Reaching for the Stars: What Makes a Champion?

“Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” – Thomas Edison

Beijing 2022 unveils official emblems - Olympic NewsWith Nico Porteous winning Gold and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott winning a gold and silver medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, New Zealand has had its best medal haul at a Winter Olympics for 70 years!

But what makes someone so good at what they do, that they go on to win a world title or an Olympic medal? Are they born like it? Do they have really good coaches or dedicated parents? Do they like what they do so much that they practise A LOT? Or is it a combination of all these things?

If you want to take up a sport, learn a musical instrument or learn to paint or write… any skill really…here’s a few tips to help achieve your goals

Brown Wooden Blocks on White Table

Image: Pexels

  1. Start with something you love – this might take a wee bit of time to figure out, but you’ll know it when you find it! Maybe you could try doing lots of different sports or activities offered at your school or community centre to see what really ‘floats your boat’. Be prepared to give new things a go.
  2. Practise, practise, practise! All those amazing athletes, musicians, innovators, writers and artists don’t get to where they are today by not practising. Sometimes this might seem really boring or hard (especially when you think your friends are having a good time and you’re stuck practising), but it’ll be worth it in the end. And it’s exciting when all that practice pays off and you see yourself getting better and better! Kia kaha!
  3. Persevere! There will be times when you have failures or feel like you’re not getting any better. As the saying goes: “Keep Calm and Try, Try and Try Again.”
  4. Have faith in yourself! And make sure you encourage others on you team that are struggling. You’ve got this!
  5. Listen to your coach or teacher. They’re a coach/teacher for a reason – they know stuff! Your coach wants to see you improve so do the exercises and drills they set and turn up to practise sessions and lessons.
  6. Always stick to the rules and play fairly. You will feel good about yourself and you’ll be a good role model for others.

Links to get you thinking:

Beijing 2022 – NZ Team

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame

New Zealand Book Award Winners 2021

New Zealand Chamber Music Contest 2022

Halberg Awards

Weetbix Kids’ Trythlon

The Wonder Project

YMCA NZ

Science Kids


Books to inspire:

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame : 25 Kiwi champions / Maria Gill ; illustrated by Marco Ivancic. / Gill, Maria
“Features 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”–Publisher’s information.” (Catalogue)

Rising above. Inspiring women in sports / Zuckerman, Gregory
“These are the inspirational real-life stories of female superstar athletes Serena and Venus Williams, Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and more — role models all. For sports fans, aspiring athletes and readers of sports biographies. The athletes featured in this book met earth-shaking challenges head on, and through hard work and perseverance, went on to conquer the sports world. This collection of mini biographies, complete with first-hand content drawn from interviews, is a source of inspiration and self-empowerment for kids and sports fans of all ages. ”  (Catalogue, abridged)

I am, I can : 365 affirmations for kids / Kinder, Wynne
“I am strong. I am brave. I can handle anything. Using the power of positive thinking, children can build their self-esteem and resilience by focusing on what matters to them and remembering to champion themselves.” (Catalogue)
Skateboarding champion / Nixon, James
“This series is all about the exhilarating world of extreme sports and what it takes to become a top professional. Each title lists the essential equipment you need and examines the basic skills, before going on to look at the more demanding tricks and stunts. There are also profiles of some of the greatest names in the sport, the biggest competitions in the world and the most fearsome locations that these daring competitors come up against. BMX Champion opens up the world of BMX biking, both racing and freestyle. Techniques, facts, stats and competitor profiles grab young readers’ attention and ensure a thrilling read from cover to cover.” (Catalogue)

The bomb / Cotter, Sacha
“In this story about being true to oneself, a boy searches for the secret to doing the perfect bomb into the water. With training from Nan, an expert and former champion, and by listening to his own voice, he finds his unique style and pulls off a wonderful, acrobatic, truly awe-inspiring bomb”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The flea thing / Falkner, Brian
“Twelve-year-old Daniel has a secret that turns his life upside down when he wins a place on the New Zealand Warrior’s rugby league team. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Volleyball ace / Rodriguez, Cindy L.
“Until now, Layla has balanced her school work and volleyball easily enough. At high school, though, academic expectations are tougher. When Layla’s dedication to volleyball puts her maths test results at risk, her chances of making the school team next year are on the line. Can she find a way to ace her classes like she does on the court?” (Catalogue)
The soccer star / Rippin, Sally
“Billie wants to play soccer, but the boys at school say she can’t. How can Billie prove that girls can play soccer too?” (Book cover)

Raising an amazing musician : you, your child and music.

Whatever stage of learning your child has reached, Raising an Amazing Musician will empower you to make the right decisions for your young musician, and enrich their experience of music as an enjoyable, life-enhancing activity.

Black music greats / Cachin, Olivier
“The biggest names… The coolest sounds… The 40 most inspirational movers, shakers and innovators in black music history are here! Learn how these black musicians changed music in this book packed with incredible facts. Meet the Godfather of Funk, the High Priestess of Soul and the King of Reggae. Learn how Marvin Gaye shaped the sound of Motown, how N.W.A redefined rap, and what made the Supremes, supreme. Each artist is an icon of their age, but who will you add to your playlist?” (Catalogue)

Be a super awesome artist / Carroll, Henry
“Become a super-awesome artist with this fantastic new book. Using real examples of art for inspiration, this great book features 20 exciting art challenges to help you create your own masterpieces. Channel the artistic genius within and you’ll be painting like Pollock, doodling like Duchamp and creating like Kahlo in no time!” (Catalogue)

This book thinks you’re a scientist : experiment, imagine, create : fill-in pages for your ideas / Russell, Harriet
“This book thinks you’re a scientist. Get into it before anyone tells it otherwise! Inside you’ll do everything a scientist does: look, ask questions, wonder and test your ideas. You’ll also do things scientists don’t necessarily do: eat your experiments, levitate paper clips and play a drinking straw like an oboe. There are even portable laboratory pages for you to experiment on, so that by the end, you’ll know how to invent your own fun ways of finding out about the world.” (Catalogue)

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).

Bee Aware – Feed the Bees This September

Feed the bees! banner courtesy of Apiculture NZ

September is “Bee Aware Month” in New Zealand. For Bee Aware Month 2021, we are being asked to ‘Feed the Bees’ by planting bee-friendly trees and plants.

According to Apiculture NZ, who look after bees and beekeepers in Aotearoa, “planting for bees is a fantastic way to look after nature’s tiniest superheroes as they keep our gardens, food crops and native bush growing.” As they busily buzz around the plants and flowers looking for food for themselves and their hives, they also help to pollinate the plants so that fruit, veges and crops continue to grow and thrive. Humans simply cannot survive without these amazing insects to keep our food on the table. Superheroes indeed!

Some plants are better sources of nectar and pollen than others.  And some plants produce nectar and pollen at times when there is not a lot else around for bees to feed on.

Don’t know what to plant? Some awesome ideas from Apiculture NZ include plants such as rosemary, sunflowers, harakeke, and citrus fruits!

bunch of sunflowers



Want to find out more?

Here’s a bee-friendly gardening guide to get you started

Learn about bees

Products made by bees

Fun activities and competitions

The Bee Aware BIG BEE QUIZ

The Bee Aware month Art Competition


And yes, you guessed it, Wellington City Libraries have got LOADS of books crammed full of facts about bees, gardening for bees and fiction bee books… so we’ve included some suggestions for you and the adults in your lives:

BEE BOOKS FOR KIDSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The secret life of bees / Butterfield, Moira
“Did you know that bees love to dance? Or that they have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers? In The Secret Life of Bees, Buzzwing shares with you all the details of her life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.” (Catalogue)
The book of bees / Socha, Piotr
“How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees? Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight.” (Catalogue)
Sunflower shoots and muddy boots : a child’s guide to gardening / Halligan, Katherine
“Packed with brilliant indoor and outdoor gardening activities, this is the perfect introduction to growing plants for little children and grown-ups to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)
Give bees a chance / Barton, Bethany
“In this nonfiction picture book an enthusiastic bee-loving narrator tries to convince a bee-phobic friend that our fuzzy, flying neighbours are our friends– we should all give bees a chance!” (Catalogue)
Why do we need bees? / Daynes, Katie
“Why do we need bees? How do they make honey? And who’s who in a beehive? Children can find the answers to these questions and many more in this informative lift-the-flap book. With colourful illustrations, simple text and chunky flaps to lift, young children can discover lots of amazing facts about bees and why they need our help.” (Catalogue)
The very clever bee / Marshall, Felicity
“A non-fiction illustrated book about bees, their life-cycle, pollination, and benefits for humans. Written for children 6 years and upwards.” (Catalogue)
How to bee / MacDibble, Bren
“Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe. How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.” (Catalogue)


BEE BOOKS FOR ADULTSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The bee friendly garden : easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow / Purdie, Doug
“A grower’s handbook to attracting bees and other beneficial insects. The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space…Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.” (Catalogue)


Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from th loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden. With advice on the blooms to grow, and when and where to plant them, this book reveals the tips and tricks to creating a buzz and a better future for our apian friends.” (Catalogue)

The history of bees / Lunde, Maja
“In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees–and to their children and one another–against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive–one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity” (Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Aleppo / Lefteri, Christy
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.” (Catalogue)

Become a RAKtivist: Random Acts of Kindness Day

happy birthday greeting card on green and red textile

Image: Unsplash free images

September 1st is New Zealand’s Random Acts of Kindness Day and we’ve never needed it more than in these Covid times!

Started in New Zealand in 2005, we are the only country in the world that celebrate a National Random Acts of Kindness Day. There is also a World Kindness Day on Saturday 13 November 2021… but let’s make every day a kindness day!

Random Acts of Kindness have probably never been more important, yet have never been harder to do, than when the city is in a lockdown.

Whether you’re in the full Level 4 and can’t even get takeaways delivered to someone, or in a variation of lockdowns which maybe means no school or no shops are open, there are still little random acts of kindness that are doable. Here are just a few ideas:

  •  Chalk positive, happy messages around your neighbourhood
  • Organise FaceTime or Zoom with friends to check in on each other
  • Play online Scrabble or other board games with friends also stuck at home
  • Play a game with your younger brothers and sisters… even if you think it’s a bit boring!
  • Help your caregivers to order some groceries online and have them delivered to a friend or neighbour
  • Offer to make lunch or dinner – maybe even make one night a week your cooking night
  • Pick up rubbish on your neighbourhood walks
  • Make a video of yourself reading a story and send it to your grandparents
  • Offer to do some housework or gardening
  • Tidy your room without being asked
  • Ring a neighbour that you know is isolating on their own, to check that they’re OK
  • Be kind and loving to your pets. Show them you love them with extra pats, a kind voice, small edible treats
  • Give your bubble buddies a compliment and a hug just for being your bubble buddies
  • Bring you parents breakfast in bed one morning for no reason (other than you love them)!
  • Stop for a moment of quiet and appreciate what a great person you are too!

Being kind is good for you!

There are scientifically proven benefits to being kind! It is contagious, teachable, and raises the levels of serotonin – our body’s “feel good” hormone – in your brain. Being kind can also help people to sleep better and feel more healthy.

Websites that might help you with kindness action ideas:

Random Acts of Kindness NZ

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Life Education Trust

Neighbourhood Support

RAK ideas when you can go back to school

Student Volunteer Army for kids

Youth volunteering at City Mission


Wellington City Libraries have a huge collection of books (both physical and digital) that can help with your kindness quest:

Kind / Green, Alison
“Illustrations by prominent illustrators accompany this story on how to make the world a better place through kindness, with an emphasis on welcoming refugees.” (Catalogue)

Do something for someone else / Kirby, Loll
“Meet 12 real-life children spreading kindness with simple acts of everyday activism.” (Catalogue)
All kinds of kindness / Carey Nevin, Judy
“Plant a seed, push a swing. Kindness makes your heart sing. There is so much kindness in the world and this sweet board book celebrates those special differences that make kind acts both individual and similar. Judy Carey Nevin’s bouncing text paired with Susie Hammer’s bright, brilliant art showcases a creative look at how important kindness can be. From optimistic ideas of hope to small acts of goodwill, each scene shares the heart of the story: kindness makes our world a better place.” (Catalogue)


Pete the cat’s groovy guide to kindness : tips from a cool cat on how to be kind / Dean, Kim
“A collection of quotes by famous notables, including Henry James, Booker T. Washington, and Judy Blume, echoes Pete the Cat’s thoughts on kindness.” (Catalogue)
A small kindness / McAnulty, Stacy
“It was like a game of tag, with one small act of kindness spreading throughout a small community of kids and teachers alike. Award-winning children’s book author Stacy McAnulty packs a powerful punch with minimal text, providing a sweet message about all the small ways one can be kind. Illustrator Wendy Leach creates a diverse cast of characters while using colour as a visual cue to how kindness is able to spread, even in a small community like a school” (Catalogue)
The good guys : 50 heroes who changed the world with kindness / Kemp, Rob
“A life-changing book that shows kids it’s cool to be kind. A gloriously illustrated celebration of heroes who have changed the world with kindness and compassion, from David Attenborough to Nelson Mandela, Oskar Schindler to Usain Bolt. What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm? […] The Good Guys celebrates the feats of heroes and everyday men, and will show kids that it really is cool to be kind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
I like being me : poems about kindness, friendship, and making good choices / Lalli, Judy
“Twenty-five rhyming poems invite children to believe in themselves, learn from mistakes, cooperate, share, help others, solve problems, be kind, tell the truth, make positive choices, and more. The short poems are quick to read, easy to learn, and fun to recite — making them perfect for teaching social skills to young children. Children can memorise their favorite poems, talk about them, act them out, and get ideas for creating their own. Accompanying photographs show children from diverse backgrounds in realistic settings, and back matter provides adults with ideas for thought-provoking discussion, activities, and learning.” (Catalogue)

Kindness grows / Teckentrup, Britta
“It all starts with a crack that we can hardly see, It happens when we shout or if we disagree. But with every kindness that we care to show, something good and magical then begins to grow… Angry words and thoughtlessness cause a crack to open up, but find out what happens when kindness begins to blossom, in this thought-provoking book by award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup.” (Catalogue) 

“Everywhere you go, leave a glitter trail of kindness behind you.” (unknown)

 

 

Bird Watchers, Get Counting: It’s Bird Survey Time!

Manaaki Whenua | Landcare Research is running its annual Garden Bird Survey right now (from 26 June – 4 July). To participate you need to spend 60 minutes  in your garden, local park or reserve recording the birds you see at any one time between 26 June – 4 July.

To take part, go to gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz. There are heaps of resources on this website including helpful pictures of the birds you are most likely to see, printable tally sheets, quizzes, competitions, and how to enter as a school group, if that’s your jam!

Taking part is easy:

  1. Select your garden, park, or school
  2. Choose one day from 26th June to the 4th July
  3. Look and listen for birds for ONE hour.
  4. Record the HIGHEST number of a bird species observed at one time.
  5. Submit your survey results below.

Your survey results will be analysed by the Landcare Research scientists. This will help them know and understand things like how our bird populations are changing over time, and keep an eye on any population trends (good and bad).

Fantail 1So do your part to help care for our wonderful birdlife! Did you know that at the end of Day 1 alone

  • 282 Surveys were submitted
  • 12,187 Birds counted
  • 68 Species counted
 And if you still have some questions, jump onto the FAQ page on the website to answer the ones you have, and ones you hadn’t even thought about around all things birds + survey.


Book Jacket for: A bird in the hand : keeping New Zealand wildlife safeBook Jacket for: Discovering New Zealand birdsBook Jacket for: NZ birds

Wellington City Libraries have loads of books and resources about New Zealand birds.

Or you could browse the Non-Fiction shelves under the Dewey Number of 598.


Other useful websites:

Birds New Zealand

Department of Conservation

Forest and Bird

New Zealand Geographic

Become an ornithological expert and help understand and protect Aotearoa’s wonderfully diverse birdlife.


 

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2021: Children’s Finalists!

The announcement of the finalists for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is always an extremely exciting time of year for us! This year saw a truly huge number of books entered by authors and illustrators from around Aotearoa — and the suite of books chosen for the shortlist are by turns beautiful, quirky, profound, funny, and all-in-all could only have come from here.

To help you make up your mind about which books you think should win their categories, we thought we’d share the full list with here, with links to all the books on our catalogue. Just click on the title and you’ll be able to reserve the next available copy to read. But get in quick — we don’t think they’ll stay on the shelf for very long!

PS — head over to the Teen Blog to find out about the books that have made the shortlist in the Young Adult Fiction category!

Picture Book Award

Judges’ comments: “This year’s Picture Book Award shortlist beautifully combines delicate illustrations that connect to and enhance sometimes delicate themes. There are laughs, tears, sighs (both contented and wistful) to be had in equal measure.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

Hound the detective / Andrews, Kimberly
“Meet Hound, a brilliant detective who ALWAYS solves his case. But this latest trail of clues has him perplexed … what has he missed? This gorgeous, multi-layered and engaging whodunnit by an award-winning writer has a delightful surprise at the end. Readers will love studying each action-packed illustration, poring over the details of Hound’s secret passages and map, spotting the adorable animals lurking in the pictures, and finding the caterpillar hidden on every page.” (Catalogue)

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)
The hug blanket / Gurney, Chris
“A heartfelt exploration of the unconditional love between a child and their grandparent. A book to help children understand grief. It smells like sunshine. It sounds like whispers. It looks like rainbows… It feels like love.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

This is where I stand / Werry, Philippa
“Provides a glimpse into the life of a soldier immortalised as a statue, reflecting the passage of time. The soldier on a war memorial tells the story of what he has seen over the years. Although the soldier is based on the ‘Untidy Soldier’ statue in Devonport, it could be any statue in any town. The story begins in a modern day setting, then moves back to WWI, WWII to finish again in contemporary times.” (Catalogue)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

Judges’ comments: “The books vying for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award presented the judges with eclectic plotlines and endearing characters, and they struggled to narrow down to a shortlist from the well-crafted titles.”

Across the risen sea / Bren MacDibble. / MacDibble, Bren
“Across the Risen Sea is an action-packed, compelling and heartfelt middle-fiction adventure, set in a post-climate change landscape, from the multi-award winning author of How to Bee.” (Catalogue)

Charlie Tangaroa and the creature from the sea / Roxborogh, Tania Kelly
“On a beach clean-up, thirteen-year-old Charlie and his brother, Robbie, find a ponaturi, a mermaid, washed up on a beach. An ancient grudge between the Māori gods Tane and Tangaroa has flared up because a port being built in the bay is polluting the ocean and creatures are fleeing the sea. This has reignited anger between the gods, which breaks out in storms, earthquakes and huge seas. The ponaturi believes Charlie is the only one who can stop the destruction. So begins Charlie’s journey to find a way to reunite the gods and discover why he is the one for the task.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

Red edge / Hunt, Des
“Twelve-year-old Cassi Whelan and her dad have just moved into a repaired house on the edge of Christchurch’s Red Zone. Although Cassi was only four when earthquakes decimated Christchurch, her memories still haunt her. An obsessive runner, she finds the wide-open spaces of the cleared Red Zone suit her perfectly. However, she becomes suspicious about strange comings and goings at the broken-down house next door. A chance meeting with a boy who lives on the other side of the house, who is a tech geek, leads to them setting up a surveillance system to investigate what’s happening.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

The Inkberg Enigma / King, Jonathan
“Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books ; Zia is never without her camera. The they meet, they stumble upon a secret. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook!

The tunnel of dreams / Beckett, Bernard
“In an abandoned house at the end of their street, twin brothers Stefan and Arlo discover a young girl hiding in its dusty shadows. Alice needs their help as her twin sister is locked in a cage suspended high above a mysterious mine in a strange parallel world and she asks an impossible favour. Will they meet her on the next full moon at the entrance to a tunnel they both know doesn’t exist? Except that it does…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

Judges’ comments: “The judges found the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction a particularly strong category this year, stating ‘to say there is something for everyone is an understatement; this list has everything, for everyone!'”

Egg & spoon : an illustrated cookbook / Tylee, Alexandra
“A beautiful illustrated cookbook for children–and their families–that celebrates imagination and pleasure in cooking. A fun and modern cookbook for families packed with recipes for meals, snacks, treats, and a whole lot of humour. Alexandra Tylee’s lively inner ten-year-old knows exactly what food appeals to children and how to talk to kids about food. She trusts them to choose flavours and handle equipment in this joyful book that will set them on a lifetime love of healthy cooking and eating. Giselle Clarkson’s illustrations are salivatingly delicious and subversively playful.” (Catalogue)

Mophead tu : the Queen’s poem / Marsh, Selina Tusitala
“Selina is invited to perform for the Queen at Westminster Abbey. But when a colleague calls her a ‘sellout’, Selina starts doubting herself. Can she stand with her people who struggled against the Queen … and still serve the Queen? From the sinking islands in the South Seas to the smoggy streets of London, this is a hilariously thought-provoking take on colonial histories and one poet’s journey to bridge the divide.” (Catalogue)

New Zealand disasters : our response, resilience and recovery / Gill, Maria
“Inspiring stories of courage, resilience and determination in the face of disaster New Zealanders have endured phenomenal natural and human disasters throughout the ages. This inspiring book documents some of these key moments in our history and, more importantly, how we responded and grew stronger; what changes/improvements were made as a result. Cyclones, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, fires, aeroplane crashes, pandemics and other disasters are just some of the many themes covered in this comprehensive, vibrantly illustrated account.” (Catalogue)

North and south / Morris, Sandra
“A beautiful non-fiction picture book about animals around the world. This non-fiction picture book takes readers around the world through the months of the year, looking at seasons in both the northern and southern hemisphere. It focuses on a species in each hemisphere for that month, e.g. March in the northern hemisphere is polar bear cubs in the Canadian Arctic and also saltwater crocodiles in Australia. There are a range of countries, habitats, species and animal activities included.” (Catalogue)

You’re joking : become an expert joke-teller / Moffatt, Tom E
“Tired of no one laughing at your jokes? You don’t have to be. Joke-telling is a skill, like playing the piano or juggling live hedgehogs. This book teaches you that skill with easy-to-follow instructions and simple exercises. With 101 hilarious jokes (and lots of practice), you’ll soon get the laughter and applause you deserve. Without ever needing to juggle hedgehogs.” (Publisher summary courtesy of Wright Laugh Books)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration

Judges’ comments: “The judges faced an outstandingly strong and large pool of entries for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration. The finalists are characterised by a diversity of styles and media, but the books all have in common an expert use of colour and line to communicate emotion and pace and skilfully add texture to the narrative.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue)

Read this book in te reo Māori!

I am the universe / Unka, Vasanti
“I am the Universe, an infinite space of glittering galaxies. It’s a starlit journey through space that will lead you to a wonderful planet brimming with all kinds of life – including yours. This stunning story demonstrating the scale of the Universe and our place in it was created specially for children aged three years and up by the award-winning author-illustrator Vasanti Unka, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, the Earth, the Solar System, the Galaxy, the Milky Way, the Universe.” (Catalogue)

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)

Moon & Sun / Szymanik, Melinda
“Moon is sad. She feels dull next to her bright happy sister, Sun. She hides away at night until Sun tells Moon how special she is and how she would love to share the sky with her. This beautifully illustrated children’s book explains how our diffrerences are our strengths, and how together we can make the world a better place!” (Catalogue)

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi / Winitana, Chris.
“This is the story, told in te reo Māori, of the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape and subduing of kaitiaki, such as the guardian of Tarawera, Tamaohoi; the guardian of water on Kaingaroa, Torepatutai; and the King of the Patupaiarehe, fairy folk, Ririō. This adventure story traces the places Ngātoroirangi travelled through, such as Waimahunga, the large spring where he conducted his cleansing ceremonies, and Te Whārua o Ngātoroirangi, where his footprints are still visible in the land today.”

(Publisher summary courtesy of Huia Publishers)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award

Judges’ comments: “The finalists in the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written entirely in te reo Māori will appeal to a broad range of abilities. Te reo in its simplest form will lift the language for beginners, while there are also titles with a depth of language to send the imaginations of confident speakers soaring. The judges were pleased to see a marked increase in the number of books written in te reo Māori, rather than translated from English.”

Aroha te whai ora : he mahere piropiro mā te tamariki / Phillips, Craig
“Nau mai, hoake tātou ko Aroha, i a ia e kaupare ana i te taiatea, i te mataku, i te māharahara, me te anipā, ki ana tukanga māmā ka taea e te katoa. Come along on a journey with Aroha as she wards off nervousness, fear, worrying thoughts and apprehension, with simple, yet effect tools that everyone can use.” (Catalogue)

Also read this book in te reo Pākehā!

Mihi / Bishop, Gavin
“This beautiful baby book introduces ideas of me and my place in the world in the shape of a simple mihi or pepeha… Repeating colours and shapes show the connections between waka, mountain, and iwi through to mama, papa, and the baby reader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pīpī kiwi / Taylor, Helen J.
“Young Kiwi Iti waits impatiently for his baby sister, Pīpī Kiwi, to hatch. Will she ever arrive? When will she be ready to play with him? His father Kiwi Nui explains to him that love takes time. Ahea RAWA pao ai te hua? This Māori-language story is for all children eagerly awaiting a new sibling.” (Catalogue)

Also read this book in te reo Pākehā!

Ngake me Whātaitai / Ngaia, Ben
“A traditional story told in te reo Māori from the perspective of the Kāhui Maunga people about Ngake and Whātaitai. These two taniwha inhabited Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour, long before the ancestral migrations. The story tells how the shape and landscape of Wellington, its harbour and the Lower Hutt area came about because of the actions of Ngake and Whātaitai.” (Catalogue)

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi / Winitana, Chris.
“This is the story, told in te reo Māori, of the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape and subduing of kaitiaki, such as the guardian of Tarawera, Tamaohoi; the guardian of water on Kaingaroa, Torepatutai; and the King of the Patupaiarehe, fairy folk, Ririō. This adventure story traces the places Ngātoroirangi travelled through, such as Waimahunga, the large spring where he conducted his cleansing ceremonies, and Te Whārua o Ngātoroirangi, where his footprints are still visible in the land today.” (Publisher summary courtesy of Huia Publishers)

Best First Book Award

Judges’ comments: “The finalists for the Best First Book Award left the judges reassured that the future of children’s literature in New Zealand is in good hands. In fact, the standard is so high, that four of the books are also finalists in one or more of the main categories.”

Hare & Ruru : a quiet moment / Shallcrass, Laura
“This is the story of Hare, who struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Noise could be runaway thoughts, voices in Hare’s head, or loud feelings and general anxiety. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution and finally gives up. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion. Hare ultimately feels better after doing three things: * Talking to someone; * Focusing on breathing; * Connecting to nature.” (Catalogue).

Read this book in te reo Māori!

Kōwhai and the giants / Parker, Kate
“Kōwhai first appeared from the golden glow of a beautiful flower … and the voice was the rain and the sea and the cry of a bird. Follow Kōwhai as she discovers a tiny seed of hope and rebuilds a great forest.” (Catalogue)

The Inkberg Enigma / King, Jonathan
“Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books ; Zia is never without her camera. The they meet, they stumble upon a secret. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook!

The midnight adventures of Ruru and Kiwi / Scott, Clare
“Ruru and Kiwi invite you to their midnight forest feast, in this delightful twist on the tale of the Owl and the Pussycat. Drawing on a cast of nocturnal New Zealand creatures, with award-winning illustrations by Amy Haarhoff, Clare Scott’s story imagines Edward Lear’s famous nonsense poem taking place in a moonlit forest in Aotearoa.” (Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo
“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies.” (Catalogue)

Waitangi Day 2021

Image: Reconstructing the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Marcus King from Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

Waitangi Day is a special day in New Zealand’s history. This year it will be celebrated on Saturday 6th of February. Waitangi Day is a public holiday. Therefore, Wellington City Libraries (except He Matapihi Molesworth Library) will be closed Saturday 6th February. All Wellington City Libraries’ branches will be closed Monday 8th February, which is observed as a Waitangi Day Holiday.


image courtesy of Ōriwa Haddon from Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

Image: The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Ōriwa Haddon from Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

What is Waitangi Day?

Waitangi Day marks the anniversary of the initial signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. on 6th February 1840. The Treaty is the founding document of the nation and an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).

Did you know? The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974

What’s on this Waitangi Day?

  • Click here to find out what other events are on in Wellington to celebrate Waitangi Day.

Where can I find information about Waitangi Day?

Te Wiki o te reo Māori: Kia toru ngā rā e toe ana!

Kia ora, e te whānau! Te Wiki o te reo Māori is just around the corner — there are just three days to go (kia toru ngā rā e toe ana) before the celebrations begin! We thought we’d help you get ready to celebrate by sharing some of our favourite pukapuka in te reo Māori with you. Check them out below — don’t forget you can click on the title to reserve a copy to pick up from your local library!

Tio Tiamu / Kurahau
This beautiful book won the Wright Family Foundation/Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults this year, and it really is the complete package. There is an incredible sense of balance throughout, where the weight of the storytelling is shared equally between the stylised, yet detailed illustrations, and entrancing, poetic, and playful language. We can’t guarantee there won’t be tears the first time it’s read – this tale certainly doesn’t pull its punches. Published in English as “The Smelly Giant.”

Ko te kī taurangi a Puanga: he ururoa ki te Whānau Matariki / Wadsworth, Kirsty
This enthralling tale tells the story of Puanga, cousin to the Matariki sisters, and how it was that she came to join them in the sky above Aotearoa. At its heart it’s a story of whānau, friendship, tradition and sacrifice. The text is evocative and powerfully paced; the illustrations atmospheric and perfectly matched. Published in English as “The Promise of Puanga.”

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna / Merewether, Katherine Q.
A whimsical and playful tale about Flit the fantail chick and his discovery of a mysterious clutch of eggs. Action-packed and joyful. Published in English as “Flit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs.”

Hineahuone / Hall, Xoë
A creation story of sorts, this book explores Tāne Māhuta’s creation of human life, sculpted from the sacred red earth of Papatūānuku. Xoë Hall’s stylistic and striking illustrations bring the story to life in a tangible way. Published in English as “The Clay Woman.”

Arapū toi / Wairama, Moira
Gentle, poetic, and image-laden text combined with detailed and engrossing artwork. This book is appropriate for readers of all ages, and reveals more with each successive read.

Te aihe i waiata / Whaanga, Mere
A lyrical story told almost in the style of a traditional legend, Te Aihe i Waiata must be read in its original language – te reo – for the poetry to be fully understood. The story ebbs and flows along with the expressive watercolour illustrations – an enchanting read. Published in English as “The Singing Dolphin.”

Ngā tae = Colours / Brown, Kitty
We can’t exclude the beautiful and important bilingual Reo Pēpi series, from Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson at Reo Pēpi Tāpui in Dunedin, from this list. The six board books in this series intended for babies and early readers use simple, formulaic language and gorgeous illustrations to gradually introduce the reader to new words and concepts. A must-have for any parent who wants their child to grow up immersed in te reo.

He raiona i roto i ngā otaota / Mahy, Margaret
The te reo Māori translation of Margaret Mahy’s classic The Lion in the Meadow remains as captivating and delightful as ever. Piripi Walker’s translation preserves the whimsy and magic of the original text, all the while strengthening this book’s ties to the people and culture of Aotearoa.

Ngā taniwha i Te Whanga-nui-a-tara / Wairama, Moira
An exciting and captivating retelling of the local legend of the creation of Wellington Harbour by two taniwha who lived in what was once a lake, where the harbour now stands. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand traditional stories of place and history. Published in English as “The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour.”

Kei hea te hipi kākāriki? / Fox, Mem
Rounding out the list with another translation – this time of Mem Fox’s classic “Where is the Green Sheep?” Children will love exploring the humourous illustrations, and the clever translation by Kawata Teepa keeps the reader engaged throughout.

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults: Children’s Finalists!

It’s that time of year again — the finalists for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have been announced! It’s a truly outstanding lineup this year, with some truly gorgeous books in all categories. We have most of the finalists in our catalogue, but some of them are still on their way, so keep your eyes peeled! Here are all of the finalists in each of the children’s categories — if you want to read them yourself (and we highly recommend that you do!) just click on the title you want and place a reserve!

Picture Book Award

Abigail and the birth of the sun / Cunningham, Matthew
Abigail is a curious little girl. She likes to discover the answers to really BIG questions. One night, she thinks of a question that’s SO BIG she can’t sleep until she knows the answer. A gorgeously illustrated and beautifully told bedtime story that doubles as an introduction to astrophysics, Abigail and the Birth of the Sun will be enjoyed equally by young children and adults. (Catalogue)

How Māui slowed the sun / Bixley, Donovan
Donovan Bixley re-tells the story of Maui slowed the journey of the sun through the sky each day, with Bixley’s unique twist and trademark humour. The pictures are bright and bring their own level of humour to the book. Darryn Joseph ensures that the story is accurate and culturally appropriate. (Catalogue)

Goody Four Shoes / Gregg, Stacy
Mini Whinny, the mischievous little horse, plans to escape her annoyingly perfect stable neighbour! Goody Four-Shoes is the best…at everything. She’s graceful. She can jump really, really high. And her mane is too perfect. Mini Whinny doesn’t like her. Not one little bit. So naughty little Mini Whinny decides to run away.Another adorable story of horsey friendship from internationally best-selling Kiwi author Stacy Gregg and talented illustrator Ruth Paul. (Catalogue)

Santa’s worst Christmas
There are just a few days to go before Christmas, and everyone’s busy putting up decorations, preparing food and getting ready for the big day. Then comes the shock news: Santa’s cancelled Christmas. Santa had so many disasters last year that he can’t face it again, and he’s quit. The elves try everything, but they can’t get him to change his mind. In this Aotearoa Christmas picture book, the kids come up with a clever plan and amazing gadgets to get Christmas back on and Santa back in the sleigh delivering presents. (Catalogue)

The gobbledegook book : a Joy Cowley anthology / Cowley, Joy
Joy Cowley’s favourite stories, poems and nonsense rhymes collected in a hardback gift volume for the family to treasure. Flue-flam and Gobbledegook collects Joy Cowley’s favourites in a beautiful hardback picture-book volume that will become a family treasure. It selects the best of Cowley’s poems and stories to read aloud, including much-loved classics such as Greedy Cat and Nicketty-Nacketty Noo Noo Noo. Fully re-illustrated with humour and energy by newcomer Giselle Clarkson, these short stories, picture books and funny poems will bring joy to a new generation. (Catalogue)

Junior Fiction Award

#Tumeke! / Petherick, Michael
An exuberant multimedia novel for young readers and the young at heart. In the boundary-riding tradition of the Annual project, Annual Ink’s latest title #Tumeke brings you the lives, loves and larrikin spirit of an inner-city neighbourhood. The story is told through texts, Instagram posts, emails, fliers, committee minutes, posters, diary entries, blog posts, chatrooms, school homework, raps and the reliably bonkers community noticeboard. Stuffed with big personalities, surprising friendships and a little intrigue, this multimedia story brims with creativity and comedy, and everyday heartaches, too. A narrative — but not quite as we know it — for middle readers and anyone who loves to connect. (Catalogue)

Lizard’s tale / Chan, Weng Wai
A heart-racing middle-grade adventure mystery set on the streets of Singapore against the backdrop of World War II, exploring issues of belonging, race and diversity It’s Singapore in 1940, war is just around the corner–but 12-year-old Lizard doesn’t know that. He lives in Chinatown above a tailor’s shop, surviving on his wits and hustling for odd jobs. When he steals a small teak box containing a Japanese code book from a Raffles Hotel suite, he finds himself in a dangerous world of wartime espionage. Lizard doesn’t know who to trust. How is the mysterious book inside the box connected to his friend Lili, a girl full of secrets and fighting skills? Can he trust her, or will she betray him in the end? (Catalogue)

Moonlight the unicorn’s high tea hiccup / Sutton, Sally
When Clara and Sophia’s Honorary Great-Aunties invite the girls to ‘high tea’, the girls are very excited. It means getting dressed up in a twirly dress – and wearing a fancy hat and shoes! Those mischievous Miniwings like the sound of ‘high tea’ too – dinky little sandwiches and sweet treats – but Clara says they’re not invited. Oh really? Does she think ‘not being invited’ is going to stop those rascally, tiny, flying horses? Look out! (Catalogue)

Prince of ponies / Gregg, Stacy
War destroyed their worlds, now two young girls and their remarkable horses are fighting once more – this time to win. War destroyed their worlds, now two young girls and their remarkable horses are fighting once more – this time to win. When twelve-year-old Mira stumbles across a white stallion in a forest in Berlin, she doesn’t realise that this horse will take her on an incredible journey. Together, they’re going to ascend the starry heights of Grand Prix show jumping, and sweep back in time to Poland in 1939 where another young girl is risking everything to save the horse that she loves… Prince of Ponies is a story of courage and the will to win against all odds. (Catalogue)

Time machine & other stories / Szymanik, Melinda
What happens when you sleep with a crocodile tooth under your pillow, or the mess under your bed turns into something terrifying? How can a football be a passport, and what does it mean when the contraption in the basement starts to hum and glow? You can be sure the answers will never be boring and almost always take you on an unexpected adventure. Step aboard the time machine and discover new and selected stories by the award-winning author of The Were-Nana, The Song of Kauri and A Winter’s Day in 1939. (Catalogue)

Non-Fiction Award

Kuwi & friends Māori picture dictionary / Merewether, Katherine Q.
From the #1 bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of the Kuwi the Kiwi series, Kat Merewether, comes a large scale, stunningly illustrated visual dictionary. Full of over 1000 basic words in te reo Maori and English, perfect for every New Zealander. (Catalogue)

Mophead : how your difference makes a difference / Marsh, Selina Tusitala
At school, Selina is ridiculed for her big, frizzy hair. Kids call her ‘mophead’. She ties her hair up this way and that way and tries to fit in. Until one day – Sam Hunt plays a role – Selina gives up the game. She decides to let her hair out, to embrace her difference, to be WILD! Selina takes us through special moments in her extraordinary life. She becomes one of the first Pasifika women to hold a PhD. She reads for the Queen of England and Samoan royalty. She meets Barack Obama. And then she is named the New Zealand Poet Laureate. She picks up her special tokotoko, and notices something. It has wild hair coming out the end. It looks like a mop. A kid on the Waiheke ferry teases her about it. So she tells him a story . . . (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
This is a ground-breaking reorua (dual language) flipbook-style graphic novel about our founding Treaty. The text and illustrations work together to present important information about our history in a visually appealing, calm, and balanced way. There are also resources to allow young readers to learn more about each of the topics, as well as links to the Treaty in more than 30 languages. (Catalogue)

The adventures of Tupaia / Meredith, Courtney Sina
The incredible story of Tupaia, Tahitian priest navigator, who sailed on board the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his first voyage to Aotearoa. Join him as he meets up with Cook in Tahiti and sails as part of the crew on the Endeavour across the Pacific to Aotearoa. Witness the encounters between tangata whenua and the crew as the ship sails around the coast, and discover the important role Tupaia plays as translator and cultural interpreter (Catalogue)

Three Kiwi tales : more fabulous fix-it stories from Wildbase Hospital / Hunt, Janet
Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North is a very special hospital for very special animals, and in this follow-up to the hugely successful How to Mend a Kea, author Janet Hunt focuses on the tales of three kiwi who have been treated there. The stories are fascinating and touching accounts of their different experiences at Wildbase, and the innovative approaches to their treatment and rehabilitation that were needed to ensure their eventual return to the wild. Linked to the wider issues of kiwi conservation, these tales introduce readers to the challenges and triumphs of caring for New Zealand’s unique national icon. Wonderful photos, a lively text and an engaging design all combine to make this a superb book. (Catalogue)

Award for Illustration

Dozer the Fire Cat : a New Zealand story : inspired by true events / Prokop, Robyn
In February 2019, a tiny spark in a Pigeon Valley paddock became the largest fire in New Zealand since 1955. Up to 150 volunteer firefighters fought the blaze. Around 3,500 people were evacuated, including the whole town of Wakefield. Story is based on a real cat that survived the fires. While his family is busy packing up to evacuate, Dozer is oblivious, busy doing what Dozer does . . . stalking, pouncing, washing . . . and sleeping. But when he wakes up, his family has gone and the world is a frightening place!” — Publisher information. (Catalogue)

Santa’s worst Christmas
There are just a few days to go before Christmas, and everyone¿s busy putting up decorations, preparing food and getting ready for the big day. Then comes the shock news: Santa’s cancelled Christmas. Santa had so many disasters last year that he can’t face it again, and he’s quit. The elves try everything, but they can’t get him to change his mind. In this Aotearoa Christmas picture book, the kids come up with a clever plan and amazing gadgets to get Christmas back on and Santa back in the sleigh delivering presents. (Catalogue)

Song of the river / Cowley, Joy
In this resonant story, Cam the mountain boy follows the river from its trickling source in the mountain snow all the way to the coast. The river leads him through forest, farms, and towns to the salty wind of the sea. Dramatic landscape illustrations evoke a North American landscape and are packed with detail to explore the world of the river. (Catalogue)

The adventures of Tupaia / Meredith, Courtney Sina
The incredible story of Tupaia, Tahitian priest navigator, who sailed on board the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his first voyage to Aotearoa. Join him as he meets up with Cook in Tahiti and sails as part of the crew on the Endeavour across the Pacific to Aotearoa. Witness the encounters between tangata whenua and the crew as the ship sails around the coast, and discover the important role Tupaia plays as translator and cultural interpreter (Catalogue)

Wildlife of Aotearoa / Bishop, Gavin
Long before waka touched Aotearoa’s shores, the land of the long white cloud was home to an array of creatures uniquely adapted to its environments and protected by its isolation. Encounter New Zealand’s incredible wildlife in this spectacular visual exploration. Journey through ocean, sky and land to meet a marvellous range of organisms. Discover fascinating facts, and learn how we influence the survival of our living treasures. In this magnificent companion volume to Aotearoa- The New Zealand Story, Gavin Bishop weaves a compelling visual narrative of our land, our people and our wildlife – past, present and future. (Catalogue)

Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori

Arapū Toi / Moira Wairama (coming soon!)
This gorgeously-illustrated book uses short poems in gentle, rhythmic te reo Māori to emphasise ideas of wellness, the sights, sounds and feelings of everyday life, and poetic imagery such as the darkness of night, or a whale singing in the depths of the ocean. A picture is truly worth a thousand words in this unforgettable gem of contemporary Māori children’s literature.

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna / Merewether, Katherine Q.
Flit has found some eggs … but whose could they be? It is a misty morning in the forest. Flit the fantail chick is practising his landings. Flap, flop, slip, FLIP. Flit slips on something slippery and round. He has stumbled upon eight rubbery white eggs. Join Flit and his friends, Kiki the kaka, rascally robins Bit and Bob, Keri the kiwi and wise old Ruru as they exercise some teamwork. Can they figure out who the mystery eggs belong to? (Catalogue)

Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi / Kat Quin and Pānia Papa (coming soon!)
Kuwi the kiwi wants a hot cup of kawakawa tea and some peace and quiet — but Huwi the kiwi chick and friends want to play LOUDLY, and so this energetic tale begins. Te reo Māori is used skilfully throughout, with witty adaptations to mimic sounds and situations, encouraging readers to become involved in the story. Items of Kiwiana are scattered throughout the illustrations, so that curious readers can search and make new discoveries in every story time.

Te Kirihimete i whakakorea
There are just a few days to go before Christmas, and everyone’s busy putting up decorations, preparing food and getting ready for the big day. Then comes the shock news – Santa’s cancelled Christmas. Santa had so many disasters last year that he can’t face it again, and he’s quit. The elves try everything, but they can’t get him to change his mind. In this Aotearoa Christmas picture book, the kids come up with a clever plan and amazing gadgets to get Christmas back on and Santa back in the sleigh delivering presents (Catalogue)

Tio Tiamu / Kurahau
In this picture book, gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem in his community because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell. While Toe Jam helps others and wants to be part of his village, everybody teases him and avoids him, and Toe Jam becomes very lonely. Finally, the people make him leave and live far away. Toe Jam never loses his kind heart, and when there are floods, wild winds and droughts, he returns to help his people. But each time, the people take his help then send him away again. Until, one day, something amazing happens… (Catalogue)

Best First Book Award

#Tumeke! / Petherick, Michael
An exuberant multimedia novel for young readers and the young at heart. In the boundary-riding tradition of the Annual project, Annual Ink’s latest title #Tumeke brings you the lives, loves and larrikin spirit of an inner-city neighbourhood. The story is told through texts, Instagram posts, emails, fliers, committee minutes, posters, diary entries, blog posts, chatrooms, school homework, raps and the reliably bonkers community noticeboard. Stuffed with big personalities, surprising friendships and a little intrigue, this multimedia story brims with creativity and comedy, and everyday heartaches, too. A narrative — but not quite as we know it — for middle readers and anyone who loves to connect. (Catalogue)

Lizard’s tale / Chan, Weng Wai
A heart-racing middle-grade adventure mystery set on the streets of Singapore against the backdrop of World War II, exploring issues of belonging, race and diversity It’s Singapore in 1940, war is just around the corner–but 12-year-old Lizard doesn’t know that. He lives in Chinatown above a tailor’s shop, surviving on his wits and hustling for odd jobs. When he steals a small teak box containing a Japanese code book from a Raffles Hotel suite, he finds himself in a dangerous world of wartime espionage. Lizard doesn’t know who to trust. How is the mysterious book inside the box connected to his friend Lili, a girl full of secrets and fighting skills? Can he trust her, or will she betray him in the end? (Catalogue)

Santa’s worst Christmas
There are just a few days to go before Christmas, and everyone’s busy putting up decorations, preparing food and getting ready for the big day. Then comes the shock news: Santa’s cancelled Christmas. Santa had so many disasters last year that he can’t face it again, and he’s quit. The elves try everything, but they can’t get him to change his mind. In this Aotearoa Christmas picture book, the kids come up with a clever plan and amazing gadgets to get Christmas back on and Santa back in the sleigh delivering presents. (Catalogue)

The day the plants fought back / O’Keefe, Belinda
Two boisterous boys who made lots of noise, found it dreadfully hard to be good; always charging and barging, fighting and biting, and not acting quite as they should. Patrick and Wayne drove their parents insane, but they could be good if they tried. Still, they’d roar and they’d claw, they’d scoot and they’d shoot until someone eventually cried. An action-packed, hilarious story about two wild, rascally boys and the trouble they cause in the garden, until the plants decide to teach them a lesson … because, as the boys discover, plants have eyes and ears too! (Catalogue)

The smelly giant / Kurahau
In this picture book, gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem in his community because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell. While Toe Jam helps others and wants to be part of his village, everybody teases him and avoids him, and Toe Jam becomes very lonely. Finally, the people make him leave and live far away. Toe Jam never loses his kind heart, and when there are floods, wild winds and droughts, he returns to help his people. But each time, the people take his help then send him away again. Until, one day, something amazing happens… (Catalogue)

Aotearoa New Zealand History Books List

Aotearoa New Zealand has a long, interesting and challenging history. Many incredible people and communities have walked on this whenua and left their stories and legacies behind. These are some great recent books to learn about our sometimes sad, and sometimes amazing history.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby (2019)

Check out this beautifully illustrated story of our foundational national document. It’s bilingual, which means you can read it in English or Te Reo. Find out about the historical context of the Treaty, and its continuing importance in the 21st Century.

 

 

The New Zealand Wars / Werry, Philippa (2018)

As Māori land was encroached upon by the colonial government and settlers, warfare broke out in New Zealand. This book explores the violence that was experienced in New Zealand in the mid-19th century and how those that fought and died are remembered today. This book explains why the wars happened, and is filled with photographs, illustrations and paintings. We also learn about Parihaka, a peaceful community of resistance to land confiscation and encroachment. The book talks about how we remember these events today and memorial places we can go to learn more and think about our history.

 

 

Kate Sheppard : leading the way for women / Gill, Maria (2018)

A wonderfully illustrated book about the life of New Zealand suffragist Kate Sheppard! Learn about how she lead the way for women getting the vote in Aotearoa.

 

 

Syndetics book coverPeace warriors / Raymond Huber (2015)

This book tells the heroic stories of brave New Zealander’s and people around the world who used non-violent resistance to pursue paths of peace. One of the stories is of Archibald Baxter, who refused to fight in World War 1 because he did not believe in killing. He faced brutal punishment and rejection for his courageous choice.

 

 

The beach they called Gallipoli / French, Jackie (2014)

The battle for Gallipoli is at the heart of the ANZAC narrative of New Zealand’s involvement in WW1. This book explores the geography of the cove and looks at not just the ANZACs, but all the nationalities who fought there.

 

 

Bastion Point : 570 days on Takaparawha / Roxborogh, Tania Kelly (2017)

Sometimes fiction can help us understand real-life  events. This book is a fictional diary, from the perspective of a character called Erica Tito, covering the events at Bastion Point between 1977-1978. Bastion Point was Māori land confiscated by the government for public works, but decades later the government wanted to sell it for housing developments. Māori from around the country gathered to occupy the land and protect it. In the 1980s, the land was returned to local Iwi as part of a Treaty settlement.

 

 

Aotearoa : the New Zealand story / Bishop, Gavin

A colourfully delightful overview of of the history of Aotearoa New Zealand; charting a course from the big bang, to the arrival of Māori, all the way to events in the present day. Filled with interesting facts, this is a great classroom read.

Check out these books on the catalouge, your local library or pop a reserve on them to collect from your nearest branch!