Audiobooks and You: Get Reading With Your Ears!

Have you ever been on a looooong car journey and really want to read your book but know that you’ll start to feel ‘icky’ if you look at the page for too long? Ever thought about plugging into an audiobook? You can watch the scenery go by AND escape to your fav fantasy world at the same time!

Duvall Hecht (1930 – 2022), the founder of the audiobook company, Books on Tape thought the same thing – but he was thinking that this new way of ‘reading’ would be good for himself and other adults who had to make long and boring commutes to and from work every day. Although this wasn’t the first time that someone had thought about recording audio versions of books, many of these were abridged. Duvall Hecht wanted to hear new and modern books as well as some classics without any bits cut out (his Books on Tape version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace ran to 45 tapes)!

Fun fact #1

Duvall Hecht was also an Olympic gold medallist in rowing and once was Marine Corps pilot!

“Radio offered little more than bad music and worse news.”

– Duvall Hecht, the founder of Books on Tape

Fun Fact #2

Books on Tape was first launched back in 1975 using the relatively new technology of the audio cassette tape. An audio cassette is a small device that can store music and sounds. To play a tape, a cassette player or cassette recorder is used. Cassettes store the sound on a magnetic tape that is wound around the two reels in the cassette.

royaltyfri kassettband foton | Piqsels

Image: Cassette tape (Piqsels)

Many people were against the idea of having books turned into audiobooks, worried that people would stop reading, but they’ve continued to thrive alongside their paperback cousins.



Audiobooks now come in a variety of formats and are available at Wellington City Libraries:

Audiobooks on CD with accompanying book:

These can be found in the library as part of our children’s collections. Many of these are attached to a physical book so you can read along as you listen… or simply listen!

Some favourites include:

Hairy Maclary treasury : the complete adventures of Hairy Maclary / Dodd, Lynley
“A collection of ten stories featuring the mischief and mayhem of Hairy Maclary.” (Catalogue)
Badjelly the witch : a fairy story / Milligan, Spike
“Rose and Tim encounter Badjelly the witch who can turn children into sausages or chop them into boy-girl soup, but they are rescued by Jim the Giant Eagle.” (Catalogue)
Thomas & friends the railway stories, vol.3
“This audiobook features original adventures about Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends from the Railway Stories by the Reverend W. Awdry.” (Catalogue)


Vox Books:  

These popular picture books are a great intro to audiobooks. No need for a CD player – simply turn on and listen to the story as you turn the pages!

Here’s a couple to whet the appetite:

That’s not a hippopotamus! / MacIver, Juliette
“In That’s Not a Hippopotamus, a class trip to the zoo descends into a chaotic hunt for the missing hippopotamus. Teacher, zookeeper and all the children join the search. The noise and drama reach a pitch, and no one thinks to listen to quiet Liam.” (Catalogue)
From egg to butterfly / Knudsen, Shannon
“Follows the development of a butterfly from the egg its mother lays on a plant to the fully developed insect that flies away.” (Catalogue)
The book tree / Czajak, Paul
“When young Arlo accidentally drops a book on the Mayor’s head, the Mayor decides books are dangerous and destroys all the books in town! But thanks to Arlo’s imagination and perseverance, the Mayor finds that suppressing stories cannot stop them from blossoming more beautifully than ever. This timely allegorical tale will be a useful tool for starting conversations with children about the power of activism and the written word.” (Catalogue)


Audiobooks on CD: 

Many of our most popular kids’ chapter books and series are available on audiobook on CD. These are especially good for picking up an entire series or collection of books by one author.

Popular Audiobook series and collections include:

The world of David Walliams : CD story collection / Walliams, David
“Five screamingly funny stories from number one bestselling children’s author David Walliams, together for the first time in this big, bumper CD boxset, performed by the King of Comedy himself. The Boy in the Dress, Mr. Stink, Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Ratburger.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The bad book : & the very bad book / Griffiths, Andy
“In a very bad wood, there was a very bad house. And in that very bad house, there was a very bad room. And in that very bad room, there was a very bad cupboard. And in that very bad cupboard, there was a very bad shelf. And on that very bad shelf, there was a very bad box. And in that very bad box, there was a very bad book. And this is it!” (Catalogue)
The brilliant world of Tom Gates / Pichon, Liz
“Tom Gates is a master of excuses, expert doodler, comic story writer extraordinaire – and the bane of his grumpy teacher, Mr Fullerman. In his first wacky journal of scribbles and silliness, you’ll find all sorts of comic craziness to make you groan with glee! Will Tom ever manage to get his homework in on time, avoid the rage of his teacher – and impress Amy Porter, who sits next to him? Warning! Do not attempt to read this in public. You will snigger loudly!” (Catalogue)


eAudiobooks:

With the advent of e-books, you can now go one step further and borrow e-books and eAudiobooks onto your device through the Wellington City Library’s eLibrary service. Jump onto either OverDrive or Libby  or BorrowBox, and get reading with your ears!

Some of our more popular eAudiobooks:

Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone / Rowling, J. K
“Strange things always seem to happen when Harry Potter is around. Things that unsettle his guardians, the Dursleys. They strongly disapprove of strangeness. It’s only when a letter arrives, delivered by a shaggy giant of a man called Hagrid, that Harry learns the truth that will transform his entire future: his parents were killed by the evil Lord Voldemort, and he, Harry, is a wizard. Whisked away to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry discovers a world of enchantments, ghosts, Quidditch, and friends who will stand, through everything, by his side…” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The Llama Llama audiobook collection / Dewdney, Anna
This audio collection includes: Llama Llama Misses Mama, Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Nighty-Night, Llama Llama Wakey-Wake, Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom!, Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop! (Catalogue)
Mega Weird! (Weirdo 7)Mega weird! / Do, Anh
“What do you call a dinosaur that stomps on everything? Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! Life for WeirDo is MEGA BUSY! He’s planning on making MEGA bucks from the Street Garage Sale, plus he’s helping Bella write a winning song! It won’t be easy but it will be FUNNY!” (Catalogue)
The Wizards of Once: Never and ForeverNever and forever / Cowell, Cressida
“Warriors and Wizards combine forces against the dreadful power of the Kingwitch, whose searing evil threatens not only the Wildwoods, but all its creatures. Xar and Wish are on the final leg of their journey. First stop – The Mines of Unhappiness. Here, starvation is never far away for the Magical creatures who toil in its horrible depths…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Understanding Ukraine and Russia: A Guide for Kids and their Adults

Wellington is home to thousands of people of Ukrainian and Russian descent, as well as people from Polish, Belarusian, and other Eastern or Central-Eastern European backgrounds. The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia means that people who have moved here from those countries, or who have family there, are probably feeling pretty anxious, scared, or upset right now. And of course, whenever there is conflict happening somewhere in the world, it tends to find its way into our everyday lives — through the news, through TV or internet content, or through our friends or teachers at school talking about it — and it’s completely normal for that to make us feel a bit scared or anxious as well.

A man in Ukrainian cultural dress, including a tall fur cap and an elaborately-knotted brocade, is holding a small child in front of a festival stall which is decorated with sunflowers.

The Ukrainian stall at the Palmerston North Festival of Cultures in 2018. Note the Ukrainian flag in the background, as well as all the sunflowers — the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Image courtesy of Palmerston North City Library, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

One way that we can help ourselves, and others, is by learning as much as we can about the history and culture of those places, and how news gets created and reported. If we learn about that, we can understand more about what’s going on at the moment in Ukraine and Russia — which means we’ll be more aware of, and better able to process, what’s being reported in the media and what our friends, whānau, and the wider community are talking about.

The good news is that the library has a whole heap of resources — books and other things — to help you learn more about Ukraine, Russia, international conflict, and the media more generally. Read on to find out how the library can help you understand what’s going on in the world at the moment.


HINT: Many of the links in this blog go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Kids. This is accessible to all Wellington City Libraries patrons. But to access this wonderful resource, and the others mentioned in this blog, you’ll need to login using your library card number (on the back of your card) and 4 digit pin (last FOUR numbers of the phone number listed on your library account), and the link will take you straight there.


Continue reading

Guy Fawkes: Celebrate a gunpowder plot gone wrong at WCL!

image courtesy of wikipedia.org

This black-and-white drawing of Guy Fawkes was actually created over 200 years after his death by illustrator George Cruikshank! Image: Public Domain

Prepare to blow up… your mind with endless information about a gunpowder plot gone wrong. Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night will arrive once again on November 5th as an annual celebration with bonfires and fireworks in remembrance of the failed plot to kill the British Government and King James VI and I.

Why do we celebrate Guy Fawkes?

Guy Fawkes and a group of men were part of a plot to blow up British Parliament to kill the King of England on the 5th of November. However, the government found out about the plot before the attack could take place. The government arrested Guy Fawkes and his conspirators. Guy Fawkes and the others were convicted of treason. Parliament announced a national day, known as Guy Fawkes Day, to celebrate their survival. The first celebration was held on November 5, 1606. Today, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with feasts, bonfires, and fireworks.

Books about Guy Fawkes

If you’d like to read more about the history and alternative stories about Guy Fawkes, here’s a selection of books at the library:

image courtesy of syndeticsGuy Fawkes.

“Examines the life of Guy Fawkes, his childhood, family life, and the unsuccessful Gunpower Plot where he was arrested and executed with the rest of the plotters. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsGuy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

Read all about the history of Guy Fawkes and the gunpower plot that went horribly wrong. (Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndetics5 November 1605 : the Gunpowder Plot.

“This title explores the Gunpower Plot. It looks at what happened on the day and the background and consequences. It is suitable as a quick-read introduction to the subject and also as a high interest/low reading ability level book.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsRemember that November.

“It’s almost Guy Fawkes Night, and at the school speech competition Andy talks about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The children cheer excitedly, thinking Andy will win the contest. But then, Aroha gets up, wearing a white feather in her hair, and tells the story of another fifth of November – the invasion of Parihaka in 1881” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCorpse talk. Season 2.

“Sequel to the Blue Peter Award shortlisted Corpse Talk Season 1. The latest in the ultimate history lesson as Adam Murphy digs up and interviews an even more unusual and fascinating dead people, and finds out about their extraordinary lives.” (Catalogue)


While we’re in celebration mode, why not read up about celebrations and festivals around the world such as:

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 groundbreaking 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 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 syndeticsLighting our world : a year of celebrations.

“Throughout the year and around the globe, people use light — candles, bonfires, lanterns and fireworks — to celebrate special occasions. This richly illustrated book is an illuminating tour of the world’s brightest and warmest festivities.” (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)

For more information, check out:

Britannica.

BBC.

National Geographic.

Suffrage Day 2021

Suffrage Day  is a special day in New Zealand’s history. Sunday 19 September 2021 is Suffrage Day / White Camellia Day.

image courtesy of sydneticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics   

Why is Suffrage Day celebrated?

On the 19th of September 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. This year marks the 126 anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New Zealand. The white camellia was the symbol of the suffragists.

Did you know? November 28th 1893 was the day New Zealand women voted for first time.

What is Suffrage Day?

Suffrage Day provides an opportunity for people to celebrate New Zealand’s suffrage achievements and look for ways to benefit women.

How do we commemorate this day?

  • Wearing a white camellia. Why? These flowers were worn by people supporting women’s right to vote in New Zealand.
  • Wear a The Suffrage 125 symbolWhy? The symbol draws on historical colours and icons adopted by women’s suffrage petitioners and presents them in a contemporary form. image courtesy of women.govt.nz

Where can I find information about the suffragettes and and Suffrage Day?

image courtesy of syndeticsAmazing women: 101 lives to inspire you.

“Read this story of 101 extraordinary women of our time. Empowering and inspiring accounts of female pioneers include the likes of JK Rowling, Rosalind Franklin, Beyonce Knowles, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel and Serena Williams. A beautiful package that rejoices in the remarkable and crucial contributions women have made to our society.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndetics
Women’s suffrage.

“Find out interesting, little-known facts such as how the suffragists were the first people to ever picket the White House and how the nineteenth amendment granting women the right to vote passed by only one vote when a legislator changed his vote to “yes” after receiving a letter from his mother telling him to “do the right thing.” The unique details, along with the clever interior illustrations, make this series stand out from the competition” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsKate Sheppard.

“When Kate Sheppard was a young lady jauntily exploring the streets of her new home in Christchurch, the world was a different place. Women did not ride bicycles or participate in outdoor activities like sports. And they certainly were not allowed to vote. But Kate wanted to do more, and she knew that women deserved the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Her campaign would become the battle of a lifetime. Includes an end section of facts about women’s rights around the world.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsEliza and the white camellia : a story of suffrage in New Zealand.

“New Zealand suffragist Eliza Wallis was a first-wave feminist who actively sought the Vote for Women. She was a founding member of the National Council of Women in 1896. Her story is told by her fourth great niece in this bilingual children’s picture book, a Suffrage 125 project.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsRebel Voices.

“A beautifully illustrated celebration of the brave campaigners who fought for women’s right to vote. Tracing its history from New Zealand at the end of the 19th century, follow this empowering movement as it spread from Oceania to Europe and the Americas, then Africa and Asia up to the present day. Meet the women who rioted, rallied and refused to give up.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsSuffragettes and the fight for the vote.

“This book takes up the story in the mid 19th century, when the first petition was presented to Parliament, and traces the fight for the vote through the work of suffrage organisations and the suffragettes. From peaceful demonstrations to violent campaigns and prison hunger strikes, the story is brought to life through fascinating historical photos and artefacts” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsBe counted! : the diary of Amy Phelps, Dunedin, 1893.

“Thirteen year old Amy goes to live with her aunt and uncle in Dunedin to continue her education. At Otago Girls’ High she pursues her dream of becoming an artist like her hero, Frances Hodgkins. Meanwhile, all Aunt Delia can talk about is the campaign to get women the vote. But Amy soon finds some girls who need more urgent help. Her efforts to find her wayward friend Mary lead her to discover a dark side lurking behind Dunedin’s stately buildings. Includes historical photographs. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsWinning the vote for women.

“Imagine you were there campaigning for women’s right to vote. […] Meet the women, and the men, from every continent who fought both for and against the suffrage movement, and those that are continuing the fight today. From New Zealand in 1894 to Saudi Arabia in 2014, readers will discover the global petitions, the campaigns, the peaceful protests and marches, as well as the extreme measures taken by suffragists and suffragettes in their determination to change history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndeticsThe book of heroines : tales of history’s gutsiest gals.

“Everybody needs a role model! Discover true stories of superstars, war heroes, world leaders, gusty gals, and everyday women who changed the world. From Sacagawea to Mother Teresa, Annie Oakley to Malala Yousafzai, these famous women hiked up their pants and petticoats and charged full-speed ahead to prove girls are just as tough as boys…maybe even tougher. Complete with amazing images and a fun design, this is the book that every kid with a goal, hope, or dream will want to own” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsGirls who rocked the world : heroines from Joan of Arc to Mother Teresa.

“Forty-six biographical accounts of strong, independent female role models, all of whom were younger than twenty years of age when they changed the history of the world through amazing accomplishments. Suggested level: intermediate, secondary.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsEmmeline Pankhurst.

Part of the bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, Emmeline Pankhurst  tells the inspiring story of this brave activist who fought for women to achieve their right to vote. (Catalogue).

The Mates That Went to War

Three Australian soldiers - WW1 - PICRYL Public Domain Image

Three Australian soldiers – WW1 – PICRYL Public Domain Image

Over 107 years ago, young men from all over New Zealand and Australia (The ANZACs – Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) left on troop ships from the port of Albany in Western Australia heading for Egypt and then on to Gallipoli in Turkey, to fight in “The Great War,” “the war to end all wars” – World War 1. By the end of this bloody conflict in 1918, 16,000 New Zealand soldiers had died in battle and 41,000 injured. Many of these young men had enlisted in the army thinking that it would be an adventure of a lifetime. Friends and neighbours joined up together excited to be leaving what many saw as a boring life here in New Zealand!

This postcard, sent by New Zealand soldier, Edwin Bennett to his older brother Gifford shows that the adventure of a lifetime wasn’t what Edwin was expecting. Edwin was killed a month later on 16 April 1918. He was 20 years old.

Postcard sent by NZ soldier Edwin Bennett to older brother Gifford, 4 March 1918. Photo courtesy of Sue Jane, Wellington City Libraries

Dear Gif, Just a note to see if I can waken you up a little. I haven’t heard from you now, for some time. What about dropping a line or two. Letters are very acceptable here. How are you keeping? How is work? Well old chap you’re in a great position and a good home to go to and for God’s sake and Mother’s and Father’s sake look after it. I’m sorry I ever stepped across here. But well I did want to come, and I did, now I’ve found my mistake when it’s too late. I could of had another twelve quiet months if my head was firmly turned the right way. But still there is a happy day coming, when we’ll all be home again. Sitting round a nice cosy fire telling some of our experiences. Well old boy I must go. God bless you. Best love from your loving brother Ed. xxxxxx


Sometimes it’s hard to get our head around such big statistics like 16,000 deaths and 41,000 casualties, but when we read about individuals and their war experiences, it can be so much easier to relate to what they went through. Here are a couple World War 1 stories that are written from an individual soldier’s point of view:

Best mates : three lads who went to war together / Werry, Philippa
“The three young soldiers in the story are best friends from school, and they leave New Zealand together to go and fight at Gallipoli. Landing first in Egypt, they travel by ship to Anzac Cove and dig into trenches to fight the Turkish troops holding the peninsula. Conditions are tough and Joe gets sick, but his mates help him off on the hospital ship. Then Harry is fatally wounded and his burial has to take place on the cliff-top, away from the snipers. The three friends are reunited many years later, when two men fly to Gallipoli and lay poppies on Harry’s grave. Taking her inspiration from Anzac Day, the New Zealand story Philippa Werry captures the essence of the Anzac spirit with her moving tale about mateship. The illustrated factual text on pages 30-31 spread provides extra information about the events pictured in the story.” (Catalogue)

Nice day for a war / Slane, Chris
“One man’s war tells the story of a generation. A totally unique graphic novel about NZ soldiers in World War I, based on the diaries of the author’s grandfather. A fictional story (based on fact) of a Kiwi lad as he heads away, full of excitement, to war with his mates from rural New Zealand. there he encounters the horror that was the Western front. It is primarily based on the diary of Matt’s Grandfather, and postcards he had sent home to the family. It also draws on published histories of the Kiwi military in WW1. the book aims to capture what the new experiences of war were like for the young soldiers. A fictional story (based on fact) of a Kiwi lad as he heads away, full of excitement, to war with his mates from rural New Zealand. There he encounters the horror that was the Western front.” (Catalogue)


Online Cenotaph of the Auckland War Memorial

image courtesy of rsa.co.nzIf you want to do some searching for family members who fought for New Zealand in World War I or World War II, the Online Cenotaph of the Auckland War Memorial is a great resource. You can even lay a virtual poppy on the wall of a loved one, or the UNKNOWN WARRIOR


 

 

 

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Well, that was certainly the case during William Shakespeare’s life. This year marks Shakespeare’s, or the Bard of Avon, (assumed) 457th birthday on the 26th of April and 405th death anniversary on the 23rd April.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

And pray tell, who was William Shakespeare?

Well, he was an English poet, playwright and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. People all over the world have come to recognise the image of William Shakespeare and would heard of his plays, but what do we know about the man himself, or even what went on behind the scenes during the performance of his plays, or even who his plays were being performed for?

How dost thou celebrate?image courtesy of gifer

In addition to the traditional birthday party, cake and presents, why not read all about his life, from his early and humble beginnings in Stratford upon Avon, England to conquering the stage in Queen Elizabeth’s court and the Globe Theatre.

image courtesy of syndeticsWilliam Shakespeare : a man for all times.

Who was William Shakespeare? How much do we really know about him, and why is he so famous? This book takes the reader step-by-step through Shakespeare’s life, looking at the evidence.
image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare.

A spectacular and engaging non-fiction Eyewitness guide to one of history’s most iconic writers, William Shakespeare. Did you know special effects were used in Shakespeare’s plays? That devils and ghosts came up through trapdoors in the stage? Find out how in Eyewitness Shakespeare and discover the fascinating life and times of one of the world’s greatest playwrights. Travel back in time and follow Shakespeare from his birth in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon to theatre life in 16th century London. Eyewitness reference books are now more interactive and colourful, with new infographics, statistics, facts and timelines, plus a giant pull-out wall chart, you’ll be an expert on Shakespeare in no time. Great for projects or just for fun, learn everything you need to know about Shakespeare.

image courtesy of syndeticsMuch ado about Shakespeare : the life and times of William Shakespeare : a literary picture book.

Take a peek behind the curtain to discover the boy, the youth, the man behind some of the greatest works of literature. The life and times of William Shakespeare are richly imagined in this unique biography told using quotes from the Bard himself.


Also search our catalogue for more biographies about Shakespeare and his remarkable life.


Read Shakespeare’s plays!

Read and relive your favourite Shakespeare plays. Wellington City Libraries holds a huge array of plays which is part of the Orchard book of Shakespeare Stories series written by Andrew Matthews. Plays include A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear.
image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics
Also search our catalogue for more plays from the Orchard book of Shakespeare Stories series. Also, check out:

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare retold.

A beautifully illustrated collection of prose retellings of seven Shakespeare plays will bring the Bard to life for young readers. Not only is this a beautiful keepsake edition, full of gorgeous illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo, but the prose retellings by beloved classic children’s book author E. Nesbit are an excellent tool to introduce children to the complex language of Shakespeare.

A foreword by John Lithgow touches on his own childhood as a Shakespearean actor and the importance of Shakespeare. The book contains extensive support materials, including a biography, a timeline of Shakespeare’s life, and further recommended readings.

image courtesy of syndeticsMr William Shakespeare’s plays.

Seven classic Shakespeare plays presented in an accessible comic strip format. Take your place in the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s day to see seven of his best-loved plays in performance. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest are all brought vividly to life in Marcia Williams’ gloriously accessible comic-strip versions, which include the bard’s own dialogue and the rowdy remarks of the audience.

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare stories II.

By skillfully weaving his own prose with Shakespeare’s language, Leon Garfield has refashioned nine of the Elizabethan playwright’s dramas into stories, capturing all the richness of the characters, plot, mood, and setting. This format will delight both those who know the great dramatist’s works and those who are new to them. Plays included are: Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Cymbeline, King Richard the Third, The Comedy of Errors, and The Winter’s Tale.

image courtesy of syndeticsA stage full of Shakespeare stories.

Step on to a stage full of stories with this beautiful anthology of 12 stories from Shakespeare, rewritten to be accessible to children ages 7+. A section at the back gives details about Shakespeare’s life and further information about the plays. Each story is rewritten in a comprehensive way that is accessible for children and stunningly illustrated by collage artist Alice Lindstrom.

Recite some poetry!

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare edited by Marguerite Tassi.

A collection of thirty-one of playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s most famous verses, sonnets and speeches.

He was the world’s greatest playwright, and the English language’s finest writer, Shakespeare is the man the Oxford English dictionary credits as having invented over 1700 common words, and to whom we owe expressions such as ‘fair play’, ‘break the ice’, and ‘laughing stock’. The continued timelessness and genius of his work will be celebrated the world over on his special day.

Have some fun with William Shakespeare!

image courtesy of syndeticsPop-up Shakespeare.

“Discover beloved playwright William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry in this spectacular novelty book from the Reduced Shakespeare Company comedy troupe. Featuring dramatic pop-ups and foldouts and loaded with jokes and fascinating facts, this hilariously informative and fully immersive look into the Bard’s world invites you to experience Shakespeare’s works as you’ve never seen them before!” — Back cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere’s Will? : find Shakespeare hidden in his plays.

Each play in this book begins with a summary of the plot and descriptions of the characters. On the following page is a detailed picture showing the setting of the play and within it you can find the characters, William Shakespeare , and a spotted pig.

Watch movies inspired by Shakespeare’s plays:

image courtesy of amazon.co.ukThe Lion King… and The Lion King inspired by Hamlet.

You can never go wrong with an oldie but a goodie.

Tricked into thinking he caused his father’s death, Simba, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King. However when the fate of his kingdom is threatened, he is forced to return and take his place as King.

image courtesy of sydneticsGnomeo & Juliet… inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness?

Also check out the sequel, Sherlock Gnomes.image courtesy of syndetics

Garden gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet, recruit renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments.

Where to find more information?

Wahine Disaster – 53 Years Later

Wahine sinking in Wellington Harbour

Wahine sinking in Wellington Harbour. Dominion Post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1968/1647/14-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22327912

On the morning of 10 April 1968 one of New Zealand’s worst recorded storms hit Wellington. This storm produced freak winds of up to 230 km per hour around Cook Strait. The Christchurch–Wellington ferry Wahine was driven onto Barrett Reef, at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

When the ship hit the reef, one of its propellors was knocked off and an engine was damaged. The Wahine could no longer be steered properly so it drifted into the harbour before leaning to starboard (nautical term for the right side of a ship). Because of the heavy list (another nautical term for a ship leaning dangerously in the water), only four of the eight lifeboats could be launched, and most of the inflatable life rafts flipped in the savage seas.

The Wahine finally capsized at 2.30 p.m. Most deaths occurred on the Eastbourne side of the harbour, where people were driven against sharp rocks by the waves. Of the 734 passengers and crew, 51 died that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck.

It remains one of New Zealand’s worst maritime disasters, after the wreck of SS Penguin in 1905.


Want to know more?

Wellington City Libraries Heritage pages have got loads of info, photos and footage from that fateful day: https://wcl.govt.nz/heritage/wahine

Other useful sites are:

Many Answers

Museums Wellington

Christchurch City Libraries


Want to read all about it?

No safe harbour / Hill, David
“Stuart and his twin sister Sandra are coming home to Wellington on the ferry. Stuart knows he’ll enjoy the trip – he’s a good sailor. But it’s April 1968 and the ship is the Wahine. As the tragic events unwind Stuart and Sandra must battle to stay alive. A vivid and compelling picture of the Wahine’s last hours.” (Catalogue)

 

Continue reading

Asterix the Historian

Book Jacket for: Asterix the GaulBook Jacket for: Asterix and the Roman agentBook Jacket for: Asterix and the big fightBook Jacket for: Asterix and the cauldron

Who doesn’t love a good Asterix comic? Originally written and illustrated by Goscinny and Uderzo, there’s loads of them to love too – over 30! But did you know that reading Asterix comics is a great way to learn about all that ancient history that you thought was boring (go on, admit it!)? And you can still manage a good laugh while you learn! Remember though, that these books were written a long time ago and do contain some outdated views and understandings of the ancient world and its people. Despite their historical settings, the Asterix comics are still fictional tales – so take any historical lessons with a grain of salt!

In 51 BC the Roman emperor Julius Caesar and his troops successfully conquered a huge area of modern Europe know as Gaul. Gaul is now known as France, but also extended out to Germany, Luxemburg, Belgium, Switzerland, and even some of Italy. The Roman Empire was the largest and most powerful in the world at that time, and the empire grew year by year by invading and conquering other countries – often with bloody battles. The Romans were known for their skill at warfare.

The world of Asterix explores the question: What if one village in Gaul kept its freedom and never gave in to the Roman army? That’s the village Asterix and his friends live in and constantly defend. But how can this one village successfully fight off the might of the Roman empire? Well…they have a druid, Getafix, who makes a magic potion that gives the drinker super strength for a short time. The Roman army, as good as they are, can’t compete against such strength. So although we’re talking history, this bit is very much fiction!

Each Asterix volume is a new adventure, told with a healthy dose of every kind of comedy you can imagine. There’s plenty of puns, word play and historical references. There are two types of stories in the series. In the first type, the main character, Asterix and his best buddy since childhood, Obelix, wind up on the road visiting another country. The entire book is then centred on what they find there. The book has loads of references to that country and its people. The other half of the stories are set in the village itself, usually as they defend themselves from Caesar’s latest scheme to conquer them!

five, assorted-color square tiles graphics, postit, memos, notes, colorful, post it, list, paper, embassy, color, sticky note, info, communication, lesson, note, pinning, adhesive Note, note Pad, sticky, reminder, business, white background, cut out, multi colored, yellow, green color, group of objects, blue, group, shape, studio shot, office, copy space, no people, indoors, purple, blank, message, 1080PSticky note FYI

A lot of links in this blog go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica for kids. This is accessible to all Wellington City Libraries users. But to access this wonderful resource, you’ll need to login using your library card number (on the back of your card) and 4 digit pin (last FOUR numbers of the phone number listed on your library account), and the link will take you straight there.


So let’s jump straight in and explore just a few of these wonderful comics. I think you’ll agree that this is a pretty groovy way to learn a thing or two about the Roman empire and life in ancient Europe and beyond…

Asterix and Cleopatra: Album 6 - The Rocketship BookshopAsterix and Cleopatra / Goscinny
“To impress Julius Caesar and to convince him that Egypt is still a great nation, Queen Cleopatra promises to build the Roman Emperor a magnificent palace in just three months. Of course, Asterix has to get involved. By the time his feisty group from Gaul have finished, they’ve outwitted the Roman army, too.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Asterix and the Goths / Goscinny
“Getafix has been kidnapped, this time by a raiding band of Goths. So it’s onward and into Germania for Asterix and Getafix. But in the process of saving their druid, the two Gauls set off a whole series of tribal wars.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Asterix the gladiator / Goscinny
“The Romans have captured Cacofonix as a gift for Caesar and the Emperor plans to throw him to the lions. There’s only one way for Asterix and Obelix to rescue their bard: they have to become gladiators themselves.” (Catalogue)


Asterix in Britain / Goscinny
“The Romans have invaded Britain, but one village still holds out. Asterix and Obelix come to help, with a barrel of magic potion in hand. But to deliver the precious brew, the Gaulish heroes must face fog, rain, bad food, warm beer, and the Romans, too.” (Catalogue)

Asterix and the Normans : Goscinny and Uderzo present an Asterix adventure / Goscinny
A Norman invasion of the Gaulish village! But only trendy teenager Justforkix, visiting from Lutetia, fears them, for the Gauls have their magic potion. But the Normans themselves want to learn the meaning of fear: can Asterix and his friends teach them? Another secret weapon is brought into play…and at long last the bard Cacofonix wins the appreciation due to him.

Asterix at the Olympic games / Goscinny
“The athletes of the ancient world assemble in Athens for the Olympic Games. Asterix and the Gauls enter too, but they’re due for a setback. As an artificial stimulant, magic potion is banned. Can our friends win at the Games without it? And what’s the special ingredient of the other potion, the one in the cauldron in the shed with the door that doesn’t close properly?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

More Books from the ‘Little People Big Dreams’ Series

Little People Big Dreamswritten by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, is a collection of biographies with simple text and eye catching illustrations, about famous people, (mainly women), who pursued a dream no matter how impossible it seemed and who truly made a difference. Wellington City Libraries has various books by Sanchez in the collection and continues to grow with the edition of five new books from the series.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPrince.

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Prince, one of the most iconic performers in music history. From a young age, Prince was obsessed with music. Even though he couldn’t read it, his talent – whether on piano, drums, guitar or vocals – turned him into an icon. Combining funk, disco, soul and almost every other genre out there, his songs are some of the best-loved all around the world. Prince knew that he didn’t have to be like anyone else to be a star – and there was no one quite like Prince. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the music legend’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsJohn Lennon.

“From the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of John Lennon, the boy from Liverpool who dreamed of peace. When John Lennon formed a band while still in school, he couldn’t have known they were about to change music forever. With their exciting new sounds, rebel attitudes and gift for songwriting, everyone went crazy for The Beatles. Today, John is remembered not just as a musical icon, but as a champion of world peace. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the legendary Beatle’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCharles Darwin.

“From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Charles Darwin, the scientist who changed the way people see the world. Although he didn’t do very well at school, Charles Darwin was passionately curious about wildlife, humans and plants. After a journey to South America, he developed his landmark theory: that all living things are related. Today, he is regarded as one of the most brilliant scientists who ever lived, and a hero to those who dare to think differently. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the iconic naturalist’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStevie Wonder.

“Discover the life of Stevie Wonder, the genius behind some of the world’s best-loved songs. At just 8 years old, it was clear that Steveland Judkins was going to be a star. Renamed Stevie Wonder for his astonishing talent on the piano and other instruments, he wrote and performed some of the biggest hits of the 1970s. Stevie became known for his inventiveness, his soulful voice and the social commentary in his lyrics. He is a UN Messenger of Peace and remains one of the music world’s most iconic figures. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the great musician’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMegan Rapinoe.

“Discover the life of Megan Rapinoe, the world record-breaking footballer and activist. Chasing a ball in the school playground, Megan discovered her calling at a young age. Even if she didn’t always fit in at school, she was a star on the field- and her teammates thought so too. Her passion, skill and leadership took Team USA to Olympic Gold and a World Cup victory, while she continues to champion women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and representation in sport.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCaptain Tom Moore.

“Discover the life of Captain Tom Moore, the veteran who raised over £30 million for the UK’s National Health Service during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” (Catalogue)


Coming soon:

We have more books coming soon to the library, but you can place a reserve to ensure you receive it when it arrives:

image courtesy of syndeticsEvonne Goolagong.

“Be amazed by one of Australia’s most inspiring tennis players- Evonne Goolagong – who overcame adversity and went on to win 13 majors, 84 singles, 50 doubles and 5 mixed doubles titles throughout her illustrious career.” (Catalogue)
image courtesy of syndeticsMary Anning.

“Discover the life of Mary Anning, the first palaeontologist and daring fossil hunter.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMalala Yousafzai.

“When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHans Christian Andersen.

“When Hans Christian Andersen was a little boy, he treated storybooks as jewels to be treasured. He wanted to perform on stage, but was always cast as the troll. Luckily, through theatre, he found a love for writing. He wrote about both the ordinary and fantastic, never talking down to children.” (Catalogue)
Search our catalogue for more books from the Little People Big Dreams series!

Sea shanties are trending… but what are they?

Image result for whalers clipartSocial media has been awash the last few weeks with the singing and playing of these earwormy (is that even a word?) songs called sea shanties.

 Melodies like The Wellerman and Drunken Sailor have been popping up in videos everywhere. And the trend all began with a postman named Nathan Evans, who started singing the songs in his bedroom in Scotland and posting them to TikTok.

Musicians all over the world have been jumping on board and adding their own parts to Evans’ vocals – even Andrew Lloyd Webber,  turned Evans’ rendition of The Wellerman into a duet with a piano accompaniment.

What is a sea shanty?

Sea shanties are a type of folk song historically sung by fisherman, whalers and merchant sailors to accompany the work they needed to do on board a sailing ship. The theme music to the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants is a great example of a sea shanty, which often uses the ‘call-and-response’, style in the song!

They’re believed to be around 600 years old, and the name itself is thought to derive from the French verb ‘chanter’, meaning ‘to sing’. They often used similar tunes to old Irish and Scottish folk songs and would typically have been sung a cappella – without instrumental accompaniment – across a crowded deck. Such songs were designed to match the rhythm of common jobs aboard a ship such as pulling rigs or mopping the decks; they synchronized the sailors and made their work more bearable / enjoyable.

A deep dive into The Wellerman and its link to NZ’s whaling history

The sea shanty which started this craze – Soon May the Wellerman Come – is thought to have originated in New Zealand and sung on whaling boats in the mid-19th century. The “Wellerman” refers to a supply ship (owned by the Weller Company) which brought supplies such as tea, sugar and rum to the men on the whaling boats. The lyrics describe a whale hunt. The whalers have harpooned the whale but can’t get it on board.

Whalers and sealers were among the first Europeans to arrive in New Zealand. The first shore based whaling stations were established in southern New Zealand in the late 1820s.

May be an image of tree and outdoors

Whale pots near the visitor centre on Kāpiti Island. Image: Courtesy Sue Jane

In 1839, the peak year for New Zealand whaling, approximately 200 whaleships were working in New Zealand waters. Kororareka in the Bay of Islands was the biggest whaling port in the southern hemisphere, with 740 ships visiting the port in 1840. The Kāpiti region had six whaling stations dotted around the area. Even Kāpiti Island  had a whaling station on it, as Southern Right Whales would use the channel between the Island and the Kāpiti Coast as they migrated north from Antarctica. Old whale pots used to boil the whale blubber to get the valuable whale oil, are still sitting on the island today.

 

 

Continue reading