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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Out On The Shelves 2022

It’s that time of year again! We’re midway through the 2022 Out On The Shelves campaign week, and all around the country, libraries, bookstores, schools, and other organisations are putting on displays and events to celebrate LGBTQIA+ stories, and to help connect rainbow people to those stories and to each other.

This year, the Out On The Shelves campaign runs from 13-27 June, and as well as admiring the beautiful displays at your local library, there’s all kinds of stuff to do! Here are just a few examples:

To whet your appetite, here are some of our favourite LGBTQIA+ books, retrieved from the vaults of these veritable librarians’ brains for your reading pleasure:

Aristotle and Dante dive into the waters of the world / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
“Aristotle and Dante continue their journey to manhood in this achingly romantic, tender tale set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s America. In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys fell in love. Now they must learn what it means to stay in love-and to build their relationship in a world that doesn’t seem to want them to exist. In their senior year at two different schools, the boys find ways to spend time together, like a camping road trip they take in the desert. Ari is haunted by his incarcerated older brother and by the images he sees on the nightly news of gay men dying from AIDS. Tragedy feels like his destiny, but can he forge his own path and create a life where he can not only survive, but thrive?” (Catalogue)

Our dreams at dusk. Volume 1 / Kamatani, Yuhki
“Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he is also terrified that he had been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.” (Catalogue)

Elatsoe / Little Badger, Darcie
“Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe (“Ellie” for short) lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.” (Catalogue)

The pride guide : a guide to sexual and social health for LGBTQ youth / Langford, Jo
“Jo Langford offers a complete guide to sexual and social development, safety, and health for LGBTQ youth and those who love and support them. Written from a practical perspective, the author explores the realities of teen sexuality, particularly that of trans teens, and provides guidance and understanding for parents and kids alike.” (Catalogue)

Queerly autistic : the ultimate guide for LGBTQIA+ teens on the spectrum / Ekins, Erin
“From coming out to friends and family through to relationships, self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens just figuring it all out.” (Catalogue)

To break a covenant / Ames, Alison
“Clem and her best friend, Nina, live in the haunted town of Moon Basin, known for its accidents and murders that are linked to the now-abandoned coal mine, but when they join their new friend, Piper, and her dad on a trip into the mine, they find themselves haunted by strange dreams and experiences afterwards. The haunting at Moon Basin started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. Life in New Basin is just as fraught: the ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there is more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Seeing gender : an illustrated guide to identity and expression / Gottlieb, Iris
“Gender is an intensely personal, yet universal, facet of humanity. In this vibrant book, queer author and artist Iris Gottlieb visually explores gender in all of its complexities, answering questions and providing guidance while also mining history and pop culture for the stories and people who have shaped the conversation on gender.” (Catalogue)

She gets the girl / Lippincott, Rachael
“Alex Blackwood is really good at getting the girl she wants, but coming from a broken home with an alcoholic mother, she finds commitment difficult – even when she thinks she is in love. Impossibly awkward Molly Parker has a crush on the cool Cora Myers, but she does not know how to even start a conversation, much less make a connection. At college together in Pittsburgh, Alex decides that helping Molly snag Cora will prove to her own flame that she is not totally selfish – but things do not work out as the two have planned.” (Catalogue)

Invisibly breathing / Merriman, Eileen
“‘I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’ Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe, any problem they might throw up can be solved. ‘If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon … there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.’ People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix: ‘Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there’s something about him that keeps drawing me in.’ Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves?” (Catalogue)

Rainbow Youth Night at Karori Library

Are you a pizza connoisseur?

This weekend in Karori, we have an after-hours social event for rainbow youth and friends!

Youth Nights are for you if you’re into gaming, making music, watching movies, eating pizza, absolutely smashing Beat Saber on an Oculus Rift, or just generally getting up to mischief and hijinks. You will also probably like them if you like books, I guess.

Come through to Te Māhanga, Karori Library on Saturday 18 June from 5-8pm!

We’re open for 14-18 year olds, mask and student ID are required.

No need to book. See you there!

Hello everyone, long time no see

We are missing you so much but unfortunately we’ve been experiencing some technical dificulties with our amazing Teen Blog.

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We are working hard to have this back up and running to tell you all about the new books and exciting programme we have.

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Weird Art (and How to Make It)!

In a world of incredible mainstream artists like Frida Kahlo and Vincent van Gogh, some of the stranger, funnier, and more relatable creatives can be left flying under the radar. It can also make it more difficult for us – the artistic hoi polloi –  to find our own style and way of creating.

Perhaps you could be inspired by Tomislav Jagnjić, a Serbian concept artist and illustrator whose oeuvre includes titles such as “hey psst, wanna buy some cubes” and “can’t believe u forgot the scrolls, how am i supposed to resurrect the dragon now?”

Or maybe you could innovate like Thirza Schaap, a Dutch artist who’s been revamping beach trash to create a grim yet aesthetically pleasing commentary on sea pollution.

Or perhaps you’d rather focus on just one subject, and paint it with such determination that you’re eventually interrogated by police. Look no further than Alex Schaefer‘s fascination with painting the Chase Bank. On fire. Repeatedly.

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And if you’re ever feeling insecure about your work, just remember that  Massachusetts has it’s own museum dedicated entirely to celebrating “art too bad to be ignored” – pop on over here for a browse!

Whatever it is you want to say, and however it is you want to say it, get inspired by our collection on weird art (and how to make it)!


Find your artistic voice : the essential guide to working your creative magic / Congdon, Lisa
“This book is a guide to the process of artistic self-discovery”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
The best art you’ve never seen : 101 hidden treasures from around the world / Spalding, Julian
“Across the globe there are scores of beautiful and unusual works of art that are largely unseen or fail to receive the critical acclaim they deserve. The Best Art You’ve Never Seen is your essential companion to this hidden world of artistic treasures.” (Catalogue)
You are an artist : assignments to spark creation / Green, Sarah Urist
“More than 50 assignments, ideas, and prompts to expand your world and help you make outstanding new things to put into it […] Full of insights, techniques, and inspiration from art history, this book opens up the processes and practices of artists and proves that you, too, have what it takes to call yourself one.”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Guerrilla Girls : the art of behaving badly / Guerrilla Girls (Group of artists)
“A compendium of artwork by the feminist activist group, the Guerrilla Girls.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Art in minutes / Hodge, Susie
“The perfect compact reference guide for all would-be art buffs. Art historian Susie Hodge takes you on a whistle-stop international tour of all the major artistic cultures, movements, phases, developments, artists and themes, from Prehistoric art to Hyperrealism. Contents also include Greek classicism, Gothic art, the Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, surrealism, Pop art and Minimalism.” (Catalogue)


Unexpected art : serendipitous installations, site-specific works, and surprising interventions / Spring, Jenny Moussa
“Graffiti made from cake icing, man-made clouds floating indoors, a luminous moon resting on water. Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks – site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures, and groundbreaking interventions in public spaces – that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Wall and piece / Banksy
“_______________Banksy. His work. Photographed. With comments by Banksy. In a book. This is that book._______________” (Catalogue)
Modern vintage Illustration / Dawber, Martin
“Past is prologue in this stunning survey of vintage-inspired illustrations that employ classic styles of artistic expression for up-to-date effects.” (Catalogue)
Muse : Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History’s Masterpieces / Millington, Ruth
“The fascinating true stories of thirty incredible muses–and their role in some of art history’s most well-known masterpieces. We instantly recognize many of their faces from the world’s most iconic artworks–but just who was Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’? Or the burglar in Francis Bacon’s oeuvre? Why was Grace Jones covered in graffiti? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te Reo Māori Comes to the Marvel Universe: New Comics and Graphic Novels

If there’s one thing we love here at the library, it’s a good comic book or two (or three). Luckily, our hard-working librarians have been breaking a sweat down in the book-mines (otherwise known as our offsite collection storage facility) to make sure that we have lots of new comics to fill the shelves and keep you, our beloved readers, in good reading spirits.

Here are just a few of our favourite recent additions to our comics and graphic novel collection. Hopefully you’ve seen a few of these gracing the shelves at a library near you — if not, click the titles below to get reserving!

Te pakanga a Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua
“Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua – mai anō i te wehenga of Rangi rāua ko Papa ko rāua tonu ngā tauā tuahangata rongonui katoa – ka wera te umu pokapoka o te ao tukupū i tēnei pakanga turaki aorangi… He kohinga nō ngā pakiwaituhi hirahira katoa i tēnei tekau tau kua hori – e huihui mai ai a Tua Rino, a Kāpene Amerika, a Toa, a Kaiora, a Katipō, a Tama-Werewere, a Matihao, a Whatupihi, a Rangipō, a Te Autō me te huhua noa atu i tēnei pūrākau e rerekē katoa nei ō rātou āhua ā muri ake nei. A compilation of 13 graphic novels describing the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men, a battle that has continued since the separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The universe is ablaze from a battle that destroys entire planets. Features: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Magnet.” (Catalogue)

Oksi / Ahokoivu, Mari
“Poorling is a little bear. She’s a bit different from her brothers. Mother keeps their family safe. For the Forest is full of dangers. It is there that Mana lives, with her Shadow children. And above them all, Emuu, the great Grandma in the Sky. From the heart of Finnish folklore comes a breathtaking tale of mothers, daughters, stars and legends, and the old gods and the new.” (Catalogue)

Jujutsu kaisen. 10, Evening festival / Akutami, Gege
“In order to regain use of his crippled body, Kokichi Muta, otherwise known as Mechamaru, has been acting as an informant for the cursed spirits. He’s prepared for the betrayal when he’s thrust into a battle to the death against Mahito, but is knowing his enemy enough against a cursed spirit whose powers keep growing exponentially?” (Catalogue)

Nerdy librarians’ note: this volume heralds the beginning of the infamous Shibuya arc (explored further in volumes  11, 12, 13, and 14) — to be covered in the next season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime. If you haven’t started reading Jujutsu Kaisen yet, you should absolutely not start here: find Volume 1 at your local library instead!


Friday. Book one, The first day of Christmas / Brubaker, Ed
“Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town.” (Catalogue)

A-Okay / Greene, Jarad
“A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place.” (Catalogue)

Whistle : a new Gotham City hero / Lockhart, E
“Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman reconnects with estranged family friend and real estate tycoon E. Nigma, but after he helps her earn enough for medical treatments for her mom she is attacked by the monstrous Killer Croc and upon waking after the fight she gains powers and insight she will need to make the right choices.” (Catalogue)

Tiny dancer / Siegel, Siena Cherson
“Siena Cherson Siegel dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet. Siena has worked hard her whole life to be a professional ballet dancer, then makes the difficult decision to quit dancing and tries to figure out what comes next. But what do you do when you have spent your entire life working toward a goal, having that shape your identity, and then decide it’s time to move on? How do you figure out what to do with your life? And how do you figure out who you are?” (Catalogue)

I am not Starfire / Tamaki, Mariko
“Seventeen-year-old Mandy, who dyes her hair black and hates almost everyone, is not like her mother, the tall, sparkly alien superhero Starfire, so when someone from Starfire’s past arrives, Mandy must make a choice about who she is and if she should risk everything to save her mom.” (Catalogue)

Asadora! Volume 1 / Urasawa, Naoki
“A deadly typhoon, a mysterious creature and a girl who won’t quit. In 2020, a large creature rampages through Tokyo, destroying everything in its path. In 1959, Asa Asada, a spunky young girl from a huge family in Nagoya, is kidnapped for ransom – and not a soul notices. When a typhoon hits Nagoya, Asa and her kidnapper must work together to survive. But there’s more to her kidnapper and this storm than meets the eye. When Asa’s mother goes into labor yet again, Asa runs off to find a doctor. But no one bats an eye when she doesn’t return – not even as a storm approaches Nagoya. Forgotten yet again, Asa runs into a burglar and tries to stop him on her own, a decision that leads to an unlikely alliance.” (Catalogue)

Stars in their eyes / Walton, Jessica
“Pop culture-obsessed Maisie can’t wait to get to her first Fancon. But being a queer, disabled teenager with chronic pain comes with challenges. Can Maisie make it through the day without falling over, falling in love or accidentally inspiring anyone? Maisie has always dreamed of meeting her hero, Kara Bufano, an amputee actor who plays a kick-arse amputee character in her favourite show. Fancon is big and exciting and exhausting. Then she meets Ollie, a cute volunteer who she has a lot in common with. Could this be the start of something, or will her mum, who doesn’t seem to know what boundaries are, embarrass her before she and Ollie have a chance?” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults VII: The Archives of Sexuality and Gender

As internet troglodytes naturalised denizens of the internet, it can sometimes be tempting to fall into the belief that everything there is to know can be found for free online. While it’s true that there is an awful lot of information out there, there are two really important things to be aware of:

  • Not everything you can read for free online is true (shocking thought, I know)
  • A lot of the really reliable, peer-reviewed stuff? Yeah. You gotta pay for that (and they wonder why disinformation is rife)

One of the most important, and coolest, things about the public library is that we can get our readers past those paywalls without you having to pay a cent — so you can get access to the most up-to-date, accurate, and reliable info at the low, low cost of typing in your library card number and trying to remember your PIN.

So today, we thought we would spotlight one of our favourite online resources — the Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender. Whether you’re doing research for school, want to learn more about our queer elders, or are just curious about how societies all over the world have understood and approached questions of sexuality and gender across time — read on, fellow troglodyte, read on!

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Introducing the Archives of Sexuality and Gender

The Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender is the largest digital collection in the world of primary sources to do with the history and study of sex, sexuality and gender. It’s split up into four different sections, all of which contain everything from magazines, photographs, cartoons, pamphlets, articles, historic books, government briefings, pieces of legislation, pieces of propaganda, and much more — all to do with how sexual norms have changed over time, the development of health education, social movements and activism, changing gender roles… the list goes on.

What’s in the Archives?

The four sections of the Archives are:

  1. International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture
    What’s it about?
    This archive collects information about sexual and gender diversity in underrepresented areas of the world, including Oceania and Africa, with a special focus on activism and the global struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms.
    What can I find here?
    Newspapers, magazines, cartoons, photographs, personal letters, and other files from prominent activists in Africa and Australia.
  2. LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Part I
    What’s it about?
    This archive focusses on grassroots movements that sprung up around the world in support of LGBTQIA+ rights during the mid-20th century, especially around the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
    What can I find here?
    Newsletters, community meeting documents, newspapers, research reports, government briefings, legislation, photographs, medical research, surveys, private letters.
  3. LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Part II
    What’s it about?
    This archive provides coverage of groups who, even within the LGBTQIA+ community, have not been as well represented as other activist groups, including religious queer communities as well as Two-Spirit, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities. The focus in this archive is more on personal stories than on organisations.
    What can I find here?
    Oral histories, posters, interview transcripts, research papers, psychological surveys, personal letters, manuscripts.
  4. Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century
    What’s it about?
    This archive focusses on understanding how various societies’ understanding of sexual and gender norms have changed from the 1500s through to today.
    What can I find here?
    Extremely rare books and manuscripts including poetry, fiction, historic guides to etiquette and behaviour, medical and scientific texts, law, religious literature, and the personal library of Dr. Alfred Kinsey (yes, that Kinsey)

How do I use the Archives?

Well, in some ways an archive is sort of like a microcosm of the general internet. Just like you can with Google, you can do a general search in the archive’s search engine, and it will bring up an array of results that may or may not include what you’re actually looking for.

But an archive like this one is a little bit cleverer than just any old search engine — so for us to get the most out of it, we have to be a little bit cleverer too!

For example, if you’re interested in learning about LGBTQIA+ history in New Zealand, you can use a special Publication Search to limit your results to only items that were ‘born’ in New Zealand. If what you’re looking for is really specific (e.g. “political posters produced in the 1980s in New Zealand relating to the AIDs crisis”), using a combination of Advanced Search tools will be your way to go.

But we can get even cleverer still! Here are two of our favourite ways to use the Archives:

Topic Finder

The Topic Finder helps you visualise connections between what you’ve searched, and other topics that you might not have even considered! This can be really helpful if you’re doing research for a project, for example, because using the Topic Finder, you can quickly see related topics you might like to look into further, that you wouldn’t have found if you were just doing a general search.

Plus, it looks super pretty — here’s a cute example of a quick search I did for “New Zealand” — as you can see, it has quickly broken down that huge topic into a whole bunch of more specific topics that it will be way easier for me to explore further:

The colours! So fetching!

Term Frequency

If you’re a language nerd like me, you’re super interested in how the language we use changes over time. And the language used to describe the LGBTQIA+ community changes frequently as social norms are challenged and eventually changed. The Term Frequency tool lets you see exactly how this works by showing letting you compare how often particular terms are referenced in written works throughout history.

This is a really interesting example — in the below graph, the black line traces usage of the word “transgender,” whereas the blue line traces the usage of the word “transsexual.” Note that “transsexual” was the more common word, until 1993, when transgender activist Leslie Feinberg popularised the use of the word “transgender” in her impactful novel Stone Butch Blues.

Look, a graph might not seem cool to you, but it seems really cool to us!

So what?

Armed with your new array of tools and techniques, go forth and explore! There is so much interesting, exciting, challenging, inspiring, and thought-provoking stuff in this archive just waiting to be found. Go on! Find it!

A Guide to Competitive PowerPointing

There’s a new fad of educational entertainment sweeping throughout the country: The PowerPoint Night. Brought to you by the kind of people who enjoy using slideshows to rank the hotness of the Greek Pantheon, or to methodically explain who they would most enjoy slapping with a wet sock, the PowerPoint Night is a vessel for unadulterated chaos. With great transitions.

So today I’m here to help you on your path to PowerPoint glory with some handy resources and suggestions to get you started. Such as this absolutely vital guide:
PowerPoint 2010 / Wood, William
“Provides step-by-step screen shots that show you how to tackle more than 130 PowerPoint 2010 tasks. Each task-based spread covers a single technique, sure to help you get up and running on PowerPoint 2010 in no time.” (Catalogue)

Because I’m sure none of you have ever used Microsoft Office, Google Slideshow, or Canva in your entire lives. Once you’ve got your hands on this sweet little guide and kicked your dial-up internet into life, here are a few ideas for your very own PowerPoints:

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How to Assemble a Hatred Bouquet

Strange new times call for strange new methods of communication! I propose we revive the practice of communicating through flowers, and – although you can use your linguistic floral skills to say anything – I would vote for focusing your PowerPoint on how to make your bouquet a declaration of eternal animosity. Who wouldn’t want to make their menacing more aesthetic?

A Victorian flower dictionary : the language of flowers companion / Kirkby, Mandy
“Early Victorians used flowers as a way to express their feelings– love or grief, jealousy or devotion. Now modern-day romantics are enjoying a resurgence of this bygone custom. Kirkby shares the historical literary, and cultural significance of flowers.” (Catalogue)

Kate Greenaway’s Language of flowers. / Greenaway, Kate
“Contains alphabetical lists of flowers and the meanings associated with them.” (Catalogue)

DIY Conspiracy Theory

In case the Victoria University Flat Earth Society Facebook page isn’t quite scratching that conspiratorial itch, why not make up your own? PowerPoint night can be the perfect opportunity to make your case for the huge, telepathic platypus that may or may not be living at the centre of the earth.

100 things they don’t want you to know / Smith, Daniel
“Unsolved mysteries, strange disappearances, suspicious cover-ups, and consiracy theories. Discover the secrets they don’t want you to know. – Who was Jack the Ripper? – Why was Lee Harvey Oswald shot? – Where did the Nazis stash their gold? – Who are the real Men-in-Black? – Did the lost cosonauts ever exist? – Who really discovered America? – Why was Stonehenge built? – Did aliens send the “Wow” signal? – Who stole the Irish crown jewels? – How will the world end?” — from back cover” (Catalogue)

Conspiracy theories & secret societies for dummies / Hodapp, Christopher
“Entering the world of conspiracy theories and secret societies is like stepping into a distant, parallel universe where the laws of physics have completely changed: black means white, up is down, and if you want to understand what is really going on, you need a good reference book.” (Catalogue)

Plan Your Own Funeral

What better way to celebrate life than by having a party at the end? Or by having a picnic? A flash mob? Hiring the Wiggles to perform before your open casket? The choice is yours, so get choosing and announce your plans via PowerPoint!

The party of your life : get the funeral you want by planning it yourself / Dillman, Erika
“The Party of Your Life is a lively, irreverent guide to putting the F-U-N back in funeral […] With the help of The Party of Your Life, the newly dead will rest in peace knowing the tips in the book have helped reduce the drama and strain on their survivors, who are likely experiencing the most painful time of their lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

They both die at the end / Silvera, Adam
“In a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, teenagers Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.” (Catalogue)

Zodiac Signs As….

An oldie but a goodie – why not embrace PowerPoint night to explore some astrological niches? You could pontificate over zodiac signs as panic-buying items (Taurus as toilet-paper & Pisces as flour for sure), tag them as Barbie characters, or discuss what famous landmarks you would most like to eat (Stonehenge looks nice and crunchy). For a little more background info from which to build your case, check out some of our astrology collection:


Nasty astrology : what your astrologer won’t tell you! / MacDonald, Richard
“Exploring exactly what hidden demons lurk within other people’s psyches, this book reveals all the unspoken truths about people’s star signs. Aren’t you bored with all the astrology books that tell you what a nice person everyone is? Don’t you know, deep down, that there are some very unpleasant aspects to all our characters? Wouldn’t you like to know the truth about the other signs? What makes them tick? What their dark little secrets are?” (Catalogue)

Cinemastrology : the movie lover’s guide to the sun, the moon, and the stars / Wonderly, Stella
“Let the celestial signposts of the zodiac guide you to your next cinematic adventure. With Cinemastrology, you’ll find new flicks, view forgotten favorites from a new perspective, make film-watching plans with a friend or date, and even learn a few things about yourself along the way. Cinemastrology will illuminate the sun-sign secrets of some of cinema’s biggest stars, movies, and moviemakers. But the main star is you! Book jacket.” (Catalogue)

So whether you need some free internet with which to get crafting, or are looking to utilise our magnificent and eclectic collection, come on down to your local library for Peak PowerPointing Perfection.

Prime Minister Muldoon vs. Aliens

New Zealand Prime Minister Rob Muldoon might be most remembered for drunkenly announcing a snap election in 1984 (which he lost). But have you heard the story of the time that PM Muldoon demanded that the NZ Defence Force get to the bottom of an apparent case of … UFOs?

The scene: the late 70s, a time of economic inflation, energy crisis and copious moustaches. On a fateful night in December 1978, a few cargo pilots would have an experience they would never forget.

In the skies high over the Kaikōura Ranges, the crew on a freight run by Safe Air Ltd Cargo noticed lights dancing around their Armstrong Whitworth aircraft. Some of the lights seemed to follow the same trajectory as their own aircraft, for several minutes. Captain Powell also picked up an object moving towards him travelling at more than 10,000 miles an hour! The lights varied in size, and some were allegedly as large as a house. These objects even appeared on air traffic control radar in Wellington!

Raising the stakes even higher, a TV news crew from Australia promptly joined the action, and boarded another flight on the 30th December 1978, equipped with cameras – and they got results on film! In a world first, these lights were recorded on film and monitored by Wellington air traffic control. Journalist Quentin Forgarty described seeing “…this string of lights, it started as a small pinpoint of light then grew into this large pulsating globe with tinges of orange and red.”

At this point, Prime Minister Muldoon took a strong personal interest in the lights watched by many witnesses and thousands more people on television. The ‘ Kaikōura Lights’ were to be the first – and only – UFO sighting in New Zealand that lead to a full investigation. An air force Orion was sent on a reconnaissance mission and a Skyhawk jet fighter was put on stand-by to investigate any further sightings. The air force prepared a detailed document, but, alas, the mysterious lights were chalked up to lights from a Japanese squid fleet, the glow of the planet Venus or apparently even moonlight bouncing off cabbages. The radar detections in Wellington were blamed on atmospheric disturbances.

I for one and not entirely convinced by these banal explanations… perhaps you might want to do some further UFO investigation with these items from our collection and local resources👽

What to do if you see a UFO | The Spinoff

josie_UFOA comprehensive guide from The Spinoff, which even includes a link to the 1978 Kaikōura footage!

How UFOs conquered the world : the history of a modern myth / Clarke, David
“A history of the various manifestations and shifting meaning of the Twentieth Century’s single great contribution to mythology: the UFO. Neither a credulous work of conspiracy theory nor a sceptical debunking of belief in ‘flying saucers’, How UFOs Changed the World explores the origins of UFOs in the build-up to the First World War and how reports of them have changed in tandem with world events, science and culture. The book will also explore the overlaps between UFO belief and religion and superstition.” (Catalogue)

The UFO files the inside story of real-life sightings / Clarke, David
“Original records newly released by the Ministry of Defence and now held at The National Archives in Kew reveal how British Intelligence and the CIA investigated many Cold War sightings. This title presents the story of over 200 years of UFO sightings drawing on the formerly secret reports from the Ministry of Defence.” (Catalogue)

Fake news : separating truth from fiction / Miller, Michael
“This title explores journalistic and fact-checking standards, Constitutional protections, and real-world case studies, helping readers identify the mechanics, perpetrators, motives, and psychology of fake news. A final chapter explores methods for assessing and avoiding the spread of fake news.” (Catalogue)

The NZ files : UFOs in New Zealand / Hassall, Peter
“New Zealand has had its share of mysterious happenings and unidentified flying objects, and this attempts a history of UFOs in New Zealand. There have been hundreds of recorded sightings this century and possibly thousands more not recorded.” (Catalogue)

The Manga Behind the Best Anime of the Year

The 6th annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards took place last week, with anime fans turning out in their millions to vote for their favourite shows, characters, artists, voice actors, directors, fight scenes (!), and musical tracks from the last year of anime. Many of the category nominees and winners were spawned from manga, and as you know, we’re big on manga here at the library. So, here are the manga series you can find gracing the shelves of our libraries that are behind this year’s award-winning anime adaptations. Get in quick to reserve ’em, they won’t stay on the shelves long!

(Or if you find yourself having to wait, why not check out our full manga collection here?)

Attack on Titan / Hajime Isayama

{shōnen: action, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic}

“For the past century, what’s left of mankind has hidden in a giant, three-walled city, trapped in fear of the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming human-kind, but the sudden appearance of an enormous Titan is about change everything.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Antagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Yuki Kaji as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Boku no Sansou’ by Shinsei Kamattechan

Category nominations:

  • Best Action
  • Best Protagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Fight Scene — Eren Jaeger vs. War Hammer Titan
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Ayane Sakura as Gabi Graun
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Vlad Tokarev as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shogeki’ by Yuko Ando

Beastars / Paru Itagaki

{shōnen: coming-of-age, drama, fantasy}

“At a high school where the students are literally divided into predators and prey, it’s personal relationships that maintain the fragile peace. Who among them is a Beastar an academic and social role model destined to become a leader in a society naturally rife with mistrust?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Kaibutsu’ by Yoasobi
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Yasashii Suisei’ by Yoasobi

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations / Ukyo Kodachi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in his village, and now his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story… A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto’s own son, Boruto!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Fight Scene — Naruto Uzumaki vs. Isshiki Otsutsuki

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba / Koyoharu Gotōge

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, martial arts}

“In Taisho-era Japan, Tanjiro Kamado is a kindhearted boy who makes a living selling charcoal. But his peaceful life is shattered when a demon slaughters his entire family. His little sister Nezuko is the only survivor, but she has been transformed into a demon herself! Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to find a way to return his sister to normal and destroy the demon who ruined his life.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Film
  • Best Animation — Ufotable Studios
  • Best Score — composers Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shirogane’ by LiSA
  • Best French VA Performance — Enzo Ratsito as Tanjiro Kamado
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Irwin Daayán as Kyojuro Rengoku
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Islam Gandzhaev as Tanjiro Kamado

Category nominations:

  • Best Action

Fruits Basket / Natsuki Takaya

{shōjo: comedy, romance, supernatural}

“After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out…into a tent Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn’t long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own–when touched by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Drama
  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Tohru Honda
  • Best English VA Performance — Laura Bailey as Tohru Honda

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure / Hirohiko Araki

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, supernatural}

“Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best German VA Performance — Marios Gavrilis as Dio Brando

Jujutsu Kaisen / Gege Akutami

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, supernatural}

“Yuji Itadori is resolved to save the world from cursed demons, but he soon learns that the best way to do it is to slowly lose his humanity and become one himself! In a world where cursed spirits feed on unsuspecting humans, fragments of the legendary and feared demon Ryomen Sukuna were lost and scattered about. Should any demon consume Sukuna’s body parts, the power they gain could destroy the world as we know it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Action
  • Best Girl — Nobara Kugisaki
  • Best Fight Scene — Yuji Itadori and Aoi Todo vs. Hanami
  • Best Character Design — designs by Tadashi Hiramatsu and Gege Akutami
  • Best German VA Performance — René Dawn-Claude as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Leo Rabelo as Satoru Gojo

Category nominations:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Protagonist — Yuji Itadori
  • Best Fight Scene — Itadori and Kugisaki vs. Eso and Kechizu
  • Best Director — Sunghoo Park
  • Best Animation — MAPPA Studios
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Vivid Vice’ by Who-ya Extended
  • Best English VA Performance — Adam McArthur as Yuji Itadori
  • Best French VA Performance — Mark Lesser as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — José Gilberto Vilchis as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Amanda Brigido as Nobara Kugisaki

Overdrive coverKaguya-Sama: Love is War / Akasaka, Aka

{seinen: psychological, romantic comedy, slice-of-life}

“As leaders of their prestigious academy’s student council, Kaguya and Miyuki are the elite of the elite! But it’s lonely at the top… Luckily for them, they’ve fallen in love! There’s just one problem—they both have too much pride to admit it. And so begins the daily scheming to get the object of their affection to confess their romantic feelings first…Love is a war you win by losing.” (OverDrive description)

Category nominations:

  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Jessica Ángeles as Kaguya Shinomiya

Komi Can’t Communicate / Tomohito Oda

{shōnen: coming-of-age, romantic comedy, slice of life}

“Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi would love to make friends, but her shyness is interpreted as reserve, and the other students keep her at a distance. Only timid Tadano realizes the truth, and despite his own desire to blend in, he decides to help her achieve her goal of making 100 friends.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Comedy

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Shoko Komi

My Hero Academia / Kōhei Horikoshi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, superheroes}

“Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Tomura Shigaraki

One Piece / Eiichirō Oda

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. Its only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again– a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the One Piece, said to be the greatest treasure in the world…” (OverDrive)

Category nominations:

  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Carol Valença as Monkey D. Luffy
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Polina Rtischeva as Monkey D. Luffy

Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World / Tappei Nagatsuki

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, isekai}

“Subaru Natsuki was just trying to get to the convenience store but wound up summoned to another world. He encounters the usual things–life-threatening situations, silver haired beauties, cat fairies–you know, normal stuff. All that would be bad enough, but he’s also gained the most inconvenient magical ability of all–time travel, but he’s got to die to use it. How do you repay someone who saved your life when all you can do is die?” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Echidna
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Luísa Viotti as Echidna

Sailor Moon / Naoko Takeuchi

{shōjo: fantasy, magical girl}

“Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Adelaida López as Usagi Tsukino

The Way of the Househusband / Kousuke Oono

{seinen: action, comedy, slice of life}

“It’s a day in the life of your average househusband if your average househusband is the legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon”! A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Marc Zanni as Tatsu

Lastly, we’d like to give a special shout-out to perennial cult classic and fan favourite Cowboy Bebopwhich was nominated for Best Latin American VA Performance, for José Vilchis’ performance as Spike Spiegel. We sadly don’t have this in our collection, but we do have DVDs of the original anime series and movie as well as Rose Bridge’s excellent book for the 33 1/3 series dissecting the official soundtrack:

Yōko Kanno’s Cowboy bebop soundtrack / Bridges, Rose
“Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved anime series of all time, and if you ask its fans why, you can expect to hear about its music. Composer Yoko Kanno created an eclectic blend of jazz, rock, lullabies, folk and funk (to list just a few) for Cowboy Bebop’s many moods and environments. Cowboy Bebop’s blend of science fiction, westerns and gangster films promised to be “the work which becomes a new genre itself,” and only Kanno’s score could deliver.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Your reading guide on how NOT to get murdered

This is a blog post NOT for the faint hearted. This is NOT a blog post full of hearts, flowers and romantic embellishments.  What you’re about to read is raw, gritty, deadly, but could very well save your life and may help you avoid getting murdered. This is a post for teens addicted to true crime stories/podcasts and interested in fiction, on ‘how NOT to get murdered,’  inspired by A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson.

Here are some basic tips on how NOT to get murdered?

  • Read the following books as cautionary tales that may prompt you to follow the advice above.

image courtesy of syndeticsA good girl’s guide to murder.

“The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final-year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?” (Catalogue). Also available as an

image courtesy of syndeticsGood girl, bad blood.

“Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore. Her true crime podcast about the murder case she solved last year has gone viral. Yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to back on her word when some close to her goes missing and the police can’t do anything about it.” Also available as an eAudiobook.

image courtesy of syndeticsThey wish they were us.

The lives of Jill Newman and her friends look perfect, but nothing is as it seems. Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila, was killed by her boyfriend, but suddenly Jill starts getting texts proclaiming his innocence. But digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe murder game.

“Luke Chase’s roommate Oscar convinces him to sneak out of their boarding school dorm to meet up with a couple of girls in the forest, have a good time, and no one will ever know. When the wife of one of their teachers is found dead in the woods the next morning, the group decides to solve the murder on their own. Will they be able to catch the killer before the killer catches them? — adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf.

“A gripping and gloriously treacherous thriller without guide ropes or safety nets. Leave all certainties by the door.” Frances Hardinge A taut thriller about murder, maths and the mind. Peter Blankman is afraid of everything but must confront truly unimaginable terror when his mother is attacked. Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend. However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine. Armed only with his extraordinary analytical skills, Peter may just discover that his biggest weakness is his greatest strength.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe boyband murder mystery.

“When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world’s about to fall apart. But quickly she realises that she – and all the other Half Light superfans out there – know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could. Now she’s rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie’s innocence – and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsPride and premeditation.

“Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit. When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates. Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case-and her feelings for Darcy-become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook. 

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderTrending.

“In the near future, citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the prison island Alcatraz 2.0. Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, about to be the next victim of the app, found guilty of murdering her stepsister. But Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, needs to prove she’s innocent before she ends up murdered for the world to see. That’s if The Postman’s cast of executioners don’t kill them off one by one, first.” — Adapted from jacket. Available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderFunding.

“WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC?, the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry-no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear . . . uh, right? Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears and lets Becca know that her deceased mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers-Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants to Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly Mauler, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality show alive? Or will she get cut?” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsTwo can keep a secret.

“The New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying is back with an all-new, page-turning mystery perfect for fans of Riverdale! Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.” (Catalogue).

For more reading guides on how NOT to get murdered, click here.

 

It was a Dark and Stormy Night….

With the upcoming release of “Death on the Nile” in cinemas, now seems like an excellent time to commemorate the sprawling stacks of mystery fiction throughout Wellington City Libraries. From our iconic Agatha – the creator of Hercule Poirot and his “little grey cells” – and classics such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, to the modern stylings of Karen M. McManus and Maureen Johnson, we have a wide selection from the “criminal classes” on offer.

Although mysteries and criminal acts have been appearing in works of fiction for millennia, the mystery genre as we know it today started with Edgar Allan Poe, whose short story entitled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) introduced the reading world to it’s first fictional detective – Auguste Dupin. Dupin (along with his anonymous narrator friend) is the semi-monastic, enigma-loving basis for the ‘gentleman detective’ character type that came into popularity during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the early-mid 20th century.

via GIPHY

The hot new ‘whodunnit’ style modelled by Poe was rapidly taken up by other authors, including Mary Roberts Rinehart. Referred to as the ‘American Agatha Christie’, Rinehart’s works established the “had I but known” trope (a style of narrative foreshadowing that hints at a looming tragedy or disaster) into the ever-growing mystery genre.

These days, the mystery and crime genre has a happy fat beast of a following, and can be categorised into four sub-genres:

  • The Detective Novel, which follows a primary detective figure as they hijink and deduce their way through a case.
  • The Cosy Mystery, which follows a primary detective figure as they hijink and deduce their way through a case, but make it wholesome.
  • Caper Stories, featuring the grand heists, swindles and crimes from the perspective of the criminal(s) themselves.
  • The Police Procedural, in which the protagonist is typically part of a larger police force.

So sit back and relax one dark and stormy night (a muggy evening will also work) with these highlights from our mystery collection, and see if you can beat the detectives to figure out ‘whodunnit’.

Death on the Nile / Christie, Agatha
“[…] The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. […] Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One of us is lying / McManus, Karen M.
“When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students, all four become suspects. It’s up to them to solve the case”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

A study in scarlet / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“A Study in Scarlet was flung like a bombshell into the field of detective fiction. Join Dr. Watson as he first meets the brooding Holmes and as they locate their now famous apartment at 221B Baker Street in the midst of a case that spans two continents.” (Catalogue)

Truly devious / Johnson, Maureen
“When Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, begins her first year at a famous private school in Vermont, she sets a plan to solve the cold case involving the kidnapping of the founder’s wife and daughter shortly after the school opened. […] The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” […] But the past has crawled out of its grave: Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy.– Adapted from dust jacket.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Two Flights Up / Rinehart, Mary Roberts
“From the outside, it seems like the three women of the Bayne house are frozen in time […]. Into this steps Howard Warrington, a bond salesman who answers an advertisement to rent the Baynes’ extra room. He finds the house to be full of old secrets and quiet grudges, and he soon grows to hate his life there. But when Margaret attempts to kill herself, he realizes how dark life is for the women Bayne — and how difficult it might be for him to escape.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Firekeeper’s daughter / Boulley, Angeline
“Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, either in her hometown or on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. […] When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source of a new drug. How far will she go to protect her community, if it threatens to tear apart the only world she’s ever known? — adapted from jacket” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The inheritance games / Barnes, Jennifer
“When a Connecticut teenager inherits vast wealth and an eccentric estate from the richest man in Texas, she must also live with his surviving family and solve a series of puzzles to discover how she earned her inheritance.” (Catalogue)
The hound of the Baskervilles : another adventure of Sherlock Holmes / Doyle, Arthur Conan
“The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body, this classic horror story pits detective against dog. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. It is left to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery of the legend of the phantom hound before Sir Charles’ heir comes to an equally gruesome end.” (Catalogue)

Little grey cells : the quotable Poirot / Christie, Agatha
“Discover the man behind the moustache in this book of one-liners by the world’s most famous Belgian detective, revealing the wit and wisdom of Hercule Poirot and his creator, Agatha Christie. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Literary Cookbooks for Edible Inspiration

You know what two things are great? Books and food. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, if only there was a way to bring these two great things together!”

Well be despondent no longer! Because I am about to introduce you to some of the literary cookbooks we have in our collection.

These are cookbooks full of recipes inspired by the food in fiction, the deftly described deliciousness, the succulent snacks that your favourite characters munch on at feasts or as they head off on an adventure. Did you find your mouth watering as you read about the fellowship snacking on Lembas Bread in the Lord of the Rings? Or maybe you got a hankering for some forbidden Turkish delight such as that given to Edmund by the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Or perhaps your stomach started grumbling at the mention of Deeper’n’Ever Turnip’n’Tater’n’Beetroot Pie in Mossflower? Whatever your literary cravings, there’ll be a cookbook out there with something that will entice you.

So let’s have a look at these cookbooks, paired with the books that inspired them. After all, what better summer activity can there be than to lie in the sun with a book while snacking on the same thing as the character you’re reading about!

The Anne of Green Gables cookbook : charming recipes from Anne and her friends in Avonlea / Macdonald, Kate
This book contains recipes inspired by the food written about in Anne of Green Gables, but it also has some of L.M. Montgomery’s own recipes because the book was written by one of her granddaughters!

There are quotes from the book paired with each recipe so you can see how the food fits in with which book and which character.

Anne of Green Gables series / Montgomery, L. M.
Admittedly, I found Anne a bit annoying. But more people love her!


Jolly good food : recipes / McEvedy, Allegra
Relive some childhood nostalgia (if you were a child who read Enid Blyton, that is) and eat some tasty food. Enid Blyton’s books are full of wonderful descriptions of picnics and midnight feasts and “lashings of ginger beer” and this cookbook has recipes from or inspired by many of her books!

Enid Blyton has written many, many books, so here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:

Famous Five Series / Blyton, Enid
The classic adventure series featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, George, and of course Timmy!

The Faraway Tree Series / Blyton, Enid
Some fantastical ridiculousness. Also, in newer editions of these books, Fanny has been renamed Frannie. Just putting it out there.


A literary tea party : blends and treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and book lovers everywhere / Walsh, Alison
This book features a plethora of recipes inspired by many, many books. There are recipes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Brian Jacques’ Redwall Series, Sherlock Holmes, The Hobbit, Agatha Christie, The Borrowers


The little library cookbook : 100 recipes from your favourite stories / Young, Kate
This one’s another collection of treats from a wide variety of books. If you like the sound of  Choclatl from His Dark Materials, Marshmallows from Tomorrow When the War Began, or Pear and Lemon Cake from Comet in Moominland then check it out!


The Pooh cook book: inspired by “Winnie-the-Pooh” and The house at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne; / Stewart, Katie

I’m mainly featuring this book because some part of me sniggered at the title. My childish proclivities aside, it does contain a lot of tasty recipes! From Poohanpiglet Pancakes and Biscuit Cake, to Honey Tart and Toad in the Hole, there’ll be something for everyone!

Winnie-the-Pooh / Milne, A. A.
Because who doesn’t wish they were a Bear of Very Little Brain living in the woods with a pot of honey and all your friends nearby?


Roald Dahl’s revolting recipes / Dahl, Roald
“Recipes for savouries, puddings, cakes, sweets and drinks, all of which have appeared in Roald Dahl’s books.” (Catalogue)

We’ve also got Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting recipes!

Like Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl has written a LOT. Here are a couple of highlights:

Matilda / Dahl, Roald
Ah, Matilda. She’s super-smart, she loves books, and she’s great at pranks that serve some good comeuppance. Why not make yourself one of Trunchbull’s cakes and enjoy it while you read?

Skin and other stories / Dahl, Roald
You’ve surely read his fantastic children’s books, but have you read any of his much creepier works for older readers?

If you haven’t, well… They’re quite different!


The unofficial Narnia cookbook : from Turkish delight to gooseberry fool–over 150 recipes inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia / Bucholz, Dinah
Now the tasty food you make will distract you from the fact that somehow Christmas is still a holiday over in a whole other fantasy world Father Christmas has to sneak in to deliver presents.

The chronicles of Narnia / Lewis, C. S.
Definite classics. But Susan deserved better.


The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games
This cookbook takes you on a culinary journey through all three of The Hunger Games books. It starts you off with the more basic food Katniss and her family were eating in District 12, then there’s the decadent food of the Capitol, the meal on the train on the way to the Quarter Quell, and the food offered in District 13.

If you’re feeling adventurous there are some more questionable sounding recipes you can try as well, such as “Charred Tree-Rat” and “Mom Everdeen’s Breakfast of Mush”.

The Hunger Games / Collins, Suzanne
Some good teen dystopia. And it’s confirmed that Panem is a future version of North America.

Marvellous Books to Make You Cry

Today we’re here to celebrate a truly undervalued batch of books. We librarians can spend days waxing poetic over our collections of thrilling mysteries, sublime fantasies and illuminative non-fiction, but today I am here to advocate the unique pleasures of a book-induced sob-fest.

Book Cry (noun):                                                                                         The cathartic experience of weeping, wailing, bawling, blubbering, sobbing and/or crying over a book.

There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion book cry to ease some tension, which not only helps improve your overall mood, but actually helps detoxify the body! (After, of course, you have recovered from the literary trauma of seeing two beloved characters torn apart.)

via GIPHY

So if your eyeballs feel in need of a good cleaning, read on for a tear-inducing collection of marvellous books to make you cry:

The song of Achilles / Miller, Madeline
“Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. […] Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. […] Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. “–Author website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fault in our stars / Green, John
“Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.” (Catalogue)
Bridge to Terabithia / Paterson, Katherine
“[…] When Lesley’s family moves to a rural community, they are regarded with some curiosity – a family with so many books, and no television. Jess Aarons is disturbed by Lesley, who challenges his accepted order of things. Then tragedy strikes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
All the light we cannot see / Doerr, Anthony
“Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History […] When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast […] In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. […] Interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the bright places / Niven, Jennifer
“Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school–both teetering on the edge–it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another” Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The memory book / Avery, Lara
“When a rare genetic disorder brings dementia, steals away her memories, and produces physical deterioration, a high school valedictorian with big plans to flee her small town records notes in a journal to her future self, documenting moments great and small.” (Catalogue)
If I stay / Forman, Gayle
“Life is wonderful for seventeen-year-old Mia, a talented cellist with family, friends and boyfriend. But life can change in an instant – a terrible car accident and everything is different.” (Catalogue)

Trigger Warning: Some of these books deal with difficult subjects, such as illness, sexual abuse, and suicide.

If you are struggling with mental health, then you can free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor, or reach out to:

Lifeline
0800 543 354
Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633
Free text 234

Everything Orange!

All of us will surely know by now that we are in Orange, as we have been at this traffic light level for pretty much all of December so far. I’m sure that as avid library users you will already know all about visiting the library under Orange – wear your mask and scan your vaccine pass or exemption if you’re over twelve – but I feel there is more to be explored around the orangeness of Orange than mere alert levels.

In controversial Orange news, I have learned through this recent Spinoff article that while the Covid Traffic Light system uses the colours Red, Orange, and Green, the official colours of the literal physical traffic lights that are liberally spotted around our country are Red, Green, and Yellow.

Three traffic lights in a row. The left has a green light chosing, the centre has an orange light showing, and the right has a red light showing.

Image: Traffic Signals by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence

Look at these traffic lights! This is an instructional picture from the Waka Kotahi website accompanied by the instructional caption “A yellow signal means the lights will soon turn red”. This is very interesting since it is extremely clear that the coloured circle in the centre traffic light is so obviously orange. Like, they made the picture, if they’re calling it yellow why not make the picture yellow as well?

Anyway, while the certainty that orange is orange and yellow is yellow may be falling out from under our feet, let me return to my original subject of Orange in general.

I think Orange is an excellent colour. It’s such a happy colour, it’s the colour of the sun’s rays shining on the iconic Chelsea Golden Syrup Tin, and it’s great for hi-vis vests if you’re a cyclist, contractor, or builder.

Speaking of Golden Syrup, let me bring your attention to a rather orange book:

Edmonds cookery book.
The Edmonds cookbook is a classic, it fits right in here with that orange cover, and it contains a recipe for a Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding. What’s not to like?!

Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding is also a perfect Christmas pudding. Just saying.

In search of other Orange activities to keep you occupied over the summer, I’ve trawled through our vast selection of elibrary resources, but unfortunately not many of them really scream Orange.

We do have a fantastic language-learning service called Mango Languages, a name that just promises orangeness but in actual fact doesn’t deliver much Orange, even in the logo. Still, if you don’t let lack of actual orangeness get in the way of perceived orangeness you could give it a go!

We do have some other actually-orange things in the library that could get you excited…

…while you’re sitting back in the sun, enjoying your Golden Syrup pudding, what better thing to do than get into a good book?

Here’s a selection of books that I’ve grouped together simply based on the orange-ivity of their covers. There’s a wide range of genres here, from New Zealand fiction to romance to classic literature to adventure, but they’re all Orange! Which one are you most interested in?

Is underground / Aiken, Joan
“Bound to keep a promise to her dead uncle, Is travels to the mysterious north country to find two missing boys, one of them a prince, and to discover why so many children in London are disappearing.” (Catalogue)

Felix ever after / Callender, Kacen
“Felix Love has never been in love, painful irony that it is. He desperately wants to know why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he’s one marginalization too many– Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages, Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. He didn’t count on his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Perfect on paper / Gonzales, S.
“Seventeen-year-old Darcy Phillips, a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates, is hired by the “hot” guy at school to help him get his ex back. When Darcy is caught in the act of collecting letters from locker 89– out of which she has been running her advice service– she is blackmailed into becoming his personal dating coach. If word gets out that Darcy is behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light. What could go wrong?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Juggling with mandarins / Jones, V. M.
“Thirteen-year-old Pip finds a talent he never dreamed he had, and is determined it will remain one area of his life his domineering dad can’t touch. Somehow, Pip must find the courage to confront his father and claim the right to live his life on his own terms.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And mandarins are basically smaller superior oranges anyway.

To kill a mockingbird / Lee, Harper
“A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a widowed lawyer, defends a black man falsely accused of rape.” (Catalogue)

Trash / Mulligan, Andy
“Three friends. Raphael, Gardo and Rat. Living on a heap of trash, a lifetime of sifting rubbish. One day they find something extraordinary – a deadly secret. From that moment they are hunted without mercy. With danger snatching at their heels, the boys are chased from the city’s dirty gutters to its wealthy avenues. But they can’t run for ever. They need a miracle.” (Catalogue)

Nice try, Jane Sinner / Oelke, Lianne
“Jane Sinner, a 17-year-old dropout, sets out to redefine herself through a series of schemes and stunts, including participating in a low-budget reality TV show at her local community college”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

First test / Pierce, Tamora
“Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight.” (Catalogue)

A tyranny of petticoats : 15 stories of belles, bank robbers & other badass girls
“From pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago, take a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bridge of Clay / Zusak, Markus
“Upon their father’s return, the five Dunbar boys, who have raised themselves since their mother’s death, begin to learn family secrets, including that of fourth brother Clay, who will build a bridge for complex reasons, including his own redemption.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And if you’ve made it this far, I hope that by now I’ve managed to remove or weaken the exclusive association of Orange with Covid. I’m sure that you’ll be simmering with rage over the officially-yellow traffic lights, off to bake a tasty snack, diving deep into an Orange read, or some other Orange-related activity!

Jólabókaflóð: ‘Tis the Season for Reading

Of all the weird, wonderful, and wintery traditions surrounding the Christmas season, I am here today to introduce you to the gift-giving practice of young librarians’ dreams: Jólabókaflóð.

Jólabókaflóð, which loosely translates to “Christmas Book Flood”, is the Icelandic practice of gifting and exchanging books on Christmas Eve. Dating all the way back to WWII (when paper was one of the few commodities not subject to severe rationing), jólabókaflóð is now harkened by the distribution of an annual catalogue of new publications. Although this catalogue (the snappily entitled ‘Bókatíðindi’) is sadly beyond our reach, it is my pleasure to bring you some of the latest and greatest YA additions to the library catalogue. I would suggest you read these, buy them, and then merrily sling them at all your bookish friends.

Now, I will be the first to admit that – when browsing for books – I automatically drift towards the fantasy section. However not everyone out there has the same excellent taste as me, so I’ve branched out in order to offer you a slightly more accommodating collection of potential gifts for your upcoming jólabókaflóð festivities:


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)

The inexplicable logic of my life : a novel / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
“Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?” (Catalogue)

Children of blood and bone / Adeyemi, Tomi
“Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.” (Catalogue)

The apple tart of hope / Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore
“Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.” (Catalogue)

The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Pratchett, Terry
” Every town on Discworld knows the stories about rats and pipers, and Maurice – a streetwise tomcat – leads a band of educated ratty friends (and a stupid kid) on a nice little earner. Piper plus rats equals lots and lots of money. Until they run across someone playing a different tune. Now he and his rats must learn a new concept: evil . . .” (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)

In order to ascertain quality YA recommendations, I must confess that I turned to younger family members for aid. Yes that’s right, I have informants amongst the youth of today. And my research has led me to believe that the youth of today like frogs (that’s understandable, y’all need the serotonin). So here’s one more recommendation:

Frog and Toad : the complete collection / Lobel, Arnold
“Once upon a time there were two good friends, a frog and a toad. From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other – just as best friends should be.” (Catalogue)



So there you have it! ‘Tis the season for friends, family, food, and a colossal number of books. From all of us here at Wellington City Libraries, Merry Christmas and Happy Jólabókaflóð!

And remember that Santa Claus is also… technically… a cryptid.

Extremely Cool Christmas Advent Calendar

It’s December, which means that the holiday season is upon us! To celebrate, here is a (slightly late) Christmas Advent Calendar! Explore our list of challenges using the interactive slide below, or check out the challenge list below!


Calendar graphics from Unsplash.


Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge List:

  1. Watch the classic film A Muppet Christmas Carol.
  2. Try baking an aesthetic festive treat, maybe from the Vegan Christmas Cookbook!
  3. Do a silly festive photoshoot with your friends/family. Extra points if you can find some classic ugly Xmas jumpers.
  4. Write a Christmas Story of your own! If you have younger siblings, make a picture book for them and have them do some truly wild little kid illustrations for it.  Alternative idea: Write a holiday fanfiction for your favourite book series.
  5. Watch the classic film The Grinch.
  6. Try baking some cookies for your friends and family, check out Christmas with Kim-Joy : a festive collection of edible cuteness for inspiration!
  7. Try making some tree ornaments! You can make these with whatever materials you like! Try salt dough ornaments, polymer clay or even just paper! Here’s a book if you would like some ideas.
  8. Check out a twist on an old Christmas classic with Scrooge #worstgiftever.
  9. Try making a snow globe out of a mason jar!
  10. Your film watching experience, should you choose to accept it, is the classic festive film Home Alone!
  11. Make some handmade Christmas cards for all your friends and family!
  12. Organise a Secret Santa with your friends. Extra points if you make each other handmade presents!
  13. Your festive book suggestion for today is Dash & Lily’s book of dares.
  14. Today’s challenge is for our musicians out there. Learn to play/sing a Christmas song, or write your own!
  15. Today’s movie suggestion is The Nightmare Before Christmas!
  16. Discover a magical Christmas wonderland, right here in Wellington! Windows filled with Christmas cheer, art installations and even an enchanting Lego display! More info at Wellington City Council’s Website.
  17. Your holiday reading suggestion for today is Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless!
  18. Have you wrapped your presents yet? Try designing your very own wrapping paper! For example, go find some plain paper and draw your own designs on them.
  19. Today’s reading suggestion is Reindeer boy!
  20. Most likely, your favourite musician has recorded at least one Christmas song. So, go find some festive tunes and make the perfect holiday playlist!
  21. You movie suggestion for today is It’s A Wonderful Life.
  22. Today’s challenge is to learn a bit more about learn more about the history behind Christmas traditions. As usual, we have plenty of books you could check out…
  23. Your reading suggestion today is The Afterlife of Holly Chase.
  24. Make something yum for Christmas tomorrow! Maybe some mince pies? Or trifle? As always, feel free to look through our collection for ideas…
  25. Your challenge today is to make a cute festive video with your friends/whānau!
  26. MERRY CHRISTMAS and SEE YOU IN THE NEW YEAR!

 

Summer Reads + Things To Do With Your Friend/Crush

It’s Summer! School’s out and the world is your proverbial oyster. But maybe you’re not sure what to read over the break? Perhaps you’re feeling bored and have forgotten what to do with that mythical concept called free time? Look no further, we’ve got you covered! I’ve put together a list of some excellent books, and not only that, each book has an accompanying activity to invite your friend/crush to! Now go get some books, and have an excellent Summer break.

The way you make me feel / Goo, Maurene
“Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #1 : Take a Sunday walk down the waterfront to the Habourside Market for some food truck and dog-spotting galore!

Love & gelato / Welch, Jenna Evans
“Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, and she’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #2 : Go get some refreshing gelato/ice-cream.

Happily ever afters / Bryant, Elise
“Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing. 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. Tessa needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #3 : Go for a wander around Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s many second-hand bookstores and try to find the perfect/weirdest book. 

Leah on the offbeat / Albertalli, Becky
“Leah Burke is an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom; her life is decidedly less privileged. Even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends– not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it’s hard for Leah to strike the right note.  If only real life was as rhythmic as her drumming…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #4 : Take inspo from our music loving protagonist Leah and go see a band at Gardens Magic. Make sure to get there early to secure a good picnic spot, and don’t miss the light installations around the gardens.

Summer of salt / Leno, Katrina
“No one on the island of By-the-Sea would call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you need the odd bit of help, such as a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight, they are the ones to ask. Georgina Fernweh waits for the tingle of magic in her fingers– magic that has already touched her twin sister, Mary. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of her last summer on the island, Georgina fears her gift will never come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #5 :  Go to the beach! The beach is great! Just remember to be safe; use plenty of sunblock and NEVER LOOK A SEAGULL DIRECTLY IN THE EYES.

Keep my heart in San Francisco / Coombs, Amelia Diane
“Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—but her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco.things” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #6 : Go bowling! It’s a fun activity to do in your spare time. It might seem uncool, but personally that’s just how I roll. I wonder how many of these puns I can sneak into this blog post before Stephen asks me to spare you all from my jokes. I might be told to put a pin in it, but I will keep making puns forever until I am banned and if that happens…I will go on strike. Anyways, go bowling.

Editor’s note: Your pun quota is getting awfully close to being full, Alayne. I’m watching you. — SC

I think I love you / Desombre, Auriane
“A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another—at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance. Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #7 : The easy offer here is that you simply go to a movie, but everyone goes to the movies. Why not have a go at making a movie? Lots of films are shot on phones these days and you can even checkout the filmmaking courses on LinkedIn Learning, free with your library card.

This time will be different / Sugiura, Misa
“Katsuyamas never quit — but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop. She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of. Then her mom decides to sell the shop — to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

IDEA #8 : Do you know about Wellington’s Hidden Gardens? Until December 15th, you can discover seven hidden gardens across Pōneke. There will be secret events happening at every garden, and each is designed to a specific theme. For more information, check out the Wellington City Council website here.

Activism to Keep the Summer Ennui at Bay!

It is impossible to fully extol the many wonders of the summer holidays. Water fights, ice cream, camping, being unable to beat Wellington on a good day, exploring the bush looking for cryptids (yes I will ram cryptids down the throats of you readers at every given opportunity), using strategically applied sunblock and patience to graffiti your friend’s back, more ice cream — I could go on for days.

However, if you are anything like me, it won’t take long to remember that you are unable to function without a schedule and will eventually succumb to a state of sunburnt ennui. And what better way to fight this gradual decline, than by fighting THE gradual decline (of society)?! That’s right, this blog post does have a point!

Hopefully, all you smart young whippersnappers were out marching in the School Strike 4 Climate Change (#doitfordavid #actionforattenborough) way back in the shining days pre-COVID, so you’ve already had a taste of how good it feels to stand up for what you believe in. Or you just wanted a day off school, but same premise – we’re battling summer ennui here folks! While organising a nation-wide series of protests over the holidays may be a little ambitious, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can make your voice heard:

  1. Social Media. Your social media is an incredible platform to speak up for your beliefs, so make the most of it! Even if it’s just sharing someone else’s post, you have the tools to make your voice heard. USE THEM.


  2. Get involved. There’s a smorgasbord of charities, non-profits, and activist organisations out there. Pick one that you vibe with and go make the world a better place. A few of my favourites include ActionStation, SAFE, Greenpeace, and NOPE Sisters, or – if you’re feeling especially inspired – get involved with a local political party you agree with, or even the Youth Parliament.
  3. Speaking of parliament, get ready to VOTE! Your time is nigh! I don’t care who you’re voting for, so long as you are getting out there and using your unique opportunity to shape this country. If you’re not old enough to vote, then I give you permission to bully your older siblings, friends, and parents to get out there and make Orange Man proud.
  4. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. All those unique ideas that no-one else would ever think of? Find one that you care about, that can help people, and act on it. All you have to do it start.


  5. Educate yourself! I wanted to put this one first, but then there wouldn’t have been such a flawless transition into some local library inspiration. So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions for you budding activists out there:


How I resist : activism and hope for a new generation
“Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. But with much to stand up and shout about, where do they begin? How I Resist is the way to start the conversation. An all-star collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope […] This guide will remind you that you are not helpless, and that you can be the change you wish to see in the world, in the news, and for your future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Resist : 35 profiles of ordinary people who rose up against tyranny and injustice / Chambers, Veronica
“Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these thirty-five profiles of remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Art of Protest: What a Revolution Looks Like / Nichols, De
“From Keith Haring to Extinction Rebellion, the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, what does a revolution look like? What does it take to make a collective visual impact? Discover the power of words, images and much more in this analytical and thought-provoking look at protest art, by highly acclaimed activist De Nichols.” (Catalogue)

Girls resist! : a guide to activism, leadership, and starting a revolution / Rich, KaeLyn
“An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality. Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally. Get this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist!” (Catalogue)

Generation brave : the Gen Z kids who are changing the world / Alexander, Kate
“An illustrated celebration of Gen Z activists fighting to make our world a better place. Gen Z is populated–and defined–by activists. They are bold and original thinkers and not afraid to stand up to authority and conventional wisdom. From the March for Our Lives to the fight for human rights and climate change awareness, this generation is leading the way toward truth and hope like no generation before […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hood feminism : notes from the women that white feminists forgot / Kendall, Mikki
“All too often the focus of mainstream feminism is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. Meeting basic needs is a feminist issue. Food insecurity, the living wage and access to education are feminist issues. The fight against racism, ableism and transmisogyny are all feminist issues. White feminists often fail to see how race, class, sexual orientation and disability intersect with gender. How can feminists stand in solidarity as a movement when there is a distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? […]” (Catalogue)

Craftivism : the craft of craft and activism
“A provocative anthology of essays, interviews and photographs on the art-making phenomenon known as craftivism, the intersection where craft and activism meet. This book profiles craftivists from around the world (including Australia), and how they use their craft to create a greater good […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You are mighty : a guide to changing the world / Paul, Caroline
“Being a good citizen means standing up for what’s right-and here’s just the way to start. […] This guide features change-maker tips, tons of DIY activities, and stories about the kids who have paved the way before, from famous activists like Malala Yousafzai and Claudette Colvin to the everyday young people whose habit changes triggered huge ripple effects. So make a sign, write a letter, volunteer, sit-in, or march! There are lots of tactics to choose from, and you’re never too young to change the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are power : how nonviolent activism changes the world / Hasak-Lowy, Todd
“A stirring look at nonviolent activism, from American suffragists to Civil Rights to the Climate Change Movement We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? […] It answers the question “Why nonviolence?” by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights / Kendall, Mikki
“[…] Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era. In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history–from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies–and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more. […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watch us rise / Watson, Renée
“[…] Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission. Sick of the way that young women are treated even at their ‘progressive’ New York City high school, they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. One problem – no one shows up. That hardly stops them. They start posting everything from videos of Chelsea performing her poetry to Jasmine’s response to being reduced to a racist and sexist stereotype in the school’s theatre department. And soon, they’ve gone viral, creating a platform they never could’ve predicted […] ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Get Your Manga Fix at Newtown Library!

If you’ve trod the hallowed halls of our gorgeous Newtown Library recently, you may have noticed that she’s had a bit of a glow-up of late. The YA section has moved to a fetching and airy new location affording panoramic views of bustling Constable St, and its shelves are now bedecked with a plethora of new manga series freshly plucked from our collection warehouse and brought forth to the good people of Newtown for your edification and enjoyment.

An arrangement of new manga series on the shelf at Newtown Library

Ooh! Aah! So pretty! So many new books to explore!

There’s plenty here to satisfy readers new to the form as well as the seasoned panel-decipherers among you — and don’t forget you can check out the entire WCL manga collection here so you can reserve to your heart’s content. Also, if manga’s kinda your thing, we blog about it pretty often around these parts — check out some of our other posts here.

Anyway, here are the first volumes of some of the manga series you can expect to find on the shelves at Newtown on your next visit:

07-Ghost. Volume 1 / Amemiya, Yuki
“Teito Klein wants to forget his murky past as an orphan and slave and to graduate from Barsburg’s military academy with his best friend Mikage. But when an overheard state secret triggers treasonous memories, he’s forced to flee from the very empire he once sought to defend! Deliberately leaving Mikage behind, Teito escapes to the Barsburg Church. There, with the help of its three bishops, he begins to unravel his role in the story of an evil god, seven ghosts, two rival empires, and his own mysterious past.” (Catalogue)

Children of the sea. 1 / Igarashi, Daisuke
“When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea that she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the ocean’s fish.” (Catalogue)

Magi : the labyrinth of magic. 1 / Ōtaka, Shinobu
“Inspired by One thousand and one nights, Aladdin, together with Ugo and Alibaba, searches in the desert for the mysterious Dungeons and their riches.” (Catalogue)

No matter how I look at it, it’s you guys’ fault I’m not popular! 1 / Tanigawa, Nico
“Tomoko Kuroki naturally assumed she’d be popular when she got to high school…but then cold, hard reality swooped in for the attack. Turns out all the popularity points she’s racked up in her video game dating sims are worth squat in real life, and Tomoko’s far from prepared to navigate high school. How can she possibly hope to impress her classmates when she can’t even talk to them? A new high-school heroine is born (maybe?).” (Catalogue)

Pandora hearts. Vol. 1 / Mochizuki, Jun
“The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius’s coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. Thrown into the Abyss–an eternal prison from which there is no escape–Oz meets a young girl named Alice, who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, will they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or will Alice provide him with some shred of hope?” (Catalogue)

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina
“Princess Sakura has been engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Wanting to escape a life arranged by others, Sakura runs away and finds she’s caught up to her true destiny. She is the granddaughter of a mysterious moon princess who slew demons with her Blood Cherry Blossom sword. All her life Sakura has been forbidden to look at the full moon without knowing why. Then one night, she gazes up at the moon, only to see a demon attacking her…” (Catalogue)

Shugo Chara! 1, Who do you want to be? / Peach-Pit
“Everybody at Seiyo Elementary thinks that stylish and super cool Amu has it all: But nobody knows the real Amu, a shy girl who wishes she had the courage to truly be herself. Changing Amu’s life is going to take more than wishes and dreams-it’s going to take a little magic! One morning, Amu finds a surprise in her bed: three strange little eggs. Each egg contains a Guardian Character, an angel-like being who can give her the power to be someone new. With the help of her Guardian Characters, Amu is about to discover that her true self is even more amazing than she ever dreamed. This volume of Shugo Chara! includes special extras after the story!” (Catalogue)

Library wars : love & war. 1 / Yumi, Kiiro
“In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves – the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!” (Catalogue)

Demon love spell. 1 / Shinjō, Mayu
“Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works sort of but now Kagura is after her!” (Catalogue)

Captive hearts. Vol. 1 / Hino, Matsuri
“Carefree Megumi Kuroishi was living a life of luxury until the day a girl named Suzuka Kogami walked into his life. All of a sudden, Meguni finds himself kneeling at suzuka’s feet and prostrating himself like a servant! What Megumi doesn’t know (until that very moment anyway) is that his family is cursed to follow the orders of the Kogami family. Being carried around everwhere and having handsome Megumi act like a slave may seem ideal, but Suzuka just wishes he would stop. Can anything be done about Megumi’s captive state? Or is Megumi doomed to see Suzuka as his master…forever?”” (Catalogue)

Cool things to make during a study break

However much you want to, there is no denying the fact that somehow we are already in November and NCEA exams are approaching. Now, I’m sure that as regular and devoted Teen Blog readers you have already read through our excellent blog post of study hacks to get you prepared for the exam season. The tip from this post I want to bring your attention to is #4: Take breaks, where we’ve suggested that you use your breaks from study to get a rest away from screens or do an activity that you enjoy.

But what activity will be enjoyable enough to fill in that fifteen minute study break, give you a sense of satisfaction, and get your eyes away from those ever-dreaded screens?

Luckily for you, I am here to plug a favourite screen-free activity of my own, to give you some inspiration, and to encourage your creativity!

So let’s get into the wonderful world of yarn-based crafts!

There are many crafty options out there for you. From knitting, to crochet, to embroidery or cross-stitch, the possibilities abound! But those four crafts I named are the ones I’m going to be talking about. And I’ve even found you some fantastic examples of fun things to make, all made by librarians!

For more excellent examples and ideas, go have a re-read of our Sit ‘n’ Knit post, have a look at the wonderful creations featured there, and let yourself daydream about all the fun you can have once Sit ‘n’ Knit starts up…


Knitting

A hand puppet snake, mostly knitted with green wool but with some variegated orange and red stripes. A red forked tongue pokes out of the side of its mouth. It has big plastic green eyes.

Some snakes are scary. Some snakes are knitted and teach children maths.

Knitting is a classic. You get your needles, you get your yarn, and you can just sit there knitting and purling away to your heart’s content! If you’ve never knitted before the usual beginner project is a scarf – just go back and forth until it’s as long as you want it. Use some chunky yarn and big needles and just watch it grow!

Or if you’re a bit more confident, pull out a circular needle, have a go with double-pointed needles, try some cabling (not as tricky as it looks – trust me!), or venture into the world of colourwork. Hats are also cool. Though if they’re knitted, they’re probably warm.

If you are a beginner, don’t stress about dropping stitches or getting in a tangle. It’s practice and repetition that gets you there. And this is meant to be a stress reliever!

We’ve got plenty of books full of advice and patterns. You could attempt a Literary Knit, get ready with some Tiny Christmas Toys, create some even smaller Teeny-tiny Mochimochi, or go in another direction with some Vampire Knits! If you’re stuck at home and can’t get in to the library we also have many books of knitting patterns available through our eLibrary, and also several knitting-focused eMagazines!


Crochet

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.


Embroidery

A chaotic piece of embroidery. Black letters on a red background across the centre read "No Candimir, you can't have any wheat". There are mountains in the upper left corner, and yellow flowers on a dark green background in the lower left. Some beads and buttons are sewn in on the right side, and the whole photo area is covered in colourful stitches.

There’s a …lot going on here.

Personally, I like to go a bit wild with my embroidery, as seen in this accompanying image (bonus points if you know who Candimir is, and why you shouldn’t give him any wheat). If you’re into carefully cultivated chaos then it’s easier than you’d think to teach yourself a few different stitches, find something to sew with (it doesn’t have to be embroidery floss – yarn scraps are pretty good!), and just play! If you’d prefer a more precise project though, you can buy embroidery kits that come with all the bits and bobs you need, and even have a design printed onto the fabric you’ll be using.

You do need a few more things before you can start embroidering than the previous two crafts. Namely embroidery hoop, non-stretchy fabric, threads of some kind, and needles (Controversial take: Embroidery needles from Daiso are perfectly adequate. Fight me.).

In terms of library inspiration, we can provide you with some Edgy Embroidery, some Animal Embroidery, and some cool ways to Customise Your Clothes!

Check out these embroidery eMagazines too, for some inspiring ideas!


Cross Stitch

I mean, you’ve got to make sure all your books are in order.

This is where I confess that of all the crafts in this list, cross stitch is the one I haven’t tried. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Again, you’ll need an embroidery hoop, needles, something to sew with, and some of that cloth that has all the little holes in it to show you where to stitch (the internet reliably informs me that this is called “aida cloth”).

Like embroidery, you can buy kits that have a design for you to make and all the materials you need. Or if you snorted when seeing the picture to the right and would like to create something a little more exciting…

We have books! We’ve got Subversive Cross Stitch and Improper Cross Stitch and Really Cross Stitch. We have Literary Cross Stitch, Creepy Cross Stitch, and Cross Stitch with Attitude. There’s also a whole LOT of cross stitch eMagazines for your perusal!


The great thing (or so I think) about all these crafts is that they are activities that you can pick up for fifteen minutes or so and stitch away, then put down to come back to later. And that sense of accomplishment and “Oh, I made This” when you’re done is just so good!

So what are you waiting for? Get into it!

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