Can you swear like Shakespeare?

Hear Hear! Wait no more, kids! This is what’s happening in the upcoming school holidays at Wellington City Libraries…

Silly sonnets, ridiculous rhymes and preposterous plays… Celebrate Shakespeare!apr16-shakespeare-300

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Throughout this year we will be celebrating Shakespeare, starting with the April School Holidays.

Adults: cover your ears!

Kids: want to have a go at swearing and insulting each other like Shakespeare? Come along to the library holiday events to have a go at our Shakespearean Insult Generator. We’re sure you will get a laugh out of it. We’ll also be looking at all the strange words Shakespeare invented, and have a go at writing with ink and quills (so don’t wear your best clothes).

If you miss this you’ll be a loggerheaded clay-brained measle!

Our School Holiday activities are suitable for 6-12 year olds. They are free and bookings are not required – just turn up.

Karori: Tuesday 19th April, 11am

Miramar: Wednesday 20th April, 2pm

Johnsonville: Thursday 21st April, 2pm

Central: Wednesday 27th April, 11am

Cummings Park: Thursday 28th April, 11am

Kilbirnie: Friday 29th April, 2pm

(P.S. Adults – you can uncover your ears now!)


April School Holidays Announcement

Forsooth! Dust off your neck ruffles and pantaloons, Shakespeare is coming to the library!

During the April School Holidays we will be celebrating Shakespeare’s amazing life and his famous works of poetry, plays and writing. Many of our libraries will be holding fun Shakespeare-themed activities for you to enjoy.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of his death. If you don’t want to do the math, the records say he died on April 23rd 1616 in an English town called ‘Stratford-upon-Avon’. During his life he wrote around 37 plays and 154 sonnets – wow! If you’re interested in finding out more, we recommend you take a look at the BBC web page on Shakespeare, or the Folger Shakespeare Library web site. There are heaps of facts and fun activities at both web sites.

There will be lots of Shakespeare fun going on during the holidays, and your librarians are busily planning out the activities.

Check back here, on the What’s On web page, or the library Event Calendar for updates. All activities will be free, no booking are needed, and will be suitable for primary school children aged 6+.

7 New Children’s Non Fiction

Ghoulish Get-Ups.

Whether you are planning a fancy dress party and want to get some ideas for Halloween, Fifi Colston’s book,  Ghoulish Get-Ups gives you the low down on ghoulish get ups and creative costume ideas. Be warned, you may have to raid the recycling and plunder the pantry. MUAHAHAHA!



Where on Earth.

This book Contains a collection of 80 … specially commissioned world maps that show you where everything is on our planet. The world’s most dangerous predators, ancient mummies, disastrous asteroid impacts, and towering skyscrapers–find out where they all are in this ultimate atlas that showcases the best of geography, history, nature, culture, and technology. A great book to have on hand for geography and history projects and homework.



The Comedy, History and Tragedy of William Shakespeare.

Friends, Kiwis and youths, lend me your eyes and let me tell you about the new edition to our junior non fiction collection. Read The Comedy, History and Tragedy of William Shakespeare,  who wrote many popular plays of all time, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (Recently performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet); Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, and discover everything you need to know about him, such as his family, his society, his theatre  his queen, (Spoiler: Queen Elizabeth I) and his country. Best of all, this book will tell you all about his plays – the comedies, histories and tragedies in plain English. (Great for those who are not fluent in Shakespearian)



Top Ten: Pets.

Read this book and find out about of furry and feathered friends that have made it to the top 10  ranging in most popular pets, popular pet names and even most expensive, richest and highest-paid in Hollywood pets. As an added bonus, you will even get to see the top ten ugliest dogs! Specially for young animal lovers, a must-have book containing everything from the super-cute to the silly and slimy, and packed with lists and facts for readers to share with their friends. I consider this book the Guinness book of records for pets.



Top Ten: Gaming.

Which X-box games are the best in the business? What game are your friends all dying to try? What character will give you the best advantages? Find out the answers to all these and more in this jam packed book, full of checklists for children to try out with their friends. Easy to follow, funny and a playground essential, Top 10 for Kids: Gaming is a must-have for any kid who likes a bit of competition!



100 Things to make you happy.

Need some cheering up from the winter blues?  Check out this amazing book jam packed full of facts, jokes, quotes, advice, and exercises includes animal trivia, historical tidbits, and inspirational wisdom designed to help kids become actively involved in their own well-being. This book is guaranteed to motivate and empower you to get happy. A perfect pick me up just in time for spring.

Check out these new children’s fiction Books!

Image courtesy of SyndeticsI am Juliet by Jackie French

The world’s most famous love story told by one of Australia’s most respected authors. This is the well-known story of Juliet Capulet and her love for Romeo. It also the story about the increasing helplessness Juliet feels as she realises that unlike young men her age, her life will effectively be determined and controlled by others, who see her having an arranged marriage of alliance and becoming a breeder of sons. I am Juliet closely follows the well-known and loved plot of the play, but we also see the point of view of Rob, the thirteen-year-old boy who is the first to play the role of Juliet on the Elizabethan stage.



Image courtesy of SyndeticsJelly Baby  by Jean Ure     

A humorous and heart-warming story about a little sister, a big sister, a cat, a dad and…a new girlfriend! Bitsy, or Jelly Baby as she’s sometimes called, has been doing just fine living with Dad and big sister Em since Mum died. The housework may not always get done, and dinners might not always be at the table, but none of them ever minded! Until one day Dad brings home a girlfriend – and everything changes. Now it looks like it might be down to the Jelly Baby of the family to keep it from falling apart.





Image courtesy of SyndeticsLilac Attack! by Sophie Bell

While sixth-grade superheroes Scarlet, Iris, and Cheri are trying to decide if the formerly evil Opal can be trusted to be an Ultra Violet again, they face a new BeauTek plot, purportedly to beautify Sync City.






Image courtesy of SyndeticsEye of the Gargoyle by Sam Penant

Dax’s parents have put him on a bus to a prison to which he doesn’t belong. Little does he know that this ‘prison’, Scragmoor Prime, is actually a school for superheroes! But Dax Daley doesn’t have any superpowers! Or does he?





Image courtesy of SyndeticsThe Fastest Boy in the World  by Elizabeth Laird

‘Eleven-year-old Solomon loves to run! The great athletes of the Ethiopian national team are his heroes and he dreams that one day he will be a gold-medal-winning athlete like them, in spite of his ragged shorts and bare feet. When his grandfather announces that he’s going to take Solomon to Addis Ababa, Solomon cannot believe his ears. A trip to the capital? It’s unfathomable. Solomon’s joy is increased when he realizes that the Ethiopian running team will be doing a victory parade through the city that day. Maybe he’ll get a glimpse of Haile Gebrselassie or Derartu Tulu?!

But Solomon’s grandfather has other plans. As Solomon follows him through the big, overwhelming streets, he learns something he cannot believe. The strict old man is a war hero who once risked his life to save a friend and has been in hiding ever since. When grandfather collapses, Solomon knows that getting help from his village is up to him. It’s a twenty-mile run from the city to home, and grandfather’s life hangs in the balance. Can the small bare-footed runner with the big heart do it?’ ;



Image courtesy of SyndeticsWhat the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengreen

When Esther’s family moves to a farm during the Great Depression, she soon learns that there are things much more important than that her superstitious mother rarely shows her any affection.



New Non Fiction: Buzzing Bios and shaking it up with Shakespeare.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Well, that was certainly the case during William Shakespeare’s life. And who was William Shakespeare? Well, he was an English poet, playwright and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. People all over the world have come to recognise the image of William Shakespeare and would heard of his plays, but what do we know about the man himself, or even what went on behind the scenes during the performance of his plays, or even who his plays were being performed for?

Why not check out the following books from the series: Shakespeare Alive

William Shakespeare: A Man For All Timesimage courtesy of syndetics is an excellent biography. This book will take readers on a journey through William Shakespeare’s extraordinary life, covering everything from who he was, where he came from, his life before and after he became a successful playwright and later life. This biography does more than simply introduce the author; it also endeavours to separate fact from fiction.







Shakespeare Todayimage courtesy of syndetics discusses the many ways Shakespeare’s plays have been reinterpreted over the decades, as well as the playwright’s sources, translations of his works to other languages, and the influence of the plays on general civilization. Fantastic resource if you are doing a project on William Shakespeare or want ideas if you are putting on a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays. (Gosh, I wish they had this resource during my school days when I had to do assignments on William Shakespeare and perform his plays)






Shakespeare and the Theatreimage courtesy of syndetics explores and discusses the differences between outdoor and indoor theatres, looks at the life of an actor, touring and describes how plays were written, funded and staged. Great resource to use if you are doing a project on the history of stage theatre and/or looking into putting on your own stage production/play.







image courtesy of syndeticsThe Weird World of William Shakespeare.

If you enjoyed You Can Get Sucked Down An Aeroplane Loo! and are a fan of the Horrible Histories series, then you will definitely enjoy this book! The Weird World of William Shakespeare. Like William Shakespeare: A Man For All Times,  this is an excellent biography which will take readers on a journey through William Shakespeare’s extraordinary life, but has a similar tone as horrible histories which does contain silly humour, history ,gory bits, (perhaps not as gory as Horrible Histories) and silly quotes.





Also check out the following Buzzing Bios!

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsThere are two new biographies from the “People in History” series that have been introduced into the junior non fiction collection on two members of the Tudor Dynasty, who also happen to be father and daughter, and two of the famous British monarchs in history: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Henry VII will tell you anything and everything you need to know about the man himself, his childhood, his reign and even his six wives…, YEP! The man had six wives! (not at the same time) and what became of his six wives. While Elizabeth I tells the story of Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudor Dynasty. Covers everything from her long and exciting reign, (apparently she ruled England for 45 years, WOW!) To her epic victory of defeating the Spanish Armada, which also happened to be Queen Elizabeth’s finest hour. Overall I think these books are an excellent read. especially great for younger children as the books contain a lot of simple text and one-lined sentences. Also serves as a good introduction to the history of the Tudor Dynasty.




Boy: tales of childhood by Roald Dahl.image courtesy of syndetics

Boy is the exciting story of Roald’s Dahl’s childhood. Contains tales of exciting and strange things – some funny, some frightening and definitely so true! The tales in this book is bound to make a tremendous impression, that you will never forget them.






image courtesy of syndeticsOne Direction : The official annual 2014.

Roll up One Direction fans, our favourite boys –  Harry, Niall, Liam, Louis and Zayn are back! Score this awesome read from your local library and get ready to go behind the scenes and have one on one access to One Direction!  A must have read for all One Direction fans! I swear I can hear screaming from outside the library, hee, hee.





Shakespeare’s Legacy

Two of Shakespeare’s friends, actors from the King’s Men, collected together 36 of Shakespeare’s plays and had them published in a leather-bound folio. The First Folio was printed in November 1623 and sold for 1 pound.

Throughout the centuries since Shakespeare’s death his plays have been regularly performed. John Garrick, who lived in the eighteenth century, started a “Shakespeare Jubilee” in Stratford-upon-Avon that is still held today.

Another Globe Theatre has been built on the same site as Shakespeare’s old one on the banks of the River Thames in London. It opened in 1997 and there is a summer season of Shakespeare’s plays held there every year. It also contains the world’s biggest permanent exhibition about Shakespeare.

The planet Uranus has 20 moons and 15 of them are named after characters from Shakespeare’s plays.

Everyone will have heard of a character or a line from Shakespeare. Hamlet is one of the most famous characters ever created. Perhaps you have seen a Shakespeare play or a film of his plays? In 2009, theatre groups across New Zealand performed as many of Shakespeare’s plays as possible throughout the year, to celebrate 400 years since the publication of his sonnets.

The playwright Ben Jonson wrote of Shakespeare that: “He was not of an age, but for all time.”

These facts about Shakespeare are from this book:

William Shakespeare and his dramatic acts by Andrew Donkin

If you want to know more about Shakespeare, then check out these books too:

What’s so special about Shakespeare? by Michael Rosen

Shakespeare: his work & his world by Michael Rosen

William Shakespeare: The Master Playwright by Haydn Middleton

William Shakespeare: the extraordinary life of the most successful writer of all time by Andrew Gurr

William Shakespeare by Peter Hicks

The world of Shakespeare by Mistress Anna Claybourne and Mistress Rebecca Treays

Shakespeare by Peter Chrisp

Shakespeare’s Last Years

In 1609 Shakespeare’s theatre company, the King’s Men, acquired another theatre called Blackfriars Theatre. It only held 700 people (compared to The Globe’s 3000) but unlike The Globe it had a roof! Therefore the company could perform at The Globe in summer, and then move to Blackfriars Theatre in winter. The company also charged six times as much for each ticket so they earnt the same amount of money in winter as they did in summer!

Historians do not know exactly when Shakespeare retired. The nearest they can guess is between 1611 and 1613. The company hired another writer to replace Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and he and Shakespeare wrote three plays together: Henry VIII, Cardenio and Two Noble Kinsmen.

In January 1616 Shakespeare drew up his will, leaving his wife “the second best bed!” Shakespeare died on April 23rd 1616 . He was buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare wrote his own epitaph for his tombstone: “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear to dig the dust enclosed here; Blest be the man that spares these stones and curst be he that moves my bones.”

The threat of a curse upon anyone who moves Shakespeare’s bones has worked. No one has ever shifted them.

Shakespeare in the Theatre

Shakespeare was a member of a theatre company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. He was their chief playwright, writing about two plays per year, and he also appeared as an actor. Shakespeare was also a shareholder in the acting company.


As only men were allowed to act onstage, all theatre companies were made up of men, with a few boys aged 8 – 12 who played the female parts.


In 1597 the theatre company’s lease on the theatre they were using ran out. Their landlord wanted to pull down the theatre and use the timber for something else! So what they did was this: they gathered together in the middle of the night, dismantled the theatre piece by piece, and transported the timber across the Thames River, where they rebuilt the theatre south of the river.


The new theatre was called the Globe; it had twenty short sides so it formed a circle. It could seat 3,000 people. Shakespeare also owned a share in the new theatre.


The theatre was attended by everyone, rich and poor. It was one of the few places where everyone could meet on equal terms.

Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?

Some people think that William Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare’s plays at all. That instead he was the front man for someone else who did not want their identity known. This is known as the “authorship controversy.”


Why do they think this? Some people think that Shakespeare was not educated enough to have written the plays that he did. That his knowledge of court life, and the legal system was too great for someone who had not been to university, travelled, or was a member of the royal court.


None of his plays appear to have been put on in his hometown of Stratford. When he died, Shakespeare did not leave any letters or diaries that referred to his writing career, or any drafts of his plays. He also did not mention his plays in his will either.


So if Shakespeare did not write his plays, then who did? There are many theories, and many people from Shakespeare’s time have been put forward as possibilities for the “real” Shakespeare. These include: Queen Elizabeth I, Christopher Marlowe, Edward De Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford, Roger Manners the 5th Earl of Rutland and Sir Francis Bacon.


However, there is no proof that any of these people actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays, or that Shakespeare himself did not write his own plays.


Want to find out more about Shakespeare? Visit this link for books about Shakespeare.

What Did Shakespeare Write?

Although Shakespeare is most famous for his playwriting now, in Shakespeare’s time, poetry was much more well-regarded. Shakespeare wrote two long-form poems, and over ten years he wrote 154 sonnets. Sonnets are poems that have 14 lines, and a set rhyme structure.


No one is exactly sure how many plays Shakespeare wrote, but 37 have been decided by scholars as having been written, or co-written, by him.


Shakespeare’s plays can be divided into the following categories: tragedy (ends unhappily, nearly everyone dies); comedy (usually has a love-story and a happy ending); History (tells the story of real people).


Shakespeare used a huge vocabulary when he wrote, with over 25,000 different words in his poems and plays. 2000 of those words are recorded as being used by Shakespeare for the first time, so perhaps he made them up! A lot of those words are words which we still use today.


For more information about Shakespeare visit the library catalogue here. If you want to read something he wrote, or stories based on Shakespeare’s plays, then have a look at this list.