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

Author: Beth

Weird Art (and How to Make It)!

In a world of incredible mainstream artists like Frida Kahlo and Vincent van Gogh, some of the stranger, funnier, and more relatable creatives can be left flying under the radar. It can also make it more difficult for us – the artistic hoi polloi –  to find our own style and way of creating.

Perhaps you could be inspired by Tomislav Jagnjić, a Serbian concept artist and illustrator whose oeuvre includes titles such as “hey psst, wanna buy some cubes” and “can’t believe u forgot the scrolls, how am i supposed to resurrect the dragon now?”

Or maybe you could innovate like Thirza Schaap, a Dutch artist who’s been revamping beach trash to create a grim yet aesthetically pleasing commentary on sea pollution.

Or perhaps you’d rather focus on just one subject, and paint it with such determination that you’re eventually interrogated by police. Look no further than Alex Schaefer‘s fascination with painting the Chase Bank. On fire. Repeatedly.

via GIPHY

And if you’re ever feeling insecure about your work, just remember that  Massachusetts has it’s own museum dedicated entirely to celebrating “art too bad to be ignored” – pop on over here for a browse!

Whatever it is you want to say, and however it is you want to say it, get inspired by our collection on weird art (and how to make it)!


Find your artistic voice : the essential guide to working your creative magic / Congdon, Lisa
“This book is a guide to the process of artistic self-discovery”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
The best art you’ve never seen : 101 hidden treasures from around the world / Spalding, Julian
“Across the globe there are scores of beautiful and unusual works of art that are largely unseen or fail to receive the critical acclaim they deserve. The Best Art You’ve Never Seen is your essential companion to this hidden world of artistic treasures.” (Catalogue)
You are an artist : assignments to spark creation / Green, Sarah Urist
“More than 50 assignments, ideas, and prompts to expand your world and help you make outstanding new things to put into it […] Full of insights, techniques, and inspiration from art history, this book opens up the processes and practices of artists and proves that you, too, have what it takes to call yourself one.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Guerrilla Girls : the art of behaving badly / Guerrilla Girls (Group of artists)
“A compendium of artwork by the feminist activist group, the Guerrilla Girls.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Art in minutes / Hodge, Susie
“The perfect compact reference guide for all would-be art buffs. Art historian Susie Hodge takes you on a whistle-stop international tour of all the major artistic cultures, movements, phases, developments, artists and themes, from Prehistoric art to Hyperrealism. Contents also include Greek classicism, Gothic art, the Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, surrealism, Pop art and Minimalism.” (Catalogue)


Unexpected art : serendipitous installations, site-specific works, and surprising interventions / Spring, Jenny Moussa
“Graffiti made from cake icing, man-made clouds floating indoors, a luminous moon resting on water. Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks – site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures, and groundbreaking interventions in public spaces – that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Wall and piece / Banksy
“_______________Banksy. His work. Photographed. With comments by Banksy. In a book. This is that book._______________” (Catalogue)
Modern vintage Illustration / Dawber, Martin
“Past is prologue in this stunning survey of vintage-inspired illustrations that employ classic styles of artistic expression for up-to-date effects.” (Catalogue)
Muse : Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History’s Masterpieces / Millington, Ruth
“The fascinating true stories of thirty incredible muses–and their role in some of art history’s most well-known masterpieces. We instantly recognize many of their faces from the world’s most iconic artworks–but just who was Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’? Or the burglar in Francis Bacon’s oeuvre? Why was Grace Jones covered in graffiti? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A Guide to Competitive PowerPointing

There’s a new fad of educational entertainment sweeping throughout the country: The PowerPoint Night. Brought to you by the kind of people who enjoy using slideshows to rank the hotness of the Greek Pantheon, or to methodically explain who they would most enjoy slapping with a wet sock, the PowerPoint Night is a vessel for unadulterated chaos. With great transitions.

So today I’m here to help you on your path to PowerPoint glory with some handy resources and suggestions to get you started. Such as this absolutely vital guide:
PowerPoint 2010 / Wood, William
“Provides step-by-step screen shots that show you how to tackle more than 130 PowerPoint 2010 tasks. Each task-based spread covers a single technique, sure to help you get up and running on PowerPoint 2010 in no time.” (Catalogue)

Because I’m sure none of you have ever used Microsoft Office, Google Slideshow, or Canva in your entire lives. Once you’ve got your hands on this sweet little guide and kicked your dial-up internet into life, here are a few ideas for your very own PowerPoints:

via GIPHY

How to Assemble a Hatred Bouquet

Strange new times call for strange new methods of communication! I propose we revive the practice of communicating through flowers, and – although you can use your linguistic floral skills to say anything – I would vote for focusing your PowerPoint on how to make your bouquet a declaration of eternal animosity. Who wouldn’t want to make their menacing more aesthetic?

A Victorian flower dictionary : the language of flowers companion / Kirkby, Mandy
“Early Victorians used flowers as a way to express their feelings– love or grief, jealousy or devotion. Now modern-day romantics are enjoying a resurgence of this bygone custom. Kirkby shares the historical literary, and cultural significance of flowers.” (Catalogue)

Kate Greenaway’s Language of flowers. / Greenaway, Kate
“Contains alphabetical lists of flowers and the meanings associated with them.” (Catalogue)

DIY Conspiracy Theory

In case the Victoria University Flat Earth Society Facebook page isn’t quite scratching that conspiratorial itch, why not make up your own? PowerPoint night can be the perfect opportunity to make your case for the huge, telepathic platypus that may or may not be living at the centre of the earth.

100 things they don’t want you to know / Smith, Daniel
“Unsolved mysteries, strange disappearances, suspicious cover-ups, and consiracy theories. Discover the secrets they don’t want you to know. – Who was Jack the Ripper? – Why was Lee Harvey Oswald shot? – Where did the Nazis stash their gold? – Who are the real Men-in-Black? – Did the lost cosonauts ever exist? – Who really discovered America? – Why was Stonehenge built? – Did aliens send the “Wow” signal? – Who stole the Irish crown jewels? – How will the world end?” — from back cover” (Catalogue)

Conspiracy theories & secret societies for dummies / Hodapp, Christopher
“Entering the world of conspiracy theories and secret societies is like stepping into a distant, parallel universe where the laws of physics have completely changed: black means white, up is down, and if you want to understand what is really going on, you need a good reference book.” (Catalogue)

Plan Your Own Funeral

What better way to celebrate life than by having a party at the end? Or by having a picnic? A flash mob? Hiring the Wiggles to perform before your open casket? The choice is yours, so get choosing and announce your plans via PowerPoint!

The party of your life : get the funeral you want by planning it yourself / Dillman, Erika
“The Party of Your Life is a lively, irreverent guide to putting the F-U-N back in funeral […] With the help of The Party of Your Life, the newly dead will rest in peace knowing the tips in the book have helped reduce the drama and strain on their survivors, who are likely experiencing the most painful time of their lives.” (Adapted from 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)

Zodiac Signs As….

An oldie but a goodie – why not embrace PowerPoint night to explore some astrological niches? You could pontificate over zodiac signs as panic-buying items (Taurus as toilet-paper & Pisces as flour for sure), tag them as Barbie characters, or discuss what famous landmarks you would most like to eat (Stonehenge looks nice and crunchy). For a little more background info from which to build your case, check out some of our astrology collection:


Nasty astrology : what your astrologer won’t tell you! / MacDonald, Richard
“Exploring exactly what hidden demons lurk within other people’s psyches, this book reveals all the unspoken truths about people’s star signs. Aren’t you bored with all the astrology books that tell you what a nice person everyone is? Don’t you know, deep down, that there are some very unpleasant aspects to all our characters? Wouldn’t you like to know the truth about the other signs? What makes them tick? What their dark little secrets are?” (Catalogue)

Cinemastrology : the movie lover’s guide to the sun, the moon, and the stars / Wonderly, Stella
“Let the celestial signposts of the zodiac guide you to your next cinematic adventure. With Cinemastrology, you’ll find new flicks, view forgotten favorites from a new perspective, make film-watching plans with a friend or date, and even learn a few things about yourself along the way. Cinemastrology will illuminate the sun-sign secrets of some of cinema’s biggest stars, movies, and moviemakers. But the main star is you! Book jacket.” (Catalogue)

So whether you need some free internet with which to get crafting, or are looking to utilise our magnificent and eclectic collection, come on down to your local library for Peak PowerPointing Perfection.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night….

With the upcoming release of “Death on the Nile” in cinemas, now seems like an excellent time to commemorate the sprawling stacks of mystery fiction throughout Wellington City Libraries. From our iconic Agatha – the creator of Hercule Poirot and his “little grey cells” – and classics such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, to the modern stylings of Karen M. McManus and Maureen Johnson, we have a wide selection from the “criminal classes” on offer.

Although mysteries and criminal acts have been appearing in works of fiction for millennia, the mystery genre as we know it today started with Edgar Allan Poe, whose short story entitled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) introduced the reading world to it’s first fictional detective – Auguste Dupin. Dupin (along with his anonymous narrator friend) is the semi-monastic, enigma-loving basis for the ‘gentleman detective’ character type that came into popularity during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the early-mid 20th century.

via GIPHY

The hot new ‘whodunnit’ style modelled by Poe was rapidly taken up by other authors, including Mary Roberts Rinehart. Referred to as the ‘American Agatha Christie’, Rinehart’s works established the “had I but known” trope (a style of narrative foreshadowing that hints at a looming tragedy or disaster) into the ever-growing mystery genre.

These days, the mystery and crime genre has a happy fat beast of a following, and can be categorised into four sub-genres:

  • The Detective Novel, which follows a primary detective figure as they hijink and deduce their way through a case.
  • The Cosy Mystery, which follows a primary detective figure as they hijink and deduce their way through a case, but make it wholesome.
  • Caper Stories, featuring the grand heists, swindles and crimes from the perspective of the criminal(s) themselves.
  • The Police Procedural, in which the protagonist is typically part of a larger police force.

So sit back and relax one dark and stormy night (a muggy evening will also work) with these highlights from our mystery collection, and see if you can beat the detectives to figure out ‘whodunnit’.

Death on the Nile / Christie, Agatha
“[…] The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. […] Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems…” (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”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

A study in scarlet / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“A Study in Scarlet was flung like a bombshell into the field of detective fiction. Join Dr. Watson as he first meets the brooding Holmes and as they locate their now famous apartment at 221B Baker Street in the midst of a case that spans two continents.” (Catalogue)

Truly devious / Johnson, Maureen
“When Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, begins her first year at a famous private school in Vermont, she sets a plan to solve the cold case involving the kidnapping of the founder’s wife and daughter shortly after the school opened. […] The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” […] But the past has crawled out of its grave: Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy.– Adapted from dust jacket.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Two Flights Up / Rinehart, Mary Roberts
“From the outside, it seems like the three women of the Bayne house are frozen in time […]. Into this steps Howard Warrington, a bond salesman who answers an advertisement to rent the Baynes’ extra room. He finds the house to be full of old secrets and quiet grudges, and he soon grows to hate his life there. But when Margaret attempts to kill herself, he realizes how dark life is for the women Bayne — and how difficult it might be for him to escape.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Firekeeper’s daughter / Boulley, Angeline
“Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, either in her hometown or on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. […] When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source of a new drug. How far will she go to protect her community, if it threatens to tear apart the only world she’s ever known? — adapted from jacket” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The inheritance games / Barnes, Jennifer
“When a Connecticut teenager inherits vast wealth and an eccentric estate from the richest man in Texas, she must also live with his surviving family and solve a series of puzzles to discover how she earned her inheritance.” (Catalogue)
The hound of the Baskervilles : another adventure of Sherlock Holmes / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body, this classic horror story pits detective against dog. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. It is left to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery of the legend of the phantom hound before Sir Charles’ heir comes to an equally gruesome end.” (Catalogue)

Little grey cells : the quotable Poirot / Christie, Agatha
“Discover the man behind the moustache in this book of one-liners by the world’s most famous Belgian detective, revealing the wit and wisdom of Hercule Poirot and his creator, Agatha Christie. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Marvellous Books to Make You Cry

Today we’re here to celebrate a truly undervalued batch of books. We librarians can spend days waxing poetic over our collections of thrilling mysteries, sublime fantasies and illuminative non-fiction, but today I am here to advocate the unique pleasures of a book-induced sob-fest.

Book Cry (noun):                                                                                         The cathartic experience of weeping, wailing, bawling, blubbering, sobbing and/or crying over a book.

There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion book cry to ease some tension, which not only helps improve your overall mood, but actually helps detoxify the body! (After, of course, you have recovered from the literary trauma of seeing two beloved characters torn apart.)

via GIPHY

So if your eyeballs feel in need of a good cleaning, read on for a tear-inducing collection of marvellous books to make you cry:

The song of Achilles / Miller, Madeline
“Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. […] Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. […] Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. “–Author website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fault in our stars / Green, John
“Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.” (Catalogue)
Bridge to Terabithia / Paterson, Katherine
“[…] When Lesley’s family moves to a rural community, they are regarded with some curiosity – a family with so many books, and no television. Jess Aarons is disturbed by Lesley, who challenges his accepted order of things. Then tragedy strikes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
All the light we cannot see / Doerr, Anthony
“Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History […] When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast […] In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. […] Interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the bright places / Niven, Jennifer
“Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school–both teetering on the edge–it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another” Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The memory book / Avery, Lara
“When a rare genetic disorder brings dementia, steals away her memories, and produces physical deterioration, a high school valedictorian with big plans to flee her small town records notes in a journal to her future self, documenting moments great and small.” (Catalogue)
If I stay / Forman, Gayle
“Life is wonderful for seventeen-year-old Mia, a talented cellist with family, friends and boyfriend. But life can change in an instant – a terrible car accident and everything is different.” (Catalogue)

Trigger Warning: Some of these books deal with difficult subjects, such as illness, sexual abuse, and suicide.

If you are struggling with mental health, then you can free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor, or reach out to:

Lifeline
0800 543 354
Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633
Free text 234

Jólabókaflóð: ‘Tis the Season for Reading

Of all the weird, wonderful, and wintery traditions surrounding the Christmas season, I am here today to introduce you to the gift-giving practice of young librarians’ dreams: Jólabókaflóð.

Jólabókaflóð, which loosely translates to “Christmas Book Flood”, is the Icelandic practice of gifting and exchanging books on Christmas Eve. Dating all the way back to WWII (when paper was one of the few commodities not subject to severe rationing), jólabókaflóð is now harkened by the distribution of an annual catalogue of new publications. Although this catalogue (the snappily entitled ‘Bókatíðindi’) is sadly beyond our reach, it is my pleasure to bring you some of the latest and greatest YA additions to the library catalogue. I would suggest you read these, buy them, and then merrily sling them at all your bookish friends.

Now, I will be the first to admit that – when browsing for books – I automatically drift towards the fantasy section. However not everyone out there has the same excellent taste as me, so I’ve branched out in order to offer you a slightly more accommodating collection of potential gifts for your upcoming jólabókaflóð festivities:


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

The inexplicable logic of my life : a novel / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
“Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?” (Catalogue)

Children of blood and bone / Adeyemi, Tomi
“Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.” (Catalogue)

The apple tart of hope / Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore
“Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.” (Catalogue)

The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Pratchett, Terry
” Every town on Discworld knows the stories about rats and pipers, and Maurice – a streetwise tomcat – leads a band of educated ratty friends (and a stupid kid) on a nice little earner. Piper plus rats equals lots and lots of money. Until they run across someone playing a different tune. Now he and his rats must learn a new concept: evil . . .” (Catalogue)

Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie
“The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship’s artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

In order to ascertain quality YA recommendations, I must confess that I turned to younger family members for aid. Yes that’s right, I have informants amongst the youth of today. And my research has led me to believe that the youth of today like frogs (that’s understandable, y’all need the serotonin). So here’s one more recommendation:

Frog and Toad : the complete collection / Lobel, Arnold
“Once upon a time there were two good friends, a frog and a toad. From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other – just as best friends should be.” (Catalogue)



So there you have it! ‘Tis the season for friends, family, food, and a colossal number of books. From all of us here at Wellington City Libraries, Merry Christmas and Happy Jólabókaflóð!

And remember that Santa Claus is also… technically… a cryptid.

Activism to Keep the Summer Ennui at Bay!

It is impossible to fully extol the many wonders of the summer holidays. Water fights, ice cream, camping, being unable to beat Wellington on a good day, exploring the bush looking for cryptids (yes I will ram cryptids down the throats of you readers at every given opportunity), using strategically applied sunblock and patience to graffiti your friend’s back, more ice cream — I could go on for days.

However, if you are anything like me, it won’t take long to remember that you are unable to function without a schedule and will eventually succumb to a state of sunburnt ennui. And what better way to fight this gradual decline, than by fighting THE gradual decline (of society)?! That’s right, this blog post does have a point!

Hopefully, all you smart young whippersnappers were out marching in the School Strike 4 Climate Change (#doitfordavid #actionforattenborough) way back in the shining days pre-COVID, so you’ve already had a taste of how good it feels to stand up for what you believe in. Or you just wanted a day off school, but same premise – we’re battling summer ennui here folks! While organising a nation-wide series of protests over the holidays may be a little ambitious, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can make your voice heard:

  1. Social Media. Your social media is an incredible platform to speak up for your beliefs, so make the most of it! Even if it’s just sharing someone else’s post, you have the tools to make your voice heard. USE THEM.


  2. Get involved. There’s a smorgasbord of charities, non-profits, and activist organisations out there. Pick one that you vibe with and go make the world a better place. A few of my favourites include ActionStation, SAFE, Greenpeace, and NOPE Sisters, or – if you’re feeling especially inspired – get involved with a local political party you agree with, or even the Youth Parliament.
  3. Speaking of parliament, get ready to VOTE! Your time is nigh! I don’t care who you’re voting for, so long as you are getting out there and using your unique opportunity to shape this country. If you’re not old enough to vote, then I give you permission to bully your older siblings, friends, and parents to get out there and make Orange Man proud.
  4. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. All those unique ideas that no-one else would ever think of? Find one that you care about, that can help people, and act on it. All you have to do it start.


  5. Educate yourself! I wanted to put this one first, but then there wouldn’t have been such a flawless transition into some local library inspiration. So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions for you budding activists out there:


How I resist : activism and hope for a new generation
“Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. But with much to stand up and shout about, where do they begin? How I Resist is the way to start the conversation. An all-star collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope […] This guide will remind you that you are not helpless, and that you can be the change you wish to see in the world, in the news, and for your future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Resist : 35 profiles of ordinary people who rose up against tyranny and injustice / Chambers, Veronica
“Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these thirty-five profiles of remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Art of Protest: What a Revolution Looks Like / Nichols, De
“From Keith Haring to Extinction Rebellion, the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, what does a revolution look like? What does it take to make a collective visual impact? Discover the power of words, images and much more in this analytical and thought-provoking look at protest art, by highly acclaimed activist De Nichols.” (Catalogue)

Girls resist! : a guide to activism, leadership, and starting a revolution / Rich, KaeLyn
“An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality. Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally. Get this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist!” (Catalogue)

Generation brave : the Gen Z kids who are changing the world / Alexander, Kate
“An illustrated celebration of Gen Z activists fighting to make our world a better place. Gen Z is populated–and defined–by activists. They are bold and original thinkers and not afraid to stand up to authority and conventional wisdom. From the March for Our Lives to the fight for human rights and climate change awareness, this generation is leading the way toward truth and hope like no generation before […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hood feminism : notes from the women that white feminists forgot / Kendall, Mikki
“All too often the focus of mainstream feminism is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. Meeting basic needs is a feminist issue. Food insecurity, the living wage and access to education are feminist issues. The fight against racism, ableism and transmisogyny are all feminist issues. White feminists often fail to see how race, class, sexual orientation and disability intersect with gender. How can feminists stand in solidarity as a movement when there is a distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? […]” (Catalogue)

Craftivism : the craft of craft and activism
“A provocative anthology of essays, interviews and photographs on the art-making phenomenon known as craftivism, the intersection where craft and activism meet. This book profiles craftivists from around the world (including Australia), and how they use their craft to create a greater good […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You are mighty : a guide to changing the world / Paul, Caroline
“Being a good citizen means standing up for what’s right-and here’s just the way to start. […] This guide features change-maker tips, tons of DIY activities, and stories about the kids who have paved the way before, from famous activists like Malala Yousafzai and Claudette Colvin to the everyday young people whose habit changes triggered huge ripple effects. So make a sign, write a letter, volunteer, sit-in, or march! There are lots of tactics to choose from, and you’re never too young to change the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are power : how nonviolent activism changes the world / Hasak-Lowy, Todd
“A stirring look at nonviolent activism, from American suffragists to Civil Rights to the Climate Change Movement We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? […] It answers the question “Why nonviolence?” by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights / Kendall, Mikki
“[…] Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era. In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history–from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies–and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more. […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watch us rise / Watson, Renée
“[…] Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission. Sick of the way that young women are treated even at their ‘progressive’ New York City high school, they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. One problem – no one shows up. That hardly stops them. They start posting everything from videos of Chelsea performing her poetry to Jasmine’s response to being reduced to a racist and sexist stereotype in the school’s theatre department. And soon, they’ve gone viral, creating a platform they never could’ve predicted […] ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Chicken Soup for the Adventurous Soul

Exams are on the horizon, and some of you may be fighting the urge to run into the woods and never return. But fear not – Spring is in the air, and the world is full of wonderful things to distract you from study! Now is the perfect time to be daydreaming about those Summer roadies and camping trips, and what better way to prepare for the great outdoors than by popping down to your local library for a quick peruse of Bear Grylls’ collected works?

Whether you’re planning a quick day-trip through the bush, a few days camping with friends, or are fully committed to vanishing amongst the undergrowth and resurfacing only often enough that you become a haunting fixture of local folklore, our collection has something for you.

You can find more information about local hiking trails on the Wellington City Council website.

The young adventurer’s guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods–45 action-packed outdoor activities / Hewitt, Ben
“[…] The Young Adventurer’s Guide will teach kids everything from how to walk like a fox and see like an owl to use the stars as their own personal GPS and even how to build the world’s coolest fort out of foraged sticks. This handbook for curious kids will empower them to explore the natural world and even the comfort of their own backyard through a whole new set of skills. Featuring 65 different skills in sections that include: Secrets of the Woods, The Best Camping Trip, Make Cool Stuff That’s Actually Useful and Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hiking & tramping in New Zealand / Bennett, Sarah
“Lonely Planet Hiking and Tramping in New Zealand is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Admire the dramatic peaks and valleys of Fiordland National Park, stroll past bays and beaches of the Abel Tasman Coast, or scale an active volcano on the North Island.” (Catalogue)

Survival handbook : an essential companion to the great outdoors / Sumerak, Marc
“This book includes crucial tips on exactly what you need to know to survive even the most unexpected circumstances. This illustrated guide shows you how to make a shelter, build a fire, locate clean water, forage for food, avoid deadly animals, protect yourself from bad weather, and find your way back home safely afterward. Whether you’re lost, hungry, burned, or buried, knowing essential emergency survival skills could literally mean the difference between life and death.” (Catalogue)

Day walks of Greater Wellington / Gavalas, Marios
“[…] With overviews of popular walking areas, each walk is given a track grade, approximate travel time, easy access details, notes on the track itself and points of interest to highlight the most memorable features. Illustrated with maps and plenty of photographs, this handy guide is the essential companion for anyone venturing into the region’s outdoors.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Camping / Grylls, Bear
“Ever wanted to be an adventurer like Bear Grylls? If you do, you will need to know all the skills required to survive camping in the wilderness! In this practical field guide readers will learn how to choose the best site, how to build shelters and how to make a solar shower – and much more. With full-colour illustrations throughout, this book will appeal to scout groups, as the topic coincides with scout badges.” (Catalogue)

A forager’s treasury / Knox, Johanna
“Features profiles of many edible plants commonly found in New Zealand, including advice on where to find them, how to harvest them and how best to use them”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)


The beginner’s guide to hunting + fishing in New Zealand / Adamson, Paul
“Includes information on the right equipment for the right species, hunting with dogs, and mountain safety and bushcraft essentials. With diagrams, fun facts, a glossary of hunting terms, helpful tips and even some recipes to try out at home … has an emphasis on safety and provides all budding hunters with the basic skills and knowledge for a lifetime of adventure in the great outdoors”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Survival for beginners : a step-by-step guide to camping and outdoor skills / Towell, Colin
“This essential survival guide for intrepid young explorers shows the skills and techniques you need for outdoor adventure, from maps and navigation to camping. Learn the basics – from picking the best campground to knowing how to build a shelter – with clear step-by-step illustrations […] So start packing your rucksack for an outdoor adventure and don’t forget to read Survival for Beginners.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bushcraft : outdoor skills for the New Zealand bush
“Bushcraft is an excellent resource for outdoor activities. It helps both novices and those with some experience to enjoy the NZ bush in greater safety. Provides up-to-date information on new techniques, new equipment, and new ideas. Chapters include trip planning, managing risk, food, equipment, shelter, tramping skills, weather, navigation, river safety, hazards, emergency procedures, and much more!” (Catalogue)

Curiosities and splendour
“Journey back in time with this collection of classic travel writing from great authors and adventurers. These extraordinary odysseys over land and sea captivated audiences and gave them a glimpse into countries, cities and cultures like never before. Tales include Robert Byron’s ten-month journey through Persia to Afghanistan in the early 30s; Jack London’s 1907 sailing adventure across the south Pacific; and Teddy Roosevelt’s scientific exploration of the Brazilian jungles exotic flora and fauna […] (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lost lore : a celebration of traditional wisdom, from foraging and festivals to seafaring and smoke signals / McGovern, Una
“An engaging introduction to traditional knowledge and forgotten wisdom” (Catalogue)

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)

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)

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)