Our first Bat of the Year!

For the first time since it was established in 2005, the annual Bird of the Year competition has not been won by a bird!

Bird of the Year/Te Manu Rongonui o te Tau is a competition organised by Forest & Bird every year to raise awareness of our native birds and the threats they face. This year was the first time a non-bird has been part of the competition when the pekapeka-tou-roa (long-tailed bat) was allowed to enter. Some people weren’t very happy that a bat was allowed to enter Bird of the Year, but since Aotearoa only has two native land mammals, and they’re both bats, holding a “Bat of the Year” wouldn’t be much of a competition!

Our native birds and our native bats face a lot of the same threats. They both have to deal with predators, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. We do have a lot more birds than bats though, since there are 168 species of native New Zealand birds, and only two native species of bat. And Bird of the Year means that the competing birds get a lot of attention as people choose their favourite birds to vote for. When the pekapeka-tou-roa was allowed to compete in Bird of the Year it started getting a lot more attention as well, which is a very good thing since it is classed as “nationally critical” – the term used for the most threatened species in New Zealand. All this attention and newfound competitive spirit led up to…

Earlier this week the 2021 Bird of the Year competition was won by the pekapeka-tou-roa!

Congratulations to the 2021 Bird (Bat) of the Year!

A close-up of a furry, chocolate brown pekapeka that is hanging upside down on the trunk of a tree. Its wings are held in close against its body, and one ear and eye are pointed towards the camera.

Photo by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation, licensed under CC BY 4.0

One very interesting and adorable fact about the pekapeka-tou-roa is that they’re tiny. It’s hard to know how big the bat in this photo is because there isn’t much to show the scale of it, but it really is much smaller than you’d expect – this bat weighs about the same as a $2 coin, and its body is only the size of your thumb! That’s so small! Our other native bat, the pekapeka-tou-poto (short-tailed bat) is slightly bigger, but only by a few grams.

If you’d like to know more about our native pekapeka, here are a few places you can go to learn more:

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC) looks after New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage, and has a lot of information about our National Parks, Great Walks, Conservation, and our native plants and animals! They’ve got a great section on our native pekapeka, and have even caught them on video!

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is a wonderful online encyclopedia with information on all things Aotearoa. You can find stories about the history of our cities, biographies of historical New Zealanders, as well as about our native animals and plants. Check out their story about our two native bats – full of facts and pictures!

Bats / Arkins, Alina
If you’d rather not read about our pekapeka on a website and would prefer a book, this book is a great introduction to both of our native bats. It describes them both and where they live, how they raise their babies, what they eat and how they manage to catch their food.


While the top award this year was taken out by the pekapeka-tou-roa, the other four competitors rounding out the top five were all (unsurprisingly) birds.

Second place went to the kākāpō, which won Bird of the Year in both 2020 and 2008.

The kākāpō is the world’s heaviest parrot and is also classed as nationally critical.


A small, pale green titipounamu perches on a branch with its beak slightly turned upwards.

Photo: 124445324 by thibaudaronson on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The titipounamu (rifleman) came in third place.

Titipounamu are New Zealand’s smallest bird and were recently seen in Wellington for possibly the first time in a century!

Photo: 124445324 by thibaudaronson on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


A kea in flight. Photographed from below so you can see the vibrant red feathers under its wings.

Photo: 112601911 by christopherstephens on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fourth place went to the kea, which won Bird of the Year in 2017.

Kea are the only alpine (mountain-living) parrot in the world, and are well-known for their cheeky natures.


A smug looking toroa sits on a tussock, surrounded by ferns.

Photo: 137728076 by M Rutherford on iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY 4.0

The toroa (antipodean albatross) came in fifth and is the only seabird in the top five.

Toroa spend most of their lives at sea, and only come in to land when it is time to raise their young.


If you want more information about the many native birds of Aotearoa, New Zealand Native Birds Online lets you look up birds by name, search by location, or browse by conservation status. What’s even cooler is that if you’ve seen a bird out on a walk, you can use the “Identify that bird” feature to figure out exactly what kind of bird you’ve seen!


There are a lot of books that you can find in our libraries all about our native birds and bats. We also have books about our extinct animals and why we have to be so careful caring for the species we still have. Here’s a selection of titles you can find at your local libraries:

In the bush : explore & discover New Zealand’s native forests / Candler, Gillian
“In the Bush is the fourth in the popular Explore & Discover series. It includes insects and other invertebrates, fungi, ferns and mosses, birds, bats, introduced pests, vines, epiphytes, and trees. Includes removeable, waterproof reference guide.” (Catalogue)


Lost wonders : vanished creatures of Aotearoa / Ell, Sarah
“The story of the lost wonders of New Zealand’s natural history: the extinct species which are now gone forever. Lost Wonders also features some key species which are on the brink – critically endangered – and the efforts that are being made to save them for future generations. The stories of these fascinating creatures – birds, insects, reptiles and plants – are told in an entertaining and accessible style, drawing on first-hand accounts and supported with useful illustrations. It draws on accounts of their demise, and of the social climate in New Zealand in which these extinctions occurred.” (Abridged from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook


Bird’s-eye view : through the eyes of New Zealand birds / Gill, Maria
“Reveals what 13 New Zealand birds see in their natural habitats, and uses the latest avian-vision research to show various bird’s-eye views in a series of panoramic images. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)


On the brink : New Zealand’s most endangered species / Gill, Maria
“Discover our most threatened animals in New Zealand. From the beautiful forest ringlet butterfly to the down-right ugly southern elephant seal, the cheeky kākāpō to the super-sensory-powered ambush hunters the great white sharks. Every one of the unique species in our waters and on our land is threatened by predators, land changes, pollution, and other human-induced disturbances. As well as finding out how unique these animals are, you’ll read what is harming them, and most importantly what we can do to help them.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook


All about New Zealand birds / Gunson, Dave
“This fun and educational book features dozens of vibrant illustrations by talented artist, children’s book writer and bird fanatic Dave Gunson. Over 50 of our most interesting and most loved native and introduced birds have been illustrated especially for this book by Dave. Each page features one large illustration of a bird and 100 words of text. All About New Zealand Birds is an ideal introduction to many of the birds of New Zealand for people of all ages.” (Abridged from Catalogue)


The cuckoo and the warbler : a true New Zealand story / Warne, Kennedy
“The Cuckoo and the Warbler tells the story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness.” (Catalogue)

Picture Books: New Releases in October 2021!

Spring is around the corner! Why not spring on down to Wellington City Libraries for some new children’s picture books to keep you amused . So what are you waiting for? Go down to your local branch and borrow the following books:

image courtesy of syndeticsOutfoxed.

“Harold is unlike any other fox. He hates eating chicken, for one thing. He much prefers reading detective novels. When Harold’s father challenges him to catch a chicken as part of his initiation into adulthood, Harold is faced with a dilemma–should he obey his father and endanger the chicken’s life, or do what his heart tells him is right? The latest title from award-winning illustrator Claudia Boldt, Outfoxed introduces a smart, independent-minded character in Harold the fox and is sure to become a bedtime favorite.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsAttack of the Giant Baby.

“This is a book about a baby destroying his sister’s make-believe play from the perspective of the castle’s occupants. A Giant Baby has been spotted in the kingdom! Summon the special advisors. Send out the knights in shining armour. Let loose the monster-size bear!” (Catalogue).

A shelter for sadness.

“A small boy creates a safe space for his sadness, a shelter where it can curl up small, or be as big as it can be, where it can be noisy or quiet, or anything in between. The boy can visit the shelter every day, sometimes every hour and he knows that one day Sadness may come out of the shelter and they will look at the beautiful world together”–Back cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsStop that dinosaur!

“I was in my Granny’s kitchen eating extra-special cake, when the walls began to tremble and the roof began to SHAKE. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Ring! Ring! Ring! Oh MY – a dino’s at the door. And now it’s taken Granny … SOMEONE STOP THAT DINOSAUR! Chase down the GRAN-NAPPING brontosaurus in this rollicking, rhyming, ROAR-some romp. Can you catch the naughty dinosaur and get back to Granny’s house before Mum comes home at six o’clock?”–Provided by publisher.

image courtesy of syndeticsDifferent : a great thing to be!

“This joyful rhyming book encourages children to value the “different” in all people, leading the way to a kinder world in which the differences in all of us are celebrated and embraced. Macy is a girl who’s a lot like you and me, but she’s also quite different, which is a great thing to be. With kindness, grace, and bravery, Macy finds her place in the world, bringing beauty and laughter wherever she goes and leading others to find delight in the unique design of every person.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.


image courtesy of syndeticsBodies are Cool.

“From the acclaimed creator of Dancing at the Pity Party and Roaring Softly, this picture book is a pure celebration of all the different human bodies that exist in the world. Highlighting the various skin tones, body shapes, and hair types is just the beginning in this truly inclusive book. With its joyful illustrations and encouraging refrain, it will instill body acceptance and confidence in the youngest of readers. “My body, your body, every different kind of body! All of them are good bodies! BODIES ARE COOL!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsDon’t hug Doug (he doesn’t like it).

“Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.” (Catalogue).

Spring into Sport with Play Smart!

Spring is in the air! A season of new beginnings, rebirth …. and exercise! Why not spring into sport with Play Smart, where you’ll get active, have fun and learn about science. Guaranteed to help you ace in P.E.,  science and possibly be a future contender of the Olympics.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsThe science of cricket.

“How you ever wondered how to score a glorious goal make a perfect pass or hit a winning wicket By looking at angles forces distances and mass this series will teach you how. From hitting and kicking to running and jumping we will explore a variety of sports and the science behind them giving you all you need to know to Play Smart.” (Amazon).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe science of tennis.

“How is a tennis player is able to hit the ball and have control over it? Questions such as this are answered in this exciting look at the science behind tennis. Readers learn how to execute certain serves, such as a forehand serve and backhand serve, using a deeper understanding of physics. Detailed diagrams explain the science behind what happens before and after the tennis ball is hit with the racket. This creative guide to science curriculum topics includes graphic organizers, a thorough glossary, and delightful, full-color photographs that depict the thrilling intersection of science and sports.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe science of swimming.

“In swimming, there are multiple scientific concepts at play, such as density, gravity, momentum, and buoyancy. Readers learn about these concepts and more with this engaging guide to the science behind swimming. Useful diagrams display how to execute the perfect push-off from the wall of a pool, how to swim successful strokes, and how to do a cannonball. Informative fact boxes, helpful graphic organizers, and full-color photographs provide additional information. Readers will be thrilled by visual examples of science concepts in action. This high-interest approach to science curriculum topics will resonate with young readers.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe science of football.

“How you ever wondered how to score a glorious goal, make a perfect pass, or hit a winning wicket? By looking at angles, forces, distances and mass, this series will teach you how.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of sydneticsThe science of athletics.

“There are lots of athletic events. They include running, throwing different objects and jumping in different ways. Are you ready to learn all about science behind athletics?” (Catalogue).

 

Children’s Comics and Graphic Novels: New Releases in October 2021

Spring is around the corner! Why not spring on down to Wellington City Libraries for some new children’s comics and graphic novels to keep you amused. So what are you waiting for? Come on down to your local branch and borrow the following:

image courtesy of syndeticsHarriet Tubman : toward freedom.

“Graphic biography detailing Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her efforts with other abolitionists to rescue dozens of those still enslaved”– Provided by publisher.

image courtesy of syndeticsMagic tree house : dinosaurs before dark.

“Retells, in graphic novel form, the tale of eight-year-old Jack and his younger sister Annie, who find a magic treehouse which whisks them back to an ancient time zone where they see live dinosaurs.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of Pup detectives [4] : ghosts, goblins, and ninjas!

“During a martial arts expo at Pawston Elementary, the sacred scroll of Bark-Jitsu is stolen. The pup detectives set out to crack their most puzzling case yet… because this one involves, ghosts, goblins, and a super stealthy ninja”– Provided by publisher.

IMAGE COURTESY OF SYNDETICSJop and Blip wanna know [1] : can you hear a penguin fart on Mars?, and other excellent questions.

“Join Jop and Blip as they follow their curiosity and investigate these seemingly odd questions using their own brand of logic, critical thinking skills, STEM knowledge, and humor. Can you hear a penguin fart on Mars? What if you wanted a dragon sandwich? Why do we need TWO ears?” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsSurvive in the outdoors!

“In this volume of Maker Comics, First Second’s DIY graphic novel series, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for seven projects that will help you survive in the wild! Sophia and Alonso have been packed off to their grandpa’s for a fishing trip, and they’re dreading spending a whole day in the woods without any cell service. But Grandpa opens their eyes to the wonders of the outdoors, and its dangers — from tick bites to hypothermia. And when a sprained ankle delays their return to civilization, the kids have to learn not only how to perform forest-friendly first aid, but how to safely spend the night in the woods when you don’t have a tent! Prepare yourself before you set off on your next adventure! Whether you’re hiking in the wilderness or camping in your own backyard, Survive in the Outdoors! will equip you with the know-how you need. In this book, you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to build a campfire, catch and clean a fish, make a shelter, and more!” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsMarvel action. Avengers. Book 5, Off the clock.

“First, in order to stop Loki’s newest scheme, Thor and Ant-Man go… antiquing? Then, while visiting an elementary school, Captain America runs into the nefarious Trapster! With scores of children in peril, Cap must rely on the aid of none other than Squirrel Girl! And, after Thor and Cap’s difficulties, find out what the rest of the Avengers are up to on their day off! Chaos reigns as a fiendish villain makes off with one of Dr. Strange’s most powerful artifacts!”–Amazon.

 

 

 

Explore Beyond the Page in the July School Holidays!

The Beyond the Page literary festival is returning for a mini-festival of awesomeness across the Wellington region during the July school holidays! From July 16-19, join us for five amazing events that will bring the fizzing, creative, and adventurous part of the library to life for you and your whānau. Read on to find out what’s on and how to get involved!


Songs, Stories, Sass & SPLASH by Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan

Johnsonville LibraryFriday 16 July, 2.00pm

Bring the whānau and learn the secrets behind the creation of the multi award-winning picture book The Bomb. Join picture book making team, author Sacha Cotter and illustrator Josh Morgan, for a fun-filled hour of storytelling, music, fascinating ‘behind-the-scenes’ facts and an activity to unleash your imagination designing your own slapping, dripping, soaking, sky-scraping SPLASH!

This event is suitable for children 3-8 years old with their caregivers, and registrations are not required. We may need to restrict numbers on the day for safety due to venue and crowd size, so we recommend arriving 15 minutes before the event begins to secure your spot.

Find out more about Sacha and Josh here.


Family Quiz Night with Gee Quiz

Online (from the comfort of your own home!), Saturday 17 July, 6.30pm

It’s trivia time! We’ve partnered with the capital’s favourite quiz provider, Gee Quiz, to bring you an awesome online family-friendly quiz as part of Beyond the Page. All you need is an internet connection and you and your family can join in the fun from the comfort of your own home. Dress-ups of your favourite book, movie or comic character are encouraged, but if you just want to cosy up in your PJs, that is fine too!

We recommend teams of 2-6 players, but at least one person on the team must be a child under age of 13.

Registrations are required; click here to register. Find out more about the quiz here.


Little Dog Barking Theatre Presents: Rainbows and Fishes

Paraparaumu Library, Sunday 18 July, 10.30am
Upper Hutt Central Library, Sunday 18 July, 2.00pm

Colourful props and puppets are woven together by Kenny King to tell this story in English, te reo Māori, and Samoan. Enjoy an exciting story of change, colour and creation!

Show synopsis: Home to a happy group of people was a small island in the Pacific ocean. They had everything they needed — they grew vegetables and fruit to eat, caught fish, played games with each other, and told stories of old and stories of new. There was one song they sang, of a time when the Rainbow Fish lost its colours, a time when the other fish in the sea had no colours, a time when the wind created great mischief to the people of the island and the fish in the sea.

This event is suitable for children 2-8 years old with their caregivers, and registrations are not required.

Find out more about Little Dog Barking Theatre here.


Superhero Science with Nanogirl

Walter Nash Centre, Taitā, Monday 19 July, 2.00pm

The Nanogirl ‘Superhero Science’ show gets noisy and explosive, as we explore the science behind superpowers and engineer superpowers of our own with Michelle Dickinson (a.k.a. Nanogirl!).

This event is suitable for children 6-12 years old with their caregivers. Registrations are required; click here to register.

Find out more about Nanogirl here.

Become an Environmental Scientist with the City Nature Challenge!

Finish off the school holidays in environmental style by taking part in the City Nature Challenge this weekend! From Friday 30 April to Monday 3 May, Wellington will be transformed into a giant nature playground — and you will be turned into scientists, should you choose to take up the challenge of embarking on a four-day bioblitz!

WCC gardener photographing a plant using the iNaturalist app at a Wellington City garden.

Nate Rigler, WCC gardener, investigating some local flora! Photo credit: Tim Park.

So what is the City Nature Challenge? It’s a global event that sees people from over 250 cities across the world search for, report, and log any sightings of wild plants, creatures, or organisms, living or dead, on the land, up the mountains, and in the sea — and around our backyards.

It’s super easy to get involved using the iNaturalist app (free on the app store). Join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group, go for a walk in the city (looking out for local flora and fauna as you go!) and when you spot something cool, upload it to the app. There are prizes to be won and a natural environment to be discovered, so pick up a flyer from your local library, or head over to the City Nature Challenge website, to find out more!

If nature is your kind of thing, Wellington City Libraries has a huge range of books and other resources on the topic. Use the following links to find books on our catalogue about various topics relating to the plants, animals, and environment of New Zealand — or use the Dewey Decimal numbers to help you search the shelves the next time you visit the library!

Here are some that you might find particularly useful as you participate in the City Nature Challenge this weekend:

New Zealand nature heroes / Candler, Gillian
“New Zealand Nature Heroes is designed to inspire and empower New Zealand kids to be naturalists and conservationists. Aimed at the 8-12 age range, the book features stories of 15 different nature heroes, people who, in the past, or currently, are working to protect and understand New Zealand’s natural world. These inspirational profiles are complemented with information about key animals, plants or habitats, and then each matched with an authentic activity that kids can do to make a difference.” (Catalogue)

A New Zealand nature journal / Morris, Sandra
“A New Zealand Nature Journal will teach you how to keep a nature journal to record your amazing discoveries. Have you ever noticed that ladybirds have different numbers of spots? Or that leaves can be pointed or round, long or short, soft or hard? There is so much to explore in the natural world. And keeping a nature journal is the best way to record all your amazing discoveries.” (Catalogue)

New Zealand birds in pictures / Chen, Kimball
“From the barely-visible wings of the flightless kiwi to the immense wingspan of the wandering albatross, New Zealand’s fragile island ecosystem is home to a diverse array of spectacular birds. Delve into the fascinating world of our feathered friends with author and wildlife photographer Kimball Chen. From intimate portraits of endangered creatures and their glamorous breeding plumage, to dramatic wide-angle birdscapes encompassing rugged sub-antarctic habitats, to magical fleeting encounters of birds courting and mating and hatching, Chen’s passion for nature shines with artistic and aesthetic photographs sure to pique a greater appreciation of New Zealand birds. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The life-size guide to insects & other land vertebrates of New Zealand / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying New Zealand’s insects, spiders and other land invertebrates is made simple with this new guide. Over 300 life-size colour photographs make it fun for all the family to learn more about the natural world of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

The life-size guide to native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest can be fun for all the family with this new pictorial guide. Match leaves, flowers, seeds, berries and bark against beautiful, life-sized photographs for fast, accurate identification. Written by one of New Zealand’s foremost writers on native plants, The Life-Size Guide offers a new opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world of our native plants.” (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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What do we do with all that poo?

All living creatures poo! Big ones like elephants do big poos, and little ones like ants do tiny poos, and human beings are somewhere in the middle! There a lots of more scientific terms for poo: ‘faeces’, ‘stool’ or ‘bowel movement’, and ‘scat’ is the term for the poo of a wild animal.

But why do we have to poo, what is it, and where does it all go when you flush the toilet?

Flush Toilet Illustrations And Hand Hygiene clipart drawing free imageThe purpose of poo is to remove waste from your body – especially the leftover bits of food that your body can’t use, such as fruit pips and vegetable skins. About 75% (three quarters) of a typical poo is water. The water helps to make the poo soft so it can get out of the body easily. The rest of the poo consists of broken-down body cells, fat and minerals and leftover food waste (those fruit pips and vege skins mentioned above). But did you know that your poos are alive?? Your intestines contain billions of bacteria that help digest food. When the bacteria come out in poo, about half of them are still alive. The live bacteria can make you ill if they get into your stomach. This is why poo can be harmful, and you have to flush it away and wash your hands.

The sewage / wastewater journey

Treatment plant at Moa Point.

Image: Treatment plant at Moa Point. Courtesy Wellington.govt.nz

Once you’ve flushed the toilet, this then becomes sewage. Sewage (or wastewater) is from all our sinks, toilets, laundries, kitchens and bathrooms. This waste flows through a network of underground pipes and pumping stations to one of the treatment plants in Wellington. There are two sewage treatment plants in Wellington – Moa Point and the Western Treatment Plant (Karori) – and a sludge treatment plant at the Southern Landfill.

At the Moa Point Treatment Plant, sewage travels through a series of screens, and tanks before being discharged as liquid into Cook Strait.

  • Non-organic – large materials such as toilet paper are first removed using screens. This rubbish is washed and compressed and sent to the Southern Landfill for disposal.
  • Solid sewage (sludge) – as sewage travels through the tanks, the majority of solids are removed. This sludge is taken to the Southern Landfill Sludge Treatment Plant where it is de-watered (water removed from solids).
  • Effluent – a series of tanks  use a combination of sedimentation and bacteria to decompose almost 70% of  material. Remaining liquid effluent is exposed to ultraviolet light (such as the sun) to destroy any harmful bacteria. The treated liquid is finally discharged, through a long outfall pipe, 1.8km into Cook Strait.

Here’s a really good flow chart that explains the process in more detail:

The Treatment Process


FAQs

Stinky Face Cliparts - Bad Smell Png , Free Transparent Clipart - ClipartKeyQ: Why is poo brown?
A: The brown colour comes from bilirubin, a chemical made from dead red blood cells.

Q: Why does poo smell?
A: The smell mainly comes from bacteria, and the gases and chemicals they release.

Q: Why does everyone think that poo is gross?
A:  We have evolved to find the look and smell of poo disgusting. this makes us avoid it, helping to keep us safe from infection and germs.


So if you’re not too grossed out by now, Wellington City Libraries have loads of books for all ages about this rather stinky subject! Here’s just a few…

You wouldn’t want to live without poo! / Woolf, Alex
“Learn the surprising truth about just how important poo really is: it keeps our bodies healthy, and can also be used to power our cars, heat our homes and help grow our crops.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poo in the zoo / Smallman, Steve
“Zoo Keeper Bob is exhausted. There’s too much poo in the zoo – and he’s the one who has to scoop it up. Then one day, a mysterious glowing poo appears! Could it be alien poop from outer space? And what on EARTH will Bob do with it?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My amazing poo plant / Simons, Moya
“Emma can’t have a pet as she lives in an apartment. Her mum loves pot plants and encourages Emma to think of having a plant as a pet. Emma isn’t interested until one day, when a low-flying bird drops a poo in an empty plant pot and her mum tells her if she waters it a poo plant might grow from the seeds in the bird’s dropping. Emma enters her poo plant into the most unusual pet category of her class pet show.” (Catalogue)

What do they do with all that poo? / Kurtz, Jane
“There are so many different kinds of animals at the zoo, and they each make lots of poo. So what do zoos do with all of that poo? This zany, fact-filled romp explores zoo poo and all of the places it ends up, including in science labs and elephant-poo paper–even backyard gardens!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clue is in the poo and other stuff too / Seed, Andy
“A funny and fascinating natural history of animal droppings, tracks and other traces, exploring what we can learn about animals from what they leave behind. Fully-illustrated and in a large format, this will be a visually appealing book for any child with an interest in animals and nature.” (Catalogue)

Loos save lives : how sanitation and clean water help prevent poverty, disease and death / Boyd, Seren
“Who knew toilets were so interesting – and so important? You probably use a toilet several times every day. Flush, turn on the tap, wash your hands – then forget all about it. But did you know that 2.4 billion people across the world don’t have somewhere they can go to the toilet safely, and over 1 billion people don’t have access to any kind of sanitation or clean water at all? Poor sanitation and restricted access to a toilet is more serious than you might think. It prevents children (and especially girls) from going to school, it means communities may have to walk miles to access safe drinking water and it kills. Poor sanitation means poor hygiene, which means illnesses and viruses are more easily spread. Going to the toilet out in the open makes people vulnerable and puts them in danger.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Everybody poos / Gomi, Tarō
“All living things do different sorts of poo. Some are different colours, others have different smells or sizes. Some do it on land, some poo in water. This children’s book has a no-nonsense approach to the bodily function to encourage children not to be ashamed about potty training.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

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

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

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

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

Ada Lovelace / Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel

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

Jane Goodall / Romero, Libby

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

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

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

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

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

Forgotten women. The scientists / Tsjeng, Zing

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

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

Programmers / Gibson, Karen Bush

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

First science encyclopedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun:

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

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

Discover Wicked Bugs for Summer Holiday Fun!

The summer holidays are here – sunshine, barbeques, swimming, staying up late… and mosquitoes biting, flies buzzing around the cooked food, moths beating against your torch as you try to read at night, and crickets and cicadas making a racquet when you’re trying to sleep in you tent!  Anyone would think bugs were put here to ruin your summer fun!

But did you know that we humans wouldn’t survive on this big, beautiful planet without our friendly creepy-crawlies to help us along? At last count it is estimated that there are ten quintillion insects alive on Earth right now, which means that for each one of us, there are two hundred million of them! But don’t panic! They all have a job to do, and if you dig deeper (and many of them do live underground), what the insects do for us and the health of the planet is pretty amazing.

File:Cook Strait Giant Weta (5601688959).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsTake New Zealand’s GIANT WĒTĀ (wētāpunga) for example. This big daddy of an insect features in the Guinness Book of Records as being one of the world’s largest insects, and some of them weigh in around 70 grams – about the same weight as a saddleback or sparrow! Department of Conservation staff refer to them as the ‘mouse of the forest’ because their equally giant poos help fertilise the forest floor and help with regeneration of native bush. What a hero! And the Auckland Zoo think so too and have joined forces with DoC and local iwi to reintroduce wētāpunga to islands in the Hauraki Gulf so that they can do their fertilising work and bring back the bush.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, did you know that the wētā’s ears are located in their knees?! Yes, really!


File:Chorus Cicada... (6926902643).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsYou really know Summer has arrived when the CICADAS start their noise! But why do they do it? And how?

The high-pitched ‘song’ is actually a mating call belted out by males. Each species has its own distinctive song that only attracts females of its own kind. This allows several different species to live together in one area.

Cicadas are the only insects capable of producing such a unique and loud sound, and they do it by contracting special muscles called tymbals in their abdomen. Some larger species can produce a call in excess of 120 decibels at close range (120 decibels is the equivalent of a thunderclap or a chainsaw)! Smaller species sing in such a high pitch that it cannot be heard by humans, but may cause dogs and other animals to howl in pain.


File:Housefly on Table.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve all experienced the FLIES massing as soon as the barbeque is cooking and the salads are out on the picnic table. But why do they do this? The common house fly has a pretty powerful sense of smell and is attracted to strong smells – especially meat, and especially rotting meat! They like to lay their eggs in rotting material so that when their babies – maggots – hatch they have something to eat, yum! But just like the rest of us, adult flies have to eat too so that they’ve got the energy to fly. To eat their food, flies regurgitate (bring up) saliva from their stomachs, which dissolves the food until it is digestible. The house fly then uses its proboscis – like an attached straw where your nose should be – to suck up the liquefied food. Though they eat with their mouths, house flies taste with their feet. This is why they are always crawling on your food.

Lego Weta by EzraCRITTER OF THE WEEK: To tweak you interest further, check out “Critter of the Week”  on Radio New Zealand every Thursday in Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan.  Nicola Toki is the Threatened Species Ambassador for the Department of Conservation and a self-confessed “nature nerd”. Each week she talks  about a lovable member of New Zealand’s wildlife community, many of them our creepy-crawly friends. There was even a competition earlier in the year for you to make the most interesting critter out of Lego and send in a photo. Check out some of the entries here.

“An understanding of the natural world is a source of not only great curiosity, but great fulfilment.”

(David Attenborough – natural historian, environmentalist and planet-hero)



Wellington City Libraries have loads of fantastic books about insects, creepy-crawlies and the people that study insects (entomologists). Take a dive into the fascinating world of bugs… go on! There’s nothing to be afraid of!

The genius of bugs / Pollard, Simon
This book contains a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā.

 


New Zealand’s backyard beasts / Barraud, Ned
In the garden, creeping along branches, hiding under stones or flitting from flower to flower, a whole universe of creatures is waiting to be discovered. Butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, spiders. Did you know that  cicadas live underground for most of their life? That bumblebees have smelly feet? That some species of stick insect are all female? Or that earwigs don’t actually crawl into ears? In this book you can learn to identify some of the creatures most commonly found in the backyard.


The bug girl : (a true story) / Spencer, Sophia
Real-life 7-year-old Sophia Spencer was bullied for loving bugs until hundreds of women scientists rallied around her. Sophia tells her inspiring story in this picture book that celebrates women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself. Sophia Spencer has always loved bugs but when she was bullied at school she stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos, and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs.


World's Biggest Baddest Bugs (Ruud Kleinpaste) Image at Mighty Ape NZWorld’s biggest baddest bugs
To find the good, the bad and ugly of the insect world, Ruud Kleinpaste – New Zealand’s very own BugMan – embarks on an entomological journey in search of the biggest and the baddest of them all in this two part DVD. From killer bees and army ants, to cockroaches and tarantula, Ruud explains exactly what makes the “stars” of the show so incredible. Through a series of deadly stunts Ruud reveals what makes these crawlies the kings of the bugs and how they are capable of so much more than just scaring us silly.


World’s strangest creepy-crawlies / Derrick, Stuart
This book includes 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranks them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, the pages reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.   Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, you’ll discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with the ‘strange-o-meter’, you can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!


I’m trying to love spiders : (it isn’t easy) / Barton, Bethany
What do you do when you see a spider? a. Lay on a BIG spidey smoocheroo. b. Smile, but back away slowly. c. Grab the closest object, wind up, and let it fly. d. Run away screaming.
If you chose b, c, or d, then this book is for you.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

7 new non-fiction to read in term four

Hi Kids!

A new school term has begun!

Check out the latest new non fiction at Wellington City Libraries. New to the collection are books about gruesome diseases, the world of gaming and so much more.

Enjoy!


Official Shark-tastic Guide.

Guide to all of the sharks from the Hungry Shark game franchise. With exclusive info about fearsome fish like Tiger Shark and Great White, to goofballs like Mako Shark and Porbeagle, this is a guide with some serious “teeth.”

 

 

 


Born Just Right.

When Jordan Reeves was born without the bottom half of her left arm, the doctors reassured her parents that she was “born just right.” And she has been proving that doctor right ever since! With candor, humor, and heart, Jordan’s mother, Jen Lee Reeves, helps Jordan tell her story about growing up in an able-bodied world and family, where she was treated like all of her siblings and classmates–and where she never felt limited. Whether it was changing people’s minds about her capabilities, trying all kinds of sports, or mentoring other kids, Jordan has channeled any negativity into a positive, and is determined to create more innovations for people just like her.

 


Warriors and Weapons.

In this illustrated guide, you’re transported to the legendary and magical worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, where you are presented with one-of-a-kind entries for different types of warriors, as well as the weaponry these fighters need for D&D adventuring. This guide includes detailed illustrations of the weapons, armor, clothing, and other equipment that fighters use, and offers the tools young, aspiring adventurers need for learning how to build their own characters, including sample profiles, a flowchart to help you decide what type of warrior to be, and brainstorming challenges to start you thinking like an adventurer whether on your own or in the midst of an exciting quest with friends and fellow players.

 

 


Coding from Scratch.

A collection of step-by-step instructions to code games, animation, presentations and musical projects using the Scratch coding language and online coding platform.

 

 

 

 


Extreme Garage Science for kids.

Extreme garage science for kids! : 30 amazing experiments with complete scientific explanations.

 

 

 

 


The Nasty Past : Disease.

Go back in time and explore the gruesome lives of everyday people in history. From disgusting diseases to dreadful disasters, it is time to find out just how horrible life could be.

 

 

 

 


Stars of World Soccer.

Here are the best of the best: the iconic forwards Ronaldo, Neymar, and Suárez; the legendary goalkeeper Manuel Neuer; and perhaps the greatest player of our time, Lionel Messi. This lively and accessible book features short biographies of some thirty athletes in all: who they are, where they come from, and what they have accomplished