Read Aloud Day – 2018 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

CoverThe winners of the 2018 New Zealand Children’s Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced last night with Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop, published by Puffin, Penguin Random House, being honoured as the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year (it also won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction).

Each year, ahead of the announcement, a Read Aloud Day takes place, and some nominated authors and illustrators head on tour around the country to speak to primary and secondary school children about their work, to share insights about their process, and spark a new generation of writers and artists. This year, students in Canterbury got to hear from the following speakers: Fleur Beale, Sophie Siers, Suzanne Main, Joanna Grochowicz, Alison Ballance, and Gavin Bishop. The events were presented by: New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in association with WORD Christchurch and Harcourts Gold.

Lyla: Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones by Fleur Beale

CoverA dramatic teen-view of the Christchurch earthquakes. Lyla is at the mall when the big quake strikes. Having lost touch with her friends and family, she finds her way home through a crumpled city. The long days and weeks that follow bring new challenges, and Lyla works with others to help with the clean-up and opening their home to those in need. A vivid insight into terrifying events and the impact on those who experienced them.

This story will be close to home for Cantabrian readers, but Fleur Beale gave an unlikely introduction to her book by advising some people in the audience not to read it! She offered this word of warning for anyone for whom the earthquakes are still a difficult memory. She said she had to do a lot of research for a story about the earthquakes to be believable to her readers so she collected real stories from people she knew about what had happened to them during the quakes and incorporated them into her book.

“There’s nothing like real life for putting into a book… but you still have to make it work to fit into a story.”

Beale’s advice for young writers:

“Be prepared to murder your darlings” was her advice. By this she explained that you have to be willing to let go of some of your work in the editing and redrafting process. She says its traumatic but necessary to bin stuff. For this you need to let your writing sit a while and come back to it. With an established writing career spanning over 40 books, you can trust her word on it.

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Author Fleur Beale, August 2018

Into the WhiteScott’s Antarctic Odyssey by Joanna Grochowicz

Into the White - Grochowicz, JoannaThe enthralling and harrowing true story of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, with evocative photographs, and illustrations by Sarah Lippett. An exciting story following the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole. Scott’s team battles storms, killer whales, extreme cold, and a changing frozen landscape, even before they get off the boat. The reader can almost feel the cold and gnawing frostbite in this riveting reimagining of the horrors that this group of brave and resilient men endured as they battled the elements to follow their dreams and their leader.

Christchurch City Libraries were fortunate to host Joanna in the libraries last year. Her book contains well-researched and compellingly told tragedies set in inhumane places and recount the resilient, perseverance and curiosity in human endeavours.

Joanna was a hit with the audience of school children and brought the historic subject of lesser known yet interesting characters from Scott’s South Pole expedition to life, such as the photographer and the chef. Herbert Ponting who had the important job of keeping a visual record of their Antarctic journeys. In one riveting story, an encounter with killer whales nearly stranded him on the ice.

Thomas Clifford, the expedition chef, had to cook 3 meals a day for 25 men for a year – without fresh food like fruit, vegetable or usual meats like chicken. Instead he served penguin and seal, which horrified the children in the audience and would be illegal today. But they need a fresh source of meat to get vitamin C to avoid scurvy. Reports tell us that “seal liver curry was a favourite among the men”.

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Joanna Grochowicz

How Not To Stop a Kidnapping Plot by Suzanne Main

CoverWhen Michael overhears some men plotting to kidnap a student at his school, he and Elvis decide they must prevent the crime, even if it is his sworn enemy Angus who is the victim. A series of misadventures and wild assumptions see them zipping across town by bike, staking out the school painters and breaking a few rules. This fast-paced romp will keep the reader wondering until the very end.

When Suzanne Main described her childhood devoid of technological devices like the internet and smartphones – and gasp – no ‘Fortnite’ – there was a sound of shock and horror from a good portion of the audience. And what’s more, she says “TV was only in black and white!” So, for entertainment, she read and read and read. Authors like Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were favourites and she laments that there wasn’t a lot of New Zealand writing back then. She loved to read so much that she barricaded herself in her room to avoid siblings interrupting her.

If she loved reading so much, why did it take her so long to become a writer she wondered? She said school back in her day didn’t put emphasis on creativity but rather getting the right answers so she focused on maths which was ‘black and white’ whereas writing is neither right or wrong. Suzanne has been an accountant most of her career but about 10 years ago she realised the desire to be a writer was buried deep inside her. She joked that it is a bad thing to be creative if you’re accountant – and such a sense of humour is a feature of her stories too.

She says as a child she was held back by shyness, being timid and a lack of confidence. By sharing this with the audience, she hopes that others who feel like she did won’t let it hold them back:

“Creative writing is like putting a tiny piece of yourself in the world for people to judge and criticise, which is hard for shy people. My fear was that I would suck” but, she advised the students in the audience, “you have to risk being rubbish when you are trying something new. Put aside your fear of not being good – you’ll become good if you put in the time and effort and determination even if you’re not good at it. Something you’re not good at today, you might be in the future.”

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Author Suzanne Main, August 2018
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Finalist authors and illustrators Sophie Siers, Alison Ballance and Gavin Bishop, St Margaret’s College, August 2018

The Gift Horse by Sophie Siers

A gentle story about a sad little girl and the horse she bonds with, which will sit with the reader long after it is finished. Sensitive pastel illustrations work well with the text, setting the emotional tone, and reflecting the themes of patience and grief. Layered with meaning, the story deals with complex emotions in a thoughtful way, giving readers a sense of hope that life will get better.

Sophie advised aspiring writers of the old adage to place your stories in an environment you know well, to help create more authentic stories. For her, this is the farm with her many animals, such as the horse that features in her story about dealing with grief, The Gift Horse. She talked about the reasoning behind writing a sad story. When something has happened to you, reading other stories about similar situations can help you understand your feelings. On the other hand, if you haven’t had a particular bad thing happen to you, maybe it has happened to someone you know or might happen to you in the future so it fosters empathy and understanding by reading about it.

Sophie has also recently published another book Dear Donald Trump that takes Trump’s idea of building a wall and translates it into the bedroom of two brothers in New Zealand who aren’t happy sharing a room. Letters to Trump from the younger brother debating the merits of the wall fill the book as the “great idea” of a separating wall is revealed to be not so great after all. This book makes a great read-aloud to school children and generates conversation about conflict. It is a lovely use of a topical political discussion translated into domestic family life.

Author and illustrator Sophie Siers engaging with readers, alongside a collection of her books, most notable her series about Allis the tractor. 

New Zealand’s Great White Sharks: How science is revealing their secrets by Alison Ballance

New Zealand's Great White SharksFrom the cold waters of Stewart Island to the warm tropics of the Pacific, New Zealand’s great white sharks are tracked by scientists seeking answers about these magnificent ocean predators. In this book, vivid descriptions and plentiful photographs capture the excitement, demands and rewards of tagging and tracking great white sharks. They demonstrate how a career in science can lead to all sorts of adventures, and how sharks and the marine environment deserve our respect and protection.

Alison Ballance is a zoologist, diver and wildlife documentary maker. She has written 29 books and dived with 14 kinds of sharks. She even has a shark named after her from Stewart Island. She says that electronic tagging has revolutionised mankind’s understanding of sharks. She says that electronic tagging has revolutionised mankind’s understanding of sharks. She showed us a map of ocean waters with the travel lines showing where specific sharks have travelled. There are websites you can track individual sharks on their journeys. Despite advanced technology, she says that there are still many questions left unanswered about sharks. Perhaps the next generation will find out more answers? Certainly many children have a fascination with sharks, as the audience’s keen questions about her team’s close calls with sharks proved.

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Author Alison Ballance, August 2018

And the winner is….

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop, published by Puffin, Penguin Random House, honoured as the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year (it also won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction).

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Author and illustrator Gavin Bishop

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop

This wonderfully bold and abundant book, large in format and scope, takes us from Aotearoa’s prehistory to the modern day with stories of the people, places and events that have shaped us. The dramatic and detailed illustrations, with taha Māori integrated throughout, are complemented by minimal text providing context and inspiration to find out more. A book for every home, school and library.

Known for Mrs McGinty, The House that Jack Built and original stories and retellings of Māori myths, this accomplished author and illustrator nonetheless felt panic set in once he accepted the publisher’s challenge to produce an illustrated 64-page history of Aotearoa. Since he couldn’t include everything, he realised that “this book will be about as much as I leave out as what we put in.”

“We were told a skewed impression of the history of Aotearoa at school”

he says, and Bishop’s work in this book helps rectify the misinformation he was given in his childhood. He talks about the importance of his work being checked by historians and Māori language experts. Māori brought with them their idea of the creation of the world, so Bishop covers Māori myths and legends in the book as well.

Researching other topics ranging from the influenza epidemic to WWI animals, Bishop was constantly astounded and overwhelmed by what he learnt in his research. In creating this book, he says:

“it made me think about where we have come from and where we might be going.”

Before and after: Gavin Bishop’s showed the audience how his illustrations take shape.

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A selection of Gavin Bishop’s books

More:

Read the winners of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The HELL Reading Challenge

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust have teamed up again with HELL Pizza to encourage school-age children to read more. Their reading programme runs through schools and libraries nationwide. Christchurch City Libraries is again offering this reading challenge reward system.

WORD Christchurch 2018: Picks for teens

One of the reasons why I love the WORD Christchurch festival so much is that it includes something for everyone, not just the stereotypical literary festival attendee that you might be picturing in your head. The programme itself can be overwhelming, however, so our new Tūranga Youth Librarians have narrowed down their top picks that might be of interest to young adults. Student rush tickets will be available on the day of events for $12 with student ID, and there are plenty of free options too.

Cover of CleanCover of BugsCover of Why I RideCover of Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas

  • Inspiring Writers Secondary Schools Day
    Free! Register to hear science communicator Laurie Winkless, YA author Juno Dawson, poet Hollie McNish and Australian author and hip-hop artist Omar Musa present at the University of Canterbury, free for Christchurch secondary school students.
  • GO YA 
    F
    ree! Features three YA authors reading from their latest works, introduced by fellow YA author Paula Morris. Whiti Hereaka won praise for their first YA novel, Bugs, and will be reading from their new time-slip novel Legacy. Juno Dawson (writer of teen non-fiction and dark thrillers) also appears in Juno Dawson: Gender Games, where they will be chatting with local YA author Karen Healey about Doctor Who, writing, and gender; and Yaba Badoe will be reading from A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, a novel involving magic and growing up in the circus. (Hear more in her panel: Yaba Badoe: Fire, Stars and Witches.)

Greta’s pick:

  • Bad Diaries Salon
    $10/12 Everyone has written a diary once in their life right, but have you actually kept your diary and cringed over it as you grew older and “wiser”? Bad Diaries Salon will feature local and international writers reading from their diaries on the theme of risk. Original and unedited this session will be both funny and uncomfortable (in a good way).

Ray’s pick:

  • The Christchurch Poetry Slam Finals:
    $10 Competitive poetry is a pretty weird concept, but absolutely worth checking out. Poetry slams are generally a pretty bold and boisterous affair, and this one will be extra special — not only are there some exceptional young poets coming out of Christchurch at the moment, but the guest poet will be USA/NZ slam legend Carrie Rudzinski. (Alina: A bit further afield, but you can also check out Slam Poetry in Waimakariri featuring some talented students from local schools.)

Alicia’s picks:

  • Kā Huru Manu: My Names Are the Treasured Cloak Which Adorns The Land
    Free! Kā Huru Manu is a Ngāi Tahu digital atlas which records the Māori place names and histories of the Ngāi Tahu rohe (tribal area). I heard Takerei Norton speak about the history of this project at a conference for librarians last year and really enjoyed it. It was interesting to hear about how place names and their meaning were recorded in the past (often incorrectly) and I was blown away to learn that so much of our landscape has a story. This should be a great talk for those interested in New Zealand history, geography, and digital technology.
  • FAFSWAG: Vogue!
    Free! Something a little bit different. Manu and Tamatoa from the House of FAFSWAG are running an open workshop on voguing. You’ll learn the five elements of vogue femme – catwalk, hand performance, duck-walk, floor performance, and spin/dips. It sounds like it’ll be a fun time! Manu will also be on the panel for Comfortable In Your Skin (koha entry), where queer people of colour will be discussing their writing, art, and activism.
  • Nanogirl: Cooking with Science!
    $15 Dr Michelle Dickinson aka Nanogirl takes you on a scientific journey through the kitchen. Her recipes are science experiences you can eat! There will even be the chance for the audience to volunteer to take part in experiments. Grab a copy of Nanogirl’s The Kitchen Science Cookbook from your local library and give a recipe a try!

Alina’s picks:

  • The Nerd Degree
    $17/19 A fantastically funny panel show which records a live podcast every month on a different theme and featuring a diverse bunch of nerdy comedians. For the WORD Christchurch festival, host Brendon Bennetts will be challenging the wits of four writers for our amusement.
  • Ant Sang: Dharma Punk
    $10/12 You might know Sang through his work on the TV series bro’Town or his graphic novel Shaolin Burning — if not, his latest comic features a woman kidnapped by time-travelling ninjas, so that seems like a pretty good place to start. If you’re a fan of graphic novels or animation/illustration, head along to his session with Tracy Farr.
  • You Write Funny
    Free! This promises to be a barrel of laughs, featuring readings from visiting writers and poets on humorous subjects, MC’d by our very own librarian by day, poet/comedian by night Ray Shipley.

Find out more

Best Picks Evening – highlighting the best of writing for NZ kids and teens: Wednesday 8 August 7pm

Painted Stories invites you to celebrate the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults by attending their annual Best Picks evening at Fendalton Library, Wednesday 8 August, 7pm. There is no charge for attending and members of the public are welcome.

A panel including Sophie O’Rourke, Desna Wallace, Saskia Hill, and Trevor Agnew will discuss the nominations.

See our full list of finalists – and #ReadNZ at its best.

Sustainability In The Library via Minecraft

This holiday programme wasn’t a relaxed, laid back affair – this one really had children thinking. The challenge was to create an Eco-House using Minecraft.

Eco House

We discussed the impact their house would have on the environment. This made the students think of the types of materials needed and how they could reduce the impact by utilizing their surroundings. Great discussions occurred, with the benefits of different materials and styles of buildings.

Many explored solar and wind power to create energy efficient houses. Others investigated the movement of water to create power.

One student harnessed the use of light sensors to store energy to allow his crops to still grow at night. Another created a wind turbine to light his house.

But the most interesting creation was an Eco Friendly Chicken House using a chickhouse nuclear reactor! See his amazing creation:

Marshmallows, Money, and Madness: Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton – WORD Christchurch

The marshmallows flew around the auditorium at Christchurch Boys’ High School when Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton came to visit. Brought to you by WORD Christchurch and Pan Macmillan Australia, this event was loud, full of ridiculousness, and an absolute delight for everyone in the audience – young and old alike.

In case you haven’t yet been introduced to them, Andy and Terry are the Aussie duo behind the ever-popular Treehouse and Just series, and this event was a chance for them to introduce their latest book, The 104-Storey Treehouse. I went along with McKenzie, who is age 9, and at the perfect age for this show. There was a moment of panic when we arrived and saw the massive queue of people snaking out the school gates, but with the sun shining and everyone in a fun mood, this was a perfect opportunity to relive some of our favourite treehouse stories, and to think about what we would have in our dream treehouse (A room full of drumkits? A giant trampoline? The opportunities are endless!) Inside, there was even a place to draw your own addition to Andy and Terry’s treehouse – and who knows? Maybe they’ll use your idea in the next book?!

This show was an hour of non-stop laughs, combining visual comedy, stand up, and interactive storytelling. Most importantly, the duo pitched it just right for the mix of kids and adults in the audience. We saw Terry’s malfunctioning money-maker spewing out banknotes, contributed to a ‘burp bank’ that Andy and Terry can use later when they need some burps, and enjoyed watching a parade of silly hats, modelled by volunteers from the audience. Needless to say, the bum hat was a firm audience favourite.

Hat parade

In a live action retelling of a pick-a-path story, we helped Andy and Terry create the story of a child who goes to the dentist and, in true Andy and Terry style, dies a number of horrible, gruesome deaths. The audience loved this! Miss 9 could barely contain herself, kneeling on her seat to see the actions better, shouting herself hoarse, and laughing uproariously from start to finish. Andy’s storytelling skills were superb, and Terry’s illustrations really brought the storytelling to life.

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. WORD Christchurch event Sunday 22 July at Christchurch Boys High School. Flickr 2018-07-22-IMG_9107

But you know what? Even that wasn’t the most popular bit! The show’s finale was all about marshmallows, and I think I can safely say that never has the Boys’ High auditorium seen as many pink and white marshmallows as it did in the final minutes of this show. Without going into details, I do not think there was anyone under the age of 15 who was still sitting in their seat at this point. The duo had everyone eating out of their hand, and – if my own experience was anything to go by – the entire audience had sore cheeks from laughing so hard.

This show was an absolute delight, and if the guys come back I highly recommend getting along to see them. Until then, check out some of their books that are available here at Christchurch City Libraries.

If you are looking for more fun, have a look at the family-friendly events coming up in the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018.

Free fun in the school holidays

The school hols are on from Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July. Here is what you can do that’s fun and FREE (and none require bookings, so you can just turn up):

LIBRARIES

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.

Free, drop-in holiday activities

Free, drop-in holiday activities – there is no charge or booking required for these sessions.

  • Create your own mini world (sessions at various libraries and times)
    Come and make your own mini world or diorama using shoe boxes, plenty of craft materials and your imagination!
  • Shadow puppets Linwood Library at Eastgate, Tuesday 10 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Board games Linwood Library at Eastgate, Thursday 12 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Board games Linwood Library at Eastgate, Tuesday 17 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Makerspace Linwood Library at Eastgate, Wednesday 18 July 3pm to 4pm

Craft a Creature workshops are part of our Dr Seuss Creation Competition

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).

KIDSFEST

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.

New Brighton Beachside Playground.

Grass Games at One Central – every day, 8am to 6pm

Check out the new maze, sports pitch and giant board game imprinted on the One Central development area, just off Manchester Street between Hereford and Worcester.

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?!

Elgregoe Magician at Eastgate – 9 to 15 July

Elgregoe Magician at Eastgate is appearing from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 July,  two shows daily at 11am and 1pm.

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

This July, join in the Galactic Night at the Museum.

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

Eastgate’s Colourful colouring in competition is on from Monday 16 to Friday 20 July, 10am to 2pm.

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 MARKETS

MORE FREE FUN IN CHRISTCHURCH

For more events and activities, search Eventfinda.

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – 2018 finalists announced

The finalists for the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have been announced.

“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).

The awards are administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and the final award winners will be announced Wednesday 8 August 2018.

A special congratulations to Canterbury finalists Gavin Bishop for Non-Fiction and Jenny Cooper (Amberley) for Illustration.

Finalists

Picture Book Award Finalists

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.

Read Christchurch City Library’s interview with Stacy Gregg about The Thunderbolt Pony and keep an eye out for her following book The Fire Stallion (due out late September 2018).

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”.

Everythingiswrong

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction Finalists

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)
  • Te Tamaiti me te Aihe Robyn Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond (Little Island Press Ltd)
  • Tu Meke Tūī! Malcolm Clarke, illustrated by Hayley King (AKA Flox), translated by Evelyn Tobin (Mary Egan Publishing)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration Finalists

Best First Book Award

Everythingiswrong

Christchurch City Libraries was pleased to host a session with author Joanna Grochowicz in the 2017 school holidays based on her book about Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey, Into the White.

More information about the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults:


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).

Parents, romance, and friendship drama: New contemporary teen fiction

Here are three romance-driven YA novels from different (American) perspectives, all recently published:

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Cover of American PandaGermaphobe 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.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Cover of Let's Talk About LoveAfter 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.

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

Cover of Emergency ContactPenny 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.

Matariki – Māori New Year 2018

Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on 6-9 July 2018. 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.

Matariki 2018 at Christchurch City Libraries continues the theme of ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’, this year with a focus on Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable natural resources of Matariki: Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi.

During June in the lead up to Māori New Year we’ll be offering a range of whānau-friendly celebrations and activities at our libraries.

Matariki promo image 2018

Matariki Toi – Community Art Project in the Library

Each year a community art project runs in our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is create a replica manu tukutuku (traditional Māori kite). Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.

Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes

In addition to our normal Storytimes we have Matariki Storytimes. Come celebrate and welcome the Māori New Year with stories, songs, rhymes and craft activities. All welcome, free of charge.

See our list of Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes.

Matariki storytimes
Matariki storytimes at Lyttelton Library, June 2017. File reference: 2017-06-Matariki-Matariki – Community Art Project LY 6

Matariki Whānau Fun Days – Saturday 9 & 23 June

Matariki StarsCelebrate Matariki at our two free whānau fun days! We’ll have art activities, colouring competitions, storytelling, exploring the stars with Skyview and much more!

Aranui Library
Saturday 9 June
10am-1pm

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre
Saturday 23 June
10am-1pm

Matariki Connect

Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.

Find all Matariki events at the library

Other Matariki events in Christchurch

Matariki Celebrations: The Arts Centre – 8 June – 22 July

The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community / whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities including a talk by Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, kapa haka, music and themed storytime sessions.

Matariki Celebration – Ara: Institute of Canterbury – 11-15 June

Ara will be having a whole programme of celebrations and activities 11-15 June across all of their campuses, including waiata, games, speakers, and food.

Matariki Celebration at Bromley Community Centre – Friday 15 June

Pop along to the Bromley Community Centre to celebrate Matariki (Māori New Year)
Free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase! Bromley School Kapa Haka Group will be performing at 4:30pm

4-7pm
Bromley Community Centre
45 Bromley Road

Matariki Star Craft – Saturday 16 June 11am

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Listen to a new story, The Stolen Stars of Marariki by Miriana Kamo and Zak Waipara, and then make your own Matariki mobile to take home.  Ages 4-9. $5 per child, book online.

Matariki in the Zone – Sunday 17 June

Organised by Avebury House, Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Richmond Community Garden.  Guests are encouraged to contribute produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm. Please RSVP to let them know participant numbers and harvest contribution at: www.aveburyhouse.co.nz

  • Māori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
  • Live music
  • Fun things to do for kids.
  • Shared kai of soups by Richard Till, and a hangi
  • blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden

Avebury House,
9 Eveleyn Couzins Ave
Richmond

Te Whare Roimata & the Linwood Community Arts Centre presents “Te Whare Maire O Nga Punawerewere” Festival of Maori Art & Culture Monday 18 June to Friday 6 July

Beginning on Monday 18th June at 5pm with a powhiri, this exhibition showcases contemporary and traditional art works by local Māori artists. Free Kapa haka classes will be held throughout the exhibition and follow the theme of the seven stars of Matariki. The classes offered this year are kite making, movies, waiata and a concert on the final night of Friday 6th July at 5pm.

The children’s activities will be held Tuesdays 4.30pm – 6.30pm & Fridays 5pm onwards throughout the exhibition.
Tuesday 19 June Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 22 June Traditional Games
Tuesday 26 June Movie night
Friday 29 June Whānau movie night
Tuesday 3 July Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 6 July Concert night.

There is no charge for classes however registrations are essential. Call 981 2881 to book. Children and families most welcome.

Eastside Gallery
388 Worcester Street
Gallery Hours:
Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm
Saturday 12pm – 3pm
Most art works will be for sale

Subscribe to the Facebook event.

Light Up Matariki Lantern Making Workshop – Sunday 24 June

Create nature inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Gardens. Combine twigs, leaves and paper to make LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki. Limited places and parents and guardians will be required to help with construction. Please note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7 to 12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Cost $5 per child.

10am to midday
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visitor Centre and Ilex Cafe
Rolleston Avenue

Matariki at the Hub – Sunday 24 June

Celebrating Matariki at the Phillipstown Community Hub!
A family day with lots of activities, bouncy castle, face painting, carving, music, waiata, traditional sports, photo booths, arts & crafts, kapa haka, and – of course – kai!

11am-2pm
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Road
Christchurch

Rehua Marae Matariki Whānau Day – Saturday 30 June

Matariki celebrations at Rehua Marae – subscribe to the Facebook event.
Kai and craft stalls, entertainment from local kapa haka and Maori musicians, free workshops. Entertainment: Kaitaka Tupuna O Rehua, Nga Toi O Te Rangi, Lisa Tui, Nga Manu a Tane, Mahina Kaui, Te Ahikaaroa, Te Kotahitanga, and the Koro Band. Workshops (start at 11.30) include star weaving, miniature kite making, tiki making, lantern making,and poi making. Some workshops have limited spaces.

The mobile library van will also be on site.

11am-3pm
Rehua Marae
79 Springfield Road
Christchurch

Matariki at Rehua Marae
Rehua Marae, St Albans, Christchurch. Saturday 28 June 2014. File Reference: 2014-06-28-IMG_0501

Matariki Market Day – Thursday 5 July

A student led market with stalls, performances and lots of fun. All welcome.

2pm to 4pm
Haeata Community Campus
240 Breezes Road

Matariki Night Makete / Markets – Friday-Saturday, 6-7 July

The Matariki Night Markets will include:

  • Kapa Haka performances and NZ music from singer songwriters
  • Traditional kai and New Zealand favourites such as fish and chips and pavlova
  • Art, crafts, jewellery all with a New Zealand feel/twist

4-10pm
The Arts Centre
2 Worcester Boulevard
Christchurch Central

Matariki Dawn Planting – Sunday 15 July

Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki the Māori New Year with a dawn karakia and tree planting as a symbol of new beginnings. The dawn planting will be followed by a hui with kai (bring a plate of food to share) and discussion of the plans for the next 12 months for this new park.

There will also second planting event at 10am. This planting event is suitable for families.

Rongoā Garden – Styx
565R Marshland Road
Ouruhia
Christchurch

More on Matariki

 

Armageddon is coming…next week!

This year the masses will descend on Horncastle Arena for the annual Armageddon convention on the weekend of 2-4 June. The 4th of June being, conveniently, Queen’s Birthday holiday.

I myself have attended Armageddon religiously since 2012, after discovering that an actor from one of my then (still) favorite television shows would be in attendance. Last year I somewhat satiated my Tolkien obsession and obtained Pippin’s [Billy Boyd’s] signature on my beautifully illustrated yet dog-eared copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Other highlights include spending my hard-earned money on a replica Evenstar and discovering the stall that sells moonshine in hipster-ish mason-style jars. Does this still exist? Where was it last year? ;-(

Not much has changed. Still a shameless fan girl.

Because I get excited about these things, in preparation I will be wading through several of my favourite Armageddon-worthy television shows over the coming weekends: check out our catalogue for inspiration, and for my top picks.

And if you have a lot of time on your hands…check out these books:

Armageddon 2018- Must Reads

Cover of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinA Game of Thrones – George Martin’s epic fantasy is intimidating to say the least, but well worth the time. Pick it up now and you just might get through it before the long-awaited Season 8 is released.

Supernatural – Ah, Dean and Sam. Sam and Dean. The excellent chemistry between the two lead actors carried me through a whooping 13 seasons of the TV show, but this fan-fiction is helping with my withdrawals somewhat.

Cover of Epic cosplay costumesEpic Cosplay Costumes – Who doesn’t love a good dress up…and the chance to upstage all the other Armageddon-goers.

Star Trek – Star Trek 101. Visually stunning effort by DK. If not the most comprehensive of guides, a great intro to the world of Star Trek for budding fans!

View Full List

Photos from our Collection

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of attending an Armageddon convention before, here is some of what you’ve been missing out on:

Three Furry Creatures. File reference: 2015-03-13-DSC00749
Pop culture baby onesies
Little nerds in the making. File reference: 2015-03-07-IMG_6159.
Pinhead cosplayer
A Pinhead Looking for Action. File reference: 2015-03-07-IMG_6156.

See more photos from Armageddon’s gone by

Youth Week events at Shirley Library

For all you gamers and budding artists out there, in honour of Youth Week we are putting on some exciting events at Shirley Library. Come along to our Playstation Tournament this Friday to WIN great prizes, and get in on this Drawing and Visual Storytelling Workshop, hosted by comic illustrator/fantasy artist Ryan Green, this Saturday.

So back to Armageddon. I’ll be there, rubbing shoulders with the sweaty rabble and hoping for a glimpse of a certain someone who may have rubbed shoulders with a certain Jon Snow.

Will you be dressing up this year? See you there 🙂