Bad weather great news for crafty kids

CoverWith the winter weather continuing, it is now time for children to either tidy their bedroom or get crafty. The library has a huge collection of kids craft books, with easy-to-follow instructions.

Most activities require paper, paste, paint, string and scissors, plus items that can usually be found  in pencil cases and junk drawers.

I was pleased to find that for each project I ended up with something that looked similar to what was in the book. Then I got adventurous!

Some library staff were being creative with junk and making  masks, so while they were doing that, I found some newsprint and with the help of   ‘Make it!’ I made a papier mache bowl. The hardest part was deciding how to decorate it. I’m not sure if I would like to turn my woolly hat and gloves into toys just yet, but the paper pots and jeans bags look pretty cool.

Have you made anything crafty lately? Got any tips for the best craft book you’ve found?

See also:

Hilarious new picture books

There have been lots of great new picture books coming out lately, especially ones that’ll have you and your children laughing out loud at the silly antics of farm animals, a nanny goat that adopts a tiger, and a boy who wears nothing but green.

  • Cover imageIn The Nanny Goat’s Kid, the amazing picture book duo of Tony Ross and Jeanne Willis tell us the story of the Nanny Goat who can’t have children but adopts one instead.  He’s different from all the other kids – he’s a tiger cub!  When the other kids start to go missing, everyone blames the Nanny Goat’s Kid, but was it really him?  Another quirky story from this talented team that older children will enjoy too.
  • The Gobble, Gobble, Mooooo Tractor Book is the latest book by Jez Alborough, the very clever author who introduced us to Duck in the Truck.  One morning, while the farmer is still asleep, Sheep climbs up onto the tractor and starts making tractor sounds.  Soon all the other animals join in and they’re making so much noise that they wake up the farmer, but what will happen next?  Parents and children will have fun making the animal sounds together and laughing at the animal’s antics.
  • Green by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Leo Timmers is the story of Clive who wears nothing but green.  “Green shoes, green socks and a bright green hat.”  His sister is forever teasing him, telling him he looks like a cabbage, a toad, and a beastly bug (among other green things), until one day he decides that he has had enough.  A hilarious book about sibling squabbles, with bright, bulgey illustrations by Leo Timmers.

Neil Gaiman takes out 2010 Carnegie Medal

Neil Gaiman has been awarded the most sought after prize for children’s fiction in the UK, the CILIP Carnegie Medal, for his book, The Graveyard Book.  This is the second major prize that Gaiman has won for The Graveyard Book as he won the US equivalent of the prize, the Newberry medal, making him the first author to win both the prizes for the same book.  Although it wasn’t my favourite book in the shortlist (I would have voted for Patrick Ness’ Ask and the Answer) Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer and definitely deserves the praise.

Australian illustrator, Freya Blackwood is the winner of the 2010 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, the UK’s most prestigious award for children’s illustration.  Her book, Harry and Hopper is a moving book about a young boy Harry, who has to come to terms with the sudden death of his best friend, his dog Hopper.  The judges commented that “Freya Blackwood excels in her use of muted colour, perspective, and exterior and interior space to give a powerful take on the father-son relationship, and a much-loved pet’s death. A sensitive issue for young children is beautifully handled, with Harry’s emotions and memories of Hopper expressed visually to great effect.”  It is a beautifully produced book and a well-deserved winner.

Check out the shortlist from this year’s Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal , as well as videos from the awards presentation on the awards website.

Quay construction – Image of the Week

Cashin Quay under construction [ca. 1963]

Cashin Quay under construction

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Also contact us if you have any further information on any of the images. Want to see more? You can browse our collection here.

Wandering the maze

I do love the way one fascinating biography invariably leads to another and another and another. This serendipitous process of stumbling upon a title and then being lead on the literary equivalent of a progressive dance (The Gay Gordons with books, eek!) can be both comforting and daunting.

At the moment I am simultaneously submerged in a biography of mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell and because of her prominence in Bertie’s story, a biography of Lady Ottoline Morrell.

Bertrand Russell’s two volume life has been a serious challenge to my patience, intelligence and sanity. Author Ray Monk has thoroughly researched every aspect of Russell’s long life  and gives equal weight to both Russell’s personal and professional achievements. I’m toiling a bit with the philosophy, and as for Bertie’s personal life, he was such a louse I feel like hurling the book at the wall. If only he hadn’t died in 1970, I could have given him a piece of my mind and a slap on the chops. Ottoline, on the other hand, is a gem: literary patron, loyal friend, bohemian fashionista. Her only flaw, loving Bertie!

The Bloomsbury set, of which both Bertie and Ottie were loosely members have been top-notch reading fodder for many a long year. While their intellectual, literary  and artistic achievements are of course impressive, in keeping with my generally shallow approach, it is the soap opera qualities of their lives than I most relish. Those fearless Bloomsberries shied away from nothing: atheism, extra-marital affairs, unrequited love, illegitimacy, feminism,  suicide, divorce and volatile friendships. Delicious high-brow smut and scandal.

So I am out of the starting gates and off on another literary adventure. After I’ve finished Lady O, I’m thinking about taking a peek at Augustus John‘s tumultuous and frighteningly fertile life, or maybe Gladys Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, or Henry Lamb…..

Every month should be Music Month

PhotoNow that the excitement of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival has simmered down a bit it’s worth taking a bit of a retrospective on New Zealand Music Month (NZMM) and looking at CHARTFEST which was a one-day event held in Christchurch.

Amidst all the workshops, demos and performances programmed to introduce the youth of Christchurch to the New Zealand music scene, sat a panel of three guys with loads of experience (guitarist Graeme Downes from the Verlaines, sound artist Bruce Russell of The Dead C and Flying Nun pioneer Roger Shepherd) having a session discussing it all. They were thrown a few questions along the lines of ‘how’s it been’ and ‘where’s it all going’ for making music in NZ.

In a nutshell, it’s been massive and not especially easy, and it will continue to go that way for those who are serious about making music. That has always been the case ever since Beethoven (and before) to the likes of the Ramones and the Rolling Stones (it wasn’t always easy for them and who remembers when they last wrote a good album anyway..! Ludwig you are excused…and I guess the Ramones are too…how many are left!).

Some things get easier. Graeme reckons that after more than 20 years, he’s a bit faster at writing music now. Technology and its availability can make some things a bit easier too but there is nothing that can replace the unique thing inside you that drives you to make music.

This was echoed by Bruce who talked at length about determination and to ignore the music market and do what you believe in. I have just finished ploughing through his book Left-Handed Blows, and his passion for creativity and being ‘in the moment’ is very clear, although it was a fine line between pleasure and pain trying to get my head around some of those really dense phrases that he loves to use.

Back to the panel …

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Elizabeth Knox talks fantasy – Wednesday 23 June @ Our City O-Tautahi

Cover of Dreamquake by Elizabeth KnoxWe’ve talked before about the wonderful Women on air show on Plains FM 96.9 and the literary sessions they organise. Tomorrow night (Wednesday 23 June) is one to savour – an hour with Elizabeth Knox:

A rare chance to hear her discuss the role of the supernatural in fiction. If you have read The Vintner’s Luck or seen the movie or more recently, read her highly acclaimed Dreamhunter & Dreamquake novels, don’t miss hearing her speak.

Elizabeth will be speaking at Our City O-Tautahi, find out more on the Women on air podcasts.

New Zealand Post Book Awards 2010 – have your say

The New Zealand Post Book Awards (formerly the Montana New Zealand  Book Awards) have just been announced.
We’ve got a page listing the finalists.

The Best First Book Award winners have already been revealed:

  • NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction Award winner: Relief Anna Taylor, Victoria University Press
  • NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry Award winner: Fast talking PI Selina Tusitala March, Auckland University Press
  • NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book of Non-fiction Award winner: Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs Pip Desmond, Random House New Zealand

Search the catalogue for Relief Search the catalogue for Fast Talking PISearch the catalogue for Trust

It looks like New Zealand non-fiction is getting the nod with five finalists in the general and illustrated non-fiction categories, and only three each for fiction and poetry.

The famed Bookman Beattie has revealed his picks on Beattie’s Book Blog. He chooses Alison Wong As the Earth Turns Silver for the fiction category, saying “For me it was not only the best NZ novel in 2009 it was also one of the best I read from any quarter.” High praise indeed.

See also: First novel in line for award, New Zealand Herald

The People’s Choice Award offers you a chance to vote for your favourite finalist and be in to win $1,000 of Booksellers Tokens! So have a vote,  and have your say…

Write the book and win!

Writing handHave you always aspired to be a published novelist but haven’t quite achieved it yet? Do you have an unpublished (or possibly unfinished) manuscript lying at the bottom of your drawer?

Well, there is hope for all aspiring writers. The news is out. Terry Pratchett & Transworld Publishers have teamed up to create a new award for aspiring novelists, to have their debut novel published. The title of the award is The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Prize and the deadline is 31 December 2010. And there is money involved.

Read about the full details, and read up on the terms & conditions terms & conditions.

If you need ideas, inspiration and/or writing exercises, then try these on for size:

So get your creative ideas flowing, put fingers to keyboard, put pen to paper, use a dictaphone, whatever it takes to get that first novel finished and good luck to all your seek fame & fortune.

Sharing the comic love

A plug for the fabulous world of graphic novels. If you haven’t discovered  Publishers Weekly, then bookmark it or add it to your RSS feeds to catch the latest news, reviews and gossip from the publishing world. Here’s some highlights from this week’s web edition.

And to further whet your appetite, here are some of the new graphic novel titles come to the Christchurch City Libraries collection over the winter months. Hold onto your hats!

Don’t forget about the graphic novel adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (what do you call an adaptation of an adaptation? … a new book perhaps?).

We’ll be adding the first three titles from the Northlanders series from Brian Wood, in anticipation of volume four being released later this year.

So get ready for some graphic novel treats this winter.