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)
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:
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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?
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 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?
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?
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a blog post that pays tribute to popular fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast. Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales).
The story that a young woman named Beauty, who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, after stealing a rose from the beast’s garden, which was intended for Beauty as a gift. She discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise, who must find true love, despite his ugliness, to revert back to his former self. The question is can Beauty look beyond the beast’s ugly exterior and find true beauty within his heart?
Check out other versions and retellings of this classic fairy tale that the library holds:
Beauty and the Beast is a perfect introduction to this classic fairytale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters: Beauty, her father, and of course the Beast! This well-loved fairytale is beautifully imagined for a new generation by children’s illustrator Dan Taylor.
A captivating retelling of the nation’s favourite fairy tale, from the nation’s favourite storyteller, Michael Morpurgo. After encountering a fearsome beast at a mysterious palace, down-on-his-luck merchant Marco is forced to make a promise in exchange for his life: he must persuade one of his three daughters to return to the palace in his place – but she must come of her own free will. Beautiful, kind-hearted Belle agrees at once to return to the palace, and there she and the Beast exist companionably, with the Beast asking of Belle the same question at the end of each day: “Dearest Belle, will you marry me?” After a return home to consult with her father, Belle resolves to follow her heart and return to the Beast, but her plans are thwarted by the trickery of her jealous sisters. When, at last, Belle is able to find her way back to the palace, she finds her beloved Beast lying as still as death on the ground. As Belle’s tears fall on his face, the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince the ancient spell upon him broken by Belle’s tears of true love.
Presents an adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale from the perspective of the cursed prince who is transformed from a beloved and jovial ruler into a reclusive and bitter monster in search of true love.
Love to watch stories? Now we have Walt Disney’s Animated classic of Beauty and the Beast available on DVD at your local library!
A Walt Disney movie about a tough no nonsense heroine, named Belle (French word for Beauty), who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, and discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise. While the situation is anything than ideal, this Beauty and the Beast must learn, in a very Pride and Prejudice-like way to overcome their pride and stubbornness, in the hopes of falling in love and breaking the beast’s enchantment. This film is beautifully constructed and made! Filled with lots of quirky characters, in the form of Lumiere (a candle stick), Cogsworth (a cynical clock), Mrs Potts (a mother-hen teapot) and many musical numbers. A film that the entire family can enjoy – especially on a Saturday night!
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, recognising the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.
This film is beautifully constructed and made! Overall it was an interesting revamp of the original animated 1992 classic. Filled with the same musical numbers and dance sequences, there a few twists, turns and few surprises during the film. Sorry, no spoilers in this review. The ballroom scene where Belle and the beast are dancing is fantastic. Belle’s dress and the dance moves – WOW, could possibly put the previous Disney Princess, Cinderella to shame!
All the characters had a part to play, had more depth, personality and beautifully showcased their uniqueness on screen. Even actor, Luke Evans did a very good job at playing arrogant, vain and sadistic baddie, Gaston, who foolishly hopes to win Belle’s hand, who in turn politely, but firmly rejects him! He didn’t have a bad singing voice either.
The characters: Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts were wonderful and entertaining. I particularly loved Lumiere’s number “Be Our Guest”, beautifully sung by Ewen McGregor.
Dan Stevens is phenomenal (and perhaps a tad bad tempered) as the beast. I always cracked up over his dry sense of humour. Overall he did the character of the beast justice to its original predecessor. I found there was more depth to the characters: Belle and the beast, and perhaps more of a back story as to how their background, experiences and personalities shaped the people that they came to be. I think in a sense these two are portrayed as mirror images of each other and have great, not to mention a unique chemistry.
I think Emma Watson plays Belle as more lady-like in this film. Not as openly stubborn and strong willed as the original Belle, but more quietly assertive and determined. Not to mention she is very polite in standing up to the beast and Gaston.
As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. This movie is a must see and has been worth the long wait. A film that the entire family can enjoy on a night out on the town– especially on a Saturday night! 9/10 all the way!
Also check out the trailer and some musical numbers from the film.
“This is not a story of cotton candy-candy capers. It is a story of gruesome horrors, awful amputations and ghastly ghouls…….. It’s a rough life at sea, so grab a bucket and hold onto your guts. This is going to get really ugly.”
“William and Melissa have been roped into helping their hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they are concerned, this is NOT a holiday.”
“It’s New Zealand, 1914, and World War One has just broken out in Europe. William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, refuses to fight and gets arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields, but their journeys there are very different.”
“When Mr Patel asks his class what they’d like to be when they grow up, Finn chooses ‘Superhero’. Finn knows what he needs: superpowers, a hideout, an outfit and….oh, yeah, to save someone’s life. Impossible? Not with a sidekick like the amazing Brian.”
“Wildbloode the Wicked is the fiercest, most ferocious pirate in all the seven seas. All she wants is for her nephew to follow in her footsteps. But Finnigan’s not interest-all he wants to do is dance!”
Head into your nearest library to find a copy, or reserve one online!