Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Search options

Teen Blog

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

Category: stuff to write Page 1 of 3

Extremely Cool Christmas Advent Calendar

It’s December, which means that the holiday season is upon us! To celebrate, here is a (slightly late) Christmas Advent Calendar! Explore our list of challenges using the interactive slide below, or check out the challenge list below!


Calendar graphics from Unsplash.


Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge List:

  1. Watch the classic film A Muppet Christmas Carol.
  2. Try baking an aesthetic festive treat, maybe from the Vegan Christmas Cookbook!
  3. Do a silly festive photoshoot with your friends/family. Extra points if you can find some classic ugly Xmas jumpers.
  4. Write a Christmas Story of your own! If you have younger siblings, make a picture book for them and have them do some truly wild little kid illustrations for it.  Alternative idea: Write a holiday fanfiction for your favourite book series.
  5. Watch the classic film The Grinch.
  6. Try baking some cookies for your friends and family, check out Christmas with Kim-Joy : a festive collection of edible cuteness for inspiration!
  7. Try making some tree ornaments! You can make these with whatever materials you like! Try salt dough ornaments, polymer clay or even just paper! Here’s a book if you would like some ideas.
  8. Check out a twist on an old Christmas classic with Scrooge #worstgiftever.
  9. Try making a snow globe out of a mason jar!
  10. Your film watching experience, should you choose to accept it, is the classic festive film Home Alone!
  11. Make some handmade Christmas cards for all your friends and family!
  12. Organise a Secret Santa with your friends. Extra points if you make each other handmade presents!
  13. Your festive book suggestion for today is Dash & Lily’s book of dares.
  14. Today’s challenge is for our musicians out there. Learn to play/sing a Christmas song, or write your own!
  15. Today’s movie suggestion is The Nightmare Before Christmas!
  16. Discover a magical Christmas wonderland, right here in Wellington! Windows filled with Christmas cheer, art installations and even an enchanting Lego display! More info at Wellington City Council’s Website.
  17. Your holiday reading suggestion for today is Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless!
  18. Have you wrapped your presents yet? Try designing your very own wrapping paper! For example, go find some plain paper and draw your own designs on them.
  19. Today’s reading suggestion is Reindeer boy!
  20. Most likely, your favourite musician has recorded at least one Christmas song. So, go find some festive tunes and make the perfect holiday playlist!
  21. You movie suggestion for today is It’s A Wonderful Life.
  22. Today’s challenge is to learn a bit more about learn more about the history behind Christmas traditions. As usual, we have plenty of books you could check out…
  23. Your reading suggestion today is The Afterlife of Holly Chase.
  24. Make something yum for Christmas tomorrow! Maybe some mince pies? Or trifle? As always, feel free to look through our collection for ideas…
  25. Your challenge today is to make a cute festive video with your friends/whānau!
  26. MERRY CHRISTMAS and SEE YOU IN THE NEW YEAR!

 

Tūhono 2021: Submissions Closed

Well folks, that’s it — submissions to Tūhono 2021, our poetry journal for the kids and teens of Wellington, are now closed. We’ve received well over 200 poems this time around, all of which are going to be included in the final publication.

At this very moment, our hard-working editorial team is hard at work formatting, proof-reading, and adding all of your poems into our design templates. If we say so ourselves, we’ve chosen a particularly fetching colour scheme this year, and we’re pretty jazzed with how it’s all looking.

We’re also excited to let you know that this year we are actually producing not one, but two volumes of Tūhono. One will be for the kids, and feature poems written by people aged 5-12. The other will be for teens, and will feature the poems written by you lot, poets aged 13-18. That’s right! No longer will your meticulously-thought-out rumination on the nature of life, death, and the chaos in between be forced to rub shoulders with the sunny-faced and uncomplicated acrostic poems of the 8-year-olds of Wellington. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good acrostic poem! But we think it makes sense to do a bit more sorting this time around so the poems of generally more mature themes can stick together. We hope you enjoy this change!

Nothing to do now but wait for the journal to be out, hopefully some time in mid-late December this year. In the meantime, have you read the O.G. Tūhono 2020? If not, pick up your copy today, online or in-person!

Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” (Catalogue)

Last Chance to Submit to Tūhono!

Today is the 10th of November, which means you only have four more days to submit your poetry to Tūhono 2021, our poetry journal for kids and teens in Wellington! If you’re still desperately looking for somewhere to start, check out our poetry starter kit here. For some introspective inspiration, we shared with you some of our favourite poems of Tūhonos past here. We also put together a list of excellent poetry collections for young people here. What better way to unwind (or distract yourself) from your exams than to write us a wee poem? We don’t normally encourage procrastination, but in this case we are in full support of any responsibility-avoiding actions you might choose to take in the name of poetry.

To find out more about Tūhono, check that your work meets our criteria, and submit your poem for inclusion in the journal, check out this post.

Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

 This could be you! We believe in you!

Tūhono 2021 — Submission Deadline Extended

It’s still Tūhono season, and the poems have been rolling in — we love to see it! However, we’ve been hearing that after the school holidays (and a recent, brief outage of our submissions page) some people might need just a little bit more time to pull their poems together before they’re ready to be submitted.

Here at Wellington City Libraries, we understand that sometimes good art takes time — so we’ve decided to extend the submission deadline for Tūhono 2021 for an extra two weeks, until 11.59pm on Sunday 14 November.

We hope you appreciate the additional time you now have to complete your masterpieces — and don’t forget to check out our other blog posts if you need inspiration!

Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Tūhono: Get Yourself Some Inspiration!

It’s me again, with another of my periodic reminders that submissions for Tūhono 2021, our poetry journal for children and teens, are still open! You’ve got plenty of time to write something (in fact, we’ve just extended the deadline to the 14th of November!) and send it in to be published — and we will publish everything, as long as it meets our guidelines.

In case you’re searching for inspiration, we thought we would share with you some of our favourite poems written by teens for last year’s volume, Tūhono 2020. Read on to be wowed, inspired, jazzed, and just overall motivated to contribute your masterpiece to our new collection.

Note: Submissions to Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

1. Passage of History — Deanna, age 15

The full text of this poem is written below.

Passage of History

Through a thread we all hold
Through this thread all is told
Down it’s passed young from old
This thread echoes war it carries the mourning of our ancestors
Here every language is told all our traditions we hold
In our hands
In our hands we hold precious memories other than ours
Although we encounter troubles we take it on as one
Because this thread connects us all
This thread is nothing more thing less
I feel blessed
To hold this thread for my passed grandparents
Thank you for this thread I will cherish
I swear an oath I won’t let it perish
Through this thread I’m proud to hold
Through this thread all our stories are told

— Deanna, age 15

2. [Untitled] — Nadezhda, age 17

The full text of the poem is written out below.

Pushing at risk teeth
Killing at risk teens

Your mother is wrong
Because all the time I knew you, you knew I would do it

I am only lying
But I am only lying to you
I am lying stretched out like a cat in the sun on the hood of your car
Black stockinged legs hanging over the edge

Kicking at the rain and chewing up the gravel
Right in front of you………………

There is blood in your teeth boy, and on my hands
What if I turn out to be something that makes your mother right?
You might just turn away
And walk into her outstretched arms

— Nadezhda, age 17

3. Included Components: Notes to My Past Self in the Form of a Contents List — Thyme, age 16

The full text of this poem is written out below.

Included Components: Notes to My Past Self in the Form of a Contents List

CONTENTS:

ASSORTED COMPONENTS: BLOOD, CONNECTORS, BONES, ETC.
Factory Settings: Standard. Possibility of inherited deficiency.
(blood tests aren’t as bad as you’d expect them to be, and you won’t regret getting them)

BRAIN, 1 COMPONENT
Factory Settings: Open to programming. Runs best when fully charged.
(you’ll want to be proud of this, and that’s fine, but remember it’s okay not to be the best. it’s okay to get lower marks. let yourself fail sometimes)

CHEST, RIBS, TORSO
Factory Settings: Standard breathing. Growth in chest area expected and normal.
(you won’t like how it changes. look after your ribs when you work this out)

ARMS, 1 PAIR
Factory Settings: Standard flexibility. Bones will remain malleable for approximately 12 years.
(you’ll break them three times, but don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt as much as you think. don’t worry about your first cast’s awful colour — you’ll have plenty more opportunities)

LEGS, 1 PAIR
Factory Settings: Average length, standard flexibility.
(you might not like these either, but understand there’s nothing wrong with them. standard sizing is frustrating but you will find yourself a pair of pants that fit properly)

EYES, 1 PAIR
Factory Settings: Slight nearsightedness, standard cone cells. Optic nerves also included.
(you’ll get them tested, and think that they’re okay, but don’t be afraid to test them again later. school is easier when you can read the board)

HANDS, 1 PAIR
Factory Settings: Standard flexibility, multiple fingers, opposable thumbs. Useful for grasping.
(they won’t always feel like they belong to you — they do. they’ll learn to create nice things, and sometimes not so nice things as well, but I promise to you the scratches will fade eventually)

— Thyme, age 16

4. Tap Tap Malu — Katie, age 15

The full text of this poem is written out below.

Tap Tap Malu

Tap, Tap
ink in blood out
absorbing, blending
weaving together
responsibilities of a Samoan woman
in Samoan society

Tap, Tap
ink in blood out
the bittersweet burn of the au
bleeding the ink to the surface
mapmaking the path to your ancestors

Tap, Tap
the sting on skin stretched tightly
a compact canvas freshly inked
a single colour pallette
sourced from the candlenut tree
a lama landscape
of oceans that will not wash away

Tap, Tap
O le Gafa o le Tatau,
chants of two sisters
Taema ma Tilafaiga
who swam the vasa wide
with a song and ‘ato au and echoed chant
‘only women get tattooed, not men’
‘only women get tattooed, not men’

Tap, Tap
O le Gafa o le Tatau
chants of two sisters
Taema ma Tilafaiga
who dove the vasa deep
for a faisua near the shores of Falealupo
breaking the ocean’s surface,
gasping for air
an old chant was forgotten
a new chant echoed
‘only men get tattooed, not women’
‘only men get tattooed, not women’

Tap, Tap
Malu
Tap, tap thigh
Tap, tap hand
Tap, tap arm
Tap, tap back
Tap, tap feet
Tap, tap ankles
Tap, tap face
Tap, tap neck
Tap, tap, tap…….
When is it still a Malu?

— Katie, age 15

Poetry is extremely cool, OK?

If you’ve visited our blog recently, you’ll know that we are now accepting submissions for Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens. You have until the 14th of November to submit, and more info about that can be found here.

Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Perhaps you would like to start writing/reading poetry, but you’re not sure where to start? Maybe you’ve never been introduced to poetry that was written after, I don’t know, Netflix stopped sending PHYSICAL DVDS IN THE ACTUAL MAIL. The sad truth is that the poetry taught in schools is old, dusty and almost always about landscapes for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love a poem about the hills being cool, but sometimes it’s easier to jump into poetry that speaks more about the here and now.

With that in mind, to inspire any future poets out there, here’s a selection of poems to enjoy! 

All my plants are dead and I’m pretty sure it’s your fault – Dani Yourukova

Can I Still Come Crash at Yours? – Tayi Tibble

Icarus – Kate Tempest

Gremlin in sundress – Rebecca Hawkes

Wormhole – Sinead Overbye

Spacious Family Home ($960 PW) – Rhys Feeney

An-odúne – Liam Hinton

The ordinary poem – Ursula Robinson-Shaw

jasmine – Emily Zuberec

in the end we are humanlike (Blade Runner 2049) – Nina Mingya Powles

Drokpa – Cynthia Miller

My Brother at 3 A.M – Natalie Diaz

to the notebook kid – Eve L. Ewing

Now get writing those poems! Here are some books on writing, if you need some ideas to get you going 🙂


The exercise book : creative writing exercises from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters
“Contains writing prompts to help beginning writers and to help tackle writer’s block. In between are exercises from a host of New Zealand and international writers that explore the nuts and bolts of craft – in poetry, fiction and scriptwriting – along with others that tap into sources of inspiration or show the value of revision and editing.” (Catalogue)


Steering the craft : exercises and discussions on story writing for the lone navigator or the mutinous crew / Le Guin, Ursula K.
“One of the great writers of the twentieth century offers an exhilarating workout for writers of narrative fiction or nonfiction. With her sharp mind and wit and a delightful sense of playfulness, Le Guin has turned a successful workshop into a self-guided voyage of discovery for a writer working alone, a writing group, or a class. Steering the Craft is concerned with the basic elements of narrative: how a story is told, what moves it and what clogs it. This book does not plod through plot, character, beginning-middle-and-end. Nor does it discuss writing as self-expression, as therapy, or as spiritual adventure. Each topic includes examples that clarify and exercises that intensify awareness of the techniques of storytelling.” (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)


Write : a 30-day guide to creative writing / Quigley, Sarah
“This book is designed for the aspiring fiction writer who needs to kick start their imagination. The author is a respected novelist, poet, short story writer and columnist, and in this book she shares some of the ‘tricks of the trade’ she has learned, and offers insights into the creative process, demystifying writing as a form of expression. This is a useful, practical and highly readable guide for the huge and growing market of aspiring writers. Includes a range of charming pen and ink drawings by Gustav Hellberg.” (Catalogue)

Tūhono Submissions Are Now Open!

Well, the 1st of October has finally arrived, and so we have officially opened submissions for Tūhono 2021, our annual poetry journal for children and teens! Visit wcl.govt.nz/tuhono to read the guidelines and submit your poem on this year’s theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” Submissions will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 14 November.

Note: Submissions to Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Yes, you are!

In the meantime, you should definitely check out some of these rad collections of poetry by and for teens (and some by awesome local poets as well). You might just find your inspiration!

Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” — SP, SC, and LH, Tūhono editors

Ink knows no borders : poems of the immigrant and refugee experience
“An important collection of sixty-four poems sharing the experiences of young adult immigrants and refugees from all over the world.” — SP, Tūhono editor

I am a human being / Nieuwland, Jackson
“A truly awesome collection of poetry by local poet (and beloved librarian!) Jackson Nieuwland, this book is by turns funny, poignant, profound, and irreverent, but always, always, transformational. Read this to feel bewildered, but complete.” — SC, Tūhono editor

Voices in the air : poems for listeners / Nye, Naomi Shihab
“Young People’s Poet Laureate and author Naomi Shihab Nye has written nearly 100 poems in honour of the artists, writers, poets, historical figures, ordinary people, and diverse luminaries from past and present who have inspired her.” — SP, Tūhono editor

Poems to live your life by / Riddell, Chris
“In this gorgeous anthology, award winning illustrator (and friend to libraries) Chris Riddell has selected 46 poems to live your life by. Poems by both classic and modern poets sit alongside each other, and include Shakespeare, Carol Anne Duffy, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave and W.B. Yeats. The poems are divided into sections covering, musings, youth, family, love, imaginings, nature, war and endings.” — SP, Tūhono editor

he’s so MASC / Tse, Chris
“Look, all I’m saying is if you’re a queer young person, a queer old person, or just a person of any type, you’ve gotta read this collection. You won’t be the same afterwards. Or, you’ll be the same, but more of yourself. Self-loathing, self-expression, self-identification — Tse holds himself up to the light and you see yourself reflected in the prismatic splitting that follows. If you don’t quite understand that sentence, read the book and you will.” — SC, Tūhono editor

You don’t have to be everything : poems for girls becoming themselves
“Sixty-eight diverse poets, including Amanda Gorman, Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Acevedo and Kate Baer address the complex feelings of growing up in this poetry collection. Poems are arranged around the themes of ‘seeking’, ‘loneliness’, ‘attitude’, ‘rage’, ‘longing’, ‘shame’, ‘sadness’ and ‘belonging’, ultimately offering a message of self-acceptance and giving permission to let go of shame and perfectionism.” — SP, Tūhono editor

Young Kiwi voices. a collection of poems from young New Zealanders / Vol. 2
“This locally published collection brings together poems written by New Zealand teens aged between 12 and 18. Well worth a look to get ideas and inspiration for your own work.” — SP, Tūhono editor

Tūhono 2021: We Want Your Poems

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens, is now open for submissions until 14 November 2021! All throughout the month of October, we are accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Last time we had so many poems that it was hard to fit them all into a single book — so this time, we’ll be publishing two volumes — one for kids, and one for teens.

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

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

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

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 October – 14 November 2021.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2021.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted. The journal will be published in late December 2021.

Who?

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

What?

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

Why?

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

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

Out on the Shelves at Your Libraries

Hello friends!

This week the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week begins, and when they say week, they really mean two weeks. This Campaign Week is a time for libraries (amongst others) to really highlight Out on the Shelves, to make some colourful displays, and to run some awesome events.

Now, I’m sure you’re getting super excited already, but you might not even know what Out on the Shelves is! Well, let me explain.

Out on the Shelves is an online reading resource created by InsideOUT to help rainbow young people find, read, and recommend positive and affirming stories with good representation in them. We’ve had enough of “Bury your Gays“, thank you very much! If you want to know a bit more, then check out this video:

If you’re looking for your next book to read, then check out the booklists. If you’ve read a wonderfully queer book recently and don’t see it on any of the Out on the Shelves booklists, then you can go ahead and make a submission!

If you’re a writer you can enter the writing competition, or if you want to try your hand at Zine making you can create a page for the 2021 Rainbow Zine.

But wait, there’s more!

Do you like books? Do you like movies? Do you like quizzes? Do you like hanging out at the library with a bunch of other Cool Kids and some extra cool (if I do say so myself) librarians? Do you remember how I said earlier that the Campaign Week is a great time for libraries to run awesome events?

If you do, you’re in luck! We’ll be running a range of events at four different libraries across the city.

Youth Movie Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a YA movie night. The film will be LGBT+ themed, but otherwise it is a complete secret! Venture to a late-night library screening near you for popcorn, pals and a pride-fuelled time. For ages 13-18.

Join us at 6.00pm to get settled down with some snacks, and we’ll start the movie at 6.30pm.

Rainbow Zine Workshops
Join us for the zine-making afternoons for young adults and try your hand at writing, poetry or art! Enter the Out On The Shelves writing competition, write a book review for the official 2021 Rainbow Zine, or check out our LGBTQI+ book collection.

Youth Quiz Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a Pride quiz extravaganza! There will be pizza, prizes, and plenty of quizzical challenges. Coming to a library near you! For ages 13-18.

Show up and grab a table with your team, or just show up and we can help you find a team!

So come along, make new friends, grab a bookmark booklist, and have fun!

Matariki Short Story Competition with Lingogo!

You said there was a writing competition?

Yes indeed! Fancy yourself a bit of a language aficionado? Our friends at Lingogo are running a Matariki Short Story Competition for rangatahi aged 13-18 around the country. The winner gets a $500 Prezzy card, plus gets published on the Lingogo app! Your story must be on the theme of Matariki, and be less than 500 words, and may be in English or te reo Māori, but other than that, all the creative stuff is down to you!

Start writing now for your chance to win — entries close at midnight on the 30th of June, but there’s still plenty of time to get in those submissions. In their words, “you could be flying into the Māori new year as a published author with some extra moolah in your pocket!” Check out all the deets, and submit your story, here. And if you’re in the mood for inspiration, check out some of our previous posts on the topic of creative writing here!

Wait, so what is Lingogo again?

We’re glad you asked! Lingogo is a library app developed in Aotearoa that provides access to a wide range of dual-language Māori and Pacific stories with audio. It’s awesome for beginner and intermediate language learners as well as fluent speakers. You can simply tap any sentence to listen to it spoken aloud and find its English translation, so it’s super easy and intuitive to use. It’s one of the best tools out there to get clued up about indigenous story and language, so get amongst!

Get started with Lingogo by visiting our eLibrary page here, or you can find the app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. We reckon Lingogo is pretty awesome, so we’re keen for you to give it a go!

Page 1 of 3