Blog on A Blog

I can’t resist anymore – I have to share my enthusiasm for Sciblogs. This New Zealand based network of scientists post on a wide range of topics. What I really like is the standard of the writing. I feel informed about quite complex things. There is sometimes an element of fun  and also some out there controversy. Sciblogs is run by the Science Media Centre which was developed by the Royal Society of New Zealand and is government funded.

As someone who struggled through School Certificate general science with a furrowed brow (although I have memories of a lively and varied learning programme – frog dissection, worm dissection, mixing colourful things over bunsen burners, operating the weather station at primary school) things scientific often were put aside as too hard. But this is wrong – we need to be informed about so many things in our world that affect our everyday lives and good, clear science writing is vital.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day and Sciblogs does include some women scientists and science writers. What they have in common is that winning combination of a passion for science and great skill at communicating it. Try misc.ience (Aimee Whitcroft), Science Life (Rebecca McLeod), Building Blogs of Science (Fabiana Kubke) and more.

In 2006 Britain’s Royal Society published a list of Best Science books ever. Our libraries have many of these titles and some other great science writing. Subscribe to our Next Reads Nature and Science newsletter and we’ll keep you in touch with some of our newest science books.

David Almond takes out Hans Christian Anderson Award

It has just been announced today that British author David Almond has won the much coveted Hans Christian Anderson Author Award, and Jutta Bauer from Germany is the winner of the Illustration Award, both of which are the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books.  Our very own Margaret Mahy won the author award in 2006 and it is a huge honour for any author or illustrator.

David Almond is a well-deserved winner of the author prize and writes some fantastic books, my favourite being Skellig about a mysterious creature that a boy finds in his garden shed.   The awards jury described David’s writing as “a unique voice of a creator of magic realism for children.  Almond captures his young readers’ imagination and motivates them to read, think and be critical. His use of language is sophisticated and reaches across the ages.”  His books are very unique and he is a very gifted storyteller.

The winner of the illustration prize, Jutta Bauer is an illustrator that we have been introduced to through the marvelous Gecko Press.  She is a German illustrator and it is only through books such as the beautiful little book Selma, that is published by Gecko, that we know of her here in New Zealand.   The awards jury described Jutta as “a powerful narrator who blends real life with legend through her pictures.”   They also “admired her philosophical approach, originality, creativity as well as her ability to communicate with young readers.”  I’m sure we will see more of her work thanks to Gecko Press, but if you haven’t already read Selma you should take a look.

World Book – but not as we know it Captain!

Remember searching through large brown print volumes of the World Book Encyclopaedia to complete homework, or am I just showing my age?

These days  all articles from the 22-volume print set dating back to 1922 are available not only in print in your local library but also online. World Book Online now includes such resources as web links, videos, primary source documents and news headlines. The main webpage allows you to move to a variety of online versions:

  • World Book Online for Kids specifically for primary school students, with such features as thousands of easy-to-read articles and games.
  • World Book Student tailored for  High School students. It includes more than 40,000 reference articles, the World Book Biography Center and rich multimedia.
  • World Book Advanced a powerful reference tool that includes encyclopaedic, multimedia, e-book, and primary source databases, fully integrated in a single search.
  • Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos offers World Books excellent editorial content, rich media, and interactive features in Spanish.

And these fantastic added resources …

  • Living Green : explores environmental issues and current efforts to reduce human impact on the environment. Very topical at the moment.
  • Early Peoples : examine the history of such ancient cultures as the Egyptians, Romans, Maori, Chinese.
  • Inventions and Discoveries : evaluates the impact of inventions and discoveries that continue to shape our world today.

Access to this easy to use database and many others is one of the many benefits of library membership. You can access this database from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.