Magnalia House was the sort of establishment where only wealthy, talented girls mastered their passion. It wasn’t designed for girls who were lacking, for girls who were illegitimate daughters, and certainly not for girls who defied kings. I, of course, happen to be all three of those things.
It is quite often with a bit of apprehension that I pick up a first book by a new author. There’s no reputation, no recommendations, and no familiar writing style. However, I knew from the first three sentences that this book was for me, and was unable to put it down until the end. At three in the morning.
What it’s about:
Brienna has spent her adolescent years in a special boarding school, trying to attain mastery in one of the arts, and showing little promise. But why is she even allowed to be there? As her time in Magnalia House draws to a close, her true adventure is only beginning, with memories of a long-lost relative starting to surface, leading her into a world of intrigue, plots and deception.
My personal thoughts:
A beautiful read! I found the main character extremely loveable, as a fellow book lover and history buff. If you like Tamora Pierce or Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, you will definitely come to love the beautiful world crafting and lyrical language that Rebecca Ross provides. There are sweet elements of sisterhood, complex courtly conspiracies and a delightful slow-burning romance.
Another plus is while there is a second book on the horizon (bring on 2019!), it can comfortably sit as a stand-alone. No agonizing cliffhangers here!
Tl/dr: 9/10. Lovely fantasy read. Pretty words. Would read again.
The Queen’s Rising
by Rebecca Ross
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
Coolstuff will be visiting our libraries in the two weeks before KidsFest. Come along and say “Hi!” and be in to win some sweet prizes! Pick up a special KidsFest colouring sheet and a More FM Mata Riki Parade instruction sheet and you could win even MORE prizes! Free event, no bookings required.
Some KidsFest events are FREE (but make sure to check, as you’ll need to make a booking for some):
The Big Chill at Linwood Park – Saturday 7 July 12pm
Kicking off KidsFest 2018 is The Big Chill in Linwood Park, full of wacky activities, skate boarding, bouncy castles, faeries and fury creatures.
Brighton Buccaneers Treasure Trail – every day, 7am to 10.30pm New Brighton Beachside Playground
Come down t’ Brighton ‘n discover our treasure trail. Solve th’ clues, find th’ spot, get some evidence o’ yer findin’s (Take a rubbin’ o’ our hidden treasure) ‘n enjoy th’ surroundin’s!
Fun fer th’ whole family! If you want to give this a try, download the activity sheets or you can grab a sheet from the New Brighton library or from the New Brighton Union Church, cnr of Union and Collingwood Street. Subscribe to the Facebook event. Find out more.
Grass Games at One Central – every day, 8am to 6pm
Explore your city scavenger hunt – every day, 8.30am to 5pm, Christchurch i-Site Visitor Centre
Explore the central city on our self guided scavenger hunt, discovering new and interesting things along the way. This is a great way to learn more about what’s new and what’s happening your town! Participants who complete the scavenger hunt go into the draw to win cool prizes!
Dino Detectives – Discover the Giants of Gondwana – every day, 10am to 4pm, Botanic Gardens
There’s a dinosaur loose in the Botanic Gardens and it’s eating all the trees! Follow the trail to save the Gardens from a hungry dino.
The Story Vending Machine – at various KidsFest events
The Story Vending Machine, a breakthrough of perambulatory narrative technology, roams various locations during KidsFest dispensing custom-made fictions, fables and flights of fancy for all ages! If there are any cancelled due to weather conditions check out the KidsFest Facebook page for pop-up appearances in the Christchurch City Council Foyer.
KidsFest Church service – Sunday 8 July 10am to 10.45am
A Church service for kids held at the Cardboard Cathedral, Latimer Square. Church with a difference – fun, music, drama and who knows what?!
Grass Games: Little Kickers football coaching for 4-7yr olds – Tuesday 10 July
Run alongside KidsFest by the experienced coaches of Little Kickers, this is a fun “play not push” approach football coaching session tailored for young children aged 4 to 7. Hosted by Little Kickers Canterbury NZ and Gap Filler. Subscribe to the Facebook event.
Galactic night at the Museum – 10, 12, 17, 19 July
Calling all space invaders, star trekkers and aliens. Explore a galaxy, not so far away, in an astronomical after-hours adventure at the Museum. Dress up as your favourite space character or creature and follow the clues to unscramble some amazing space facts. You could win a prize! Koha appreciated. Free and no bookings required.
Tuesday 10 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 12 July 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday 17 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 19 July 6pm to 8pm
Rockets and Robots Fun Day – Wednesday 11 July 10am to 4pm
See robots and rockets at the Air Force Museum! Discover how robots and rockets are used in our world! Check out one of the NZ Defence Force’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal robots* in action, and try on parts of their protective bomb suit. Get curious and learn more about the University of Canterbury’s own rockets and robots at this FREE, one-day-only event. Suitable for 3-13 year olds.
Cardboard Cathedral Tours – Wednesday 11 July and Wednesday 18 July 10am to 11am
Come and enjoy a tour of the Cardboard Cathedral – the only one made substantially of cardboard!
Springfree Jumpfest – Thursday 12 July and Thursday 19 July 10am to 3pm
Springfree Trampoline will be hosting a Jumpfest. Come along with your children for a fun day of jumping, games, prizes and enter the draw to win a trampoline. This will be weather dependent and we will advise on the morning of the event if it will be cancelled.
Breakmission – Saturday 14 July 1.30pm to 5.30pm
Breakmission Workshops with Keza Wardlaw and other recognised instructors teaching young people Hip Hop, Breakdance and Graffiti Art. Breakdance / B-Boy competition taking place, with dance demonstrations by a dance studio between competition phases.
Eastgate Colourful colouring in competition – Monday 16 to Friday 20 July
Stampfest 2018 – Saturday 21 July 1.25pm to 3.45pm
Join in Stampfest “for a stamp filled afternoon where you can learn all about your stamps, various aspects of the hobby, its history and see how you can travel the world without leaving home.”
More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade – Saturday 21 July, 4.30 to 6.30pm
The More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade starts in Cathedral Square. Join an exciting exploratory night time journey through central Christchurch from Cathedral Square to The Terraces around the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. Bring along your own creations, lanterns, wearable light art or torches. Mata Riki or Little Faces is connected with celebrating Māori New Year – the perfect match for the KidsFest Parade. Dress up warm.
Kids Indoor market at Halswell Community Hub Friday 13 July 11am to 2pm. Event is free to the general public, stalls cost $10.
“From sharks and dawn raids to earthquakes, kidnap plots, Jean Batten and the familiar chaos that is kids at breakfast time, their range is diverse. But they all share the magical ability to transport, inform and delight, says convenor of judges, Jeannie Skinner. “These books, fiction and non-fiction, help us try on different lives, see the world through another’s eyes, and be inspired by stories of our past, present, and possible futures.”
The judges say the real strength of the shortlist is the range of vividly drawn and memorable characters who encounter challenges, both physical and mental. They were also delighted by the richly authentic voices, which reflect the unique New Zealand landscape, vernacular and humour, with convincingly drawn family and peer dynamics. Powerful settings of imagined futures, whether dystopian, inter-planetary or steampunk, add variety and wild imagination to the vibrant mix. (Read the judges’ full comments).
Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction Finalists
The authentic voices of young New Zealanders are heard loud and clear in the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction shortlist. Whether in the past or present, drama or comedy, the judges found the characters to be warm and vividly real, as they face challenges and negotiate relationships.
Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction Finalists
The Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction was another exceptionally strong field this year, with themes of survival against the odds, challenges and mental health issues. Most importantly, the judges say, the authors in this category all nailed the voice of their young adult characters “in these well-written and deftly plotted books”.
The judges were excited to see such a bountiful number of high calibre nominations for the Elsie Locke Non-Fiction Award and they say the finalists shine with the authors’ expertise and passion for their subjects. “These non-fiction books take sometimes complex subjects and distil the essence, clearly and honestly, for their young audience to show what makes our world so interesting, wonderful, and various.”
Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori Finalists
The entries in the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written entirely in te reo Māori were described as ‘Ahakoa he iti he pounamu’ …they were “precious like greenstone”, and the judges praised both the content and the quality of the language used.
Hineahuone, Xoë Hall, translated by Sian Montgomery-Neutze (TeacherTalk)
An integral part of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is the HELL Reading Challenge, now in its fifth year. It has been hugely successful in getting kids reading and enjoying the pleasure of stories (and pizza). Kids can pick up their reading challenge cards at Christchurch City Libraries (open until December 2018).
Germaphobe Mei is a liar — lying about dropping dance, lying about being in contact with her disowned brother, and lying about dating someone who is Japanese. But most of all she’s lying about intending to become a doctor. As her secrets pile up, Mei has to find a way to confront her parents with her own needs instead of conforming to all of their strict Taiwanese traditions.
Overbearing Asian parents can be a bit of a trope in YA novels but Chao portrays Taiwanese families of varying levels of attachment to tradition, helping Mei to see that some rules might need to be broken. While Mei really struggles with her family there is also a lot of humour (especially in the phone messages left by relatives) and her developing relationship with Darren is very sweet. I’d recommend it to fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Loved Before as it has a similar cosy hot chocolate vibe even when it’s dealing with serious issues.
After being dumped by her girlfriend for being asexual, Alice throws all her energy into her part-time job at the library and ignoring parental pressure to study law — but when Takumi starts working there too she finds herself somewhat distracted by his good looks. With friendship drama, therapy, and a million missed phone calls from her family, will Alice ever get her act together enough to articulate her own feelings?
I have to confess that I found this a frustrating read — no one behaves well, but especially not Alice, who totally ignores anything that isn’t movies and crappy food and things that score highly on her Cute Chart. Half the time she complains about her wealthy family paying for her rent and education, and the other half she’s surprised and upset when they don’t. Having said that, asexual main characters are still rare enough for this book to be valuable, and others may enjoy Alice’s burgeoning romance with Takumi more than I did.
Penny and Sam are both looking for escape — Penny fleeing her mother to go to university, and Sam fleeing pretty much everything. When Penny discovers Sam having what he thinks is a heart attack she rescues him and they exchange contact details, leading to a friendship via text as Penny pursues her dream of becoming a writer and Sam attempts to become a film-maker, with personal complications along the way.
Not a very compelling summary but this is probably my favourite of the three, similar in feel and content to Eleanor and Park. Penny and Sam are both awkward, creative individuals dealing with difficult backgrounds — Penny with her anger towards her flaky mother, Sam with his checked-out parents and newly pregnant ex-girlfriend — but despite this there is a lot of humour in their exchanges, with many funny moments. If you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell then I’d add this one to your to-read pile.
“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure ‘science.’” – Edwin Powell Hubble
Famed astronomer Hubble articulated simply what great science teachers have always known: science is based on exploration, interaction, and engagement. When students connect with concepts in a meaningful, tactile way, they learn in a more meaningful way.
That belief is the foundation of Gale Interactive: Science, a new resource with interactive 3-D models and authoritative, digital content that helps students experience science, not just study it.
Designed to supplement science course materials in a fresh, unprecedented way, the resource is brimming with relevant images that can be rotated, magnified, and closely examined to enhance experiential learning. Students can explore on their own to assist with homework and research assignments, or teachers can use the online resource in the classroom to demonstrate concepts and expand discussion. Content supports the study of biology, chemistry, and earth sciences – making it an ideal resource for high school students.
For example, when studying insects, students can find images of specific insect types which can be manipulated to allow different views. It’s like examining each bug in person – but possibly even more useful, as unique features can be explored by zooming in. And with different resources available, such imagery as cross-sections and other scientific views are available to support in-depth investigation.
Two other Gale Interactive products are available to extend you scientific knowledge further –
3-D printing with installed driver and an optional 3-D printer to print teaching models for use directly in the classroom.
Interface and content available in multiple languages.
With eResources like these, science will become a fun, exciting subject. Gale Interactive takes the struggle out of science and it is at your fingertips 24/7. Take it for a test drive and see for yourself at:
The thought of starting research can be daunting, so a great starting place is a hidden gem of an eResource – Credo Reference.
Credo Reference is a collection of over 800 reference eBooks with full text articles, images, and videos covering a huge variety of information – for all ages.
To show you how it works, I have started by searching Anzac Day.
Top result is from the eBook Holiday Symbols and Customs.
This title covers the origins of the day, and symbols and customs such as Dawn Service, Anzac Day parades, and the Australian gambling game Two-up.
From the results page, Credo offers you a Mind Map tool so you can search other related topics on Credo. Below is the example Mind Map of Anzac Day. You can then find information on certain battles, Gallipoli, and other remembrance days. List of sources will be on the right side of the page if you want to read more about any of the mind map headings.
Credo is a great place to start your research, it is easy to use and using tools like Mind Map it can take your quest for information in a different directions.
Love the Earth? So do we! Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April each year and Christchurch City Libraries is kicking off an Earth Smart programme for kids this April school holidays as part of the Christchurch City Council’s commitment to sustainability and climate change initiatives. The following initiatives, programmes and resources are a great introduction to ‘environmental literacy’ for our tamariki, the future guardians of the Earth.
Earth Smart – school holiday programmes
A school holiday programme with an emphasis on sustainability and recycling. Children explore environmental issues with a focus on connecting to the planet around them using books, interactive activities, digital media and craft.
If you miss these sessions, look out for more later in the year.
Eco-conscious Books and Resources for Kids
Borrowing from the library is the ultimate in recycling – check out these eco-friendly reads!
Environmental Picture Books These picture books and narrative non-fiction books contain valuable messages about the environment, pollution, recycling, the importance of trees, water as a resource, sustainability and saving the Earth. These environmentally-friendly themed resources include eBooks and apps and New Zealand content.
Non-Fiction Environmental Children’s Books
A selection of non-fiction informational text and how-to guides for kids on related topics around recycling, climate changing, caring for the earth, sustainability, composting and water resources. Includes craft activities.
Every little bit helps… What can you do in Canterbury?
Watch two Christchurch kids show us how to ‘recycle right’ !
When you toss your plastic bottles and containers into the recycling bin, are you unintentionally doing more harm than good? Christchurch people are great at recycling but a few common mistakes are causing issues at the city’s recycling plant. See how to make it easier for council to recycle.
Saturday 28 April is International Tabletop Games Day. Celebrate with us at Fendalton Library from 2pm to 4pm. A selection of board games will be laid out with a few being led by staff. All games can be explained in 2-3 minutes and run for under an hour (most are 15-30 minutes) so that multiple games can be enjoyed. Games include 5 Second Rule, LINKEE, Pictionary, Connect 4, Sequence, Werewolves of Millers Hollow, Two Rooms and a Boom and more!
These fantastic games are aimed at ages 13 years plus but all are welcome on Tuesday 24 April from 9am to 3pm, and Friday 27 April from 9am to 5pm.
How about Magic: The Gathering? Bring your decks to Shirley Library! Come along to play, swap cards, or hang out (snacks provided). This is on the first Saturday of each month, from 1pm to 4pm (aimed at ages 8 to 18 years).
Library Easter hours: All libraries are closed on Good Friday 30 March and Easter Monday 2 April, but open as normal on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April. The only exception is Linwood Library, which isn’t open on Easter Sunday. Also note there is a scheduled outage on Easter Monday 2 April from 5am to approximately 12pm that will affect your access to the catalogue and eResources.
Philip Reeves – Mortal Engines Series A few days off is an ideal opportunity to revisit a series – I picked this one because I just discovered the teaser trailer for the film adaptation they’re making! A futuristic dystopia of mechanical cities chasing each other across the wastelands…I loved it when I was 13 and I hope I’ll still love it now.
Snuggle and Play Crochet Carolina Guzman Benitez
Maybe a long weekend will mean I finally get around to finishing the adorable monkey I’ve been crocheting from this book…
Short, fun and full of sugar, Cake wrecks is hilarious and easily digestible. Marvel at the wonky spelling and bad frosting choices of so-called baking professionals.
I’m looking forward to a rainy few days where I can get through a few new YA books.
Projekt 1065 – With so many great YA books out there dealing with WWII (check out Max for a hard-hitting book about Hitler’s quest to create a master Aryan race), I’m looking forward to reading this one about a 13-year-old British spy in Berlin in 1943.
Piecing me together – Born from the #blacklivesmatter movement, books like The Hate You Give and Dear Martin deal with the issue of race in current-day United States. To counter ‘white privilege’, schools offer programmes to their ‘at risk’ students, and this book is about what happens when those ‘at risk’ students just want to be one of the crowd. I’m looking forward to it.
Ali Smith: Winter Long awaited second novel in the Seasonal quartet – about the season that teaches us survival, inspired by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
I have the super popular bestseller The woman in the window by A.J. Finn at home, and want to spend some time losing myself in a psycho thriller (qu’est-ce que c’est).
Have you started studying this year and are feeling a little out of your depth? or do you want something to help you be at the top of your game. We have just the thing for you – a tutor available 24/7. Lynda.com has tutors for heaps of courses – to either help you with your studies, or try a course before you buy. Check out these great study starters to set you off on the right foot. All you need to get started is a library card and password/PIN.
Learning Speed Reading
Learn how to read faster. Improve your reading speed and comprehension with these proven speed-reading techniques. Speed-reading is a skill everyone can benefit from, and this course provides proven techniques to improve how much information you absorb and how fast you absorb it.
Learning Study Skills
Get tips for improving your reading speed and memory, creating detailed notes and preparing for tests. The information in this course is appropriate for all levels of learners, from school to university students and full-time members of the workforce. Start watching now—you’ll never approach studying the same way again.
Information literacy is the ability to discover and use various types of information. It’s an essential skill for navigating the information age. Learn about strategies for finding information – from a library, archive, database or the internet – and the ethics of using what you find. This one is definitely one to trust – the tutor is a Librarian!
Improving your Memory
Improve your memory with these memorization techniques. It explains the best methods for different situations, like remembering names, important dates, passwords, to-do lists, quotes, and more. These techniques will prove invaluable, whether you’re memorizing facts for a test at school, points for a work presentation, or trivia to impress your friends.
Learning Algebra: Pre Algebra
Pre-algebra is the first step in high school math, forming the building blocks that lead to geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. This course will help you master the basics: from addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to new types of numbers (integers and negative numbers) and concepts such as the order of operations and distribution.