New Zealand Children’s Book Awards Winners announced

At a fancy ceremony at Te Papa last night the winners of the 2018 New Zealand Children’s Book Awards were announced, and I am very happy with the results!

The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

This is an absolutely stunning visual history of New Zealand, full of information and beautiful illustrations. We have several copies of this book and will be enjoyed by students for reading for pleasure, by teachers for use in the classroom, and as a wonderful book to own and dip into whenever you feel like it. A worthy addition to every home I believe, excellent present for anybody. Can I say any more?



Best Picture Book

 A firm favourite with our youngest junior classes, I am Jellyfish tells the tale of this unassuming creature who simply lives in the ocean and keeps herself to herself, until a hungry swordfish forces her into the depths. Our children recognised the lovely flowing words that fit beautifully with the bright and engaging illustrations, with most scoring it 5/5, 10/5 and even 1,000,000/5. Granny McFlitter and her penguin pyjamas must have been a close second,  but I’m glad our junior favourite won the prize. Here’s our bar chart of results from their vote:

Best Junior Fiction

A plucky lead female character leads us through a tricky time in her life when she is desperate to become a Bee on her farm, a prestigious position where fruit trees are physically pollinated by children in lieu of the bees which have declined in numbers. A change in circumstance sees her working alongside her mother in the dreary and divided city, where an unlikely friendship keeps her on track. A look into the future of New Zealand without bees, this book has an ecological message but is actually mostly about grit and loyalty. A fantastic book for year 5-8.


Other award winners:

It has been a lot of fun reading the picture books with all of our junior classes and having interesting discussions about what makes one picture book better than another. I have handed some of the other finalists in the junior fiction category to year 5 and 6 students to read and shared the YA finalists around a great group of year 8 students who were willing to give them a go. All of the finalists and winners will be enjoyed in our library, in the classrooms and at home.


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Further parent resources in school library

With FOSS support we are continuing to add resources to our school library for parents to borrow. You may recognise these titles above from FOSS parenting presentations, the latest of which supports Term 3’s presentation on raising empathetic children. All of these titles can be borrowed for up to a month, or reserved by emailing

A previous post here details the first group of our collection. Here are some more:

Steve Biddulph shows parents how to provide the firm, loving guidance that boys need. Updates include information on mitigating the dangerous effects of online pornography, male specific hearing problems, and teen driving on boys. Biddulph also discusses:
• The three stages of boyhood, and how to help them go smoothly.
• Testosterone! How it changes behaviour.
• The impact of competitive sports on boys, and how to ensure it stays positive.
• Questions to assist in finding boy-friendly schools

These are great resources for parents to read with their intermediate age children, particularly just before they leave to go to high school where pressure to make decisions both on an academic and social level can become quite overwhelming. Having the grit to go for it and take risks is something we all hope to achieve, however recognising that we show more grit in some situations than others is a great first step to improving this quality. These books offer simple exercises which you can pick and choose from.

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras examines how technology―more specifically, age-inappropriate screen tech, with all of its glowing ubiquity―has profoundly affected the brains of an entire generation. Kardaras will dive into the sociological, psychological, cultural, and economic factors involved in the global tech epidemic with one major goal: to explore the effect all of our wonderful shiny new technology is having on kids.

Rated 4/5 on,  The Out-of-Sync Child broke new ground by identifying Sensory Processing Disorder, a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. This newly revised edition features additional information from recent research on vision and hearing deficits, motor skill problems, nutrition and picky eaters, ADHA, autism, and other related disorders.

For harassed parents struggling to understand why they end up screaming at their kids and tearing their hair out trying to make them understand that bad behaviour has inevitable consequences, this popular book might help your family make it through the crucial first decade or so and still enjoy each other’s company. Practical commonsense answers and real life examples, logical and realistic strategies, and innovative behaviour modification tools that work in the real world – all from a parent and family therapist who’s seen almost everything there is to see and offers some hard-won battlefield wisdom. A donation to the school library that is well worth a browse.


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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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