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Category: silly holidays everyone cares about

Surviving the Onslaught of “Love!” : Aro-Ace Reads for a Non-Romantic Valentines’ “Celebration”

Unfortunately, Valentines’ Day is here.



As you may be able to tell, I’m not the biggest fan of those old Saint Valentines. No that’s not a typo. Now I’m sure some of you lovebirds with your partners and social life love the opportunity to celebrate this forsaken day. To you I say two things:

1) How dare you! >:(

2) Yeah that’s fair, enjoy what you want. Valentines’ can be a fun day, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it.

However, some of us are curmudgeonly old grinches who despise joy and human connection, so we shall complain!

This so called “holiday” is nothing but a corporate sacrifice organised by and directed to Big Chocolate and Big Flower and Big Card. The companies do not care about your love, they just want to make bank by slapping a heart on their product and demanding your money. And it’s not like they’re even using the real shape of a heart! This is what a heart looks like and don’t you dare use any other shape!


So why do we even celebrate this “Valentine” chap?

Valentines’ Day grew from a Christian celebration honouring Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni (who may or may not be the same person). There is also a third Saint Valentine who did things in Africa but he was only mentioned in like one book, so we don’t know much about him. This is why I’ve been calling it Valentines Day, there’s like 3 Valentines. So VR and VT were both priests back in the third century when the Roman Empire was very…. stabby when it came to Christians, so they both got executed. The Christian Church was like “damn, that sucks, they were good dudes and maybe performed miracles, we should recognise that” so decided to make them saints and have a day for them. Supposedly Valentine of Rome healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter, which was his miracle.

So… what does any of this have to do with love?


Any take on a tale of a Saint Valentine being a romantic dude are fabrications made after Valentines’ Day was made all lovey dovey.

And when did Valentines’ Day become all about romance?

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Draconic Tales for ‘Appreciate A Dragon Day’! Looking at Real Life “Dragons”!

Here be Dragons…

Photo 106371248, (c) wild_wind, licensed under CC-BY 4.0 DEED

Everybody loves dragons.

All around the world there are countless iterations on the idea of the dragon, oftentimes created independently of each other. Almost every culture has a dragon. That or translators and folklorists are a bit over eager to stamp the title of dragon on anything vaguely scaley. Regardless, you have to admit they are cool.

Besides the part where they don’t exist, that bit kinda sucks. It’d also be super dangerous if they did. But let’s be honest, if dragons did exist, knowing humans and our treatment of large fauna *cough*moa/mammoths/haast-eagle*cough*, we’d probably have killed them off already. Either way, probably for the best.

It is true that we have some “dragons” which are mostly glorified lizards (still adorable though) and other miscellanea.

Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. I have thoughtfully provided a list of dragons for you to pick from all au naturale. And because you lot have been such well-behaved little gremlins, I’ll even share some fun facts on each of these fierce beasties.

A Flying Dragon – Genus Draco

 Photo 339511077, (c) Martin Walsh, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Because reality is often disappointing, flying dragons, on top of not being dragons, don’t actually fly. What they do is they glide. That said, those wings of theirs are pretty neat expansions of their ribs and can at least pretend to fly. Do your ribs allow you to pretend to fly? Didn’t think so.

Dehling JM (2017) How lizards fly: A novel type of wing in animals. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189573. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189573

Central Bearded Dragon

Photo 341430640, (c) Owen Gale, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

The only dragon commonly kept as a pet! Even in New Zealand, the buzzkill that won’t let me have a precious snake as a pet. Some cute behaviour they have is waving their hand to show submission, mostly to show other bearded dragons that they’re chill and not gonna mess with their turf.


Due to them being pets, you can find plentiful adorable images and videos on the internet, so that’s something you can do to fill an afternoon!

Komodo Dragon

Photo 341814950, (c) robert_thibault, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

So there’s something weird with the Komodo’s bite. When komodos attack big prey, like say a buffalo, if they don’t manage to kill the prey the first time, it’ll stalk the prey which eventually dies of infection. The thing is it’s not clear whether this is a purposeful evolutionary thing, because komodo dragons do have venom, or at least something like venom, but scientists don’t know what it really does. Give the topic some research if you want, it’s super interesting.

Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Photo 188207878, (c) Samuel, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Boyd’s Forest Dragons are great, they spend the majority of their lives just hanging out on tree trunks. Unlike most lizards, they don’t sunbathe, instead letting the air heat them, so they can just stay on their tree trunks. If you bug them by coming close, they will just move to the opposite side of the tree and return to their vibing.

What a mood.

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Y’all Just Love Desserts! Looking Back on the Year’s Sweetest Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s beginning to look a lot like our favourite December holiday! And the bells were ringing through the land, bringing peace to all the world and good will to man. What a bright time, it’s the right time to join in any reindeer games.

Yeah, you better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout! I’m telling you why!  Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie. I gave you my tart, and the very next day, you gave it away, which is wild because pumpkin pie is really nice. All I want for this day is sweets! I mean if you manage a pumpkin pie, that’d be great, but it’s not as big of a thing in New Zealand.

Próspero año y día de la tarta de calabaza!

It’s December 25th, and you know what that means…

Merry Pumpkin Pie Day!


But Pumpkin Pie, while delicious, doesn’t have the cultural impact here compared to the US of A. So why not celebrate other sweet-themed holidays. It’s the end of the year after all, so why not take a look back on all the various dessert and candy themed holidays!

Now you might not realise this, but there are so many of these sweet holidays, even the mainstream “actually celebrated” holidays. I mean, think of the major holidays: Halloween is about getting free candy, Easter is about getting chocolate eggs, and Valentines Day (plus it’s evil twin White Day) is about giving people heart themed chocolates. Down to our roots we want excuses to eat more sugar.


Say, if you wanted to have a day for cake, that’s not your birthday, try November 26: Cake Day. There are also subcake days, like pancake day, cheesecake day, cupcake day, sponge cake day, and ice cream cake day. But then you can go hyper specific, like National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day (April 20th). But it’s not just cake, there are so many random desserts that people apparently care enough to make a whole day about. Like who is that excited over Oatmeal Nut Waffles?

For you, dear reader, I have compiled all of 2023’s various mouthwatering holidays into one convenient place. Have I potentially missed some? Maybe. But am I going to check? No. Am I going to insert random other days to teach you a lesson about blindly trusting internet sources without engaging critical thinking and because I think it’s funny? Perhaps.

Enjoy your journey!


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Write Your Heart Out! It’s National Novel Writing Month!


Books are great. We all like books here, right? It’d be odd to be on a library blog if you didn’t. But you know, sometimes the books we want to read just aren’t there, because we’re all geniuses with brilliant ideas beyond what mere humankind can comprehend. Which leads us to a problem, we want these books to exist – but they don’t.


That, my friend, is where writing comes in. Why wait for some hack other person to write the amazing book in your head, when you yourself can do it! All you need is that little organ in your noggin and some kind of writing utensil. Perhaps even the device you are viewing this on.

It just so happens that this month is none other than National Novel Writing Month, or as its friends know it, NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is a month-long challenge, celebrating the act of writing, by attempting the gruelling task of writing a novel in a month!


Well, technically it doesn’t have to be a full novel, with the actual numeric goal being fifty thousand words. So, all of you epic fantasy lovers who want to write a thousand-page tome of a novel that you could kill someone with, you don’t have to write all of it in the month. For reference, fifty thousand words is about half of a Hunger Games or a medium length fanfic. While it may seem overwhelming (and it is a lot to write) if you break it down its only like 1 word a second, or 1.7 thousand words a day.

But why put yourself through this? Why do this marathon of writing?

It’s to give you a goal to strive for, motivation to finally actually start putting those ideas from head to paper (or keyboard). So why not try it, even if you don’t succeed in the big goal, you’ll still have written. You’ll still have some of your brilliant idea put into reality. And remember, you don’t have to write good, you just need to write. It doesn’t matter if what comes out is ‘garbage’, you can always rewrite, rework. But to be able to edit and perfect your creation, you have got to start somewhere.

But maybe you’re new to the whole writing shindig and need some advice on how to write good. No worries, below I have included a collection of helpful “how-to” guides, for you to peruse.

Good luck, and merry writing!


The tough guide to fantasyland / Jones, Diana Wynne
“A unique guide to fantasy literature helps readers understand such subjects as virginity, why High Priests are always evil, how Dark Lords always have minions, and useful tips on what to do when captured by a Goblin.” (Catalogue)

Spilling ink : a young writer’s handbook / Mazer, Anne
“After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice, accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.” (Catalogue)

Rip the page! : adventures in creative writing / Benke, Karen
“Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs; and letters of encouragement written directly to you from famous authors, including: Annie Barrows, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lemony Snicket, C. M. Mayo, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Moira Egan, Gary Soto, Lucille Clifton, Avi, Betsy Franco, Carol Edgarian, Karen Cushman, Patricia Polacco, Prartho Sereno, Lewis Buzbee, and C. B. Follett. This is your journal for inward-bound adventures–use it to write, brainstorm, explore, imagine–and even rip” (Catalogue)

Dear Ally, how do you write a book / Carter, Ally
“Have you always wanted to write a book, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re really great at writing the first few chapters . . . but you never quite make it to the end? Or do you finally have a finished manuscript, but you’re not sure what to do next? Fear not — if you have writing-related questions, this book has answers! Whether you’re writing for fun or to build a career, bestselling author Ally Carter is ready to help you make your work shine. With honesty, encouragement, and humor, Ally’s ready here to answer the questions that writers struggle with the most. Filled with practical tips and helpful advice, Dear Ally is a treasure for aspiring writers at any stage of their careers. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how books get made, from idea to publication, and gives you insight into the writing processes of some of the biggest and most talented YA authors writing today.”–Amazon.” (Catalogue)


But I’m not a writer/No way am I doing this fifty thousand words nonsense!

Firstly, thank you for reading through my blog even if you aren’t going to NaNoWriMo. Secondly, I’ll tell you a secret, the goal of 50k, like any goal, is made up, imaginary. The point of the challenge is to get writing, and write to your fullest extent within that time frame. If that extent is just a sentence? That’s fine! You do you! We are all different people and that is amazing! Some people use NaNoWriMo to get started with their poetry!

But what if you wanna celebrate but don’t feel like participating directly – maybe your creative juices have been drained by looming exams?

No worries! The library is, first and foremost, a purveyor of books. So why not read about writing?

Fun fact! The first book here: Fangirl was actually written during NaNoWriMo, and is about writing! Write what you know, I guess.

Fangirl – The Novel / Rowell, Rainbow
“Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.” (Catalogue)

Fangirl. 1 – The Graphic Novel / Maggs, Sam
“When twin sisters Cath and Wren go to college, Cath fears that it may be time to give up her love of the Simon Snow series, and possibly grow apart from her sister.” (Catalogue)

Brooding YA hero : becoming a main character (almost) as awesome as me / DiRisio, Carrie
“Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.  As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Enter title here / Kanakia, Rahul
“Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all. What’s a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Afterworlds / Westerfeld, Scott
“In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy’s novel, slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.” (Catalogue

The comedienne’s guide to Pride / Thomson, Hayli
“When Taylor is accepted as a finalist for a diverse writers’ internship at Saturday Night Live, it turns her life upside down. And if Taylor wants a shot at winning, she’ll have to come out about both of her secrets: she wants to be a comedian … and she’s a lesbian. The only thing keeping Taylor from self-combusting is her pining for Salem’s most bewitching actress – out and proud classmate, Charlotte Grey. So when Taylor finds herself sitting opposite Charlotte to discuss a school project, Taylor’s simmering need to tell everyone exactly who she is and what she wants burns hotter than ever…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

NCEA Exams are Looming, but so is Fight Procrastination Day!

Ah procrastination, our greatest friend and fiercest enemy. In case you didn’t know September 6 is Fight Procrastination Day, where your procrastination gains tangible form and beats you up.

Wait, gimme a second.


Okay so apparently Fight Procrastination Day is a day where we try to not procrastinate, to do those things we’ve been putting off. I know, I know, it sounds like fantasy, but I have heard from reputable sources that it’s possible.



Now we-

To celebrate???

Man I have no idea where to take this…


I have time

I’ll do it later





Oh look at the time, bright and early…. November!?

Wow, I really let my time go. But I put all this effort into… finding a funny holiday? No no, this is fine, we can save this. November, November, what’s in November. Oh yeah! Exams. That totally works.

Now I just have to write something helpful for study…

You know what? Why fix what isn’t broken. Fellow Teen Blogger Alayne already wrote a brilliant study guide for dealing with the looming exams. So like, read that.

Study Hacks to Avoid NCEA Panic Attacks – Teen Blog (wcl.govt.nz)

No it’s not plagiarism, I’m just sending you to where the information is.

The fact I may or may not have run out of time is completely irrelevant.

The book of big excuses / Turner, Tracey
“Need to weasel your way out of blame? Or explain some strange behaviour? This is the book for you – for every type of situation, here are excuses from the historical to the hysterical.” (Catalogue)


Oh *&@$! I gotta turn in the blog. Guess I’ll just keep my notes to self in. Content right?

An Anthology of Anthologies of Anthologies! S̶͖̎̍̃͠ṗ̸̠O̴̤͑ọ̵͛̇̃Ḱ̴͕̝̞̌̾͌ỳ̷͓̜̄̃̽ ̵̭͓͍̄́͂Ș̵̝̱͍̐̈́͆̇c̷̭̜̹̀̿͝͠Ä̵͕́̿r̶̢̘̗̂͆͛̅Y̵͓̰̬̘̓͠ ̷͈̺̊̈̀ͅh̵͉̀̿̏̚O̸̦̥͖͓̽͛͝ȑ̵̡̼̈́̄́R̸͙͎͗̽ö̶̳̀͝R̴̤̓͘ͅ ̷̨̡̨͍͂s̷̫̠̎͒͂͜T̴̠͕̖͔̈́̒͛̅ơ̶̜̮̝̇͌R̸͉̲̂͌̃ì̵̢͋̈́͒Ȩ̴̟̩̻̅s̵̹̠͈̀͜͠!


On this very dawn of All Hallow’s Eve
Where ghost and ghouls; the horrors you conceive
Come out, come play, do some trick or treating
For that joyous time that’s oh so fleeting
It’s the spooky season: great October
Macabre machinations are in order
And what’s more in spirit of the season
Terrifying ourselves, within reason
A tradition as old as time itself
Only a little hazardous to health
Some scary stories to tell in the dark
Are you afraid? With goosebumps you embark
Into the twilight zone, where you will find
The Cryptkeeper telling tales most unkind
What better a place for the short story
Bound to an end that’s doomed to be gory
A pinprick of fear, or if you have guts
Torment yourself with a thousand papercuts
So gather ’round the fire, go dim the lights
And prepare yourself for a world of frights



Skin and other stories / Dahl, Roald
“”Who could imagine that a woman would kill her husband with a frozen leg of lamb – and then feed it to the police investigating the murder? Or that a greedy group of art dealers would stop at nothing to separate a poor man from a valuable picture – that’s tattooed on this back?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hometown haunts : #LoveOzYA horror tales
“One bite of an apple from a family shrine unearths hungry ghosts. A poison garden unfurls a polite boy’s deepest, darkest desires. Interfering with an Indigenous burial site unleashes ancestral revenge, to a metal soundtrack. An underground dance party during Covid threatens to turn lethal. And on the edge of a coastal rainforest, a grieving sister waits to witness a mysterious ‘unravelling’. The stories in this wide-ranging collection dig deep and go hard. From body horror to the supernatural, hauntings to transformations, and the everyday evil of humans to menacing outside forces, Hometown Haunts will have you glued to your chair … until you leap out of it!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Extremities : stories of death, murder, and revenge / Lubar, David
“A group of high school girls takes revenge on their sadistic gym teacher in the most fitting way possible. Two stowaways find themselves on a ship for the dead. An ancient predator stalks the wrong victim. Here are thirteen tales of death, murder, and revenge”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Dark-Thirty / McKissack, Patricia
“In that special half-hour of twilight–the dark-thirty–there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing, suspenseful, and breathtakingly original, these tales make up a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten. From the Trade Paperback edition.” (Catalogue)

Monstrous affections : an anthology of beastly tales
“An anthology of stories explores the intersection of fear and romance, ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.” (Catalogue)

NEvermore! : tales of murder, mystery & the macabre : neo-gothic fiction inspired by the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe
“22 original, modern stories, many by New York Times bestselling mystery and dark fantasy authors, recreating Poe’s genius and atmospheric brilliance through riffs on his classic tales.”–Back cover,” (Catalogue)

Teeth : vampire tales
“The first bite is only the beginning. Twenty of today’s favorite writers explore the intersections between the living, dead, and undead. Their vampire tales range from romantic to chilling to gleeful–and touch on nearly every emotion in between. Drawn from folk traditions around the world, popular culture, and original interpretations, the vampires in this collection are enticingly diverse. But reader beware: The one thing they have in common is their desire for blood… ” (Catalogue)

The complete stories / Poe, Edgar Allan
“Edgar Allan Poe’s gift for the macabre influenced Baudelaire and French symbolism, Freudian analysis, the detective novel and the Hollywood film. His psychologically profound stories, which comprise this book, represent the darker side of the 19th-century American sensibility.” (Catalogue)

Uncle Montague’s tales of terror / Priestley, Chris
“Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house and his regular visits from his nephew give him the opportunity to relive some of the most frightening stories he knows. But as the stories unfold, a newer and more surprising narrative emerges, one that is perhaps the most frightening of all.” (Catalogue)

Man made monsters / Rogers, Andrea L.
“Haunting illustrations are woven throughout these horror stories that follow one extended Cherokee family across the centuries and well into the future as they encounter predators of all kinds in each time period.” (Catalogue)

Slasher girls & monster boys
“Inspired by classic tales and films, a collection of fourteen short stories ranging from bloody horror, to psychological thrillers, to supernatural creatures, to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, by acclaimed YA authors of every genre”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Red Spikes / Lanagan, Margo
“Ten stabs to the heart. Ten tales to jab and poke – at your darkest fears, your secret desires. Margo Lanagan’s short stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all. For anyone who likes to be surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared, prepare to be dazzled by what a master storyteller can do in a few short pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ghosts of heaven / Sedgwick, Marcus
“The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin…”–Book jacket” (Catalogue)


An Anthology of Anthologies of Anthologies! Merry Generic Book Celebration Time!

It may come to no surprise that I am interested in silly holiday celebrations. But where do I find all of these preposterous party-purposes?


To pull back the curtain a bit…


There’s this funny little website I use to look through all the different days of the year, called (shockingly enough) Days of the Year. It tells me every*I mean, I assume, it’s not like I check*Plus it doesn’t seem to care very much about actual “real” holidays that people actually celebrate but pssh we don’t need people or authority holiday for any day I want to look of. Now, these are all super official holidays™ that absolutely everyone™ knows. Like our beloved and much celebrated National Small Press Month. Whether these days are actually pertinent to us in New Zealand is irrelevant. For example, this lovely month of October is none other than Library Month*

*In Canada…

Look, there’s 365 and a quarter days in a year, and each day is generally celebrating like 9ish different things, not even including special months. Not all of them are winners. In fact, there can often be a lot of overlap, like how August 8 is International Cat Day, which is separate from October 29: National Cat Day, or October 16: Global Cat Day.

I like to look through all these days to find exciting and strange holidays to celebrate fun things, but I end up finding patterns sometimes. There are a whole bunch of days that are just gimmes for a librarian writing about books. Days about books and libraries and whatnot. But if I just wrote for those holidays what would be the point? They’d all be the same. Instead, I decided to knock them all out. In the spirit of Canadian Library Month let’s have a look at all the generic book holidays!


National Word Nerd Day (January 9th) | Days Of The Year


National Library Lover’s Month (February 2024) | Days Of The Year

World Read Aloud Day (February 3rd) | Days Of The Year

National Read In The Bathtub Day (February 9th) | Days Of The Year

International Book Giving Day (February 14th) | Days Of The Year


Return Borrowed Books Week (Mar 3rd to Mar 9th) | Days Of The Year

Read an E-Book Week (Mar 3rd to Mar 9th) | Days Of The Year

World Book Day (March 7th, 2024) | Days Of The Year

International Read To Me Day (March 19th) | Days Of The Year


National Librarian Day (April 16th) | Days Of The Year

World Book Night (April 23rd) | Days Of The Year

English Language Day (April 23rd) | Days Of The Year

National Tell A Story Day (April 27th) | Days Of The Year


National Get Caught Reading Month (May 2023) | Days Of The Year


Audiobook Month (June 2023) | Days Of The Year


Paperback Book Day (July 30th) | Days Of The Year


Blogger Day (August 5th) | Days Of The Year

National Book Lovers Day (August 9th) | Days Of The Year


National Read a Book Day (September 6th) | Days Of The Year

National Buy a Book Day (September 7th) | Days Of The Year

International Literacy Day (September 8th) | Days Of The Year

Read An Ebook Day (September 18th) | Days Of The Year

National Library Card Sign-up Month (September 2023) | Days Of The Year

Read A New Book Month (September 2023) | Days Of The Year


Canadian Library Month (October 2023) | Days Of The Year

the Lost Souls




The gall! I bet they’re just mad because despite being named the 9th and 10th month (novem means 9 and decem means 10 in Latin) they’re the 11th and 12th months. Do they think they’re better than us? BAH!  We don’t need them!



To lean into this generic bookishness, I have gathered some anthologies together for your reading pleasure. A grand variety of different genres and types of story. So go ahead and read, before the baleful November and December rains its fury.

A tyranny of petticoats : 15 stories of belles, bank robbers & other badass girls
“From pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago, take a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.” (Catalogue)

Willful impropriety : 13 tales of society, scandal, and romance
“The Season has finally arrived, filled with the magnificent balls, scandalous gossip, and clandestine romances that every lord and lady in good society has come to expect. But far within the walls of lavish estates and in the dark corners of the city lies a world that the aristocracy dares not touch, with rules and risks that glamour cannot overpower. Yet true love has no boundaries, and heiresses and street thieves alike must use their savvy and strength to create new beginnings and happily-ever-afters. Sometimes luck is enough, but every once in a while, a touch of magic may be needed.” (Catalogue)

That stubborn seed of hope : stories / Falkner, Brian
“A boy helps his sister disguise her birthmark on her first day of school. A seventeen-year-old awakens to find himself trapped in an elderly body. A teenage girl discovers her boyfriend has a life-threatening virus the day after they share their first kiss. A high school student tries to communicate to his hospitalised brother who is in a vegetative state. Brian Falkner serves up bite-sized tales of fear – fear of rejection, fear of dying, fear of disease, fear of the unknown, fear of exclusion, fear of being caught and fear of embarrassment – showing how that stubborn seed of hope hungers our darkest moments.” (Catalogue)

Who done it? : investigation of murder most foul
“When over eighty prominent children’s authors learn they are suspects in the murder of despicable book editor Herman Mildew, they provide less-than-credible alibis.” (Catalogue)

Rags & bones : new twists on timeless tales
“In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and the ones that have been too long overlooked.” (Catalogue)

Tales from the inner city / Tan, Shaun
“World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict – of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.” (Catalogue)

Athletic Shorts / Crutcher, Chris
“These six powerful short stories chronicle bits of the lives of characters, major and minor, who have walked the rugged terrain of Chris Crutcher’s earlier works. They also introduce some new and unforgettable personalities who may well be heard from again in future books. As with all Crutcher’s work, these are stories about athletes, and yet they are not sport stories. They are tales of love and death, bigotry and heroism, of real people doing their best even when that best isn’t very good. Crutcher’s straightforward style and total honesty have earned him an admiring audience and made readers of many nonreaders.” (Catalogue)

Off the map / Gardner, Scot
“Our home town. Sometimes it feels like the centre of the universe, sometimes it’s the bum-end of nowhere. We are her sons and daughters. These are our triumphs and our heartaches, our fears and hopes for a better life. Getting lost, falling in love, pushing boundaries, exploring the world – powerfully honest stories to make you think and feel, from the award-winning author of The Dead I Know and Changing Gear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sixteen / McCafferty, Megan
“Dating! Drama! Driving!Remember what it was like to be sixteen? Whether it was the year your teeth were finally free of braces or the year you were discovered by the opposite sex, that magical, mystical age is something you will never forget. Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday is a compilation of short stories inspired by all the angst, melodrama, and wonderment of being sixteen. Sarah Dessen’s “Infinity” is about a girl confronting two major milestones: getting her driver’s license and losing her virginity. The Dead Girls in Jacqueline Woodson’s “Nebraska 99” have already decided to “do it” and must now cope with being teenage mothers. And Carolyn Mackler’s “Mona Lisa, Jesus, Chad, and Me” explores whether friendship can survive when partying and prayer clash.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The realm of possibility / Levithan, David
“A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.” (Catalogue)

Unnatural creatures
“Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds–collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. Magical creatures from the werewolf, to the sunbird, to beings never before classified will thrill, delight, and quite possibly unnerve you in tales by E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries. Sales of Unnatural Creatures benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative and expository writing, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.” (Catalogue)

Explore the World’s Literature for International Translation Day!

I’ll make a bet with you, I bet that for the vast majority of readers of this here blog the best book you have ever read was written in English.

Did I get it right?

Of course I did, I’m a psychic. That and the fact that this is an English language blog, written for a library in a predominantly English speaking country, aimed at teenagers, who (considering our education system) are probably only fluent in English. (If that’s not you, rock on!) One could be mistaken for thinking that only the anglophones can write good books.

Well you’re wrong, Blatant Straw Man!

There is a whole world of great literature that is just waiting for us, if only we could read the funny letters… I mean look at the word “baguette,” what is one to comprehend from these squiggles?

But there is a solution!

(There is always a solution)!

Some wild people have this superpower where they can understand more than one language, unbelievable I know. These people, these “cultured human beings” or “polyglots” for short, take the words of these foreign stories and transform them into words us Anglos can understand. This is called translating, and some lucky books receive this treatment, transcending the boundaries of language.

Wow, look at the calendar, it just so happens to be September 30th, International Translation Day. What a coincidence.

To celebrate these oft forgotten workers, let us embrace the foreign and delight in the stories only they could bring to our eyes.

So, without further ado, let us look at some English books from our collection that weren’t always in our mother tongue (if you’re in the market for more such stories, check out our Books From Around the World list here!)

Beginning with!



The girl from the other side : siúil, a rún. Vol. 1 / Nagabe
“In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as Teacher. Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her grandmother, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.” (Catalogue)

Komi can’t communicate. Volume 1 / Oda, Tomohito
“Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi would love to make friends, but her shyness is interpreted as reserve, and the other students keep her at a distance. Only timid Tadano realizes the truth, and despite his own desire to blend in, he decides to help her achieve her goal of making 100 friends.”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The beast player / Uehashi, Nahoko
“Elin’s family care for the fearsome serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. When some of the beasts mysteriously die, Erin’s mother is sentenced to death. Elin is sent to safety and soon discovers that she can talk to terrifying water serpents and the flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers but endanger her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war?– Adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue)

Brazilian Portuguese!


Where we go from here / Rocha, Lucas
“When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid. That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)



You can’t kill Snow White / Alemagna, Béatrice
“A retelling of Snow White from the point of view of the stepmother queen, whose blinding obsession and insatiable jealousy lead inexorably to her own violent undoing.” (Catalogue)

The Count of Monte Cristo / Dumas, Alexandre
“Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.  (Goodreads)

A winter’s promise / Dabos, Christelle
“Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.”– Amazon.com.” (Catalogue)



The storyteller / Michaelis, Antonia
“Wealthy, seventeen-year-old Anna begins to fall in love with her classmate, Abel, a drug dealer from the wrong side of town, when she hears him tell a story to his six-year-old sister, but when his enemies begin turning up dead, Anna fears she has fallen for a murderer.” (Catalogue)

Erebos : it’s a game, it watches you / Poznanski, Ursula
“Ages 12 to 14 years When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname. Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game. Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book jumper / Gläser, Mechthild
“Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother leave Germany for Scotland, heading to Lennox House, her mother’s childhood home on the island of Stormsay. Amy’s grandmother insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House — but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as her new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts — at whatever cost.” (Catalogue)



Maresi / Turtschaninoff, Maria
“Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren’t allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. Then one day Jai, tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her. Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.” (Goodreads)

The legend of Sally Jones / Wegelius, Jakob
“Another gripping Sally Jones adventure – the gorgeously illustrated, prizewinning prequel to The Murderer’s Ape This is the story of a gorilla like no other. This is the story of a fantastic voyage across the world, from the Congolese rainforest to the grand bazaar of Istanbul, from Borneo to London, Singapore and beyond. The story of a mysterious jewel thief and a sad sailor with a heart of gold. A story of friendship and adventure on the high seas. This is the story of Sally Jones.” (Catalogue)

Witness Librarian Cats for International Cat Day!

The humble Felis Catus, or the domestic cat, is well renowned for its utter dominion over the human race. They began their conquest in ancient Egypt, around 3100 BCE, where they were worshipped. Such worship continues to this very day across the world, where their absolute adorableness grants them easy access to willing slaves for food and pats. Even the last bastion of sense and reason, the library, has not been able to resist their influence. 

This world is catkind’s, we just live in it.

Our deities demand piety, and so shall we give it! Today, on this hallowed day, is International Cat Day, and to celebrate, we at the library shall show off our beloved kits!


A long black cat is lying on its back atop a blue duvet.Firstly, and most importantly, is my cat! Take a gander at Fred! Isn’t he just the cutest! Freddy is a very loving a snuggly cat, who loves being pet and head boops. alFredo sauce is so very fluffy and he meows! Freddles knows what he wants, and if you are doing something he does not want, he will give you a warning chomp. Graciously he shows mercy and only lightly chomps, for a dead servant is not a very useful servant. 10 out of 10 best cat.

A tortoiseshell cat with blue eyes looks wistfully off into the distance.

This beautiful girl is named Pixie, ain’t she cute! She’s very sweet and always wants cuddles. However, she has a dark side, and can be quite cheeky, depending on the person. Pixie loves her owner, protecting her with violence against the foul beast Huuse-B’andd, for the grievous crime of existing.

A cat with mottled brown and white fur lies on its back outdoors.

A cat with mottled black, brown and white fur twists its body to get a good look at the camera.

These contorting cats are Henry Bam Bam (pictured left) and Eevee (pictured right). These cats are well versed in the ancient tradition of being liquid, transfiguring into whatever shape catches their interest, puny human laws of physics notwithstanding. In performing this eldritch geometry they absorb the sun’s rays and relax, biding their time for further world domination.

Five cats are arrayed on and around a cat tree. The largest cat, the mother, is standing at the bottom, with four cats of different sizes and colourings seated above.Mumma Cat, as she was creatively named, was a stray who decided to adopt her family by having four kittens in their house. She is the large calico cat, much bigger than her children.

Mumma Cat’s human decided to keep two of the kittens, Pepper the black kitten and Dahl the ginger kitten. The other two, Pickle the calico and Pepper the tortoiseshell (There is a long tradition of Peppers within their house) were taken in by another librarian (to keep them in the family business, you must understand).

A ginger cat, a black cat, and a tabby sit on a cat tree.Pepper is a magpie, who loves to steal precious treasures (read: random junk) and store them in her dragon’s hoard (under the bed). Further hobbies include scaling her titan servants to rest upon their shoulders.

Dahl, named after the author, though it is apt that his name is the same as a food…because he loves of all things most, food. He enjoys eating food, meowing for food, stealing the other cats food and trying to steal human food.  When he’s got a full belly he likes lots and lots and lots of pats, to play in the empty bathtub, and to cheekily nibble at pot plants for a reaction.

An elderly cat with long white fur is turning to look at the camera.

This old lady is the darling Jessie, captured here enjoying the great wilderness (there’s no fluffy carpet *gasp*). She loves establishing her dominance over micekind by ritualistically attacking her toy mouse in the dark of night, the pitiful desires of humans to “sleep” (whatever that entails) less important than this dire ritual. The children of the house (though they may have grown) are beloved by this empress, however the “owner” (can it really be said that humans are the owners of cats) is unloved, especially when food is not plentiful.

A grey cat lounges atop a black blanket on a bed by the window.Another finely aged gentlelady of refined taste, Shadow enjoys the finer things in life. Such pleasures are that of bathing in the warmth of the firelight and of the LCD screen. She does not deign upon pithy mortals the pleasures of her meow, simply tapping her paw to alert her servants of her dire need for pets.

You might be surprised to learn that I, master of silly and goofy holidays, was not the first librarian to show off genuine article library cats™©☢®. Fellow teen blogger Maiph wrote a blog two years ago for Black Cat Appreciation Day, stealing my gimmick before I even had it, the meanie. So if you need another kitty fix, there you go.

But it just isn’t enough is it? The overwhelming love we feel for kitties can never be truly sated. But worry not, for I have more fuel to add to the burning fire of passion: books on cats!*Please do not literally set library books on fire, I will get in trouble if you do that BEHOLD!

Dewey : a small-town library cat who touched the world / Myron, Vicki
“The story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat, starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the book return slot at the Spencer, Iowa, Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Marvel meow / Fuji, Nao
“The comic misadventures of Chewie, Captain Marvel’s catlike pet flerken. Join Captain Marvel’s pet, Chewie, as she wreaks havoc in the lives of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters. Gain a new persepective on beloved favorites such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, formidable villains including Thanos and Galactus, and antiheroes like Deadpool, as they all become the playthings of this capricious ‘cat’ creature.” — Book jacket flap.” (Catalogue)

Homer’s odyssey : a fearless feline tale, or how I learned about love and life with a blind wonder cat / Cooper, Gwen
“A New York Times Bestseller — Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits — on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.” (Catalogue)

Catwings / Le Guin, Ursula K.
“Four young cats with wings leave the city slums in search of a safe place to live, finally meeting two children with kind hands.” (Catalogue)

Homicidal psycho jungle cat : a Calvin and Hobbes collection / Watterson, Bill
“Calvin and Hobbes are at it again, and this time, our irrepressible friends are taking a walk on the wild side. Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Old Possum’s book of practical cats / Eliot, T. S.
“The inspiration for the iconic musical Cats, T. S. Eliot’s classic and delightful collection of poetry about cats, with whimsical illustrations by Edward Gorey.” (Catalogue)

(Also it inspired the brilliant musical Cats and its… less brilliant movie adaptation Cats)

White cat / Black, Holly
“When Cassel Sharpe discovers that his older brothers have used him to carry out their criminal schemes and then stolen his memories, he figures out a way to turn their evil machinations against them.” (Catalogue)

One cup at a time : a Cat’s Cafe collection / Tarpley, Matt
“Serving up another steaming hot cup of the warm and floofies, this new collection follows your favourite regulars at Cat’s Cafe as well as several all-new characters as they handle the ups and downs of life with the help of their friends. A follow-up collection based on the popular webcomic Cat’s Cafe, One Cup at a Time immerses readers in the gentle, supportive world of cafe owner Cat and his adorable friends. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Slithering, Scaley Serpents! Support World Snake Day! Subsume Snake Storiessssss!


Snakes! Sourcing serotonin, sanguine, straightforwardly selfward. So supremely sweet, simply stunning, sensationally spectacular. Snakes secrete superiority so surely; society simply shall celebrate. (Sadly, ‘s’ sounding substitutions shall suffice, so suspend some scrutiny.) Souls stay sore seeing serpents stay solo, separated so soundly. Serendipitously, solving such struggles, some stories surround serpents; sacred sagas, sagely shared, so souls shall strengthen!  Sorry, sibilance shall stop suddenly because it’s kinda hard to make any sense with.

But yeah, World Snake Day! I love snakes, they’re so cute, despite being not allowed in New Zealand. Ironic considering NZ is one of the only places without snakes-


We do have snakes, technically! To commemorate our favourite slithery serpents, I shall knowledge y’all on Aotearoa’s four species of native snakes!

So, it turns out there’s actually two different types of sea snakes, Laticauda and Hydrophiinae. So, what’s the difference?

Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait

Photo 271419032, (c) craigjhowe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Laticauda are known as Sea Kraits, which are basically fence sitters who can’t decide whether to be sea snakes or land snakes, so they do a bit of both. Funnily enough, all of New Zealand’s kraits feed on a diet of mainly eels. Because, obviously, kraits have to prove that they are the best aquatic long bois (which of course they are).

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophiinae meanwhile are also known as “True Sea-Snakes”, because they live mainly in the sea. For example, our Hydrophiinae, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, spends about 87% of its time in water. Unlike most snakes, sea snakes birth live young, rather than laying eggs. The Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake eats mostly fish and cephalopods.

Despite these two subfamilies being similar concepts: snakes that swim, they actually independently evolved from each other. Both species are very poisonous, so if you find one, no touch!

Brown-Lipped Sea Krait

Brown-lipped Sea Krait

Photo 98665882, (c) abujudy, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Now to the technicalities of how they are native to Aotearoa. So, because sea snakes live in the sea, they sometimes end up drifting to New Zealand. Because they managed to get here by themselves, without the machinations of humans, it’s considered that they are native to the area. In fact, there’s only ever been 1 Brown-Lipped Sea Krait and 1 Saint Giron’s Sea Krait to ever be recorded in New Zealand, yet they’re considered native. And if you disagree with that, take it up with the Department of Conservation. Unfortunately, this means that in reality it is unlikely you’ll ever have to meet any snakes in New Zealand, but you’ll know, deep in your heart, that we technically have native snakes.

Saint Giron’s Sea KraitPhoto 278616112, (c) Yoshitaka Tahara, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

To honour our snakey comrades, I have scrounged up some snakey books for all to read… Plus some on eels, and beautiful serpentine Asian dragons. Unfortunately, few of the fiction books with snakes on the cover have anything to do with slithery friends, just metaphors, bleh.

Happy reading!

A snake falls to Earth / Little Badger, Darcie
“Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Shapeshifters : The Kiesha’ra of the den of shadows / Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia
“Five complete novels. One fascinating world. The NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling author’s tales of forbidden love, bound together in one gorgeous volume. SHAPESHIFTERS tracks the lives of five teenagers who live in a land that has long seen war between the avian and serpiente shapeshifters rage. Although a fragile peace has been established, they face many threats in the following years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Serpentine / Pon, Cindy
“Although sixteen-year-old Skybright feels lucky to be the handmaid and companion to the daughter of a wealthy family, she is hiding a secret that threatens to destroy her position and her closest relationships.” (Catalogue)

The snakes / Jones, Sadie
“‘I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.” (Catalogue)

Medusa / Burton, Jessie
“Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal … and destiny itself.” (Catalogue)

Tess of the road / Hartman, Rachel
“Tess Dombegh journeys through the kingdom of Goredd in search of the World Serpents and finds herself along the way”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

SilverFin : the graphic novel / Higson, Charles
“Young James Bond, while attending boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, must battle against an insane arms dealer who, by using killer eels, is attempting to create a race of indestructible soldiers on the eve of World War II.” (Catalogue)

Into the river / Dawe, Ted
“When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river”–Back cover. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

A magic steeped in poison / Lin, Judy I
“For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her-the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu. When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi-masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making-she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life. But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.” — Provided by publisher” (Catalogue)

Song of silver, flame like night / Zhao, Amaelie Wen
“Lan’s last remnant of her mother–and the fallen Hin dynasty of her ancestors–is a symbol seared onto her wrist, which, if the mysterious boy she encounters is to be trusted, may be the key to freeing her people by mastering the ancient, forgotten art ofpractitioning.” (Catalogue)



It’s Dino Time, Literally: Discover Dinosaurs During Dinosaur Day!

Friends, family, acquaintances, we are all gathered here today, June 1st, to commemorate the passing of our beloved Dinosaurs. Truly they were the best of us, I mean, they were huge awesome bird-lizard things that were like super cool. Dinosaurs have been an inspiration for many of us, from becoming an obsession for us in our younger years, to never leaving that obsession, to those silly suits that people can buy that just make everything better. Unfortunately our beloved Dinosaurs were so cruelly taken away from us by some meteors, though that may have been for the best considering how squishy humans are and how big Dinosaurs were. The Dinosaurs’ legacy is continued by their descendants, birds, who are neat. I mean, have you seen geese? They put the “terrible” in “terrible lizard”.

Now, to say a few words is one of the T-Rex’s fierce relatives:

Thank you for your wise words, Sir Cluckington.

But let us not be swamped in sadness, Dinosaurs wouldn’t have wanted us to live in sorrow for their loss. I mean, technically Dinosaurs probably wouldn’t have wanted anything besides food, but hey, let’s be poetic. Let us celebrate their lives, their radical coolness, rather than their deaths. For why focus on the fact they are dead and fossilised, but for the brightness they spark in our hearts.

So, in remembrance, this Dinosaur Day, June 1st, let us look at all the cool media about dinosaurs.


Battlesaurus : rampage at Waterloo / Falkner, Brian
“In this alternate history, Napoleon wins at Waterloo by unleashing a secret battlefield weapon–a legion of giant, carnivorous dinosaurs imported from the wilds of the Americas–and only fifteen-year-old Willem Verheyen stands in the way of the emperor’s plan for world domination.” (Catalogue)

The extinction trials / Wilson, S. M.
“Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this epic new series.” (Catalogue)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur [1] : BFF / Montclare, Brandon
“Lunella Lafayette is an inhuman preteen genius who wants to change the world! THAT JOB would be a lot easier if she wasn’t living in mortal fear of her latent inhuman gene. There’s no telling what she’ll turn into — but Luna’s got a plan. All she needs is an Omni-Wave Projector. Easy, right? That is, until a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call … today!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reptil : brink of extinction / Blas, Terry
“Reptil — the dinosaur-powered graduate of Avengers Academy — is on the brink of extinction! In the wake of his grandfather’s worsening health, Humberto Lopez has taken a step back from crimefighting to focus on his family. Perhaps it’s a sign that he should give up on becoming a hero and finally come to terms with his parents’ mysterious disappearance… or perhaps not! When a mysterious figure ambushes Humberto, what unravels will shake the core of everything that Reptil thought he knew about his past. And it will either change the course of his future – or end it forever!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dinotopia : journey to Chandara / Gurney, James
“After many years of searching, artist James Gurney has discovered a never-before-seen journal by the nineteenth-century explorer Arthur Denison in a used bookstore. Denison’s previous travel accounts, published as Dinotopia: A land Apart from Time and Dinotopia: The World Beneath, introduced a lost island where dinosaurs and humans live together in peaceful interdependence. Now Professor Denison and his saurian companion, Bix, set out on a perilous journey to the long-forgotten empire of Chandara.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Raptor Red / Bakker, Robert T
“A pair of fierce but beautiful eyes look out from the undergrowth of conifers. She is an intelligent killer. So begins one of the most extraordinary novels you will ever read. The time is 120 million years ago, the place is the plains of prehistoric Utah, and the eyes belong to an unforgettable heroine. Her name is Raptor Red, and she is a female Raptor dinosaur. The life of a lady dinosaur in the prehistoric swamps of Utah. When her mate is killed on a hunting expedition she teams up with her sister, a mother of three, and the novels follows their struggle to eat and survive in a dangerous world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jurassic Park / Crichton, Michael
“Before seeing Jurassic World film this June read the original, multimillion copy number 1 bestselling thriller that inspired the first major motion picture Jurassic Park. On a remote jungle island, genetic engineers have created a dinosaur game park. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now one of mankind’s most thrilling fantasies has come true and the first dinosaurs that the Earth has seen in the time of man emerge. But, as always, there is a dark side to the fantasy and after a catastrophe destroys the park’s defence systems, the scientists and tourists are left fighting for survival…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lost world / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive.” (Catalogue)

Bermuda / Layman, John
“There’s a region in the Atlantic Ocean where planes disappear, ships are lost, and traveling souls go missing… never to be heard from again. And there’s an island within this place, mysterious and uncharted, untouched by time and civilization, where all who are lost end up. Bermuda lives here. She’s a normal, everyday 16-year-old girl, who just so happens to live in an otherworldly dimension swarming with dinosaurs and pirates! It’s made her scrappy, and a survivor, and it’s the only life she’s ever known… until today. Bermuda’s discovered something on her island that will either open a doorway between her world and ours… or destroy them both!” — page 4 of cover” (Catalogue)

Age of reptiles : tribal warfare / Delgado, Ricardo
“More real life’ adventures from the days of the dinosaurs. This series tracks the fortunes – and misfortunes – of a family of Ceratosaurs as they try to survive the rigors of the Jurassic era.'” (Catalogue)

The virtual realities trilogy / Carmichael, Claire
“Andy Tremain has a terrifying ability. Using virtual reality, he can create monsters from his unconscious mind. And he’s obsessed with dinosaurs. A psychiatrist in the United States promises a cure but when Andy and his brother and sister realise they are prisoners rather than guests in Dr Kaplan’s luxurious desert complex, Andy’s dream becomes a nightmare. When his powers change and reality itself begins to shift and tear, Andy is so dangerous that society clearly cannot afford to let him live. So the terror continues…” (Catalogue)

Wit and Whimsy! Celebrating National Limerick Day!

There once was a man from library
Who thought that just prose was dreary
He wrote all in verse
But soon did he curse
All this rhyme made him so weary

But he had to conquer his fear
For the day of limerick was near
Give them some books
With whimsical looks
And then all the masses shall cheer

Are they all up to snuff?
I mean they sound good enough
Poetry is hard
I’m hardly a bard
So here’s some whimsical stuff:

Tress of the Emerald Sea / Sanderson, Brandon

On a treacherous green sea of spores
So she can save the boy she adores
A sorceress to beat
On a pirate’s fleet
Through the Midnight Sea she explores

Frogkisser / Nix, Garth

A prince turned to frog by saboteur
Must be saved by his love’s sister,
Wizards, dog astute,
Newt of ill repute,
And now a great quest must occur

The princess bride / Goldman, William

A tale told, only the best parts
There’s adventure, a hero with smarts,
Beasts, miracles, fights
And dangerous plights
A love story to capture our hearts

Six crimson cranes / Lim, Elizabeth

A wicked stepmother casts a curse
Taking her ability to converse
Brothers become cranes
She will take great pains
Finding how to make the spell reverse

The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Pratchett, Terry

A cat pulls a pied piper con
A plague of rats to be led on
In comes the “piper”
A wee lil minor
And suddenly all the rats are gone

The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making / Valente, Catherynne M.

A girl from our world so bland
Is transported into fairyland
Through enchanted woods
To get Marquees’ goods
Must return with talisman in hand

Cryptid Club / Andersen, Sarah

The normal lives of the cryptid
Who from humans often will be hid
They are just like us
They don’t like the fuss
Seek this kooky knowledge they forbid

I’ve shared some silly nonsense
So why not join in this madness hence
Make sure you rhyme
Follow beat and time
May your poetry writing commence!

Live Bats and Dead Bats! Celebrating International Bat Appreciation Day with Vampires!

A very cute picture of a New Zealand Short-Tailed Bat

Image: Lesser short-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Look at them! Aren’t they so adorable, with their cute little faces, ferocious teefies, and big goofy ears. If you didn’t know, today, April 17th, is International Bat Appreciation Day, a much beloved and well known holiday! Bats are like, super cool, so that’s why I have decreed that we shall celebrate their existence! That and I wanted to show y’all some cool books about vampires, but first let’s talk real bats.

The Bats of Kiwiland

Bats are Aotearoa’s only indigenous land-based mammals, making them a truly unique part of our nation’s already unique biodiversity. We have three* different species of bats: the New Zealand Lesser Short-Tailed Bat, the New Zealand Greater Short-Tailed Bat, and the New Zealand Long-Tailed Bat.

New Zealand Lesser Short-Tailed Bat on mossy log

Image: Short-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Pekapeka – The Short-Tailed Bats: 

Pekapeka are rather unique as bats go, hunting on the ground rather than the air. They are very capable at crawling along the ground and digging with their wings as front limbs. They are omnivores, eating mostly pollen, insects, fruit, and nectar. To attract mates, males will do this little song which is just too cute. Unfortunately the Greater Short-Tailed Bat is likely extinct, as the last time anyone saw one of these bats was 1967, but hopefully they are just being sneaky and are still alive.

New Zealand Long-Tailed Bat on researcher's finger. Aw they are so cute!

Image: Long-tailed bat, by Colin O’Donnell, Department of Conservation. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Pekapeka-Tou-Roa – The Long-Tailed Bat:

Officially voted as New Zealand’s Bird of the Year in 2021, the long-tailed bat is a much more traditional bat than the short tails. It eats insects which it catches while flying, which in fancy science talk is called hawking (because clearly this mammal is a bird.) If you’ve ever seen a bat in Aotearoa, it was most likely one of these beauties, as they often fly at dusk.


And now for the most popular type of bat, Nosferatu! Real life vampires, vampire bats, are a little less dangerous than the ones in fiction. Vampire bats only occasionally nom on humans, so they’re mostly safe. However we need not restrict our imagination by paying attention to “reality”. If the animal kingdom won’t give us murderbats, the twisted minds of humanity shall.



Many a strange and horrific tale of the creatures of the night!


Plague of the undead / Cross, Gary
The boy knew his father was going to kill him. Just like he’d killed everyone else tonight. The boy’s mother, his two older sisters and baby brother, the servants. All of them dead.

When Lucius is ten years old his father returns home one evening as a vampire and destroys his entire family. By luck Lucius is spared. Fifteen years later Lucius has joined the elite group of vampire hunters that saved his life that night. Now it’s his turn to lead the hunt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lost girls : a vampire revenge story / Hartl, Sonia
“Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town, at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes, who invite Holly to join them in their quest to kill Elton before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence. Adapted from book jacket.” (Catalogue)

Youngblood / Laurens, Sasha
“Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change. Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well. When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.” (Catalogue)

Go hunt me / Devos, Kelly
“For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets , this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cruel illusions / Fuston, Margie
“Since a vampire murdered her mother, Ava has survived foster home after foster home, determined to get revenge. It’s been ten years since anyone has seen a vampire– until Ava stumbles across a hidden magic show where she witnesses impossible illusions. Ava sneaks backstage and catches them in acts they can’t explain. But they’ve been waiting for her: they are part of an ancient secret society with true magic, and Ava has the same power in her blood that they do. If she joins them they will help her avenge her mother. But if she wants to keep the power they offer, she must participate in a sinister and dangerous competition where illusion and reality blur– and the stakes are deadly.”– Adapted from jacket.” (Catalogue)

Department 19 / Hill, Will
“After watching his father’s brutal murder, sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter joins Department 19, a secret government agency, where he learns of the existence of vampires and the history that ties him to the team destined to stop them.” (Catalogue)

Direwood / Yu, Catherine
“No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too. Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear–she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him.  Following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eighth grade bites / Brewer, Heather
“For thirteen years, Vlad, aided by his aunt and best friend, has kept secret that he is half-vampire, but when his missing teacher is replaced by a sinister substitute, he learns that there is more to being a vampire, and to his parents’ deaths, than he could have guessed.” (Catalogue)

The hunt / Fukuda, Andrew Xia
“Seventeen-year-old Gene has passed as a vampire for years, carefully following every rule, but now, just as he finds a girl worth fighting for, he is chosen to participate in the hunt for the last remaining humans among ruthless vampires who soon suspect his true nature.” (Catalogue)


Vampires never get old : tales with fresh bite
“Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices! In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out–and going out for their first kill–and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night. Welcome to the evolution of the vampire–and a revolution on the page. Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: National Small Press Month!

It’s that time of year again, everyone’s favourite monthly celebration!

Yes! In March!

Christmas? Halloween? Are you alright? No, it’s not one of those, its…


What do you mean you don’t know what National Small Press Month is? Does the prospect of getting books from sources other than a handful of monolithic corporations not fill you with joy?! So what if it’s originally an American marketing ploy by the Publishers Marketing Association? IT IS TIME TO CELEBRATE!

To properly commemorate this time-honoured tradition, I deemed it worthy to gander upon New Zealand’s many small presses. Below I have collated some great reads written by kiwis and published by kiwis, as well as little bits of info on a handful of publishing houses.

So, without further ado…


These be they that come from our home port o’ Wellington! Ahoy! (or AHOY!) be the kids and bigger kids imprint o’ Cuba Press, named for the great vessel from our history, the Cuba. That ‘n the street.


Between the flags / Fenton, Rachel

“What if the worst thing that could ever happen to you had already happened, but you didn’t realise? … Fourteen-year-old trainee lifeguard Mandy Malham has wanted to beat Jen in the surf lifesaving championships at Soldier Tree Bay ever since Jen bullied her in primary school, but to do that, Mandy comes to realise that first she must rescue herself…” (abridged from catalogue)

Annual Ink

Annual Ink is the Children and Young Adults imprint of Massey University Press, because apparently universities do more than write books with 100,000 footnotes on academic topics, who woulda thunk? They’re most known for their Annual books (hence the name) which are these collections of kiwi authors talking kiwi things. They’re a great way to see some of our great burgeoning writers, filled with stories unique to Aotearoa.

Annual. 3
“A unique, entertaining miscellany of all-new material for 9-13 year olds in one beautifully presented package. Alongside familiar names (Paul Beavis, Giselle Clarkson, Ant Sang, Gavin Bishop, Kimberly Andrews, Tim Denee, Johanna Knox, Dylan Horrocks, Josh Morgan), you’ll fnd welcome surprises: a new song from Troy Kingi, gothic fiction by Airini Beautrais, a te reo Maori crossword from Ben Brown, an adaptation of Maurice Gee’s The Champion presented in comic format, and work from emerging talents J. Wiremu Kane and Austin Milne. The editors have stayed faithful to their original intent: to reach an audience that’s curious, discerning, up for anything … with commissioned content that reflects the diversity of experience across Aotearoa New Zealand to reach as many kinds of readers as possible…” (Abridged from catalogue)

#Tumeke / Petherick, Michael
“In the boundary-riding tradition of the Annual project, Annual Ink’s latest title #Tumeke! brings you the lives, loves and larrikin spirit of an inner-city neighbourhood. The story is told through texts, Instagram posts, emails, fliers, committee minutes, posters, diary entries, blog posts, chatrooms, school homework, raps and the reliably bonkers community noticeboard. Stuffed with big personalities, surprising friendships and a little intrigue, this multimedia story brims with creativity and comedy, and everyday heartaches, too”–Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

David Bateman Ltd

Auckland based Bateman Books is one of Aotearoa’s biggest publishers and distributors. They’re pretty neat, not only do they publish kiwi authors, but they also act as the NZ distributor for some aussies, brits, and yanks.

In our own backyard / Kayes, Anne
“It’s March 2020 and Liza, her husband and two teenage children are at home in Auckland in level-four lockdown due to Covid-19. Reflections with her family around the dining table inspire Liza to reflect on another challenging time in history nearly forty years before when the South African Springbok rugby team toured New Zealand. Casting her memory back to 1981, Liza recalls her life as a fifteen-year-old, including her first love, friendships, first-hand experiences of racism, and what it means and what it costs to find your voice and use it. In Our Own Backyard is a startling, confronting portrait of a society divided…”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Gecko Press

Another Wellington based press, Gecko is a children’s publisher who focuses mostly on translating popular children’s books from other languages into English. Not to be a one trick lizard, they also publish kiwi authors, and distribute not only to Kiwiland, but other English speaking countries!

Mortal fire / Knox, Elizabeth
“When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins”–Publisher information. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

Huia Publishers

Huia Publishers, also based in Wellington (my, it’s almost like we’re some sort of… cultural capital or something), is a Māori owned printing press. It focuses on Māori authors telling Māori stories, with a huge variety of content. One really cool thing they do is translating books into te reo Māori. Some of their original books have editions in both English and te reo Māori. They also have translated some classic picture books, such as Te Anuhe Tino HiakaiThe Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you want a change of pace and to hear some local voices, Huia Publishers has your back.

Falling into Rarohenga / Matuku, Stephanie
“It seems like an ordinary day when Tui and Kae, sixteen-year-old twins, get home from school — until they find their mother, Maia, has disappeared and a swirling vortex has opened up in her room. They are sucked into this portal and dragged down to Rarohenga, the Māori Underworld, a place of infinite levels, changing landscapes and some untrustworthy characters. Maia has been kidnapped by their estranged father, Tema, enchanted to forget who she really is and hidden somewhere here. Tui and Kae have to find a way through this maze, outwit the characters they meet, break the spell on their mother, and escape to the World of Light before the Goddess of Shadows or Tema holds them in the underworld forever”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

Flight of the fantail / Matuku, Stephanie
“A busload of high school students crashes in bush in a remote part of New Zealand. Only a few of the teenagers survive. Their phones don’t work, there’s no food, and they’ve only got their wits to keep them alive. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are the nosebleeds, pounding headaches and erratic behaviour to deal with, and no rescue team in sight. To make it out, they have to find out what’s really going on and who is behind it all”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo
“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

See this great collection? Want more? Well you’re in luck, stay tuned for next time, as I show you even more of the great local bookmakers we have in our glorious country.