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The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… One Piece

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about the story of a kid who wants to be King of the Pirates and sets out find the world’s greatest treasure: One Piece!

The Straw Hats’ ship, the Thousand Sunny, sails off into the horizon (via GIPHY)

What is One Piece?

Luffy (centre) and the Straw Hats (clockwise from top left) Nami, Zoro, Brook, Franky, Usopp, Sanji, Robin, and Chopper (via GIPHY)

One Piece is a weekly manga published by the anthology manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. Written and drawn by mangaka (manga artist) Eiichirō Oda, it’s the longest-running manga in the magazine’s history, running for over 26 years, and has been adapted into movies, video games, a long-running anime, and a live-action TV series on Netflix.

The story of One Piece takes place following the capture of notorious pirate Gol D. Roger, who proclaims before his execution that he hid a fabulous treasure named ‘The One Piece’ at the end of the world’s most perilous ocean, the Grand Line. This inspires a generation of pirates to seek out the treasure, including Monkey D. Luffy, a boy with the power of the Gum-Gum Fruit, which allows him to stretch his body like rubber at the cost of being able to swim.

Luffy gathers a loyal crew (named the ‘Straw Hat Pirates’ after his signature lid) including ace swordsman Zoro, sassy cat burglar Nami, cowardly sharpshooter Usopp, and chivalrous chef Sanji, and they set off to find the One Piece, battling rival pirates, crime lords, sea monsters, corrupt governments, and despotic rulers, while gathering new crew members along the way.

How do I start reading One Piece?

Start at Volume 1! You can reserve it here or start reading here on our eLibrary app Libby. We have the first four volumes on the eLibrary, and the first 99 volumes of the series in tankōbon (manga collection). In fact, the most recent tankōbon in our collection has the series milestone 1000th chapter in it, which sets up the series’ final arc. So now has never been a better time to get caught up!

That’s the how explained, but the more important question is why should you start reading One Piece? A series this long is a big commitment, but as someone who is currently up to date with the manga (all 1091 chapters as of this writing), I can tell you from experience that it is well worth the journey. Come aboard, and let us count the ways…

Luffy and the Straw Hats in the order they joined the crew (via GIPHY)

The Story

Come aboard and bring along all your hopes and dreams! (via GIPHY)

While One Piece‘s overall story is literally just the world’s biggest treasure hunt, it’s the journey that matters, as the Straw Hat crew travel from island to island encountering rivals and obstacles to their quest. The series is divided into discrete arcs, which vary in length and build in complexity as more characters are introduced and the world gets further fleshed out.

My personal favourite One Piece arcs are:

Baroque Works (vol 13-24) – The Straw Hats help a princess disguised as a bounty hunter save her desert kingdom of Arabasta from Crocodile, a crime lord with the power of the Sand-Sand Fruit. The first major arc of the series which sets the template for the rest of One Piece’s storylines.

Skypiea (vol 25-33) – Arguably the most imaginative setting in One Piece, here the crew ascends up a giant geyser to a civilization in the sky, where ships can sail on clouds and an indigenous population protects their land from the ‘Sky People’ and the self-proclaimed lightning god Eneru.

Enies Lobby (vol 39-45) – After fighting through a train that rides over the ocean, the Straw Hats must rescue a member of the crew from a government stronghold guarded by highly trained secret agents. This arc sees the crew come face-to-face with the oppressive World Government, the major governing body of the One Piece world that silences or imprisons anyone who threatens their power.

Impel Down (vol 55-57) – To save his brother Ace from execution, Luffy teams up with a number of the series’ previous villains to break him out of the titular prison island, which is inspired by the circles of Hell from Dante’s Inferno. This story also sets up the Marineford arc, a major turning point in the One Piece narrative and the halfway point of the manga’s overall story.

Whole Cake Island (80-90) – Luffy and half of the Straw Hat crew venture to a chain of fairy tale-inspired islands to save Sanji from an arranged marriage. Despite the island’s (literally) sugar-coated surface, the lands of Whole Cake are ruled with an iron fist by the villainous ‘Big Mom’, a giantess pirate and member of the series most powerful villains, the Four Emperors.

The Fights

Luffy performs his Gum-Gum Jet Gatling attack (via GIPHY)

It wouldn’t be a shōnen manga if the fights weren’t top-notch, and in that respect One Piece does not disappoint. In addition to a litany of sword-wielders, martial artists, cyborgs, and mythical creatures like giants and fishmen that inhabit the Grand Line, we have the signature superpowers of One Piece that come from the mysterious Devil Fruits. When eaten, these fruits grant their user supernatural abilities, ranging from ‘growing extra limbs at will’ to ‘turning into a dinosaur’ to ‘being able to manipulate biscuits’, making the fights incredibly imaginative depending on each character’s particular skillset.

Nico Robin has the Flower-Flower Fruit, allowing her to grow copies of her limbs onto anything or anyone (via GIPHY)

Every One Piece arc has an act dedicated just to Luffy and the Straw Hats going mano-a-mano with the antagonists of that storyline. Over the course of the series, we’ve seen such hits as:

  • The Crew Fights a Pirate Circus, Led by a Clown Who Can Split His Body into Pieces!
  • Who Can Sword More: The Crew’s Swordsman, or A Literal Man Made of Swords?
  • Usopp and Chopper Fight a Mole-Woman and a Guy Whose Dog is a Bazooka!
  • Zoro and Usopp Fight a Sword-Wielding Giraffe-Man… While Handcuffed Together!
  • How Many Biscuit Soldiers Can Luffy Eat in One Battle? The Answer May Surprise You!
  • Sanji Abandons His Noodle Stand and Embraces His Power Ranger Heritage to Beat Up a Spinosaurus-Man!

While those all sound ridiculous, every fight is written with an emphasis on showing growth through conflict, and drawn to showcase action and exaggerate the impact of each blow (it helps when your main character can squash and stretch like a Looney Tune). Some of the best moments in One Piece are when a character overcomes a limitation or sees their motivation in a new light while mid-conflict. It’s classic shōnen manga stuff, but filtered through One Piece‘s signature brand of wackiness, it’ll make you laugh and cheer (and sometimes cry).

Zoro always gets the final cut (via GIPHY)

The Art

The art style of One Piece is unlike a lot of other manga, which in the 90s tended to favour sharper designs and large, expressive eyes. Though Oda was inspired by earlier Japanese mangaka like Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), his style also takes influence from Western comics and animation, giving his characters a more noodley, ‘cartoonish’ quality.

When your characters are mostly leg, they gotta know how to use them (via GIPHY)

In contrast, every background in One Piece is drawn with the utmost attention to detail, thanks to Oda and his team of tireless art assistants that maintain the manga’s quality week after week. Because of this unique blend of dense worldbuilding and cartoony characters, the series can shift tones from goofy to serious on a dime, but still never break your immersion in the story.

Yes, the joke is Chopper doesn’t know how to hide, but can we take a second to notice someone had to draw ALL those bricks? (via GIPHY)

Oda is a notorious fiend for research and he puts all on the One Piece page, pulling inspiration from mythology, animation, history (including, naturally, the Golden Age of Piracy), architecture, cinema, even professional wrestling. It keeps the Grand Line interesting, and it only gets better as Oda keeps adding new ideas to the story and grows more confident in his draftsmanship, cramming immense amounts of detail into each page.

Over the course of the series, the Straw Hat crew have visited such imaginative locales as:

  • Baratie, a giant floating restaurant for pirates in the middle of the ocean (I do not envy who had to draw all those floorboards…)
  • Skypiea, a civilization in the clouds built on floating islands, full of dense jungles and ancient temples
  • Water Seven, a massive canal city that puts Venice to shame, with multi-tiered, interconnected river roads
  • Fishman Island, a colourful kingdom of fishmen located deep under the ocean, which can only be accessed by covering your ship in an airtight bubble of a special tree sap and sinking straight down
  • Zou, a society of humanoid animals called ‘Minks’ that live on the back of a colossal, centuries-old talking elephant who walks through the ocean
  • Thriller Bark, a Tim Burton-inspired island full of zombies and Frankensteined animals that’s basically just ‘The Straw Hats go to Nightmare Before Christmas

Five minutes in Thriller Bark and Luffy is already sick of it (via GIPHY)

Oda clearly never wants the series to grow stagnant by staying in one setting for too long, and that promise of novelty is what keeps every One Piece fan coming back to the series week after week.

The Writing

One Piece Quote Analysis #1 | Anime Amino

‘Warlord of the Sea’ Doflamingo explains the ‘justice’ of the Grand Line (GIF via Anime Amino)

A world as dense and diverse as the Grand Line needs to be populated with characters that believably inhabit that world. Every character in One Piece, from the Straw Hat crew to the villains to the incidental villagers, have motivations, habits, beliefs, even specific laughs. But where the manga really shines in terms of character writing is when you get to see how a character became the way they are, and some of One Piece‘s most affecting moments are when a character’s ambition comes into harsh conflict with the unfair world around them.

This comes to a head in the series’ halfway point, the Summit War, a massive battle between the authoritarian World Government and a united army of pirates. The tension in the story comes from not from who will win, but how the winning side will determine what justice in the world gets to be. Pirates are defined against the laws and norms of their society, branded as criminals by the governmental and economic powers of their era. This makes One Piece uniquely suited to explore themes of justice, inequality, and resistance against entrenched power structures. English teachers, take note!

Storylines like Arlong Park and Fishman Island not only examine systemic racism experienced by the series’ unique aquatic peoples, but also their disagreements on how they respond to their oppression. Characters like Nico Robin and Luffy’s brother Ace are targeted for their ties to historical events that the World Government has tried to cover up, touching on ideas of “history being written by the victors” and whether any one person is a criminal simply for existing.

The people of Skypeia fly into battle (via GIPHY)

And in my opinion, the Skypiea arc is one of the best fictional interpretations I’ve seen of indigenous resistance to colonisation, written in a way that is both broad yet specific, and one that immediately made me think of Aotearoa’s own history. Probably helped by the fact that it literally takes place on a land of long white cloud.

The Journey

15 Best anime quotes images | Anime, One piece quotes, Dbz memes

Will Monkey D. Luffy be the one to challenge the world? (via Pinterest)

At over 1000 chapters and counting, One Piece is a truly monumental feat of serialised storytelling for any medium. Unlike American comics, where writers and artists change hands on a title regularly, Eiichirō Oda has been the sole creator of One Piece since it began in July 1997, which gives the series a consistent level of quality. It’s exceedingly rare to read something still being published today that is written and drawn by the same person, where everything that excites, fascinates, and concerns them has been filtered into one work of art over two and a half decades.

With recent buzz that the manga is heading into its finale, all eyes are on One Piece to stick the landing, especially as it’s grown more popular worldwide in recent years. But it would go against the series’ goals to recommend it solely on how it might end. After all, it’s the journey that matters.

Recommending One Piece is like talking about your best overseas trip: you can explain all the specifics of what you did, who you met or how you got there, but you really just have to experience it for yourself. And the more people you can share that experience with, the better it becomes.

Set sail for One Piece! (via GIPHY)

Karori Youth Night in Living Colour

Artwork of a globe ornament with a loom wheel inside of it

Image courtesy of Karori Arts & Crafts Centre

Young people aged 14— 18 are invited to join us at Karori Library’s Youth Night on Saturday, 16 September 2023, 5 – 8pm.

These after-hours events are for teens who are into books, gaming, making music, watching movies, crafts, eating pizza, and generally just hanging out!

Logo for Karori Arts & Crafts

This Youth Night, you can add colour to your artwork with alcohol markers! Jenny from the Karori Arts & Crafts Centre will teach some tips and tricks to using marker in your drawings to bring them to life. Learn how to ink and colour your sketches, adding a 3D feel to your characters and drawings in no time. All materials provided!
Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!) but you do need to be 14+ in order to come, so please come prepared to show your student ID. Once you’re in, our space is yours!

Pukapuka for inspiration, available at the library

Pocket fantasy art : the very best in contemporary fantasy art & illustration
“Featuring some of the freshest and most exciting artists working in the genre today, ‘Pocket Fantasy Art’ is an inspirational pocket-sized showcase of the very best in contemporary fantasy art and illustration.” (Catalogue)

Art of protest : what a revolution looks like / Nichols, De
“From the psychedelic typography used in “Make Love Not War” posters of the ’60s to the solitary raised fist, some of the most memorable and striking protest artwork from across the world and throughout history deserves a long, hard look. Readers can explore each piece of art to understand how color, symbolism, technique, and typography play an important role in communication.” (Abridged from catalogue)

Guide to cartooning / Bohl, Al
“Provides instructions for drawing different styles of cartooning, including political, strips, books, and illustration, and gives advice on how to get a job in the field.” (Catalogue)
Manga mania fantasy worlds : how to draw the amazing worlds of Japanese comics / Hart, Christopher
“Manga fantasy is the swords-and-sorcery Japanese animation style featured in the most popular video role-playing games on the market. Christopher Hart’s latest tutorial reveals the secrets and art techniques that go into creating these worlds of wonder.” (Catalogue)
Halo warfleet : an illustrated guide to the spacecraft of Halo / Peters, Kenneth
“The authoritative guide to the spacefaring fleets of the Halo universe. Discover everything about the spaceships of the Halo universe with Halo Warfleet, from the Covenant’s homeworld, High Charity, to the gigantic Forerunner Guardians that lay dormant beneath the planets of the Orion Arm. Each of the featured ships is shown as a detailed cross-section, illustrated by renowned technical artists Hans Jenssen and John R. Mullaney, which shows the internal machinations and features of these incredible spacecraft. Created in collaboration with the team at 343 Industries, this is the perfect companion to the multimillion-selling franchise. Look out for other Halo titles from Egmont: Halo Mythos: A Guide to the Storey of Halo The Art of Halo 5: Guardians.” (Catalogue)

Comics, graphic novels, and manga : the ultimate teen guide / Bonser, Randall
“In Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga: The Ultimate Teen Guide, Randall Bonser explores the history, evolution, diversification, and impact of these storytelling forms. This book looks at the origins of illustrated stories and how they have evolved over the decades.” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults IX: Award-Winners

Well, the world has hurtled around the sun exactly once since we last added to the From the Vaults series. For those of you who are new here, From the Vaults is where we delve into the weirdest corners of our shelves to dust off some of the cool, bizarre, interesting, or just plain old stuff we have that you might not know about. So far, we’ve covered really old stuff, the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, manga gems from the ’80s and ’90s (twice!), books in languages other than English and te reo, printed music, and much more.

Anyway, since the heavens have literally aligned today, we thought it would be a good idea to bring this series back from the brink of death. And, fresh from the excitement around the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, what better topic to choose than award-winning books?

Sorry, not quite those awards. via GIPHY

For today’s post, we are going to be focussing on past winners of the YA Fiction Award from the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. This award has an interesting history. Prior to 1993, there was no separate award recognising Young Adult fiction, but some winners of the general Fiction award would be considered part of the YA canon today. The YA Fiction Award proper came into existence in the year 1993 as part of the AIM Children’s Book Awards, and was known as the “Senior Fiction Award” from 1993-2004. In 1997, the AIM Children’s Book Awards became the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and then it changed again to the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2004, at which time the “Senior Fiction Award” became the “Young Adult Fiction Award.”

Fastforward to 2023, sidestep another couple of minor name changes, and the overall awards are now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and the Young Adult Fiction Award carries prize money of NZ$7,500. In its distinguished history, it has been won by a number of the greats of New Zealand literature, with luminaries like Margaret Mahy, Jack Lasenby, Kate De Goldi, Maurice Gee, Tessa Duder, Elizabeth Knox and more in its list of recipients.

We have most of the award-winning books in our collection — explore the full list below, and visit our Book Award Winners booklist to find more juicy reads that have won other literary prizes.

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults — Young Adult Fiction Award (2015 – 2023)

New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults — Young Adult Fiction Award (2004 – 2014)

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards — Senior Fiction Award (1997 – 2003)

AIM Children’s Book Awards — Senior Fiction Award (1993 – 1997)

  • Crossroads / Janice Marriott (1996 winner)*
  • The Blue Lawn / William Taylor (1995 winner)
  • The Value of X / Pat Quinn (1994 winner)*
  • Songs for Alex / Tessa Duder (1993 winner)

* Unfortunately these titles are unavailable to be borrowed from Wellington City Libraries.

Next time on From the Vaults, we’ll explore the winners of the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for young adult fiction and its historical predecessors, so stay tuned for more literary greats!

Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Let’s Save the Bees!

Folks! Friends! Fellow humans living on this nice crispy earth!

The year is 2023. The global is warming, the 1 are %ing and things are looking iffy… Enter the Soft Apocalypse! It’s time for us to give capitalism the finger and return to our humble roots as a pastoral society that bakes bread and sings Kumbaya way too often. AKA my escapist daydream when the Stresses of Life get a bit too much (my Soft Apocalypse plan includes joining a commune and ✨embracing a healthy range of human emotions✨).

Welcome to Soft Apocalypse for Beginners, where we will be embarking on a journey of Learning to Look After Ourselves Even if the World is Ending (and saving the bees while we’re at it)!

So, let’s at it and save some bees! We couldn’t get along without bees for an infinite number of reasons, but the top three would be 1) they really do keep the ecosystem chugging along, 2) how would adults explain intimate relations without the metaphor of the birds and the bees, and 3) they’re just so darn lovely. So, what can we do to protect these little honey-sucking critters?

Plant a Bee Garden

Obviously, you’re all experts at gardening after reading Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Gardening (feat. Worms!), so why not use those green thumbs to set up a cosy floral spot for bees to come and visit? A bee garden is exactly what it sounds like (I take that back, it’s not bees growing on stalks like the vegetable lamb of Tartary. Although that would be neat too.) and consists of flowers, foliage, and shrubbery that bees find Particularly Delectable. You can go as big or small as you like, from a couple of designated bee plants in pots to filling your entire yard with dandelions (if you intend to aggravate your parents and/or landlord then this is the way to go). Some of the best plants to feature in your bee garden include:

  • Catmint
  • Lavender
  • Borage
  • Pōhutukawa

  • Sunflowers
  • Clover
  • Pansies
  • Sage

Open a Bee Hotel

Have you spent your childhood dreaming of a bright future as a hotelier, but the Disney magic hasn’t quite kicked in and you don’t magically have a bajillion dollars to buy said hotel chain? Why not start on a smaller-but-infinitely-sweeter-smelling scale with a bee hotel! Bee hotels are small structures, like bird houses, that offer a spot for bees to rest and – for solitary bees without a hive – lay their eggs in safety. Again, you can go as grand or as minimalist as you like here. Check out some guides and advice here (Sustainability Trust), here (Wildlife Trusts), and here (Natural History Museum UK) if you want to know more about making your own!

Not feeling that hotelier vocation? Try a bee bath – fill a shallow bowl or bird bath with fresh water, and pile pebbles and stones inside so that they emerge above the water’s surface. This will give the bees something to land on as they come for a genteel slurp of the world’s tastiest beverage (stay hydrated out there folks).

Support Local!

By purchasing (and/or convincing your parents to purchase) honey and bee products from local farmers and beekeepers, not only are you supporting your community and benefitting from an impressive range of health benefits (did you know that the presence of local greenery in honey makes it ideal for toughening up your immune system and combatting allergies??), but small-scale beekeepers are likely to be more invested in the wellbeing and quality of their hives, as well as in broader bee conservation practices in the area. Plus, recent honey research has revealed that a scary number of commercial honey producers adulterate their honey with sugar syrup, or similar artificial sweeteners, and that’s not the wholesome bees-knees kind of content we’re looking for (sugar = bad for you. sweet pure floral bee puke = good for you).

Plus, there’s arguably nothing cuter or more soft apocalypse aesthetic than buying honey from your local farmer’s market. Be sure to wear a straw hat.


Backyard bees : a guide for the beginner beekeeper / Purdie, Doug
“Just about anyone can keep bees. All you need is a bit of space in your backyard (or on your rooftop) and a little love for the creatures that pollinate the vegie patches of your neighbourhood. Once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive, you’ll be hooked.” (Catalogue)

How to bee / MacDibble, Bren
“Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand […] Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Unnatural creatures
“Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds–collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beekeeper’s apprentice, or, On the segregation of the queen / King, Laurie R
“In 1915, long since retired from his crime-fighting days, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybees on the Sussex Downs. Never did the Victorian detective think to meet an intellect matching his own-until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a young twentieth-century lady whose mental acuity is equalled only by her penchant for deduction, disguises, and danger.” (Catalogue)

Bees and their keepers : through the seasons and centuries, from waggle-dancing to killer bees, from Aristotle to Winnie-the-Pooh / Möller, Lotte
” In her travels Moller encounters a trigger-happy Californian beekeeper raging against both killer bees and bee politics, warring beekeepers on the Danish island of L so, and Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey, breeder of the Buckfast queen now popular throughout Europe and beyond, as well a host of others as passionate as she about the complex world of apiculture both past and present.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The music of bees : a novel / Garvin, Eileen
“Following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life’s curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing–and maybe even a second chance–just when they least expect it”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Bee movie
“Having just graduated from college, Barry B. Benson finds himself disillusioned with the prospect of having only one career choice – honey. As he ventures outside of the hive for the first time, he breaks one of the cardinal rules of the bee world and talks to a human, a New York City florist named Vanessa. He is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bee’s honey for centuries. He ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race. That is until the ensuing chaos upsets the very balance of nature. It is up to Barry to prove that even a little bee can spell big changes in the world.” (Catalogue)

The bees / Paull, Laline
“Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. But Flora is not like other bees. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wild honey bees : an intimate portrait / Arndt, Ingo
“The honey bee, a key pollinator, is now an endangered species, threatened by human activity and loss of biodiversity. Because of this, understanding forest-dwelling wild honey bees – which are more resistant to diseases and parasites than honey bees kept by beekeepers – is more important than ever before.”– Dust jacket.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zinnia and the bees / Davis, Danielle
“Seventh-grader Zinnia’s last-day-of-school got off to a bad start when she ended up in the vice principal’s office for yarn-bombing a statue of the school mascot, but it is about to get a whole lot worse–because, thanks to the incompetence of Bee 641, a colony of commercial, migratory bees escaping from a truck has settled their colony in her hair.” (Catalogue)

Buzz : the nature and necessity of bees / Hanson, Thor
“From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They’ve given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bees in the city : the urban beekeepers’ handbook / Benjamin, Alison
“From the rooftop of Fortnum and Masons in Piccadilly and the grounds of Buckingham Palace to the Square Mile’s skyscrapers, the landscape is now dotted with bee hives. This book paints a vivid portrait of these intimate, sometimes secret, locations, it also introduces you to the beekeepers and their bees through changing seasons.” (Catalogue)

Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from the loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Green urban living : simple steps to growing food, keeping chickens, worm farming, beekeeping and much more in New Zealand / Luke, Janet
“As life gets busier and backyards get smaller, it is a challenge to grow food and live more sustainably. Janet Luke shows that it can be done […] This book evokes some of the methods used in traditional Kiwi backyards, with modern concepts like recycling, organics and using water sustainably to grow food and keep chickens and bees in an urban environment.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kissing the bee / Koja, Kathe
“While working on a bee project for her advanced biology class, quiet high school senior Dana reflects on her relationship with gorgeous best friend Avra and Avra’s boyfriend Emil, whom Dana secretly loves.” (Catalogue)



New Dyslexia-Friendly Books in the Collection

The mystical, arcane beings who dwell at the very core of the book-mines of Te Pātaka (you may know them as ‘cataloguers’) were overjoyed to have received a fresh offering last week — a beautiful box of brand-new dyslexia-friendly books for teens. They were so gosh-darn purdy we just had to share them with you:

A pile of YA fiction books sits on top of the cataloguer's desk

Don’t they look so enticing?!

What makes a book dyslexia-friendly, you may be wondering? Well, it’s a combination of a few different factors:

  • Use of a dyslexia-friendly font like OpenDyslexic
  • Generous line spacing (usually at least 1.5x spacing) to prevent pages from becoming too cluttered
  • Printed on off-white, heavier paper, usually with a tint of a warm colour like yellow or orange — evidence suggests this reduces visual stress for some readers

You can find these books on the shelf at your local library by looking for the red spot on the spine, like in the photo above. Or, you can find a list on our catalogue here.

If eBooks are more your thing, you can switch your books over to a dyslexia-friendly font using the Libby app — nifty! Check out our Teen Reading Room on Libby to get started.

Whether you have dyslexia or not, these gorgeous books are bound to tickle your fancy, just as they tickled ours! Check out a list of some of our favourite red-spotted books below, and don’t forget to check out our lists of comics and graphic novels and manga while you’re at it.

Because of you / Ainsworth, Eve
“Poppy’s having a nightmare at home. Her parents have split up and her mum’s new boyfriend is moving in. Dad is the one who’s always been there for Poppy, but now he’s drifting further and further away. It seems like things can’t get any worse until it all goes wrong at school as well and Poppy finds herself being targeted by spiteful bullies. As the vicious online comments keep coming, who can Poppy turn to for help?” (Catalogue)

The Battle of Cable Street / Landman, Tanya
“Life has always been tough on the streets of Stepney, where Elsie and her brother Mikey are growing up in a vermin-infested slum nicknamed “Paradise”. But the rise of anti-Semitic fascist Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts in the 1930s stirs up trouble between families who have lived closely together for years, and Elsie sees friendships torn apart. When Elsie and Mikey attend a Mosley rally, intending to heckle and cause trouble, they soon see how dangerous the situation has become, but out in the streets the fascists find that people will stand and fight against them and against hatred in what becomes the dramatic Battle of Cable Street.” (Catalogue)

Passing for white / Landman, Tanya
“It’s 1848 in the Deep South of America. Rosa is a slave but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means she can ‘pass for white’. With the help of her husband Benjamin, she disguises herself as a young southern gentleman – and Benjamin’s master. In this guise, the couple flee the South, explaining away their lack of literacy, avoiding those they have encountered before and holding their nerve over a thousand miles to freedom. Inspired by the amazing true story of Ellen Craft who escaped a life of slavery through a daring disguise and won freedom for herself and her husband.” (Catalogue)

The family tree / Peet, Mal
“When a man returns to his childhood home and visits the derelict tree house in which his father once chose to live, he recalls the past unravelling of his family, the unspoken strangeness of their lives, and the impact on his own adult life. Beautiful, sparse and insightful storytelling.” (Catalogue)

The harder they fall / Rai, Bali
“Cal’s family are proud to live in an ‘analogue’ world – no wifi in their house , just an ancient black-and-white TV. At school, Cal has no choice but to live in the 21st century, coping with a range of bullies and chancers on a daily basis. When Cal’s mum decides to ‘rebalance’ the family with a stint as volunteers at a local foodbank, Cal inadvertently discovers new kid Jacob’s secret, and Jacob flips.” (Catalogue)

Wrath / Sedgwick, Marcus
“Cassie Cotton has always been unusual, a bit different — but this only makes her more intriguing to her school friend Fitz. Cassie can hear a noise that no one else can, and she believes it’s a sound that shows the Earth is in distress, damaged by human activity that is causing climate change. When this belief leads to her being ridiculed and bullied at school, Cassie disappears. Fitz is determined to find her, but he has no idea where to start looking, or if he’ll be in time to help her”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

The surprising power of a good dumpling / Chim, Wai
“Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen. But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other. A nourishing tale about the crevices of culture, mental wellness and family, and the surprising power of a good dumpling.” (Catalogue)

Indigo moon / Merriman, Eileen
“Both Rigel and Indigo are Offspring, born to virally optimised parents. With dire warnings about the possible consequences of time travel, they have been forbidden from even thinking about it. But Indigo is bored – what could really go wrong? She longs for excitement, which she might just find with the mysterious stranger Billy Raven. Meanwhile, Rigel has an odd feeling that he can’t shake off. Is it because his dad, Johnno (aka Phoenix), is off on another dangerous mission? Or is it because of what the Foundation did to his mum, Violet? Or is something else going on? Only time will tell”–Publisher information.

Teenagers Can Like Dinosaurs Too: Youth Night, US State Dinosaurs, And Other Associated Ramblings

The monthly Youth Night at Johnsonville Library is coming up on Saturday the 2nd of September. Youth Nights are a lot of fun! The library is open from 5pm-8pm only for youth aged 14-18, we feed you (arrive before 6pm to be added to the pizza order!), Keith-Spry Pool next door is also open just for teen use from 6pm-8pm, and we also have a different theme each month and exciting activities based on that theme! For example! The last Youth Night at Karori Library was all about crochet – they even had a proper tutor in to teach stuff about how you can take a hook and some yarn and turn it into something miraculous.

As you’ve probably guessed from the title of blog, the September Youth Night theme is dinosaurs! This was a theme requested by one of our Youth Night regulars, so we know it’s going to make at least one person very happy. As well as the librarians of course. We also think dinosaurs are pretty neat.


We’ve got a whole lotta fun things planned. Dinosaur jigsaw puzzles (we’ve got a big one to put together, and little ones you can paint and take home!), a dinosaur themed scavenger hunt throughout the library, and a short dinosaur-themed quiz to start off the night.

Now, as a result of my preparations for Youth Night I have learned that as well as having state birds, state capitals, and state marine animals, some US states also have state dinosaurs. Like, officially recognised state dinosaurs! Admittedly, some of these deliberately dedicated dinosaurs do come under the rather less exciting title of state fossil, but they still get a dinosaur/dinosaur fossil of their very own!

For example, picking a state at random*, the official dinosaur of the state of Delaware is the Dryptosauridae. Look! There’s even an official Bill from the Delaware General Assembly about the decision!

This gangly genus belongs to the superfamily Tyrannosauroidea and seems to have had slightly longer arms that the famed T-Rex, and one of the reasons put forward in the nomination for this dinosaur is that Dryptosauridae are bird-like, the Delaware state bird is the blue hen chicken, so it would be meaningful to have a bird-like state dinosaur. Go figure.

Black silhouette of a T-Rex like dinosaur

A Dryptosauridae.
Photo by Tasman Dixon, Licensed under CC0 1.0.
*Ok, maybe not picking a state at random. Dear Delaware is still going on. If you haven’t signed up for a pen pal from Delaware yet, you still can! Sign-ups are ongoing so you can register anytime and you’ll be notified when there’s Delawarean pal ready for you!

Hamish Campbell, the geologist and palaeontologist I keep on speed-dial (well not quite speed-dial, but I did text him), has suggested Titahia, an unusual tube fossil, for a Wellington Fossil.

Titahia has been found in, and named after, Titahi Bay. These wee worms would have been making their little tube-dwellings all the way back in the Triassic Period. That’s 252-201 million years ago – the specimen below is around 215 million years old! And it was during this period that dinosaurs started appearing.

A rock on a black background with pale lines of titahia fossils throughout it

Titahia corrugata Webby. Fossil tube worms AU1316
Image attribution: Brian Donovan (Photographer), Geological Collections, The University of Auckland.
All rights reserved.

A tube worm is perhaps not as illustrious as a dinosaur, but hey, you can’t have it all. We don’t have any local dinosaur fossils in Wellington, but we certainly have, um, wind? And tube worms!

Other parts of the country are lucky enough to have evidence that dinosaurs once roamed these lands. If you’re after dinosaurs in New Zealand you really have to go over to the Hawkes Bay and Joan Wiffen’s incredible discoveries. But other than that link, I won’t go into more detail about that particular matter since there is an important discover-versary coming up in 2025 and I believe our illustrious leader in the blogging department has strong feelings and plans on this topic and I wouldn’t want to step on his blog-writing toes two years in advance.

Usually when preparing blogs we do try to justify our subject choice with a list of thematically-linked books. However, this time I don’t have to do that! If you’re after books about dinosaurs, I can simply direct you over to It’s Dino Time, Literally: Discover Dinosaurs During Dinosaur Day!, written by fellow blogger J’Shuall to celebrate, you guessed it, Dinosaur Day.

Be Baffled ‘Bout Brilliantly Bad Ballads! Nonsense Verses for National Bad Poetry Day!

I  know
to write
Try good
Just press ent-
er a whole bunch at
random point-
It looks super

It’s another day
It’s another holiday
Who woulda thunk it?

Dear God! The blogger
Is writing verse once again!

Let’s celebrate art
The most fançioux: poetry
but not the good stuff

drop the pretention
rake those nails on the chalkboard
make fun, not good, stuff

just stop counting
abandon the thesaurus
who cares if a haiku is supposed to have a specific amount of syllables? rules? what are those? oh im “breaking the rules” who are you? my dad? hah i can does what me wantses irregardless!

It is national bad poetry day
Where we celebrate creativity
By making and reading poems that may
not exactly be “literary”
There’s so much pomp and circumstance in it
You’d think you could only read poetry
With a lordship and some prestige degree
But anyone can read ’em, they’re fun, try it
Here’s my suggestion: write some pretty words
They don’t have to be good, but maybe they’ll be.
Do whatever you want, follow rules or don’t
I’m sure there’s many a poem in ye.

“But alas”, you cry, “I doth not know how!”
Worry not, the librarian me knows all about crappy poetry

Rhyme is sublime. It’s a crime, I’mma chime, anytime the paradigm of rhyme goes bye. Similar sounds bound together incur profound purr renowned all-around. Astound year-round you crowned amateur litterateur!

Alliteration: an amazing action an author attempts, attracting attention among audiences. Bundling beginnings breaklessly becomes bountiful by bewitching bodies, banishing boredom.

Sibilance: certain s/c sounds said surplus, structured so somehow specialises sufficiently so sibilance stays separate. Sibilance starts sounds ampersand simultaneously starts inside some sounds.

Meter is not just a form of measure.
Iambic pentameter; what Shakespeare
Wrote requires ten syllables in five “feet”.
Feet is a unit, the Bard used iambs

Unstressed then stressed, a meter of two sylls
But I’ll tell you a secret: it’s nonsense,
Gobbledygook! Pick a random number
Of syllables and stick to it. Pretend!

People assume you know what you’re doing.
One format to try: Old Shakespeare’s sonnet
Three groups of four lines, rhyme A B A B
Ten syllables: Iamb pentameter

End it with a rhyming couple of lines,
A couplet, if you will, wrapping it up

Limericks are fun don’t you know
Rhyme A A B B A like so
Write li’l shorter here
For reasons we’ll veer
Answers? Nah, just enjoy the show

Haikus are classic
A sandwich of funny words
It’s easy as pie

Five syllables up
Seven syllables between
Five syllables down

So there it is, go poetry right now
If creativity is hard, then I suggest thou

Should pick up a book, read some nonsense poetry.
Where silly people make silly sounds sillily

The complete nonsense of Edward Lear / Lear, Edward
King and Queen of the Pelicans we;
No other Birds so grand we see!
None but we have feet like fins!
With lovely leathery throats and chins!
Ploffskin, Pluffskin, Pelican jee!
We think no Birds so happy as we!
Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill!
We think so then, and we thought so still!”
(Edward Lear, The Pelican Chorus)

The musician Cosmo Sheldrake has turned one of these poems into a song, it’s worth a listen

Fox in socks / Seuss
“Knox in box.
Fox in socks.
Knox on fox in socks in box.
Socks on Knox and Knox in box.
Fox in socks on box on Knox.”
(Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks)

There’s a very fun video of this book as a rap from the Dr. Seuss YouTube channel

Old Possum’s book of practical cats / Eliot, T. S.
Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!

(T.S. Eliot, Macavity: The Mystery Cat)

(Also it inspired the brilliant musical Cats and its… less brilliant movie adaptation Cats)

Jabberwocky / Carroll, Lewis
“’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

(Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky)

Cautionary verses / Belloc, Hilaire
And is it True? It is not True.
And if it were it wouldn’t do,
For people such as me and you
Who pretty nearly all day long
Are doing something rather wrong.
Because if things were really so,
You would have perished long ago,
And I would not have lived to write
The noble lines that meet your sight,
Nor B. T. B. survived to draw
The nicest things you ever saw.

(Hillaire Belloc, Introduction)

Michael Rosen’s book of nonsense / Rosen, Michael
“The seagulls think we live at the seaside:
the tower blocks are their cliffs;
they swoop for fish in the gutter
but are happy that it’s last night’s fried rice.”

(Michael Rosen, The Seagulls)


Fun fact: this book’s written by the guy behind this meme:

Forgive me, I meant to do it : false apology poems / Levine, Gail Carson
“This Is Just to Say
If you’re looking for a nice happy book
put this one down and run away quickly
Forgive me sweetness and good cheer are boring”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Youth Night at Karori: Crochet, Pizza & Games

This weekend, young people aged 14— 18 are invited to join us at Karori Library’s Youth Night on Saturday, 19 August, 5 – 8PM.

These after-hours events are for teens who are into books, gaming, making music, watching movies, crafts, eating pizza, and generally just hanging out!

This Youth Night, you also have a chance to learn some of the basics of Crochet with Judy, one of the fantastic tutors from Karori Arts & Crafts Centre. You might learn to make something beautiful to keep you warm on a cold winter night! All materials provided.

Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!) but you do need to be 14+ in order to come, so please come prepared to show your student ID. Once you’re in, our space is yours!

Email karori.youthnight@wcc.govt.nz if you’d like more info — otherwise, we’ll see you there!

For any budding Crochet enthusiasts, here’s a quick intro to crochet from our wonderful blogger Maiph taken from their blog Cool Things to Make During a Study Break.


A green, grey, and yellow crocheted caterpillar sits next to a yellow crocheted octopus. The octopus has one tentacle through the handle of a white and blue crocheted teapot.

Just some crocheted friends sharing a pot of tea. Lovely.

Crocheting is done with one hook rather than two needles, so there’s not as many things to keep track of with your hands. And it’s usually faster than knitting too! Particularly with a big hook and chunky yarn…

But there are so many things you can crochet! Crochet a curious critter (as seen on the right), make a garden of flowers, or even the Twelve Birds of Christmas!

Hats are usually a good beginner project, and they can be embellished in very fun ways if you feel like it, or there’s the good old-fashioned granny square – great for blankets, using up yarn leftovers, and cushion covers!

Some of the books we have available for you to borrow include more Literary Yarns, amigurumi style foods or animals, you’ll be sure to find something fun! We’ve got books of crochet patterns available through our eLibrary, and there’s also a few crochet eMagazines, and our eMagazines are always available.

Claude, a grey, green, and yellow caterpillar is sitting on a cushion crocheting the last row of a scarf. The stripes of the scarf are, in order, yellow, white, purple, and the last one is black.

Claude, our favourite crocheted caterpillar with their Non-binary Pride Flag scarf.




M is for Monster: New Young Adult Books in the Collection

August is here and with it yet another bunch of awesome new books in the collection.  We’ve got comics based on Frankenstein and from the perspective of a survivor of a school shooting; novels with dark mystery and swoon-worthy romance; and even a fantastic cookbook for teens, and so much more.  Take a look at the titles below and then click on through to the rest of the new items to explore more.


M is for monster / Dutton, Talia
“When Doctor Frances Ai’s younger sister Maura died in a tragic accident six months ago, Frances swore she would bring her back to life. However, the creature that rises from the slab is clearly not Maura. This girl, who chooses the name M, doesn’t remember anything about Maura’s life and just wants to be her own person. However, Frances expects M to pursue the same path that Maura had been on – applying to college to become a scientist – and continue the plans she and Maura shared. In order to face the future, both Frances and M need to learn to listen and let go of Maura once and for all.” (Adapted fromCatalogue)

Welcome to St. Hell : my trans teen misadventure / Hancox, Lewis
“Lewis has a few things to say to his younger teen self. He knows she hates her body. He knows she’s confused about who to snog. He knows she’s really a he and will ultimately realize this. But she’s going to go through a whole lot of mess (some of it funny, some of it not funny at all) to get to that point. Lewis is trying to tell her this … but she can’t quite hear him yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Knee deep. Book one / Flood, Joe
“Two hundred years in the future, refugees from an environmental cataclysm have fled underground. They are sewerfolk, their home, the bowels of a utopian city that was never completed. Life is hard enough, but an overzealous mining company, PERCH wants to get their claws on this new underground frontier and they don’t mind bulldozing any sewerfolk that get in their way. Caught in the middle is a young girl, Cricket. She’s in a desperate search to find her family that fled underground.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Numb to this : memoir of a mass shooting / Neely, Kindra
“Kindra Neely never expected it to happen to her. No one does. Over the span of a few minutes, on October 1, 2015, eight students and a professor lost their lives. And suddenly, Kindra became a survivor. This empathetic and ultimately hopeful graphic memoir recounts Kindra’s journey forward from those few minutes that changed everything. It wasn’t easy. Every time Kindra took a step toward peace and wholeness, a new mass shooting devastated her again. Las Vegas. Parkland. She was hopeless at times, feeling as if no one was listening. Not even at the worldwide demonstration March for Our Lives. But finally, Kindra learned that – for her – the path toward hope wound through art, helping others, and sharing her story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Family style : memories of an American from Vietnam / Pham, Thien
“Thien’s first memory isn’t a sight or a sound. It’s the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It’s the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam. After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don’t get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search… for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Someone is always watching / Armstrong, Kelley
“When their friend Gabrielle is found covered in blood in front of their dead principal, with no recollection of what happened, Blythe, Tucker, and Tanya soon discover their lives are a lie as the walls built around their real memories come crashing down.” (Catalogue)

Girl, goddess, queen / Fitzgerald, Bea
“Thousands of years ago, the gods told a lie: how Persephone was a pawn in the politics of other gods. How Hades kidnapped Persephone to be his bride. How her mother, Demeter, was so distraught she caused the Earth to start dying. The real story is much more interesting. Persephone wasn’t taken to hell: she jumped. There was no way she was going to be married off to some smug god more in love with himself than her. Now all she has to do is convince the Underworld’s annoyingly sexy, arrogant and frankly rude ruler, Hades, to fall in line with her plan. A plan that will shake Mount Olympus to its very core. But consequences can be deadly, especially when you’re already in hell . . .” (Catalogue)

We Didn’t Think It Through / Lonesborough, Gary
“The justice system characterises Jamie Langton as a ‘danger to society’, but he’s just an Aboriginal kid, trying to find his way through adolescence. He spends his downtime hanging out with his mates, Dally and Lenny. Mark Cassidy and his white mates – the Footy Heads – take every opportunity they can to bully Jamie and his friends. On Lenny’s last night in town before moving to Sydney, after another episode of racist harassment, Jamie, Dally and Lenny decide to retaliate by vandalising Mark Cassidy’s car. And when they discover the keys are in the ignition… Dally changes the plan. But it’s a bad plan. And as a consequence, Jamie ends up in the youth justice system where he must find a way to mend his relationships with himself, his friends, his family and his future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Painted devils / Owen, Margaret
“When misfortune strikes, the ‘reformed’ jewel thief Vanja manipulates a remote village for help and in turn, accidentally starts a cult around a Low God, the Scarlet Maiden. Soon after, her nemesis-turned-suitor Emeric and a supervising prefect arrive to investigate the claim of godhood, and she realizes how in over her head she must be. But the Scarlet Maiden does reveal herself…only to claim Emeric as her virgin sacrifice. With vengeful apparitions, supernatural fraud, and ravenous hellhounds, readers will not be able to put down this Bavarian-themed YA fantasy, the thrilling sequel to Little Thieves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lose you to find me / Brown, Erik J
“Tommy Dees is in the weeds–restaurant speak for beyond overwhelmed. He’s been working as a server at Sunset Estates retirement community to get the experience he needs to attend one of the best culinary schools in the world. And to make his application shine, he also needs a letter of recommendation from his sadistic manager. But in exchange for the letter, Tommy has to meet three conditions–including training the new hire. What he doesn’t expect is for the newbie to be an old crush: Gabe, with the dimples and kind heart, who Tommy fell for during summer camp at age ten and then never saw again.  The training proves distracting as old feelings resurface, and the universe seems to be conspiring against them. With the application deadline looming and Gabe on his mind, Tommy is determined to keep it all together–but what if life isn’t meant to follow a recipe?” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Fantastic vegan recipes for the teen cook : 60 incredible recipes you need to try for good health and a better planet / Skiadas, Elaine
“Elaine’s recipes help the modern teen cook be more environmentally-conscious and develop healthy habits while also proving that easy vegan cooking doesn’t need to be bland or boring. With just a few simple techniques and a handful of quality ingredients, it’s easy as can be to whip up a restaurant-quality meal for your family and friends.” (Catalogue)

For more new YA books in the collection, go to:  What’s new / August 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Let’s [Make] This Bread!

Folks! Friends! Fellow humans living on this nice crispy earth! 

The year is 2023. The global is warming, the 1 are %ing and things are looking iffy… Enter the Soft Apocalypse! It’s time for us to give capitalism the finger, and return to our humble roots as a pastoral society that bakes bread and sings Kumbaya way too often. AKA my escapist daydream when the Stresses of Life get a bit too much (my Soft Apocalypse plan includes joining a commune and ✨forming an emotional attachment with the local worm population✨).

Welcome to Soft Apocalypse for Beginners, where we will be embarking on a journey of Learning to Look After Ourselves Even if the World is Ending (and saving the bees while we’re at it)!

Baking bread is one of the fundaments of thriving in the pastoral fantasy that is our soft apocalypse (it’s a fact that sunsets are more beautiful with baked goods in hand), so today we’re having a look at a few basic Bread-y recipes!

Pro Tip: Put on a timer when baking stuff. For the love of emergency services, please and thank you.


The Sweet

Nothing says ‘cottagecore’ like a hearty loaf of banana bread, and it’s ideal if you’re anything like me (aka chief of forgetting to eat my bananas then hoarding them in the freezer when they go brown). This recipe is adapted from Chelsea Sugar’s banana bread recipe. Shout out to Chelsea x

  1. Preheat your oven to 18o°C bake.
  2. Pop 125g Nuttelex Buttery Spread (söftened) in a bowl with 1 cup of brown sugar. Beat it with measured violence in your heart, then add in either 2 flaxseed eggs (or similar substitute) and mix.
  3. Sift and stir in 2 cups of white flour, 1tsp of baking powder, 1tsp of ground cinnamon, and 1tsp of baking soda (tsp = teaspoon, for those Not In The Know). Mix in 1 cup of soy milk.
  4. Mash 3 ripe/overripe bananas and add, then roughly chop up 1/3 cup of walnuts (optional) and add. Mix ’em all together, then pop the mixture into a loaf-shaped tin lined with baking paper.
  5. Bake for an hour (or until a skewer skewered through the middle comes out clean). Leave in the tin for a further ten minutes, and hey presto you have a Loaf!

The Savoury

Continuing on with our slow-burn pizza making journey (check out tips for growing your pizza toppings here)! If you’re feeling brave, you can even do the neat ‘spinning the dough above your head like a pro’ thing – just remember to watch out for ceiling fans. Love and two kisses to Nadia Lim because this recipe is a 100% knock-off of hers xx

  1. Stir 1tsp of sugar in  cups of warm water until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in 4tsps of yeast and set aside for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Thoroughly mix in 1tsp of salt and 4 cups of flour, then transfer to a clean surface sprinkled with flour and knead the dough for 5-8 minutes (until you can poke the dough with your finger and the indentation springs back quite nicely). Feel free to add a little more flour if your dough is too sticky.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl (no more than 2tbsp (tbsp = tablespoon, for those Not In The Know) of olive oil should do). Place the dough in the bowl, turning once so it’s lightly covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp, clean(!) tea towel, and leave in a warm place for just under an hour.
  4. Remove the freshly puffy dough, and knead for another 2-3 minutes, then cut the dough into four even pieces and shape into pizza bases! Top with your favourite pizza toppings (Pineapple on Pizza for President 2023), and bake in an oven at 200°C for 10-15 minutes.

The Basic

Where would we be without the humble loaf of sliced white bread (slicing not included, terms and conditions may apply)? What would the millennials have their avocados on? What would we make fairybread with? Truly disturbing to consider. Luckily! We don’t have to! And here’s how to make your very own! (Blessings be to Gather for Bread, from whom I stole this recipe x).

  1. Stir 1tbsp of sugar and 1tbsp salt in 2 cups of warm water until mostly dissolved. Stir in 1tbsp of yeast and set aside for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Mix in 5-6 cups of flour, until the mixture is clumped and doughy, then turn out onto a clean, floured surface.
  3. Knead your dough for five minutes or so, sprinkling flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the mixture springs back slightly when poked. (Avoid adding too much flour or over-kneading as this will toughen the dough.)
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl (no more than 2tbsp of olive oil should do). Knead the dough for another couple of minutes, then place in the bowl, turning once so it’s lightly covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp, clean(!) tea towel, and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours. During this time, the dough should double in size.
  5. Once the dough has risen, briefly knead out any air bubbles, then cut the dough in half and shape into two oval loafs. Place them on baking tray dusted with flour, and lightly slash the tops of the loaves three times on a diagonal, then brush them with cold water.
  6. Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 200°C for 35-45 minutes, until the loaves are a tasty golden-brown colour, and sound hollow when tapped. Very good with soup, five stars.



Fitwaffle’s baking it easy : all my best 3-ingredient recipes and most-loved cakes and desserts / Head, Eloise
” I’m Eloise, known online as Fitwaffle, and welcome to my first book! […] Find fifty 3-ingredient recipes, including my crowd-pleasing Cookies and Cream Cake and delicious Chocolate Caramel Fudge, plus all of your favourite 4- and 5-ingredient recipes including Speculoos Ice Cream and a cinnamon roll made in a mug!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A wizard’s guide to defensive baking / Kingfisher, T
“Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance. But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The heartbreak bakery / Capetta, A. R.
“Teenage baker Syd sends ripples of heartbreak through Austin’s queer community when a batch of post-being-dumped brownies turns out to be magical–and makes everyone who eats them break up. ” (Catalogue)

The bread bible / Beranbaum, Rose Levy
“Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award, Best Bread Book” (Catalogue)

How baking works / Morton, James
“Whether you want light cakes, squidgy brownies, perfect pastry, stress-free macarons or mountainous meringues, this book features a mini-masterclass for each one.” (Catalogue)

A taste for love / Yen, Jennifer
“Smart, kind, and pretty, Liza Yang dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But her mom compares her to older sister Jeannie, and sees Liza as stubborn, rebellious, and determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang’s traditional values, especially when it comes to dating. The one thing they agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston’s popular Yin & Yang Bakery. Liza agrees to help out at the bakery’s annual junior competition, but discovers there’s a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date. Grudgingly attracted to stoic, annoyingly hot James Wong, Liza begins to realize there’s no tried and true recipe for love.” (Catalogue)

Bread : from ciabatta to rye / Collister, Linda
“A delicious journey around the great breads of the world – required reading for all home bakers, whatever their level of experience.” (Catalogue)

The little book of vegan bakes / Jade, Holly
“Recipes range from the simple (Chocolate Orange Fridge Fudge, Cookies and Cream Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Flapjacks) to the more ambitious (Honeycomb Doughnuts, Cherry Bakewell Tartlets and No-bake Biscoff Cheesecake) making this a book for anyone and any ability.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The great British bake off : how to bake : the perfect Victoria sponge and other baking secrets / Collister, Linda
“Twelve new amateur bakers are ready to rise to the Great British Bake Off challenge. While they don their aprons, adjust to their new ovens, and get used to baking in a tent, this book takes you through the challenges from the series and shows you how to achieve baking perfection.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Breadsong : how baking changed our lives / Tait, Kitty
“‘If you had told me at 14 when I couldn’t even get out of bed with depression and anxiety that three years later I would have written a book I would never have believed you. But here it is – the story of the Orange Bakery. How I went from bed to bread and how my Dad went from being a teacher to a baker. ” — Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Baking with Kim-Joy : cute and creative bakes to make you smile / Kim-Joy
“If you’ve ever wanted to know how to bring your baking to life, Kim-Joy will show you how in this fun and practical book. […] Recipes include step-by-step photography and adorable illustrations accompanied by little messages of positivity throughout.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Batter royale / Adams, Leisl
“In this fun graphic novel, a talented young chef is selected to participate in a baking reality show and finds herself mixed up in spicy competition, bitter rivalry, and sweet romance.” –author’s website.” (Catalogue)

Bread therapy : the mindful art of baking bread / Beaumont, Pauline
“Therapy is a love letter to the art of making real bread. […] It celebrates bread making as a way of understanding ourselves better, learning important life lessons and making positive changes to our mental and physical wellbeing. It features eight simple bread recipes to get you started on your bread-making journey.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vegan cake bible : the definitive guide to baking, building and decorating spectacular vegan cakes / Kidd, Sara
“With step-by-step tutorials for frosting and decorating, mix and match ideas, and recipes for gluten-free cakes that actually work, Sara teaches you the ingredients, tools, and tips to master the art of vegan baking”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Honey and jam : seasonal baking from my kitchen in the montains / Queen, Hannah
“Featuring Queen’s rich photography throughout, Honey and Jam not only showcases a collection of rustic desserts, but also captures the sprawling forests and farmlands of Blue Ridge, anchoring each recipe in the backdrop of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Witness Librarian Cats for International Cat Day!

The humble Felis Catus, or the domestic cat, is well renowned for its utter dominion over the human race. They began their conquest in ancient Egypt, around 3100 BCE, where they were worshipped. Such worship continues to this very day across the world, where their absolute adorableness grants them easy access to willing slaves for food and pats. Even the last bastion of sense and reason, the library, has not been able to resist their influence. 

This world is catkind’s, we just live in it.

Our deities demand piety, and so shall we give it! Today, on this hallowed day, is International Cat Day, and to celebrate, we at the library shall show off our beloved kits!


A long black cat is lying on its back atop a blue duvet.Firstly, and most importantly, is my cat! Take a gander at Fred! Isn’t he just the cutest! Freddy is a very loving a snuggly cat, who loves being pet and head boops. alFredo sauce is so very fluffy and he meows! Freddles knows what he wants, and if you are doing something he does not want, he will give you a warning chomp. Graciously he shows mercy and only lightly chomps, for a dead servant is not a very useful servant. 10 out of 10 best cat.

A tortoiseshell cat with blue eyes looks wistfully off into the distance.

This beautiful girl is named Pixie, ain’t she cute! She’s very sweet and always wants cuddles. However, she has a dark side, and can be quite cheeky, depending on the person. Pixie loves her owner, protecting her with violence against the foul beast Huuse-B’andd, for the grievous crime of existing.

A cat with mottled brown and white fur lies on its back outdoors.

A cat with mottled black, brown and white fur twists its body to get a good look at the camera.

These contorting cats are Henry Bam Bam (pictured left) and Eevee (pictured right). These cats are well versed in the ancient tradition of being liquid, transfiguring into whatever shape catches their interest, puny human laws of physics notwithstanding. In performing this eldritch geometry they absorb the sun’s rays and relax, biding their time for further world domination.

Five cats are arrayed on and around a cat tree. The largest cat, the mother, is standing at the bottom, with four cats of different sizes and colourings seated above.Mumma Cat, as she was creatively named, was a stray who decided to adopt her family by having four kittens in their house. She is the large calico cat, much bigger than her children.

Mumma Cat’s human decided to keep two of the kittens, Pepper the black kitten and Dahl the ginger kitten. The other two, Pickle the calico and Pepper the tortoiseshell (There is a long tradition of Peppers within their house) were taken in by another librarian (to keep them in the family business, you must understand).

A ginger cat, a black cat, and a tabby sit on a cat tree.Pepper is a magpie, who loves to steal precious treasures (read: random junk) and store them in her dragon’s hoard (under the bed). Further hobbies include scaling her titan servants to rest upon their shoulders.

Dahl, named after the author, though it is apt that his name is the same as a food…because he loves of all things most, food. He enjoys eating food, meowing for food, stealing the other cats food and trying to steal human food.  When he’s got a full belly he likes lots and lots and lots of pats, to play in the empty bathtub, and to cheekily nibble at pot plants for a reaction.

An elderly cat with long white fur is turning to look at the camera.

This old lady is the darling Jessie, captured here enjoying the great wilderness (there’s no fluffy carpet *gasp*). She loves establishing her dominance over micekind by ritualistically attacking her toy mouse in the dark of night, the pitiful desires of humans to “sleep” (whatever that entails) less important than this dire ritual. The children of the house (though they may have grown) are beloved by this empress, however the “owner” (can it really be said that humans are the owners of cats) is unloved, especially when food is not plentiful.

A grey cat lounges atop a black blanket on a bed by the window.Another finely aged gentlelady of refined taste, Shadow enjoys the finer things in life. Such pleasures are that of bathing in the warmth of the firelight and of the LCD screen. She does not deign upon pithy mortals the pleasures of her meow, simply tapping her paw to alert her servants of her dire need for pets.

You might be surprised to learn that I, master of silly and goofy holidays, was not the first librarian to show off genuine article library cats™©☢®. Fellow teen blogger Maiph wrote a blog two years ago for Black Cat Appreciation Day, stealing my gimmick before I even had it, the meanie. So if you need another kitty fix, there you go.

But it just isn’t enough is it? The overwhelming love we feel for kitties can never be truly sated. But worry not, for I have more fuel to add to the burning fire of passion: books on cats!*Please do not literally set library books on fire, I will get in trouble if you do that BEHOLD!

Dewey : a small-town library cat who touched the world / Myron, Vicki
“The story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat, starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the book return slot at the Spencer, Iowa, Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Marvel meow / Fuji, Nao
“The comic misadventures of Chewie, Captain Marvel’s catlike pet flerken. Join Captain Marvel’s pet, Chewie, as she wreaks havoc in the lives of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters. Gain a new persepective on beloved favorites such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, formidable villains including Thanos and Galactus, and antiheroes like Deadpool, as they all become the playthings of this capricious ‘cat’ creature.” — Book jacket flap.” (Catalogue)

Homer’s odyssey : a fearless feline tale, or how I learned about love and life with a blind wonder cat / Cooper, Gwen
“A New York Times Bestseller — Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits — on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.” (Catalogue)

Catwings / Le Guin, Ursula K.
“Four young cats with wings leave the city slums in search of a safe place to live, finally meeting two children with kind hands.” (Catalogue)

Homicidal psycho jungle cat : a Calvin and Hobbes collection / Watterson, Bill
“Calvin and Hobbes are at it again, and this time, our irrepressible friends are taking a walk on the wild side. Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Old Possum’s book of practical cats / Eliot, T. S.
“The inspiration for the iconic musical Cats, T. S. Eliot’s classic and delightful collection of poetry about cats, with whimsical illustrations by Edward Gorey.” (Catalogue)

(Also it inspired the brilliant musical Cats and its… less brilliant movie adaptation Cats)

White cat / Black, Holly
“When Cassel Sharpe discovers that his older brothers have used him to carry out their criminal schemes and then stolen his memories, he figures out a way to turn their evil machinations against them.” (Catalogue)

One cup at a time : a Cat’s Cafe collection / Tarpley, Matt
“Serving up another steaming hot cup of the warm and floofies, this new collection follows your favourite regulars at Cat’s Cafe as well as several all-new characters as they handle the ups and downs of life with the help of their friends. A follow-up collection based on the popular webcomic Cat’s Cafe, One Cup at a Time immerses readers in the gentle, supportive world of cafe owner Cat and his adorable friends. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Amazing Spider-Man

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is all about the first to do whatever a spider can: Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man!

(via GIPHY)

This blog will just cover what we have of The Amazing Spider-Man, the main Spider-Man series which has published continuously since 1963, and any other Peter Parker-centric comics.

If you want to read about Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, and the other heroes from across the Spider-Verse, check out their blogs here (Part One) and here (Part Two).

Who is The Amazing Spider-Man?

Let’s do this one more time….

Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, and gained superhuman abilities like incredible strength and reflexes, adhesive fingers and toes to climb along walls, and a ‘spider-sense’ that could predict danger. After the tragic death of his Uncle Ben, Peter learned that with great power must also come great responsibility, and he became the crimefighting hero Spider-Man.

An Amazing FantasyBook: 'Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man (2003), Volume 1'. Cover image.

Spider-Man first appeared in the fifteenth (and final) issue of an anthology comic called Amazing Fantasy in 1962. Proving to be a hit with readers, he received his own series the following year, The Amazing Spider-Man.

On Libby, we have the first twenty issues of the series (plus the original Spider-Man story from Amazing Fantasy), which introduces Peter’s supporting cast, like his Aunt May, his boss J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle newspaper, and his first love interest Betty Brant.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1 (only on Libby)

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 (only on Libby)

For a contemporary take on Spider-Man’s early years, check out the Learning to Crawl volume, which takes place between Amazing Fantasy #15 and The Amazing Spider-Man #1, or the recent Spidey miniseries.

The amazing Spider-Man [1.1] : learning to crawl / Slott, Dan

Spidey. Volume 1, First day / Thompson, Robbie

Spidey. Vol. 02, After-school special / Thompson, Robbie

The whole run on Spidey is also collected in one volume as
Spidey. [1], Freshman year / Thompson, Robbie

Brand New Day and The Gauntlet

Brand New Day was a mid-2000s Amazing Spider-Man arc which re-established a classic status quo for Peter Parker, working once more for the Daily Bugle and struggling to stay afloat in post-recession New York. In the now-classic The Gauntlet arc, Spider-Man faces revamped versions of his classic foes, like Sandman, Electro, the Lizard, and Mysterio.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day (only on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man : brand new day. Vol. 2 / Gale, Bob (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man : brand new day / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : election day / Guggenheim, Marc

The amazing Spider-Man : crime and punisher / Guggenheim, Marc

The amazing Spider-Man : death and dating / Waid, Mark

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet [1] : Electro & Sandman

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet. [Vol. 2], Rhino & Mysterio

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet [3] : Vulture & Morbius

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet [4] : Juggernaut

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet. [Vol. 5], Lizard

Spidey hits the Big Time

Big Time sees Peter Parker joining Horizon Labs, a tech company specialising in cutting-edge research and development. This era focused more on Peter’s scientific smarts, as he used his personal lab to develop tech for fighting villains as Spider-Man and then repurposed it into consumer technology at Horizon.

The amazing Spider-Man : big time

The amazing Spider-Man : matters of life and death / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : the return of Anti-Venom

The amazing Spider-Man : flying blind

The amazing Spider-Man : ends of the Earth

The Amazing Spider-Man : Lizard : no turning back / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : dying wish / Slott, Dan

Into the Spider-Verse

After having his mind taken over by Doctor Octopus (see Superior Spider-Man in our Spider-Verse blog), Peter returned just in time to join the Spider-Verse crossover, where he first met Silk, Spider-Gwen, and the rest of the Spider-Army.

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : the Parker luck / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [2] : Spider-Verse prelude / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [3] : Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : graveyard shift / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [5] : spiral / Conway, Gerry

Spider-Man Worldwide

Continuing Dan Slott’s 100+ issue run on Amazing Spider-Man, this series has Peter Parker going global after becoming the multi-millionaire owner of Parker Industries, with Spider-Man acting as his ‘security consultant’.

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [1] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [2] / Slott, Dan

Civil war II : amazing Spider-Man / Gage, Christos

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [3] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [4] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [5] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [6] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [7] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [8] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [9] / Slott, Dan

Spider-Geddon (ONLY on Libby)

Spider-Man goes Back to Basics

Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Captain America) took over the series and brought Spider-Man down to Earth and back to New York. Here, Peter rekindled his romance with Mary Jane Watson and became roommates with one of his B-list villains, Fred Myers aka Boomerang.

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 1, Back to basics / Spencer, Nick

The Amazing Spider-Man [2] : friends and foes / Spencer, Nick
(also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 3, Lifetime achievement / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : hunted / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 5, Behind the scenes / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man : absolute Carnage

The amazing Spider-Man [7] : 2099 / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [8] : threats & menaces / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [9] : sins rising / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [10] : Green Goblin returns / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 11, Last remains / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man : last remains companion / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [12] : shattered web / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [13] : king’s ransom / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [14] : Chameleon conspiracy / Spencer, Nick

Sinister war / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 15, What cost victory / Spencer, Nick

Spider-Man Beyond

Peter Parker’s clone Ben Reilly (see Scarlet Spider in our Spider-Verse blog) takes on the Spider-Man mantle while Peter is out of commission, joining up with the Beyond Corporation as their corporate-sponsored hero.

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [1]

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [2]

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [3]

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [4]

The Return of Peter Parker

The current run of Amazing Spider-Man has no shortage of ups and downs for Peter Parker, as he gains a new suit courtesy of the reformed Green Goblin, teams up with the X-Men to prevent a demonic invasion in Dark Web, and faces a mind-controlling wasp-goddess in The End of the Spider-Verse.

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 1, World without love / Wells, Zeb

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 2, The new sinister / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Volume 3, Hobgoblin / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

Dark web / Wells, Zeb

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 4, Dark web / Wells, Zeb

Spider-Man [1] : end of the Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man. Volume 5, Dead language, part 1 / Wells, Zeb

More Spider-Man series

Spectacular Spider-Man

Published around the latter half of Amazing Spider-Man‘s ‘Worldwide’ arc, this series has Spider-Man reveal his identity to J. Jonah Jameson, and the two form a belligerent crime-fighting duo.

Peter Parker : the spectacular Spider-Man. Vol 2, Most wanted / Zdarsky, Chip

Peter Parker : the spectacular Spider-Man [3] : amazing fantasy / Zdarsky, Chip

Peter Parker : the spectacular Spider-Man. Vol. 4, Coming home / Zdarsky, Chip

Peter Parker : the spectacular Spider-Man. Volume 5, Spider-geddon

Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man

A smaller-scope Spider-Man series, famous for the ‘Spider-Byte’ issue in which Peter takes on a junior apprentice for a day.

Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Vol. 1, Secrets and rumors / Taylor, Tom

Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man [2] : hostile takeovers / Taylor, Tom

Ultimate Spider-Man

In the Ultimate Universe of Earth-1610, the world is in a superhuman arms race in the early 2000s. It was during this period that teenager Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically altered spider and became Spider-Man. Intended to be a modern update of Spider-Man separate from the main Amazing series, this run is celebrated for its strong writing, expressive art, and interesting reinventions of the Wall-Crawler’s classic foes and supporting cast.

We don’t have much of this series left in the collection, but we have enough up to roughly the point where Miles Morales takes over as Spider-Man in this universe (for more on his adventures, check out our Spider-Verse guide here)

Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker reading order

Ultimate Spider-Man : double trouble / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate Spider-Man : death of a goblin / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate Spider-Man and his amazing friends / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate Spider-Man : war of the symbiotes / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate Spider-Man : ultimatum / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate comics Spider-Man. Vol. 1, The world according to Peter Parker / Bendis, Brian Michael

Ultimate comics Spider-Man : death of Spider-Man fallout / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales: the ultimate Spider-Man [1] : revival / Bendis, Brian Michael

Other Spider-Man volumes

Amazing Spider-Man : family business / Waid, Mark

Non-stop Spider-Man : big brain play / Kelly, Joe

Deadly neighborhood Spider-Man / Taboo

The sensational Spider-Man : feral / Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto

Spider-Man : Spider’s shadow / Zdarsky, Chip

Spider-Man : bloodline / Abrams, J. J.

Legends of Marvel : Spider-Man / David, Peter

Spider-Man Team-ups

These books cover the various times Spider-Man has teamed up with other Marvel heroes, including the X-Men, Deadpool, the Avengers, and the Harlem-based heroes the Santerians.

Spider-Man and the X-Men / Kalan, Elliott

X-Men : with great power / Gischler, Victor

Spider-Man/Deadpool. Vol. 1, Isn’t it bromantic / Kelly, Joe

Avenging Spider-Man : my friends can beat up your friends / Wells, Zeb

Avenging Spider-Man : the good, the green and the ugly

Avenging Spider-Man : threats & menaces

The amazing Spider-Man : amazing grace / Molina, Jose

The Amazing Mary Jane

Peter Parker’s most famous love interest is Mary Jane Watson, a model and actress who has more than held her own against Spider-Man’s many villains. Marvel briefly published a manga-influenced series focusing on Mary Jane’s high school days, and she recently got her own miniseries where she works alongside Mysterio in Hollywood.

Spider-Man loves Mary Jane : the real thing / McKeever, Sean

Spider-Man loves Mary Jane : sophomore jinx / Moore, Terry

The amazing Mary Jane. Vol. 1, Down in flames, up in smoke / Williams, Leah

Mary Jane & Black Cat : Dark Web / McKay, Jed

The Sinister Foes of Spider-Man

Spider-Man has one of the most iconic rogues galleries in comic books, so I’ve included some of their notable stories here. We’ve already covered The Kingpin, The Prowler, and The Spot in our Spider-Verse blogs.

The Sinister Six

Usually lead by either Doc Ock or one of the many Goblins, the Sinister Six are a rotating team of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies. Recently, multiple Sinister Six teams fought each other with Spider-Man in the crossfire in the ‘Sinister War’.

Notable Sinister Six stories

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 (contains the Sinister Six’s first appearance, only on Libby)

The Amazing Spider-Man : the deadly foes of Spider-Man / Fingeroth, Danny

The amazing Spider-Man : ends of the Earth

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [4] / Bendis, Brian Michael

Sinister war / Spencer, Nick

Superior Foes of Spider-Man

A comedy-oriented series featuring a group of less-respected Spider-Man villains. Boomerang, Beetle, Shocker, Speed Demon and Overdrive team up to be the best Sinister Six ever…despite the fact there’s only five of them.

The superior foes of Spider-Man [1] : getting the band back together / Spencer, Nick

The superior foes of Spider-Man [2] : the crime of the century / Spencer, Nick

The superior foes of Spider-Man. Volume 3, Game over / Spencer, Nick

Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)

Industrialist and “something of a scientist” Norman Osborn awakened his dark alter ego, The Green Goblin, following exposure to an strange chemical formula. After years of menacing Spider-Man, Norman gained a brief period of respectability leading the Thunderbolts and the Avengers, before succumbing to villainy once more.

Notable Norman Osborn stories

Thunderbolts : caged animals / Ellis, Warren

Thunderbolts : secret invasion / Gage, Christos

Thunderbolts : burning down the house / Diggle, Andy

Dark Avengers (only on Libby)

Dark X-Men / Cornell, Paul

Siege / Bendis, Brian Michael

The superior Spider-Man [6] : Goblin Nation / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [6] / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man : Red Goblin / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man [10] : Green Goblin returns / Spencer, Nick

Gold Goblin / Cantwell, Christopher

Doctor Octopus

Embittered physicist Doctor Otto Octavius was fused to his multi-armed prosthesis in a radiation accident. Empowered by his transformation, he proclaimed himself ‘Doctor Octopus’ and became one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies, even going as far to replace him for a time (see Superior Spider-Man in our Spider-Verse blog).

Notable Doctor Octopus stories

The invincible Iron Man [8] : unfixable / Fraction, Matt

The amazing Spider-Man : ends of the Earth

The superior Spider-Man [1] : full Otto / Gage, Christos

The superior Spider-Man. Vol. 2, Otto-matic / Gage, Christos

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [7] / Slott, Dan

Devil’s reign / Zdarsky, Chip

Devil’s reign : Superior Four / Thompson, Zac

Kraven the Hunter

Professional hunter and tracker Sergei Kravinoff grew tired of chasing the same old game, and rededicated himself to hunting someone who would give him an actual challenge: Spider-Man.

Notable Kraven the Hunter storylines

Spider-Man : Kraven’s last hunt / DeMatteis, J. M

The unbeatable Squirrel Girl. 9, Squirrels fall like dominoes / North, Ryan

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : hunted / Spencer, Nick

Spider-Man : the lost hunt / DeMatteis, J. M


After accidentally escaping into an island nuclear test facility, criminal Flint Marko was transformed into a Sandman, able to shape his particulate body into any form. Recently, Spider-Man fought a future Sandman with new and greater powers, such as turning into glass and gifting sand-controlling powers to others.

Notable Sandman stories

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet [1] : Electro & Sandman

The amazing Spider-Man : ends of the Earth

Peter Parker : the spectacular Spider-Man. Vol. 4, Coming home / Zdarsky, Chip


Special effects artist Quentin Beck uses his expertise in illusions to commit crime and confound Spider-Man as Mysterio. Recently, Beck returned to Hollywood and worked alongside Spider-Man’s girlfriend Mary Jane Watson.

Notable Mysterio stories

Friendly neighbourhood : Spider-Man. [Vol. 2], mystery date / David, Peter

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet. [Vol. 2], Rhino & Mysterio

Spider-Men (only on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 5, Behind the scenes / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Mary Jane. Vol. 1, Down in flames, up in smoke / Williams, Leah


Lineman Max Dillon was electrocuted on the job and discovered he had the power to absorb and discharge bolts of electricity, which he immediately used to commit crime. Dillon has since been replaced as Electro by his ex-girlfriend, Francine Frye. Recently, a multiversal team of Electros teamed up to take over the Web of Life and Destiny from the Web Warriors.

Notable Electro stories

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet [1] : Electro & Sandman

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : the Parker luck / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 5, Behind the scenes / Spencer, Nick

Web Warriors, protectors of the Spider-verse. Volume 1, Electroverse / Costa, Mike

The Lizard

Using altered lizard DNA to grow back his amputated arm, Dr Curt Connors inadvertently transformed himself into a reptilian monster. Now dubbed The Lizard, the creature seeks to eliminate all mammal life on Earth.

Notable Lizard stories

The sensational Spider-Man : feral / Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto

The amazing Spider-Man : the gauntlet. [Vol. 5], Lizard

The Amazing Spider-Man : Lizard : no turning back / Slott, Dan

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : hunted / Spencer, Nick

Black Cat

Felicia Hardy is the Black Cat, New York’s premier cat burglar and an on-again/off-again romantic interest of Spider-Man.

Black Cat [1] : grand theft marvel / MacKay, Jed

Black Cat [2] : on the run / MacKay, Jed

Black Cat [3] : all dressed up / MacKay, Jed

Black Cat [4] : queen in black / MacKay, Jed

Black Cat [5] : I’ll take Manhattan / MacKay, Jed

Iron Cat / MacKay, Jed

Mary Jane & Black Cat : Dark Web / McKay, Jed


Venom might require an entire blog all to himself (not to mention his extended symbiote family). Till then, check out the first volume of his recent series and watch this space!

Venom. Vol. 1, Recursion / Ewing, Al

Books with that Barbie Vibe

Barbie is everywhere right now.  I’ve never seen as much pink as I have over the past few months and the new film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is the hottest thing in cinema.


There is a real vibe shift happening thanks to the Barbie movie, probably because we’re all looking for some froth and fun to give us a break from the stress and anxiety of reality.  Colour palettes have gone bubblegum, from candy pink to bright neons, retro prints like baby pink gingham and nautical stripes, and lots of glitzy silver sparkle.  We’re almost playing dress ups like we did when we were little.  And let’s not forget the girl power that comes from the Barbie universe.

Whether you’ve seen the film yet or not, it’s easy to get that Barbie vibe going, or continuing, with just the right books, and I’ve selected some to get you started.  Try these on for size:

Be dazzled / La Sala, Ryan
“Raffy has a passion for bedazzling– and sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making. He is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. One small problem: Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition. Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. When Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he will have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he has ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.” (Catalogue)

The cute thesaurus / Jenkins, Ethan
“Have you hit ‘cute’ overload? has your addiction to using the C-word reached a point where you literally can’t even? If you need help to kick your adorable habit, this hilarious book will tickle you pink with so many winsome, precious, and … cute … alternatives!” (Catalogue)

Happily ever afters / Bryant, Elise
“Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing–in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A phở love story / Le, Loan
“Bảo would describe himself as steady and strong: his grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ phở restaurant – as his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Linh Mai would describe herself as a firecracker: stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She dreams of pursuing a career in art, while working practically full-time at her family’s phở restaurant. Bao and Linh have never even had a class together – but after a chance encounter, sparks fly. Can this relationship survive their families’ feud?” (Catalogue)

I’ll be the one / Lee, Lyla
“Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her. She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else. But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition, without losing herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Miss Meteor / Mejia, Tehlor Kay
“Everyone knows Meteor, New Mexico got its name from the space rock that crashed into the desert nearby. Nobody knows that Lita Perez came with it– or that she’s starting to turn back into stardust. Her life might depend on winning the Miss Meteor beauty pageant. Chick Quintanilla knows Lita has no chance of winning– pageant queens are always skinny, poised, and white. To pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, the two will have to imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough– they are everything.” (Catalogue)

Shoetopia : contemporary footwear / Huey, Sue
“Shoetopia is the ultimate book on designer shoes, exploring the ever-evolving world of footwear and the creative designers in it. Footwear design continues to be one of the most important and interesting areas of the fashion industry. This stunning book showcases the most exciting and innovative contemporary footwear designers from across the globe, from established, world-recognized brands like Jimmy Choo and Prada to the stars of the future. From traditional skills to extraordinary new developments in the industry, the book features original design sketches and beautiful photography, bringing together a rich array of desirable footwear.” (Catalogue)

Dumplin’ / Murphy, Julie
“Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked… until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City — and maybe herself most of all.” (Catalogue)

You wish / Hubbard, Amanda
“Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin? do. Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Have you read anything that gives off definite Barbie vibes lately?  Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list!

Connecting the Strings between the Scraps and Fragments: Epistolary Novels


A Letter written in a handwriting style font: J'Shuall of Jackanapery Waitohi Library Wellington J'shuall, you will not believe what I have found within the dark recesses of the library storage. It was a late Tuesday afternoon, pretty groggy weather, when I found it. Most stories are told to you by some narrator, maybe the main character writing it down, maybe by some imaginary storyteller. But not these books, not epistolary novels. These are stories you have to discover, find out on your own, told through fragments of in-world material. I found some files related to them, but they're redacted, hopefully you can figure something out. Strange things have been happening recently, ever since I found those tomes. So like, heads up. Your Loyal Friend, Susan Dorian Nymm

A scanned copy of a classified document that has been liberally redacted. Reading: Item Category: Epistolary Novel Description: Epistolary derives from the Greek ἐπιστολή (epistolē), translated into English as letter. Epistolary novels are composed of a series of documents to tell a story. These include but are not limited to: letters, diaries, REDACTED, newspaper clippings, REDACTED, legal documents, recordings, emails, REDACTED, text messages, internet posts, etc. They lack a traditional narrator. Reference: Testing concluded that REDACTED Knowledge ungiven is taken while reading these novels.REDACTED security leakage REDACTED large mysterious objects. REDACTED hostage REDACTED pineapple REDACTED Sport REDACTED shorts. REDACTED door REDACTED Metastability REDACTED timber REDACTED Further testing could not be performed as new test subjects were unavailable REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED

A phone conversation to "Susan - Work": Susie, dude, you have my phone number I mean thanks, but still Interesting stuff

Transcript of recovered security footage taken from Librarian Head Quarters

[Timecode 23:49 13-10-2023]

[00:00] The camera is high up in the corner of a room. The room is a small office, walled by shelves stuffed to the brim with books. In the centre of the room is a librarian, hunched over a desk. The desk is covered with tomes of various ages, with various notes scattered all over. The room is lit with a single candle. The librarian, an aged and wretched thing, is frantically writing.

Librarian: I am close, I just know it

[00:20] The shadows surrounding the librarian lengthen, but the librarian does not notice, continuing to write.

[01:43] From the shadows a figure emerges, the camera is unable to capture its appearance. The figure can be seen through a person shaped blotch of static and glitches. Loud hum begins to fill the room.

Librarian: So, you finally came for me.

[02:05] The librarian stops writing, turning to look at the figure, before wincing and looking away.

Mysterious Figure: *distorted screeching*

Librarian: You're too late [inaudible] will know.

[02: 30] The figure moves closer to the librarian. The shadows move like liquid, and begin to cover the librarian. The librarian smiles, then grabs something unseen from the desk.
[03:05] Static begins to fill the frame as a loud buzzing can be heard. The entire screen is covered, before vanishing. The mysterious figure and the librarian are gone.


A pink diary page splattered in something black, reading: Dear Diary, I fear my days are numbered. This knowledge was not supposed to leave the vault, but here it is. I've found them, these epistolary novels, novels I know the blog will love. All I need to do now is release them to th Dear Diary, I fear my days are numbered. This knowledge was not supposed to leave the vault, but here it is. I've found them, these epistolary novels, novels I know the blog will love. All I need to do now is releases them into th


Dracula / Raven, Nicky
“A modern, illustrated retelling of the Bram Stoker classic, in which young Jonathan Harker first meets and then must destroy the vampire, Count Dracula, in order to save those closest to him. Bram Stoker’s masterpiece is adapted for a younger audience with all the sinister intrigue of the original novel.” (Catalogue)

Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie
“The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship’s artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Flowers for Algernon / Keyes, Daniel
“When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him.  In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?” (Catalogue)

The perks of being a wallflower / Chbosky, Stephen
“Tells, through Charlie’s letters, what it is like to grow up in high school. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

Book of a thousand days / Hale, Shannon
“Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren’s years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.” (Catalogue)

I hate everyone but you / Dunn, Gaby
“Ava and Gen, best friends, are heading off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. They stay in touch with texts and emails, documenting their weird roommates, self-discovery, coming out, and mental health. As each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship survive the distance?” (Catalogue)

Gabi, a girl in pieces / Quintero, Isabel
“Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy’s pregnancy, friend Sebastian’s coming out, her father’s meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.” (Catalogue)

The princess diaries / Cabot, Meg
“‘You’re not Mia Thermopolis any more, honey, ‘ Dad said. ‘You’re Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo. Princess of Genovia.’ A PRINCESS?? ME??? Yeah. Right. One minute Mia’s a totally normal Manhattan fourteen-year-old. Next minute she’s heir to the throne of Genovia, being trailed by a bodyguard, taking princess lessons with her uncontrollable old grandmere, and having a makeover with someone called Paolo. Well, her dad can lecture her till he’s royal blue in the face, but no way is Mia going to turn herself into a style-queen. And they think she’s moving to Genovia? Er, hello?. Ages 13+” (Catalogue)

Pretenders / Harrison, Lisi
“Five high school freshmen–the Phoenix Five–reveal their friendships, crushes, school and family dramas, and big secrets, as told in their unique voices through journal entries”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Cecelia and Kate novels / Wrede, Patricia C.
“In Sorcery & Cecelia, the two cousins have been inseparable since girlhood. But in 1817, Kate goes to London to make her debut into English society, leaving Cecelia behind to fight boredom in her small country town. While visiting the Royal College of Wizards, Kate stumbles on a plot to destroy a beloved sorcerer—and only Cecelia can help her save him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rules for vanishing / Marshall, Kate Alice
“Do you want to play the game? Once a year, a road appears in the woods at midnight and the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons, inviting those who are brave enough to play her game. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose… It’s almost a year since Becca went missing. Everyone else has given up searching for her, but her sister, Sara, knows she disappeared while looking for Lucy Gallows. Determined to find her, Sara and her closest friends enter the woods. But something more sinister than ghosts lurks on the road, and not everyone will survive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monster / Myers, Walter Dean
“While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.” (Catalogue)

Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Eco-Anxiety & Other Fun Things to Think About at 3AM

Folks! Friends! Fellow humans living on this nice crispy earth! 

The year is 2023. The global is warming, the 1 are %ing and things are looking iffy… Enter the Soft Apocalypse! It’s time for us to give capitalism the finger, and return to our humble roots as a pastoral society that bakes bread and sings Kumbaya way too often. AKA my escapist daydream when the Stresses of Life get a bit too much (my Soft Apocalypse plan includes joining a commune and ✨eating the vinyl edition of Taylor Swift’s folklore like it’s a cracker✨).

Welcome to Soft Apocalypse for Beginners, where we will be embarking on a journey of Learning to Look After Ourselves Even if the World is Ending (and saving the bees while we’re at it)!

I’d like to start off with a little Disclaimer: I am not a therapist, but I am a chill vibey woman who sometimes says “it ees what is ees” while doing finger guns. Which feels like basically the same thing.

In all seriousness, these are Troubling Times, and we should all be brushing up on our self-care skills (get enough sleep, go to vegetables, eat your therapy, etc. etc.), as well as learning new ways to look after ourselves, our friends, and this nice blue and green bouncey ball that we call home. Since thriving in the soft apocalypse is all about looking after ourselves physically and emotionally, today we’re going to be chatting about mental health!

Let’s Get Grounding!

I’m sure most of you will have heard of grounding techniques because – let’s be honest – life can be a bit stressful, especially when you’re a Youth. But in case you haven’t, we’re going to go over a couple of the basics.
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise: This is a golden oldie. The sliced bread of grounding techniques. Easy and discreet. You start by identifying 5 things that you can see around you (the light hitting some leaves, the pattern of someone’s shirt, how swish your shoes are looking etc). From there, you identify 4 things you’re touching/feeling, such as the feel of a chair against your legs, your phone in your hand, you get the gist. Then you work your way through 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and finish with thing you can taste (if you’re feeling a bit flavourless then you can use this as an opportunity to take some deep breaths). This is the exact grounding technique that field mice use when baking soufflés, so feel free to add in that visual.
  • Anchoring Phrases: An exercise in description, anchoring phrases are simple phrases you can repeat to yourself that ‘anchor’ you back into the moment. Things like “My name is Mike TV. I am twelve years old. I live in Wellington, in New Zealand. The time is 3.37pm and it is a Thursday.” You know, real riveting stuff like that.
  • Affirmations: That’s right, we’re not getting through this without a little bit of self-compassion. Come up with a few soft little phrases that you can use when you’re feeling stressed, such as:
    • “I’m having a hard time, but it will pass.”
    • “I can do hard things.”
    • “I deserve rest, safety, food, and love, with no conditions attached.”
    • “I’m doing my best, and that is enough.”
    • “I am in pain but I will make it through.”
  • Listing: Lots of freedom here to list whatever you want. Favourite cryptids, Taylor Swift songs that make you Feel Things, types of cheese, books with terrible love triangles in them. The idea is to get your mind focusing on one thing (while you maybe add in some slow breathing) and find your way back from whatever stressy thing got your goat.
  • Breathing Exercises: I specifically researched “calming breathing exercises” before the Taylor Swift Eras tickets went on sale, so you’d better believe I’m an expert. You could try out Box Breathing (breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, hold again for four seconds, and repeat), Bumblebee Breathing (relax face and shoulders, gently block your ears and cover your eyes, take slow deep breaths and let out a low hum on each exhale), or any number of the other exercises out there.

Let’s Talk About Eco-Anxiety

It’s a pretty sticky world out there, so I’m sure most of you have heard of eco-anxiety, or experienced it for yourself. It’s definitely something I’ve been dealing with more lately, but good news folks! There’s a ton of resources out there to help you manage your eco-anxiety, and even help you turn it into a strength (it’s literally a sign of how much you care about our world – pretty badass when you think about it).
Experts generally agree that there are four key tools for dealing with eco-anxiety:
  1.  Accept and explore your feelings. What in particular is prompting this kind of stress? It’s perfectly rational to be feeling this way – don’t beat yourself up over it.
  2. Use your voice, both in terms of finding people you can talk about this with, AND by speaking up to raise awareness among friends, family, or online.
  3. Action. Nothing is more empowering that feeling like you’re addressing your problem. Get involved in a local clean-up, try making your diet more planet-friendly, research local politics and find out who’s prioritizing climate action, organise a climate change awareness event at your school. Go however big or small you need.
  4. Take practical steps to protect your mental health, and don’t be afraid to take a step back from all the doom media out there. Ground yourself, both emotionally and physically in nature (go touch some grass), and look into getting professional help if that’s where you’re at. You can’t look after your planet if you’re not looking after yourself.
Alright, that’s a lot of words from me. Keep breathing out there folks, and keep scrolling to check out more words from our Gorgeous Library Collection.

As librarians, we’re here to help, not judge. Always feel free to ask for more information at your local library. And if you’re worried about yourself or someone in your life, the best thing you can do is talk to somebody about it.

  • Find great mental health resources at The Lowdown, Small Steps, or Piki (for rangatahi aged 18-25)
  • Or contact
    • Youthline by free texting 234, or free calling 0800 376633.
    • Lifeline Helpline by free calling 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354) or free texting HELP (4357) for confidential support – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • 0800WHATSUP a free nationwide young people’s helpline available 7 days a week, 11am – 11pm. You can also chat with them online from 11am – 10:30pm every day.

Socially-conscious Reads for Ecologically Anxious Teens

Highly illogical behavior / Whaley, John Corey
“Agoraphobic sixteen-year-old Solomon has not left his house in three years, but Lisa is determined to change that– and to write a scholarship-winning essay based on the results.” (Catalogue)
How to change everything : the young human’s guide to protecting the planet and each other / Klein, Naomi
“A movement is already underway to combat not only the environmental effects of climate change but also to fight for climate justice and make a fair and livable future possible for everyone. And young people are not just part of that movement, they are leading the way. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lumberjanes [1] : beware the kitten holy / Stevenson, Noelle
“Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp… defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons… what’s not to love?! Friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

(Don’t) call me crazy : 33 voices start the conversation about mental health
“Writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Am I normal yet / Bourne, Holly
“Evie, Amber and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Evie’s no-holds-barred story of struggling to live a normal teen life in the grip of OCD, from the acclaimed author of The Manifesto on How to be Interesting.” (Catalogue)

The book of knowing : know how you think, change how you feel / Smith, Gwendoline
“Learn to understand the way you think and you will be able to deal with many of life’s difficult moments. Written in an accessible and humorous style, this book teaches you to know what’s going on in your mind and how to get your feelings under control.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Darius the Great is not okay / Khorram, Adib
“Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.” (Catalogue)

Urgent message from a hot planet : navigating the climate crisis / Eriksson, Ann
“This nonfiction book for teens outlines the science behind global heating and its root causes, provides ways to take action and honors the efforts of the millions of people from around the world working tirelessly to help the planet.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Finding Audrey / Kinsella, Sophie
“Fourteen-year-old Audrey is making slow but steady progress dealing with her anxiety disorder when Linus comes into the picture and her recovery gains momentum.” (Catalogue)

The story of more : how we got to climate change and where to go from here : adapted for young adults / Jahren, Hope
“Jahren, a geobiologist, has written an impassioned open letter to humanity as we stand at the crossroads of survival and extinction. Our enterprising spirit has tamed wild crops, cured diseases, and sent us to the moon– but that spirit has created excesses that are quickly warming our planet to dangerous levels. Jahren […] shares the science-based tools that could help us fight back.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Under rose-tainted skies / Gornall, Louise
“Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did. Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in?” (Adapted from Catalogue)
It’s all in your head / Earl, Rae
“When I was a teenager, I had a nervous breakdown. Battling OCD and an eating disorder tested my sanity to its very limits, but I survived. And then I thrived. And now I’ve written this book, full of the things healthcare professionals can’t tell you. Supported by Dr Radtha (from BBC Radio 1’s The Surgery), this is a book about how to live well with a mixed up mind.”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

American road trip / Flores-Scott, Patrick
“With a strong family, the best friend a guy could ask for, and a budding romance with the girl of his dreams, life shows promise for Teodoro “T” Avila. But he takes some hard hits the summer before senior year when his nearly perfect brother, Manny, returns from a tour in Iraq with a devastating case of PTSD. In a desperate effort to save Manny from himself and pull their family back together, T’s fiery sister, Xochitl, hoodwinks her brothers into a cathartic road trip.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In my head : a young person’s guide to understanding mental health / Baty, Louise
“Do you ever find it hard to explain what you’re thinking and feeling? Have you often pretended to be okay when in reality you’re anxious or sad? However you’re feeling, you’re not alone because many people find it difficult to talk about their mental health. This book will help you be kind to your mind. Whether you want to understand your thoughts and emotions a little better, or learn some handy tips to help you to de-stress, it’s filled with information on how to look after your well-being and stay feeling good.” (Catalogue)

Heroine complex / Kuhn, Sarah
“Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job–blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants. […] But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Slithering, Scaley Serpents! Support World Snake Day! Subsume Snake Storiessssss!


Snakes! Sourcing serotonin, sanguine, straightforwardly selfward. So supremely sweet, simply stunning, sensationally spectacular. Snakes secrete superiority so surely; society simply shall celebrate. (Sadly, ‘s’ sounding substitutions shall suffice, so suspend some scrutiny.) Souls stay sore seeing serpents stay solo, separated so soundly. Serendipitously, solving such struggles, some stories surround serpents; sacred sagas, sagely shared, so souls shall strengthen!  Sorry, sibilance shall stop suddenly because it’s kinda hard to make any sense with.

But yeah, World Snake Day! I love snakes, they’re so cute, despite being not allowed in New Zealand. Ironic considering NZ is one of the only places without snakes-


We do have snakes, technically! To commemorate our favourite slithery serpents, I shall knowledge y’all on Aotearoa’s four species of native snakes!

So, it turns out there’s actually two different types of sea snakes, Laticauda and Hydrophiinae. So, what’s the difference?

Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait

Photo 271419032, (c) craigjhowe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Laticauda are known as Sea Kraits, which are basically fence sitters who can’t decide whether to be sea snakes or land snakes, so they do a bit of both. Funnily enough, all of New Zealand’s kraits feed on a diet of mainly eels. Because, obviously, kraits have to prove that they are the best aquatic long bois (which of course they are).

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophiinae meanwhile are also known as “True Sea-Snakes”, because they live mainly in the sea. For example, our Hydrophiinae, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, spends about 87% of its time in water. Unlike most snakes, sea snakes birth live young, rather than laying eggs. The Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake eats mostly fish and cephalopods.

Despite these two subfamilies being similar concepts: snakes that swim, they actually independently evolved from each other. Both species are very poisonous, so if you find one, no touch!

Brown-Lipped Sea Krait

Brown-lipped Sea Krait

Photo 98665882, (c) abujudy, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Now to the technicalities of how they are native to Aotearoa. So, because sea snakes live in the sea, they sometimes end up drifting to New Zealand. Because they managed to get here by themselves, without the machinations of humans, it’s considered that they are native to the area. In fact, there’s only ever been 1 Brown-Lipped Sea Krait and 1 Saint Giron’s Sea Krait to ever be recorded in New Zealand, yet they’re considered native. And if you disagree with that, take it up with the Department of Conservation. Unfortunately, this means that in reality it is unlikely you’ll ever have to meet any snakes in New Zealand, but you’ll know, deep in your heart, that we technically have native snakes.

Saint Giron’s Sea KraitPhoto 278616112, (c) Yoshitaka Tahara, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

To honour our snakey comrades, I have scrounged up some snakey books for all to read… Plus some on eels, and beautiful serpentine Asian dragons. Unfortunately, few of the fiction books with snakes on the cover have anything to do with slithery friends, just metaphors, bleh.

Happy reading!

A snake falls to Earth / Little Badger, Darcie
“Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Shapeshifters : The Kiesha’ra of the den of shadows / Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia
“Five complete novels. One fascinating world. The NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling author’s tales of forbidden love, bound together in one gorgeous volume. SHAPESHIFTERS tracks the lives of five teenagers who live in a land that has long seen war between the avian and serpiente shapeshifters rage. Although a fragile peace has been established, they face many threats in the following years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Serpentine / Pon, Cindy
“Although sixteen-year-old Skybright feels lucky to be the handmaid and companion to the daughter of a wealthy family, she is hiding a secret that threatens to destroy her position and her closest relationships.” (Catalogue)

The snakes / Jones, Sadie
“‘I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.” (Catalogue)

Medusa / Burton, Jessie
“Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal … and destiny itself.” (Catalogue)

Tess of the road / Hartman, Rachel
“Tess Dombegh journeys through the kingdom of Goredd in search of the World Serpents and finds herself along the way”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

SilverFin : the graphic novel / Higson, Charles
“Young James Bond, while attending boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, must battle against an insane arms dealer who, by using killer eels, is attempting to create a race of indestructible soldiers on the eve of World War II.” (Catalogue)

Into the river / Dawe, Ted
“When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river”–Back cover. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

A magic steeped in poison / Lin, Judy I
“For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her-the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu. When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi-masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making-she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life. But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.” — Provided by publisher” (Catalogue)

Song of silver, flame like night / Zhao, Amaelie Wen
“Lan’s last remnant of her mother–and the fallen Hin dynasty of her ancestors–is a symbol seared onto her wrist, which, if the mysterious boy she encounters is to be trusted, may be the key to freeing her people by mastering the ancient, forgotten art ofpractitioning.” (Catalogue)



Why do we listen to K-pop? Because of BTS!

As K-pop is one of the big pop-culture trends in the world today, and there are a lot of good albums we have in our library collection, I would like to share the artists and songs I have liked since I started listening to K-pop as a teenager! I hope you will enjoy this music genre and culture as much as I do!

This time, I am going to introduce you to the most popular Korean boy group in the world, 방탄소년단 (BangTan Sonyeondan, which means “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” literally) BTS! Formed by HYBE Entertainment, BTS debuted on 13th June 2013, and its members include Jin, SUGA, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook. According to j-hope, the meaning of the group name is “to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim at adolescents like bullets, to preserve the values and ideals of today’s adolescents” (Source: Affinity). The group was rebranded in 2017, adding another meaning to the group’s name, which is “Beyond The Scene”, and new logos for the group and their fan club, A.R.M.Y (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth). BTS does not have an official colour, but they have their specific official light stick, Army Bomb.

The main music style of BTS is hip-hop. Members RM and SUGA were underground rappers before they joined, and had already released several self-written songs. Their song “Hip Hop Phile” was talking about how much they love hip-hop and shout out to those hip-hop artists who influenced them like Epik High, Nas, Eminem and much more. Since the release of the “School Trilogy Project,” BTS has broadened their music style by trying different genres, like pop rock (Spring Day), synth-pop (Dionysus) and tropical house (Save Me).

Since their debut, BTS members have written, composed and produced most of their songs, with rap line members, RM, SUGA, and j-hope participating the most in songwriting. Their creative works are well known for their poetic and literary lyrics (Author’s note: I really admire how literary their lyrics are! I will recommend: Butterfly, Serendipity, and DNA). On SUGA’s YouTube video, RM describes rap as “poetry with rhythm,” showing how the group conceives of their lyrics as contributing to the field of literature.

BTS has always tried to convey different messages to society through their songs, with each album embracing a different theme. The School Trilogy Project discusses teenage dreams (2 Cool 4 Skool), happiness (O! R U L8, 2!), and love (Skool Luv Affair). Meanwhile, in the Youth Series, BTS talk about their hopes for ‘youth’ — even with all the uncertainly and insecurity (The most beautiful moment in life pt.1), the youth who embrace the pain and bittersweetness of live and keep running (The most beautiful moment in life pt.2) are in the most beautiful moment of their lives (The most beautiful moment in life: Young Forever). They talk about love, social issues, mental health, and all the topics they believe they should share with the public.

BTS is truly a group that has brought K-pop into the next chapter, and to a whole new audience. They’ve broken many music industry records, including being the first K-pop group to hit the 1st place on the Billboard Hot 100, the first K-pop group nominated for a Grammy Award, and the first K-pop group to speak at the United Nations. Today, BTS is focusing on the members’ solo activities as they complete their military service, and is expected to reunite and come back as a group again around 2025. Jin and j-hope are doing their military service and released a single, The Astronaut, a debut solo album, Jack in the Box respectively before they proceeded with their conscription respectively. RM released his first full-length album, Indigo last December and is preparing his second solo album. SUGA just released his first full-length album under his stage name ‘August D’, D-Day in April and is doing his show on BTS’s YouTube channel. Jimin also released his first solo album, Face in March and has received a very good result. Jungkook is expecting to release his first solo album around July and V had filmed a variety show, Jinny’s Kitchen, that was on air in February.


BTS albums we have at the library

Love yourself : answer / BTS (Musical group)

LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’ is a repackaging of  BTS’s third full length album, LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ that released in August 2018. This album also marked the end of their “Love Yourself” series. After taking about the brightness side of love (LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her’) and the pains of love (LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’), this album concludes the message that “Loving yourself is where true love begins”.

My personal picks:

Trivia 承: Love
Fake Love
Trivia 轉: Seesaw
I’m Fine
Answer: Love Myself
Magic Shop
Best of Me
Mic Drop
Go Go

Proof / BTS (Musical group)

This album is BTS latest anthology album and their last album before they pause their group activity because of the military service. This album contains 48 songs, including 3 new songs, their lead singles since debut, members solo tracks, subunit songs and the demo version of their released songs.

My personal picks:

Born Singer
Boy in Luv
I NEED U (my all time favourite!!!)
Burning Up (Fire)
Blood Sweat & Tears
Spring Day
Boy With Luv
Life Goes On
Yet To Come

Books about BTS available at the library

BTS : rise of Bangtan / Stevens, Cara J.
“This unofficial biography tells the story of BTS and their global ARMY, which helped propel them to the top of the charts all over the world. Extensively researched, Rise of Bangtan explores the lives of RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V, Jin, and Jungkook, the story behind how they all got together, and their amazing rise to fame–from their start in East Asia to their dominance across the globe.” (Catalogue)

BTS : the ultimate fan book / Croft, Malcolm
“BTS: the ultimate fan book” is a spectacular celebration of the best and brightest K-Pop group from South Korea. Inside you’ll explore the songs, the moves and the fashions that have led the Bangtan Boys to worldwide success. Beautifully illustrated with photographs that highlight the band’s kaleidoscope of personalities and passions, this is a must-read for any fan who just can’t get enough BTS!” (Catalogue)

BTS : K-pop kings : the unauthorized fan guide / Brown, Helen
“BTS: Kings of K-Pop is the must-have commemorative celebration of BTS, the Korean boy band with a global army of fans.” (Catalogue)

BTS army handbook / Smith, Niki
“There are few who have made a mark on 2018 quite like BTS, the seven member Korean K-Pop group that is singlehandedly reviving the Age of the Boyband with their electric tracks, explosive dance routines and unnervingly perfect hair. BTS may have been catapulted to international acclaim this year, but there’s still a whole world of facts and stories from the six years it took for them to become the first K-Pop act to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Become a fully-fledged ARMY and learn about the members, the songs, and all of the stages along their journey from pre-debut training to global stardom.” (Catalogue)

Larger than life : a history of boy bands from NKOTB to BTS / Sherman, Maria
“Larger Than Life is a history of boy bands in popular music, from the 1990s to 2010s.” (Catalogue)

That’s a wrap for my over-sharing about BTS 방탄소년단! Tell us in the comments below if you’ve found your favourite BTS song on our list! 안녕히 가세요!


Youth Nights Come to Kilbirnie Library!

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re super excited to announce that our popular Youth Nights are finally coming to the queen of gorgeousness herself, the wonderful Kilbirnie Library!

On Saturday the 22nd of July, Kilbirnie Library will be open after hours, from 5.00 – 8.00pm, but only if you’re a teen. Bring along your student ID to prove you’re over 14, and your Emotional Support Adult to sign you in, and the fun shall commence! Our Youth Nights are LGBTQIA+ inclusive and we can’t wait to welcome you 🙂

If you’ve been to one of our Youth Nights at Karori or Johnsonville Libraries before, you know the drill — there’s free pizza, board games, music, crafts, anime, VR (can you beat the librarians at Beat Saber? Only time will tell…), chill vibes, good friends, and oh so very much more! (Did we mention free pizza? There’ll be free pizza.)

Also known as the Ruth Gotlieb Library, after the late legendary former City Councillor, stalwart library enthusiast, and fashion icon Ruth Gotlieb, Kilbirnie Library offers the following amenities for the discerning teen library-goer:

  • In honour of Matariki, a cosy ‘fireplace’ perfect for listening to gentle stories about the stars and doing celestial crafts with your pals
  • Magical ring lights in the ceiling that will ensure every selfie is perfectly-lit (as long as you are specifically taking them in the children’s picture book section)
  • Stunning views of the bustling Kilbirnie Crescent precinct and surrounds (I guess they might not be so bustling at night, and ‘stunning’ may be a strong word to describe ‘across the road from St Pat’s’, but you’ll be chilling indoors with pizza and friends so what does it matter?)
  • Books! Shelves! Comfy chairs! Cushions! Cool librarians! Unicorns! Enthusiasm for literature! Places to be yourself! And much, much more!

What kinds of Mischief, Hijinks, Tomfoolery, and Other Miscellaneous Examples Of Harmless Fun will we get up to at Kilbirnie Library’s Youth Nights? Well, that’s up to you to decide. Get in touch with us by email or message us on Instagram if you want more info, otherwise, we’ll see you there!

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Flash

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about all the heroes who have held the title of the Fastest Man Alive… The Flash!

(via GIPHY)

Who is The Flash?

After being struck by lightning in a lab accident, police scientist Barry Allen discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds and travel through time. Donning a friction-resistant red-and-yellow suit, Barry protects his home of Central City from the villainous Rogues and traverses time and space as The Flash.

Later, Barry’s nephew Wally West gains super-speed as well and becomes his sidekick Kid Flash, before graduating to becoming the Flash himself.

A Flash Fact about DC Comics history

DC Comics are divided into publishing eras, determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, continuity) of a series back to #1. These periods are referred to as:

  • ‘Pre-Crisis’ – everything published before 1986
  • ‘Post-Crisis’ – everything published from 1986-2011
  • The New 52 – 2011-2016
  • DC Rebirth – 2016-2021
  • Infinite Frontier – 2021 to present.

This is important to know because the events that define these publishing eras usually have something to do with The Flash; Barry Allen famously dies during the ‘Crisis’, and after being resurrected, he creates the timeline that came to define ‘The New 52’.

If you’d like to know more about DC Comic’s increasingly complicated internal chronology, I recommend checking out DC greatest events : stories that shook the multiverse.


Barry is actually the second Flash: the first was scientist Jay Garrick, who resides on the parallel world of Earth-2. During one of his adventures, Barry travels to Earth-2 and teams up with Jay; this story ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ established the existence of the DC Multiverse, and subsequently the template for all other stories involving multiverses in other media. Barry and Jay would regularly partner up again along with their respective teams, the Justice League and the Justice Society.

Showcase presents The Flash. Volume 2 / Broome, John (includes ‘Flash of Two Worlds’)

The Justice League of America : the Silver Age. Volume three / Fox, Gardner F.

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume three / Fox, Gardner

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume four / Fox, Gardner


Post-Crisis refers to the point after the story Crisis on Infinite Earths, when the DC Multiverse collapses into one Earth with one shared history. Now the Flash became a succession story: Jay Garrick retires as the Flash after WWII, Barry is inspired by Jay, and after Barry’s death, Wally West takes up the mantle of the Flash.

Mark Waid run

Writer Mark Waid first established the idea that the Flashes get their powers from the ‘Speed Force’, an extradimensional energy that governs all motion across time and space, and can be manipulated to grant super-speed and other powers to its wielders, called ‘speedsters’.

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book one / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book four / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book five / Waid, Mark

The Flash : emergency stop / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : the human race / Morrison, Grant

(The Flash : emergency stop and The Flash : the human race are also collected together as The Flash / Morrison, Grant)

Geoff Johns run

Under Geoff Johns’ pen, Wally West fights new and old Rogues, starts a family, and learns the cost of being a hero with a public identity from Zoom, a villain who alters the flow of time to move at superhuman speed.

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book two / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book three / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff


During Final Crisis, Barry Allen is brought back to life and becomes the Flash again. Barry then attempts to rewrite history to prevent his mother’s death, inadvertently creating the ‘Flashpoint’ timeline, a world where Flash, Superman and other heroes never existed.

Absolute final crisis / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : rebirth / Johns, Geoff (also on Libby)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff

The Flash : the road to Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff

Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff

The New 52

Barry erases the Flashpoint timeline, but ends up creating The New 52, a simplified timeline which DC Comics used as a springboard to reboot their comics’ shared continuity. As a result of history being rewritten, Barry becomes the one and only Flash.

The Flash. Volume 1, Move forward / Manapul, Francis
(also on Libby)

The Flash. Volume 2, Rogues revolution / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 4, Reverse / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 5, History lessons / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Volume 6, Out of time / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 7, Savage world / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 8, Zoom / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 9, Full stop / Jensen, Van

DC Rebirth

During DC Rebirth, the timeline is once again altered, restoring characters and events that had been erased from the timeline by the New 52. These include Wally West, Zoom, and the Reverse-Flash, a stalker fan from the 25th century who wants to emulate his hero, Barry Allen.

The Flash. Vol. 2, Speed of darkness / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

Batman/The Flash : the button : deluxe edition / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 4, Running scared / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 5, Negative / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 6, Cold day in hell / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 7, Perfect storm / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash [8] : Flash war / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 10, Force Quest / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash : year one / Williamson, Joshua

Heroes in crisis : the price and other stories / Williamson, Joshua

Flash forward / Lobdell, Scott

The Flash. Vol. 11, The greatest trick of all / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 12, Death and the speed force / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 14, The Flash age / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 15, Finish line / Williamson, Joshua

Dark nights : death metal : the darkest knight (includes ‘Speed Metal’, a team-up with every Flash in history).

Infinite Frontier

After Barry becomes lost in the once more infinite Multiverse, Wally West takes on the mantle of the Flash once more, fighting crime while balancing life as a husband and father.

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 16, Wally West returns / Shinick, Kevin

War for Earth-3 / Thompson, Robbie

The Flash. Vol. 17, Eclipsed / Adams, Jeremy

The Flash. Vol. 18, The search for Barry Allen / Adams, Jeremy

Aquaman & The Flash : Voidsong / Kelly, Collin

Based on the TV series

The (pardon the phrasing) long-running CW series of The Flash has also inspired a few comics of its own.

The Flash : season zero / Kreisberg, Andrew

Crisis on infinite Earths : Paragons rising : the deluxe edition / Wolfman, Marv


The Rogues

The Flash’s villains are collectively known as The Rogues, a team of science-powered criminals content to menace The Fastest Man Alive. Lead by ‘The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero’ Captain Cold, the Rogues have included the pyromaniac Heat Wave, the deceptive Mirror Master, the mischievous Trickster, the blowhard Weather Wizard, the ethereal Golden Glider, and the telepathic criminal ape Gorilla Grodd.

Rogue-centric stories

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff (includes the ‘Rogue War’ arc)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff (includes Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge miniseries)

Forever Evil [1] : Rogues rebellion / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

Rogues / Williamson, Joshua

Flash Across the Multiverse

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua – This volume features Barry meeting the Flashes of the Multiverse, including the cowboy Johnny Thunder of Earth-18, the robot Mercury-Flash of Earth-44, and the unnaturally swift turtle Fastback from the Zoo Crew of Earth-26.

Teen Titans : Earth one. Volume one and Volume two
Wally West hunts down the Teen Titans, here reimagined as teens given superpowers through a covert government experiment.

Earth 2. Volume 1, The gathering / Robinson, James Dale – A reboot of the original Earth-2, now home to a younger Jay Garrick protecting the world from an invasion by Darkseid.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – The Flash from the criminal world of Earth-3 is named Johnny Quick, a member of the nefarious Crime Syndicate.

Multiversity : teen justice / Cohen, Ivan – The matriarchal society of Earth-11 is home to Kid Quick, a genderfluid speedster for the sidekick team Teen Justice.

Justice League infinity / DeMatteis, J. M – A comic continuation of the TV show Justice League Unlimited, where most fans first encountered Wally West.

DC, the new frontier / Cooke, Darwyn – A young Barry Allen helps found the Justice League in the 1950s to battle the monstrous living island ‘The Centre’.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a future where heroes have rejected humanity, Wally West has fused with the Speed Force and become a human blur.

The Jurassic League / Gedeon, Juan – On the prehistoric Earth-27, the local Flash is a velociraptor (natch).

The Multiversity / Morrison, Grant – The multiversal team Justice League Incarnate includes Red Racer, a comic book fanboy with superspeed from Earth-36, a world protected by the Justice 9.

Justice League incarnate / Williamson, Joshua – After Red Racer’s disappearance, Avery Ho (the Flash of China from New Super-Man) takes over as Justice League Incarnate’s resident speedster.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – When Superman takes over the world after a personal tragedy, Barry Allen reluctantly joins the Man of Steel’s Regime.

Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Gardening (feat. worms!)

Folks! Friends! Fellow humans living on this nice crispy earth! 

The year is 2023. The global is warming, the 1 are %ing and things are looking iffy… Enter the Soft Apocalypse! It’s time for us to give capitalism the finger, and return to our humble roots as a pastoral society that bakes bread and sings Kumbaya way too often. AKA my escapist daydream when the Stresses of Life get a bit too much (my Soft Apocalypse plan includes joining a commune and ✨building a shrine to Hozier✨).

Welcome to Soft Apocalypse for Beginners, where we will be embarking on a journey of Learning to Look After Ourselves Even if the World is Ending (and saving the bees while we’re at it)!

When I was 6 years old, I went out into my friend’s garden and ate so much grass that I threw up in my friend’s mum’s laundry basket. It was something of a faux pas, but it was the beginning of a new-found appreciation for edible gardening. This is an appreciation that manifests today as a semi-feral strawberry patch in the backyard of my flat, and one rather sad looking lemon tree. So here we are, determined to do better, and keen to know more about gardening for people who only give half a fig, and whose thumbs are distinctly un-green.


Fun Fact: The Texas Blind Snake looks like a worm, but it has a tiny mouth with which to extol the virtues of container gardening.

When the Texas Blind Snake speaks, we must listen, so let’s have a chat about container gardening! Container gardening can be as big or small, as cheap or expenny, as aesthetic or unaesthetic as you like, which makes it a perfect starting point for our pre-apocalypse DIY smallholdings. A quick google reveals that people can get pretty ambitious with their container-grown goods, but we’re going to be starting off ✨nice ‘n’ easy✨ with some of the basics:

Lettuce: It’s big! It’s leafy! It tastes like crunchy water!

  • Here’s what you need: Lettuce seedlings, a container (between 5-8 inches deep), potting soil, water, and a handful of gravel or pebbles.
  • Here’s what you need to know: Lettuce needs 4-6 hours of sunlight every day, so look for a sunny windowsill or porch. Water every day or so (lettuce is a bit of thirsty boy and likes soil that it constantly damp, but not soggy). Lettuce seedlings take 40-50 days to reach maturity. When harvesting your lettuce, carefully snip off the outer leaves.
  • Here’s what you need to do: Put the gravel/pebbles at the bottom of your container (this will allow water to drain through the soil to avoid root rot). Half-fill the container with potting mix, and make a bit of a well for your little seedling. Separate out your lettuce seedlings, and sit it down gently in the well before adding enough potting soil to cover the roots and reach just past the base of the plant. Lightly pat down the soil, gently water the seedling, and give it a nice little kiss to help it settle in.

Tomato: A very nice addition to our Evil Pasta – see Soft Apocalypse for Beginners: Cooking the Books (but make it literal) – and an excellent fruit/veg for throwing at disreputable politicians.

  • Here’s what you need: Tomato seedlings (Glacier, Tiny Tim, Maglia Rosa, and Italian Roma are great options for potted gardening), a bucket or similarly large container, potting soil, water, mulch (straw, bark, or shredded leaves), and a handful of gravel or pebbles.
  • Here’s what you need to know: Tomato plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, and grow best if kept between 10-32°C. They are also thirsty boys who require daily watering, sometimes twice a day if the weather is particularly hot (watering early in the morning or later in the evening is best for your plant). Most tomato plants should begin producing fruit after 60-100 days.
  • Here’s what you need to do: Spread a layer of gravel or similar at the bottom of the container (for drainage!), then top with a hefty layer of potting soil. Make a well in the soil, remove the bottom few leaves from your tomato seedling, and bury it so that the roots and first inch or two of stem are under the soil (roots will grow along the buried stem). Pat the earth down gently to tuck in your new tomato child, give it a bit of a water to welcome it into it’s new home, and top off the soil with a nice inch of mulch. At this point, you might also like to create a support structure for your tomato, such as a cage or a few sticks/garden stakes tied together in a tripod.

Basil: Another friend to pastas everywhere, basil makes the cut here because it’s so darn nice to have fresh basil leaves on a homemade pizza or spaghetti bolognese. Plus it’s fun to add Flavour Leaves to things. Makes me feel like a witch.

  • Here’s what you need: Basil seedlings or seeds, a container (any ol’ size and type will do), potting soil, water, and a handful of gravel or pebbles.
  • Here’s what you need to know: Basil plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, and are best planted in mid-Spring. Again, basil needs to have regular sippy-sips of water, and prefers soil that is consistently damp but not soggy. Basil leaves are immediately ready for harvest, however be careful not to over-pick your plant. Basil plants are annuals, meaning they may last only a few months, however if you keep a supply of basil seeds handy then you can continue to sow and grow your basil container garden year-round.
  • Here’s what you need to do: If growing your basil from seed, you’ll need to plant your seeds in a small container of potting mix, around 0.6cm under the soil. Keep the soil moist, and ideally at around a temperature of 21°C. The plants should germinate within 5-10 days, and can be carefully transplanted into larger containers when they have 3-4 sets of leaves. When planting your basil seedling into it’s home container, set up your drainage layer and potting soil, then make a little hole and bury your basil plant up to the base of the stem. You can plant multiple basil in one container, just make sure the plants are 6-8cm apart to allow airflow.

Close-up image of strawberry plants in a garden.

My strawberry patch before it went an eldritch kind of feral.

And there you have it! Our thumbs are slightly greener! To make them greener still (or to take a well-earned break from all your gardening), check out some of the Botanical Books from our collection below:

This poison heart / Bayron, Kalynn
“When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift: the ability to grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girls who green the world : thirty-four rebel women out to save our planet / Kapp, Diana
“A guidebook to the modern environmental movement featuring 34 inspiring women working to save our planet”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The price guide to the occult / Walton, Leslye J.
“Sixteen-year-old Nor, who comes from a long line of witches, prefers to hide her ability to communicate with nature and lives in constant fear of the return of her abusive mother.” (Catalogue)

Small garden style : a design guide for outdoor rooms and containers / Eaton, Isa Hendry
“Petite gardens align with the movement to live smaller and create a life with less stuff and more room for living. But a more eco-friendly and efficient space doesn’t have to sacrifice style. However small your garden, Small Garden Style will transform it into a magical, modern outdoor oasis.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wild beauty / McLemore, Anna-Marie
“For nearly a century the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds and lush estate gardens of La Pradera. They have a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. When a strange boy appears in the gardens, he is a mystery to Estrella and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself. He knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, they uncover secrets as dangerous as they are magical.” (Catalogue)

Poison Ivy : cycle of life and death / Chu, Amy
“Life. Death. Poison Ivy has power over both. But can she keep her friends and hold down a regular job at the same time? As Dr. Pamela Isley, she joins the prestigious plant sciences department at Gotham Botanical Gardens, but things quickly get complicated when a fellow scientist is murdered and it looks like the work of Ivy. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Indoor edible garden / Allaway, Zia
“Describes methods for growing edible plants indoors, covering how to make the most of available light, instructions for growing specific plants, and productive and pleasing projects to brighten the home.” (Catalogue)

The Raven Boys / Stiefvater, Maggie
“Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.” (Catalogue)

Wildblood : a novel / Blackwood, Lauren
“Kidnapped at six and sent to work at the Exotic Lands Touring Company as a Wildblood tour guide, eighteen-year-old Victoria takes on a dangerous expedition through the monster-filled Jamaican jungle to secure a better future and find where she truly belongs.” (Catalogue)

The secret garden : a graphic novel / Marsden, Mariah
“Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at her uncle’s secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. But as she begins to explore her new home alongside ragtag companions – a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals – Mary uncovers long-buried family secrets and learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to garden when you’re new to gardening
“How To Garden When You’re New To Gardening shows you the basics to get your green space under control and keep it that way. With the expertise of the RHS, this book gives simple step by step instructions, with clear images to help you build your dream garden, no matter the size and scale.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to garden
“A no-nonsense beginner’s guide to the must-know aspects of gardening from the RHS Tempted to have a go at gardening? Keen to grow your own veg or tame an out-of-control border? This no-nonsense practical manual, packed with clear advice and photos on the essentials, shows you where to start and how to progress.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The sprite and the gardener / Abrego, Rii
“Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she’ll begin to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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