International Children’s Book Day

Book cover of ThumbelinaInternational Children’s Book Day is celebrated every year on April 2, which is also Hans Christian Anderson‘s birthday.  It is a special day where we celebrate children’s books and encourage children to read.  We have lots of fantastic books from all over the world in our libraries, in lots of different forms.

Here are some ideas of ways that you could celebrate International Children’s Book Day:

Guess who’s coming to Christchurch? David Walliams, David Mitchell, Helen Macdonald, Xinran, Steve Braunias, Nick Davies.

Ōtautahi you are in for a right treat.  WORD Christchurch – in association with the Auckland Writers Festival – is bringing six top authors to town for its Autumn Season 13 to 17 May.

For some top whānau fun, head along to David Walliams (Thursday 14 May 6pm). He will be reading from Awful Auntie and talking about his kids’ books – with plenty of time after to get your books signed.

It is a really crackingly good non-fiction line up. Helen Macdonald’s book H is for Hawk was picked in lots of top books of 2014 lists, and has the silverware to match – attracting big literary prizes like the Costa book of the year.

If you like gritty, investigative journalism, then Nick Davies’ Hack attack is the session for you. Or  have a drink at the Heritage Hotel for Steve Braunias and hear him talk about satire, politics, and the recent election campaign. Xinran will be talking about China and the single child policy.

If fiction is your cup of tea – David Mitchell is talking on Sunday 17 May. His latest The Bone Clocks is a genre-splicing treat, and you might also know of Cloud Atlas.

Cover of Awful AuntieDavid Walliams
Cover of H is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald
Cover of Hack Attack

Cover of Madmen
Steve Braunias
Buy me the sky
Xinran
Cover of Bone clocks
David Mitchell

So, read the books and get your tickets sussed. If you are keen to attend a few sessions, your best bet is to get a season pass – with that you’ll get entry to all sessions (except David Walliams, book that separately).
Go to our page on WORD Christchurch.

Young Adult books for kids

Are you a great reader? Have you started to outgrow the kids section in your library? Look no further, because here are some suggestions of great books in the young adult section that won’t upset your parents too much.

Horror
Cover of Cuckoo SongDo you like doll-eating girls and girl-eating cinema screens? If you answered yes, or if you’re just confused, read Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge! Sinister and peculiar but also great friendships and ladies on motorcycles in the 1920s.

If you like clever, weird books then you might also like any of Kelly Link’s short story collections, filled with people-eating couches and handbags with entire towns inside.

For something more traditionally creepy try Rhiannon Lassiter’s Bad Blood, all about messy families and dealing with step-siblings and oh hey, a doll who likes to play with scissors.

Fantasy
Cover of Book of a Thousand DaysFor a non-traditional zombie story try Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot, set in a pseudo pre-Columbus America.

The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is a retelling of Maid Maleen set in ancient Mongolia (favourite character: ‘My Lord’ the cat), and Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series is full of sensible witches, insensible Feegles and a lot of humour.

Contemporary
Melina Marchetta and Jaclyn Moriarty are both Australian and write great quirky high school stories. I particularly recommend Saving Francesca and The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie, but Moriarty also has a new series that combines contemporary with fantasy beginning with A Corner of White.

I also have to recommend Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, which is both hilariously funny and heartbreaking.

Crossover
Cover of The ThiefLastly there are some series shelved in the kids’ section which cross over into young adult and are too great not to mention: Hilary McKay’s Casson Family series, all about — you guessed it — the Casson family; Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series (beginning with The Thief) which features lots of intrigue and spying set in a pseudo ancient Greece; and Elizabeth Wein’s Aksum books which feature even more spying and intrigue but are set in ancient Ethiopia.

Want more? Check out our list for ‘if you like reading young adult books‘ or fantastic picks from fellow librarian AliReads! For the books from this blog post plus a few extras, head over to my list on bibliocommons.

Or if you’re looking for something different, leave a comment and I’ll put together another blog post. Alternatively Kate de Goldi is available on Booknotes Unbound as the Reading Doctor with some great suggestions all inspired by real questions.

 

Science – not just for scientists

Cover of 365 More Simple Science ExperimentsScience is fun. Science is cool. Science is everywhere. Science is at your library.

Science Alive are free drop-in science sessions from 3:30pm – 4:30pm at your local library. This is an after school science programme presented by Science Alive. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week.

If you can’t wait for the next Science Alive session, we have a great collections of books and eResources that have science experiments and activities you can do at home.

At Science Alive, I have learnt that insects are very good at hiding. In buildings, triangles are stronger than squares. Some crystals are huge. Paper gliders can fly a long way if you make them properly. What have you learnt?

Programmes run during term time except the first week and no bookings are required.

Cover of  Science a children's encyclopedia Cover of Science Experiments Cover of 101 Cool Science Experiments

Rude Monsters, Hungry Cakes and Dinosaur Scientists

Some of my favourite books are full of adventure but also make me laugh. They can take you to space, the high seas or travel back in time, but they also feature silly monsters, hungry cakes and dinosaur scientists.

If these sound like books that you would like to read we have a great booklist just for you – If you like…funny adventure stories for kids. A couple of my favourite books from this list are Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and The Deadly Seven by Garth Jennings.

Cakes in Space is the story of Astra, a girl who is getting ready to travel to a new planet with her family. They have to travel for many years to get to this planet, so they have to be cryogenically frozen and sleep the whole time. Just before she is ready to get put to sleep Astra decides she is hungry and goes to find the giant machine on the ship that makes food.  This machine can make any food you wish and Astra asks for cake. She presses the buttons but nothing happens and no food appears. She rushes back to her sleeping pod with an empty stomach and gets put to sleep. She wakes up many years later but she is the only one on the ship who is awake. Something has gone wrong and Astra is not the only thing wandering the corridors of her ship. Giant, mutant cakes, with huge teeth are all over the ship and they are hungry!  It’s up to Astra to save her ship and her family. You’ll never look at cakes the same way again.  It’s a really funny and action-packed read, with aliens that you’ve never heard of before.

The Deadly Seven is about Nelson, who is just an ordinary boy until the day he falls onto a mysterious machine that has been hidden away in a church for many years. Little does he know that this machine has extracted the seven deadly sins from him. Now he’s being followed around by seven noisy, smelly, rude monsters. When Nelson’s sister is kidnapped on a school trip it’s up to Nelson and his monster friends to find her and bring her home. The Deadly Seven is a laugh-out-loud read, with a bunch of funny monsters that you’ll love.

If you like the sound of these great books you can get them from the Library, or reserve them for free if they are out. Check out our If you like…funny adventure stories booklist for more stories like these, or look at our other kids booklists to find your next read.

Celebrate Children’s Day

Children's Day 2015Children’s Day is a special day to spend time with your family that is celebrated on the first Sunday in March.  We have lots of ideas on our website about ways you could celebrate Children’s Day, including visiting one of our awesome libraries.

Streets Children’s Day is happening this Sunday at Air Force Museum, from 10am – 3pm. There are heaps of really cool activities, including face painting, crafts, games and bouncy castles, and they’re all FREE!  There are lots of different groups to meet at Streets Children’s Day too.  You could learn all about Scouts, the Air Force, the NZ Police and NZ Fire Service, and netball and rugby clubs.

We’ll also be there to tell everyone about our fantastic libraries and events.  Come to our stand to try our book character quiz or hear a story.  We’ll even be sharing some exciting stories at the main stage at 11:10 and 12:40.

Get out and enjoy this special day just for children!

Under 5 Fest

Under 5 Fest PosterThe much-anticipated Under 5 Fest is coming up. It is a special event for young children run by the excellent educators of Science Alive. Kids get to experience fun hands-on science activities and exhibits. There will be a petting zoo and storytimes. Kids can play with air and sound, amazing mirrors, and giant building blocks. Our own librarians will be there  – providing a storytelling session at 10:30 am on the weekdays.

Under 5 Fest runs from 6th to the 12th of March 2015, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily and will be held at the Table Tennis Canterbury Stadium, 294 Blenheim Road, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. The cost is $6 per person, but the under 2s get in for free. For group bookings or more information phone 03 365 5199 or you can email bookings@sciencealive.co.nz

Science Alive also have a cool after school science programme in ten of our libraries across Christchurch.

Science Alive imageExcellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week!

Programmes run during term time except the first week and no bookings are required.

For more sciencey goodness for kids, check out the following library resources:

Here are some pics and the poster, kindly supplied to us by Science Alive.

can-you-put-the-bee-togetherchickMirror-facescaitlin-with-blowing-hair

Harry-curly-hair

Winter sports are a cinch with CINCH!

Cover of Children's Book of SportIt’s that time of year again. Junior sports clubs are gearing up for the winter sports season. It is time to get your children registered for their sport of choice.

A great resource you can use to find a club near you is the Libraries’ CINCH (Community INformation CHristchurch) directory which lists the sports clubs in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri areas.

To save you time (we like to be helpful like that!), we have prepared some search links for you. Once you have clicked on one of the links below, you can then click on the locations shown in the left hand column to find the clubs nearest to you.

  • Soccer
    Would your child enjoy the beautiful game?
  • Rugby
    New Zealand’s game of choice
  • Rugby League
    Is your child a future Kiwi or Kiwi Fern?
  • Hockey
    Is there a future Olympian at your house?
  • Netball
    Customarily the first choice for the girls

New Zealand has a wonderful tradition of sport fields filled with children on a Saturday morning. Most clubs have midget grades for the 4- to 6-year-olds, so it’s never too soon to start them. Plus watching the little ones is seriously cute! Have a chat with your wee one today.

Jacqui
Papanui Library

Reading to dogs

Christchurch City Libraries Reading to Dogs programme is designed to provide a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere which encourages children to practice their reading skills and develop a love of reading.

Reading to dogs

The programme uses rescue-dogs who are now the beloved pets of the Christchurch City Council Animal Control team. These furry friends have all been trained and tested for health, safety and temperament.

Library staff and a dog handler will be present at all times to help facilitate the sessions.

South Library 66 Colombo Street
Wednesdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm, starting February 11th

Papanui Library 35 Langdons Road
Thursdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm, starting February 12th
Each session is 15 minutes long. Bookings are essential, please call 941 7923

See our calendar of Reading to Dogs events.

Reading to dogs

More about Reading to Dogs

Our dogs:
• Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
• Listen attentively
• Do not laugh, judge or criticise
• Allow children to proceed at their own pace
• Can be less intimidating than a child’s peers

Reading aloud is critical when children are learning. However, many children have difficulties reading and become self conscious when reading in front of their peers. Libraries and schools around the world have found that by sitting down and reading to a friendly dog, a child’s fear of being judged or laughed at ‘over mistakes’ disappears. Over time, the child’s reading ability and self-confidence improves and they begin to associate reading with a pleasant experience.

Holiday fun at the Learning Centres

Successful holiday programmes at South and Upper Riccarton had many happy children tasting new technologies and having lots of fun.

  • Clay animation – children created fun clay characters for their animated stories.
  • Family Games Fun – online, board and action games were great challenges for all.
  • Whizz Bang Pop – lots of fun iPad story apps with complimenting craft activities to make children and parents very happy.
  • 3D Tinker Workshop – students grappled with 3D software design to create helicopters then delved further into 3D wire sculpting, paper craft and Hama beads. There were lots of new experiences.

Find out more about Library Learning Centres.

P1030473 Family Game Time 3D Doodler Pen Claymation