Happy Birthday, Alice

Some children’s stories stand the test of time because they are straightforward or simple tales. Others because the characters are so easy to love. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, which celebrates its 150th anniversary tomorrow, is neither of these and yet it is a perennial favourite, reprinted and reimagined year after year.

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCovr of Alice's adventures in wonderlandAlice in wonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland

In some ways it is an unlikely children’s classic, this convoluted tale of a lost and bewildered child encountering a succession of bizarre and often menacing characters and situations. Or is it? Is that, in fact, exactly what childhood is like? An ongoing battle to make sense of the world, and the strange people in it?

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCover of The annotated AliceCover of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland and Through the looking glass

I’m not the only one who thinks Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is something of a riddle. There have been almost as many books written about Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) and the genesis of his Alice books as there have been reprints of the stories themselves. Something about them resonates.

Cover of The Alice behind WonderlandCover of The story of AliceCover of The mystery of Lewis CarrollCover of The selected letters of Lewis Carroll

Alice, it would seem, is the Mona Lisa of children’s literature – endlessly fascinating and ripe for reinterpretation.

Cover of Alice in ZombielandCover of Alice in the country of clover, knight's knowledge 1Cover of SplinteredCover of Through the zombie glass

If you’re interested in reacquainting yourself with Alice, Wonderland, and her adventures there we’ve got plenty of books to choose from.

Also our friends at Auckland Libraries have put together a splendid resource showcasing images from their rare editions of the Alice books.

Happy 10th Birthday to Percy Jackson!

Cover of Percy Jackson and the lightning thiefPercy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, the book that introduced us to Percy Jackson, Camp Half Blood and the modern day Greek gods, turns 10 this year. It’s hard to believe that this series has been around so long but it certainly seems to be as popular as ever. It’s been good to see Rick Riordan writing new series featuring different mythologies (Egyptian mythology in The Kane Chronicles and Norse mythology in the soon to be released Magnus Chase series) which really hook kids in and get them interested in mythology. One of my sons absolutely loves Percy Jackson and is an expert in Greek mythology!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief has sold millions of copies worldwide and got plenty of accolades over the years:

  • Time magazine’s 2014 List of 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time
  • A bestseller here in New Zealand
  • Borrowed thousands of times from libraries across New Zealand
  • Plus a major movie!

To celebrate 10 years of Percy Jackson Rick Riordan and his publishers have put together an event kit so you can host your own Percy Jackson party. The event kit includes ideas for games and some activity sheets for kids. Download the kit and host your own party!

Do you love Percy Jackson? How will you celebrate Percy Jackson’s 10th Birthday?

Winners of the 2015 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals

The winners of the 2015 Carnegie and Greenaway Medals were announced on Monday in the UK.  Tanya Landman was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Buffalo soldier and William Grill was awarded the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his debut picture book, Shackleton’s Journey They each received a medal and £500 of books to donate to their local library and William Grill also received the Colin Mears Award of £5,000.

Cover of Buffalo soldierCharley, a young African-American slave from the Deep South, is freed at the end of the American Civil War. However her freedom is met with tragedy after her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob, and Charley finds herself alone with no protection. In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person’s skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it’s only when Charley is posted to Apache territory to fight “savage Indians” that she begins to learn about who she is and what it is to be truly free.

The judges said: Engrossing from the very beginning, the strong narrative voice engages the reader in the world described; perfectly conveying raw emotions without the overuse of sentimentality. This is a beautiful, powerful piece of writing that will remain with readers long after the last page.

Cover of Shackleton's journeyIn the last days of the Heroic Age of Exploration, Ernest Shackleton dreamed of crossing the frozen heart of Antarctica, a place of ferocious seas, uncharted mountains and bone-chilling cold. But when his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the deadly grip of the ice, Shackleton’s dreams of crossing Antarctica were shattered. Stranded in a cold, white world, and thousands of miles from home, the men of the expedition set out on a desperate trek across the ice in search of rescue.

The judges said: This beautiful non-fiction book seems to effortlessly bring a modern and fresh feel to the story of Ernest Shackleton, whilst remaining traditional and classic. This is an exciting, quality book which provides a true experience and reminds us that it is the people, not the journey, that truly matter.

I haven’t read either of these books but they both sound really interesting.  My picks were More than this by Patrick Ness for the Carnegie and Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, written and illustrated by Chris Riddell for the Greenaway.  There were certainly some great books on the shortlist and I’m sure it would have been a tough decision.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The shortlisted books this year were:

The Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. The shortlisted books this year were:

World Refugee Day – 20 June

World Refugee Day is 20th June.

Cover of Krystyna's story“Most of the world’s refugees – 86 per cent — live in the developing world, compared to 70 per cent 10 years ago. Most of these countries have kept their doors open to people in search of safety, and have shown a generosity that is often well beyond their means. I appeal to all Member States and our partners in civil society to do their utmost to support the nations and communities that have welcomed the forcibly displaced into their midst..”

Ban Ki-moon

Refugee resources in our catalogue

Search for history of refugees in our e-resources

Red Cross Refugee Services Helping empower people from refugee backgrounds to achieve their goals and contribute to their new home in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Christchurch Resettlement Services exists to support people from refugee and migrant backrounds living in Christchurch to settle successfully in New Zealand by providing a range of professional services that build on strengths to promote wellbeing and resilience.

Family Services refugee and migrant networks provides links to groups around New Zealand.

3D Printing – School Horizons Programme

Want to know more about 3D printing? How you can create something then 3D print your own design?

Well that’s exactly what Cashmere Primary School students did when they came to the South Learning Centre as part of the School Horizons programme. The students became product designers, who discussed target markets, design specifics & prototypes. They created keyrings, helicopters and slide whistles in 123D design programme them 3D printed them. Once printed prototypes were evaluated critically and adaptations were documented.

There was lots of laughter, fun and learning!

In our Learning Centre, students experience eLearning programmes aligned with the New Zealand curriculum document. These programmes provide learning in a technology-rich environment, and the teaching keeps abreast with the latest teaching philosophies and strategies.

If you are interested in working with us to tailor an existing programme, or work alongside us  phone the Learning Centre 941 5140 or email Learningcentre@ccc.govt.nz

P1050168
P1050160
P1050159
P1050158
P1050141

A few of my favourite things

“Mum,” said Miss Missy, “I’ve never eaten a croissant. They look delicious, I’d like to try one.”

The Sweet Life in ParisI was shocked because, 1: she never asks to try new food, and 2: I love sharing my favourite things with my kids, so how could it be that in all her 12 years of existence, I had never suggested she try a croissant??

Sharing my favourite is one of the best things about being a parent. I love making pancakes for them on Saturday mornings (no lemon juice for Miss Missy, the gastronomic neophobe). The Young Lad and I love building Lego together.  I loved listening to him when, at age 3, he recited The Very Hungry Caterpillar as he turned the pages of my very own book.

I love watching Project Runway and Star Trek with Miss Missy. Together, she and I have read our way through The Ordinary PrincessMilly Molly Mandy, and the Little House books. Now that she is too grown up to want to be read to by Mum, I’ve started suggesting old favourites, like the Jinny at Finmory series (which she loved) and Anne of Green Gables (which she didn’t!!*).

Cover of Children's Book of CinemaWhen I saw that the library has Bugsy Malone on DVD, I just had to bring it home to watch with her. I was in a production of Bugsy when I was at high school, and loved the movie (perhaps partly because it stars Scott Baio). Miss Missy wasn’t too keen at first, but once I finally persuaded her to give it a try, she loved it. The same thing happened with My Fair Lady (I had a bit part in that too). In fact, she enjoyed that so much that she didn’t want to have to go to bed, and couldn’t wait to watch the other half the next night.

And so began our Mum and Daughter Movie Nights, complete with a yummy treat — and yes, croissants have featured on the treat menu! We very quickly (ok, instantly) ran out of high-school-productions-Mum-was-in-that-are-also-movies, and so we branched out to old favourites of mine like Back to the Future, and classics like The Sound of Music and National Velvet.

But now I’m starting to run out of ideas .  So, I’d love to know what your favourite (pre-teen appropriate) movies are? Or if you’d like some ideas of great movies to watch with the young’uns, you could check out my Movie Night List.

*I know!  I couldn’t believe it either!

It’s the Children’s Choice in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are trying something new this year with an expanded Children’s Choice Awards. Children in schools from around the country have been given the opportunity to select their own list of finalists for the 2015 Children’s Choice Award.  More than 6,500 children and young adults from 106 schools from throughout the country have selected their own finalists from the 149 books submitted for the Awards  It’s an awesome opportunity and something that I wish I had had the chance to do when I was at school. I think it’s a great list and it’s good to see the difference between the children’s finalists and those of the judges.

Voting for the Children’s Choice is open now and closes on Friday, 31 July. This year there will be a winner in each category. We’ll be reviewing some of finalist books and interviewing some of the finalist authors here on the blog. Go and vote for your favourite book now.

Check out the finalist list for the 2015 Children’s Choice Award:

Picture Books

Junior Fiction

Non-fiction

Young Adult Fiction

2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards Winners

Cover of Conrad Cooper's Last StandThe award ceremony for the 2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards was held at the National Library in Wellington on Monday 15 June. The LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards are awarded annually by LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, for outstanding books for children and young people.

Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners!  Here are the winners:

Grab a copy of these award-winning books at your library. To find out more about the LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards check out our page on the awards.

Festival made accessible

Catalogue search for Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami in audiobook formatAbout now you may be wondering what happened to your good intentions of reading all those interesting books by those fascinating authors you heard about at WORD Christchurch or missed out on hearing at Auckland Writers Festival. Never fear, a solution is near!

Listen to your festival favourites

You may have not enough hours in the day to sit by the fire and read your fill of festival authors but help is at hand. You need not miss out on this year’s Auckland festival headliner Haruki Murakami. Try listening to his work in an audiobook. We have him available in downloadable audiobook from Overdrive and on CD.

Catalogue search for Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world by Haruki Murakami i n audiobook formatFill in your spare moments on the bus or in the car, or while you vacuum the house, rake the leaves or paint the fence, or while exercising the dog or yourself by listening to an audiobook. If you have had a particularly tiring day and find you’re too tired to read, rather than turning on the television, snuggle up in a chair with an audiobook and soon you will be relaxed. Having trouble sleeping? My mother swears by lulling English voices as a sure-fire cure for insomnia.

Often audiobooks and large print titles have no reserve list so while others are waiting for a print edition, get ahead of the crowd. Better still, even if there is a wait list downloadable audiobooks on Overdrive do not have a reserve charge.

Catalogue search for H is for Hawke by Helen MacDonald in audiobook formatOverdrive is one of our suppliers of audiobooks and ebooks. You can find all their titles in our catalogue.

As well as Murakami, you might also try Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri whose novel The Age of Magic has been newly released and is available on CD. Sometimes the CD format can be limiting as it requires you to be stationary. Happily we have Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk as an ISIS audiobook that is a clever format which you can download to your laptop and transfer to your MP3 player, freeing you up to listen to it anywhere.

The thousand autumns of Joseph de Zoet in audiobook formatA standout from Word Christchurch was the charming David Mitchell. Your ears can ring with the sounds and atmosphere of old Japan listening to his exotic enthralling tale The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet on CD.

 

 

Large print – easy to read!

If reading is difficult at night when the light is bad, or because you struggle with print at the end of a tiring day spent staring at a computer screen, large print may be the answer! Why not try David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green or The Thousand Autumn’s of Joseph de Zoet or Xinran’s touching Miss Chopsticks.

Walliams in audio and large print formats

Book cover for Demon Dentist by David Walliams in Playaway formatNothing like a bedtime story so why not borrow one of our children’s titles by the hit author David Walliams in an audiobook format to lull your darlings to sleep? We have audiobooks on CD, preloaded mp3 players, and downloadable audiobooks for your enjoyment.

If you have a child who is yet to find their stride with reading a wonderful way to introduce the love of books is by reading along to an audiobook so why not borrow the book and the audiobook together? We have Demon Dentist as a Playaway, a preloaded audiobook in its own wee player. All you or your child has to do is press play and you can carry it around with you. Ideal for children who are always on the move.

If small print is an obstacle try these David Walliams titles in large print.

Catalogue search for Mr Stink by David Walliams in large printCatalogue search for Ratburger by David Walliams in large print formatThe boy in the dress by David Walliams in Large Print format

More festival goodies

It’s kick-off time – celebrate with some great soccer books

FIFA U-20 World Cup TrophyThe FIFA U-20 World Cup has kicked off and will run until 20 June. Quite a few of the games are being played in Christchurch so you could even get along to watch a game or two.

The tournament is held every four years and there are teams from all over the world competing, including Hungary, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Honduras, Brazil and of course New Zealand.

We have heaps of books in the library about football (or soccer as it widely known), from learning how to play the game to stories about soccer.

To find more about soccer try these:

For more information about the FIFA U-20 World Cup see their website.