Out on the Shelves: Rainbow Families

To continue our celebration of Out on the Shelves this month, we’re highlighting some of the books in our Children’s Picture Book Collection that feature rainbow families.

The books we’ve put together here feature families of all shapes and sizes. Within this list you’ll find books that highlight the relationships between different family members, and many relatable family situations. There are books that discuss different kinds of families, stories that show the awkwardness in welcoming someone you love back home after they’ve been away, stories that show a day at the beach or a family wedding or the arrival of a new baby or the special time spent with grandparents, and even one that shows the frustration felt when your parents just won’t stop talking to the neighbour when you’re on the way to the park.

We’re running several exciting events across our libraries for Out on the Shelves, so check out our previous blog post to learn more about them, and there’s still time to sign up for our Read the Rainbow challenge – why not read one of these books as part of the challenge?

Uncle Bobby’s wedding / Brannen, Sarah S.
“When Chloe’s favorite uncle announces that he’s getting married, everyone except Chloe is excited. What if Uncle Bobby no longer has time for picnics, swimming, or flying kites? If he gets married, will everything change? Can Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend Jamie show Chloe that, when it comes to family, the more the merrier? In this inspiring, love-filled story, Chloe learns just what family means.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daddy & Dada / Brockington, Ryan
“A little girl explains how families, including hers, come in many shapes and sizes–some with a mom and a dad, some with two dads, some with two moms, and more.” (Catalogue)

Tōku whānau rerehua = My beautiful family / Cooper, Rauhina
“Tōku Whānau Rerehua tells of a young girl’s experience learning that all families come in all types, and all can be beautiful.” (Catalogue)

Families : a lift-the-flap book about families / Forshaw, Louise
“There are lots of different kinds of families. Learn all about them in this fun lift-the-flap book.” (Catalogue)

My parents won’t stop talking / Hunsinger, Emma
“A little girl has big plans for her day at the park, but when her two Mums stop to talk to some chatty neighbors she is convinced that her whole day will be completely ruined.” (Catalogue)

Things in the sea are touching me / Keegan, Linda Jane
“This light-hearted rhyming story follows the experience of a little girl’s day at the beach with her two mums, as she unexpectedly encounters a range of sea life – with a fun twist at the end! We all know that breath-catching feeling of something brushing past our shins as we wade out to the waves, or stepping on something slimy in the sea … this story uses humour to tackle the fear.” (Catalogue)

Mama and mummy and me in the middle / LaCour, Nina
“For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mummy. So when Mummy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. Mama fills the days with activities, and they all talk on the phone, but she still misses Mummy. When Mummy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When Aidan became a brother / Lukoff, Kyle
“Aidan, a transgender boy, experiences complicated emotions as he and his parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby.” (Catalogue)

My rainbow / Neal, Trinity
“A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.” (Catalogue)

My daddies / Peter, Gareth
“A perfect picture-book for introducing children to different kinds of family. Set off on a series of incredible adventures with an adorable family as the stories they read burst into colourful life. Battle dragons, dodge deadly dinosaurs, zoom to the moon and explore the world in a hot air balloon, before winding down in a wonderfully cosy bedtime ending.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And Tango makes three / Richardson, Justin
“At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.” (Catalogue)

Author Spotlight: Katherine Rundell

“It was a very fine day, until something tried to eat him…”

Katherine Rundell‘s books blend magical delight with tales of adventure and courageous young protagonists. They’re great for reading aloud for different aged family members, or for tamariki to read to themselves (under the duvet with a torch, we won’t tell!)

With the release of Katherine Rundell’s latest book, Impossible Creatures, we have compiled a list of some of her other wonderful reads.

Impossible creatures / Rundell, Katherine
“A boy called Christopher is visiting his reclusive grandfather when he witnesses an avalanche of mythical creatures come tearing down the hill. This is how Christopher learns that his grandfather is the guardian of one of the ways between the non-magical world and a place called the Archipelago, a cluster of magical islands where all the creatures we tell of in myth live and breed and thrive alongside humans. […] Then a girl, Mal, appears in Christopher’s world. She is in possession of a flying coat, is being pursued by a killer and is herself in pursuit of a baby griffin. Mal, Christopher and the griffin embark on an urgent quest across the wild splendour of the Archipelago, where sphinxes hold secrets and centaurs do murder, to find the truth – with unimaginable consequences for both their worlds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rooftoppers / Rundell, Katherine
“Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. […] So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wolf wilder / Rundell, Katherine
“In the days before the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Feodora sets out to rescue her mother when the Tsar’s Imperial Army imprisons her for teaching tamed wolves to fend for themselves.” (Catalogue)

The explorer / Rundell, Katherine
“Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England when the plane they’re on crashes in the Amazon jungle and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.” (Catalogue)

The good thieves / Rundell, Katherine
“Vita’s grandfather, Jack, has been cheated out of everything he owns by a conman. Vita is determined to set things right with a lawless, death-defying plan. –Adapted from cover.” (Catalogue)

Cartwheeling in thunderstorms / Rundell, Katherine
“Will must find her way after she’s plucked out of a wonderful life in Zimbabwe and forced to go to boarding school in England”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The book of hopes
“In difficult times, what children really need is hope. And in that spirit, Katherine Rundell emailed some of the children’s writers and artists whose work she loved most. ‘I asked them to write something very short, fiction or non-fiction, or draw something that would make the children reading it feel like possibility-ists: something that would make them laugh or wonder or snort or smile… I hope that the imagination can be a place of shelter for children and that this book might be useful in that, even if only a little. This collection, packed with short stories, poems and pictures from the very best children’s authors and illustrators, aims to provide just that.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For younger readers:

The zebra’s great escape / Rundell, Katherine
“”A girl, a zebra, a dog and a squirrel set forth on a great adventure. Mr. Spit is out to get them – but bravery and brilliant friends are a match for anyone”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

For the adult in your life:

Why you should read children’s books, even though you are so old and wise / Rundell, Katherine
“Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children’s books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children’s fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult readers.” (Catalogue)

Detective Fiction for Kids: Historical Heroines!

As well as classics like Nancy Drew and The Famous Five, we have some wonderful kid detectives bringing mystery and day-saving antics to our shelves! Here are some of our favourites that all happen to be set in times past, from 1700s London to 1930s Hong Kong, and are all the start of their respective series.

We have the unstoppable Deepdean duo, Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells of the Wells and Wong Detective Agency, in the Murder Most Unladylike series. This series truly gets better as it goes on, with highlights being A Spoonful of Murder and Death in the Spotlight – but individual favourites may be particular to each reader.

Drama and Danger provides a gripping read starring another detecting pair – Lizzie Sancho and Dido Belle- and also offers an educational picture of 18th century London through the eyes of Black residents and real historical figures and events. We look forward to the second book in the Lizzie and Belle Mysteries!

Aggie Morton and her new friend Hector provide a charming take on some grisly crime scene investigating in The Body Under the Piano; their characters inspired by queen of crime-writing, Agatha Christie, and her fictional detective, Hercule Poirot.

Explore more from our catalogue in the list below:

Junior Fiction

The body under the piano / Jocelyn, Marthe
“A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The detective’s guide to ocean travel / Greenberg, Nicki
“For as long as she can remember, Pepper Stark has wanted one thing: to join her father, the Captain, aboard the magnificent RMS Aquitania on a voyage to New York. She has never been allowed to set foot on her father’s ship, until now. From the decadent food to the star-studded passenger list, travelling First Class on Aquitania is every bit as glamorous as Pepper had imagined. And most dazzling of all is American stage sensation Perdita West, wearing the world-famous Saffron Diamond around her neck. When the priceless jewel disappears mid-voyage, Pepper unexpectedly finds herself entangled in the crime. With the Captain’s reputation at stake, Pepper and her new friends set out to solve the mystery. But finding a missing diamond isn’t so easy on Aquitania, where everyone has something to hide.” (Catalogue)

Murder most unladylike / Stevens, Robin
“Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls to solve the murder of their Science Mistress, Miss Bell.” (Catalogue)

If you enjoy the Murder Most Unladylike series, we recommend the spin-off based on Hazel Wong’s younger sister, May:

The ministry of unladylike activity / Stevens, Robin
“1940. Britain is at war, and a secret arm of the British government called the Ministry of Unladylike Activity is training up spies.

Enter May Wong: courageous, stubborn, and desperate to help end the war so that she can go home to Hong Kong (and leave her annoying school, Deepdean, behind forever). May knows that she would make the perfect spy. After all, grown-ups always underestimate children like her.

When May and her friend Eric are turned away by the Ministry, they take matters into their own hands. Masquerading as evacuees, they travel to Elysium Hall, home to the wealthy Verey family – including snobby, dramatic Nuala. They suspect that one of the Vereys is passing information to Germany. If they can prove it, the Ministry will have to take them on.

But there are more secrets at Elysium Hall than May or Eric could ever have imagined.” (Catalogue)

Premeditated Myrtle : a Myrtle Hardcastle mystery / Bunce, Elizabeth C
“When twelve-year-old aspiring detective Myrtle Hardcastle learns her neighor in quiet Swinburne, England, a breeder of rare flowers, has died she is certain it was murder and that she must find the killer.” (Catalogue)

Drama and danger / Williams, J. T.
“Twelve-year-olds Lizzie Sancho and Dido Belle are from different worlds – Lizzie lives in Westminster in her dad’s tea shop, while Belle is an heiress being brought up by her aunt and uncle at grand Kenwood House – but they both share a love of solving mysteries. And when their eyes meet in the audience of the Drury Lane theatre one night, both girls are sure they’ve seen something suspicious on stage. Lizzie and Belle soon find themselves on the trail of a mystery – and becoming best friends. But can they work out what’s going on in time to prevent a murder?”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Comics

Goldie Vance. Volume one / Larson, Hope
“Move over Nancy, Harriet, & Veronica. There’s a new sleuth on the block! Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. Her mom, who divorced her dad years ago, works as a live mermaid at a club downtown. Goldie has an insatiable curiosity, which explains her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Charles, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery.” (Catalogue)

Enola Holmes : the graphic novels, Book one / Blasco, Serena
“Fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes wakes on her birthday to discover that her mother has disappeared from the family’s country manor, leaving only a collection of flowers and a coded message book. With Sherlock and Mycroft determined to ship her off to a boarding school, Enola escapes, displaying a cleverness that even impresses the elder Holmes. But nothing prepares her for what lies ahead.” (Catalogue)

What Comes Next? Warriors

Many parents will be familiar with the challenge of finding their tamariki interesting and exciting books to read after they finish a fantastic series, and the library is here to help. In our series “What Comes Next?” we provide some recommendations for children after they’ve finished a popular series. Last month we looked at the hilariously unlucky Series of Unfortunate Eventsand this month we have focused our attention on the long-running Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter.

For many tamariki the Warriors books are one of the first big series they really dive in to. And whether they make their way through all the books or are looking for something to read after they’ve gotten their fill, we’ve done our best to find something for everyone. We haven’t included the other Erin Hunter books in this list, but if you haven’t read them yet then check out Seekers, Survivors and Bravelands

Librarian’s tip — If you are reading the Warriors series and aren’t quite sure what order you’re meant to be reading them in, we recommend visiting Fantastic Fiction, who’ve done all the hard work of putting all those books in reading order for you!

Younger Kids:

Young kids have quite a few options when it comes to animal-focused books with lots of adventure. Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole is simply excellent, and Lucky by Chris Hill is sure to delight kids, with a fun squirrel as the main character. Animorphs by Katherine Applegate needs no introduction to many people, who wouldn’t remember a book where kids gain the power to transform into animals? Finally, a newer book with panthers as main characters is The Lost Rainforest by Eliot Schrefer.

The capture / Lasky, Kathryn
“When Soren, a barn owl, arrives at St. Aggie’s, a school for orphaned owls, he suspects trouble and with his new friend, a clever elf owl named Gylfie, embarks on a perilous journey to save all owls from the danger at St. Aggie’s.” (Catalogue)

Mez’s magic / Schrefer, Eliot
“Caldera has forever been divided into those animals who walk by night and those who walk by day. Until the eclipse. Now Mez has discovered that she can cross the Veil and enter the daylight world. Her magical power has unknown depths, but she must rush to discover it after a mysterious stranger arrives at her family’s den, bearing warnings of a reawakened evil. Saving Caldera means Mez must leave her sister behind and unite an unlikely group of animal friends to unravel an ancient mystery and protect their rainforest home.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Lucky / Hill, Chris
“Every day is a fight for survival when you’re a young squirrel lost in the world. And for Lucky, it gets even tougher when he finds out he’s the only red squirrel in a city park fought over by grey ones. Lucky needs fortune on his side to win a place in their hearts. But when he discovers a plot that threatens his new home, is his luck about to run out?”–Back cover” (Catalogue)

Invasion / Applegate, Katherine
“When Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, and Marco stumble upon a downed alien spaceship and its dying pilot, they’re given an incredible power … a power they must use to outsmart an evil greater than anything the world has ever seen.” (Catalogue)

Older Kids:

If you’re on the older side, and looking for Young Adult reads with similar energy to Warriors then we’ve found a few books you’ll probably enjoy. While Gone by Michael Grant doesn’t have any animals, it does have teenagers with mysterious powers trying to solve a mystery in a Lord of the Flies-esque society. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater does have animals in the form of werewolves as main characters and Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce is an excellent fantasy series sure to delight fans of Warriors who enjoyed the political intrigue.

Gone / Grant, Michael
“In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have “The Power” and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.” (Catalogue)

Shiver / Stiefvater, Maggie
“In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.” (Catalogue)

First test / Pierce, Tamora
“Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight.” (Catalogue)

Hopefully you’ve found something to dive into after finishing Warriors, and catch us next time for another blog on a popular series, we haven’t quite decided which one yet, so feel free to drop some suggestions down below!

What Comes Next? A Series of Unfortunate Events

Finding new pukapuka for your tamariki can be a challenge, especially when they can get through a big series in just a couple of weeks. Well, the library is here to help! In our series “What Comes Next?” we try and tackle the tricky challenge of helping you find the next book after a great series. If you haven’t seen our blog from last month on Ranger’s Apprentice, then be sure to check it out if your tamaiti loves fantasy or archery! This month we are focusing on the delightfully dreary Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, with humorous recommendations for those who enjoyed the series.

A Series of Unfortunate Events has delighted children with the Baudelaires woeful escapades for well over two decades now and the series has only grown in popularity following the Netflix adaptation. While no one is quite like Lemony Snicket, we’ve put together our best picks for tamariki who loved this series.

Younger Kids:

Luckily for tamariki there are heaps of excellent books which lean into the darker side while remaining humorous and fun. The Spiderwick Chronicles are a great fit for tamariki who like fantasy with just a little bit of scary, and so is the hilarious Floodseries by Colin Thompson. Chris Riddell brings us a gothic mystery complete with a ghostly mouse in Goth Girl, and if you found yourself rooting for the villain, then check out The Crims by Kate Davies which features a whole family of criminals.

The field guide / DiTerlizzi, Tony
“When the Grace children go to stay at their Great Aunt Lucinda’s worn Victorian house, they discover a field guide to fairies and other creatures and begin to have some unusual experiences. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.” (Catalogue)
Neighbours / Thompson, Colin
“Nerlin and Mordonna Flood have seven children, most of whom were made in a cellar, using incredible mystical powers. Betty is a normal little girl – but she’s a useless witch. Her attempts at magic often go wrong, with unexpected yet welcome results. When the next-door neighbours rob the Floods, they find out what the Floods do to bad neighbours” (Adapted from catalogue)
Goth Girl and the ghost of a mouse / Riddell, Chris
“A deliciously dark offering from the award-winning author-illustrator of the Ottoline books” (Catalogue)
The Crims / Davies, Kate
“When her notoriously inept family of criminals is wrongly accused, Imogen, the only truly skilled criminal, uses her skills to clear their names.” (Catalogue)

Older Kids:

For the older ones who want that dark-humor vibe after reading or rereading A Series of Unfortunate Events we have got you covered. Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is another fantasy with darker vibes that older kids are sure to love, and Ms Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is perfect for older kids who love a bit of mystery. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman has been on my TBR for ages, and if you ever need to laugh about doomsday then look no further than this excellent book. And if you want even more Neil Gaiman then check out The Graveyard Book which features another child in unfortunate circumstances, raised by ghosts in a graveyard after the murder of his parents.

Skulduggery Pleasant / Landy, Derek
“When twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle’s estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from the Faceless Ones.” (Catalogue)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children / Riggs, Ransom
“After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.” (Catalogue)

 

 


Good omens : the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch / Pratchett, Terry
“According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But one fast-living demon and a somewhat fussy angel would quite like the Rapture not to happen.” (Adapted from catalogue)


The graveyard book / Gaiman, Neil
“After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.” (Catalogue)

We hope you’ve enjoyed these recommendations, we certainly had fun diving into the dark and twisty humour that Lemony Snicket does so well! Catch you again next time for recommendations on a classic children’s series which centres cuddly creatures that you might just have at home.

What comes next? Ranger’s Apprentice

Finding interesting new pukapuka can be a challenge, especially after your tamariki have devoured a big series in a matter of weeks. That’s where the library can help! In “What Comes Next? Wings of Fire” we looked at a series which is huge with children at the moment, and who can blame them when the series is all about dragons. This month we tackle the classic Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan and show you some of the fabulous pukapuka perfect for fans of the series.

Ranger’s Apprentice is an awesome series with lots to offer kids of all interests. The entire series has twelve books (plus two novellas), and if you haven’t read the spinoff series Brotherband or The Royal Ranger, then we would definitely recommend them. Now for the important bit, here are our recommendations for what to read next after Ranger’s Apprentice.

Younger Kids:

There is so much excellent fantasy for tamariki out there that it was difficult to pick favourites, but we’ve put together some fantastic pukapuka sure to appeal to those who loved Ranger’s Apprentice. Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda and Redwall by Brian Jacques are both classic fantasy series which have been loved by young readers for decades. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer and Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend are newer additions to children’s fantasy with interesting characters that kids will love.

Rowan of Rin / Rodda, Emily
“Rowan sets out to solve a riddle and save his home” (Catalogue)
Redwall / Jacques, Brian
“To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Brian Jacques “New York Times” bestselling first book of his Redwall saga, the book that started it all is now available in this gorgeous slipcased edition. Illustrations.” (Catalogue)
Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl / Colfer, Eoin
“No human being had ever got the better of a fairy, but twelve-year old Artemis Fowl, a criminal genius, is determined to get hold of the famous fairy gold and put his brilliant master plan into action. But these are no ordinary fairies.” (Catalogue)
Nevermoor : the trials of Morrigan Crow / Townsend, Jessica
“Morrigan Crow is cursed, doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange man named Jupiter North appears. He whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass four difficult and dangerous trials — or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Older Kids:

If you’re on the older side and looking for a great read with Ranger’s Apprentice vibes then read on! For more old-timey fantasy adventures, then adopted Kiwi classic The Hobbit, or the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce are excellent choices. If you want fantasy/magic/self-discovery with a more modern setting then The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is an awesome read, as is the “utopian” Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

The Hobbit : or There and back again / Tolkien, J. R. R.
“This classic children’s tale introduces readers to the world of Lord of the Rings as well as Hobbits, eleves, dwarves and dragons. Artist Jemima Catlin’s charming and lively interpretation brings Tolkien’s beloved characters to life in a way that will entice and entertain a new generation of readers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The left-handed booksellers of London / Nix, Garth
“Eighteen-year-old art student Susan Arkshaw arrives in London in search of her father. However, a chance encounter with Merlin catapults her into a world of secret societies, magic, and more than a few books. Susan and Merlin become involved in an urgent task to recover the grail that is the source of the left-handed booksellers’ power, before it is used to destroy the booksellers and rouse the hordes of the mythic past.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Scythe / Shusterman, Neal
“In a world where humanity has conquered death and disease, the only way to die is to be gleaned by a scythe. Rowan and Citra have no interest in joining this world, but when they are chosen as apprentices by a scythe, they have little choice. As their training progresses, Rowan and Citra learn more about the many problems facing scythes and what they discover may have deadly consequences.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Terrier / Pierce, Tamora
“Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce’s popular Alanna character. Beka grows throughout the trilogy from an eager apprentice to a capable and confident leader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Ranger’s Apprentice recommendations as much as we enjoyed researching them, just remember not to joust or shoot arrows (unless it’s at targets) in real life! Catch you again next time for recommendations on a classic children’s series which follows the seriously unfortunate lives of three siblings.

What Comes Next? Wings of Fire

One of the most difficult things for parents is finding a good pukapuka for their child who has just finished an incredible series that kept them hooked for weeks (or perhaps more realistically, a few hours!) Well, the library has got you covered! Last month in our blog, What comes next? Diary of a Wimpy Kid, we looked at some comedy gold for kids and teens alike with lots of relatable characters and laugh-out-loud stories. Now, we turn to fantasy as we recommend what to read after finishing Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland.

Tui T Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series is immensely popular with tamariki — set in a fantasy world with dragons, prophecies and plenty of action, it’s easy to see why kids keep coming back for more. Wings of Fire currently has fifteen books, divided into three story arcs of five books each. There is also a super cool graphic novel adaptation of the first six books, so if you have a tamaiti who prefers comics or graphic novels, then that is a great way of introducing them to lots of awesome stories in a different format to traditional books. Anyway, let’s get to the important bit, here are our recommendations for what to read next after Wings of Fire.

Younger Kids:

If you’re looking for more awesome children’s fantasy then we have got you covered. For more pukapuka with dragons check out The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill, which is perfect for tamariki who enjoyed the graphic novel version of Wings of Fire, or How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell which is simply awesome.  If you’re after more fantasy with far less dragons, then check out The Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger or Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

Keeper of the lost cities / Messenger, Shannon
“At age twelve, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always caused her to stand out identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.” (Catalogue)

The Tea Dragon Society / O’Neill, Katie
“After discovering a lost Tea Dragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of Tea Dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.” (Catalogue)

Inkheart / Funke, Cornelia
“Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.” (Catalogue)
How to train your dragon / Cowell, Cressida
“Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.” (Catalogue)

Older Kids:

If you’re on the older side and looking for the next good thing after Wings of Fire then Eragon has dragons galore, as does the Dragonkeeper series by Aussie author Carole Wilkinson. If you want fantasy but need a break from the dragons then check out Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (and honestly anything else by her, she’s pretty awesome) or the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman (you may recognize the first book as the inspiration for the Golden Compass film).

Eragon / Paolini, Christopher
“In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.” (Catalogue)
Tempests and slaughter : a Tortall legend / Pierce, Tamora
“Arram Draper, Varice Kingsford, and Ozorne Tasikhe forge a bond of friendship that sees them through many changes as student mages at Imperial University of Carthak.” (Catalogue)
Dragonkeeper / Wilkinson, Carole
“Ancient China, Han Dynasty. A slave girl saves the life of an ageing dragon and escapes her brutal master. Pursued by a ruthless dragon hunter, the dragon and the girl cross China carrying with them a mysterious stone that must be protected. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Northern lights / Pullman, Philip
“Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…” (Catalogue)

Doing this blog has also made us think maybe we should do a whole blog post just about dragons… something for another time perhaps. Catch you next time with more pukapuka recommendations for what to read after a series featuring archers, knights and royalty on a fantastic adventure.

What Comes Next? Diary of a Wimpy Kid

One of the most difficult things for parents is finding a good pukapuka for their child who has just finished an incredible series that kept them hooked for weeks (or perhaps more realistically, a few hours!) The library has got you covered! Last month, in our blog What comes next? Percy Jackson and the Olympians, we looked at some action-packed titles with incredible world building and influences from different cultures! This time around we recommend what to read after finishing Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a great series for young readers that really captures the weird and whacky nature of middle school (for us non-Americans, that’s like intermediate here in Aotearoa). Greg Heffley has a lot of lessons to learn throughout the series, and he is certainly relatable for many tamariki figuring out where they fit in. Luckily there are lots of books in the series, but once you’ve devoured them all it’s hard to find the next good thing. So, without further ado, here are our picks for what to read after Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Younger Kids:

If you’re looking for more middle school hijinks then Dork Diaries or Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life are sure to take your fancy, or if you’re after the humour of Jeff Kinney in a different setting, then check out the Long-Lost Secret Diary series by Tim Collins or the Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths.

Tales from a NOT-SO fabulous life / Russell, Rachel Renée
“Fourteen-year-old Nikki Maxwell writes in her diary of her struggle to be popular at her exclusive new private school, then of finding her place after she gives up on being part of the elite group.” (Catalogue)

 


Middle school, the worst years of my life / Patterson, James
“When Rafe Kane enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, “Leo the Silent,” to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the school’s code of conduct.” (Catalogue)


The long-lost secret diary of the world’s worst dinosaur hunter / Collins, Tim
“Anne is a 14-year-old girl in Victorian England obsessed with collecting dinosaur fossils and frustrated by the lack of respect she gets from male scientists. Seizing the opportunity to search for fossils in the USA, she finds herself being sucked into the notorious Bone Wars, a rivalry between American professors wanting to be the first to make new discoveries by whatever means necessary. (Adapted from Catalogue)


The 13-storey treehouse / Griffiths, Andy
“Andy and Terry’s 13-storey treehouse is the most amazing treehouse in the world! It’s got a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of man-eating sharks, a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!” (Catalogue)

Older Kids:

For tamariki on the older side looking for a Young Adult book with the same vibe as Diary of a Wimpy Kid then check out Not my Problem, the comedy-sci-fi classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. All of these books have the comedy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with slightly older kid problems!

Not my problem / Smyth, Ciara
“When Aideen agrees to help class swot Maebh deal with her crazy workload, she doesn’t expect to end up reluctantly pushing Maebh down the stairs. Aideen becomes the school ‘fixer’: any problem a student has, Aideen will sort it out, from stealing confiscated mobiles to breaking into parties. But Aideen’s own life is a mess and after spending more time with the uptight Maebh and chatterbox Kavi, Aideen starts to wonder: can every problem be solved?” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian / Alexie, Sherman
“Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.” (Catalogue)


The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy : a trilogy in four parts / Adams, Douglas
“A one-volume edition charting Arthur Dent’s odyssey through space in the first four titles in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.” (Catalogue)
Catch you next time for more pukapuka recommendations… the next set might just have something to do with dragon scales and fire breath!

What comes next? Percy Jackson and the Olympians

One of the most difficult things for parents is finding a good pukapuka for their child who has just finished an incredible series that kept them hooked for weeks (or perhaps more realistically, a few hours!) Well the library has got you covered! Starting with Percy Jackson “What comes next?” will provide suggestions for books tamariki might like if they enjoyed popular children’s fiction series.

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series is one of the most popular children’s fiction series out there, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love monsters, gods, and a bunch of really cool kids saving the world? Finding something to read after such a great series is hard, but here are our top picks for what to read next. We haven’t included Rick Riordan’s other books, all of which are set in the same world as Percy Jackson, but if you haven’t read them yet then check out Heroes of Olympus (The continuation of Percy Jackson with Roman mythology), Magnus Chase (Norse mythology), The Kane Chronicles (Egyptian Mythology) and Trials of Apollo (A new adventure in the Percy Jackson world).

Younger Kids:

If you’re after more books with the same flavour as Percy Jackson but with mythology from a wide variety of cultures, then check out Rick Riordan Presents titles, we’ve picked two of our favourites which feature Hindu and West African mythology respectively. We’ve also included other children’s fantasy books, so there should be something for everyone.

Aru Shah and the end of time / Chokshi, Roshani
“When twelve-year-old Aru Shah’s schoolmates dare her to prove that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, she doesn’t think there’s any harm in lighting it. Little does Aru know that lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees an ancient demon who freezes her mother in time – and it’s up to Aru to save her.” (Catalogue)

Tristan Strong punches a hole in the sky / Mbalia, Kwame
“Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend Eddie. While trying to rescue Eddie’s notebook from an unexpected foe Tristan punches the Bottle Tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forests of silence / Rodda, Emily
“Deltora is invaded by the evil Shadow Lord when the magical gems from the Belt of Deltora are stolen. Two unlikely companions set out to find them and to save their land from the tyrant.” (Catalogue)


The hound of Rowan / Neff, Henry H
“After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious Celtic tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in “mystics and combat” in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.” (Catalogue)

The fairy-tale detectives / Buckley, Michael
“Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead.” (Catalogue)

Older Kids:

If you’ve come back to Percy Jackson or discovered it later in life and are looking for similar flavour in your Young Adult reads, then here are our suggestions for you. We’ve got some mythology inspired and other excellent fantasy books sure to appease older readers who loved Percy Jackson.

Lore / Bracken, Alexandra
“Every seven years there is a hunt offering mortal descendants of gods the opportunity to claim their divinity by killing any of nine immortals made mortal for one night. Lore Perseous has no desire to participate in the Agon, embittered because her family was killed by a rival who then ascended to godhood. When a childhood friend asks her to help, and a wounded god offers an alliance, Lore overlooks the steep cost of this decision in exchange for vengeance.” (Catalogue)

Season of the bruja / Duran, Aaron
“From a young age, Althalia knew she would someday be the last of her kind – a bruja, tasked with keeping the power and stories of the ancient ways from fading fully into history. But the prejudice her people have always faced continues, and after a seemingly random encounter with a priest, Althalia feels the weight of hundreds of years of religious oppression coming down upon her and her abuela. She must realize her destiny and prevent the church from achieving its ultimate goal – destroying the last bruja.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The gilded ones / Forna, Namina
“The blood ceremony determines whether Deka will become a member of her village. Already different because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony her blood runs gold.  Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be– not even Deka herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Raven Boys / Stiefvater, Maggie
“Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.”
(Catalogue)

The warrior heir / Chima, Cinda Williams
“After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards.” (Catalogue)

Read with Pride for Kids!

Now that Wellington Pride is over you may be wondering how to introduce tamariki to LGBTQIA+ stories. Why teach children about the LGBT community, you may ask? Firstly, it helps teach children about the diverse people they will meet during their lifetimes, and it also helps them understand family structures different to their own and learn about the rainbow community.

Also, many tamariki have family members who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, or may be a part of the community themselves, and we think all of our readers should be able to find books on our shelves that reflect their experiences of the world.

Our libraries have many excellent books for tamariki of all ages to learn about the LGBT community, so we’ve made a list to get you started. You can also ask our friendly librarians to point you in the right direction if you’d like additional suggestions, or if you know of a great LGBT book for kids that we don’t have, you can recommend it to our selectors here!

Picture Books:

Julián is a mermaid / Love, Jessica

“One day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Abuela think about how Julian sees himself?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My shadow is pink / Stuart, Scott

“Inspired by the author’s own little boy, ‘Shadow’s’ main character likes princesses, fairies and things ‘not for boys’ and he soon learns (through the support of his dad) that everyone has a shadow that they sometimes feel they need to hide. This is an important book for a new generation of children (and adults alike) which exemplifies the concepts of unconditional love, respect and positive parenting.” (Catalogue)

Heather has two mummies / Newman, Lesléa

“When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The name I call myself / Namir, Hasan

“This sophisticated picture book depicts Ari’s gender journey from childhood to adolescence as they discover who they really are. Throughout this beautiful and engaging picture book, we watch Ari grow up before our very eyes as they navigate the ins and outs of their gender identity. Who will Ari become?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Children’s Fiction:

Proud of me / Hagger-Holt, Sarah

“Becky and Josh are almost-twins, with two mums and the same anonymous donor dad. Josh can’t wait until he’s eighteen, the legal age when he can finally contact his father, and he’ll do anything to find out more, even if it involves lying. Becky can’t stop thinking about her new friend, Carli. Could her feelings for Carli be a sign of something more? Becky and Josh both want their parents to be proud of them, but right now, they’re struggling to even accept themselves.” (Catalogue)

Unicorn power / Tamaki, Mariko

“Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin–Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley–love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen. and go on supernatural adventures.  This adaption of the graphic novels features same-sex parents, and trans and lesbian characters.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Better Nate than ever / Federle, Tim

“An eighth-grader who dreams of performing in a Broadway musical concocts a plan to run away to New York and audition for the role of Elliot in the musical version of “E.T.”” (Catalogue)

Answers in the pages / Levithan, David

“When Donovan leaves a school book on the kitchen counter he doesn’t think anything of it. But soon the entire town is freaking out about whether the book’s main characters are gay, Donovan’s mom is trying to get the book removed from the school curriculum, and Donovan is caught in the middle. Donovan doesn’t really know if the two boys fall in love at the end or not–but he does know this: even if they do, it shouldn’t matter. The book should not be banned from school. (Adapted from Catalogue)