Saturday, 30 April 2011

Super Six Saturday - My Favourite Mums

It's my rostered Saturday on at the Warkworth Library and everyone is in an extremely buoyant mood following the twin celebrations of William and Katherine's wedding and a win to the New Zealand Breakers last night. Everyone agrees that she was beautiful (Kate), the ceremony was a lovely mix of formal and informal and that the most nerves shown all night were probably from the crowd at the basketball for the first three quarters before the Breakers ran away with it.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day!! And to celebrate in an extremely biased fashion, here are my Top 6 mums of TV, Film, Music and Literature.

  1. Marmee from Little Women (Louisa May Alcott). The story of four sisters and their mother during the American Civil War is a classic. The libraries have over 40 different versions of this story, ranging from the full classic text, the abridged and simplified versions for younger readers, adaptations and modernisations.

  2. Stella Johnson of Harper Valley PTA fame. The original country song was written by Tom T Hall, was a hit for Jeannie C Riley and spawned both a movie and a TV series. I love the words and the message about hypocrisy. Plus it has a fantastic rhythm. Any Mum who can sock it to a PTA meeting has my vote.

  3. Lucille Ball. I grew up watching re-runs of I Love Lucy and while she may not always have got it right in the mothering department (or if she did it was more by accident than design) she still gets my vote as one of the funniest TV mum's.

  4. Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter series (J K Rowling). Who wouldn't love Mrs Weasley as their mum. Tough but fair. Warm-hearted but a little kookie and capable of embarressing you from a distance. However her ability to do magic to get you out of a tight spot may come in handy.

  5. Donna Sheridan from the hit musical Mamma Mia. One spunky capable lady, despite the obstacles put in her path. She has single-handedly raised an independent daughter about to get married and is helped in getting my vote in having three men to vying to be father of the bride.

  6. Mary, Mother of God. Whether you believe in her simply as a character in the Bible, as a figure in history or as part of your faith, stories of Mary of Nazareth are part of my upbringing and she remains a very strong mother figure that has to be included in this list.

So that's my list. Have I left off your favourite? Leave me a comment if you agree or disagree with me. And above all - make your Mum (and all Mums) feel special tomorrow.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Top 5 for Friday - A Right Royal Knees Up

Whichever way you turn this week, it is hard to avoid the fact that on the other side of the world a certain family is having a "small" ceremony as one of their clan ties the knot. We have got right into the spirit of things here at Warkworth Library with my Mum's wedding dress taking pride of place in our display (her reaction when I rang up to see if she still had it and if I could borrow it are a subject for a whole other day).

For today's Top 5 I have a list of movies you can watch to warm you up for the main event. Whether they concentrate on royalty or matrimony, there is something here for everyone (if you haven't already overdosed on "the wedding")

  1. Kings & Queens: the real dramas of Britain's greatest monarchs. If you are a bit of an English History buff like me (one of the highlights of my Northern Hemisphere jaunt several years ago was walking through the Tower of London on the same stones as all the people I had only read about in books) then this documentary is for you. In a thousand years, the British monarchy has evolved from divinely appointed warrior kings to benign political figureheads. Among them are some of the most fascinating historical figures - conquerors, murderers, lovers and schemers. Their gripping stories - from Henry II's 'murder' of Thomas A'Becket to George III's loss of America - are at the heart of the nation's history. From this millenium of violence, romance, intrigue and controversy, Cambridge University's Dr Nigel Spivey tells the stories of twelve great kings and queens. At the scenes of the decisive moments in British history, accompanied by dramatic reconstructions, he pieces together the incidents, battles and motivations that shaped their lives.

  2. The Queen. It sometimes seems strange to watch a movie about a past so recent that we actually lived through it. I got that feeling several times watching this movie about the reaction of the royal family, and especially Queen Elizabeth II in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana. However in much the same way that I am in awe of the actors who created The King's Speech, this movie is worth watching just for the performance of Dame Helen Mirren. An intimate, moving portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Tony Blair following the untimely death of Princess Diana. The Queen's restrained reaction causes a public relations debacle that Prime Minister Blair must defuse. The two struggle to reach a compromise between what was a private tragedy for the Royal family and the public's demand for an open display of mourning.

  3. Four Weddings and a Funeral. It's not royalty but it is English and there are weddings. And it is heaps of light-hearted fun which is always good for a rainy afternoon. A young man meets and falls in love with a young woman while attending various weddings (and a funeral), including her wedding to someone else, and his to another woman.

  4. Elizabeth. The life of Queen Elizabeth I has been the subject of several movies. One of the best stars Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush. Queen Elizabeth I must learn to weigh her counsel carefully and ignore her private yearnings if she is to keep her crown, and her head. A thriller of intrigue in the court of one of history's greatest monarchs.

  5. Sione's Wedding. Neither British or royal, this home grown comedy is another movie that can bear rewatching over and over. I can't wait for the sequel that is currently being filmed (one of our Auckland libraries was used for a scene recently). Meet best friends Michael, Albert, Stanley and Sefa; the ladies' man, the good boy, the weird one and the party boy. They're staring down the barrel of their thirtieth birthdays, but still act as if they're sixteen; they get drunk, they chase the wrong women and they have a remarkable record of misbehaving and causing chaos at every wedding they attend. But now Michael's younger brother Sione is getting married, and everything is about to change. Sione is their boy, the kid they used to look after, who grew up while they were still partying. And to ensure his big day isn't spoiled by his boys and their idiot antics, Sione has issued an ultimatum; the guys all have to bring dates to the wedding. And not just any dates; real girlfriends, someone they've made a commitment to. They have one month. So just how hard can it be to get a date for your best boy's wedding?

So whether you are sitting down for Tea and Tiara's tonight, are dressing up or are ignoring it completely and cheering the Breakers on instead, have an awesome day, night and weekend.

Go the Breakers!!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Children's and Teens reading

While I should have been doing something else, I caught up on a bit of Children's and Teens fiction reading over Easter. So before I forget (and so I can return the books to avoid any fines), here's a quick rundown.

The short second life of bree tanner - Stephenie Meyer. I thought I might be over vampires and the Twilight phenomenon. But I found this novella a thoroughly good read. Bree is a new vampire and finds it difficult to control her thirst. Combine that with not knowing who to trust and a dawning realisation that she may be a pawn in a larger game and you have a suspense filled and, at the conclusion, poignant book for teens.

Tussock - Elizabeth Pulford. Kate's father is missing. The whole family is suffering as the search continues for his downed plane. Kate believes that if she lights the lamp each night in the old tin hut among the tussock, it will guide her father home. While there she meets Troy who she discovers is running away from his father, with good reason. The two story strands combine in a satisfying conclusion in this New Zealand chapter book for older children.

Dreams of Warriors - Susan Brocker. A Kiwi animal lover, this author's latest story of a family struggling to survive during the Second World War. Their father is a POW, their neighbour wants their farm, the grass is running out for the dairy herd and Bella's older sister is more interested in the American soldiers who are camped in town. Add to the mix a crazy bad-tempered racehorse called Gipsy and you have the ingredients for a great tale which mixes a slice of Kiwi history with an adventurous animal story.

When the cat's away - Jackie Rutherford. This Kiwi teen read is on the NZ Post Children's Book Awards short list. And it's a brilliant read. Real characters doing things that everyone can relate to. After all, if you were a teen and your mum and dad went away, and the person who was supposed to be looking after you couldn't be there, wouldn't you have a party. Find out how it happens and how three siblings who don't get on cope in the aftermath. There are jobs, food stalls and then there's the eating disgusting foods competition. Recommended.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

School Holiday programmes this week

Here's the full run down of School Holiday programmes around the district this week. Mahurangi East Tuesday @ 10.30am Storytime for Pre-schoolers Thursday @ 10.30am Get ready to celebrate Mother's Day with stories and activities. Orewa Tuesday @ 11am Rhymetime for Pre-schoolers Wednesday @ 2.30pm Let's Celebrate. Stories and activities for school age children Thursday @ 11am Storytime for Pre-schoolers Warkworth Library Thursday @ 10.30am Celebrating Mum's everywhere with stories and crafts. Wellsford Library Wednesday @ 10.30am Storytime for pre-schoolers Thursday @ 10.30am Mothers Day stories and crafts Whangaparaoa Tuesday and Wednesday @ 10.30am Storytime for Preschoolers Tuesday and Wednesday @ 2.30pm Village Fair at the Library. Maypole dancing and more Thursday @ 10.30am Rhymetime for Preschoolers Helensville Library Wednesday @ 10:30am Go wild! 'Rumble in the Jungle' with savage stories, crazy crafts and ferocious fun at our school holiday storytimes for school aged children. Kumeu Thursday @ 10.30amGo wild! 'Rumble in the Jungle' with savage stories, crazy crafts and ferocious fun at Kumeu's school holiday programme for school aged children.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Top Ten for Thursday

As tomorrow is a holiday, there is no Top Five for Friday. Which led me to ponder Thursday. Should it be two or ten? Somehow two just didn't seem to cut it (and I wouldn't have been able to decide which two anyway). So in commemoration of Anzac Day on Monday, here is our Top Ten for Thursday.

For Children

  1. Lest we Forget Feana Tu'akoi, illustrated by Elspeth Alix Batt. This recently released picture book gives a Kiwi perspective on the wars New Zealanders have fought on, so far from home. Told from the point of view of a young boy who thinks war is stupid, he sits down for afternoon tea with three generations of his family and then decides whether or not he should go to the Dawn Service on Anzac Day. A wonderful addition to the shelves and well received as a read aloud today during my School Holiday Programme by both children and adults.

  2. Anzac Day Parade Glenda Kane & Lisa Allen. Fewer words but slightly more sophisticated in meaning is the next Kiwi Anzac book. Meanings are implied rather than explicit which means this is a great picture book to share with your family. The illustrations and ghosting are superb.

  3. The Pillow War Matt Novak. The publisher's blurb calls this tale "whimsical" and on one level it is a very light-hearted look at a pillow fight between Millie and Fred which spreads until the whole world is involved. On another level it can be used to introduce the concept of arguments, fighting and war and how easily they spread outside the boundaries of a single country. Another picture book that went down well at my storytime for pre-schoolers earlier this week.

  4. Should we forget? : the significance of Anzac Day : letters to James Jim Rolfe. I haven't read this book but it sounds intriguing. "Letter from a grandfather to a grandson explain the significance Anzac Day has for so many New Zealanders and Australians" With chapters (letters) describing the significance of the red poppy, the last post and the ode, many people will find this interesting.

  5. I dream of peace: Images of war by children of former Yugoslavia created by UNICEF. It's not about Anzac Day, Kiwis (or even Australians). And although it is catalogued as Children's Non-fiction and I have included it in this section, I would also highly recommend it to adults. The images are startlingly simple and the words incredibly powerful as children between 8 and 15 describe what war means to them. A big part of Anzac Day for me personally is the hope for peace and that there will no longer be a need for Kiwis to go to war. This book really reinforces that message.

For Adults

  1. The long white cloud : Gallipoli Buket Uzuner ; translated by Pelin Thornhill Ariner. One of the fabulous things about now being part of the biggest library in Australasia is being able to find and tell you about treasures that are available to us now. This 2004 Turkish title which has been translated into English looks like one of them. I haven't read it but it may join others on my TBR list. The summary in our catalogue reads Gallipoli 2000: A young New-Zealender woman coming to Gallipoli to find the lost grave of the great-grandfather who died in the Battle of Gallipoli, and the stunning eighty-five year old secret of a Turkish granny strolling in the Gallipoli National Park with her cane... Gallipoli 1915: The terrifying lesson Ottoman Lieutenant Ali Osman bey and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealander Army Corps) Private Alistair John Taylor teach mankind together... The great test for mankind that no nation is yet ready to include in history books: Could the same man be a hero in two conflicting countries in the same war? Or, is history a text that can be read linearly? Besides, should history be re-written?

  2. 25 April 1915 : the day the Anzac legend was born David W. Cameron. What happened on April 25th to make Anzac Day such a part of our history. This 2007 book is one of many which describes the events of the day, what led to it and it's aftermath.

  3. Gallipoli : the battlefield guide / Mat McLachlan. Like many Kiwis, one day I would like to visit Gallipoli and really get a sense fo the place that is such a big part of our history. As the catalogue summary for this book says More Australians and New Zealanders visit Gallipoli every year, and the numbers are increasing each year as the centenary of the landing approaches in 2015. This practical guide book enables them plan their trip, work out what to see and in what order, and gives the historical background to the major battles.

  4. Traitor Stephen Daisley. This novel came out last year and I haven't read it yet either. The summary from the Publisher's website indicates that it addresses in fiction how one man balances his pasifist nature with his pride in his country. Opening on the battlefields of Gallipoli, Traitor follows the story of young New Zealand soldier, David, as he is forced to confront the clash of love for his fellow man versus love for his country. Sent home in disgrace, broken and made anew, David attempts to find peace in the secluded hills of his homeland.

  5. Peter Fitzsimons. Whatever I think of Peter Fitzsimons in rugby terms (he played for the Wallabies - I am an All Black fan. What can I say?), when it comes to well researched and written biographies and histories there are few better. His forthright manner comes through in his very readable non-fiction tomes. While he has not addressed Gallipoli specifically, many of his titles deal with periods and characters from our history at War. Nancy Wake, Kokoda and Tobruk have all been explored.

Have an awesome weekend everyone. May the Easter bunny be generous, Monday morning not be too chilly for those at Dawn parade and everyone be safe on the roads.

Celebrating and Rumbling on Thursday

Our school holiday programmes continue today with the following activities. Mahurangi East Easter stories, crafts, activities and fun for school aged children at 10.30am with Nicki Warkworth Anne is celebrating Anzac Day with activities and stories. Plus adding in an Easter craft to take home. Aimed at school age children and from 10.30am Wellsford Glennis has Easter stories and activities at 10.30am for school aged children. Whangaparaoa Rhymetime at 10.30am for pre-schoolers Orewa Storytime at 11am for pre-schoolers Kumeu Rumble in the jungle with stories, activities and fun. 10.30am with Tina.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wriggle and Rhyme Programme is a Winner

Auckland libraries has won the Project Collaboration Award at the 2011 Sport and Recreation Awards for our Wriggle and Rhyme programme.

The award, which was presented on Tuesday, recognises the unique partnership between Auckland Libraries, Sport Auckland, Sport Waitakere, Counties Manukau Sport and Harbour Sport, which has enabled children and their parent/caregivers to participate in Wriggle & Rhyme programmes in libraries across the Auckland region . Wriggle and Rhyme encourages 0-2 year olds to learn and participate in movement to assist with brain development. The theory is that movement is a child’s first language and the basis of early learning and reading. For parents and caregivers the opportunity to learn the skills and develop an awareness of the importance of active movement for young children is invaluable.

Free weekly sessions are offered in 50 libraries across Auckland and in its first year 70,000 children and caregivers particpated."Wriggle & Rhyme is one of our most effective programmes. It aligns with the role of libraries in supporting reading, literacy and learning for all ages, and it helps build strong communities,” says Allison Dobbie, Libraries and Information Manager, Auckland Council.

Ashlie Gauld, Special Projects Manager of Sport Auckland says the success of the project is due to the innovation and hard work that each partner organisation has contributed.

Wriggle and Rhyme evolved from Sport and Recreation NZ’s (SPARC’s) Active Movement for Babies programme. It is based on their initiative to provide positive movement experiences to stimulate development of the brain and body in youngsters. First implemented as a partnership between Sport Auckland and Auckland City Libraries in 2008, it proved so successful that a wider partnership between the regional sports trusts, Councils and libraries in the Auckland region was formed in 2009. Funding was provided by SPARC and then implemented across all libraries. Meanwhile Auckland Libraries also run two other successful pre-school programme - Storytime and Rhymetime.

School Holiday programmes today

Let's Celebrate continues with Easter fun in the Libraries for the school holidays today. Here's what's on where. Orewa Library. Stories and activities for school age kids at 2.30pm Whangaparaoa Library. Storytime as usual at 10.30 for pre-schoolers. Easter Bonnet Parade, activities and stories at 2.30pm. Wellsford Library. Storytime with an Easter theme at 10.30am. Helensville Library are going wild with their "Rumble in the Jungle" theme. Savage stories, crazy crafts and ferocious fun at 10.30am. Tomorrow it's the turn of Mahurangi East, Warkworth, Wellsford and Kumeu. Check out all our school holiday programmes on our website.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

School Holidays

I'm too late to tell everyone about the Easter storytimes and rhymetimes that have happened in the first couple of days of the week, but if you are quick there is till time to get to the Whangaparaoa Library Easter Treasure Hunt, activities and stories. It's at 2.30pm today so jump in the car and head that way for lots of fun with an Easter theme. Heads up for tomorrow (Wednesday) - here is what's happening on the Pohutukawa Coast Orewa Library. Stories and activities for school age kids at 2.30pm Whangaparaoa Library. Storytime as usual at 10.30 for pre-schoolers. Then the Easter Bonnet Parade, activities and stories at 2.30pm. Wellsford Library. Storytime with an Easter theme at 10.30am.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Books to Read Aloud

It's a reasonably short and sweet post today as it is school holidays in the library and we have been packed all morning (as noted by some Tweeters that were using the library earlier on). I imagine this is something to do with the cold snap outside as well as holidays. Or maybe more people have discovered where the library is in Warkworth. At our recent Book Club meeting, we talked about books that were good for reading aloud to children and suggestions ranged from picture books to young adult fiction. There are enormous benefits in reading aloud to or with your children, not just from the point of view of quality family time. Children also develop their self-esteem, imagination and listening skills. The American Library Association website has a great link with other reasons and suggestions. At our meeting we all decided that one of the most important things about reading aloud to your kids, is making sure you enjoy the book as well as your enthusiasm will come through in your reading. Joy Cowley has just brought out a new volume of stories, previously published in the School Journals or as early readers. Just One More has snappy little stories with lots of humour and imagination. They are not too long and make excellent reading. Gavin Bishop has provided the illustrations. Meanwhile I have just finished the first book in the new Keepers series called Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner. How would you feel (as a child) if your parents kept you so wrapped in cotton wool and protected from bad things (like puppy dogs) that you have to be attached to them or a guardian by a silver chain whenever you go out? What would you do to get “separated” and how would you cope when you were? On one level a commentary on where the PC world may lead us and on another, a rollicking good adventure for the kids told in snappy chapters. There were heaps of other ideas so if you are looking for something like this to take home for the holidays, just ask one of the librarians at your local library for some ideas.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Top 5 for Friday : Easter books

It is a sad but real fact that during Christmas you cannot escape the multitude of books with a festive theme, from picture books to children's fiction, cooking and craft to romance. The same cannot be said for the Easter festival. Maybe it is because of the violence, betrayal and death that surrounds the Christian story. While it is exceedingly easy to celebrate the birth a baby, with all the hope for the future that encompasses the event, the same cannot be said for the crucifixion, despite the miracle of the resurrection that is inherent in the story.

Any Easter books we do have are in hot demand so I thought I would blog Easter a week ahead to give you a chance to get to the Library or go online to see if you can reserve something for the weekend. Some will be in use at my special Easter storytime for pre-schoolers on Monday (Warkworth 10.30am) so will only be available after that.

  1. The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games (Nette Hilton & Bruce Whatley). This was an absolute find and is my new favourite Easter book. What happens if the Easter bunnies (yes there is more than one of them) go on strike? Who will deliver the Easter eggs? Will it be Easter if there are no eggs? The other animals in the bush compete to see who will get to deliver the eggs. It's simple, it's fun and it has a great message.

  2. Peter Rabbit does Easter in a variety of books in Auckland Libraries. These vary from picture books to board books and lift the flap varieties. Clifford, Spot and even the Berestein Bears also have Easter books.

  3. Petook : an Easter story (Caryll Houselander & Tomie dePaola). This book really is about the Easter story but from the point of view of Petook the rooster who meets a young boy on the day his first eggs hatch and years later witnesses his death on the cross. Three days later his latest eggs hatch and he welcomes a new family. This is a lovely retelling which is both nice story and a good introduction to the Bible story.

  4. The Easter Angels (Bob Hartman & Tim Jonke). This is a sophisticated picture book and I haven't seen it, but from the cover and the description, this is a book I have ordered. The publisher's description reads In a moving story of two angels, one the angel of death, we see how the angel of death is transformed into the angel of life with the resurrection of Jesus. This story illuminates the heart of the Easter message.

  5. Easter Things to make and do is one of our non-fiction books of activities you can do for Easter. From crafts to cooking, there is something in here and our other easter activity books.

The easiest way to find Easter resources at the Library is to go to our catalogue and do a Subject Search for Easter. You can then narrow your search down by clicking on one of the options from children's to adult, fiction to non-fiction, etc.

Why (you may ask) are there no adult books on the list. That's because I couldn't find any fiction that was specifically Easter in nature for adults in our catalogue (although there are several non-fiction resources). There is a raft of Christian fiction and stories of Jesus Christ (starting with Ben-Hur and all the way through to today) so if you do a subject search for Jesus Christ- fiction you will find something but it is not specifically catalogued as Easter fiction. So it is there - you just have to go looking for it.

OR you could ask you friendly librarian for help. Have a good weekend out there.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

School Holiday Programmes

We are still a couple of days away from the end of Term but for all those parents and care-givers out there who are starting to get nervous about keeping the children occupied for two weeks, here is an overview of what is happening locally in your Library for the School holidays.

Storytimes and Rhymetimes for the pre-schoolers will continue at their regular times. However our special Wriggle and Rhyme sessions take a break until Term 2.


As Mother's Day, Easter and Anzac Day are all just around the corner, what better theme for the school holidays could we have. The local libraries on the Pohutukawa Coast (that's Wellsford, Warkworth, Mahurangi East, Orewa and Whangaparaoa) along with our colleagues on the North Shore are all celebrating with the following activities.

Mahurangi East Library

Thurs 21 April @ 10.30am Easter Stories, fun and activities

Thurs 28 April @ 10.30am Getting ready for Mother’s Day with stories and activities

Orewa Library

Wed 20 April @ 2.30pm Celebrating with stories and activities

Wed 27 April @ 2.30pm Celebrating with stories and activities

Easter Storytime for preschoolers Monday 18 April at 10.30am

Warkworth Library

Thurs 21 April @ 10.30am Anzac Day activities and stories. Plus an Easter craft to take home Thurs 28 April @ 1.30am Mother’s Day stories and crafts.

Wellsford Library

Thurs 21 April @ 10.30am Easter Stories and activities

Thurs 28 April @ 10.30am Mother’s Day Stories and crafts

Whangaparaoa Library

Tues 19 April @ 2.30pm Easter Treasure Hunt, activities and stories

Wed 20 April @ 2.30pm Easter Bonnet Parade, activities and stories

Tues 26 April @ 2.30pm Village Fair at the Library, Maypole Dancing and more

Wed 27 April @ 2.30pm Village Fair at the Library, Maypole Dancing and more


Over on the Kauri Coast (that's Helensville and Kumeu) they have a wilder theme for their school holiday programmes. Go wild! 'Rumble in the Jungle' with savage stories, crazy crafts and ferocious fun

Helensville Library

Monday 18 April, 10.30am

Wednesday 20 April, 10:30am

Wednesday 27 April April, 10:30am

Kumeu Library

Tuesday 19 April, 10:30am

Thursday 28 April, 10.30am

For the full list of school holiday programmes throughout Auckland (that's Wellsford to Tuakau) go to the Auckland Libraries events page

Monday, 11 April 2011

Book Review : Rescue by Anita Shreve

To get some different voices and types of books reviewed on the Blog, I have been urging (which is a polite word for hassling and nagging) my colleagues to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and drop me a few lines so that I can share with you. After all, the workroom is often vibrant with "I read a fantastic book over the weekend" and "Have you seen this?" comments so it shouldn't have been too large a leap.

Lisa has taken the hint and has written a superb review of Rescue by Anita Shreve to paper so that I can share them with you.

Rescue is perfect example of Anita Shreve’s concise and straightforward writing style. Her talent for creating believable characters really shines through in this novel.

The story is set in a small town in Vermont where Peter Webster is a solo father and a paramedic working for the local Rescue ambulance service. He’s a small town boy, safe, steady, reliable and kind. The story begins with Peter celebrating his 4Oth birthday with his 17 year-old daughter, Rowan. Things are not going well. Rowan is veering dangerously off track and for the first time in their ordered existence together, Webster fears for her future.

Shreve then takes us back 18 years and we find out about Peters’ whirl-wind relationship with Rowan’s mother, Sheila, whom he meets after she crashes her car after a drinking binge. Peter cannot stop thinking about her and quickly falls in love with her. Sheila is a tortured soul with a complicated past, but she likes Peter and feels safe with him and agrees to marry him when she becomes pregnant, just a couple months after they've met. As suddenly as the relationship started, it’s over and Peter ends up raising Rowan on his own, but as she begins to push the boundaries he begins to reflect on his marriage and worry about how easily his daughter could follow in the footsteps of a mother she can't remember.

Skilfully written, with realistic dialogue, there is a good balance of action and slower descriptive passages. I enjoyed the themes of single parenthood, alcoholism, rescue (in all its forms), and the nature of love and relationships. I would highly recommend Rescue to anyone who enjoys good character driven story.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Top 5 for Friday - Five Fantastic Library Competitions

I was going to touch on school holidays this week and let everyone know what is happening around Auckland at the Libraries. But like many of you, I am still in denial that the first term is only one week away from endnig. So that particular post has been postponed until next week. Instead I am deviating from books and exploring some of the fantastic competitions we have running at the moment through Auckland Libraries. Sure - most of them are aimed at the children and teenagers, but we did put out the ANZAC challenge call on Wednesday so we haven't forgotton the adults. And if you can get the kids interested in these competitions, it may take up at least a morning of their time during the holidays.

  1. Kiwi Kids Kidding Around. I'v talked about this one before. It is our official partnership with Rugby World Cup 2011 and apart from great spot prizes in each library, one lucky youngster will get to see their joke in lights during the World Cup tournament. Entry forms are available at ALL libraries around Auckland and the first several entries at each library get spot prizes. Jokes should be Kiwi in nature, inoffensive and if they had a rugby flavour it wouldn't hurt (although it's not necessary).

  2. Launch your Lyrics. Last year Waitakere Libraries ran a fantastic contest during NZ Music Month for 11 to 18 year olds with the prize being a session at a recording studio and your chance to have a professional music CD produced. It's back again this year and you can start work on it straight away. There are plenty of other prize packs as well and from hip hop to opera, the choice of song style is up to you.

  3. It's a dog's life online scavenger hunt. Running alongside the special Sir George Grey exhibition "It's a Dogs Life" at the Central Auckland Library is this online scavenger hunt with prizes every week as well as one main prize.

  4. Mars needs Mom's. Prizepacks can be won by drawing what you think a Martian looks like. This contest closes on the 14th of April so you will have to be quick. It might be something to do this weekend.

  5. Customer Satisfaction Survey 2011. Not so much a competition but there are prizes and this is for all our customers, young and old. We want to know how we are doing and we are willing to provide prizes for finding out. If you have ten minutes we would love to hear from you.

That's it from me for another week. Have a great weekend out there and stay safe on the roads (and I say that with feeling as I am heading down to Rotorua for a netball tournament so watch out for a tired umpire coming home on Sunday). Ka kite

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

Seonaid Lewis is a geneologist and researcher extraordinaire. She will be well known to family historians in the area with a regular column in the New Zealand Geneology magazine. She also scribes the Kintalk blog for the Central Auckland Research Centre (second floor of the central city library) and organises regular talks and presentations.

The latest promotion is a competition with friends across the Tasman. Seoniad picks up the story...

It started with Shelley from Twigs of Yore issuing a blog challenge for Australian researchers in celebration of Australia Day. Here at the Central Auckland Research Centre at Auckland Libraries, we loved the idea and thought that we could be just as successful with a blog challenge for Waitangi Day. We had loads of international response, with people blogging about their New Zealand early settler ancestor from as far away as UK and the US and as close as NZ and Australia!

This time, it is a joint challenge with our Digger mates from across the Ditch. Australians and New Zealanders know ANZAC Day – 25 April – as a national day of remembrance for Australian and New Zealanders who died at war. Do you have an Australian or New Zealander in your family tree who was killed in or served in military operations? We’d like to hear about not only their sacrifice, but the way their loss or experience shaped their family history.

To participate: - Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman’s family, and the impact war had on their family history - Post a comment with the URL on the Auckland Research Centre’s Facebook page under discussions or on the relevant post on the Twigs of Yore blog. - Publish your post by 25 April 2011.

After Anzac Day, all submissions will be listed in a summary posting on Auckland Libraries’ Kintalk blog and also Twigs of Yore blog.

Just to get you started, recommended resources for New Zealand and Australian research, see the Auckland Libraries Digital Resources. Access great online resources such as:

Coming Home virtual exhibitionThe virtual exhibition consists of "albums" containing photos/images and documents. Virtual albums entitled "Gallipoli", "Lest We Forget", "New Zealand Maori Battalion", "Peace", "Postcards" and "Returned Services Association". Also has a portal for searching content nationwide from organizations such as libraries, archives, museums and galleries, including Auckland Libraries. Courtesy DigitalNZ.

Index Auckland and New Zealand Card Index For references to articles and other resources regarding WWI and WWII.

Manuscripts Online For diaries, letters, postcards and albums

Within the library catalogue: Auckland Libraries Searching using WWI or WWII etc will return you wonderful results of holdings throughout the whole of Auckland Libraries, which you can narrow down by location by using the "select location" dropdown menu on the right of screen. For example, available in all three Research Centres:- Central, South (Manukau) and North-West (Waitakere) are gems such as:* New Zealand Expeditionary Force casualties, WWI. Books I to XIV, 15 Aug. 1914 to 6 Jan. 1919

and you’ll also find Australian resources in the Central Auckland Research Centre; for example:

For other sites, try looking at the Auckland War Memorial Museum ; the Australian War Memorial site and the National Archives of Australia, or look further using the resources listed on Cora Num’s website.

Monday, 4 April 2011

A small bite for Monday

Since I arrived back at my desk I feel like I haven't achieved very much. Despite the fact that I enjoyed an extra hour's sleep courtesy of the end of daylight savings over the weekend, if today is anything to go by I feel Friday will arrive with the same sort of emotion.

Which is not to say I haven't been reading and reviewing. Since I finished The Passage (Justin Cronin) on Lisa's recommendation while on holiday (great, fantastic, wonderful, everything people said it was), I don't seem to have been able to get into anything adult (fiction or non-fiction) so I have been concentrating on short and snappy i.e. children's fiction. The latest one I picked up was The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean Part chapter book and part graphic novel – two inspirational men tell the story of Blue, a young boy who is bullied, loses his father and turns to an imaginary world to cope. Blue creates the story of The Savage who lives in the caves under the Church. But how imaginary is the Savage really? Gritty, compelling, surreal… The message may be rammed home a little too hard and the solution a little too obscure. Blue's story of the Savage is authentic (including grammar and spelling errors so be warned if this type of writing irritates). But the combination of talents works well and this book should appeal as a story, especially to those reluctant readers graduating from comics and graphix and looking for suitable subject matter.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Top 5 for Friday - King Arthur for Teens

I am an Arthurian legend fan from way back - a fact that I may have mentioned previously on this blog. I was however disappointed at the "plastic" nature of Tintagel when I visited it ten years ago. Not one skerrick of magic or mystery despite a misty rain falling on the coast. Never mind, there are always the books and my imagination. Another Arthur fan is Annie, a colleague from Auckland Central and today's Top 5 comes courtesy of her pen. For a while there I was completely over King Arthur. Studying umpteen versions on Arthurian romances will do that to a girl. And, he just kept appearing everywhere! I mean – EVERYWHERE! Gargoyles (I *more than 3* Gargoyles), Babylon 5. Cartoon and sci-fi series – whodathunk. So, it takes a lot for me to recommend a King Arthur anything… these 5 YA novels, I do. 5. The night dance / Suzanne Weyn Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, loves to slip out of the castle at night and dance in a magical forest. Soon she convinces her sisters to join her. When Sir Ethan notices that his daughters' slippers look tattered every morning, he is certain they've been sneaking out. So he posts a challenge to all the suitors in the kingdom : the first man to discover where his daughters have been is free to marry the one he chooses. Meanwhile a handsome young knight named Bedivere is involved in a challenge of his own : to return the powerful sword, Excalibur, to a mysterious lake. While looking for the lake, Bedivere meets the beautiful Rowena and falls for her. Bedivere knows that accepting Sir Ethan's challenge is the only opportunity for him to be with Rowena forever. But this puts both Bedivere and Rowena in a dangerous situation ... one in which they risk their lives for a chance at love. What’s not to like? Arthurian romance meets Twelve Dancing Princess, with a side order of darkness. 4. Avalon High / Meg Cabot Having moved to Annapolis, Maryland, with her medievalist parents, high school junior Ellie enrolls at Avalon High School where several students may or may not be reincarnations of King Arthur and his court. King Arthur and his cohorts – and enemies – in a modern American high school. But they don’t know it . Fun, with a kicking heroine. 3. Black horses for the king / Anne McCaffrey Galwyn, son of a Roman Celt, escapes from his tyrannical uncle and joins Lord Artos, later know as King Arthur, using his talent with languages and way with horses to help secure and care for the Libyan horses that Artos hopes to use in battle against the Saxons. One of my fav all-time authors – it’s this book that got me out of my ‘I hate King Arthur’ brain. Fav rave. 2. Song of the sparrow / Lisa Ann Sandell In fifth-century Britain, nine years after the destruction of their home on the island of Shalott brings her to live with her father and brothers in the military encampments of Arthur's army, seventeen-year-old Elaine describes her changing perceptions of war and the people around her as she becomes increasingly involved in the bitter struggle against the invading Saxons. With a deep love of Anne of Green Gables, it’s a given I’d gravitate to a book from the point of view of the Lady of Shallott. I love it so much, I own a copy. 1. Here lies Arthur / Philip Reeve Gwyna is just a small girl, a mouse, when she is bound in service to Myrddin the bard - a traveller and spinner of tales. But Myrddin transfroms her - into a lady goddess, a boy warrior, and a spy. Without Gwyna, Myrddin will not be able to work the most glorious transformation of all - and turn the leader of a raggle-taggle war-band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time. Brilliant. Wish I owned this. Thought-provoking. Historically accurate (well, sorta, kinda, mostly?) WAY more that 3 this one (thanks Tosca for FYI-ing that expression J). ~ Annie Reference Librarian Teens Here's the link for the full list of Teen Arthurian fiction