Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week! There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 30 May it’s Matariki.
You are sure to learn all about Matariki and the stars. We have a great page for kids about Matariki. Learn all about Matariki and traditions, what happens at Matariki and find some cool colouring pages.
Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about Matariki and the stars:
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on Pipiri 6 June 2016. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Our theme for Matariki 2016 is Akoranga: Teaching and learning – Te Kete Aronui: Third kete of knowledge.
Matariki Festival at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre – Saturday 11 June
Don’t miss this free, family fun day! Storytelling, Science Alive Star Dome, arts, crafts, 3D printing, virtual reality, kapa haka and more! Find out more.
If you are aged between 12 and 15, come and join us for a Matariki themed workshop with Lyttelton poet, Ben Brown. You’ll be reflecting on memories and crafting those memories into poetry.
You can book at Shirley Library or ring 9417923 to reserve a spot.
All you need to bring is something to write on (it can be pen and paper, or a tablet/laptop – whatever suits best).
More about Ben Brown
Ben writes children’s books, non-fiction and short stories for children and adults. Born in Motueka, he has been a tobacco farm labourer, tractor driver and market gardener. Since 1992, he has been a publisher and writer, collaborating with his wife, illustrator Helen Taylor. Many of Brown’s books have a strong New Zealand nature background.
New Zealand author Peter Millett is the creator of the action-packed secret agent series for kids, Johnny Danger. This very funny series follows Jonathon Dangerfield, a boy who has fooled MI6 into believing he’s super spy Johnny Danger. So far there are two books in the series but the third book, Spy Borg, is due to be released in September.
We are super lucky to have a sneak preview of the cover and a little bit about the book from the author himself:
‘Right now we are in the middle of creating Johnny Danger 3. It’s not coming out until September but I’ve been given the okay to show you a sneak peek of the book’s cover. I can’t give away too much about the storyline yet – but I can say that it involves a Siberian madman named Yuri who has developed a a series of killer terminator style robots that hunt down Johnny Danger. Using his wits and weapons Johnny must stop the world being flooded by evil Yuri-Nators!
If I told you any more I’d have to put you into a witness protection scheme! My lips are sealed now.’
We also have an interview with Peter Millett in our Kids section of the website. You can find out about his most embarrassing moment, who his favourite author is and what he thinks is the best thing about writing.
Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week! There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 23 May it’s Hidden Gems.
You are sure to learn all about gems, rocks and minerals and do some fun experiments. Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about gems, rocks and minerals:
We also have some fantastic eResources with heaps of information about gems, rocks and minerals. Check these out:
National Geographic Kids – searches for ‘rocks,’ ‘minerals,’ and ‘gems’ gives you some great information from the National Geographic Kids magazine as well as access to several eBooks about rocks and minerals.
Britannica Library Kids – searches for ‘rocks,’ ‘minerals,’ and ‘gems’ gives you information about each of these topics, with different levels of information for different ages.
World Book Kids – a search for ‘rocks,’ ‘minerals,’ and ‘gems’ gives you some basic information about each of the topics, along with some suggestions for other topics you might like to look at for more information.
For more information about Science Alive’s Science Snippets check out Science Alive on our website.
Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week! There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 16 May it’s Sounds Sensational.
You are sure to learn all about sound and do some fun experiments. Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about sound:
If you are travelling down the northern motorway into Christchurch in the mornings and spot a person in the car parallel to yours chuckling uncontrollably, you might be looking at a librarian who is listening to an audiobook. Similar unexpected outbursts of laughter can happen at some other times, during lunch breaks in the staff dining room or while strolling along one of the streets in the CBD in bare daylight to name just a few.
It’s Tom Gates books that make me unashamedly snort with laughter in front of people. Sometimes I wish someone would ask me what I am laughing at, just to give me an excuse to share with them the delightfully witty escapades of Tom Gates. Tom is a cheerful, excited, good-hearted boy, who loves doodling, eating caramel wafers and pulling pranks on his sister Delia. Most of the days he is late for school, daydreams through school classes and has his very own band called Dogzombies (because he likes dogs and zombies). There is so much in Tom’s everyday life that I can relate to.
But no one can tell a story better than its author, which in this case is Liz Pichon. Liz is equally artful with words as she is with pencils. She illustrates and writes every single page of Tom Gates books by hand! Her doodles are thoughtfully interwoven with texts and create a joyful reading experience. Last week she published Super good skills (almost), the 10th in a series of books about Tom Gates. Many of them are prizewinners and have been translated into 36 different languages.
Liz is coming to Auckland Writers festival this week. Even though she is very busy, she took some time to answer a few questions exclusively for her fans in Christchurch:
I asked Liz how her working day looks like and if she has a special space where she works. What is it like?
When I am writing at home, if the weather’s NOT too grim, I’ll go to the seafront with my husband, have a run (if I am honest it’s more of a PLOD) followed by a coffee. Which I am sure isn’t part of any fitness manual – but it sort of works for me. Once I’m at my desk I often work quite late, so it’s nice getting out in the morning.
I have a shed in the garden, which is on its last legs now. It used to be my husbands recording studio so it’s nice and warm but I’ve run out of storage space and I’m starting to feel like a hoarder who’s surrounded by all her STUFF. When I start a new book I have lots of notes for ideas that I look back on. Then I draw a kind of story map – like an illustrated flow chart. I put down lots of random ideas, then weave them into some kind of order and that’s what I show my editor. I don’t always stick to it exactly but it’s good to have something to refer to. I draw and write at the same time – then transfer the text to a word document. If I do too much writing on the computer I have to edit like crazy when it comes to drawing the pages up later.
So your books are entirely made by you – you do triple the work: illustrations, text and overall design?
I LOVE being able to draw and design all the pages, it’s all part of telling the story. Once I have written the story, I draw every page by hand and scan them into the computer where I work on them a bit more. Then I send the pages to the designer who puts in the text and uses my roughs to add the drawings. Making these books is a team effort, there are so many little details that need checking and you only get to see the flow of the story when all the pages are laid out. Scholastic (publisher) have been fantastic to work with. I go into their office to work on the final bits and pieces before it goes to print, which is like having a real job.
What would Delia’s doodles look like?
Delia likes to PAINT. So I would imagine her doodles would look like a Jackson Pollock picture.
Tom’s daily battle is how to fit as much doodling as possible into every class at school. What is your advice to children, who are struggling to juggle between school obligations and passions or hobbies which they love and are good at? Do you have any advice for their parents and teachers?
When I was at school I always got the feeling that drawing and art was never as important as ‘real’ work. It was a ‘fluffy’ subject and not something to be taken that seriously. I loved writing stories as well, but being dyslexic my spelling was shocking (and maths too) so it never crossed my mind that it was something I might be able to do for a living. Caitlin Moran (who’s a writer and journalist in the UK) said you should try and work out what you LOVE doing, then find a way to make a living from it. It took me a while, but that’s what I am doing now. Drawing, writing, painting, meeting kids, doing the events. I have the best job in the WORLD and although I work harder now than I have ever done, I enjoy every moment. I know how lucky I am.
It drives me crazy that creative subjects are being shoved to the sidelines. I heard a talk by Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) last year and he had a rotten time in school being told all his comic drawings were a waste of time and he’d never amount to much. Well – seventy million book sales world wide later – I think he’s doing okay!
There are plenty of videos on the web with Liz Pichon explaining how to draw.
Is there an author or illustrator that might have been influential (either in your youth or later on) for you? If you could invite her/him to the concert, which concert would you take them to?
Quentin Blake gave a talk at my art college, he was so funny and his drawings are consistently brilliant. He’s quiet elderly now so nothing too LOUD, besides I’d want to be able to chat to him. So maybe one of those concerts where you bring your own picnic. I used to live near Hampstead Heath and there’s a place called Kenwood House that has lots of summer concerts. I think he might enjoy that.
Libraries unfortunately don’t sell caramel wafers, but we do offer books to read for free. Do you have your favourite library?
The original building is closed now, but Willesden Library in North London was a LIFESAVER when my son Zak was little. It was really close by and I used to take Zak there all the time. People forget how important libraries are for meeting other kids and parents and having somewhere to go that’s free too.
If you could choose one talent you would want to be born with (besides the ones you already have) which one would it be?
I’d love to be able to SING really well. I’d be able to sing all the time and drive my family even MORE crazy than I do now.
Is there a skill you always wanted to gain, but never had a chance yet?
I had a go at throwing a POT last year and it was a lot harder than it looks! I’d love to make a few more and learn to use the wheel properly.
If you could travel back in time, which era of the history would you go to and why?
Just occasionally I look at pictures of my kids when they were little and think it would be nice to go back in time and cuddle them at that age again. They’re 25, 21 and 17 now. But other than that I prefer to look forwards not backwards.
Book vs. eBook?
Book – but you can have both.
Cats vs. Dogs?
Cats for independence. Dogs for fun. (I don’t have either!)
Coffee vs. Tea?
I can’t wait to see Liz live – maybe she will share a few more tips on how to live of what you love doing. Or more importantly, how to annoy older siblings, draw funny doodles and incorporate coffee and wafers into your fitness regime.