Let loose your inner pirate with Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy there crew! This Sunday be Talk Like a Pirate Day. This special day comes but once a year on the 19th of September and when it comes around there’s only one thing for you to do: talk like a pirate, of course!

So shiver yer timbers, batten down the hatches, and prepare to prattle properly piratical!

If you need to brush up on yer Pirate-speak, look no further than Mango Languages! Mango Languages contains a veritable A-Y of languages for you to learn. From Arabic to Yiddish, there are over 70 language courses for you to choose from, and one of those languages is Pirate!

The Mango Languages Pirate course will teach you how to talk like the most swashing of bucklers. They give you all sorts of interesting grammar tips and tricks, like this one right here:

Text in image reads: Grammar Note. Make sure to add extra Rs onto lots of words when speaking like a pirate. This will happen a lot at the end of words ending in a vowel, like here where "to" turns to "ter". Just remember, a pirate's favourite letter is ARRR!Each lesson starts with an example sentence in English, and you are shown how to translate it into Pirate. Here’s one of the sentences you can learn:

Screenshot of two sentences. The first sentence in English reads "Great, my friend! You're a fine pirate!" The second sentence in Pirate reads "Arr, me heartie! A fine gentleman o' fortune be ya!"

They’ve even colour-coded the sentence so you can see which part of the sentence in English becomes which part of the sentence in Pirate-talk. You’ll be talking like a pirate in no time!

Just sign in with your library card barcode number and your 4-digit pin, and ye’ll be off and away!


The language options available on a self-check machineIf you’ve visited one of our libraries and issued your books on a self-check machine, you may have already discovered the language options. After you’ve first touched the screen, a whole lot of little circles with flags inside them appear down in the bottom left hand corner. Do you see that skull and crossbones there? One of the languages on our self-check machines is Pirate!

If you haven’t discovered this feature before, then this Sunday is the perfect time to try it out for the first time. It will make issuing your books so much more fun. You’ll be treated to all the classic library self-check phrases, but with that piratical twist.

The options screen on our self-check machines, but in Pirate. The options are "Borrowin' status", "View reserved stuff", "Check out yer books", and "Unlock yer Dvds"

If you’re worried that you won’t be able properly follow the steps to issue your items with the machine spouting another language, don’t fret. Pirate as a language has certain similarities with English, and our machines still have the normal symbols to guide you on your issuing voyage. As always, when you’re finished issuing your books don’t forget to abandon ship!


If you’re feeling sleepy after a hard day of sailing, scrubbing the decks, and speaking in your best pirate voice, then why not relax with a bedtime story! We have Margaret Mahy’s The Great Piratical Rumbustification, expertly read by our own splendid scallywag Stephen, available on our Facebook page. We have quite a few bedtime stories available, so check out our Bedtime Story playlist!

If you’d rather read your own book, then we have a few other pirate-themed reads to recommend.

If you feel like reading a fantastically silly picture book about an unusual babysitter and his two charges, you might enjoy:

Pirate stew / Gaiman, Neil
“Pirate stew! Pirate stew! Pirate stew for me and you! Pirate stew! Pirate stew! Eat it and you won’t be blue. You can be a pirate too!” (Catalogue)

Maybe you’re after a short chapter book about a crew of scurvy pirates who find themselves faced with the most terrifying of creature – a baby!

Nappy the pirate baby / MacDonald, Alan
“Stinky McFlea, Irish Stew, Long Johns, Nitty Nora and Captain Spratt are pirates aboard the Salty Herring. They love nothing more than lazing about on deck and sailing the high seas – until one day, a strange wailing noise changes everything. There’s a stowaway baby on board the ship, and the crew have decided to raise him like a proper pirate. But are they really up to the task of looking after a baby? And where exactly did Nappy come from?” (Catalogue)

This is a dyslexia-friendly book.

If you prefer to read comics and like adventurous and heart-warming stories, check out:

Tell no tales : pirates of the southern seas / Maggs, Sam
“Anne Bonny had it all – her own ship, a pirate crew, and a fearsome reputation – but a new enemy has her on the run and it’ll take all of Anne’s courage to stay afloat. The night before a major heist, Anne has an unsettling dream, and come morning, the robbery is thwarted by Woodes Rogers, a zealot who has sworn to eliminate piracy. With no plan to escape, Anne must persuade her crew to seek the meaning of her dream – or perish. A graphic novel about belonging, belief, and how far we’re willing to go to protect the ones we love.”–Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

If a picture book by a fantastic New Zealand author about an accountant and his (formerly) piratical mother, then look no further than:

The man whose mother was a pirate / Mahy, Margaret
“Sam has an ordinary life – but his mother used to be a pirate! One day at breakfast, they decide to go to sea and an amazing adventure begins.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What’s not to like about a brave girl journeying to the icy Arctic to rescue her sister from a terrifying pirate captain?

The ice sea pirates / Nilsson, Frida
“Captain Whitehead wants children, the smaller the better. They say he has a diamond mine, and to be taken there is the worst thing that can happen to a child. Miki has been kidnapped and nothing will stop Siri from saving her little sister… –Adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

How about a piratical classic?

Treasure Island / Stevenson, Robert Louis
“Join Jim Hawkins as he sails the high seas aboard the Hispaniola in search of lost treasure…”-Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook, and a comic.

 

Learning With LEGO®

Disclaimer: This Kids’ Blog post is aimed mainly at the parents of young children. Kids read on at your peril!

Kia ora!  Further to our recent post for kids about the wonderful world of LEGO®, we thought it might be a good idea to talk to parents about just how much value you can get out of a session of LEGO® play time with your kids.  We all know that LEGO® is lots of fun, super creative and a favourite of all ages, but one of the reasons we hold so many LEGO® sessions in libraries is because we use it as a tool for learning about literacy.  LEGO® is an excellent gateway to developing children’s literacy in a fun, informal way, and opens up a rich world of storytelling, world building, character development and language skills.

Hands picking up LEGO® pieces

We use several techniques to enrich LEGO® play time that you may like to try yourself next time you settle in to build with your kids.  Here are some examples:

20 Questions

As you build, play a game of 20 questions with your children where you each try to guess what the other is building.  Start with things like “Is it an animal?” or “Can I eat it?” and work your way through the characteristics until the item being built is guessed.  Throw in a few silly questions too, just to keep the interest going.

Theme setting

Set a loose theme for kids to build to.  For example “something you’d find in a city.” or “something with wings”.  This gets kids thinking about particular environments or themes and nudges their creativity into new pathways, particularly if your kids like to build the same thing over and over.

A LEGO® city scene

Searching and sharing

We’ve all had that moment where we’re looking for a particular type of LEGO® brick to build our creation, and are sorting through the pile to no avail.  Kids have sharp eyes, they’re excellent at spotting just the right brick.  But it’s also an opportunity to encourage sharing, kids that come to library LEGO® sessions often offer up bricks out of their own pile of LEGO® they are working with, or offer to break down something they’re working on to swap out for the brick another builder needs.  We always make sure to thank a child who shares the LEGO® and often ask them if there is something we can find for them.

It’s also an opportunity to work on colours, shapes and numbers.  Kids looking for a particular brick can count how many studs (the correct name for the bumps on LEGO® bricks) wide and long a piece is, ask them what colour, shape and size the particular brick they need is.  Or you can ask them to find groups of bricks, for example “I need red bricks.” or “Can you find me bricks that are square?”  Sorting and selecting LEGO® bricks develops many skills while also having fun.

Pattern making

When building with LEGO®, use shapes and/or colours to create patterns in your build.  Stripes, spots, indents, small and large – there are many ways you can incorporate patterns in your build, which in turn enriches skills like counting, colour, texture, shape and pattern recognition.

Emotions and expressions

An assortment of Lego minifig heads with different facial expressions

LEGO® minifigs and other bricks come in a large variety of faces and body decorations.  They are excellent in teaching emotions, expressions and facial features.  Ask your child if the character they are building with is a happy or angry character.  Ask them to find a minifig that has glasses, or has blue pants, or a tail.

Story and character building

When your child has built their LEGO® creation, spend some time encouraging them to tell you about what they have built.  Children approach LEGO® building in different ways.  Some like to build elaborate scenes, so you can encourage them to tell you the story of the scene.  Others prefer to build a character, like an animal or person, which you can ask them to describe the character’s personality, tell the story of the character, where they might live or what they might eat.  If your child builds machinery or architecture, ask them about the features of their build.  How does it work?  What is it used for?

There are lots of other ways building with LEGO® encourages learning through play, and it’s a fun way for you to spend time with them.  Kids love to build LEGO® with adults and it often creates a comfortable atmosphere for conversations about other things happening in their lives.  It promotes relaxation and concentration.  Depending on your child’s age and skill levels, you can scale the type of learning to suit and most importantly, have fun!  If you need a little more inspiration, we have lots of books about LEGO®, which you can find here.

Who knows, you might even discover you have some shared interests!

A row of Stormtrooper minifigs face away from the viewer, except the second in the row which is turned to face forward.

(Images in this blog post courtesy of Pixabay)

The A-Z of Alphabet Books

Book Jacket for: ABC yogaBook Jacket for: The Kiwi kid's ABCBook Jacket for: A is for activist

Alphabet books are books that list each letter of the alphabet (most often in order from A to Z) with corresponding pictures or information. Some books will list only the uppercase letters while others will list both the upper and lowercase.

Alphabet books aren’t just for babies! They can often have longer descriptions and detailed information about the topic referenced by each letter. These books are a fun way to explore puzzles, art, facts, alliteration, rhyme, humour, fantasy… you can use the alphabet-style of book for almost any subject!

They’re also a great way to

  1.  help focus on one letter at a time
  2.  learn that many words start with each sound
  3.  easily learn that pictures match the words
  4. learn a new language
  5. solidify your knowledge of objects
  6.  develop confidence with your reading

Wellington City Libraries have loads of alphabet books to suit every age and ability.

Here’s just a small sample to 

A – access!

B – Browse!

C – Contemplate!

Chicka chicka boom boom / Martin, Bill
“An alphabet rhyme/chant that relates what happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree.” (Catalogue)

Animalia / Base, Graeme
“A picture book where familiar animals appear in unfamiliar situations and each page contains a wealth of hidden objects and ideas.” (Catalogue)

Once upon an alphabet / Jeffers, Oliver
“From an Astronaut who’s afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet.” (Catalogue)

The alphabet theatre proudly presents The Z was zapped : a play in twenty-six acts / Van Allsburg, Chris
“Depicts how A was in an avalanche, B was badly bitten, C was cut to ribbons, and the other letters of the alphabet suffered similar mishaps.” (Catalogue)

Z is for Moose / Bingham, Kelly L.
“Moose is eager to play his part in the alphabet book his friend Zebra is putting together. He is very disappointed when his letter isn’t in the book. Will they find a home for his name?” (Catalogue)

A little ABC book / Palmer, Jenny
“A Little ABC Book has poems and pictures for ‘little people’, picked by ‘little people’ Over 26 weeks, littlies in the community voted on a little animal for all 26 letters of the alphabet. Each little letter then got its own original poem and illustration by Jenny Palmer from her business, A Little Ink, until a little book was made! Working together was as easy as ABC (and a little inspiring too!). Find a little flying squirrel, otters, giraffes, penguins and even a little unicorn inside! We have created an alphabet you’ll love!” (Catalogue)

Aotearoa to Zespri : the New Zealand ABC book / Winney, Kelly
“Aotearoa to Zespri is a uniquely Kiwi alphabet book. Experience New Zealand in 26 letters. Recall familiar brands and the sights of your favourite flora, reflects the wildlife and Kiwi way of life.” (Catalogue)

Women artists A to Z / LaBarge, Melanie
“From household names like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, to French-born Australian artist Mirka Mora, to underrepresented creators such as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Xenobia Bailey, this empowering alphabet picture book features a variety of genres – painting, drawing, sculpture, and more. Each lushly illustrated spread summarises the artist’s work in one word, such as ‘D is for Dots’ (Yayoi Kusama) and ‘N is for Nature’ (Maya Lin), and gives the essential information to know about the creator. ” (Catalogue, abridged)

 

New Zealand Sign Language Week 2021

This week is officially New Zealand Sign Language Week! NZSL Week 2021 is being held from 10th – 16th May, and is a wonderful opportunity for the sign language community in Aotearoa to showcase their language — and for people who don’t know NZSL to learn more about it! Check out this video welcoming you to the library in NZSL, to see some of the ways in which NZSL is used in the community:

Events

To help mark the occasion, there are a number of events happening around the country in celebration of New Zealand Sign Language and the NZSL-speaking community — including some in our own backyard! On Friday 14 May, starting at 5.00pm, the Wellington Deaf Society are hosting a special New Zealand Sign Language Evening for the whole community! The event includes nibbles, prizes, giveaways, kids’ face painting, and a whole range of activities for adults and kids, including free NZSL lessons from 5.00pm! This special event is taking place at the Waiora Hub at Alex Moore Park, 17 Bannister Avenue, Johnsonville. Find out more at the Wellington Deaf Society’s website, and get in touch with them if you would like to take part in a free NZSL class with your friends.

Resources

If you can’t make it along to this wonderful community event, Wellington City Libraries has some resources to help get you started in learning NZSL. Why not check out some of the following books and DVDs to get your NZSL journey on the road:

Children’s visual communication dictionary : New Zealand Sign Language – Māori – English = Te reo Rotarota, he papakupu mā te hunga tamariki.
“Translations of New Zealand Sign Language words in English and Māori, with English descriptions of how to sign the words. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.” (Catalogue)

Animals / Chapman, Jenny
“Introduces signs and words for common animals that a baby might meet. Includes tips for teaching your baby to sign.” (Catalogue)

Te rā tuatahi o Hope = Hope’s first day / Chapman, Jenny
“Join Hope on her first day of school and learn everyday phrases in our three languages — Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Kiri and the emergency / Cahill, Margaret
“Uses a picture book format, with a story about a Nana falling from a ladder, to demonstrate pre-schoolers making sensible choices during an emergency situation. Includes notes and activities on safety education and key first aid messages. Accompanied by a supporting DVD which presents The emergency song resource, Te waiata Aituā, New Zealand sign language and a behind the scenes look at how this resource was made.” (Catalogue)

You can also search for New Zealand Sign Language on our catalogue to find more resources to help you learn!

Learn Online

Lastly, there are many places you can go online to learn more about New Zealand Sign Language.

The library has to a special database called Bridget Williams Books – New Zealand Sign Language Collection, that you can access for free with your library card. One of the amazing resources you can find there is Rachel McKee’s New Zealand Sign Language: A Reference Grammar. You might need to get an adult to help you with some of the words, but this book is chocka-block full of lessons, videos, and illustrations to show you how NZSL works. Ka rawe!

Here are some more great online resources you can use:

  • Many Answers has a page on New Zealand Sign Language, which has lots of suggestions for places you can go to learn about its history and practice.
  • Learn about the history of NZSL by reading the article on Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
  • Head to LearnNZSL and watch video tutorials on how to use NZSL in everyday situations! If you don’t finish your lesson, you can always return to it later.
  • The New Zealand Sign Language Dictionary online has thousands of entries teaching you the basic vocabulary of NZSL, with plenty of pictures, videos and examples to help you learn.
  • Sign Ninja is an awesome online game that sneakily teaches you all kinds of things about NZSL, from its history to how it is used today! Plus, it’s super fun to play.

So what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to start learning about this official language of our country!

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Kia ora!  Thursday 11 of February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we love science!  From chemistry to astronomy, biology to geology, and beyond, there is something in science for everyone and on this day we celebrate the amazing roles women have played in science and encourage girls to be active in science.

If you’d like to read about famous women scientists try some of these titles:

Women in science : 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world / Ignotofsky, Rachel

This book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world.  Read about scientists like Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Hypatia, Barbara McClintock and many others. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more.

Ada Lovelace / Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel

As a child, Ada had a big imagination and a talent for mathematics. She grew up in a noble household in England, where she dedicated herself to studying. Her work with the famous inventor, Charles Babbage, on a very early kind of computer made her the world’s first computer programmer.

Jane Goodall / Romero, Libby

“Jane Goodall was a pioneer of primatology through her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees in Africa. When she embarked on her career, women were discouraged from conducting scientific research, especially when that work meant living side by side with wild animals. A self-taught scientist, Jane bravely ventured out into the bush of Tanzania to learn about the secret world of chimpanzees. Discover how, through perseverance and perceptive observation, she gained access to these elusive creatures and discovered that they are not so different from us.” (Catalogue)

Maria Montessori / Muñoz, Isabel
“Maria Montessori developed a brand-new approach to education, building on the way children naturally learn. Now, her methods, which won her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, are practiced worldwide. This fascinating biography shows how Maria defied gender norms by earning a degree in physics and math, became one of Italy’s first women physicians, and revolutionized educational theory–experimenting and refining to discover what worked best.” (Catalogue)

Marie Curie / Demi
“Read about Marie Curie, the revolutionary scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes who discovered two elements: radium and polonium.” (Catalogue)

Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson / Johnson, Katherine G

“As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.” In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.” (Catalogue)

Forgotten women. The scientists / Tsjeng, Zing

“Forgotten Women is a new series of books that uncover the lost herstories of influential women who have refused over hundreds of years to accept the hand they’ve been dealt and, as a result, have formed, shaped and changed the course of our futures. From leaders and scientists to artists and writers, the fascinating stories of these women that time forgot are now celebrated, putting their achievements firmly back on the map. The Scientists celebrates 48* unsung scientific heroines whose hugely important, yet broadly unacknowledged or incorrectly attributed, discoveries have transformed our understanding of the scientific world. From Mary Anning, the amateur paleontologist whose fossil findings changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the Earth’s history to Emmy Noether dubbed “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of” and whose theorem is still critical to modern physics – these are the stories of some truly remarkable women.” (Publisher summary)

And if you’re ready to dabble in a little science yourself, try these out:

Programmers / Gibson, Karen Bush

“Do you like solving problems? Are you dying to automate even the simplest of processes? Do you always need to know how things work? Programming is the process of breaking down complex tasks into a set of instructions. This is what programmers do when they write code that will make your computer do what you tell it to! In Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Programmers with STEM Projects for Kids, readers ages 8 to 11 meet five female programmers who made revolutionary discoveries and inventions that changed the way people used technology!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

First science encyclopedia

Filled with fun science facts about many different subjects, from the human body and animals to facts about space and matter. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outdoor science lab for kids : 52 family-friendly experiments for the yard, garden, playground, and park / Heinecke, Liz Lee

From playground physics to backyard bugs, this book makes it fun and easy to dig into the natural sciences and learn more about the world around you. Have fun learning about:

  • the laws of physics by constructing and using a marshmallow catapult.
  • centripetal forces by swinging a sock filled with gelatin snack and marbles.
  • earthworms by using ground mustard seed dissolved in water to make them wriggle to the surface.
  • germination by sprouting a sapling from a pinecone or tree seed.
  • surface tension and capillary action by growing baking soda stalagmites and stalactites.

The curious kid’s science book : 100+ creative hands-on activities for ages 4-8 / Citro, Asia

What happens if you water plants with juice? Where can you find bacteria in your house? Is slug slime as strong as a glue stick?

In The Curious Kid’s Science Book learn to design your own science investigations to determine the answers! Learn to ask their own scientific questions, discover value in failed experiments, and — most importantly — have a blast with science. The 100+ hands-on activities in the book use household items to playfully teach important science, technology, engineering, and math skills. (Catalogue)

Kitchen science lab for kids : 52 family friendly experiments from around the house / Heinecke, Liz Lee

Conduct physics, chemistry, and biology experiments with tools and ingredients found in any kitchen These 52 labs created by mom and scientist Liz Lee Heinecke introduce fundamental scientific principles in a fun and accessible format.

Have fun:

  • exploring physics marshmallow slingshots serve as a lesson on the transformation of energy and an egg-throwing experiment demonstrates the law of motion.
  • learning about microbiology by growing your own microbe zoo on a homemade petri plate.
  • learning about rocket science by making and launching bottle rockets, using water and a bike pump.

These are just a few titles you can borrow from the library to guide you in exploring science.  Remember, have fun, be curious and ask lots of questions!