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Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Month: September 2021

Books about books and books within books

Some of you may have read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It’s got a sequel too, The Night Country. If you haven’t read them, they’re both books about Alice who lives with her mother and has spent her whole life moving from place to place trying to avoid bad luck. Some weird stuff happens, her mother goes missing, and Alice figures out that it has something to do with a book of creepy cultish fairytales that her estranged grandmother wrote: Tales from the Hinterland. There are snippets of these fairytales throughout the two books, which are, as I’ve already said, creepy. And fascinating – throughout Albert’s book, everyone who reads these fairytales seems to become an also-creepy-fan of both the stories and their author.

They sound cool, right?! I mean, who doesn’t like the sound of a dark fairytale?

But sadly, you/me/we/the person reading The Hazel Wood never gets to read all these tales in full. At least not in The Hazel Wood, but I’ll get to that later.

Tales from the Hinterland is an example of a book within a book, and in this case, it started out as a fictional book. I’m saying fictional here because when Melissa Albert wrote The Hazel Wood, and created Tales from the Hinterland as something important to the plot, Tales from the Hinterland didn’t exist. She never planned to actually write these tales. The Hazel Wood is a work of fiction, and Tales from the Hinterland was a fictional book within that book.

At least, it was a fictional book until earlier this year when it was released as a real book! (and yes, we do have copies you can get out)

Let’s go over that again. Author writes book about a book. People like author’s book, she writes another. Readers have been interested enough in the book-within-the-book that author and editor decide to make the book in a book a real book.

There, nice and clear, right!?

Books within books within books within books…

Anyway, it shouldn’t be a surprise that people who write books sometimes also enjoy writing about books. And, in my case, that people who like reading books also like writing about books.

The point of this post is that I want to write about books that don’t exist and books that started off not existing. There are lots of them out there, a few different kinds, some that I wish were real, and some that (like Tales from the Hinterland) eventually became real! And, if you find this as interesting as I do, I want to know which books you’ve read about that you wish were real and you could actually read too!

Let’s get into it! (And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to give you links to the real books in our collection that you can read.)


The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death
This book within a book remains fully fictional. Ellen Kushner has written a short story with the same name, but it’s completely different and is about characters from her earlier book Swordspoint: a melodrama of manners. The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death can be found in Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword and it’s obviously very important. Two characters bond over it, it becomes a play and, in the words of one of the characters, “It’s not trash. It is full of great and noble truths of the heart. And swordfights.” There are a couple of these things in The Privilege of the Sword as well.

From what goes on in The Privilege of the Sword, we know that The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death is about the swordsman Fabian who is bound to kill Lady Stella, but they love each other, and there is an antagonist in the awful Mangrove with his awful moustache, and also Stella kisses Fabian’s friend Tyrian! And there are many swordfights and a scene with hunting cats on the roof, and it’s all very dramatic. But The Swordsman Whose Name Was Not Death is not a book we’ll ever get to read.

So you want to be a wizard
This not-real book appears in Diane Duane’s real book of the same title. In the real So You Want to be a Wizard, Nita finds the not-real So You Want to be a Wizard at the library. It looks just like one of those other books about a future career, except in this case the career is wizardry. Which is… not a Real Thing. But isn’t this such a wonderful idea!? That you can just find a book that has snuck itself onto one of the shelves in a library (an occurrence surely not possible here, due to our diligence and constant shelf-checking), a book that is there specifically looking for you, and that it is there to guide you on your journey to becoming a wizard? It’s a book that I think would just be so cool to read for real, because it would mean you were a wizard. For real.

The not-real So You Want to be a Wizard is a fictional non-fiction book, in that in the world of the book that it’s in, it’s a textbook for new wizards. Come on, that explanation makes perfect sense.

Over the woodward wall
This one’s just like Tales from the Hinterland, in that it was a fictional book within a real book (the real book in this case being Middlegame by Seanan McGuire), until it got written and published a couple of years after Middlegame.

Over the Woodward Wall is one of those weird stories about children who go off on a surreal adventure. Think The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Book of Changing Things and Other Oddibosities. But this one was written by McGuire’s fictional alchemist, A. Deborah Baker, and contains hidden messages about her own agenda and doctrine that she wants to sneak through to future generations of children. There are quotes from Over the Woodward Wall at the start of each Middlegame chapter demonstrating different aspects of this doctrine and if you’ve read both books it’s fascinating seeing how the prewritten snippets of Over the Woodward Wall work their way into the published version.

Middlegame won an Alex Award last year, which is an award for for books that were written for adults but have special appeal for young adults, so make of that what you will.

My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant
Now THIS is a book that I wish I could read! My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant, by Uriah C. Lasso (unscramble that name and see what you get) is a book given to the main character Bradley in Louis Sacher’s There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom to use for a book report.

My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant is about an unnamed child who’s living with their aunt and uncle because their parents have been (get this!) accused of stealing an elephant.  There are excerpts from My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant in There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom that show just how great it is – like when the lawyer gets the child to eat peanuts so they can say if asked that they can eat fifty thousand peanuts a day. Totally manageable for a child and a normal number of peanuts of have in a house that has no elephants in it at all! (Question: Do elephants actually like peanuts?)

This nonsensical logic is just the sort of thing I like to find in a book, so since you can’t read Uriah C. Lasso’s My Parents Didn’t Steal an Elephant, you might as well go and read Louis Sacher’s Wayside School series for the same sort of fantastic nonsense.

The Princess Bride 
“What!” I can hear you saying, “The Princess Bride’s a real book/a classic movie!” Well, you’re right. The Princess Bride is a real book by William Goldman. BUT Goldman’s The Princess Bride is, as Goldman writes, merely an abridged version of the Florinese classic of the same name by S. Morgenstern. Except S. Morgenstern does not exist, Florin is not a real place, and the only The Princess Bride is Goldman’s.

S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride is a fictional book, that a fictional version of Goldman says is his favourite book from when he was a child (and according to the introduction of the 25th anniversary edition, still is). The fictional Goldman’s father read The Princess Bride to him as a child. Later in life Goldman realised that his father had left out a lot of the boring historical detail, the Morgenstern version wasn’t as exciting and swashbuckling as he remembered, and it was out of print and very hard to find, so he decided to write an abridged version so other people could love it as much as he did.

The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern is different to the other books in this list because of the way it exists within the world of Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Goldman’s framing of his own novel as a retelling of another fictional narrative is an effective and interesting literary device and is an example of metafictive or self-conscious storytelling.

Ok, that was possibly too much literature-nerd talk. Just know it’s fascinating.

There’s also another fictional book alluded to in The Princess Bride, which is its unpublished sequel Buttercup’s Baby. Some editions of The Princess Bride include a sample chapter of Buttercup’s Baby, but the fictional Goldman informs us that due to legal problems with the Morgenstern estate he has not been able to publish it.


So that’s a few of the books-within-books that I’ve come across. There are definitely more – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the actual guide), Don’t Go Out Alone, The Book of the Dead, The Neverending Story, Diseases of the Sheep… but this post is just getting far too long with the books I’ve already written about.

So now it’s over to you. What book within a book do you wish you could read?

Take Time to Kōrero: Mental Health Awareness Week

Official Mental Health Awareness Week image, downloaded from their website.

Provided by the Mental Health Foundation

This September 27th – October 3rd is Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation. Here’s a little more about this year’s theme, taken from the official MHAW website:

This year’s theme is take time to kōrero/mā te kōrero, ka ora – a little chat can go a long way.

This MHAW is all about connecting with the people in our lives and creating space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s checking in with a mate, having a kōrero over some kai or saying hello to a stranger, a little chat can go a long way. 

 The Mental Health Foundation has dedicated each day of this week to a different activity , with the aim of fostering wellbeing.  Why not give them a go, see if you notice any changes in your own life? 🙂

RĀHINA | MONDAY : Reconnect with someone you care about.

RĀTU | TUESDAY : Get outside in nature with someone.

RĀAPA | WEDNESDAY : Have a kōrero about Te Whare Tapa Whā 

RĀPARE | THURSDAY : Connect through kindness.

RĀMERE | FRIDAY : Come together and reflect.

image from Commonspace website. Depects a sun and a minimal landscape in crayon scribbles.

Commonspace, 113 Taranaki St., Te Whanganio-ā-Tara

On a related note, there’s a brand new hang-out space in the CBD of Te Whanganui-a-Tara called Commonspace! Designed as “a living room for the city”, Commonspace has been created as a “central place of being and belonging, learning and connecting, through de-siloing knowledge and cross-pollinating disciplines, holding whanaungatanga for a younger inner city community to connect more consciously.” From movie nights, craft clubs, live album listening parties, a radio station and more; Commonspace is a lovely new place for youth to hang out, learn and create art!

I am definitely a person who has struggled with their mental health, and I am so stoked to see that this kind of discussion is becoming more common in our Aotearoa! To celebrate this fantastic week, here are some books that might be helpful for your own mental health journey 🙂

The mental health and wellbeing workout for teens : skills and exercises from ACT and CBT for healthy thinking / Nagel, Paula
“This easy-to-understand, engaging guide arms teens with healthy thinking habits and coping strategies for staying on top of their mental health. Readers are given the tools to build their own personalised mental health ‘workout’ to boost their emotional resilience and well-being. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Your brain needs a hug : life, love, mental health, and sandwiches / Earl, Rae
“Imbued with a sense of humor, understanding, and hope, Your Brain Needs a Hug is a judgment-free guide for living well with your mind.  Witty, honest, and enlightening, this is the perfect read for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Obsessed : a memoir of my life with OCD / Britz, Allison
“Fifteen-year-old Allison lived a comfortable life in an idyllic town. She was a dedicated student with tons of extracurricular activities, friends, and loving parents at home. But after awakening from a vivid nightmare in which she was diagnosed with brain cancer, she was convinced the dream had been a warning.  This memoir tracks Allison’s descent and ultimately hopeful climb out of the depths” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You’re crushing it / Croucher, Lex
“Sometimes life can be pretty amazing. But other times it feels like: A. Your heart and stomach have been steamrolled into a grisly organ pancake B. You are being put through an emotional spiralizer that creates human courgetti C. Both of the above. You’re a courgetti pancake No, Instagram filters won’t make it look any better.  An honest, thoughtful and hilarious survival guide for young people by social media sensation, Lex Croucher. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mindfulness for students : embracing now, looking to the future / Kaufman, Natasha
“Life can be tough. With decisions to make at such a critical time, from subject choices to new colleges and universities, careers and relationships, it’s easy to feel weighed down. What’s more, there is the pressure to gain good grades, to find a good job, to be a good person. From a young age we are taught the significance of a solid education and a fruitful career, yet with such an emphasis on academic and monetary success we often fail to prioritise a healthy mind. Leaving the security of home and adjusting to new-found independence can be an exciting transition. It can also be unsettling. It is vital to know how to deal with life’s many challenges and triumphs emotionally. Practising mindfulness can equip you with the skills to do this.” (Catalogue)


If you need to talk to someone else:

Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor, or feel free to reach out to the below organisations.

Lifeline
0800 543 354
Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633
Free text 234

Tricky Topics: A literary guide for when you’re scared to Google

The release of season three of Sex Education on Netflix is the perfect opportunity to introduce some of the more educationally risqué books in our collection. While the fabulously jumpsuited Dr. Jean Milburn is an absolute trove of knowledge, unfortunately we can’t go to her with all our own nitty-gritty queries. Thankfully, we do have our local libraries! So, in place of the good Doctor, let’s get into some of the enlightening tomes we have on offer:

Looking for something specific? Want to know more but afraid to ask? Check out more topics and how to find them in the library using the Dewey Decimal System:

As librarians, we’re here to help, not judge. Always feel free to ask for more information at your local library.


Sex : an uncensored introduction / Hasler, Nikol
“Sex: An Uncensored Introduction provides honest, in-depth information about sex, sexual orientation, masturbation, foreplay, birth control options, and protection against disease. This revised and updated edition includes updated information about everything from STIs to new sex-related legislation as well as brand new sections on sexting, online dating and safety, and sex-related bullying of all kinds […]” (Catalogue)

The pride guide : a guide to sexual and social health for LGBTQ youth / Langford, Jo
“Jo Langford offers a complete guide to sexual and social development, safety, and health for LGBTQ youth and those who love and support them. Written from a practical perspective, the author explores the realities of teen sexuality, particularly that of trans teens, and provides guidance and understanding for parents and kids alike.” (Catalogue)

Vagina : a re-education / Enright, Lynn
“For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Lynn Enright charts the story of this crucial organ, encompassing fertility and hormones, pain and arousal, sex education and more.” (Catalogue)

Let’s talk about it : the teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human / Moen, Erika
“A graphic novel about sex, sexuality, gender, body, consent, and many other topics for teens”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Doing it! : let’s talk about sex / Witton, Hannah
“Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O … Let’s face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don’t know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I’ve written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. […] We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you’re ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let’s do this … “–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hormone diaries : the bloody truth about our periods / Witton, Hannah
” […] From first periods to first coils, pimples to hot-water bottles and PCOS to endometriosis, The Hormone Diaries is your essential companion on the hormone rollercoaster. Filled with Hannah’s insights, fascinating research and those priceless crowdsourced stories, it’s the reassuring hug we all need. At least 50 per cent of the world has to deal with this stuff – it’s time we started talking about it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Self-care down there : from menstrual cups and moisturizers to body positivity and Brazilian wax, a guide to your vagina’s well-being / Bhandal, Taq Kaur
“Get the lowdown on how to take care of your nether regions with this fun and frank guide focused on helping you maintain your private parts. Covering everything from everyday cleanliness to internal and external safe health advice as well as tips regarding the groom-or-not-to-groom debate and sex-friendly good habits to practice, Self-Care Down There will help you keep your private parts in tip-top shape while expressing the true you! […] “– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

They/them/their : a guide to nonbinary and genderqueer identities / Young, Eris
“Showing what life is like as a nonbinary or genderqueer person, this book explores relationships, mental and physical health, language use and identity and appearance, providing advice for nonbinary people and how friends and family can support them.”– Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Written on the body : letters from trans and non-binary survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence
“Written by and for trans and non-binary survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Written on the Body offers support, guidance and hope for those who struggle to find safety at home, in the body, and other unwelcoming places. This collection of letters written to body parts weaves together narratives of gender, identity, and abuse. It is the coming together of those who have been fragmented and often met with disbelief. The book holds the concerns and truths that many trans people share while offering space for dialogue and reclamation. Written with intelligence and intimacy, this book is for those who have found power in re-shaping their bodies, families, and lives.” (Catalogue)

Boys & sex : young men on hookups, love, porn, consent, and navigating the new masculinity / Orenstein, Peggy
“[…] Today’s young men are subject to the same cultural forces as their female peers. They are steeped in the distorted media images and binary stereotypes of female sexiness and toxic masculinity which shape how they, too, navigate sexual and emotional relationships […] Orenstein takes an unprecedented look at the myriad factors that are shaping boys’ ideas of sex, girls, and masculinity […]”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Vagina problems : endometriosis, painful sex, and other taboo topics / Parker, Lara
“[…] Less than a year before, [Lara Parker] received not only the diagnosis of endometriosis, but also a diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. Combined, these debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on her life, causing excruciating pain throughout her body since she was fourteen years old […] With candid revelations about her vaginal physical therapy, dating as a straight woman without penetrative sex, coping with painful seizures while at the office, diet and wardrobe malfunctions when your vagina hurts all the time, and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved, Lara tackles it all […]”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Books About Stuff and Other Things: New Non-fiction for Teens

Librarians spend a good deal of time scouring publication lists and trawling through horrifying numbers (like, you have no idea) of online reviews to settle on which books we should buy for our collection. Among the comics, fantasy epics, dystopian hellscapes, romantic comedies, and other fictional titles that routinely land on our desks, are analysed, and then purchased in their hundreds every month, we also seek out books about ~shock of all shocks~ reality. Stuff, things, and other such delights. Our non-fiction collections comprise books on just about every topic under the sun (and even some topics beyond the sun, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

Today, for your delectation, we are serving up some brand new books about nerdy stuff, hip-hop, jobs and careers, sex and sexuality, neurodivergence, and the environment — head down to your local library (or smash that handy and convenient “Reserve Now” button) and dig in!

Can’t stop won’t stop : a hip-hop history / Chang, Jeff
“From award-winning author Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is the story of hip-hop, a generation-defining movement and the music that transformed American politics and culture forever. Hip hop is one of the most dominant and influential cultures in America, giving new voice to the younger generation. It defines a generation’s worldview. Exploring hip hop’s beginnings up to the present day, Jeff Chang and Dave “Davey D” Cook provide a provocative look into the new world that the hip hop generation has created. Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip hop’s forebears, founders, mavericks, and present day icons, this book chronicles the epic events, ideas and the music that marked the hip hop generation’s rise.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Depression : insights and tips for teenagers / Cognevich, Christie
“This book offers relatable situations and strategies to guide teens struggling with mental health–including identifying signs of struggle, recognizing stress factors, and offering strategies to escape harmful mental habits which can leave individuals feeling vulnerable, helpless, or in despair.” (Catalogue)

Queerly autistic : the ultimate guide for LGBTQIA+ teens on the spectrum / Ekins, Erin
“From coming out to friends and family through to relationships, self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens just figuring it all out.” (Catalogue)

Coming out : insights and tips for teenagers / Endsley, Kezia
“This book addresses the hows and whys of coming out, as well as potential concerns teenagers may have–including how to know when you’re ready to come out, who to tell first, and how to deal with unsupportive people. First-hand accounts from teenagers provide personal insight throughout.” (Catalogue)

Marvel monsters : creatures of the Marvel universe explored / Knox, Kelly
“All Super Heroes need a monster to fight, or a monstrous sidekick to help them. Some are even monsters themselves. This comprehensive field guide to Marvel flora, fauna, and beasts great and small shows off claws, teeth, tails, and wings in sumptuous, never-seen-before detail. From tyrannosaurus rexes from alternative worlds and genetically modified deinonychuses from the future, to purple cat-sized dragons and swamp monsters, the Marvel multiverse is brimming with creatures both heroic and villainous. Explore swamps and the Savage Lands and more. Discover aerial beasts, artificially created creatures, and even monster team ups. This anthology is a beautifully curated guide to the best and the worst and ensures you will never get Fin Fang Foom and Tim Boom Ba mixed up again! © 2021 MARVEL” (Catalogue)

Hothouse Earth : the climate crisis and the importance of carbon neutrality / McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino
“As hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires are increasing in regularity and intensity, climate change can no longer be ignored. Melting permafrost, forest dieback, ocean acidification, and other processes are creating positive feedback loops which could, if not aggressively and quickly addressed, spiral out of control and take global warming past the point of no return. Hothouse Earth examines how science, politics, and social justice must all be part of the equation to counteract climate change.” (Catalogue)

The world of Critical Role : the history behind the epic fantasy / Marsham, Liz
“A guide to the massively popular fantasy RPG livestream offers previously unreleased photos and artwork, sharing cast insights into its origins and storylines as well as the diverse array of art and cosplay that Critical Role inspires.” (Catalogue)

Let’s talk about it : the teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human / Moen, Erika
“Growing up is complicated. How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let’s Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know. Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education, and more, Let’s Talk About It is the go-to handbook for every teen, and the first in graphic novel form.” (Catalogue)

Love your career from the start : making decisions for your future – a guide for young adults / Sandford, Caroline
“This practical book for 15-25-year-olds introduces the four key stages involved in making good decisions for your future. It contains easy exercises that will help you: understand who you are and who you want to become, explore the options that are right for you, create an action plan that ensures you have what you need to realise your goals, identify the strategies your need to create the future that YOU want.” (Catalogue)

Suffrage and the White Camellia

Suffrage Day  is a special  day in New Zealand’s history. Sunday 19 September 2021 is Suffrage Day / White Camellia Day.

Why is Suffrage Day celebrated?

On the 19th of September 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. This year marks the 126 anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New Zealand. The white camellia was the symbol of the suffragists.

Did you know? November 28th 1893 was the day New Zealand women voted for first time.

What is Suffrage Day?

Suffrage Day provides an opportunity for people to celebrate New Zealand’s suffrage achievements and look for ways to benefit women.

How do we commemorate this day?

  • Wearing a white camellia. Why? These flowers were worn by people supporting women’s right to vote in New Zealand.
  • Wear a The Suffrage 125 symbolWhy? The symbol draws on historical colours and icons adopted by women’s suffrage petitioners and presents them in a contemporary form. 
    image courtesy of women.govt.nz

Where can I find information about the suffragettes and and Suffrage Day?

image courtesy of syndeticsHindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history.

Four pivotal events in New Zealands history, (Women’s suffrage, Springbok tour, Dawn raids  and Rainbow warrior), are examined through a variety of source materials and commentary that enlivens the event and describes its impact on our society and growth as a nation. Hindsight is a resource for all schools and libraries. These topics are linked to the social sciences and history syllabus Years 7-11. An authoritative and engaging text, with high visual appeal. Buyers will be given access to download resources from our website, that will be updated as required. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe book of gutsy women : favourite stories of courage and resilience.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them–women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book. So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. […] Edie Windsor, Diana Nyad, Rachel Carson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mary Beard, Wangari Maathai, Harriet Tubman, Malala Yousafzai — to us, they are all gutsy women — leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. (Adapted from Catalogue). Also available as an eBook

image courtesy of syndeticsSuffragettes : the fight for votes for women.

‘Queen Victoria is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad wicked folly of women’s rights, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor sex is bent’. 1870. It was a bloody and dangerous war lasting several decades, won finally by sheer will and determination in 1928. Drawing on extracts from diaries, newspapers, letters, journals and books, Joyce Marlow has pieced together this inspiring, poignant and exciting history using the voices of the women themselves. Some of the people and events are well-known, but Marlow has gone beyond the obvious, particularly beyond London, to show us the ordinary women – middle and working-class, who had the breathtaking courage to stand up and be counted – or just as likely hectored, or pelted with eggs. These women were clever and determined, knew the power of humour and surprise and exhibited ‘unladylike’ passion and bravery. Joyce Marlow’s anthology is lively, comprehensive, surprising and triumphant.’ (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHidden heroines : the forgotten suffragettes.

The story of the struggle for women’s suffrage is not just that of the Pankhursts and Emily Davison. Thousands of others were involved in peaceful protest–and sometimes more militant activity–and they includes women from all walks of life. This book presents the lives of 48 less well-known women who tirelessly campaigned for the vote, from all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, risking ridicule and condemnation from family and friends. They were the hidden heroines who paved the way for women to gain greater equality in Britain. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsRise up, women! : the remarkable lives of the suffragettes.

“Between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War, while the patriarchs of the Liberal and Tory parties vied for supremacy in parliament, the campaign for women’s suffrage was fought with great flair and imagination in the public arena. Led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, the suffragettes and their actions would come to define protest movements for generations to come. From their marches on Parliament and 10 Downing Street, to the selling of their paper, Votes for Women, through to the more militant activities of the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose slogan ‘Deeds Not Words!’ resided over bombed pillar-boxes, acts of arson and the slashing of great works of art, the women who participated in the movement endured police brutality, assault, imprisonment and force-feeding, all in the relentless pursuit of one goal: the right to vote. A hundred years on, Diane Atkinson celebrates the lives of the women who answered the call to ‘Rise Up’; a richly diverse group that spanned the divides of class and country, women of all ages who were determined to fight for what had been so long denied. Actresses to mill-workers, teachers to doctors, seamstresses to scientists, clerks, boot-makers and sweated workers, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and English; a wealth of women’s lives are brought together for the first time, in this meticulously researched, vividly rendered and truly defining biography of a movement.”–Dust jacket cover. Also available as an eAudiobook.

Click here for more books about suffragettes.

Cool Books from Booktok

Kia ora koutou!

I don’t know about you all, but during lockdown I spent a lot of hours on Tiktok. Specifically, I found myself taking a deep-dive into Booktok, the side of Tiktok where people share what books they’re reading. I am someone who always has about 20 books on reserve, a Goodreads list so long that it has probably developed its own personal anxiety disorder and an indecent amount of books TAKING UP ANY FREE SPACE IN MY ROOM THAT I CAN FIND. The last thing a person like me needs is a limitless supply of MORE RECOMMENDATIONS. Will I continue to create an irresponsibly long to-read list? Yes. Will I encourage you to do the same? Of course. 

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Real footage of me every time I have to move houses and I discover just how many books I have.

If you have found yourself on Booktok, and want to read some trending books, check out this list! Here are some Booktok favs that we have at Wellington City Libraries!

Remember, reserves are free and you can request a book to be sent to any of our branches. Comment below with more books we should add to this list!

Blood heir / Zhao, Amélie Wen
“A fugitive princess with a deadly Affinity and a charismatic crime lord forge an unlikely alliance in order to save themselves, each other, and the kingdom.” (Catalogue)

A good girl’s guide to murder / Jackson, Holly
“The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final-year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

House of salt and sorrows / Craig, Erin A
“In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed. Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last…and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One of us is lying / McManus, Karen M.
“When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students, all four become suspects. It’s up to them to solve the case” (Catalogue)

We were liars / Lockhart, E
“Each summer the wealthy, seemingly perfect Sinclair family meets on their private island. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat are a unit, especially during “summer 15,” marking their fifteenth year on Beechwood– the summer that Cady and Gat fall in love. Cady became involved in a mysterious accident, in which she sustained a blow to the head, and now suffers from debilitating migraines and memory loss. When she returns to Beechwood during summer 17 issues of guilt and blame, love and truth all come into play.” (Catalogue)

They both die at the end / Silvera, Adam
“In a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, teenagers Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.” (Catalogue)

These violent delights / Gong, Chloe
“In 1926 Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city.” (Catalogue)

The Selection / Cass, Kiera
“Sixteen-year-old America Singer is living in the caste-divided nation of Illea, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States. America is chosen to compete in the Selection–a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea’s prince–but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Sit ‘n’ Knit: Coming Soon to Johnsonville Library!

Lockdown has been a great opportunity to learn some new skills, and get cracking on the projects that have been gathering dust on your shelf. And here to help we have a brand new sewing and craft group starting for you! Sit ‘n’ Knit will be meeting every other Sunday at Johnsonville Library (with the first meeting date to be announced very soon, once we are back in Level 1) and is for thread-heads of all skill levels and ages. We have some spectacular content coming out for you soon – keep an eye out for yarn bombing around the Waitohi Hub!

In the meantime, I’m here to whet your knitting appetite with some updates on what your faithful librarians have been working on during the lockdown.

Image shows a floral embroidery set in black fabric, resting on a piece of gray knitting, sitting on a bookshelf between several books.

It can’t get better than beautiful embroidery and good books!

Rylee is one of the amazing organizers of Sit ‘n’ Knit, and is leading the way with her embroidery and knitting skills. She’s been working on these beautiful embroidery flowers over lockdown, as well as putting together her first scarf!

Five crochet beanies, designed to look like Minions

Who wouldn’t want to go skiing in these adorable beanies?

These glorious minion creatures are brought to us by lovely librarian Claire, who has been working on this crochet project for an upcoming ski trip with her family. Although lockdown has shifted their plans a little, they can look forward to rocking a spectacular banana-loving look when they do go!


Image shows a hoop embroider, featuring a tree surrounded by small mushrooms on white calico

The end result was definitely worth the pricked fingers and momentary despair

The million and one French knots in this tree aside, I had a lovely time putting this little embroidery together. So much so that —like an absolute masochist— I’ve just started work on another knotty number, this time with more of a focus on the little ‘shrooms.

 

 

So gather your yarn and come along to Johnsonville Library once we’re back into Level 1 to get involved with free tutorials, challenges, and more incredible projects like these!

In the meantime, get started on your own creative endeavours with the help of the WCL catalogue:

Arm knitting : 30 no-needle projects for you and your home.
“Using chunky yarns and your arms instead of needles, Arm Knitting shows you how to create beautiful knits in no time at all. With 30 no-needle projects for you and your home, Arm Knitting is the ideal guide to this quick knitting technique. Try knitting projects including scarves, hats, curtains, rugs, and even a hammock to brighten up your home. Large patterns and no needles means that projects are easily completed in an hour or less, perfect for beginner knitters or busy lifestyles. With gorgeous step-by-step photography and detailed instructions covering all knitting materials, tools, and techniques, Arm Knitting is ideal for knitters of all abilities looking for projects that save on time but still look beautiful.” (Catalogue)

The knitter’s dictionary : knitting know-how from A to Z / Atherley, Kate
“Over the years knitting has produced its own language of technical terms, abbreviations, and familiar ways used in very particular ways. Atherley helps you learn to read instructions, and expand your knitting knowledge. In addition to the A-to-Z definitions, she addresses questions about gauge, tools, sweater construction, and much more that will help you become a better knitter.” — (Source of summary not specified)” (Catalogue)

Knitwit : 20 fun projects for beginners and seasoned knitters / Boyette, Katie
“Suitable for both children and adults, this title presents the 20 knit projects that are organised from beginning to end. It contains more than 150 full-colour photographs of these projects, showing along-the-way photos, important steps such as attaching arms and legs, and final photos of the completed piece.” (Catalogue)

Tūhono 2021: We Want Your Poems

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens, is now open for submissions until 31 October 2021! All throughout the month of October, we are accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Last time we had so many poems that it was hard to fit them all into a single book — so this time, we’ll be publishing two volumes — one for kids, and one for teens.

Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono itself — the collection of poetry from young people all over Wellington — will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, and in a limited print run for our libraries, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory! Check out Tūhono 2020 on OverDrive here.

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2021:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 – 31 October 2021.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2021.

Where?

Who?

  • Everyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write a poem reflecting on something that has happened to you, you could write about a literal reflection in a mirror, window, or lake. The world is your oyster. We recommend you check out the definitions of the words ‘whakaata‘ and ‘reflection‘ in a dictionary to find out all the hidden meanings before you start writing. They don’t mean exactly the same thing — and that is intentional, to give you a wider range of stuff to write about.
  • LengthYour poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published on an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the great authors and poets represented on our shelves. The last edition of Tūhono proved itself to be a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We are so excited to see what you come up with this time!

Throughout the month of October, we will be posting regular updates providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone!

Youth Night Enters the Digital Realm

While our libraries are closed at Level 3 and Level 4, there are a whole bunch of things that just… stop happening. Thankfully, thanks to some of the quick-witted teens who attend our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library, Youth Night isn’t one of them! They have devised a Discord server that will serve to capture some of the magic and whimsy of a typical Waitohi affair, with games, activities, chatting, music and quiet spaces aplenty, with no doubt a smattering of our old friends Mischief and Hijinks to boot. And you won’t even have to leave the comfort and safety of your own bedroom!

The full ~Youth Night 2: Electric Boogaloo~ server will be opened up this Saturday at 3.00pm (yes, going digital means you get to be at Youth Night for longer!) — if you are interested in joining us, please email the youth librarian with your name, age, and which school you go to to receive your invite link.

Lockdown Cryptid-Spotting: A Librarian’s Guide

One of the few big perks of lockdown is getting to see our native fauna thriving and making their way back into our gardens. In fact, this is a great time to keep an eye out for some of the less well-known creatures creeping around our country…. That’s right, I’m talking CRYPTIDS.

For the uninitiated, a cryptid is an animal or entity whose existence hasn’t been conclusively proven. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (although I saw Nessie when I was 6, and that seems like solid evidence). Everyone has a favourite (or they will after reading this), but most of the biggies are off overseas. So what kind of cryptids can we be keeping an eye out for here in the backyards of Aotearoa?

Waitoreke

Also known as the New Zealand otter or kaurehe, the waitoreke is arguably Aotearoa’s most legitimate cryptid because nobody actually knows what it is (or if it exists at all)! Described as a otter-like creature the size of a cat, sightings of the Waitoreke date back more than 200 years, and some sources suggest that this amphibious good boy was kept as a pet by early Māori. If you’re stuck somewhere in the South Island, keep an eye out around your local waterways for glimpses of Aotearoa’s cutest cryptid.

The Fiordland Moose

In 1910, the Southland Acclimatisation Society introduced a handful of moose into Fiordland. As it turns out, these moose were very good at hiding and were largely forgotten about. The last proven sighting of the elusive moose was in 1952 but evidence has continued to sporadically surface, such as an entire moose antler that was discovered in the early 70s. I’ll admit it’s been a little while since anything conclusive was found, but maybe lockdown will be enough to encourage the Fiordland moose to find their way back into our lives.

The Goatman

Those of you familiar with Buzzfeed Unsolved’s search for the mysterious Goatman may have jumped at the familiar name, but the Goatman which lurks on lonely roads around New Zealand is a local specialty. One of many goat-ish cryptids from around the globe, our Goatman frequently manifests as a blokey hitchhiker, and many of the recorded sightings describe him approaching cars to ask for a lift on dark nights. Despite an ominous (and apparently smelly) demeanor, being approached by the Goatman is a good omen, as he is said to warn travellers of impending accidents and guide them through dangerous stretches of road. The real GOAT.

Mothman

One of the most infamous and beloved cryptids, Mothman technically lives out in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but what better time for a cryptid to use up those Airpoints than when everyone is cosying up inside their homes? Mothman was first spotted in the 1960’s, and has been cropping up in urban folklore ever since. Described as a 6-8 foot moth-ish humanoid with red eyes and an impressive wingspan, Mothman has reached the highest echelons of cryptid fame by having an annual festival held in his honour, and ‘mothmania’ has inspired a truly magnificent following (including a Mothman anthem set to the tune of YMCA). So, keep your eyes keen and your lamps ready…. 

Mothman IMG_2215“Mothman IMG_2215” by OZinOH is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

So make the most of our quiet streets by keeping an eye out for some of Aotearoa’s more unusual fauna. Even if you’re just spotting some of our beautiful native birds then it’d be worth it. And who knows?

Maybe that tui only looks like a tui when you’re watching……

For more information, check out the WCL trove to prepare for any future cryptozoological adventures.

Cryptid creatures : a field guide / Halls, Kelly Milner
“Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide offers a closer look at fifty of these amazing creatures, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts. The fifty cryptids are arranged in order alphabetically, and in addition to speculative illustrations, include details like when they were first reported, whether they are terrestrial, aerial, or aquatic, and each have a reality rating of 1 to 6, in which 1 means that the cryptid has been confirmed as a hoax, and 6 means the cryptid has been proven as real. This page-turning guide will inspire curious readers to investigate more on their own, and maybe even help to prove if a cryptid is a hoax or is real.” (Catalogue)

Abominable science! : origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and other famous cryptids / Loxton, Daniel
“Loxton and Prothero complete an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on demonstrably false phenomena, presenting both the arguments for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience perpetuating their myths.” (Catalogue)

Monsters : a bestiary of the bizarre / Dell, Christopher
“From myth to manga, an artistic visual history of the human mind through an imaginative collection of fantastical monsters from around the world.” (Catalogue)

Monstrous : the lore, gore, and science behind your favorite monsters / Beccia, Carlyn
“Carlyn Beccia presents werewolves, vampires, zombies and more as you’ve never seen them. Discover the origins of eight scream-worthy monsters, find out how major historical events shaped their creation, and delve into the science behind these fearful beasts. Engrossing (and gross!) timelines, maps, and infographics offer essential information — including the zombie virus life cycle and how to survive Godzilla’s nuclear breath.” (Catalogue)