If you’re like me then the prelude to Christmas is a hectic blur of to-do lists, gift-wrap flapping, and sugar. Yes, I have started to hoe into the Christmas treats already but I need to keep my strength up.
But it’s good to know that after this last flurry of activity there will be a week or so of peace and relaxation (more or less, depending on your annual leave allowances).
And how do we relax? My favourite thing to do is a good solid block of book or magazine reading, or maybe some movie-watching. So while it’s important to have all your Christmas meal planning and gifting ducks in a row, do make sure to plan for the bit afterwards where you get to put your feet up or spend time with family.
Here are some ways we can help with that –
We are open – Not the public holidays mind you, but with only a couple of exceptions libraries will be open between Christmas and New Year. Some closing times may be different though so check our Holiday Hours for more information so you’ll know just when you can pop in with the kids, or on your own for a bit of soothing shelf-browsing.
So is the digital library – We have a heap of eResources you can access online. Ebooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks and more. And these are available any time, including public holidays.
Recommendations – Too hard to choose? Don’t know what to pick? Our staff have selected their favourite books, music, movies and TV shows of the year into our Best of 2018 lists – sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction – whatever you’re into. Or just rock up to a library and ask a staff member what’s good!
Summertime Reading Challenge – Pick up a postcard at your local library or enter online for a chance to win some great prizes. Or keep and eye on our Facebook page for more opportunities to win.
As I write this, there are only 8 more sleeps till Christmas, and only two more weekend days but as usual, I have only just begun the annual tradition of making a Christmas gift each for Miss Missy and the Young Lad.
Of course I left deciding what to make till the last minute. For the Young Lad, I finally settled on a Batman cape and cowl. And some gauntlets. And a utility belt too. But when I asked Uncle Google for patterns, I just wasn’t happy with any of the suggestions. They seemed to be either waaaaay too complex (how to’s for making a latex full-face Batman mask) or didn’t really look like Batman (why do so many people think that a Zorro-style mask will do the trick?) or waaaay too simple (I’m talking something that looked like a pillowcase with a couple of eyeholes).
This simply wouldn’t do.
What is a librarian to do? Why, look for a book, of course!
And this is what I found:
Super Hero Sewing by Lane Huerta. Although there isn’t an actual Batman costume, I felt like these ones could easily be adapted to what I had in mind. There are lots of really cool costumes and accessories, including pirates, butterfly wings, and cute animals. And what do you know? the other day I came home to see the Young Lad wearing a Batman-T-shirt-Superman-cape combo, and Miss Missy told me he had said “I wish Mum could make me a Batman cape!” That’s the way to melt your mother’s heart, Young Lad!
I also found How to Make a Onesie by Janelle Fischer. I briefly considered switching from cape and cowl to a superhero onesie, but I think the Young Lad would rather look like real Batman, than like Batman-in-his-PJs.
Now, if it wasn’t enough to make all those costume items, I then decided that of course Batman would also need his sidekick, and that a Robin soft toy was going to be essential. Last year, right in time for handmade gift madness, I discovered Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander, and used the robot quilt applique blocks to make a cushion for the Young Lad. At the time, I was torn between that, and one of the co-ordinating toys.
So, naturally, this year a bedtime superhero toy is a must. Giving the pattern a Robin look has actually been quite easy, and it’s coming along amazingly quickly! Just the cape and mask to go now! The book is really easy to follow, and all the patterns are included on a disc, so you can just print them out instead of having to trace them off a pattern sheet.
Of course, I also have a gift for Miss Missy to make… maybe she’d like a little bag…?
… How many days did I say there are till Christmas?
It’s mid-December. That means there’s only a few more days before school breaks up, and Kiwi families start getting together to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year. Whether you spend Christmas holidays camping out in the bush or at the beach, meeting up with the whānau at the bach, or just hanging out at home playing backyard cricket or basketball, there are some things that just scream ‘Kiwi summer holidays!’
Heading over to the West Coast? Watch out for the tricky kea – they might try and attack your car! Going to stay at the bach in the country? Remember to check for daddy long legs in the outhouse! Taking the whānau to the beach for a picnic? Those seagulls will try and snatch your kai, so keep a good eye on your picnic basket!
It is these Kiwi classics that Peter Millett and Scott Tulloch draw on in their new book, More Classic Rhymes for Kiwi Kids (Bateman Publishing) where well-known rhymes like ‘I’m a little teapot’, ‘Old McDonald had a farm’, and ‘Wee Willie Winky’ get given a Kiwi twist. There are sheep, kiwi, and huhu grubs galore in this book, and because the pictures show typical everyday scenes, they are a great starting point for talking to children about family holidays you have taken together, sports you used to play when you were little, and about that squiggly, squirmy huhu grub you ate that one time when you were camping.
If you have whānau members coming from overseas, borrowing More Classic Rhymes for Kiwi Kids will introduce them to a side of New Zealand they might not get a chance to see. If you live here in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is a fun book to read and see characters just like you – playing rugby, mountain biking, and camping in the rain.
Several years ago now, I bought Mystic and the Midnight Ride by Stacy Gregg as a Christmas present for Miss Missy, my daughter. We read our way through all the Pony Club Secrets books as I (and other members of my family) bought them for her as Christmas and birthday presents. Miss Missy quickly become a huge Stacy Gregg fan (seriously, just the other day we were chatting about favourite authors, and Miss Missy said, “Jacqueline Wilson and J.K. Rowling are great of course, but Stacy Gregg is the author I’ve been the most obsessed with.”)
I even persuaded my twenty-something year old brother to get a signed copy when Stacy attended Storylines in Wellington. He willingly, if somewhat embarrassedly, stood in line with a crowd of young pony-mad girls to get her signature. Miss Missy was very excited when, a few years later, Stacy visited Christchurch Storylines, and willingly signed the rest of her entire collection of books (there are a lot!!) We sent Stacy a photo of Miss Missy’s dedicated Stacy Gregg shelf, which Stacy then shared on her blog—super cool!
So I sort of feel as though I’ve been with Stacy Gregg from the start. I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read (though I haven’t kept up with them all, I have to admit). I loved The Diamond Horse, and have just finished The Fire Stallion. I think it’s my favourite book so far, although I’m now reading The Princess and the Foal, which I didn’t read at the time when Santa gave it to Miss Missy — I think it might be my favourite too.
First of all, what gave you the idea of writing about Brunhilda? I was fascinated to learn a little about her, and about Viking girls. I’m curious: Did you like the story of Sleeping Beauty when you were little? What were your favourite fairytales?
I think my favourite fairytales were always the creepy ones. Hansel and Gretal hanging in a cage in the witch’s living room while she fattened them for the pot, wolves eating grandmothers whole, that kind of thing. The romantic ones left me cold. Brunhilda is all kinds of mythic and historic figures. Yes, she’s the origin story of the Sleeping Beauty myth, and she’s also the Queen of the Valkyries from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and she’s the Icelandic Princess who is central to Snorri Sturluson’s Eddic poem. There are different versions of her throughout time – this is the update in which Bru reclaims her power and stops waiting for true love’s kiss to wake her. I don’t think girls have time for that anymore.
Brunhilda and her brother had some pretty serious sibling rivalry, and so did Anna Orlov and her brother. Do you have any brothers and sisters? If so, did you fight with them a lot?
I know! What’s my problem with siblings? You would swear I have a brother that I hate like poison. In fact I have just one sibling, a sister, and we get on famously – although we did fight like cat and dog when I was a kid so I do understand that complexity of being rivals I guess.
I was surprised by some of the things I read about the Vikings in your book. What was the most fascinating thing about Vikings that you learned while you were researching the book?
In the past I’ve written books with historical narratives anchored in the time of Empress Catherine the Great in Russia, Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in Spain and the Italian Civil War, but this one with Vikings was definitely the most fun yet. They had such a brutal and noble way of viewing the world and their pantheon of gods is so nutty, so there’s a lot of Norse mythology in this book – Thor, Odin and Loki all make an appearance and I really enjoyed researching them. And of course travelling to Iceland and visiting Thingvellir – standing on the Law Rock where the Viking counsel held their AGM – that was very inspiring. The landscape of Thingvellir is spectacular – it’s the shooting location for everything “Beyond the Wall” in Game of Thrones – so dramatic and beautiful.
What did you enjoy most about Iceland? How cold was it when you were there? You’ve been to Russia too; do you enjoy the cold?
I had originally planned to go to Iceland in December until I realised that it would be too wintry – Iceland only has a couple of hours of daylight a day in that month. By the time I went it was spring – which meant minus five degrees during the day. I really feel the cold so I pretty much lived in a massive duvet-like Canada goose jacket the whole time I was there, sometimes teamed with fleece lined overalls. So no, I don’t theoretically like the cold, and yet I would say that Iceland and Russia are my two favourite places that I’ve ever been. Russia for the food (I know! Who would have thought?) and Iceland is just so outrageously beautiful. The next book is set in Berlin and Poland I’ve just been there on a research trip and it was freezing too! I need to start writing in warmer places.
What’s the weirdest things you’ve eaten in your travels? And what is your favourite food?
Fermented Greenland Shark is the iconic traditional food in Iceland. In my book Hilly explains how you take the shark, which is totally toxic if eaten fresh, and crush the poison out by burying the shark under boulders on the beach for a month. All of which is true. By all accounts it tastes disgusting. I never gave it a go because the Icelandic people told me it’s just for tourists now – the Vikings ate it out of necessity. Puffins are on the menu for tourists too – they catch them in giant butterfly nets and they taste a bit like muttonbird apparently. I didn’t eat them either on the grounds that they are too cute. I did eat reindeer carpaccio at an amazing hotel called the Ranga down on the southern coast which is the best place to see the Northern Lights. And in Russia my favourite meal was probably raw mince with raw quails eggs and pickles. I thought I was ordering a burger at the time but it turned out to be amazing.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve been able to do because of being an author?
I was incredibly lucky when I was working on The Princess and the Foal to be given full access by Princess Haya’s staff to do my research in Jordan. I spent time at the royal palace where she grew up and spoke to people who’d known her as a little girl. I visited the royal stables and rode Arabian horses in the desert and floated in the Dead Sea and ate amazing food and was made to feel so welcome. Afterwards, when the book was published in Arabic, I did a book tour in Beirut fell in love with the place. It’s a really liberal Middle Eastern society there, with a strong French influence to the food – again it’s all about the food!
I’m wading my way through various titles on Hitler – the new book is set partly in Berlin from 1939-45. I haven’t struck one book yet though that has gripped me. I try not to read when I’m writing as I’m a terrible mimic and I adopt other people’s styles too easily so I have to read in the gaps between writing. The last book I read was Paul Cleave’s The Cleaner and I’m onto the sequel – Joe Victim. Cleave is very dark and very funny and Joe is my favourite psychopath since Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
Did you enjoy English when you were at school? What was your favourite subject?
I loved English. But I always tell kids that if they want to be writers it’s not all about getting the best marks in class because sometimes within the school system I’m not entirely sure being creative is rewarded. Passing exams is about ticking the boxes not thinking outside them. I also think that grammar skills don’t really get taught in English at school. I didn’t really learn how to use apostrophes until I was working on newspapers as a journalist. I learnt my writing skills being chastised by sub-editors. As a consequence I think my copy is very clean now and my editors don’t have to correct much. The most important thing you can do if you want to write is read, and think critically about the work you are reading and then try and utilise what you’ve learnt in your own writing.
Do you (as an adult) read pony books by other authors?
No. I read the “Jill” books by Ruby Ferguson as a girl. I don’t read any modern pony fiction and I guess now I don’t really consider my books to be pony fiction. I think of them more as far-flung epic action adventures that just happen to feature girls and horses.
Are there any authors that you’d recommend to girls who’ve read all your books and are wondering what to read next?
I think I’m more in the vein of adventure – I write for strong, brave independent-minded readers who aspire to be heroes. I’d probably be inclined to point them towards male authors who occupy similar terrain – like Rick Riordan or Michael Morpurgo. I’m not a girly writer, despite the glitter on the jackets.
Blaze from Pony Club Secrets always reminded me of another pony called Blaze from a picture book Billy and Blaze by C.W. Anderson which I loved as a child. How do you come up with all the names for the horses in your books?
Oh it was really hard to name the horses in the Pony Club Secrets series! That’s because the name of the horse features in the title. And often in real life a horse is given a human name – our horse for instance is called Cam, and he shares a paddock with a horse called Dennis. But you can’t really have a title like “Dennis and the Golden Trophy” because it gets confusing. Who is Dennis? Is he human or horse? So the horses have to have ‘horsey’ names like Blaze and Fortune and Storm.
Although Pony Club Secrets is set in New Zealand, when I was reading the books, I thought it seemed like a slightly English version of New Zealand. Did you do this on purpose?
Well the books were always intended for the UK market and my publishers HarperCollins are based in London so it kind of naturally evolved to be slightly a combination of the two countries which I think works.
Do you have a favourite horse colour?
I like a really bright bay or a very rich golden dun with black points. Although lately all the horse-protagonists in my books seem to wind up being grey for some reason.
Do you have a favourite character (girl and or horse!) from your books?
I am totally besotted with the two girls in my new book, The Fire Stallion. Especially my Viking princess Brunhilda (Bru for short). Bru is so sword-wielding and stoic and yet she’s still sensitive and devoted beyond all else to her horse. She’s a hero in the true mythic sense and she just sort of leapt onto the page right from the start and gripped me by the throat and said “let’s do this”. I want to be her.
Did you have a pony when you were young? Can you tell us about your first horse?
I had to beg my parents for years. They were convinced I was going through a phase. When I finally did get a pony (her name was Bonnie) they didn’t have a clue what to do. Neither did I although I was convinced I was a genius. I was very lucky that they enrolled me in pony club. My sister rode too and we competed every weekend but we never had starry ponies and we wore homemade jackets and jodhpurs held up with safety pins. My daughter was lucky to have a horsey mum I think, and also times have changed and everything is so much swisher now than it was back then – there’s so much gear to buy and the horses are so fancy now. Cam is actually my daughter’s horse but I’m lucky I get to ride him quite a lot at the moment as she’s busy working on Power Rangers!
Do you have a special place where you write your books?
The Fire Stallion is dedicated in part to the Sea Breeze Café in Westmere – which is where I am sitting right now answering these questions. I’ve just bought a new apartment and also a new desk in the hope that I can spend more time writing at home in future.
You were a journalist before you became an author. What did you like most about that job?
I loved the variety. I did everything from features and fashion so one day I’d be interviewing Donna Awatere Huata and the next I’d be down at Mount Ruapehu because it was erupting and then I’d be in Sydney for a Louis Vuitton launch eating fancy canapes and drinking champagne. Journalism taught me so many skills that I use all the time – I research in the same way now that I did back then and I’m pretty fearless about bowling up to people that I need to talk to and asking them the right questions. Plus I can hammer out a super-huge word count under time pressure. It’s also the reason today I like to work in a café – it reminds me of the buzz of the newsroom.
Did you always want to be an author?
Totally! I just didn’t think it was a realistic expectation. I mean riding horses and writing – it doesn’t sound like a real job does it?
What is the best thing about being an author?
Everything. I love the freedom of it, creating your own routines. The flipside is that it’s a very uncertain profession. You have to have a bit of steel in you to get through the phase when you’ve been working on a manuscript for three or four months and no one has seen it yet and you’ve hoping it’s as good as the last one and that you’ll be able to continue to pay the rent. That sort of existence is not for the faint hearted.
Do you think being a journalist has made you a better writer?
Absolutely – although I was always a “style writer”. I did features, not hard news reporting. I never actually went to journalism school – I don’t think I would have survived that environment of nuts and bolts reporting. I managed to pester my way into a job at More Magazine and I learnt from the editors I worked for – Lindsey Dawson, Warwick Roger, Paula Ryan, Donna Chisholm, Wendyl Nissen, Stephen Stratford, Steve Braunias. It was an education.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an author?
You need a back-up career – books are a slow business and even once I was getting published with Pony Club Secrets it took about three years for the royalties to begin coming in. The average author in the UK earns two thousand pounds a year. In New Zealand I’d think it’s probably about the same. If you are determined to do it, look at the market and do your research and think about your career as a big picture, not just one book. And then write. And rewrite. And get your manuscript into perfect shape before you approach agents to take you on – you’ll only get one chance to impress them so the work needs to be tight.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
What? In my entire whole life? Like I’m going to tell you that! I am mortified by things all the time that I do and I have no memory of my victories but a long memory for all the times I’ve been a twit. My days as a fashion editor left me open to daily embarrassment. I was at the Viktor and Rolf show at the Tuileries in Paris and I was allocated a seat in Row Z but I was so busy chatting to my friend Lisa Armstrong who was front row I didn’t realise I was single-handedly holding up the runway show because Vogue editor Anna Wintour couldn’t get past me to get to her seat. Her people had to move me on. That was a bad moment.
Lastly, where did you get those amazing silver boots you wore to WORD? Do you have lots of shoes?
When the Sunday Star-Times first launched their magazine “Sunday” I was their fashion editor and I had a column called Shoe of the Week. So yeah, it was a work-related hazard that I developed a shoe obsession. The silver boots are Balenciaga and despite the fact that they look crazy to walk in they are super comfortable. They were also nose-bleed inducingly expensive. They have since been surpassed on my latest London/Berlin trip by a pair of black patent Prada stilettos and some furry Birkenstocks that make me look like an Ewok. I shall have to write a lot of books to pay for them….
The Fire Stallion by Stacy Gregg is available now ($24.99 RRP, HarperCollins)
The Fire Stallion
by Stacy Gregg
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
Not Just for kids, it could also be for nostalgic adults, especially if you were a fan of The Electric Company or Sesame Street. I fondly remember the start of The Electric Company theme tune “Hey you Guuyyys!” I was also a huge Count von Count fan.(Possibly due to the NZ band Head like a Hole’s song 12). I am definitely going check out some of the clips of Bert & Ernie as I am curious as to whether they are more than just best friends. Whilst checking out Sesame Street, I got to see Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch both very entertaining what kid wouldn’t love a cookie munching maniac and grouchy green thing that lives in a trash can. I also loved the Muppets when I was a child so the collection from the Jim Henson Company also appeals, it has two seasons of The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.
It could be possible you want some time out, and your small person to be entertained for a bit with something educational. Just for kids has thousands of videos and interactive games covering a huge range of subjects – reading, science, arts and maths, ABCs and 123s. The website is a kid-safe environment, all content reviewed, vetted and ad-free. Easy to use, fully responsive and mobile friendly, you can entertain your tamariki on the go. If Sesame Street or The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss is not for your child, they may like Franklin the Turtle, The Berenstain Bears or Arthur.
I love Bottle Lake Plantation. If you know where to look, there is always something to see. Sometimes its birds and rabbits. Other times it’s blackberries and birds. Once I saw two carved trees. But I have never, ever seen a Gruffalo. This year that could change. The Breeze Walking Festival is on again from 29 September to 14 October (over the school holidays) and young walkers can become Mouse to explore the deep dark woods on this self-guided walk featuring storytelling and Gruffalo craft activities. The Gruffalo Explorers walk starts at Bottle Lake Information Centre and the walk takes 30 to 60 minutes. Make a pair of mouse ears and go for a walk. Will you find any of mouse’s friends? Will you find the Gruffalo? I hope so.
Things to know:
It’s on Wednesday 3th October, with a postponement date of Thursday 4th October.
The walk starts anytime between 10am and 1pm and finishes by 2pm.
You meet at the Bottle Lake Information Centre.
It is an easy, flat walk,suitable for preschoolers and for children in pushchairs/buggies.
Your dog is welcome too, but must stay on a leash at all times.
Here are some more walks that particularly suit whānau and tamariki:
Going on a Bear Hunt – Tuesday 2 October (approx. distance 1km)
1pm – 2pm; 2pm – 3pm Walter Park Playground, Hills Road, Mairehau, Christchurch
Bring the children down to the park for a swishy swashy, splashy, sploshy, squelchy, muddy, experience. Great outing for the younger walkers and their families. Gumboots essential. Find out more.
Pukeko Stomp – Tuesday 9 October (approx. distance 1.5km)
Start anytime between 10am and 11.30am to finish at noon. Halswell Quarry, Kennedys Bush Road, Kennedys Bush, Christchurch
Shake your tail feathers as you skip, walk, hop and stomp your way around Halswell Quarry to find Perky the Pukeko and friends. Find out more.
I’ve been having car trouble lately. If Sheldon Cooper rode shotgun with me, he would have a complete meltdown, because Daisy’s check engine light came on over a week ago, and I haven’t checked her engine. So, anyway, the other morning, on the way to school with the Young Lad, despite the warming up and molly-coddling, I felt that all-too-familiar stumble-chug as we were driving along. I asked the Young Lad if he thought it would help if I gave Daisy some razzleberry, dazzleberry, snazzleberry fizz like the family in Rattletrap Car. And you know what he said, that boy of mine? “I’m too old for rhymes, Mum!” (with audible eye rolling in his tone.)
I know what he really meant. He meant that he’s too old for silly nonsense, like a car that can be repaired with random items stuck on tight with “chocolate marshmallow fudge delight.” Just like he’s too old for cuddles from Mum before he goes off to his classroom in the morning. *sob*
But honestly, how can anyone be to old for rhymes and stories? I say you’re never too old for a great picture book!* And lets face it, life is too short to read boring books. If you’ve got a littley to read to, you’re gonna want to enjoy what you’re reading too. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.
First up: Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals. I spotted this one on the shelf the other day, and I absolutely love it! It’s sort of like an in-flight safety instruction card for babies. The road-sign style illustrations made me giggle, and who wouldn’t laugh at Willems “instructions” about available activities (“sleeping and waking, eating and burping, pooping and more pooping”) and log-in codes (“Do not worry. You do not need to know any log-in codes, yet.”) Or his warnings about unpleasant possibilities, like “fighting and wastefulness and soggy toast” or the ice cream disasters that no-one is exempt from. Technically, this is not actually a picture book, which is all the more reason to share it with you, since you won’t find it in the picture book bins at your local library. When you look for it (and you really should!) you’ll find it in the non-fiction section.
Henry Finds His Word by Lindsay Ward. When he was a little younger, the Young Lad enjoyed reading this book with me. He always loved books with nonsense words, and this one, with Henry’s baby-babble-nonsense as he tries to make himself understood by the grown-ups was no exception. Henry decides he needs to find his word so people will know what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t know what words look like. Are they big or small? Fuzzy? Prickly? Could one be hiding under his blanket? You’ll have to read this sweet, quirky story to find out!
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall is a great story about a crayon who just can’t seem to draw red, even though that is what his label clearly says. His friends all think he needs practice, or should try harder, but no matter what he does, all Red’s drawings turn out to be blue! A wonderful message of acceptance, and being who you are, told in a delightfully funny way. I love the brightly coloured illustrations too, they are a mixture of collage-style shapes and crayon drawings, that really make the story pop.
Before & After by Jean Jullien is a hilariously simple book that explores the concept of before and after in funny and surprising ways. This is also not technically a picture book, but will be found with the board books. While you’re looking for it, you might also want to look for Jullien’s equally hilarious This is Not a Book.
Reading The Scariest thing in the Garden by Craig Smith always involves lots of noise and hilarity. Would you believe that an aphid could be the scariest thing in the garden? It is to a really, really scared Brussels sprout. What about a lady-bird? They are pretty scary to an aphid. It’s fun to try to guess what the scariest thing could be each time, and to scream along with the scared bugs and animals. And you’ll laugh when you discover what the scariest thing actually is!
Although you wouldn’t actually readABC Dream by Kim Krans, I’m sure you’ll love sharing this beautiful and absorbing wordless picture book with your littlies. The illustrations are simply beautiful, and it’s lots of fun trying to work out all the things that begin with each letter — some are really quite tricky! I’ve shared this book with lots of children who’ve visited the library, and have been blown away by some of the things they think of. Don’t you just love it when kids surprise you?
And finally, no list** of my favourite picture books would be complete without Captain Pugwash by John Ryan. I just love this series of Pirate stories about Pugwash and his crew, who are the laziest afloat. Although Pugwash thought himself very brave and clever, it was always Tom the Cabin Boy who saved the day. Dad gave me this book for my 5th birthday, and it is the very first book I ever read to myself. The stories are still just as exciting and funny as they ever were, so if you have a small person who likes pirate stories, I’m sure you’ll love these books as much as I do!
After all that talk about being too old for this kind of thing, The Young Lad surprised me last night by telling me he wanted to come to the library and listen to me sharing Storytimes with the little kids. I guess you really are never too old for picture books!
**I had a really hard time choosing which books to share in this blog post, because once I got started…I just couldn’t stop! So naturally, I also put together a list in our catalogue of a few of my favourites. I managed (with difficulty) to keep it to just 40 books. And I’m sure I missed out at least one fabulous book that I just couldn’t remember the name of.
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).
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.