Astroman at the Court Theatre – We talk to writer Albert Belz

One of the prizes in our Winter Read Challenge for teens is three double passes to see Astroman at The Court Theatre. This show is on from 27 October to 10 November. It sounds like a ripper – the 80s, video games, and Michael Jackson moves:

It’s 1983, and young Hemi ‘Jimmy’ Te Rehua knows how to dominate the games at the Whakatāne Astrocade Amusement Parlour. Too smart for his own good, Jimmy has a knack for trouble.

In this vid, playwright Albert Belz talks about Astroman to The Court Theatre’s Artistic Director Ross Gumbley.

We asked Albert a few questions:

How would you describe your play Astroman in a couple of sentences?

A coming of age story set in the small town N.Z. 1980s where a young boy genius discovers what it really means to be brave.

Do you have any tips for teens who want to get into writing plays?

Write with humour about the things that make you most angry.

What are your fave things – games, books, comics, movies, tv etc?

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Kia ora Albert, and good luck to all of you entering the Winter Read Challenge.

More about Albert

Staff picks for the Winter Reading Challenge (for ages 13 to 18)

How are you going with the Winter Reading Challenge? We have highlighted some of the fab books picked by teens, now here are some staff picks to help you tick off some challenges:

The first book in a series

Truly Devious Maureen Johnson
Unsolved mysteries, kidnapping, murder, and super smart teenagers at an isolated boarding school in Vermont. Alina

The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater
The story of Blue, the only non-psychic in her family of fantastic women, and the Raven Boys – four boys from a private school on a quest for a dead Welsh King. Full of humour, teen angst, almost-kisses and magic. (Also available as an audiobook.) Alina

Chaos Walking trilogy Patrick Ness
Todd Hewitt is the last man on the planet. All the females are gone, you can read everyone’s thoughts, and nothing is quite as it seems. A brilliant series, fantastic as an audiobook, and coming out as a movie in 2019. Kate

Find more:

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A book that was made into a movie

The Hate U Give Angie Thomas
When Starr witnesses the death of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer, she struggles to decide what to do — speak up against injustice, or keep her family safe? (Read it before the movie comes out in October!) Alina

Everything Everything Nicola Yoon
What do you do when you literally can’t leave the house, and the thing you want most in the world is just outside the front door? Kate

Every Day David Levithan (picked by Saskia, Cashmere High Library)

The Book Thief Markus Zuzak (picked by Saskia, Cashmere High Library)

The Maze Runner James Dashner

The Fifth Wave Rick Yancey

Ready Player One Ernest Cline

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A book with non-human characters

Year of the Griffin Diana Wynne Jones
When Elda, the griffin daughter of the great Wizard Derk, arrives for schooling at the Wizards’ University, she encounters new friends, pirates, assassins, worry, sabotage, bloodshed, and magic misused. Alina

Find books about:

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A graphic novel/comic book

Nimona Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Alina

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Ryan North
She’s part squirrel, part girl – she’s Squirrel Girl! Lots of fun, lots of laughs. Kate

One punch man

Spill Zone Scott Westerfeld

Find more:

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A love story

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You Lily Anderson
A loose retelling of Much Ado About Nothing featuring fandom, extra-smart teens and a lot of snark. Alina

Autoboyography Christina Lauren
It can be hard enough being a gay teenager when you live somewhere liberal and progressive. It’s even harder in the middle of Mormon Utah. Kate

Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell (picked by Kim)

Emergency Contact Mary H.K. Choi (picked by Alina)

Pieces of You Eileen Merriman (picked by Rachel from Scorpio Books) [NEW ZEALAND]

Find more:

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Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Nation Terry Pratchett
Finding himself alone on a desert island when everything and everyone he knows and loved has been washed away in a huge storm, Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s also completely alone – or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. Narrated by Tony Robinson (don’t worry, he doesn’t sound like Baldrick from Blackadder in this). Alina

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Saenz
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before. Superbly narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Alina

Find more:

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A book about identity

Lies We Tell Ourselves Robin Talley
In 1959 Virginia, Sarah, a black student who is one of the first to attend a newly integrated school, forces Linda, a white integration opponent’s daughter, to confront harsh truths when they work together on a school project. Alina

I am Thunder Muhammad Khan
Muzna is a regular British teenager, so how does she end up involved with Islamic radicals? Kate

A quiet kind of thunder Sarah Barnard
Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager with anxiety is even harder. And being a teenager with anxiety who doesn’t speak is even harder again… especially when love’s involved. Kate

Girl mans up M-E. Girard
Pen doesn’t want to be a boy – she just wants to look like one, and that confuses people. This is her look at frenemies, love, and teen pregnancy. An awesome read – I wish it had been written when I was a teenager! Kate

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index Julie Israel (picked by Rachel from Scorpio Books)

Girl Missing Sophie McKenzie (picked by Saskia, Cashmere High Library)

You’re welcome, universe Whitney Gardner

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda Becky Albertalli

Find more:

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A dystopian novel

Chaos Walking trilogy Patrick Ness
Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run. (First in a series and also available as an audiobook.) Alina

Little Brother Cory Doctorow
A standalone cyber-thriller packed full of teen hackers, revolution, terrorism, a police state, and an awesome romance. Alina

The Giver Lois Lowry (picked by Julianne)

Replica Lauren Oliver

Flawed Cecelia Ahern

Find more:

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Inspirational biographies

Hope in a Ballet Shoe Michaela DePrince
Adopted in the United States, a young girl from Sierra Leone dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. A great read, even if you’re not a dancer. Kate

In the sea there are crocodiles: The story of Enaiatollah Akbar Fabio Geda
Based on the true story of 10-year-old Enaiatollah’s escape from Afghanistan, and his journey across the mountains and seas to safety in Italy. Kate

In order to live Yeonmi Park (picked by Saskia, Cashmere High Library)

Being Jazz Jazz Jennings

Never fall down Patricia McCormick (a work of fiction based on the true story of a Cambodian child soldier).

Find more:

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More recommendations

Personal recommended reads from librarians – from classics to new publications!

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Rachel from Scorpio Books recommended these books for teens:

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Saskia from Cashmere High’s library recommendeds the following good reads:

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More reading ideas

Enter the Winter Read Challenge and win prizes!

Give Me Money $$$

We could all do with a bit of a cash injection, no more so than when you are a student. If you don’t fancy racking up a huge student loan, you could try applying for a grant or a scholarship. Generosity has a database called GivME with over 4000 scholarships and grants for students.

You don’t have to be an outstanding academic or sportsperson (although those scholarships are also listed) you might just have the right set of credentials like ex student of Canterbury Secondary School or the child or grandchild or a service or ex-service person. There is grants for all levels of study from school age to PhD.

There are even opportunities for those who are working and want to some help with professional development. New funding opportunities are added all the time, so once you have created you logon using your library card and password/PIN we suggest you check back in to see if anything new has been added.

So login, find your fund, apply and hope some cash is coming your way.

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”: Picturing Canterbury

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”. File Reference Gimblett-0013.

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”.

Date: 1900s.

Built in 1860, St Mary’s Anglican church in Heathcote was originally situated on Bridle Path Road. Additions were made to the church building in 1914. In 1925 the building was relocated to its current location on the corner of Martindales and Truscotts roads.

Do you have any photographs of St Mary’s Church, Heathcote? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

St. Marys, Bridle Path Road, Heathcote

Christchurch kids! Give Tūranga’s Bookbots Earth names & win prizes! (2 to 31 July)

Kids can win awesome prizes by filling out this special online survey. All you have to do is help name Tūranga’s intergalactic heroes, the Bookbots.

During the month of July, local primary and intermediate students can vote on their favourite names for the digital characters and go in the draw to win prizes, including a real-life interactive robot for their school, with training provided by PBTech, and a class workshop with Imagination Station. Bluetooth speakers from Spark and giant Bookbot wall decals are also up for grabs.

Voting is open to local primary and intermediate students until 31 July 2018 (limited to one entry per student).

Harry Potter’s Birthday Celebrations

On Tuesday 31 July at Parklands Library and Fendalton Library (and a bit earlier on Friday 13 July at Shirley Library) Christchurch City Libraries will be celebrating Harry Potter Day. This is a day to recognise our enjoyment of J.K. Rowling’s literary creation Harry Potter, fittingly on his birthday. Lovable, bespectacled Harry and his friends stormed into our collective minds over two decades ago. Hard to believe!

You are invited to come along to our family friendly Harry Potter Day events. See our calendar for dates and times. Personally, I don’t think I want to get too close to Dobby’s lost sock…but there will also be a storytimes, potions class and wand-making craft along with other marvellous activities.

Harry Potter display
Harry Potter display. South Library. Tuesday 26 July 2016. Flickr 2016-07-26- IMG_5247

What was Harry up to on the 31st of July? Well:

  • 1980 Harry was born to James and Lily Potter.
  • 1991 Rubeus Hagrid came to the hut-on-the-rock where the Dursleys were hiding out, to hand deliver Harry his Hogwarts acceptance letter.
  • 1992 The Dursley family had dinner with Mr and Mrs Mason while Dobby and Harry argued in the background- prompting Dobby to cast a hover charm over a giant pudding – which was then unceremoniously deposited on top of Mrs Mason. This resulted in the Ministry of Magic sending Harry (unjustly) a warning letter rebuking the use of underage magic.
  • 1996 Harry celebrated his 16th birthday at the Burrow.
  • 1997 Harry turned 17 and received a birthday kiss from Ginny Weasley, much to the revulsion of her brother Ron.

Every HP fan has the books proudly lined up on their bookcase. My copies of The Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban are hard-backed, beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay and reside in a shelf all of their own. I have given husband a strict Christmas/birthday present list covering the next three years. This will take care of the remaining volumes.

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You will find the complete Harry Potter series on our catalogue. Readwatchlisten or download Harry.

I first discovered that I love reading fantasy when I picked up The Lord of the Rings as an almost teenager. As I broadened my fantasy horizons, I eventually ceased to read anything else, and wondered what it was that drew me in. When I would read these books or watch the films it was as though I was dead to the outside world. I was so entranced, and remained so long after I’d put down the book. They left me spellbound and strangely nostalgic, for something I couldn’t grasp.

I think it must be pure escapism. I like to dwell on the element of setting when I am reading  having no qualms about toiling through pages upon pages of lavish, descriptive world building – the foundations of any fantasy tome. Themes and values which underpin fantasy also captivate me: the pull between good and evil: and values such as friendship, loyalty, perseverance or fighting and suffering for something greater than yourself. These things are nice to believe in – and being packaged in such a pleasing way with none of the bothers or constraints of reality – of course I would be drawn in like so many others.

Reading a good fantasy novel always ends with me underlining compelling passages every few pages (not on any library copy, of course). I do love quotes. Here is an excellent Harry Potter passage which always makes me chuckle:

“Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty seven times in various disguises.” 

Wendelin the Weird sounded like a bit of a fetishist.

So I hope you have read Harry Potter. If not, shame on you. Join the library it’s free and you can borrow Harry. If you have and are wondering “what can I read next, that is Harry Potter, but at the same time not?”, then we subscribe to some fantastic eResources. Our reading advisory eResources – Novelist Plus, Novelist K8 (Novelist Plus for kids) and Books & Authors are designed for librarians and library patrons to assist with finding your next read. They will help you ferret out exactly what you liked about a book, and recommend material based on this input.

Of course, you could always turn to the walking reading advisory resource – your local librarian.

To conclude, here is a short list of fantasy reads I believe anyone interested in the genre should tick off. In no particular order:

A luncheon interval on Mt Sebastopol while on a ski trip at Mount Cook National Park: Picturing Canterbury

A luncheon interval on Mt Sebastopol while on a ski trip at Mount Cook National Park [1926?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 14 IMG0086
Do you have any photographs of skiing in Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

A Luncheon Interval On Mt Sebastopol While On A Ski Trip At Mount Cook National Park

Curate Your Own Personal Film Festival (from the Library DVD Collection)

The Press reporter Charlie Gates wrote a fascinating article about the decline in DVD rental stores in Christchurch: Ghosts and survivors in fading DVD market. There may be fewer places to hire DVDs from, but you can still get ’em at your local library!

Because I am decidedly average at getting to the movies, the library DVD collection is there to rectify my movie fails. I watched The Last Jedi recently, re-watched the beautiful Japanese animated time-travel body swap movie Your Name, and am looking forward to watching Lady Bird and Phantom Thread.

DVDs - Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre
DVDs at Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre. Flickr Sumner-2017-08-18-DSC03137

This led me to make my own list of an imaginary Film Fest of recent(ish) NZ docos!

New Zealand Docos

No Ordinary Sheila

The story of this writer, illustrator, natural historian and outdoors adventurer Sheila Natusch.

Spookers

“Every weekend come rain, hail or shine, this diverse group of amateur performers unite to terrify punters at the southern hemisphere’s largest scream park, situated in a former psychiatric hospital. Director Florian Habicht reveals the transformative and paradoxically lifesaving power of belonging to a community that celebrates fear. “

Poi E

“With humour, energy and emotion, the movie Poi e is the story of how that iconic song gave pride to generations of New Zealanders.”

My Year With Helen

“With unique access to high-ranking candidate Helen Clark, award-winning filmmaker Gaylene Preston casts a wry eye on proceedings as the United Nations turns itself inside-out choosing a new Secretary-General.”

McLaren

The story of Formula One motor racing team originator Bruce McLaren “A fearless racing driver, a visionary and brilliant engineer”.

Pecking Order

“Join members of the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in the lead up to the NZ National Championships, as they battle history and each other in a quest for glory and for the love of their birds.”

Seven Rivers Walking

“With walkers, rafters, farmers and fishing folk, we journey the alpine to spring rivers of Canterbury. Exploring above and below the surfaces, uncovering ways through our current freshwater crisis. This lyrical documentary from New Zealand is an intimate portrait of the struggles around water – globally the most precious resource of our time. ”

Tickled

“After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. “

The Art of Recovery

“As demolition gangs reduce ruins to rubble, a dynamic group of artists, innovators and entrepreneurs are bringing life back to the streets of post-quake Christchurch, empowering the people and creating a promising future for a dynamic new city. ”

Hip Hop-eration

“These Hip-hoppers may each be almost a century young, but for Kara (94), Maynie (95) and Terri (93), the journey to the Las Vegas World Hip Hop Dance Championships is just the beginning of a life’s journey. ”

Find New Zealand documentary films in our collection.

 

Lighting up the winter nights – Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights, Friday 29 June 2018

This week is an exciting one for Lyttelton Library and our customers, with our fabulous Stories after Dark with Lindsey on Thursday night, and the awesome Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights on the evening of Friday 29 June.

Lyttelton Library’s Stories after Dark starts at 6.30pm on Thursday 28 June – head down to the library and join us for stories, songs and rhymes followed by crafts and hot chocolate. We will entertain your 4-7 year olds, and the whole family is welcome. Come along in your PJs and bring Teddy too!

Friday 29 June is the night for the annual, spectacular Lyttelton Festival of Lights! Lyttelton Library will be closed as usual, but we’ll be doing our bit with several lightshows in our own space, and projected onto neighbouring buildings. Come through the tunnel for fabulous food vendors, lively musical entertainment, the Lyttelton Primary School parade, and the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch fireworks display at 8pm!

Parking in Lyttelton is extremely limited, especially with the extensive roadworks going on at the moment. For a parking-stress-free evening, check out the festival park and ride information (scroll down to Public Transport Information).

Find out more

Lyttelton links

The following resources are helpful for Lyttelton visitors and locals:

Lyttelton Harbour with ships at dock and tugboat on the water [191-?]
Lyttelton Harbour with ships at dock and tugboat on the water [191-?], CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0068

Dr Seuss Creation – A Family Challenge – Win tickets to Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat at the Isaac Theatre Royal, 9 October

We are running an exciting competition during June and July this year. Express your creativity and be in to win a family pass to The Cat in the Hat at the beautiful Isaac Theatre Royal on Tuesday 9 October!

Dr Seuss Creation – A Family Challenge

Gather the grandkids, ask an aunty, or convince your cousins to create your own version of one of Dr Seuss’s many magical characters!

Upcycle old sheets, clothes, socks… whatever you’ve got lying around … and let your imagination go wild. No material at home? Come to a free Craft a Creature workshop, where we’ll have loads of material available for use (the workshops are on from 10 July to 19 July).

Competition is open to all ages.

Pick up your entry form at any Christchurch city library, or download the PDF. Attach the completed entry form to your creation and drop off at any one of our Christchurch City Libraries.

Conditions of entry

  1. Competition is open from Monday 18 June to 5pm Sunday 29 July 2018.
  2. Entries must be returned to any one of the Christchurch City Libraries by 5pm on Sunday 29 July 2018.
  3. All winners will be announced on the Christchurch City Libraries Facebook page, and website.
  4. Prize allocation is at the discretion of the Christchurch City Council. All decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  5. Entries must have all correct contact details completed on the entry form.
  6. Entries will become property of the Christchurch City Libraries. Alternatively, if you would like your entry returned, please note this on your entry form, or email us at libraryevents@ccc.govt.nz and we will sort out pick up details following the close of the competition.