World Braille Day 2022 and… Happy birthday to Louis Braille!

January 4th is World Braille Day. World Braille Day is celebrated around the world every year on January 4th, which is also the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille writing system.

World Braille Day: Everything you need to know from the BBC. Hands on a Braille page.

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Why is World Braille Day important? To recognise the blind and visually impaired. It raises the awareness of the importance of the braille in education, communication, and social inclusion. Finally, to honor Louis Braille and incredible tool that he created which has helped so many people over the years.

What is Braille? A system of writing used by and for blind people, consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell.

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Who was Louis Braille? Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. Louis Braille  lost his eyesight as a child when he accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with his father’s awl. From the age of 10, he spent time at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in France, where he formulated and perfected the system of raised dots that eventually became known as Braille. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as Braille. The term ‘Braille’ was dubbed after its creator.

image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

For more information, check out his story:

image courtesy of syndeticsSix dots : a story of young Louis Braille.

“Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet — a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.” (Catalogue).

Did you know?

  • In 1999, NASA’s Deep Space 1 flew past an asteroid on its way to photograph the Borrelly’s Comet and named it ‘9969 Braille’ in acknowledgment of Louis Braille.
  • Braille is an alphabet that can be used to write almost any language and versions are available in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Spanish, and more.
  • Uncontracted Braille spells out every word, whereas contracted Braille is a shorthand version that abbreviates familiar words.
  • There’s a unique version of Braille specifically for mathematics and science, called the Nemeth Code.
  • There are toys in Braille  such as Uno, Monopoly, and LEGO are available in Braille versions.

For more information:

World Braille Day – BBC.

The Life and Legacy of Louis Braille | American Foundation for the Blind (afb.org)

Blind Low Vision NZ – support for Kiwis who are blind or have low vision

We have an amazing collection of braille books, Louis Braille and other famous inspiring people – both in fiction and real life that changed the world, despite being blind.

Enjoy!

DK Braille Books series.

image courtesy of syndeticsCounting.

“Learn to count to 10 with DK Braille Counting. Designed especially for visually-impaired pre-school children and their parents, this touch-and-feel book takes readers through a collection of tactile objects made in all sorts of exciting textures, including silky flowers, crackly leaves, and sticky worms. Each image is also printed in high-contrast colours to engage partially-sighted readers, while the rhyming counting story is printed in both braille and clear printed text to suit the needs of every child and parent. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille Counting is a wonderful book for learning to count with braille.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsFarm.

“A high-quality LEGO® DUPLO® book with braille and tactile images for blind and partially sighted parents and children to share with their sighted family members. Produced in consultation with braille experts, this LEGO DUPLO board book explores a LEGO DUPLO farm with animals including pigs, ducks, chickens, cows, sheep and horses. It combines high contrast colours with embossed images of the models for children to feel.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsAnimals : knowledge you can touch.

“Learn about lions, elephants, koalas, and more in this exciting reference book designed specifically for blind or visually impaired readers. The pages combine braille, large print, and high-contrast photography with clear and predictive layouts for curious young readers. The images are large and embossed, flocked, or glossed with explanatory text, and the text is both embossed braille and printed in large text format for a shared reading experience for sighted readers.” (Google Books).

image courtesy of syndeticsIt can’t be true.

“Packed with astonishing facts and astounding world records, DK Braille It Can’t Be True is a fascinating book designed especially for visually impaired readers. In over 70 pages you will find the world’s weirdest wonders and unbelievable facts described in both braille and large print, paired with tactile images that demonstrate just how unusual the objects and events being described really are. Through the use of detailed embossing, you can feel the world’s largest hailstone (three times larger than a tennis ball!) and a bird so small it can sit on the end of your thumb. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille It Can’t Be True will keep you entertained and amazed for hours.” (Catalogue).


Read about Helen Keller, who was blind, deaf and changed the world!

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller : her life in pictures.

“The fascinating life of one of the most popular historical figures is told through images — most rarely, if ever, seen — from the American Foundation for the Blind and The Perkins School for the Blind. The images trace Keller’s life from birth, to childhood with Annie Sullivan in the cottage, to college, and on to her many years as a dedicated social activist and spokesperson. We get a glimpse of her sense of humor, her experiences as a lecturer on the vaudeville circuit, her many pets, and her last quiet years in Connecticut.”(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller’s best friend Belle.

“Shares details about Helen Keller’s early life, including her love for animals and her special relationship with a devoted Great Dane named Belle, who was a faithful companion to Helen throughout her younger years.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHelen Keller.

“In this kids’ biography, discover the inspiring story of Helen Keller, who overcame the odds by learning to understand and communicate with the world. Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing due to an early childhood illness and spent the first 6 years of her life unable to interact with other people. She remained isolated from the outside world until Anne Sullivan came to work as her teacher. In this biography book for kids ages 8-11, learn all about Helen Keller’s amazing life and achievements – how she learned to read Braille and speak, go to college, write books, and ultimately revolutionize the world through her activism on behalf of the deaf and blind. This new biography series from DK goes beyond the basic facts to tell the true life stories of history’s most interesting people. Full-color photographs and hand-drawn illustrations complement thoughtfully written, age-appropriate text to create an engaging book children will enjoy reading. Definition boxes, information sidebars, maps, inspiring quotes, and other nonfiction text features add depth, and a handy reference section at the back makes this the one biography series every teacher and librarian will want to collect. Each book also includes an author’s introduction letter, a glossary, and an index.” (Catalogue).

Some inspiring reads…

image courtesy of syndeticsThe black book of colours.

“An award-winning, unforgettable black book about colour, which shows you how to “see” without your eyes.It can be hard for a sighted person to imagine what it is like to be blind. But in this breathtaking, ground-breaking and award-winning colour book, Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria try to convey the experience of a person who can see only through their sense of touch, taste, smell or hearing. With gorgeous textured art on black paper, accompanied by a beautifully written text translated into braille, this powerful book breaks down barriers and gives young readers the ability to experience the world in a whole new way.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMysterious traveller.

“This tale begins with a disgruntled camel, desperately trying to protect a little baby from a violent desert storm whipping up all around him. He is rescued by Issa – the desert guide – who takes the child in, naming her Mariama. She becomes Issa’s family and, as he begins to lose his sight, his eyes. Many years later, a mysterious stranger arrives at their doorstep, a stranger who will change both their lives for ever.” (Catalogue).


image courtesy of syndeticsFootsteps through the fog.

“Unlike her brothers and sisters, Anthea cannot see, so when they all go to the beach one day, their mother tells them to take care of her. While they are all playing on the sand, a thick fog rolls in from the ocean. Suddenly it’s up to Anthea to get everyone home safely. Written by the legendary Margaret Mahy and with artwork by master illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is a beautifully told story that will give readers young and old a new perspective on blindness. Mahy and Bishop have both donated their royalties for this project to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe world ends in April.

“Eleanor Dross knows a thing or two about the end of the world, thanks to a survivalist grandfather who stockpiles freeze-dried food and supplies–just in case. So when she reads about a Harvard scientist’s prediction that an asteroid will strike Earth in April, Eleanor knows her family will be prepared. Her classmates? They’re on their own. Eleanor has just one friend she wants to keep safe: Mack. They’ve been best friends since kindergarten, even though he’s more of a smiley emoji and she’s more of an eye-roll emoji. They’ll survive the end of the world together . . . if Mack doesn’t go away to a special school for the blind. But it’s hard to keep quiet about a life-destroying asteroid–especially at a crowded lunch table–and soon Eleanor is the president of the (secret) End of the World Club. It turns out that prepping for TEOTWAWKI (the End of the World as We Know It) is actually kind of fun. But you can’t really prepare for everything life drops on you. And one way or another, Eleanor’s world is about to change.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe sound of colors : a journey of the imagination.

“A lonely young girl who is losing her sight uses a trip on the subway as a springboard for her imagination. Her mind takes her on a colourful journey where she swims with dolphins, sunbathes on a whale’s back and follows a butterfly to her destination. First person recount. A sophisticated picture book. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue).

Celebrate a Festival of lights with Hanukkah 2021!

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

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

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

What is Hannukah?

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

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

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


How do people celebrate Hannukah?

To commemorate this, Jewish people who celebrate Hanukkah light candles in special nine-branch candelabrum known as a Hanukkah menorah (מנורת חנוכה).  One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and then this continues until all the candles are lit. The candles themselves are not used for any other purpose, even to light the other candles in the Menorah, so the ninth candle is used to light all the others. During Hanukkah, Jewish people make music together, share food (especially yummy fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot jam-filled doughnuts), exchange gelt, or gift money, and spend time with family and loved ones. A game is also traditionally played during Hanukkah that involves a driedel, which is a spinning top.

image courtesy of wikimedia.org

image courtesy of wikimedia.org


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

image courtesy of syndeticsFestive fun.

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

Where can I find information about Hannukah?

Non fiction about Hannukah, Judaism and other religious festivals:

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

“This wonderful charmingly illustrated book celebrates Jewish holidays all year long. From Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to Sukkot, the celebration of the harvest, to Hanukkah, the festival of lights, this is the perfect book for families to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA Jewish life.

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

image courtesy of syndeticsThe big book of festivals.

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

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

“Using revealing photography and detailed personal accounts to give unique insight into the diversity of religious faith as experienced by children across the world, this is an ideal book for families to read together.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsReligious celebrations.

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

Picture Books and fiction about Hannukah.

image courtesy of syndeticsNonna’s Hanukkah surprise.

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

image courtesy of syndeticsIs it Hanukkah yet?

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

image courtesy of syndeticsHana the Hanukkah fairy.

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

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

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

Get into the spirit of Halloween ’21 at the library — Part One!

image courtesy of stuff.co.nz

Halloween has arrived at the library! In addition to dressing up and eating treats, now is the time to get your scare on reading up about the history of Halloween, and getting some cool ideas for Halloween costumes and crafts. Soon to come is Part Two, where we’ll share with you some extra-spooky fiction, picture books, eBooks and movies for a quiet (scare) night in. Let the scare fest begin! AHHHWWOOOOOO!

About Halloween:

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is celebrated on October 31st. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1 in contemporary calendars. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits. Today Halloween is considered a holiday (especially in the United States) for dress-up, (traditionally witches, ghosts and zombies), treats and fun, especially for children. For more information about the history of Halloween, read our previous post.

Some ways that people around the world celebrate Halloween include:

  • Dressing up in costume,
  • Handing out treats to trick or treaters,
  • Decorating the house with Halloween party favours,
  • Reading or sharing ghost stories (we have heaps of those!),
  • Watching scary movies (we have heaps of those as well!)

Immediately following Halloween, on November 1st, Día de Muertos is a traditional Central American holiday that reunites the living and dead. It is a holiday for celebrating life and death, a holiday where mourning is exchanged for celebration. Below are a couple of books from our collection where you can read up more about this festival:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe day of the dead = El dia de los muertos.

@This book tells the story of two children as they celebrate their ancestors on the vibrant holiday: The day of the dead. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals and joyful songs, Hispanic families welcome back ancestors on this holiday. Complete with lush college and lyrical text in both English and Spanish, this wonderful picture book creates the perfect introduction to this festival (and perhaps also to the Spanish language).” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsDía de los muertos.

“It’s Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style.” (Catalogue)


Where can I find more information about Halloween:


image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrate Halloween.

“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to make frightening Halloween decorations.

“Do you like to scare and gross out your friends? Create frightening Halloween decorations with just a few simple supplies. Surprise your friends with glowing alien heads and sicken them with bloody intestines. Whether you’re decorating for a party or just for fun, these projects will turn an ordinary Halloween into a howling good time.”(Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to create spectacular Halloween costumes.

“Are you searching for a Halloween costume that will get you noticed? Then How to Create Spectacular Halloween Costumes is the book for you! From a guitar-playing vampire to the floor of a movie theater, these easy-to-make costumes are sure to impress your friends. They might even cause a few screams!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndetics10 minute Halloween crafts.

“In 10 Minute Crafts: Halloween, children can learn how to make Halloween decorations such as bat hangings and black cat lanterns and create spookily brilliant zombie finger puppets and witches on broomsticks, plus lots more amazing Halloween ideas.” (Catalogue)

New to the collection is…

image courtesy of syndeticsHalloween : 300 spooky facts to scare you silly.

“The wildly popular Weird But True line is all dressed up for Halloween with 300 all-new spooky facts about candy, costumes, pumpkin carving, and more Calling all boys and ghouls: You’re in for a treat of freaky facts, stats, tidbits, and trivia about one of the most popular holidays Did you know that there is an underwater pumpkin carving contest? Or that the U.S. Defense Department has a zombie apocalypse plan? Maybe you’d be amazed to discover that there are more Halloween emojis than there are U.S. states? It’s all weird–and it’s all true–in this latest and greatest edition, packed with hilarious and terrifying tidbits on Halloween.” (Catalogue)


Have a safe and happy Halloween!

The Baby-Sitters Club: Chapter Books vs. Comics

The Babysitters Club, written by Ann M. Martin, is a series of novels about a group of friends aged 12, Kristy Thomas (founder and president), Mary Anne Spier (secretary), Claudia Kishi (vice-president), and Stacey McGill (treasurer), who run a local babysitting service called “The Baby-Sitters Club”.  The novels were originally published by Scholastic between 1986 and 2000.
image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of sydneticsimage courtesy of syndetics

Some of the novels have been released as a graphic novel version written by Raina Telgemeier (who also wrote Smile, Sisters and Guts) and Gale Galligan.

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics


By Raina Telgemeier:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [1] : Kristy’s great idea.

“Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding member of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up – cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls – you can count on them to save the day. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship”–page [4] of cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [2] : the truth about Stacey.

Joining the Baby-sitter’s Club after moving to a new town, Stacey helps her new friends outmanoeuvre a rival sitter group while coming to terms with her diabetes.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [3] : Mary Anne saves the day : a graphic novel.

When a fight breaks out among the members of the Baby-sitters Club, timid Mary Anne finds herself becoming more assertive as a baby sitter and in her relationships with her father and friends.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [4] : Claudia and mean Janine.

“Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her artwork and The Baby-sitters Club than her homework, feels like she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, gets straight As, and even takes college-level courses! But when something unexpected happens to the most beloved person in their family, will the sisters be able to put aside their differences?”–Publisher.
By Gale Galligan:
image courtesy of syndetics

The Baby-sitters Club [5] : Dawn and the impossible three : a graphic novel.

This graphic novel adapted by bestselling author Gale Galligan is now available in full colour! Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Babysitters Club. Whatever comes up, you can count on them to save the day.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [6] : Kristy’s big day.

Kristy’s mom is getting married, and Kristy is going to be a bridesmaid! The only problem? Fourteen kids are coming to town for the wedding!
image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [7] : Boy-crazy Stacey.

“Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: there’s a gorgeous house right on the beach, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen! Mary Anne thinks that Stacey should leave Scott alone and focus on the Pike kids, but Stacey’s in love. Looking for reasons to hang around his lifeguard stand takes up all of her time, which means Mary Anne has to do the job of two baby-sitters. Mary Anne doesn’t like it one bit! How can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested without ruining their friendship and breaking Stacey’s heart?”–Provided by publisher.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Baby-sitters Club [8] : Logan likes Mary Anne! : a graphic novel.

It’s the first day of a new school year, and while Mary Anne doesn’t know what to expect from the eighth grade, she’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. One thing she definitely doesn’t expect is to meet Logan Bruno, who just moved to Stoneybrook! Logan has a dreamy southern accent, he’s awfully cute… and he might be interested in joining the BSC. But the baby-sitters aren’t sure if Logan would make a good club member, so they send him on a job with Mary Anne as a test. Logan and Mary Anne hit it off, but Mary Anne isn’t sure of where their friendship could go. Life in the Baby-sitters Club has never been this complicated — or this fun!


There was also a spin-off series called Baby-Sitters Little Sister novels, about Karen Brewer, the seven-year-old stepsister of Kristy Thomas. The series ran from 1988 to 2000. The first two novels, Karen’s Witch and Karen’s Rollerskates, has been released as graphic novels written by Katy Farina.

image courtesy of syndeticsKaren’s Witch.

Karen Brewer lives next door to Mrs. Porter, who wears long robes and has wild gray hair. Mrs. Porter has a black cat named Midnight and always seems to be working in her garden. Karen isn’t supposed to spy on her neighbor, but she’s determined to prove that Mrs. Porter is a witch named Morbidda DestinyMrs. Porter is getting ready to have a special meeting at her house, and Karen is sure the meeting is for witches. Are they going to cast a spell on Karen? Or will she be brave enough to send them away — once and for all?

image courtesy of syndeticsKaren’s Rollerskates.

It’s going to be a great weekend! Karen has new roller skates and is a very good skater. She’s looking forward to trying some new tricks. But, oh no! Karen falls down and has to go to the hospital. Her wrist is broken! Karen is determined to get everyone she knows — plus someone famous — to sign her cast. It isn’t going to be easy, but she won’t give up until the job is done.
Did you know? The Babysitters Club was made into a movie in 1995 and was recently made into a TV series on Netflix.

Search our catalogue for more books from The Babysitters Club series. You can also find more books through our Kids’ Reading Room on Overdrive!  

Valentine’s Day (for kids) at the Library!

Love is in the air at Wellington City Libraries! Roses are red, violets are blue; come on down to Wellington City Libraries; where we have amazing books for you!

Valentines Day has arrived at the library and has many books on ways and ideas to celebrate love, affection and Saint Valentine.


What is Valentine’s day:

St Valentine is known as the patron saint of lovers. Valentine’s Day is celebrated each year on 14 February by people giving presents of cards, flowers  and gifts. It is a great opportunity to remind loved ones, friends and family how much they mean to you.  Many people choose to do this by giving cards, flowers or gifts.

Did you know: Valentine’s Day got its name from a Roman priest called Valentine who helped couples secretly get married. Read more about it on National Geographic’s page about Valentine’s Day.


Where can I find information about Valentine’s day?image courtesy of syndetics

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about festivals and celebrations in New Zealand, which includes Valentine’s day.
  • Britannica has a page dedicated to Valentine’s day.
  • Crayola has a free colouring page that is Valentine’s day themed.
  • Read Valentine be mine, which presents  the history of Valentine’s Day as well as its past and present traditions.


    If you’re stuck on ideas on giving presents of cards, flowers (often red roses) and sweets or chocolates, why not come on down to your local library and check out the following books:

image courtesy of syndeticsSew with me : 60 fun & easy projects to make your own fabulous décor and accessories.

Make every day a crafting bonanza with this inspiring and helpful guidebook packed with 60 projects. These accessories, toys and decorations are as easy to create as they are fun to wear and display Grab an adult to help you get started, then you’re off sewing adorable crafts you can personalize with your favorite colors and fabrics.

image courtesy of syndetics10 minute decorative cards.

Using readily available materials, this series is packed full of fun things to make and do. The projects are explained in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, and are perfect for teachers looking for original ideas as well as time-poor parents. In 10 Minute Crafts: Decorative Cards, children can learn how to make a whole range of beautiful handmade cards for celebrations from Christmas and Valentine’s Day to Hanukah, Holi and birthdays. Simple, easy step-by-steps and clear instructions make this the ideal arts and crafts book on making cards for children of 5+.


Also search our catalogue for more gift ideas for Valentines day.


If you’re interested in Valentine’s day themed fiction and comics, these books might interest you:

image courtesy of syndeticsDiary of a wimpy kid: The Third wheel.

A dance at Greg’s middle school has everyone scrambling to find a partner, and Greg is determined not to be left by the wayside. So he concocts a desperate plan to find someone–anyone –to go with on the big night.But Greg’s schemes go hilariously awry, and his only option is to attend the dance with his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, and a female classmate as a “group of friends.” But the night is long, and anything can happen along the way. Who will arrive at the dance triumphantly, and who will end up being the third wheel?

image courtesy of syndeticsNancy Clancy, secret admirer.

Nancy Clancy and her best friend, Bree, have love on the brain-after all, they’re learning about the human heart in science class! But when the girls decide to play matchmaker, nothing works out as planned. So the big question is: Will love conquer all?

image courtesy of syndeticsForget me Nat.

“For the first time in her life, Natalie feels confident. Her talents are being recognized, she has supportive friends, and she’s spending a ton of time with her crush, Derek! But when Derek tells Natalie that he just wants to be friends, Natalie’s self-confidence quickly changes to self-doubt. As she tries to recover from her broken heart, Natalie casts aside her talents and even her friends. With no one to turn to, Natalie will have to pull herself out of this mess on her own” — Amazon.com

image courtesy of syndeticsUncle Scrooge : treasure above the clouds.

In “Treasure Above the Clouds,” Scrooge battles playboy plutocrat John D. Rockerduck for ownership of an awesome Incan treasure Then, it’s Valentine’s Day in Duckburg, and Scrooge faces a firestorm from two dastardly dates–Klondike goldminer Glittering Goldie and brassy business-gal Brigitta MacBridge And in “Money is the Root of Upheaval ,” a duck tale by Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman), Scrooge McDuck travels through time to find riches in ancient Egypt, only to wind up stranded in a dystopian future.

image courtesy of syndeticsAphrodite : goddess of love.

A latest entry in the best-selling series focuses on the goddess of love and combines accessible graphic illustrations with thoroughly researched storytelling to recount her dramatic birth from the sea foam, her role in the Trojan War and more. In volume six of Olympians, graphic novel author/artist George O’Connor turns the spotlight on Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Look for the same thoroughly researched and wonderfully accessible comics storytelling as O’Connor tackles the story of the Aphrodite from her dramatic birth (emerging from sea-foam) to her role in the Trojan War. O’Connor has outdone himself with this volume: the story is riveting and the artwork is beyond compare. Greek mythology has never been so vivid!


Search our catalogue for more children’s books about Valentine’s day!

Kids’ Fiction 2020: Picks of the Bunch

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

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

So, here goes, and in no particular order…

Across the risen sea / Bren MacDibble. / MacDibble, Bren
Across the Risen Sea is an action-packed, compelling and heartfelt middle-fiction adventure, set in a post-climate change landscape, from the multi-award winning author of How to Bee. Across the Risen Sea is an action-packed, compelling and heartfelt middle-fiction adventure, set in a post-climate change landscape, from the multi-award winning author of How to Bee. (Catalogue)

 

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It’s Your Lucky Day: New Collection on OverDrive Kids!

While the country was in lockdown, there was one thing that everyone seemed to be doing an awful lot of — reading! You read the books you got out from the library before we closed, you re-read all the books on your shelves at home, and you borrowed record numbers of eBooks from our OverDrive Kids collections as well. Our hard-working collections team have been working hard to get more books to you faster, so they’ve created a whole new eBook collection for you — the Kids’ Lucky Day collection.

Check out the Lucky Day collection next time you log in to the eLibrary!

What is the Lucky Day collection, you ask? Think of it as a buffet of all your favourite titles — books by Raina Telgemeier, Andy Griffiths, Erin hunter, Dav Pilkey, and more. Because books by these authors are so popular, they have a reduced loan period (14 days instead of 21), and you also can’t place holds or renew Lucky Day items that you have out. Every time you log in to OverDrive, be sure to check out the Lucky Day collection and see what’s available — who knows, maybe it will be your lucky day!


At the moment, there are about 80 different titles on the list, but as with all of our collections we’ll be adding to it as time goes on. For now, though, here are some of our favourites:

Overdrive cover The 13-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths (ebook)

Andy and Terry’s 13-storey treehouse is the most amazing treehouse in the world! It’s got a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of man-eating sharks, a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up! (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Wonder, R J Palacio (ebook)

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Rodrick Rules, Jeff Kinney (ebook)

Whatever you do, don’t ask Greg Heffley how he spent his summer holidays, because he definitely doesn’t want to talk about it. As Greg enters the new school year, he’s eager to put the past three months behind him… and one event in particular. Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother Rodrick knows all about the incident. And secrets have a way of getting out… especially when a diary is involved. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Poison Jungle, Tui T. Sutherland (ebook)

It’s no secret that Sundew wants to destroy the HiveWings. It’s her life’s mission to exact revenge on the tribe that tried to wipe out the LeafWings and ripped every tree from the surface of Pantala. Every tree, that is, except the wild and dangerous Poison Jungle, where the surviving LeafWings have been hiding since the war. Hiding, plotting, and waiting for a dragon like Sundew, who is uniquely qualified to bring down the Hives. There are dark secrets in the jungle, though – some that Sundew is keeping, and some that she’s only just beginning to discover. And now that a new war is upon them, Sundew and her friends must unearth the oldest secret in the jungle-even if what they find has the power to destroy them all. (Overdrive description)


So what are you waiting for? Check out the Lucky Day collection today — and keep your eyes peeled for more bookish goodies on the way on OverDrive.

World Braille Day and Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4th!

January 4th was World Braille Day. World Braille Day is celebrated around the world every year on January 4th, which is also the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille language.

Why is World Braille Day important? It raises the awareness of the importance of braille in education, communication, and social inclusion.

What is Braille? A system of writing used by and for blind persons and consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell

Who was Louis Braille? Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille.

We have an amazing collection of braille books, Louis Braille and other famous inspiring people – both in fiction and real life that changed the world, despite being blind.

Enjoy!

Braille Books.

Counting.

Learn how to count to 10 with DK Braille Counting. Designed especially for visually-impaired pre-school children and their parents, this touch-and-feel book takes readers through a collection of tactile objects made in all sorts of exciting textures, including silky flowers, crackly leaves, and sticky worms. Each image is also printed in high-contrast colours to engage partially-sighted readers, while the rhyming counting story is printed in both braille and clear printed text to suit the needs of every child and parent. Fully endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), DK Braille Counting is a wonderful book for learning to count with braille.


It can’t be true.

A fascinating collection of tactile comparisons reveals astonishing facts about the world around us.


The black book of colours.

Thomas can’t see colours, but he can hear them and smell them and touch them and taste them. Now you can try to see the world the way Thomas sees.


Animals : knowledge you can touch.

Discover the amazing world of animals with DK Braille Animals. Designed especially for the young braille reader, this tactile reference book features over 30 pages of entries on a fascinating selection of creatures, from bears and big cats to birds and bugs.


Louis Braille.

Six dots : a story of young Louis Braille.

Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet — a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.


Helen Keller.

Helen Keller.

The fascinating life of one of the most popular historical figures is told through images — most rarely, if ever, seen — from the American Foundation for the Blind and The Perkins School for the Blind. The images trace Keller’s life from birth, to childhood with Annie Sullivan in the cottage, to college, and on to her many years as a dedicated social activist and spokesperson.


An inspiring read…

Footsteps through the fog.

When Anthea and her brothers and sisters walk down to the sea, a thick fog rolls in. It’s up to Anthea, who is blind, to lead her family to safety.

Fiction and Non Fiction to read this Halloween.

Hey Kids!

Halloween has arrived at the library! Time to get your scare on reading up about the history of Halloween; getting some cool ideas for Halloween costumes and crafts and maybe some fiction for a quiet (scare) night in.

Enjoy!


Celebrate Halloween.

Describes the origins of Halloween and how various countries celebrate it. Suggested level: junior, primary.

10 minute Halloween crafts.

In 10 Minute Crafts: Halloween, children can learn how to make Halloween decorations such as bat hangings and black cat lanterns and create spookily brilliant zombie finger puppets and witches on broomsticks, plus lots more amazing Halloween ideas.

How to create spectacular Halloween costumes.

“Provides step-by-step instructions for making Halloween costumes using household materials”–Provided by publisher.

Ghoulish get-ups.

“Fifi Colston shares her years of experience in costuming and the wearable arts. Crammed with tricky tips and terrifying techniques for making an outrageous outfit for any occasion, especially Halloween”–Publisher information.

Laugh-out-loud spooky jokes for kids.

A spooktacular collection of jokes about goblins, ghouls and other Halloween-oriented subjects.– Source other than Library of Congress.

Haunted Halloween : movie novel.

When Sonny and Sam find a ventriloquist dummy labeled “Slappy” in an abandoned house and bring him home, the dummy comes to life, and soon begins using dark magic powers to make Halloween a living nightmare in town.

The secrets tree.

It’s Halloween at Penhallow Hall and while celebrations are in full swing at the stately home, Polly and Rex are in search of a new ghost dog. Down in the old stable block they come across a dog’s head carved in a wooden door and wake a terrier called Patch. The little dog is terrified of the changes to his old home and runs off. When Polly and Rex find Patch hiding in a hollow tree they find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message from Patch’s master, Jack, to his older brother. From Patch’s description Polly and Rex realize that Jack’s brother must have been a highwayman! But the message remains unread. Can Polly and Rex discover what happened to the brothers?

 


Frankie Fish and the Viking fiasco.

From Australia’s favourite comedian Peter Helliar comes the third adventure in his hilarious and best-selling Frankie Fishseries! Just when you thought our time-travellers had everything under control, it all comes crashing down … Best friends Frankie and Drew are desperate to win this year’s Halloween costume parade, and they know exactly what will give them the edge: authentic Viking costumes from olden-day Norway! The plan is simple: use their secret Sonic Suitcase to get in, get helmets, and get out. But they weren’t counting on accidentally bringing back a Viking called Birger with them – plus his angry brother Brynjar, who really has it in for Frankie and Drew. Can the boys round up the vikings, get them back home and win the costume parade before anyone discovers what they’ve done?

 


Stumpkin.

Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. There’s just one problem–Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window. As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?

 


Apocalypse.

It’s Benjamin Roy’s first Halloween as a zombie and he’s keen to see if being a real one gets him more candy. But it doesn’t take long before the tricks become dangerous and the treats turn deadly. Then when the only bridge out of town is destroyed, and corpses start creeping from their caskets, he realises there’s something rotten in his town and it’s not just the zombies… But how will Ben save anyone else, when he’s barely alive himself?

 


Hotel Transylvania. Vol. 1 : Kakieland katastrophe.

When the owner of a local amusement park starts a campaign claiming monsters are scary, it is up to Drac and the gang to prove him wrong and save the hotel from ruin.

Author Visit: Des Hunt at Central Library.

Attention all literary fans! Come on down to the Central Library and learn how to create amazing stories with a master storyteller! Join 2017 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award winner Des Hunt for a writing workshop like no other. This event is part of Beyond the Page, a literary festival for children and youth on from 8-23 July, for more information, check out the website.

Where: Wellington Central Library, Young Adults area.

When: Tuesday 11th July, 1pm to 2pm.

Age Group: This workshop is aimed at ages 9-12 and spaces are limited. Make sure you register to secure a spot.

About Des Hunt: Des Hunt was a science and technology teacher for many years, interspersed with periods of curriculum development both in New Zealand and overseas. During this time he had several textbooks published to support the New Zealand curriculum. Over the last twenty years he has experimented with other ways of interesting youngsters in science, creating computer games and writing non-fiction and fiction with scientific themes.

After living in Auckland for much of his life he moved with his wife, Lynne, to Matarangi on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. He retired from the classroom in 2007 to concentrate on writing fiction for children. He continues his aims of fostering young peoples’ natural interest in the science of their surroundings by visiting schools and libraries where he runs workshops and presentations.

Five Des Hunt books have been finalists at the Children’s Book Awards. Cry of the Taniwha was awarded the 2016 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book. Then, in 2017, Des was the recipient of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for lifetime achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Find out more about Des and his books: www.deshunt.com

While You’re at it, check out some of Des Hunt’s books that you can find at your local library.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPhantom of Terawhiti.

“It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild south-west coast. Zac and his father witness a shipwreck off the coast. Investigating further, he finds a set of unusual paw prints on the beach. Whose yacht it is? And what animal could have made the paw prints? Soon Zac is drawn into a mystery which threatens his life and those around him. He must protect the secret of the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it – and him – down”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsFrog Whistle Mine.

Twelve-year-old Tony has travelled all around New Zealand with his nomadic mother, and desperately wants somewhere to belong. When they arrive in Charleston, a gold-mining ghost town, he is almost afraid to hope this might finally be the place. But things aren’t as they seem, and he finds himself caught up in mysterious events.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere cuckoos call.

Twelve-year-old Ben is a keen ornithologist who looks after endangered birds on his family farm in the Coromandel Peninsula. But Ben must grow up fast in the face of threats to his home, his family and his beloved birds.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhale Pot Bay.

Jake lives with his father in a remote part of the Wairarapa, where he can surf and watch the whales. But then Jake’s dad begins a relationship with a new partner, who moves in with her daughter Stephanie, and at the same time a local photographer starts stalking their next door neighbour Milton Summer, an international rock celebrity, and Jake’s peaceful life erupts into violence and deceit. An when a whale and her calf get into trouble on the treacherous coast, the history of Whale Pot Bay seems doomed to repeat itself unless Jake, Milton and Stephanie can survive the deadly tide.

image couresty of syndeticsCry of the taniwha.

Matt Logan isn’t looking forward to spending the school holidays in Rotorua with his grandmother and her new husband. Matt has taken his metal detector along, and when he and Juzza – the boy next door – unearth a handcuffed skeleton, a dangerous chain of events begins to coil around them.