Books Alive! Storytimes and Panel Discussions at the National Library

Tomorrow, on Wednesday 11 August, the winners of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced, in a glitzy evening ceremony at the National Library of New Zealand. The top authors, illustrators and translators in the land are descending on Wellington in order to attend — so we have nabbed many of them to run a series of amazing events for school students called Books Alive. You may have seen some of the Books Alive events run virtually by LIANZA over the last few weeks — they’ve included storytimes, workshops, talks, Q&As, and more. Well, this is the real-life version of that!

Normally, only schools who have registered are able to attend Books Alive, but to allow more people to celebrate the wonderful literary creators that Aotearoa has produced, we’re opening up some of the events to members of the public to attend. So, whether you’re an adult, a teen, or a child, feel free to rock on up to any of the following events and get up-close and personal with some of this country’s most amazing authors and illustrators. All of the events are at the National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon:

Books Alive Panel Discussion: Picture Books

Time: 9.45 – 10.35am

LocationTaiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

Join us for this exciting panel featuring authors and illustrators who have been shortlisted for the prestigious Picture Book Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are Laura Shallcrass (Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment), Kate Parker (Kōwhai and the Giants), Chris Gurney and Lael Chisholm (The Hug Blanket) and Philippa Werry and Kieran Rynhart (This is Where I Stand).

Storytime and Author Talk with Amy Haarhoff

Time: 10.45 – 11.10am

Location: He Matapihi Library

Join talented illustrator Amy Haarhoff for this special storytime featuring her book, The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi (written by Clare Scott), as well as the opportunity to ask her questions about her life as an illustrator and her experience of working on this remarkable book. Amy is shortlisted in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in the category of Best First Book.

Books Alive Panel Discussion: Fiction

Time: 10.45 – 11.35am

Location: Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

This wonderful panel discussion features authors who have been shortlisted for either the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction or the Young Adult Fiction Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are T. K. Roxborogh (Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea), Des Hunt (Red Edge) and N. K. Ashworth (Draw Me a Hero).

Storytime and Author Talk with Kimberly Andrews

Time: 11.15 – 11.40am

Location: He Matapihi Library

Don your duffel coats and polish your magnifying glasses as we join author and illustrator Kimberly Andrews for this special reading of her book Hound the Detective. Kimberly is shortlisted for the Picture Book Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Books Alive Panel Discussion: Non-Fiction

Time: 12.30 – 1.20pm

Location: Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

The final panel we’re opening up to the public for the day features the authors and illustrators who have been shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are Alexandra Tylee and Giselle Clarkson (Egg and Spoon), Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh (Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem), Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic (New Zealand Disasters), Sandra Morris (North and South) and Tom E. Moffatt (You’re Joking: Become an Expert Joke-Teller).

Finalists, finally!

It’s always tough waiting for this one every year. Luckily you can munch on FREE Hell Pizza while you wait.

But.. the wait is over! Today the finalists for the NZ Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards have been announced. These are the best books written or illustrated by New Zealanders in the last year:


Picture Book:

Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter, written by Heather Haylock and illustrated by Lael Chisholm





I am Jellyfish, written and illustrated by Ruth Paul






That’s Not the Monster We Ordered, written by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones, and illustrated by Richard Fairgray





The Gift Horse, written by Sophie Siers and illustrated by Katharine White





The Longest Breakfast, written by Jenny Bornholdt and illustrated by Sarah Wilkins






Junior Fiction:

How Not to Stop a Kidnap Plot, written by Suzanne Main






How to Bee, written by Bren MacDibble






Lyla: Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones, written by Fleur Beale (Also available as an eBook)





Dawn Raid, written by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith






The Thunderbolt Pony, written by Stacy Gregg (Also available as a Digital Audiobook)







Junior Non-Fiction:

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story, written by Gavin Bishop






Explore! Aotearoa, written by Bronwen Wall and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews





New Zealand’s Great White Sharks, written by Alison Balance






Sky High: Jean Batten’s Incredible Flying Adventures, written by David Hill and illustrated by Phoebe Morris





The New Zealand Wars, Written by Philippa Werry








Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands, illustrated by Marco Ivančić





Bobby, the Littlest War Hero, illustrated by Jenny Cooper






Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts, illustrated and written by Craig Phillips (also available as a eBook)





I am Jellyfish, written and illustrated by Ruth Paul







Te Reo Māori:

Tu Meke Tūī! Written by Malcolm Clarke, translated by Evelyn Tobin and illustrated by Hayley King (Also available in English)





Hineahuone, written and illustrated by Xoë Hall and translated by Sian Montgomery-Neutze

Te Tamaiti me te Aihe, written and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa and translated by Kiwa Hammond



Check out the YA (and other) categories.


The winners will be announced on August 8th. Stay tuned…

5 New Non Fiction to read during the school holidays!

We are into week two of the school holidays and the library has more new non fiction in the collection. Check out the new books featured in this post about learning how to code (for girls), New Zealand and Japanese poetry and wonders that will blow your mind!


Girls who code : learn to code and change the world.

This book introduces the relevance of coding and shares down-to-earth explanations about coding principles and real-life stories of women programmers who work at such places as Pixar and NASA. image courtesy of syndetics






image courtesy of syndeticsAre you an echo? : the lost poetry of Misuzu Kaneko.

In early-1900s Japan, Misuzu Kaneko grew from a precocious bookworm to an instantly-beloved children’s poet, but her life ended prematurely and her work was largely forgotten. Decades later, her poems were rediscovered just in time to touch a new generation devastated by the tsunami of 2011. This volume includes a biography of Kaneko followed by a selection of her poems in both English and the original Japanese.

image courtesy of syndeticsDesign, animate, and create with computer graphics.

Learn how to design, animate and create incredible computer graphics using free software. With easy-to-follow, illustrated step-by-step instructions, create all types of projects, from Pop Art posters and photo cubes to game animations and a 3D city. Inspiration is offered from key artists, from the graffiti art of Banksy to the geometric art of Piet Mondrian. Each of the five chapters focuses on a key area of computer graphics, explaining the concepts and how to use the software, then offering projects that progress in difficulty from simple to “wow”. Instructions are always easy to understand, with possible areas of confusion picked out.

imgae courtesy of synedticsTop 10 of everything 2017.

“History, pop culture, nature, sports, geography, random oddities :With more than 300 pages, this quirky collection of lists includes just about everything you didn’t know you wanted to know. Get ready to learn about the fattest herbivores, canyons much deeper than the Grand Canyon, the hugest creepy crawlers (eek!), a record-breaking hot air balloon ride, and which animals you never want to race … because you will lose”–

image courtesy of syndeticsAnnual 2 : a New Zealand miscellany.

By popular demand, the Annual is back! Jam packed full of an intrepid mix of fiction, comics, poems, essays, art and high jinks for 9 to 13 year olds! All-new content from New Zealand’s best writers and illustrators, commissioned and edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris.


NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Non Fiction Award Finalists!

Check it out, kids! Wellington City Libraries are jam packed full of Non Fiction goodies that have been shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards – Whoohoo! So what are you waiting for, come on down to the library or place a reserve to ensure you get hold of one or all of these amazing books that will widen your knowledge of New Zealand wildlife, creatures and some good old fashioned history.


image courtesy of syendticsFrom Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand.

Prepare to go on a journey where you will get a glimpse of the animals that lived in ancient New Zealand just before people arrived. It then goes back in time, providing snapshots of particular periods, as far back as 180 million years ago. The range of animals covered in this book include: moa and other extraordinary birds that are now extinct; crocodilians and turtles; the shark-toothed dolphin and giant penguins; dinosaurs such as sauropods and theropods; as well as those resilient survivors who can still be found in New Zealand today, such as kiwi, native bats, giant weta and tuatara. Overall I found this beautifully illustrated and a wonderful resource that will intrigue and encourage children to learn something about the origins of New Zealand.


image courtesy of syndeticsJack and Charlie: Boys of the bush.

“The true story of two boys who live on the wild and rugged West Coast of the South Island. Join Jack and Charlie as they go whitebaiting and fishing, panning for gold, chopping wood with their tomahawks, firing at targets with their bows and arrows, plucking ducks, camping in the bush and rafting down rivers”–Publisher information.


image courtesy of sydneticsThe Cuckoo and the Warbler.

This book tells the true story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness. Overall a beautiful, heart warming story that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

The Genius of Bugs.

Discover a world of insects as you have never seen it before. “Inspired by the science exhibition Bug Lab, which was brought to Wellington in December 2016 by Te Papa and Weta Workshop”, The Genius of Bugs presents a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā”–Publisher information. This book is guaranteed to be a favourite.

Torty and the Soldier.

“Meet Torty! She’s one tough little tortoise with a beat-up shell and some missing toes. Torty survived a great war that raged in Europe one hundred years ago. She was rescued back then by a young Kiwi solder. Torty is a true World War One survivor. “–Publisher information. This book is in one word – AWESOME! and is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

6 new New Zealand and fairy tale non fiction just in time for winter.

Operation Nest Egg Chick.

“Deep down in a dark burrow, a father kiwi snorts and snuffles in his sleep. Underneath him , a large creamy egg lies snug and safe from pilfering predators.” Read more in Operation Nest Egg Chick, a creative non-fiction story about a BNZ Operation Nest Egg chick. Each page features beautiful illustrations, photographs and text boxes about how kiwis are being saved. A must have read!


Snow White : 4 beloved tales.

Retells the classic German version of Snow White, together with three similar tales–Marigo of the Forty Dragons from Albania, The unnatural mother and the girl with a star on her forehead from Mozambique, and The magic needle from Turkey



Rapunzel : 3 beloved tales.

Retells the classic German tale of Rapunzel in the tower, along with the similar tales of Clotilde from the Philippines, and Petrosinella from Italy.




Little Red Riding Hood Stories Around the World: 3 Beloved Tales.

Retells the classic German version of the fairy tale of a girl and a wolf, along with similar tales from Italy and Taiwan.




Alices food A-Z : edible adventures.

Written by Alice Zaslavsky – one-time Masterchef contestant and the host of TV quiz show Kitchen Whizz, this book contains information about all the things you ever wanted to know about food… and some things you probably didn’t. Packed to the brim with funny food facts, clever cooking tips and kidfriendly recipes, this is a book for the fact-hungry, food-obsessed or those who like to mess about in the kitchen. A great book to have on hand, especially with winter around the corner.



New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame : 25 Kiwi champions.

This book features information about 25 famous New Zealand sportspeople across a wide range of different sporting disciplines. Includes a caricature, an action photograph, a profile of the person, timeline, inspirational quote, description of the sport, training regime and trophy board. One book you must read!

Fresh New Fiction

Atticus Claw Settles a Score by Jennifer Gray (sequel to Atticus Claw, Breaks the Law)

Atticus Grammatticus Cattypus Claw, the world’s greatest REFORMED cat burglar is back. This time, the tabby with talent is on the right side of the law. And when Jimmy Magpie and his gang are busted out of jail by a mysterious villain and an evil cat called Ginger Biscuit, Atticus knows from bitter experience he’s going to need all his skill and courage to catch them.




A Very Peculiar Plague by Catherine Jinks 

The thrilling second book in this 3-part series, set in a time when science clashes with superstition and monsters lurk in chimneys. Jem takes on the role of bogler’s apprentice and gets the fright of his life.





Osbert The Avenger by Christopher William Hill

Meet Osbert Brinkhoff, the unlikeliest of avengers.  His is a tale of dark delights and ghastly goings-on, of injustice and revenge.  The Villains are VICIOUS.  The settings are SINISTER.  And good does NOT always prevail…  If you prefer CLEAVERS to kittens and FIENDS to fairies…. then welcome to the GRUESOMELY FUNNY tales from Schwartzgarten.; (taken from book cover)





Project Huia by Des Hunt

“Logan’s grandfather grew up near Palmerston North in the 1940s. One day, he and his sister Mavis spotted a beautiful and unusual bird in the kowhai tree outside their house: it was a huia bird, which was believed to be extinct. The bird flew away, and in an attempt to photograph it they managed to track it deep into the Manawatu Gorge. It was a dangerous journey through two train tunnels, made even more so when the horrible Carson boys got wind of their mission and decided to try and find the huia first so they could shoot it and sell its highly valuable feathers. More than 60 years later, 11-year-old Logan has returned to the Manawatu with Grandpop and a scientist to try and solve the mystery of what happened to the huia that he and Mavis found all those years ago. Grandpop must remember all the details of the events of many years ago. Can the group rely on his version of the events, and find the huia’s final resting place? Will the huia still be there, and will its DNA still be valuable for scientific research into NZ’s native fauna? And whoever would have thought that those Carsons are still living in the area and on the loose, and still up to their nasty tricks?”–Publisher information.


The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

Just when twelve-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.




Storylines Festival – this weekend!

Every year in Wellington there is a one day family festival, called Storylines, celebrating everything to do with books, reading, writing, illustration and authors.

This is your chance to not only see all the latest and coolest books, but also to meet authors and illustrators, play fun games, make craft, get freebies and have heaps of fun! There are even competitions you can enter on the day!

Storylines is at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 17th August, starting at 10am. Entry is free! Wellington City Libraries will have a stall there, so make sure you come and say hi to us and tell us about your favourite books and great library experiences.

Check out the Storylines Festival programme here. To get into the storylines spirit you can enter this competition. Good luck!

See you at Storylines 2013!


Winners announced!

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners were announced in a lavish ceremony in Christchurch last night.

We blogged about the finalist books here, and now we can tell you which ones won!


Best Non-Fiction:

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere

Go behind the scenes at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and discover more than 100 treasured items from the Museum’s collection. 100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa gives readers a special look at some of the surprising, wonderful, and significant items that Te Papa stores in trust for the nation. Learn the secrets of one of the first dinosaur fossil ever discovered, see new spider species, be inspired by famous paintings and quirky jewellery, encounter fearsome weapons from the Pacific, and uncover deep and personal stories of Māori taonga (treasures).

The book is based on the popular TV mini-documentaries Tales from Te Papa, and includes a DVD of the complete series – with a bonus 20 episodes


Best Junior Fiction:

My Brother’s War by David Hill

It’s New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe. William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there



Honour award, Junior Fiction:

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A Tale of Fontania series by Barbara Else

Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself. The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not.

Sequel to The Travelling Restaurant



Best Picture Book:

Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop

Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket. Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket? Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat. Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?




Best First Book:

Reach by Hugh Brown

Young Adult Fiction.

Will Clark thinks he’s a socially inept bookworm who just happens to enjoy cross-country running and taekwondo. But then his mother returns after a five year absence overseas, and he has his first full contact taekwondo fight, and the gorgeous comic-reading Conway Jones asks if she can be his maths tutor… Will must reassess himself, and his past, as he reaches towards a new future and lets his dreams take flight.



Best Young Adult Fiction and New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year:

Into the River by Ted Dawe

When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river




Children’s Choice Award:

Melu by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly,

Melu has always been different. While the other mules stubbornly clip-clop around the sun-baked hills, Melu dreams of swimming in the glittering green sea below. But it will take more than stubborness for Melu to reach the glittering green sea.


This is the award that you got to vote for. Did you vote for Melu?



Finalists announced for the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards

The LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) children’s book awards finalists have been announced.

Basically these are New Zealand librarians recognising the best books that have been published for children and teens in the last year.

The awards are separated up into 5 categories: best junior fiction (the top book wins the Esther Glen Medal), best illustration (The winner gets the Russell Clark Award), best non-fiction (the winner gets the Elsie Locke Award), best book written in te reo Maori (Te Kura Pounamu Award), and there is also a prize for the top teen book too.

The finalists for each category have just been announced (check them out below). A winner will be chosen from the finalists in each category, which will be announced at a sparkly awards ceremony on August 5th in Wellington.

Hot fact: The Esther Glen Medal for Junior Fiction is the oldest book award in New Zealand. It was first awarded in 1945 – that’s 68 years ago!


LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A tale of Fontania by Barbara Else

The Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker

When Empire Calls by Ken Catran

Red Rocks by Rachael King

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate de Goldi

Lightning Strikes: The Slice by Rose Quilter (We don’t have this in the libraries yet. Check back later)


LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award

The Dragon Hunters by James Russell, illustrated by Link Choi

Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Kiwi: The Real Story by Annemarie Florian, illustrated by Heather Hunt

Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Daron Parton

Melu byKyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews



LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal

At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler

Eruption! Discovering New Zealand Volcanoes by Maria Gill

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton and Riria Hotere,





Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)

Hautipua Rererangi story by Julian Arahanga, illustrated by Andrew Burdan

Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira

Arohanui by Huia Publishers, illustrated Andrew Burdan (Sorry, we don’t have this one in our libraries yet)

Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly  (Sorry, we don’t have this one in our libraries yet)

Taea ngā whetū by Dawn McMillan, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Keinyo White


No nonsense non-fiction to blow your mind

Wild Buddies …and Baddies

In this amazing book I learnt that a worm can control the mind of a weta! Read it for yourself and find out all about tuataras that like to snuggle up to seabirds and why keas can be  the biggest of all bird bullies.





 A Black Hole is Not a Hole

Then what is it?  This book has the most amazing space photographs and the text for older readers will totally have you knowing all about black holes by the time you reach the back page. A book full of surprises (because sometimes a black hole is where you least expect it! )




 What’s Maths all about?

This is a hugely informative and very funny book about numbers and mathematicians for the older reader. Pages are packed with fun facts and helpful explanations of everything from measurement to probability. Also contains a great internet link for more maths fun.



 That’s Life

How did life begin? What’s at the top of the food chain? What are the weirdest life forms on Earth? Find out in this fact-packed, brilliantly illustrated book and put the buzz back into biology.



Lives of the Great Spiritual Leaders

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” Mother Teresa once said.  Jesus challenges us to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,”  and the Dalai Lama asks us to “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Older readers will enjoy learning about the great spiritual leaders of the world in this inspiring book.



The Awesome Book of Unusual Bible Heroes

This book has some seriously weird stories and one chapter even comes with a warning that that only males between the ages of 8 and 12 will truly appreciate its graphic and gruesome details! For some reason the author thinks that girls will probably run screaming from the room when they discover the gory details of the story. Hmmm. Makes me want to get every girl to read it and prove him wrong! Come on girls, don’t let me down now….


The not-for-parents Travel Book

This is your very own Lonely Planet book kids. Find out really cool stuff about every country in the world.



We’ve Got A Job

This is the incredible story of a key piece of civil rights history that I had no idea about. One of the kids tells about their time marching for civil rights in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. “When my mother took me to school Monday morning, I went straight though the school. In one door and out the other. There must have been three to four hundred kids leaving the school, headed towards downtown.” These kids were hosed with water canons and arrested for standing up for their rights and the rights of their parents who couldn’t march for fear of losing their jobs. Great book.



Join a joust, examine armour and discover the long forgotten rules of chivalry all from the comfort of your own home. This is another great Eye Witness book crammed full of information, photographs. Basically everything you ever wanted to know about knights.



Henry Vlll

Good old Henry Vlll. Apparently he was a very clever and fun-loving Tudor king. But he and his wife Catherine did not produce a son. (Pretty essential back in the day.) Henry’s solution is to change the rules of the church so he can divorce and marry again, and again, and again, and again and again. Find out all about this character and his six wives in this excellent little book. Other important people in this Famous People Great Events series are Anne Frank, Queen Elizabeth ll, Elizabeth l, Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther King. And two great events in this series are The Great Fire of London and The Gunpowder Plot.



The Bumper Book of London

London will be in the news a lot soon when it hosts the Olympics, so get to know the place now by reading all about this amazing city in this fact packed book. You too can gasp at London’s smallest dingeon, walk under the Thames (without getting wet), scare yourself silly in the most haunted palace in London and learn a bit of London lingo to chat with with the locals.