Fun Palaces – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October 2016

Celebrate art, science and creativity at this year’s Fun Palaces festival! All activities are fun, free and suitable for all ages. Central Library Peterborough will be a Fun Palace from 10am to 2pm on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October (it’s the middle weekend of the school holidays).

Fun Palaces

Here’s the schedule for Fun Palaces 2016:

Saturday 1 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

Nao Robots - Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Interactive Trampoline Gaming

Come alone and have a try of the world’s first interactive, digital gaming system designed for a trampoline. Saturday 10am – 2pm

Springfree

Quiver Augmented Reality

Experience the exciting world of Augmented Reality! Colour in images the ‘old school’ way and then watch them come to life using Quiver! This is a magical and engaging 3D experience. Saturday 10am – 12pm

MineCraft

Get imaginative and create your own Fun Palace through MineCraft. Work on your own or with friends to create the MOST fun environment you can think of! Only 20 computers available. Saturday 10 – 11.15am and 11.30am – 12.45pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Sunday 2 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Virtual spiders - Fun Palaces, Central Library Peterborough

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Bee-Bots!

Come and learn about Robot technology by having a play with these cute little guys! Sunday 10.30 – 11.30am and 1 – 2pm

3D Printing Demonstration

What’s all the hype about 3D printing? Come in and see yourself during a live demonstration. Learn a little about how these cool machines work, what we use and other facts about this exciting technology. Sunday 11am – 1pm
Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Kitchen Science Lab – Solar Oven

Build your very own solar oven and harness the power of the sun to cook yourself a wee treat. Sunday 12 – 2pm

Give your family Goosebumps

Cover of Classic Goosebumps CollectionI was a big fan of the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine when I was a kid. There weren’t a lot of scary, horror stories for kids around at that stage so Goosebumps were the go-to books if you wanted to scare yourself a little. There were always plenty to choose from and they were pretty quick reads. A search of the library catalogue tells me that we have 97 Goosebumps items in our libraries, which includes paper books, eBooks, and DVDs. That’s enough Goosebumps to keep you going for quite some time!

Earlier this year there was a Goosebumps movie released in cinemas which looked really good. My family and I didn’t get a chance to see it then but I hoped that we might get it in the library eventually. While perusing the catalogue last week I discovered we did have it on order and promptly reserved it. In our house, every Saturday night is Family Movie Night, where we choose a movie that we can all enjoy. Last week it was the Goosebumps movie and it was excellent!

Cover of Revenge of the Lawn GnomesThe movie follows a kid called Zach who moves to a small town and moves in next door to R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps books, and his daughter Hannah. When Zach hears screaming coming from next door one night he thinks that something horrible has happened to Hannah. He breaks in to try and rescue her but unwittingly unleashes the creatures from the Goosebumps books. The monsters that R.L. Stine made famous are real, and he protects his readers by keeping them locked in their manuscripts. One of R.L. Stine’s most evil creations, Slappy, releases the monsters one by one, and now it’s up to Zach and his friends to trap them back in their books where they belong. Jack Black plays R.L. Stine which is a perfect role for him as he’s a mix of manic and slightly crazy. The movie is the perfect mixture of funny and creepy so it’s ideal for both young and old Goosebumps fans.

Reserve the Goosebumps movie at the library now for your own family movie night. You can also check out all the other Goosebumps books and the Goosebumps TV series too.

Watch out everyone! Here comes Cat

The library is the perfect place for finding new friends and discovering hidden treasures. A couple of weeks ago my wife discovered a series of picture books about a mischievous cat that had the whole family laughing out loud.

Cover of Here comes the tooth fairyThere are currently four books in the series written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda – Here Comes Easter Cat, Here Comes Valentine Cat, Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat and Here Comes Santa Cat.  Each of the books is a hilarious conversation between the reader and Cat.

Cat is a bit grumpy. He hates Valentines Day and he’s jealous of the Easter Bunny, but the reader helps Cat work through his problems. Cat is tricky too so you often have to get him back on the right path again. He tries tricking the tooth fairy and wants to send Dog in to space in a rocket.

These books are so funny because Cat interacts with the reader using just signs that he holds up and his facial expressions. Here’s just one example:

From Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda
From Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda

We loved Cat’s facial expressions. Claudia can show you that Cat is up to no good just by raising his eyebrow or showing him smirking. Cat holding up the signs works really well too because you often have to use these to work out what Cat is thinking.

We originally got just a couple of the Cat stories but we had to reserve the others because they’re just so brilliant. They’re perfect for both young and old and you won’t mind reading them again and again. We even have an eAudiobook copy of Here Comes Easter Cat through OverDrive that is narrated by the author, which is fabulous.

Charles Reginald Shaw: Father, surveyor, farmer

We’ve digitised another gem from 19th century Canterbury in the form of a diary kept by Charles Reginald Shaw.

Potrait of Charles Reginald Shaw
Babington, Thomas A, fl 1860s. [Babington, Thomas A] fl 1860s Attributed works :[Portrait of Charles Reginald Shaw 186-?]. Ref: B-132-001. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23184652
Shaw was born in Cheshire, England in 1829 and spent some time on the Australian goldfields before coming to New Zealand in 1857. Shaw was Surveyor for the Canterbury Provincial Government carrying out surveys on Banks Peninsula.

In 1861 he moved to Timaru and was District Surveyor there until 1877. His diary has daily entries and covers a period during this time, 10 December 1866 – 5 August 1872. It gives details of the sections he surveyed, how much money he paid people for various things (milk, butter, a horse!) as well as comments on social affairs, and family matters. Local tradespeople are mentioned as well as places and events like the opening of a new church.

The diary is full of industry and activity; building fences, laying out roads, plotting out land, and digging up carrots.

Though there are interesting insights into colonial life in Canterbury (the Canterbury anniversary holiday in 1866 is celebrated with, of course, a game of cricket) the most poignant story from the diary details the loss of Shaw’s daughter.

She may have been a sickly baby as there is more than one reference to her being ill in the diary and on Wednesday 20th of February 1867 Shaw reports that his wife Louise (often referred to as “Lou”) and the baby are both “very poorly” with colds and coughs. He stays at home rather than going to work but digs potatoes “most of the day”.

By Friday his wife has improved but the baby is worse. A Dr McLean is sent for. Again Shaw stays home. Over the weekend Shaw is “up all night nursing” the infant.

After a week of sickness the baby fails to rally prompting Shaw to consider administering a rather inadvisable “tonic”.

Thursday 28th: “Up all night again last night with the baby…slept in all morning and sent to the Royal for a bottle of sherry for the poor little baby – but it was all no use for the poor little thing died – about 1/2 past seven in the evening on Mrs Butler’s lap.”

Over the next few days Shaw makes funeral arrangements, registering the death, showing the grave digger which plot in the cemetery will be used and eventually putting “the little Bertha in her coffin”. On the Sunday baby Bertha is laid to rest.

March 3rd: “Buried my little daughter in the cemetery…”

Not everything in the diary is this poignant but the reality of 19th century life was that childhood illnesses did sometimes prove fatal.

After his tenure as Surveyor was over Shaw stayed in the area, farming 500 acres at Totara Valley, to the west of Pleasant Point until 1898. He was married twice and had a large family (five sons and nine daughters). He was active in the local community even in his older years and died in 1906.

He is buried at Timaru Cemetery in a plot he shares with Bertha, his wife Louise, and another of his daughters.

Further reading

The brotherhood of the sisterless

Cover of HousekeepingI don’t have a sister. Instead I am the grown-up equivalent of all those children who create imaginary friends – I have an imaginary sister. Talented in ways I can only dream of, she is, however, as bewildered by bridge as I am and amazingly, she’s much worse at ball sports. She lives on a rambling estate with a retreat that offers exotic beauty treatments and delicious food. As you can see I have given this a fair bit of thought.

Normally my sisterless state doesn’t bug me at all, but when I read good books where sisters feature, I feel a little pool of loss.  Pulitzer prizewinning author Marilynne Robinson’s book Housekeeping (a book with a terribly misleading title and cover – way to go Mr Publisher) is one such book. Listed by The Observer as one of the 100 greatest novels of all time, this little book is that rare thing: totally readable literature.

In the spirit of sisterhood, I asked those friends of mine who have female siblings to tell me of any novels that they felt really got to the heart of this sister thing. Here are some of their choices:

But the Big Question for me remains: What’s the difference between a really good friend and a sister?  And where is the book that has this as a theme?

I bet my imaginary sister would know.

Taming the frenzied pace of life

Search catalogueWe’ve all heard of slow food, but what about slow parenting?

According the Carl Honore, author of Under Pressure, the concept is about keeping

… the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together.

I guess that means my parents had a slow parenting philosophy in the 50s and 60s. Our large family spent a lot of time around the dinner table debating and laughing, there was lots of hanging out with siblings of a similar age and in winter we all  played board and card games together, both parents and children.  How many families get to do that today?

Not everyone agrees that this is the ideal way to live (I note that the Wikipedia entry on slow parenting carries the caveat “the neutrality of this article is disputed”) and you might feel it is unjustified nostalgia. However, if you want to give it a try, winter would seem the ideal time to put slow parenting into practice.

Playing board games and card games is great winter fun and a good way to connect with the kids, if you can tear them away from their computer games. The library has lots of useful books including the definitive Hoyles which give the rules of a wide range of card games and guides to board games, including Asian ones (try Mah Jong if you can find a set, its great fun). We also have lots of inspiration to get children exploring games, crafts, and science .  Maybe you could even try a bit of storytelling.

Tell us what you think about slow parenting.

Whanau fun at the Rehua Marae

Kia ora. There is a cool event at Rehua Marae this week.

Matariki community evening  Thursday 27 June 2013
Kapahaka performed by Papanui High Rōpū and some great story-telling performances by Christchurch City Libraries staff. You can also check out our new Mobile van which is loaded up with a great range of resources from our Nga Pounamu Maori collections across the network.  Kia ora. Sorry but this event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances..

Whanau fun day Saturday 29 June 2013
This Whānau Day features activities, entertainment, and plenty to see and do.

Rehua Marae is at 79 Springfield Road, St Albans, Christchurch. This page explains its history – it is a wonderful place.

These photos show some pictures from our previous sessions for Matariki.

Matariki at the MaraeCrafts at the Whanau Fun DayStory blanket display at Rehua

All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

My favourite quote from one of the greatest books of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird, is:

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

I was reminded of this quote while I was reading a wonderful book by debut Australian author, Vikki Wakefield.  Her book, All I Ever Wanted is the story of Mim, who is growing up in the suburbs.  She knows what she wants and where she wants to go – anywhere but home, with her mother who won’t get off the couch and her brothers in prison.  She’s set herself rules to live by, like ‘I will finish school, I will not drink alcohol, I will not be like everybody else, and I will not turn out like my mother.’   However, things aren’t going to plan; drug dealers are after her, her best friend isn’t talking to her, and the guy she likes is a creep.  Over the nine days before her 17th birthday, Mim’s life turns upside down.

All I Ever Wanted is a brilliant debut from Vikki Wakefield and I’ll eagerly await her next book.  I loved the character of Mim, whose voice was original and authentic.  Even though her life is tough, she stays true to herself and is determined not to turn out like the rest of her family.  The thing that really makes this book so great is the other people we meet who are a part of Mim’s life.  There’s the vicious, dodgy Mick Tarrant (who beats his family and his dog Gargoyle), her neighbour Mrs Tkautz (the grouchy woman who everyone thinks is a witch), Lola (the shy girl who lives next door), and Kate (the straight-laced sister of Jordan).  When Mim actually gets to know them she realises she has misunderstood them and maybe they aren’t so bad after all.

Mim and the cast of characters in All I Ever Wanted will stay with you long after you’ve finished her story.      

Nigel’s advice for Christchurch parents

Cover image of "Quaky cat"Who else watched Nigel Latta on TV One last night?

Nigel Latta is a forensic psychologist best known for his parenting advice. He is also one of my New Zealand heroes. I really admire his humour and honesty – he’s the guy who’ll point out the elephant in the room and even climb on for a ride.

While “After the Quake” was obviously filmed before the quakes on Monday, Nigel’s suggestions couldn’t have come at a better time.  Like he says, no 30-minute television show can solve all the problems those living in Quakeville may be experiencing, but a brief overview of how to deal with ongoing trauma is a start.

It’s difficult to try to hold yourself together and keep going while also helping your children cope. Here’s a summary of Nigel’s advice:

Advice and reassurance from Nigel

  • Flashbacks, avoidance and increased adrenaline are all normal reactions to a traumatic event;
  • Sometimes the best therapy for children is family;
  • Reassure your children they are safe, surround them with family and friends, act calm so your children learn how to respond calmly too, get them involved to keep them busy and give them a sense of self-advocacy, and maintain hope – things will get better;
  • Continuing routines and rules where possible is important – the quake isn’t a “get-out-of-jail-free” card for bad behaviour;
  • Teach your kids relaxation exercises to use whenever they get worked up;
  • Introduce new vocabulary so they have more ways to label how they are feeling and a greater sense of control in the situation;
  • Break big problems that cause anxiety down into small, more manageable steps;
  • Reliving experiences through play and drawing is a really healthy coping mechanism, so don’t worry if your children set up a tent in the lounge, shake its walls, scream “Earthquake!”  then stand outside the wrecked tent with their toys and wait for EQC to show up;
  • Visit Safe and Sound for more helpful suggestions and support;
  • Christchurch City Libraries is here for you, too!

If you missed the progamme, watch it online.

Make some noise with Pandemonium this Sunday!

Don’t stay stuck inside on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon.  Come along to the Centre for the Child this Sunday, 23 May and make some noise!  Watch the awesome percussion group Pandemonium make weird and wonderful music from recycled junk.   You can even make your own music and join in with a group jam as instruments are supplied by Pandemonium.

Come along and join us at Central Library, 2-3pm this Sunday, 23 May.