Christmas in New Zealand is the complete opposite of traditional images of Christmas. Movies, books and Christmas cards nearly always show Christmas as cold and snowy, with people wrapped up in their warm clothes and gathered around a crackling fire. In New Zealand though, it’s warm and (if we’re lucky) sunny, with people in shorts, t-shirts and jandals.
One of my traditions that I start Christmas day with is getting up early to watch cartoons and What Now. If there’s nothing much on TV I bring out my old favourite videos, Red Boots for Christmas and The Santa Bears. When I was younger my family would go and have a picnic in Hagley Park for lunch where everyone would bring something different to share. These days my family brings lunch to my parents’ house.
Christmas can be a really expensive time of the year, so we decided a few years ago to just have a present exchange. You have to buy 1 present for 1 person and there is a limit to how much you can spend. You might get a serious present or something silly, and there’s not so much mess to clean up afterwards.
At night after we’re all full of turkey, ham, new potatoes, ambrosia and Christmas Pudding, we sit down and watch the Royal Variety Concert on TV.
What are your Christmas traditions?
If you’re a fan of The Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, you’ll be excited to hear the latest book in the series, The Spook’s Blood is released this month. To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on The Spook’s Blood, reserve your copy at the library now.
The final Artemis Fowl adventure from Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian, comes out this month. If you want to find out how the series ends and what happens to Artemis, reserve your copy at the library now.
Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job. Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?
From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…
The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later). When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored. They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse. They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse). Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.
Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013. If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.
Recommended for 10+ 5 out of 5 stars
The Serpent’s Shadow, the final book in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles is out now. You can reserve your copy at the library. If you haven’t read this amazing series, featuring Egyptian gods and monsters, get the first book The Red Pyramid.
Books can make you wonder what it would be like to live in a different time and place. Some stories are set in a particular time in history or are about a historical event. The My Story books are great because they take you back to a specific time in history and let you know what it was like to live in that time, through the diary of a boy or girl who lived then. They show you the sights, sounds, and smells of that time period, which is quite different from ours.
If you could time travel, what time would you like to visit or what event would you like witness?
Do you love to write? Would you like to get your story published? Would you like to win an amazing prize just for writing a story? If you answered yes to all of those questions, then you’re in luck. There is a very cool writing competition that you can enter at the moment to win some awesome prizes
- 2012 Puffin Short Story Awards - to enter you have to write a story of up to 500 words. Your story could be about anything you want, just let your imagination run wild! There are three categories – junior, intermediate and senior. The winner of each category will receive an Apple iPad for themselves and 50 Puffin books for your school library (that’s such a great prize even I want to enter, but I’m too old). Check out the Penguin Books website for more information.
What are you waiting for? Get writing and you could win some of these awesome prizes.
Throughout April we’re running a Library Explorers Challenge where you can answer a series of questions and go in the draw for some great prizes. We have Paper Plus vouchers and movie passes to give away.
All you have to do is grab a question sheet from your library (or download it here – April challenge), go to the Kids website to find the answers, enter your answers and your contact details into the form and you’re in the draw for the whole of April.
Week 1 winner – Maifea Fetu, age 12, won a movie pass
Week 2 winners – Lucy Constable, age 12 ($20 Paper Plus voucher) and Anthony Orr, age 11 (child’s movie pass)
Week 3 winners – Tyler Timms, age 11 ($20 Paper Plus voucher) and Grace Boddington, age 12 (child’s movie pass)
Thanks to everyone who entered. This competition is now closed.