New books galore in the library!

Last week we found out that Seatoun School had won the Wellington City Libraries Summer Reading Challenge, with 27 of our students reading books and entering the competition online. We received $500 of book vouchers to buy books for the library and we have wasted no time at all in spending this money with our junior students helping to choose a lovely new set of picture books.

Robbie’s Dad made a robot which does all of their household jobs, but taking it to school doesn’t quite go as Robbie planned! Golly gosh what a mess he makes! Room 6 loved this rhyming book and thought everyone else would too, so Robot Stop is a keeper!

Once upon a time a thief committed a crime
Everything he stole he replaced with a rhyme!

Imagine if someone stole your birthday cake and replaced it with a snake! A thief is about and nothing can stop him – until a tricky word crops up that just doesn’t appear to rhyme with anything! Room 5 and Room 8 loved Rhyme Crime and gave it a big thumbs up:

The year 3/4 classes have been speed reading a large selection of books to help us choose which ones to keep. Here are some photos of Rooms 10, 11 and 12:

Here is another great selection we picked up from The Childrens Bookshop this week with our vouchers. All of these books will be in the library to borrow this week, and here’s Hazel furiously covering them! Thanks Hazel!

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Books for inquisitive minds!!!

For the start of term we have been sharing some of the books I read over the holidays and some new books that we have in our library. This series by Andrea Beaty is all about children who don’t mind asking questions, taking risks and finding out just why?

She started with Why? and then What? How and When?
By bedtime she came back to Why? once again

The author has a great website here, where you can find activities and experiments you can do at home that are linked to each of the books. One page you might like to try out is this one by clicking on the image below. Astronaut Kate Rubins is reading Rosie Revere Engineer aloud from the International Space Station!

For children who love adventure but also have an interest in sustainability and protecting our planet, this two part series is excellent:

He’s just one and a half millimetres tall, but Toby Lolness is the most wanted person in the great Oak Tree. Pursued across a hazardous terrain of falling leaves, thick moss forests and bark mountains, hunted by an army of angry woodcutters and blood-thirsty soldier ants, Toby faces an epic battle for survival in an unforgettable miniature world.

The people that inhabit the Tree are not sure if there is any other life beyond their tree, even if there are other trees, but rumours circulate about the dangers of the Grass People and this threatens their peaceful existence. Toby’s father is a highly respected scientist, until his ideas about the dangers of continued digging and building in the tree and it’s effect on the long term sustainability of it are causing unrest amongst the people that hold power. Toby finds himself alone and in danger from even his closest allies, and he must use his wits and sheer determination to seek the truth about his parents. This book continues in Toby and the Secrets of the Tree, and is a great read for students age 9+.

Finally for our older readers, The Chaos Walking Trilogy describes a time in the future when groups of people from earth have inhabited another planet, only to find that once there, all people’s thoughts can be heard by everyone and this Noise cannot be escaped.  Imagine a world where there is information overload, where you are constantly being bombarded by others’ thoughts and feelings! Not too hard to imagine actually, only, on this planet, the women and girls have not survived and only the men are left. Todd is the last boy to be approaching his coming of age, a point in time that he has only heard whispers about. Why is there a place at the edge of his community where there is no Noise at all? Why do his caregivers want him to leave and what secrets do they keep? We share Todd’s dangerous journey on the run outside Prentisstown with his dog Manchee (who also has Noise). This book would be classed as science fiction or fantasy, and is suitable for ages 11+ due to the detail of violence that is described.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe features Romy, a sixteen year old girl who was born to astronaut parents on board a ship bound for settlement on a distant planet. An incident causing the death of her parents has meant that for the rest of her 50 year journey, she will be alone at steering the ship to it’s destination. She has a friend who she can message back on earth, a lady named Molly who is her mentor and companion, albeit 2 years behind time. Suddenly Romy gets a message that another, faster ship is on its way to the same destination and will catch up with her in a few years – only one person on board, and this time it’s a boy! Will romance ensue? What has happened back on earth? And is this boy J all he says he is? Romy is a very capable girl, but can she cope with what is being asked of her? Read it and find out!


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Summer Reading Challenge – start now!!!!!

Wellington City Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge was launched on 1st December and we can get involved at Seatoun School to aim to have the most books read and reviewed as a school across the whole of Wellington! There are prizes to be won – after you have reviewed 2 books you win a prize, then again after 5 books and so on, plus you go in the overall prize draw for yourself and for the schools prize. You just need a WCL library card and a willing parent to help you to visit the library over the holidays  – here’s how it works:

1. Choose a book from the summer challenge list – you can pick up a copy of this list at school, at your local library or see it online here. Any books that are part of the series like Captain Underpants or Wimpy Kid can count towards your totals, but try to challenge yourself to read some that you have never read before.We have many of the books in our library at school – see which ones we have here.

2. Read the book.

3. Go online to the review site here and say what you thought about the book. Think about why you enjoyed it, what your favourite bits were, who your favourite characters were and who else you think might enjoy reading it. Give it a score out of 5.

4. Fill in your details, including your WCL library card number, tick the box to say it is part of the Summer Reading Challenge and don’t forget to click on the dropdown box and select Seatoun School.

5. Choose another book and do it all over and over again until 31st January.


Come and ask Mrs Bamber in the the library if you need any help.

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Room 4’s Monsters under Bridges

Children in Room 4 have cleverly combined ideas from these two beautiful books to create their very scary and occasionally disturbing monsters under bridges stories. Have a read of some of their fine stories:

Once a long time ago in 1887 a monster lurked under the Pont du Gard, his name is Razor Mouth! Some information: this creature looks like a great white shark mixed with an electric eel it eats anything but mostly humans. There is one left because the rest died out and it’s bigger than a blue whale. What does this monster do with all it’s spare time? It hangs on the first row of arches  until people try and fish it out. It drops his hand and takes the bait off the fishing rod and eats it then hangs on the rod. The person will think that he has a fish on the rod so they will try and pull up their rod and instead of the human pulling it up the monster pulls it down. The guy said “oh lovely sea creatures” swoosh! “huh!” pop and he was gone.

About the monster body, it has 20 eyes and one hypnotizing eye. The big spike on the tail can shoot, it has razor sharp teeth and one eye connected to a tube to see what goes on above the water. Funny fact, he uses his hand in the jungle gym. The jungle gym is the bridge.

Long long ago there was a monster under a bridge called Brooklyn Bridge. The monster was higher than the clouds. The monster ate cars who went over the Brooklyn Bridge. Sometimes he ate people who went over the bridge too, only if I they were being mean to him. He is round and squidgy he eats pineapple, rubbish bins and giant bananas and of course Donald Trump. The monster can live forever so you might even see him if you go to the Brooklyn Bridge.

A long long time ago there lived a monster called Rocket Shark and he lived under Iron Bridge. He lived in England. He has see-through teeth, a bristled tongue and weapons. He eats people. There are 100000000000 of them. He is as big as an elephant. It has 11 eyes and it has a glowing light on its chin.

Once upon a time there was a monster called Chubby Guy. He lived under the Millau Viaduct. He was shaking the bridge!!! Then cars and people fell off the bridge and he said “Yes, yes, yes it’s my lucky day!” until the cars landed on him! He said “Ouch!” and they still fell on him. “I am getting really annoyed” until half the bridge collapsed and some pieces went in his mouth!!! No, no, no, noooooooooo!!! and then the rest of the bridge collapsed. “This my bridge.” then no one took any cars away because of him. “I’m not Chubby I’m Bad Guy. Not a good year for me or any one.” The End.


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Parent resources in the library

Thanks to FOSS we have a growing collection of books for parents around the often tricky subject of parenting. These books can be found on display in the foyer at school or in the library. Anyone can borrow them, just come in to the library to see Mrs Bamber (Wendy) and we can set you up an account. Books can be borrowed for two weeks and then extended if nobody is waiting for them. You can also reserve them and be first to get them when they come back in. Here is a brief description of the books we have already purchased. ( is a great site for searching up books and also joining others in rating and reviewing books. You can set up an account very easily and link up with friends.)

This Goodreads reviewer gave this book a 5/5 rating – here’s what they thought:
“John Parsons takes a very practical approach to his topic, using short real-life examples to illustrate situations such as cyber-bullying or of young people tricked into sending inappropriate images. He shows how these situations can be resolved and discusses who to turn to for help.

This book is recommended to parents of children from 0-18 years old. If your child is at the younger end, then there are great tips about how to talk about values that will stand you and your child in good stead as they traverse the technology landscape. For parents of teens, there are lots of practical ideas here of how to talk to your teens about the way they use social media, as well as reminders of your children’s rights and what the law says about cyber-bullying. If your teen has already got caught up in a difficult situation, you’ll find the case studies useful as well as the agencies listed in the back.”

For a taster, check out the short videos on the publishers’ website…

The Goodreads average rating for this book is 3.9/5 – here is what one reviewer wrote, rating it 4/5:
Although this book is written for parents who have children with anxiety issues, the 7 strategies the authors offer are also relevant for teachers and other professionals who work with anxious children and teens.The authors contend the strategies work for children aged 8 – 18, but I believe any age may benefit from their guidance. In fact. adults might recognize themselves in the pages of this book and find using the 7 strategies in their own lives beneficial.

Good reads rating 4.49/5 – Many of the children talked about in this book missed out on attachment in their very early years and the impact on their brain activity and development made a huge difference to their outcomes. A fascinating read with some occasionally tricky to follow brain science explanations, this book undoubtedly serves to remind us to be kind to our fellow human beings and treat everyone with care. Nathan Mikaere Wallis recommended this book in an earlier presentation.

4.35/5 Goodreads rating. Steve Biddulph is a well known author of best selling parenting books Raising Boys and Raising Girls, and his followers have not been disappointed with his latest book which offers interactive tasks and advice to start some of those tricky conversations. According to Steve himself, “the aim of this book is to help you understand how to lay down the foundations of good mental health early in your daughter’s life,
and to keep her strong all the way through.”

Look at this link for an honest review by the New Zealand Herald.

Rated 4.28/5 by Goodreads reviewers, this is another book recommended by Nathan Wallis. This is not just for new parents to read – the brain science behind the importance of love, attention and nurturing is good value for any adult involved in the care of children. Here’s another reviewer’s opinion:
This book has been an amazing discovery. The way the author has been able to translate recent hard-science evidence into intelligible information is great. I’d like this book to be made compulsory reading at university, when one is mature enough to reflect about what it means to create a new life, and to try to gather information about our own infancy and how it may influence our emotions around parent-motherhood. This book is an invitation to think, not only about family but also about society.

Goodreads rating 4.08 . ‘Celia doesn’t tell men how to raise their boys . instead she provides tools for parents who want their sons to become good men.’ Celia Lashlie was the first female officer in a men’s prison and after years working in the service she knows what can happen when boys make the wrong choices. During the recent Good Man Project she talked to 180 classes of boys throughout New Zealand, and what she found was surprising, amusing and, in some cases, frightening. In this funny, honest, no-nonsense book Celia Lashlie reveals what goes on inside the world of boys, and that it is an entirely different world from that of girls. She offers some practical and reassuring advice to parents on raising their boys to become good, loving, articulate men. Celia had two boys herself and lived in Wellington until she sadly passed away in 2015.

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Can we build a bridge for 21 elephants?

Rooms 4,5,6,7,8 and 9 have been learning a lot about bridges this term, and together we found out about how one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Brooklyn Bridge, was tested to prove to doubters that it was safe and sound. This book, 21 Elephants and still standing by April Jones Prince is based on the true story of how circus owner Barnum asked the New York City chiefs if he could walk his troop of elephants across the bridge. You can read about this fascinating story by clicking here.

There is also a good selection of facts about the Brooklyn Bridge by The History Channel, here.

Of course we had to see if we could use our new knowledge of bridge building along with some very simple materials to create a structure that would hold our elephants. Here are some of the results:





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Competition launched to celebrate Wonder film

This is the new edition of one of our library favourites Wonder, the story of a boy with facial differences who has been unable to attend school until 5th grade. Despite warm family backing, Auggie finds the going tough until he meets friends who offer genuine kindness and support.

We were very excited to hear that a film had been made of this story and will be released on November 17th. Click on the photo to go to the trailer.

To celebrate this we have a fantastic prize pack of a family ticket for 4 to see the new film at Roxy Cinema in Miramar plus a copy of the movie tie-in edition of the book.

This competition aims to recognise the kindness that we see happening in our school every day. We want people to nominate students who they see showing kindness, empathy, aroha, compassion and inclusion to their fellow Seatoun community members. Come to the library, take a post it note and write on it the name and class number of the person you are nominating, what act of kindness you have seen from them, and your name so that we know who has nominated them. The competition was launched today and already we have had plenty of people recognising the kindness they have seen.  By the time we draw a winner from these entries I hope the board is completely filled with the brightly coloured post it notes:

We are very grateful to the generosity of Roxy Cinema who loved our kindness themed competition so much that they donated a second family ticket! This means we can make two draws at Hui on the 17th November, ready for you to read the novel before the premiere of the movie at Roxy two weeks later.

Here is our finished wall:

Good luck everyone and remember to always Choose Kind.

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Tales of True Grit and Survival against the odds




This is the question we can ask ourselves when reading some of the books on our survival display in the library.

Over the holidays I read Bear Gryll’s True Grit in which he tells the real life adventure stories of some truly gritty individuals.  Take 17 year old Juliane Koepcke who fell 10,000 feet from the sky out of a disintegrating aeroplane, only to find herself completely alone in the middle of a jungle. She was wearing a thin summer dress and one shoe – hardly the gear you would hope to be wearing if you were in this situation. Juliane used her basic survival knowledge to keep herself alive – this may or may not involve an open wound and some maggots, you will need to read it to find out!

Over the course of the book it is hard to believe that these people survived some of these situations and they all had to show incredible determination and a real will to survive.

Bear Grylls has also written fiction books for children, a series called Mission Survival, some of which we have in the library.

Jackie French, an Australian author, has written many, many books for children and adults. She herself has shown incredible grit and determination to succeed because she overcame the odds of being dyslexic to become a multi award winning best selling author. Imagine that! I love the letter she wrote to her fellow dyslexics which is on her website, some of it is here:

This letter is to someone who can change the world.
That person’s you.
I know the world can change. I’ve seen it done.
I wish I could say it will be easy. It won’t.

But I can promise that this is probably the worst it’s going to get. I can also promise that there are people who can teach you to read and write as easily as I now can. (I still can’t spell, or notice typos, but my computer can. It can’t write books though.)

The poem ends with

Keep at it. Because one day you’re going to soar.

You can read the whole poem here, and have a look at the rest of her website to find out more about her life, coping with dyslexia, see all of her books and the hundreds of awards she has won for them.

Back to the point of this post which is to talk about grit and survival. Johannes in Goodbye Mr Hitler must show enormous grit when he finds himself in a concentration camp towards the end of World War Two. Many millions of even the toughest people could not be saved during this time and Johannes was truly one of the lucky ones in his camp to be able to survive his time there. Once the camp was liberated, or freed by the Americans at the end of the war, he still needed to stay alive, find some kind of family to belong to, and make his way like many others to a better life in Australia.

There is some quite raw description of some of the treatment shown to Johannes and the other children in the camp which is why this book is in our STAR book section for older readers in years 6-8. In this book we also catch up with Heidi, the star of one of Jackie French’s other wartime books, Hitler’s Daughter, and Georg from Pennies for Hitler.

Come and have a look at our display in the library and find a tale of survival.


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Bee Aware Month for Enviro Team

Imagine a world without strawberries, kiwifruit, apples, nuts, coffee, chocolate or even denim jeans. These are all foods and products pollinated by honey bees. Bees around the world and especially in New Zealand cannot survive without our help, and in turn we wouldn’t survive without them. The bee population in New Zealand contributes about $5 billion to our economy annually and supports about one third of everything we eat!

This year to help raise awareness our Enviro Team have been getting creative and designing an image using digital software to to shine a spotlight on the role bees play as pollinators of our food and other products we consume.

We got into a few teams and using the ipads and the sketchbook app we have created the following posters which have been entered into a competition and have been put up around the school. We hope you like them!

 Lulu, Bonnie May and Gracie:

Our poster is all about how important bees are to humans and why we need to keep them safe. Without bees we wouldn’t have things like honey, denim jeans and lots more. We used sketchbook and had lots of fun playing around with all the tools to get our poster how we wanted it.

 Dimitri and Solomon:

Our poster is all about how bees are important to people all around the world. Without bees we wouldn’t be able to have lots of things like chocolate, fruits, denim jeans and most of all honey. Solomon and I used sketchbook to make the bee awareness poster.

Josie, Maria & Talesha:

Our poster represents the many things that bees pollinate that we would be without if we did not have bees. Many of the drawings on our poster are things that bees pollinate, including denim jeans!

Maria, Talesha and I used a tool called sketchbook on the ipad to create our bee awareness poster.

Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:

  • Grow plants in your garden that attract bees. – Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar such as borage, lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not.
  • Don’t mow your lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on.
  • Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
  • If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.  
  • Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
  • Spread the word by letting people know about how important bees are
  • Garden organically or use bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water

National Geographic for Kids has some interesting facts about bees on their website – have a look here.

Another interesting fact about bees is that they can see ultraviolet light, and what they see when they look at flowers is quite different to what we see. Scientists have studied this in order to optimise pollination for worldwide produce – “every third bite that you consume at the dinner table is the result of insect pollinators’ work” – the way growers organise their greenhouses can be based on which plants they need the bees to spot first! On this flower below, the Creeping Zinnia, the spots that the bees see through their ultra-violet lens acts as a landing pad to direct them to where the nectar is. Have a look at the full article from the BBC here. If you want to try and see flowers the way bees do, you could get yourself a piece of blue cellophane (leftover from craft or gift-wrapping) and look through that. Certain flowers will appear brighter than others.

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The ancient and magnificent Baobab Tree

During Term 3 in the library the juniors have been reading a variety of books about Africa and we have created our own African Savannah for the children to decorate with some of the animals that live there. Some of their animals appear outside the library too.

Here are some of our artists from Rooms 5 and 9:

One of the most incredible trees in the world, the Baobab, also has a home on the African plains. We have shared a book about the Baobab, learning just how many living things use this tree for food, shelter and water, giving the tree one of its well deserved names, The Tree of Life.

We learned many fascinating facts about this incredible tree – that it lives for over a thousand years, can grow to up to forty feet across (yes that’s right, forty feet across!) and sixty feet high.

This is the yellow-billed hornbill, an endangered bird that finds a hole in the tree, builds a wall behind itself while it lays and sits on its eggs, and is fed through a small hole by its mate. Once the eggs are hatched and the chicks are a few weeks old, the mother breaks out and then the parents and chicks rebuild the wall to keep the chicks safe for another few weeks while both parents feed them. Incredible! Find out more from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, the site which also gave us permission to use their photo.

Here is another cool bird that builds its nest which hangs from the Baobab, the red-headed weaver:

This eager-to-please male builds the nest and then invites its mate to have a look at it. If she doesn’t like it, he must start all over again!

The website which allowed us to use these images is a company which provides tours in Africa and their guides produce a blog which contains some incredible images and stories. Have a look here at Africa Geographic and search their blog.

These are the lovely books we have shared, learning about the language, animals and way of life in Africa. These can be borrowed from the library, or you can come and have a look at our displays.

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