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)

Public Holidays: Why Do We Have Them?

Apart from school holidays, there are other holidays in New Zealand that everyone gets to enjoy – even the adults! These are called Public Holidays and they must be enacted into law under the Holidays Act 2003 to be official public holidays.

aerial photography of city beside body of water during daytimeWellington Anniversary Day is regional holiday celebrated on the fourth Monday in January. The holiday commemorates the arrival of the first settler ship to New Zealand on 22 January 1840.

But there are also public holidays that are observed throughout New Zealand. Starting with the national holiday that’s coming up very soon (Labour Day), here’s a list all of New Zealand’s official holidays:

Labour Day – 4th Monday of October

Labour Day falls on the fourth Monday of October, so in 2021 it will be on Monday 25 October. New Zealand Labour Day is a holiday commemorating the fight for an eight-hour working day and New Zealand’s first Labour Day holiday was celebrated in 1890. Before that, often a working day could be very long with only a half-day or one day off a week.

According to NZHistory, the changes were started by a Wellington carpenter called Samuel Parnell. The story goes that Purnell was hired by a shipping agent, who commissioned him to construct a new store for him. Parnell agreed-but stipulated some terms of his own. He is famously said to have answered:

“There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for me to do what little things they want for themselves.”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day – 25 and 26 December

Christmas Day is an important festival in the Christian Calendar where they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – a pivotal deity in the Christian faith. Christmas in New Zealand is less about snow and sleigh bells and more about sun, sand and barbecues in the backyard! The name Boxing Day comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor, their servants and tenant farmers.

New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Day – 1 and 2 January

Due to its geographical position close to the International Date Line, New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome in a new calendar year.

Waitangi Day – 6 February

Waitangi Day marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974.

Good Friday & Easter Monday

Easter is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon that lands on or just after the spring equinox. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Christmas Day and Boxing Day, above).

Anzac Day – 25 April

Anzac Day, for both Australians and New Zealanders, first started in 1916 to commemorate those that were killed in the World War 1 (“The Great War”). Now we remember  all New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. There are dawn remembrance services all around the country which New Zealanders old and young are attend. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Queen’s Birthday – Second Monday in June

The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Arthur Phillip, Governor of New South Wales (Australia), declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the king of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June.

Matariki 2022

This will be a new public holiday from June 2022! New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from 24 June 2022. The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar).

 


New Zealand’s history and how it’s public holidays came about, is a fascinating thing. Why not check out:

Labour Day / Boon, Kevin
“Outlines the history of the eight-hour working day in New Zealand and the role of Samuel Parnell in bringing this about. Looks at working conditions and labour relations in New Zealand, including sweatshops, the 1890 maritime strike, the Waihi Miners’ strike of 1912, the Great Strike of 1913, and the 1951 waterfront dispute.” (Catalogue)

The house that Jack built / Bishop, Gavin
“Uses the cumulative nursery rhyme, about the chain of events that started when Jack built a house, as a metaphor to illustrate the arrival and settlement of the European settlers in New Zealand during the early 19th century. Includes references to Maori folklore.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated history of New Zealand / Stenson, Marcia
Contents include: How we know about the past — Land of birds — Arrival of the Māori — Māori settlement — European explorers — Sealing, whaling, timber and trade — Missionaries and musket wars — Treaty of Waitangi — Pioneer settlers — Gold — Conflict between the races — Political changes — Changing ways of earning a living — Fighting outside New Zealand — Bad times and the role of the government — Disasters — Changes in our lives — Changes in Māori lives — Some of our heroes and heroines — How has human occupation affected New Zealand? (Catalogue)

Running the country : a look inside New Zealand’s government / Gill, Maria
“From the Bill of rights to the way we vote, from parliamentary headquarters to local council – and everything in between – Maria Gill explains our system of government. You will discover facts about laws, our currency, voting at the elections and the role of the media. There are fascinating profiles of New Zealand leaders, illustrated by cartoonist Malcolm Evans, along with photographs, amazing statistics and useful “google this” internet links to find out more. This revised edition brings us right up to the new Labour Government of October 2017 (in coalition with New Zealand First and The Green Party).” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Dual-language, flip-book, graphic-novel-style non-fiction about about the Treaty of Waitangi developed for a general audience” (Catalogue)

Christian church / Wood, Angela
“What is a church for? Who is Jesus? What is the Bible? What happens in a church service? All these questions and more are explored in this first introduction to the religion of Christianity. The We Worship Here series introduces children aged 6+ to the main religions of the world. Each book features information about beliefs, values and the ways people worship. The books are clearly and sensitively written, checked by expert consultants and the text is supported with beautiful illustrations.” (Catalogue)

If I ran the country / Knight, Rich
“Congratulations! You’ve just become the leader of your own country! There are a lot of decisions to be made, and not long to make them. The good news is you’ve got your hands on this funny, fact-packed book, covering everything you need to know to rule effectively – no matter where in the world you are. But it’s not just about political systems, elections, climate change, justice and all those other things we hear politicians talking about. You also need to learn how to lead. With essential life and leadership skills and tips – from teamwork, confidence and compassion to discovering who you are and what you believe in – If I Ran The Country answers all the questions most often posed by first-time top dogs like you. You’ll be ruling like a pro in no time!” (Catalogue)

Horrible Christmas / Deary, Terry
“The complete horrible history of Christmas tells tales from the dark days when the Puritans tried to abolish Christmas, to Christmas in the trenches when the British and Germans traded bullets for footballs. Plus dreadful jokes, rotten recipes, and a Christmas quiz!” (Catalogue)

Celebrating Matariki / MacGregor, Jill
“In New Zealand, Mataraki is a time to remember ancestors and traditions of long ago. Maori iwi celebrate Matariki in different ways at different times. Tamarau and his friends share some ideas and activities for celebrating Mataraki.” (Catalogue)

Dawn of the twentieth century / Boon, Kevin
“Tracks key events in the first decades of the twentieth century as New Zealand became a more distinctive and independent society. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Waitangi Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it matters / Werry, Philippa
“Reviews the historic events behind the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and charts the celebrations, tensions and protests witnessed in the years that followed, concluding with a summary of the Waitangi Day events held around the country on 6th February today” (Catalogue)

Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival 2021

Winter has arrived in Wellington, and the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival is back again, in it’s fourth year,  during the week of the 14th to the 22nd of June, and there’s heaps of exciting events happening in the capital!
Link to loemis.nz website

What is the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival?

Lōemis (pron. lew-mis) festival began in 2016 and is held annually in Wellington in the lead up to the winter solstice.

For seven days, the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival  observes the longest nights of the year with a hearty mix of feasting, theatre, music, monstrous creatures and a fiery waterfront procession, based around the winter solstice, which falls on 22 June.

For more information on what events are on, check out the Lōemis website and Facebook page.


In the meantime, why not get into the “festival” season with:

image courtesy of syndeticsFestival folk : an atlas of carnival customs and costumes.

“A beautifully illustrated compendium of weird and wonderful festival costumes around the world. All around the world there are festivals that reach back through the sands of time to the very roots of civilisation; to agrarian rites and pagan traditions. The festivals in this book are often little known outside their locale and they are all characterised by the most radical and bizarre costumes imaginable. The Kukeri in Bulgaria wear enormous headpieces made of goatskin. Burryman festival in Edinburgh features a man covered from head to toe with burrs and thorns. Paraders in Switzerland’s Silvesterklausen wear vast wooden doll-masks and hats carved with peasant scenes. Each costume is brought to life in Rob Flower’s joyous, surrealist, urban illustrations. Brief, engaging texts describe the festival, its history and the traditions that surround it.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsFestivals and celebrations.

“Take a trip around the world, looking at the many different ways that people celebrate special days, holidays, religious festivals and traditional celebrations. Comparing Countries is a ground breaking non-fiction dual-language series which compares and contrasts ways of life in different countries around the world. Presented in two different languages, each title explores a topic common to all children, from homes to festivals, highlighting what makes us different and what we all have in common. This series provides great support to geography learning, as well as helping young language learners improve their reading skills.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsFestivals around the world.

“Learn about the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA year full of celebrations and festivals.

“Countless different festivals are celebrated all over the world throughout the year. Some are national holidays, celebrated for religious and cultural reasons, or to mark an important date in history, while others are just for fun. Give thanks and tuck into a delicious meal with friends and family at Thanksgiving, get caught up in a messy tomato fight in Spain at La Tomatina, add a splash of colour to your day at the Holi festival of colours and celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With fact-filled text accompanied by beautifully bright illustrations from the wonderfully talented Chris Corr, prepare yourself for a journey as we travel around the world celebrating and uncovering a visual feast of culture.” (Catalogue)


Learn more about what happens in winter, as well the other seasons, why not head on down to your local library and grab some books about seasons, such as:

image courtesy of syndeticsSeasons.

“Finding out about the four seasons has never been so engaging. This book is full of exciting experiments, fun puzzles, quirky humour and science facts to make you say WOW … it’s science with a BOOM!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA stroll through the seasons.

“Follow the wonderful changes that each season brings! From bright spring blossoms to dazzling summer sunshine, vibrant autumn leaves, and sparkling winter snow. Look and Wonder is a fresh, bold, and bright narrative nonfiction series introducing children to the natural world” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsWeather in 30 seconds.

“This book takes readers on a whirlwind tour of our planet’s weather and climate. 30 key topics explore and explain the how and why of our global weather and its effects, from atmospheric influences, the seasons, and climate zones to extreme events, forecasting, and global warming. Each topic is presented in a neat 30-second sound bite, supported by a 3-second flash summary and a full-page colourful artwork. Fun active “missions” support the topics and encourage kids to find out more. With stunning artwork, the attention-grabbing format is engaging and immediate, introducing readers aged from 8 up to this fascinating subject that affects all our lives.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsWeather.

“See the biggest hailstone, inside the eye of a hurricane, a warm front in 3-D, the beauty of a snow crystal, a moon dog, and a dust devil. Learn the difference between a stratus and cumulonimbus cloud, how our weather may change in the future, and why tornadoes are so ferocious. Discover why deserts are dry, how clouds are born, what makes raindrops grow, why the sky is blue, and much, much more.” (Catalogue)

Check out the catalogue for more books about seasons and the weather.


Also, why not join in on “the Lōemis workshop fun”,  in the comfort of your own home… or library by creating your masterpieces, (Mask making, Mexican style treats, culinary goodness, puppetry and house building), with some help from the following books:

image courtesy of syndeticsAmazing masks to make yourself : 25 projects for funny and frightening faces to wear!

“Make masks from balloons, kitchen sponges, funnels, strainers, paper plates and other household items! The inventive projects include a tiger mask made from a basket, crazy card glasses, a wicked witch, a teapot and a glow-in-the-dark skeleton. 250 fantastic photographs show you what to do every step of the way.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCool world cooking : fun and tasty recipes for kids!

“Give up-and-coming chefs a chance to explore the foods of the world! This international cookbook has over 50 recipes from six different cultures and introduces readers to world geography, math, science, and authentic, easy-to-make recipes that taste great. Learn about African, French, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Japanese and Chinese cooking. So grab an apron and prepare for a tasty adventure!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsOn stage : theater games and activities for kids.

“Covers basic theatre vocabulary, puppetry and pantomime, sound effects, costumes, props, and makeup; includes several play scripts.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLet’s build a house.

“Let’s Build a House! But what sort of a house should it be? And what do we need to build it? It could be a shack on a beach, or it could be a skyscraper. Try building a bungalow or even a castle! Join in the imaginative play as a group of children plan their houses and discover the materials and techniques needed to build them. The Wonderwise series presents facts in a way that will inspire young children’s imaginations about the world around them.” (Catalogue)


Winter movies to watch on a cold night in…

image courtesy of amazon.comFrozen.

“The cold may bother us, but it never bothers Elsa, Queen of Arendelle. You can never go wrong with Frozen. Relive the magic and musical renditions of “Let it go” in this amazing classic about family, friendship and diversity.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comFrozen II.

“Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comRise of the Guardians.

“When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of children all over the world.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comIce Age.

“Twenty thousand years ago, at the dawn of the Ice Age, three completely mismatched creatures have been brought together by a twist of fate. Sid, a fast-talking and comical sloth, Manfred, a moody woolly mammoth, and Diego, a sinister saber-toothed tiger reluctantly team up to help return a human baby to his father. Before their incredible journey ends, this unlikely trio will confront boiling lava pits, escape treacherous ice tunnels and meet a prehistoric squirrel-rat named Scrat who is frantically trying to bury his beloved acorn. Join the weirdest herd in history for the coolest adventure of all time!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comIce Age. 2, The meltdown.

“The Ice Age is coming to an end, and the animals are delighting in their new world: a melting paradise of water parks, geysers and tar pits. But when Manny, Sid and Diego discover that the miles of melted ice will flood their valley, they must warn everyone and somehow figure out a way to escape the coming deluge. … With their one chance of survival being a boat at the other end of the valley, the trio make a desperate exodus there. Along the way, they meet Ellie, a female mammoth who is convinced that she is an opossum like her brothers. While the strange group continues their trek across the valley, they must learn to get along. Manny struggles to find some connection to Ellie, who may be the only other one of his kind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comIce age. 3, Dawn of the dinosaurs.

“Scrat is still trying to nab the ever-elusive nut and in the process may find his true love; Manny and Ellie await the birth of their mini-mammoth; Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, wonders if he’s growing too ‘soft’ hanging with his pals; and Sid the sloth gets into trouble when he creates his own makeshift family by hijacking some dinosaur eggs. On a mission to rescue the hapless Sid, the gang ventures into a mysterious underground world where they have some very close encounters with dinosaurs, battle flora and fauna, and where they meet a relentless, one-eyed, dino-hunting weasel named Buck.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comIce age. 4, Continental drift.

“Scrat’s constant quest for an acorn causes a shift in the ice. Manny, Sid, and Diego end up stranded on an iceberg in the middle of the sea. A group of misfit pirates are determined to stop the trio from ever returning home.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of amazon.comIce age. 5. Collision course.

“Your favourite ICE AGE heroes are back and cooler than ever in this all-new animated adventure that’s mammoth-sized fun for the whole family! Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe, where he accidentally triggers a series of cosmic events that threaten the Ice Age world. Now the entire herd – including Buck, Manny, Ellie, Sid and Diego – must work together on a hilarious journey, filled with nonstop action and colourful new characters, in order to survive the global Scrat-tastrophe!” (Catalogue)

Keep warm and stay safe this winter.

Solstice and Yule: The Grandfathers of Christmas

Everyone knows the story of Christmas, but actually celebrations of this time of year go back thousands of years into the past. Two cultures, the Celts and the Norse each contribute to some of the world’s original festive celebrations at the Christmas time of year.

Two drawings of the Oak king and the Holly king.

The Oak and Holly Kings of the Celts. Image © Anne Stokes 2020.

The Celts celebrated the Midwinter Solstice (and so do the Zuñi and Hopi peoples of America), whereas uniquely the Celts feature the Green King which was even used in the later Medieval Period, despite the greater popularity of Christianity.

It centred around the dawning of the new solstice, when the sun would return from the darkness during Winter and the use of two figures namely the Holly King and the Oak King. These two deities would battle one another, triumphing for six months of the year to rule over the seasons until the next fight (in which the victorious king would then reign). This would be celebrated at Midwinter (and Midsummer) when the respective king for the season was at the peak of their powers and thus claim victory over the other.

The Druids of Britain would use holly as a sacred symbol of life during the dark Winters, and offered it as a blessing (BBC, 2006).

Image of the Norse God Odin riding Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt

The God Odin and Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt.

The Norse would celebrate the Wild Hunt, where the God Odin (or the All-Father) would hunt down trolls and other creatures as he gave gifts to children across settlements during Mid-Winter.

The winters in Northern Europe were dark and foreboding, and so it lent itself to the idea that Odin and his gang would ride across the winds, amid much howling and shrieking of the trolls and other creatures as they were hunted down by the party. Along the way, Odin – similar to and pre-dating Santa Claus – would send little gifts to the children he passed through the villages and towns during the Viking Age.

Odin could be seen riding on the winds, with his horse Sleipnir, the eight-legged child of the God Loki. He was the fastest and strongest horse in the world. Every year when the Midwinter sun came over the lands, it was said to be Odin and his party hunting down trolls and other nasty creatures. On this night in particular, Odin would leave gifts out for the children, and they in turn would leave a small parcel of food for Odin and of course a carrot or bits of hay for the horse Sleipnir.


If you’re browsing the shelves at your library for books on the Celts and the Norse, you can use the Dewey Decimal system to help you find the right book. Dewey Decimal numbers are magical numbers that help us organise which books go where. Here are some useful numbers for this topic:

And here are some of our favourite books in the collection about the Celts and the Norse:

Celts / Newland, Sonya
“Who were the Celts and who were their leaders? Why did they come to the British Isles and how did they live? Explore this ancient civilisation to understand how prehistoric people have influenced the way we live today. Discover the artefacts that give evidence of their way of life, and how historians have pieced together the evidence of their lives. Learn about the homes and communities that they lived in, the food that they ate, how they travelled and worshipped, and the influence of the Romans on their society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Myths and civilization of the Celts / Martell, Hazel
Myths and Civilization of the Celts focuses on life during the Iron Age period when the Celts dominated much of Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire. The book looks at their way of life, their arts and crafts, trade and transport, religion, food and entertainment. It also includes a map of the Celtic tribes of Europe. Using double-page spreads, Celtic myths are retold & followed by historical & cultural background material.” (Catalogue)

Norse myths and legends / Ganeri, Anita
“The world’s myths are filled with characters, creatures, and stories that have fascinated people for thousands of years. This series mixes dramatic retellings and non-fiction information to give a full picture of a culture’s myths.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated Norse myths / Frith, Alex
“A brand-new collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, the battles of Thor the thunder god, and the tale of Sigurd the Dragonslayer and the curs A collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, and the battles of Thor the thunder god.” (Catalogue)

Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival 2019

Winter has arrived in Wellington, and the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival is back again, in it’s forth year,  during the week of the 14th to the 22nd of June, and there’s heaps of exciting events happening in the Capital!
image courtesy of https://www.loemis.nz/What is the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival?: For seven days, the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival  observes the longest nights of the year with a hearty mix of feasting, theatre, music, monstrous creatures and a fiery waterfront procession, based around the winter solstice, which falls on 22 June.

For more information on what events are on, check out the Lōemis website and Facebook page.

 

In the mean time, why not get into the “festival” season with:

 


image courtesy of syndeticsFestival folk : an atlas of carnival customs and costumes.

A beautifully illustrated compedium of weird and wonderful festival costumes around the world. All around the world there are festivals that reach back through the sands of time to the very roots of civilisation; to agrarian rites and pagan traditions. The festivals in this book are often little known outside their locale and they are all characterised by the most radical and bizarre costumes imaginable. The Kukeri in Bulgaria wear enormous headpieces made of goatskin. Burryman festival in Edinburgh features a man covered from head to toe with burrs and thorns. Paraders in Switzerland’s Silvesterklausen wear vast wood- en doll-masks and hats carved with peasant scenes. Each costume is brought to life in Rob Flower’s joyous, surrealist, urban illustra- tions. Brief, engaging texts describe the festival, its history and the traditions that surround it.

 


image courtesy of syndeticsFestivals and celebrations.

Take a trip around the world, looking at the many different ways that people celebrate special days, holidays, religious festivals and traditional celebrations. Comparing Countries is a ground breaking non-fiction dual-language series which compares and contrasts ways of life in different countries around the world. Presented in two different languages, each title explores a topic common to all children, from homes to festivals, highlighting what makes us different and what we all have in common. This series provides great support to geography learning, as well as helping young language learners improve their reading skills.

 


image courtesy of syndeticsFestivals around the world.

Learn about the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world.

 

 

 

 


Learn more about what happens in winter, as well the other seasons, why not head on down to your local library and grab some books about seasons, such as:

 

image courtesy of syndeticsSeasons.

Finding out about the four seasons has never been so engaging. This book is full of exciting experiments, fun puzzles, quirky humour and science facts to make you saw WOW … it’s science with a BOOM!

 

 

 


image courtesy of syndeticsWeather and the seasons.

Introduces weather and the seasons, describing what is a cloud, why rainbows form, and how animals migrate for the winter, and includes four weather-related science projects.

 

 

 


image courtesy of syndeticsWeather and seasons : questions & answers.

Have you ever wondered why we have seasons, where the wind comes from or how we predict the weather? Read this book to find out about weather and how our planet changes throughout the year.

 

 

 


image courtesy of sydneticsA stroll through the seasons.

Follow the wonderful changes that each season brings! From bright spring blossoms to dazzling summer sunshine, vibrant autumn leaves, and sparkling winter snow. Look and Wonder is a fresh, bold, and bright narrative nonfiction series introducing children to the natural world

 

 

 


Also, why not join in on “the Lōemis workshop fun”,  in the comfort of your own home… or library by creating your masterpieces, with some help from the following books:

 

image courtesy of syndeticsEasy origami decorations : an augmented reality crafting experience.

Handcrafted decorations are just a few folds away! Learn how to turn origami butterflies, swans, and tulips into locker magnets, table decorations, and more.

 

 

 


Now make this : 24 DIY projects by designers for kids.

25 of the world’s leading designers contribute one object each for kids to make themselves.

 

 

 


image courtesy of syndetics51 things to make with paper plates.

51 things to make with paper plates is perfect for those with a creative, crafty streak eager to put their skills to task on recyclable materials in the home. Perfect activities for parent and child to create together. The 51 projects feature a well-balanced mix of techniques, materials, colours and styles for a range of ages. With the easy-to-follow guidance in this book, you can make: a dragon, a hot-air balloon, a lion mask, a snowman and a barking dog hand puppet.

 

 


image courtesy of syndeticsMasks.

Making masks is easy with these creative projects which are explained with illustrated step-by-step instructions. I love Craft Masks features instructions for making fantastic masks. You could be a fairy, a pirate, a dragon or a cat. You could even make crazy glasses or a carnival mask!

 

 

 


image courtesy of syndeticsAmazing masks to make yourself : 25 projects for funny and frightening faces to wear!

From papier-mache to everyday objects like leaves or even a kitchen sieve, Masks can be made for all sorts of uses, such as going to a costume party, for a school drama production or even just to hang as decorations on a wall.

Top 10 recommended children’s Halloween movies for 2018

Hey kids! Halloween is just around the corner and Wellington City Libraries has some spooktacular DVDs in the collection for your viewing pleasure and frightful night in.

Check out this year’s top 10 Halloween movies for kids that is guaranteed to make you scream… sometimes of fear or laughter!

Let the scare fest begin!

Enjoy!… and Happy Halloween.

Goosebumps.

Based on the popular series by R.L. Stine, Goosebumps comes to life on the small screen. After moving to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper discovers that his new friend, Hannah’s mysterious dad is in fact R.L. Stine, the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series and holds a dangerous secret that bridges the gap between fiction and reality.

Also check out the trailer to the sequel: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.

 


Casper.

Join Casper the friendly ghost is a kind young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. When specialist James Harvey (Bill Pullman) arrives to communicate with Casper and his fellow spirits, he brings along his teenage daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci). Casper quickly falls in love with Kat, but their budding relationship is complicated not only by his transparent state, but also by his troublemaking apparition uncles and their mischievous antics.


image courtesy of amazon.comMonsters Inc and Monsters University.

Mike Wazowski and James “Sulley”  P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

In Monsters Inc, Lovable Sulley and Mike Wazowski are the top scare team at MONSTERS, INC., the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. When a little girl named Boo wanders into their world, monsters are scared silly, and it’s up to Sulley and Mike to get her back home. But Boo’s presence is more than just a mere accident. Now, Mike and Sulley have to face an enemy within their own ranks. Overall a heart-warming movie where guaranteed to scare and make you laugh.


Frankenweenie.

What if you could bring your pets back to life? Young Victor successfully proves that theory when he revives his best friend back to life. However problems emerge when his class mates want follow suit in bringing their pets to life and ensues disastrous consequences. Overall a heart-warming and hilarious tale about how far a boy will go for his best friend. A must see movie for Halloween.


The Boxtrolls.

A community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they’ve built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. The town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher, comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls, so Eggs decides to venture above ground, ‘into the light,’ where he meets and teams up with feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save Eggs’ family.


Coraline.

A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.


Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2, and 3.

The Hotel Transylvania, run by Dracula, is a unique, high-end resort catering only to the finest monsters and their families. Check out The Hotel Transylvania trilogy and watch all three films back to back starting with the original film, where Dracula is preparing for an extra special weekend – his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday – when trouble arises: a human has stumbled upon the resort for the first time ever! Even worse: the human has taken a liking to Mavis!  In the sequel, everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania. Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. In third film, A monster vacation, The monster family embarks on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monster kind.


image courtesy of amazon.comHarry Potter and the philosopher’s stone… and the chamber of secrets.

An oldie but a goodie, watch Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone and relive the magic where Harry learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own, becoming a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards and having to battle some “enemies” along the way. In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry finds the second year more challenging with flying cars, trees fighting back, duelling clubs  and a fifty year old secret that threatens to destroy Hogwarts.


The Witches.

Nine-year-old Luke finds that saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy who has been turned into a mouse.


image courtesy of amazon.comMonster Island.

When teenager Lucas (voice of Phillip Vasquez) discovers that he is not human as he always thought, his world is turned upside down as he must adapt to being a monster. Not only is Lucas troubled by the fact that his first transformation occurred at school but also that his father had kept him in the dark about his true nature. His frustrations lead Lucas to leave home in pursuit of the fabled Monster Island with the hope of learning the truth about his heritage. His journey brings him into contact with several weird and wonderful individuals, not all of whom have good intentions.

Ghosts, monsters, and naughty gods: All you need to know about Halloween!

To many of us, Halloween is not much more than an excuse to wear a spooky costume, listen to some scary stories and maybe carve up a pumpkin, all while hoovering up more lollies than is probably wise. However, to find out more about why people the world over celebrate this holiday, we have to step back in time to visit the ancient Celts, with quick stopovers in 7th-century Rome and 16th-century Germany along the way.

Let’s go for a spooky ride through time.

The brainy people who study such things generally agree that Halloween finds its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sa-win). Samhain was traditionally held on November 1, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “dark half” of the year. Ancient Celts believed that during Samhain the world of the gods became visible to ordinary people, and the gods delighted in frightening and playing tricks on their worshippers. Sometimes they appeared as monsters in the dead of night. Sound familiar?

When the Romans conquered Britain in the 1st century CE, they merged Samhain with their own festival of the dead, Feralia. Now the frightening monsters and delicious treats of the harvest were joined by ghosts and restless spirits. The traditions that make up modern Halloween were starting to take form.

Fastforward to Rome, 7th century CE. Pope Boniface IV brought in All Saints’ Day, originally celebrated on May 13 — within a century, the date was changed to November 1, perhaps in an attempt to replace the pagan Samhain festival with a Christian equivalent. The day before All Saints’ Day was considered holy, or ‘hallowed.’ This is where the word ‘Halloween’ comes from — it is the Hallowed Eve.

Zoom forwards in time again to Germany, 16th century CE. The Protestant Reformation, led by people like Martin Luther and John Calvin, put a stop to the still pagan-influenced Halloween festival in most Protestant countries. However, in Britain and Ireland, the festival remained in place as a secular (non-religious) holiday, and the tradition followed English-speaking settlers to the United States, where it is still a hugely important part of the festive calendar. Many of the traditions introduced in the dark and mysterious woods and cairns of ancient Celtia live on to this day in the form of the modern Halloween festival.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating and era-spanning festival, and the people who celebrated it? Why not check out some of these books at your local library:

Celts by Sonya Newland
“The Celts were fearsome warriors, but they also developed trade routes across Europe and made beautiful jewellery. Find out about Celtic tribes, how Boudicca rebelled against the Romans, and how the Celts celebrated with feasts and festivals.” (Catalogue)


Prehistoric Britain by Alex Frith
“From the age of dinosaurs to the Roman invasion, this book tells the story of this vast and exciting period of British history. It describes when and how people first came to Britain, and includes information on the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Celts and the mysteries of Stonehenge. Full of facts, illustrations, photographs, maps and timelines.” (Catalogue)


Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman
“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)


Traditional celebrations by Ian Rohr
“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 traditional celebrations.” (Catalogue)

Light Stories @ Khandallah Library

This month’s evening event at Khandallah Library is Light Stories! Diwali, Matariki, Guy Fawke’s Day, the Lantern Festival, Halloween, even the LUX Light Festival here in Wellington — many cultures have special festivals that celebrate or feature exciting spectacles of light and colour throughout the year. Join us (in your pyjamas if you like!) for an evening of stories and crafts celebrating festivals of light from around the world. Suitable for children of all ages.

Where? Khandallah Library, 8 Ganges Road, Khandallah
When? Thursday 26th October, 6:30pm

For more information, contact Stephen at Khandallah Library, 479 3575.

Celebratory lights

Many cultures hold special festivals in celebration of light and colour throughout the year.

At Khandallah Library, we host special events for children and their families on the last Thursday of each month at 6:30pm. Keep an eye on the Kids Blog and the library noticeboard to find out more!

Space and Science Festival: Saturday the 9th of May

Every wondered what’s out there when you look at the stars? Want to meet an astronaut? What was New Zealand like before humans arrived? What goes on in the mind of a robot?

You might just find an answer to these and many other fascinating questions if you come along to the Space and Science Festival at Onslow College, Johnsonville on Saturday the 13th of August from 12 noon to 4pm.

The Space and Science Festival is an event run by volunteers made up of scientists, astronomers, astrophotographers, engineers, mathematicians, technologists and many more people who all give up their time to help you gain greater understanding of the World and space around us both near and far.

This year Wellington City Libraries and Hutt City Libraries have got together and will have a room at the Space and Science Festival packed full of exciting things including robotics, stop/go animation, coding and lego construction. There will be lots of hands on stuff to get involved with including Red, our Nao Robot who can do all sorts of amazing things, even understand what you are saying!

The website for the festival is www.spacesciencefestival.org – you’ll need to get a ticket to get in (best to buy before you go) – Child: $10 or a Family Pass: $50.

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rooster

It’s that time of the year again with the Chinese New Year festivities beginning on Saturday 28 January and running through to Wednesday 15 February. This year is the year of the Red Fire Rooster, which represents inner warmth and insight, as well as family ties. Find your year of birth here to discover which of the 12 Zodiac animals you are!

 

 

The Chinese New Year, sometimes called the Spring Festival, has been celebrated for hundreds of years and is considered the most important event on the Chinese calendar. It is also celebrated by many of China’s neighbouring countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines.

 

 

People in China and other countries celebrate this important occasion in all sorts of different ways. However, a couple of very popular traditions include a reunion dinner with family on the eve of the Chinese New Year, and many families do a thorough clean of their homes in order to sweep away bad things and make room for good fortune in the year ahead. Fireworks are also a common way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

 

 

In Wellington, we celebrate the Chinese New Year with a festival day which is free to attend. Sample some special Chinese food, take part in the kids activities, or watch the parade as it proceeds from Courtenay Place to Frank Kitts Park. There might even be some fireworks in the harbour! Check out all the details for the Wellington festival day here.

 

 

Check out our wide collection of Chinese New Year books on the catalogue, and get involved this Chinese New Year!