Anne Frank exhibition in Wellington and other WW2 reads

Many of our year 4-8s enjoy stories of hope and courage in the large selection of wartime historical fiction we have in our library and so the travelling exhibition from the Anne Frank house that will be in Wellington until the end of the holidays might be of interest. It is at the Dominion War Museum from 9-6 and that exhibition is free of charge. You can also get a virtual tour of the Anne Frank house here at the Anne Frank website, plus watch interviews with survivors from her diary. (Videos may need FlashPlayer to work).

Alan Gratz writes gripping, fast-paced novels for older readers, none more so than Prisoner B-3087 which tells the nightmare true journey of Yanek Gruener, a Jewish boy caught up in the unimaginable horrors of the Nazi invasion of Poland. A book trailer for this book is here. The raw nature of this account makes this suitable for students in Year 6 and above.

This is just a small selection of our wartime historical fiction – searching our library catalogue under “world war” reveals more, have a look here.


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From Russia with Love…. for Football and Exciting Stories


Tom Palmer is a writer who loves to combine his love of football with thrilling reads about all kinds of things – spies, secret agents, ghosts, combat, fighter planes, kidnapping, to name just a few. He has written many great series for readers of all ages and we now have the first book in each of these series in the library, with more to follow. See below

Especially for the start of the FIFA World Cup this week he is writing a new Defenders story set in Russia during the tournament. Seth and Nadiya are The Defenders. They solve problems. Ghostly problems. With Seth’s ability to see people from the past and Nadiya’s passion for history, they are the perfect team to take on anything. And that anything is about to kick off in Russia at the World Cup finals.

Tom will write a chapter every weekday night and use the events around the live matches to inspire what happens in the story. We have been having a taster of this in the library this week – if you have missed out you can come and see Mrs Bamber and read it so that you are ready to join in. I will be reading each new chapter at 8.30 each weekday morning in the library starting Monday 18th June.

 Jake loves his football and has a shot at joining one of the world’s biggest clubs when he has a trial for their Under 12s training academy – even though he supports the other big club in the town. He worries his height might affect his chances, but it turns out there are other factors that he should be more worried about… This is excellent for Year 3/4 and older.




Danny Hart is an ace detective – at 14 he is too young to join the police so as the next best thing he follows crime reports in the newspapers and investigates them himself. When one of his favourite football players at his local club goes missing and a ransom is demanded, Danny is onto it – if he is missing, how come Danny saw him the night before at the club?

A great read for year 4/5 up




As a major football tournament is about to get under way, MI6 receive intelligence that a terror group plans to assassinate the England Football team. Time to send in The Squad – your best team of 13 year olds who have all the training they need – just not in football skills! The nearby Youth Tournament is the ideal way to be on the ground in the right place, but do they even stand a chance? Exciting and fast paced for year 5/6 and up.




Jatinder gets mad with himself because he keeps taking the safe option – until summer school that is. His life is in danger and suddenly that free kick he keeps mulling over is not such a big deal after all. How do you combine actual events of World War Two air combat and football – Tom Palmer knows how! This series is perfect for anyone looking for an adventure, and if you are interested in World War history, even better!



Tom Palmer is an inspiration – he didn’t read a whole book by himself until he was 17 and found the love of reading through a football magazine. He has since written these tremendous series to engage reluctant readers and works with The Literacy Trust in the UK, with The Premier League and libraries and schools everywhere to help everyone discover something great in a book. Find out more about him and his books on his website here.

Look out in the library during the tournament for some World Cup related activities and a treasure hunt – there may even be prizes!

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Games for early mornings and busy lunchtimes

 Every morning the library is open from 8am and on this cold Friday morning I loved to hear this group of students giving their brains an active start to the day by playing the debating game Superfight. Superfight is a game of persuasive talking, where you draw a character card and a trait card and you have to say why you would win in a fight against the other players. It can sometimes be a bit gruesome! The game can be played with just two people and the green cards can be played by anyone but provide slightly friendlier characters for younger people. Here’s what our players drew today:


Your Mum who relies on heat vision to see.





A kindergarten class that shoots tear gas.




A skunk and you can think of any power you want.




A fairy godmother wearing giant clown shoes




The Little Mermaid made of ice cream





A fireman who is really dizzy



The game can be lifted further by introducing a location card and additional characteristics or scenarios cards. In this game, the group found themselves in Narnia during a hurricane of bears! The game can get quite raucous but nobody really the expects a library to be quiet, do they?

We have other games that can be borrowed at lunchtime:

We also have basic playing cards and a chess set. We will be introducing Mancala, a game similar to backgammon originating in Africa that can be played with stones and a basic board. Simple counting gives you the ability to plan your next move and quick thinking can move you from losing seat to winning seat in one move. I saw this being played at Corinna School in Porirua and have found it quite addictive! Here are some instructions. We just bought some stones from the $2 shop and printed out a board onto paper but they can be simpler or fancier than that.

All of our games can be borrowed and when in high demand we reserve them for groups to ensure they are spread around.



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Braving the weather to enjoy family reading time at Book Night 2018

It was lovely to have around 30 families come to our library for Book Night on Tuesday, taking the opportunity to enjoy reading together for this national reading event. People were reading all over New Zealand from Stewart Island all the way up to Kaitaia and it was great to see that even some students who couldn’t make it in to school were joining in at home. If you click here you can visit the website to zoom in on any of these stars to see what everyone was up to. We will find out this week if anyone of our entries won the spot prizes.

All of our photos from the night are here. Thank you everyone for making this a great occasion!


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Mythbusting fairy tales – no librarians were harmed in the making of this experiment.

Last week a group of year 3 students helped to test the myth of Rapunzel – would it really be possible to climb up somebody’s hair to rescue them? How would you both get down again? What other method could work?

We followed the method in one of a series of STEM Fairy tales, solving age old myths using what we know from science, technology, engineering and maths. Tying a hair around the neck of a bottle was the most challenging and fiddley part, or it was, until tying 4 hairs proved to be even more difficult! We discovered that while one hair stretched and snapped trying to lift even the smallest amount of water in the bottle, using 4 meant that the weight was distributed across all 4 and much more water could be lifted. So we decided that if Rapunzel’s hair was thick enough, it would be strong enough to lift a brave and persistent rescuer.*

Personally I prefer the idea the children came up with that they just use two toilet plungers and use those to stick to the walls and climb down like Spider-Man.

These books are part of the science and maths collection of books we have added to the library this year. Come and have a look for something interesting or downright weird. Anyone who loves Mythbusters might like this huge collection of results from all of their hundreds of experiments.

*Rapunzel might need to have the neck muscles of a prop forward but that needs more work.

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A Wrinkle in Time and other sci-fi with a hint of mystery

A Wrinkle in Time has been in cinemas for a few weeks now and anyone who went to see the film can read the book or enjoy something along the same lines. Clever children meeting a couple of oddball characters stumbling across a mystery that needs to be solved, sounds like the basis of a good book to me! One of the blogs we subscribe to made a few suggestions about similar books so here are some of those and a few more that we have in our library:


 This series is set far into the future when an earth changing 60 Minute War has forced cities into being mobile, traction cities which trudge across the landscape devouring smaller towns. An interesting setting and page-turning 4-Book series that has been followed up by a prequel trilogy by its author Phillip Reeve, and excitingly, a film adaptation being made by some of our friends in Wellington. His website here explains a bit more but these books are so good I would definately read them first. I personally can’t wait to see it though! Search “trailer Mortal Engines” – looks awesome!

 Eli lives with only 29 other young people in the safest and most wholesome town in America. Everything about his life is questioned when a thunderstorm opens up an area of the internet he’s never seen before and he discovers the world is not as perfect as his teachers and even his parents would have him believe. Follow Eli and his mates as they uncover some shocking truths and face a thrilling escape attempt. Year 6+.

Other 12 year olds think Dashiell must have a pretty exciting life, being one of the first people to live at Moon Base Alpha, but actually he’s bored out of his mind. When one of the top scientists makes a grave error and dies stepping out onto the lunar surface, Dashiell finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery with a mounting suspect list. This book is great for year 5/6 plus and there are more to follow in the Moon Base Alpha series.


A series of adventures for Hansel and Gretel who find themselves in a series of dark fairy tales, the author warns of blood and murder and he’s not wrong. Some grim reading for year 5+.





These are just some of this type of book we have in our library. Can you think of any more to add to this list? Or maybe others we don’t have?

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Wahine Survivor talks of calm amidst the tragedy

This is Rasik Ranchord with his daughter Rameela, a Learning Assistant here at Seatoun School. We were very lucky to have Mr Ranchord come into school last week and talk to many of our students about his experience on board The Wahine, 50 years ago.

Mr Ranchord, then a young man in his twenties, was travelling to Wellington for his brother’s wedding and described how for most of the journey he slept really well! It was only to be disturbed by a huge scraping crunching sound on the bottom of the ship when he woke up to a ship in disarray.

A voice came over the loudspeaker advising passengers not to be alarmed and to put lifejackets on. In all of the times Mr Ranchord had been on a ship, this was the first time he had ever had to put on a lifejacket. A big jolt happened and this created an eerie and almost awkward silence as everyone knew that this had become very serious. “We were ushered to sit and I went over to the side of the ship. I could see a massive heaving, foaming sea beneath us”.

Another voice came over the loudspeaker – “We have slid off the reef and sent for the tug boats which will soon tug us into the harbour!”

“A loud cheer greeted this, the hot tea came out and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, when the tug boats came and the wires were eventually attached, the boat had taken on so much water that they were unable to move us. The ship began to list and twice it righted itself. The third time, it listed and then didn’t come back.”

At this point, as the lights went out, panic started to hit many of the people as shouting was heard and the order came to abandon ship. Wooden boats fixed to the side of the ship were prepared and women and children were told to be ready first, however some people panicked and jumped overboard. Mr Ranchord pointed out that the wind had dramatically died right down, and he firmly believes that had the order to leave the ship come earlier, more lives would have been lost as people would have been tossed from the lifeboats into the incredibly stormy sea.

Mr Ranchord was one of the last people to leave the sinking ship, and he was on an inflatable dinghy which drifted towards the Eastbourne coast for over an hour. Many small boats left Eastbourne to pick up people still in the water.

He and his fellow survivors had to walk quite a distance to the road, where they were picked up and taken to the RSA and given warm food and dry clothes. He was then taken to Wellington Station where families waited anxiously to greet their loved ones.

Mr Ranchord told us how he never felt panic during this whole event, how he felt very peaceful and able to calmly follow instructions, this no doubt helped him to survive and is something to remember if we were to face our own desperate situation.

Mr Ranchord attended his brother’s wedding and returned by ferry back to Lyttleton a few days later, passing the wrecked Wahine on his journey.

The Year 5/6s, who have been learning about The Wahine in the last few weeks, will have benefitted greatly from hearing this eye witness account of such a devastating event in Wellington and New Zealand’s history. Thank you to Mr Ranchord who gave us such an engaging account.

For more images, video broadcast and radio reports about this event you can also look on our blog under Research Help or click here. Photos on this post are from DigitalNZ’s reproduction of photos held in the Alexander Turnbull Library. Of the few fictional accounts based on this disaster that are available for children, No Safe Harbour by David Hill is the best, available from our library.

Seatoun was key to the rescue effort at this time and being so close, the community very much shared in the weight of this tragedy. Seatoun School hosts Seatoun Remembers on Tuesday 10th April.

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