels, author/artist George O’Connor turns the spotlight on that most mysterious and misunderstood of the Greek gods, Poseidon: Earth Shaker. Thrill to such famous myths as Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus and Polyphemos, and the founding of Athens—and learn how the tempestuous Poseidon became the King of the Seas. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHephaistos: God of Fire.

Thrown from Mount Olympus as a newborn and caught by Thetis and Eurynome, who raised him on the island of Lemnos, Hephaistos had an aptitude for creating beautiful objects from a very young age. Despite his rejection from Olympus, he swallowed his anger and spent his days perfecting his craft. His exquisitely forged gifts and weapons earned him back his seat in the heavens, but he was not treated as an equal—his brothers and sisters looked down at him for his lame leg, and even his own wife, Aphrodite, was disloyal. In this installment of George O’Connor’s bestselling Olympians graphic novel series, witness Hephaistos’ wrath in God of Fire as he creates a plan that’ll win him the respect he deserves. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHermes: Tales of the Trickster.

The New York Times bestselling series continues as author/artist George O’Connor focuses on Hermes, the trickster god in Olympians: Hermes: Tales of the Trickster. (Catalogue).

Remember stay safe in your bubble, stay at home and be kind. Kia kaha!

Black Cat Appreciation Day

You may not have known it, but the 17th of August is Black Cat Appreciation Day. This is a day for us to celebrate, share pictures of, and appreciate black cats. But why should we celebrate black cats, when there are so many cats out there?

Black cats have been considered both lucky and unlucky across the world. Unfortunately for them, a lot of well-known superstitions around at the moment paint them as bad luck so in many places black cats take longer to be adopted or just aren’t adopted at all. Over in the UK Cats Protection (who celebrate National Black Cat Day on the 27th of October) found that it took up to a week longer for black cats to find their forever home.

But black cats are great! Quite a few of us who work at the library think so, and some of us share our homes and hearts with a black cat. In honour of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here are some of the black cats who belong to your librarians:

Two cats sitting on someone's knees. The left cat is white with black ears and a black spot on her back. The right cat is black with white whiskers and a white chest.This is Le Beau (right), sitting here with Princess Holly (left).



A black cat looking off to the right. He has a bright blue bow around his neck.This is Oz, who will snuggle with ANYONE.



A black cat lying in the sun on top of a newspaper. His head is resting on his front paws and his back paws are pointing towards the camera showing you their toe beans.This is Poot, who quite likes snoozing in the sun.



A black cat being carried. Her light yellow eyes are open extremely wide.This is Shavana, who likes to think she’s too independent to be carried.



A black cat sitting demurely on the shelf of a cat tree. She is looking downwards and her front paws are curled over the edge of the shelf.This is Tove, who was named after the wonderful Moomin author Tove Jansson.



A large grey and white dog at the bottom of the frame is using a large black cat as a pillow.This is Wolfram, who doesn’t mind being used as a pillow by his friend Tama.


Such an excellent groups of cats! Do any of you have a black cat of your own that you appreciate?

If you don’t, or even if you do, you might be interested in some of the literary black cats you can find in the books we have in our libraries.

This one here is a very funny chapter book about the Gaskitt family – which includes their cat!

The woman who won things / Ahlberg, Allan
“One lucky morning …Mrs Gaskitt opens the post and finds she’s won a prize! Next she kisses the postman! Never mind, though – the postman is Mr Gaskitt doing his very latest job. Meanwhile, Gus and Gloria get a new teacher, Mrs Plum, with silvery hair, a big smile and a huge suitcase, who’s ever so helpful when things start to go missing in the classroom. And then Mrs Gaskitt finds she’s won another prize! What happens next?.” (Catalogue)

Here’s the classic New Zealand black cat – but watch out for Scarface Claw!

Slinky Malinki / Dodd, Lynley
“A rhyming account of the night an adventurous cat goes thieving and becomes entangled in his ill-gotten gains.” (Catalogue)

We’ve got many other books about Slinky Malinki in our collection too!

If you feel like reading a slightly creepy chapter book with a very independent black cat you should try:

Coraline / Gaiman, Neil
“There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house ? the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back. 9 yrs+” (Catalogue)

Also available as an audiobook, eAudiobook, and eBook.


This is a lovely New Zealand picture book about a special black cat who befriends a lonely Grandpop:

Blackie the fisher-cat / Pereira, Janet
“An unexpected friendship develops between an adventurous cat and a grandfather who loves to fish. Blackie is no ordinary cat. Blackie is a cat with character and a cat with a kind heart. She also knows what’s good for her – food, fishing and friendship! And Grandpop is in need of a friend. He has returned to his favourite camping ground, but this trip is different – Grandpop is alone. One morning, Grandpop discovers Blackie on his caravan step. Over the next few weeks, a very special friendship emerges between Blackie and Grandpop.” (Catalogue)

If you feel like reading a chapter book about a girl who accidentally buys a Royal black cat, we recommend:

Carbonel : the Prince of cats / Sleigh, Barbara
“This is the story of a cat, a broomstick and an ordinary schoolgirl called Rosemary. She bought them both in the market, quite cheaply. Of course, neither the cat nor the broomstick were just what they seemed, and they turned up just when Rosemary badly needed something nice to happen to her. A good cat is apt to be independent, so she did not have things all her own way, and as Carbonel proved to be a Royal cat in a very special sense, that was understandable. Between the cat and the broomstick, Rosemary picked up some useful spells and magic, and the adventures they brought about turned a dull-looking holiday into one long to be remembered for its unexpected excitements and rewards.” (Catalogue)

If you like witches trying to solve problems, you should read this book:

Winnie the witch / Thomas, Valerie
“Winnie shares her big black house with Wilbur her big black cat. So sometimes she accidentally trips over him. Ouch! After some spells that make Wilbur look very silly, Winnie finds just the right magic to make sure she can always see him. It’s a colourful Winnie and Wilbur adventure! Korky Paul’s intricate artwork is full of madcap humour and crazy details to pore over. The spellbinding new look of this bestselling series celebrates the wonderful relationship that exists between Winnie the Witch and her big black cat, Wilbur. Since Winnie and Wilbur first appeared in 1987 they have been delighting children and adults in homes and schools all over the world and more than 7 million books have been sold. Ages 0+” (Catalogue)

And we’ve got many more books about Winnie and Wilbur’s other adventures!

Our Favourite Picture Books

It should be no surprise to you that librarians like books. We work here for a reason! We are surrounded by books at work and a good number of them often manage to find their way home with us at the end of the day. We choose books for book clubs, displays, and storytimes, and a very important part of what we do is helping people like you find a book that you’re going to love.

To help you find a picture book you’ll love, we thought we’d tell you about some of the picture books we love, and why we like them. So read on for a list of your local librarians’ favourite picture books.

Amy’s favourite:

My cat likes to hide in boxes / Sutton, Eve

The illustrations are super cute and my cat also likes to hide in boxes (or any other tiny spot he can squeeze into).


Andree’s favourite:

Stack the cats / Ghahremani, Susie

Counting and Cats, what’s not to love!

Will the cats stack or tumble and fall? How is the best way to stack your cats?

A fun way to put a little bit of maths and a little bit of cute into your life.


Catherine’s favourite:

The pout-pout fish / Diesen, Deborah

I love the rhythm and rhyme and how a frown turned upside down is a smile ( I have a song that goes with it) and the value of a loving kiss to change your perspective on life. Wonderful illustrations too with just enough detail to be interesting. With the illustrations I think the book could do double duty as just an undersea looking/talk-about book if you are one to one with a child.


Claire’s favourite:

Poor Louie / Fucile, Tony

Poor Louie is very sweet – You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor puppy dealing with lots of changes, going from being the centre of attention to… not so much… The very sweet twist at the end is what makes it great though.


Debbie’s favourite:

The Lorax / Seuss

Even though it was a children’s book  it was read to a small group of peers at a college biology camp by a teacher. It has always remained a special book for me because of his wonderful rendition of the story.

Plus I love the environmental message.


El’s favourite:

The lamb who came for dinner / Smallman, Steve

This story makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside whenever I read it.


Emma’s favourite:

The bear who wasn’t there / Pham, LeUyen

I like it because it’s as funny for adults as it is for kids (probably for slightly older kids like 8+), and there’s lots of different characters which you can do all sorts of voices for, and it gets meta and it’s just great!


Jonno’s favourite:

Bark, George / Feiffer, Jules

This book is the greatest thing put to paper since the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is a delightful book with so many hilarious moments, plot twists, and animal sounds, that kids are rapt by it.


Kath’s favourite:

The legend of rock paper scissors / Daywalt, Drew

This book has the best illustrations, and made me laugh out loud when I read it. When I read it to kids, they love the battle scenes and I always have fun giving the characters voices. I wish I could have posters of the illustrations!


Mary’s favourite:

Dr. Seuss’s sleep book. / Seuss

A favourite from my childhood! I love all the illustrations, all the funny creatures, and how you can choose your favourite creature on each page. Dr. Seuss is great at rhyming so it’s easy to read aloud, and at the end of the book you’re told to turn off your light and go to sleep which is a great hint!


Sandy’s favourite:

Supermarket, zoopermarket : a fun flap book / Sharratt, Nick

I am a great fan of Nick Sharratt, both because of his delightful and quirky illustrations in collaboration with others but also his own picture books. One that gets the attention of both children and adults at story time is a lift the flap ‘Supermarket Zoopermarket’. Very funny and a delightful play with words. Snappetizing…crocolate drops. I bet you can guess what they are. Crazy Crisps …Salt and Fin-egar crisps…fangtastic flavour.


Sara’s favourite:

Winnie the witch / Thomas, Valerie

Who could fail to be charmed by Winnie and her black cat Wilbur?  The adventures they have! The fun and the scrapes and the quirky naughtiness appeal to kids and grownups alike.


Stephen’s favourite:

The book with no pictures / Novak, B. J.

We know, we know, a picture book with no pictures in it! But trust us, this is one book you will definitely want to hear read aloud!


Te Atawhai’s favourite:

Pete the cat and his magic sunglasses / Dean, James

Such a fun, groovy read! Always in a good mood after reading Pete the Cat!


Tessa’s favourite:

The great white man-eating shark : a cautionary tale / Mahy, Margaret

I love the illustrations (especially Norvin’s shifty eyes), I love when Norvin gets his comeuppance and most importantly, I love Sharks!


When you’re around books all day, every day, it can be hard to pick just one favourite. Particularly when there are so many good books out there! One librarian couldn’t narrow it down to just one picture book, so here are her top picks.

Sue’s picks:

The black book of colours / Cottin, Menena

Such expressive language. A great one to get your audience to shut their eyes to. Makes for a good segue into discussions about disability etc with smaller children.

Nicketty-nacketty, noo-noo-noo / Cowley, Joy

A great rhyming read, and I love it that the wee wishy woman sticks it to the giant. Yay!  One for the underdogs!

Along came a different / McLaughlin, Tom

Bright and colourful, and another fun read that teaches tolerance (and shapes while you’re at it!)

Love you forever / Munsch, Robert N.

I first heard this book read by a grandchild at her nana’s funeral, and it’s made me cry ever since. All about a mother’s love. It got read to my children A LOT!

We’re going on a bear hunt / Rosen, Michael

A classic! Did you know that this can successfully be acted out to Edvard Grieg’s music “In the Hall of the Mountain King”?!


Now you’ve seen our favourite picture books, what do you think? Have you read any of them, or do you want to read any of them? And what’s your favourite picture book?

Whakanuia a Matariki: Our New Celebration Collection

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Matariki with your family during this festive, but chilly, season, look no further than your local library! If you pop down to any of our library branches this month, you’ll be able to find a special collection of books that look something like this:

A display of face-out childrens books about Matariki beneath a colourful sign decorated with silver star bunting.

Part of the Matariki Celebration Collection at Miramar Library

The books on these displays are part of our new Celebration Collection, and they will be on the shelves for a limited time only! They don’t appear on our online catalogue, so you won’t be able to reserve them, which means that unless they have all been borrowed, you’ll always be able to find some Matariki books on the shelf to take home!

After the Matariki celebrations have concluded, the books will be packaged up and sent back to Te Pātaka, our storage warehouse in Johnsonville, until the next time we need them. All of these extra books will help us deal with increased demand at certain times of the year — and help make sure that you aren’t disappointed when you come in looking for books about Matariki only to find they’ve all been borrowed already!

At the moment, we’ve only prepared a Celebration Collection for Matariki, but there are plans in the works to add Celebration Collections for other festivals and celebrations throughout the year as well, including Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, and Diwali, among others!

To whet your appetite, here are some of the wonderful titles that are part of the Matariki Celebration Collection at your local branch:

Ngā whetū Matariki whānakotia / Kamo, Miriama
“Sam and Te Rerehua search for the stars that have mysteriously gone missing.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Stolen Stars of Matariki.

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka me te mahere Matariki / Quin, Kat
“Join Flit and his friends, Keri the kiwi and wise old Ruru, as they explore the night skies to work out how to capture a sparkling star. When the friends get lost, they follow the twinkling clues in the sky to find their way back home.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as Flit the Fantail and the Matariki Map.

Ngā manu tukutuku e whitu o Matariki / McClintock, Calico
“It is a special time of year. A time when the whispering wind blows warm from the east, and a crescent moon rises in the wintry night sky. Seven little sisters make kites with eyes of seashells to celebrate the New Year. But that playfulwind whips those kites away… Matariki is here!” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Seven Kites of Matariki.

Te Huihui o Matariki / Rolleston-Cummins, Toni
“When Mitai’s seven handsome brothers are bewitched by seven beautiful women, Mitai seeks advice and learns that the women are patupaiarehe and must be cast far away. They are given to Urutengangana, the god of the stars, who places them in the far away heavens. Yet once a year, at winter solstice, he allows them to shine in the Eastern sky.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Seven Stars of Matariki.

Tā Daniel hākari Matariki / Beyer, Rebecca
“Starting something new is always difficult. How will Daniel fit in? Luckily for him Matariki is a time of sharing and new beginnings.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as Daniel’s Matariki Feast.

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! 🙂

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’t all terrifying fire-breathing creatures either: just think of Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon who just wants to sit and read poetry, or the dragons in Cressida Cowell’s 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 / Lévy, 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