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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!

Tūhono 2: Electric Boogaloo

A cool breeze blows across our fair city, bringing with it the scent of rain. Branches stir, a cat’s tail twitches — something is in the air. Well folks, it’s Phantom National Poetry Day, and that mysterious something you feel in the air is the library preparing its most joyous poetical news item of the season — sharpen your pencils and dust off those metaphors, for Tūhono is returning in October and November 2021!

Tūhono is Wellington City Libraries’ very own poetry journal for young poets aged 5-18. 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 first came into being last year, and was a roaring success, with nearly 200 of you submitting poetry on the theme of ‘connection’ during the month of November and being published in the inaugural tome (find it on OverDrive here!).

Keep an eye out here and on our social media channels for the official announcement next week of the new theme, submission deadline, and other features that will make Tūhono 2021 unique and unmissable. In the meantime, why not get the creative juices flowing by checking out some of the awesome poetry collections on OverDrive:

Overdrive cover Tūhono 2020, Wellington City Libraries (ebook)

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. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Realm of Possibility, David Levithan (ebook)

Enter The Realm of Possibility and meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have.
These are just a few of the captivating characters readers will get to know in this intensely heartfelt new novel about those ever-changing moments of love and heartbreak that go hand-in-hand with high school. David Levithan plumbs the depths of teenage emotion to create an amazing array of voices that readers won’t forget. So, enter their lives and prepare to welcome the realm of possibility open to us all. Love, joy, and these stories will linger. (OverDrive description)

Overdrive cover Poems to Save the World With, Chris Riddell (ebook)

In Poems to Save the World With, Chris Riddell has selected and illustrated his very favourite classic and modern poems to galvanize, uplift and inspire you through these interesting times we live in.
This gorgeously illustrated collection, Chris’s follow-up to Poems to Live Your Life By and bestselling anthology Poems to Fall in Love With, will ignite your inner activist. Covering a wealth of subjects these insightful poems are brought to life with Chris’s exquisite, intricate artwork. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Please Excuse This Poem, Brett F Lauer (ebook)

One hundred poems. One hundred voices. One hundred different points of view. Here is a cross-section of American poetry as it is right now—full of grit and love, sparkling with humor, searing the heart, smashing through boundaries on every page. Please Excuse This Poem features one hundred acclaimed younger poets from truly diverse backgrounds and points of view, whose work has appeared everywhere from The New Yorker to Twitter, tackling a startling range of subjects in a startling range of poetic forms. Dealing with the aftermath of war; unpacking the meaning of “the rape joke”; sharing the tender moments at the start of a love affair: these poems tell the world as they see it. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This, Nikita Gill (ebook)

It’s time to reclaim poetry. Collected by international poetry sensation Nikita Gill, SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This is a joyful celebration of the ground-breaking poets making their voices heard in the spoken word scene. Empowering, inspiring and often hilarious, SLAMs are a platform for well-known and emerging talent from all walks of life where every style of poetry has a home. With poets such as Raymond Antrobus and Dean Atta guest starring alongside up-and-coming poets in the SLAM scene, this is the perfect introduction to world of modern poetry. Each poet will introduce their poem, tell you a little bit about themselves and give you a tip for preparing brilliant poetry for SLAMs. (Overdrive description)

Tūhono: It Lives!

Poets, readers, fellow champions of the written and spoken word — hark, and listen well. The day has finally come — Tūhono, our poetry journal for young Wellingtonians, has officially been released into the world as of the 11th of January 2021. And what a world it has arrived into — civil and political unrest overseas, the spectre of a global pandemic still haunting our every step; and yet, sunshine over the hitherto stormy seas of our fair town. Tūhono, I think, captures all of that and more. Read it now on OverDrive and Libby.

We are having physical copies printed as well, so soon you’ll be able to find Tūhono 2020 on the shelf at your local public or school library. We will also be giving two copies to the National Library of New Zealand, where they will be preserved for the rest of time (the legal term is ‘in perpetuity‘) as part of the cultural heritage of this country. It’s big deal, yo.

A two-page spread from Tūhono, featuring work by Jasmine (16) and Lily (11).

As we say in the business, this is The Good Stuff.

There are some very important and cool people whom I would like to thank for their input — Stephanie Poulopoulos (my partner-in-crime, and the amazing librarian who buys all of the kids’ and teens’ books for our collection), Ligia Horta (who designed the book — what an amazing talent she is!), Monty Masseurs (who helped get everything set up online), Bridget Jennings (who wrote the catalogue record for the book, making sure you can actually find it online), and Celeste Mackintosh (who helped organise the online submissions throughout the month of November 2020). They are all very awesome librarians and we should all pay homage to their greatness and humility.

Friends, in this life, no one is 'just' a librarian.

Go forth and read! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and maybe — just maybe — you’ll feel connected with everyone else who put something of themselves into this incredible book.

Tūhono: Submissions are Closed!

Well, folks, this is it — submissions for Tūhono, our inaugural poetry journal for children and teens, are officially over. We received nearly 200 valid entries, all of which are going to be included in the final publication.

At the moment, the editorial team is hard at work adding all of the poems into our design templates, and we’re super excited with how it’s looking! We thought we might share with you some of our favourite moments reading through the poems. One of the first entries that really stood out to us was this poem by Thyme, age 16. It’s called ‘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 color – 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 you the scratches will fade eventually

I can reveal that we’ve chosen this poem to open the collection — but it’s just one of literally hundreds of exceptional pieces of work from Wellingtonians aged 5-18 that are making their way onto the page, all of which explore in different ways what it means to be connected, whether that’s to yourself, to others, or to something that you can’t quite see or feel, but know is there. More updates are in the pipeline as we approach publication, so keep your eyes peeled!

Last Chance to Submit to Tūhono!

Today is November 30th, which means it is officially the last day to submit your poetry to Tūhono, our new poetry journal for kids and teens in Wellington! If you’re still looking for inspiration, check out our poetry starter kit 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 writerly actions you might take.

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.

UPDATE: The submission link is now closed. Thank you to all the wonderful poets out there who submitted their work! The publication will be available soon.

 This could be you! We believe in you!

Tūhono: Ideas to Kick-Start Your Poetical Musings

We’re now half-way through the month of November, which means we’re also half-way through the submission period for Tūhono, our new poetry journal for kids and teens! We’ve received so many radical entries already, but we’d love to have more. If you’re experiencing some writer’s block, or just aren’t sure where to start with your next poetical masterpiece, we thought we’d give you some starters here.

Your challenge is to take one of the following single lines of poetry and include it in your work, either at the beginning or the end. All of these lines come from real poems, but it’s totally fine to use them as inspiration or as a poetic springboard. If any of them speak to you, we really encourage you to read the full poem — most of them can be found in our collection:

  • Till human voices wake us, and we drown. (T.S. Eliot, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
  • He came home. Said nothing. (Wisława Szymborska, ‘Going Home’)
  • Petals on a wet, black bough (Ezra Pound, ‘In a Station of the Metro’)
  • I gazed–and gazed–but little thought (William Wordworth, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’)
  • Here is no water but only rock (T.S. Eliot, ‘The Waste Land’)
  • Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold (W.B. Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’)
  • here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud (e.e. cummings, ‘[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]’)
  • This city, in plague time / knew our brief eternity (William Gibson, ‘Beloved: Voices for Three Heads’)
  • I eat men like air (Sylvia Plath, ‘Lady Lazarus’)
  • I am not the heterosexual neat freak my mother raised me to be. (Chen Chen, ‘Self-Portrait as So Much Potential’)
  • This city will always pursue you. (C.P. Cavafy, ‘The City’)
  • laughter for no cause, simply because the world is beautiful (Louise Glück, ‘Vita Nova’)
  • Maybe it’s time to stop swimming. (Porcupine Tree, ‘Stop Swimming’)
  • until the smallening world became absurd (e.e. cummings, ‘a clown’s smirk in the skull of a baboon’)
  • As light welled / that could devour water (Louise Glück, ‘The Egg’)

If you choose to put the line at the beginning, see how you can take the image and with each successive line, either expand on it, or confound it in some way. If you choose to put your quotation at the end, try to imagine what combination of images might lead up to that climactic point.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Don’t forget to submit your poems for Tūhono before the 30th of November to have them included in the inaugural publication!

Books to Help You Set Your Inner Poet Free!

If you’re as excited about Tūhono, our new poetry journal for young Wellington writers, as we are, you’ll have been working away furiously on your submission piece for weeks already. But we all need a bit of inspiration from time to time, so I asked the arcane sorcerers (and sorceresses) who stare into the metaphorical crystal ball of publisher summary releases and buy our books to choose some of their favourite poetry books from the YA collection for you to sink your claws into and extract whatever poetical life-force you need.

 Amen.

 

Some of these books come from the deepest, darkest depths of our collection warehouse — feel free to place a reserve, and our shelf-hopping minions will locate the book you crave and send it forth to whichever library location you choose. Some call it magic; we call it the Dewey Decimal System.


Poems to live your life by
In this gorgeous anthology, award-winning illustrator (and friend to libraries — yeah, we love this guy!) Chris Riddell has selected 46 poems to live your life by. Poems by both classic and modern poets sit alongside each other, including works from Shakespeare, Carol Anne Duffy, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave, and W.B. Yeats. The poems are dividing into sections covering musings, youth, family, love, imagining, nature, war, and endings. A great place to start your poetic journey.


Poems to fall in love with / Riddell, Chris
Look, we admit it. We’re suckers for a good old love poem, okay? And we’re suckers for anything by Chris Riddell. This is, you guessed it, a whole anthology dedicated to LURRRVVVEEEE. Selected and edited by our boy Chris, this is another beautiful book that you won’t want to return to the library any time soon! Featuring classic love poems alongside more modern offerings, this book is an inspiring and heart-warming celebration of love in all its forms. <3


Overdrive cover SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This, Nikita Gill (ebook)
If you’re not familiar with slam poetry, um, get enlightened, folks. It’s a form of performance poetry that combines elements of performance, writing, competition, and audience participation. In this eBook collection, Nikita Gill brings together a group of well-known and emerging poets from the spoken word scene who share their poetry and tips for creating awesome, inspiring, high energy slam poetry!


She is fierce : brave, bold and beautiful poems by women
This is a powerful collection of 150 poems written by women, that was published to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage. A range of different voices are represented — suffragettes, schoolgirls, slam poets, mothers, kitchen maids, and activists. We couldn’t recommend it more highly!


For everyone / Reynolds, Jason
This inspirational long-form poem was written and performed by Jason Reynolds as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Dean Myers. Like the title says, though, it is for everyone — everyone who is a dreamer, who dreams of being more than they are, and wants to make their dreams come true. Sometimes your dreams take time to take shape. You just have to remember that sometimes, all it can take is a poem, a nod, a nothing to lose.


I thought I’d finish by sharing with you one of my favourite poems of all time, by the late, great Tom Leonard. Read it out loud — as all poetry should be read. Read it to someone you love. It just might change your life!

A Summer’s Day

yir eyes ur
eh
a mean yir

pirrit this wey
ah thingk yir
byewtifl like ehm

fact
fact a thingk yir
ach a luvyi thahts

thahts
jist thi wey it is like
thahts ehm
aw ther iz ti say

(© Tom Leonard, 1996)

Tūhono — We Want Your Poems!

We are excited to announce that Wellington City Libraries is launching its very own poetry journal for kids and teens — Tūhono! All throughout the month of November, we will be accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. 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, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory!

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2020:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 – 30 November 2020.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2020.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono have now closed.

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 “Tūhono — Connection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write about your family; friends; your connection with history or your place in the world; disconnection during lockdown — anything at all. We can’t wait to see what you create!
  • 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 in 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. We hope that Tūhono grows into 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!

Throughout the month of November, 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!

New Non-fiction for People Who Care About the World

Dear readers, we understand that you are people who care about things. We are also  people who care about things — things like racism, climate change, the environment, mental health, LGBTQ+ rights, art and poetry. The absolute wizards who buy books for our collections — those to whom we humble blog administrators must show all due deference — have certainly not stopped buying the good stuff during this whole pandemic situation. Here’s a selection of recently-added non-fiction for you to really sink your teeth into.

Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you. / Reynolds, Jason
“A book about race. The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.” (Catalogue)

Stuff that’s loud : a teen’s guide to unspiralling when OCD gets noisy. / Sedley, Ben
“Do you have thoughts that seem loud? Do your worries spiral out of control and then suck you in? Do intrusive thoughts show up and make you scared of doing certain things – or not doing things – a certain way? Do you ever get a feeling like something bad might happen? Does this loud stuff make you feel alone, or worse, crazy?

First, you aren’t alone – even if it sometimes feels that way. And second, you are not crazy. But you might be struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). And while OCD can be difficult, you don’t have to let it have power over you. Instead, you can live a life full of meaning, great relationships and joy with the help of this book. Life doesn’t have to stay stuck any longer.” (Catalogue)

Pandemic : how climate, the environment, and superbugs increase the risk / Goldsmith, Connie
“How close are we to having another worldwide health crisis? Pandemic epidemiologists have identified one they believe is likely to happen in the next couple decades: the flu. Learn about factors that contribute to the spread of disease by examining past pandemics and epidemics, including the Bubonic Plague, smallpox Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and Zika. Examine case studies of potential pandemic diseases, like SARS and cholera, and find out how pathogens and antibiotics work. See how human activities such as global air travel and the disruption of animal habitats contribute to the risk of a new pandemic. And discover how scientists are striving to contain and control the spread of disease, both locally and globally.” (Catalogue)

Have pride : an inspirational history of the LGBTQ+ movement / Caldwell, S. A.
“Have Pride gives an honest, chronological account of how life has changed for LGBTQ+ people and sheds light on the people that brought about this change. The heartfelt stories of LGBTQ+ revolutionaries are better understood as you realise what a revolutionary act it was to live openly as an LGBTQ+ person. In this book there is no hiding from the dark chapters of history and the persecution people faced for being true to who they were. But like Fred Rogers’ mother suggested, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping”, Have Pride highlights the LGBTQ+ heroes who ‘helped’ others, pushed for change and inspire pride in ourselves and our history.” (Extract from publisher review)

Hypnopompia: the thoughts of dawning minds : Re-draft’s 19th collection of writing by New Zealand’s young adults
The 19th in the brilliant Re-Draft series, Hypnopompia brings together New Zealand’s very best young writers in yet another dazzling collection. Wake up to the new world as seen by the most talented of our post-millennial writers. The 80 young writers featured in the collection have grown up with the century and Hypnopompia is their very woke report card on its perplexities, perils, passions and never ending variety. At times funny, at times dark, always engaging, their stories and poems are never less than perceptive and open-eyed. (Publisher summary)

Imaginary borders / Martinez, Xiuhtezcatl
“Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists. In this installment, Earth Guardians Youth Director and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez shows us how his music feeds his environmental activism and vice versa. Martinez visualizes a future that allows us to direct our anger, fear, and passion toward creating change. Because, at the end of the day, we all have a part to play.” (Catalogue)

Trans+ : love, sex, romance, and being you / Gonzales, Kathryn
Trans+ is a growing-up guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or gender-fluid. This book explores gender identity, gender expression, gender roles, and how these all combine and play out as gender in the world. Includes chapters on medical, health, and legal issues as well as relationships, family, and sex.” (Catalogue)

Who Are We Really?

Dear readers, none have asked, but some may have wondered: who are the strange and wonderful people who write for this illustrious publication? Look no further. We’ve delved deep underground, into the very lairs of these mysterious bloggers, and we’ve brought forth poetic riches the likes of which have never been seen. That’s right, I forced them all to write haiku about themselves to introduce themselves to you! In alphabetical order, no less. Here goes.

First we have the ever-wise B. Spinach. When she’s not tirelessly working the fields to bring more of that herbaceous delight into her house and onto her plate, she can be found somewhere in the pages of Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner:

Aspires to paint a
mural, but so far just makes
tiny paper planes.

Next is the indomitable Catherine, whose book-treat of choice is Margaret Mahy’s The Tricksters:

I had to write a
haiku; this is the result.
Let’s all blame Stephen.

Truly moving. Next up is the enigmatic Maiph. Purveyor of knitted goods and slayer of the leviathan, their literary musings chiefly concern the excellent The Owl Service by Alan Garner, and their inscrutable poetic waxings and wanings are represented below:

Inscrutable, yet
easily scruted when I
am tangled in yarn.

Finally, it is I, Stephen, your humble administrator. The title that sparks the most joy for me currently is Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe:

Moonlight falls softly
upon a nerd; He sleeps, eats,
but mostly he sleeps.

You, too, can write a haiku. Or a novel. Join us over at our online creative writing group at the NaNoWriMo Young Writers’ Programme (classroom code is CWRNJDZH), and don’t forget to join our Discord once you get in!

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe watch that ends the night, Allan Wolf

On Sunday, April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic, the largest and most luxurious ship in the world, is 1,400 miles out to sea. More than two thousand men, women, and children are on board. In the distance, shrouded in darkness, an ancient iceberg lies in wait. In dozens of voices-from the unsinkable Molly Brown to the captain who went down with the ship, from a young boy in search of dragons to a gambler in search of fools with money to lose, from the ship’s rats to the iceberg itself-poet Allen Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate recreation of that fateful night. (Cover summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFamous in a small town, Emma Mills

For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends–loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for–she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival. The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.

What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything–along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe truth about lies, Tracy Darnton

Jess has an incredible memory. She can remember every single detail of every single day since she was eleven. But Jess would rather not be remarkable and, after years of testing at the hands of a ruthless research team, she has finally managed to escape. Just when Jess thinks that she’s managing to settle in to living a normal life, everything changes. Her boarding-school roommate dies and the school is thrown into a state of chaos and grief. Then new boy Dan appears and Jess can’t help but find herself drawn to him. But building relationships is hard when you can’t reveal who you really are and Jess is getting hints that someone knows more about her than she would like. Is it time to run again? Will she ever be truly free? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe anger of angels, Sherryl Jordan

In a world where it is a crime to speak against injustice, a jester dares to perform a play that enrages a powerful tyrant prince. The jester’s daughter, Giovanna, must journey into the heart of danger to turn back the terrible consequences unleashed by her father’s words – and becomes entangled in a treacherous plot to overthrow the prince. She alone holds a secret which, if made public, will overthrow the prince and liberate his oppressed people. Will she have the courage to speak out? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNowhere on Earth, Nick Lake

Sixteen-year-old Emily and her little brother Aidan are onboard a plane bound for Anchorage. When the plane crashes, both kids and the pilot barely escape with their lives and are left to fight for survival in the Alaskan wilderness. But there is worse to come – Emily and Aidan are being chased, and their shady, unknown pursuers are closing in. As the kids go on the run, Emily finds herself in greater danger than she could have imagined. Because nothing in her life is what it seems – not even the things she holds dearest of all…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDeadly by design, Carina Axelsson

When a new case lands on Axelle Anderson’s London doorstep, the stylish sleuth can’t resist strapping on the heels and snapping on the shades to track down whoever attacked fashion photographer Gavin. But what’s the deal with the memory stick full of mysterious photos? Can Axelle discover the secret they contain and stop a killer in his tracks? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn the come up, Angie Thomas

This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give. Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it–she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be. Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe vanishing stair, Maureen Johnson

Stevie Bell seemed to be on the cusp of the decades-old kidnapping and murder of Albert Ellingham’s family. But a classmate’s murder– which Stevie solved– convinced her parents to pull her out of Ellingham Academy. Then politician Edward King arrives at her house to offer a deal: he will bring Stevie back to Ellingham if she will play nice with his son, David, a fellow classmate. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. Stevie knows she can solve the riddles behind the Ellingham murders, but discovers that moving forward will mean hurting someone she cares for. (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSong of the dead, Sarah Glenn Marsh

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task. Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once. Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates. In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA curse so dark and lonely, Brigid Kemmerer

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope. Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world. Break the curse, save the kingdom. A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall…and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKing of scars, Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war–and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMud, Emily Thomas

It’s 1979 and thirteen-year-old Lydia has no idea how she’ll cope when her dad announces that the family has to sell up and move onto a Thames sailing barge in Essex. With his girlfriend and her three kids. Between trying to keep her clothes dry in a leaky cabin, disastrous hair-dye attempts, awkward encounters with local boys, and coping with her suddenly enormous and troublesome family, Lydia fears she’ll sink rather than swim. At turns heartbreaking and uplifting, through Lydia’s innocent and perceptive voice we find out that while the mud may stick, the tide can turn – and in unexpected and joyful ways. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChaos, Sarah Fine

With Juri in control and everything in absolute chaos, Lela plunges into the depths of hell to free Malachi from creatures that have waited decades to exact their revenge. But the Judge has her own way of doing things, and Lela must work with Ana, the new Captain, who has a very personal mission of her own. Together, they infiltrate the most horrifying realm either has yet encountered in the Shadowlands–the bitter landscape ruled by the Mazikin. The stakes could not be higher, and Lela must accept the help–and love–of people she barely knows or trusts. As alliances and loyalties shift and she realizes the soul she came to save isn’t the only one in need of rescue, can Lela summon the strength to see the fight through to the very end? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCircle of shadows, Evelyn Skye

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas–marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona. As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group–but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark. So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever–and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved. Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them–and the entire kingdom–apart. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsImprison the sky, A.C Gaughgen

Aspasia, an Elementae who controls air, was stolen from her family as a child. She captains her own trading vessel– and risks it all every time she uses magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can. Cyrus knows Aspasia is searching for her lost family– and is now searching for them himself. With a war brewing, will Aspasia’s power alone be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom? (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear heartbreak: YA authors and teens on the dark side of love, edited by Heather Demetrios

In this powerful collection, well-known YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: cheating, betrayals, break-ups, dating violence, and loneliness. This book contains a raw, no-holds-barred outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen letter writers. (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFor everyone, Jason Reynolds

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world. For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve never seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish–because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith. (Publisher summary)

Best of 2012: MY pick

Radiant Days : A Novel, Elizabeth Hand

This is a book about Merle, a young artist who goes homeless in the late ’70s after her heart is broken. It is also about the nineteenth-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who, at the age of 16, was already on the way to becoming an established writer. He and Merle meet up via time travel, but this is not a science-fiction novel; this is about the isolation and transcendence of art. Arthur Rimbaud (a real person!) was a hero of mine when I was a teen and so I was thrilled to read a story in which he is a character. AND furthermore the book is beautifully written, something you’d always hope for but is especially appropriate in this case.

Here are more reviews and information.

Book Spine Poems

We at the teen blog salute poetry (especially in haiku form), and we’re good for a poetry challenge, so we love Book Spine Poetry (see here, here and here for some references). It is oddly satisfying (and a particularly good way to waste pass time, as it involves staring at bookshelves in a contemplative fashion).

Here are our first attempts:

bookspinepoetry1

The Drowned Cities Embrace Fierce September

bookspinepoetry2

Pretty Monsters Torment Everything Beautiful in the World

Thank you to Steph for the pinterest link, and to Brooklyn library for the inspiration.

National Poetry Day

Next Friday, the 27th of July, is reasonably momentous. Not only is it the first day of the New Zealand International Film Festival, and the opening of the London Olympics (Saturday morning New Zealand time), it is also National Poetry Day. Carry a poem in your pocket on National Poetry Day!

More details (and pocketable poems) are at the Booksellers website. Or you could just use ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ by William Carlos Williams.

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