Archive for February, 2014

Win a signed copy of Canterbury Quake

February has flown by and it’s time for our first Star Author of the year, Desna Wallace, to say goodbye.  Desna has very kindly offered us a signed copy of her new book, Canterbury Quake, to give away.

To get in the draw for the signed book all you have to do is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Friday 7 March.

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It is time to sign off now!

What a wonderful month this has been. I want to say a huge thank you to you all for stopping by and reading this blog. I have been blown away by all the different things that have happened over the last few weeks, like the reviews, the book launch and even signing books. Now that is a very strange feeling and I do admit I have very messy writing so if you want to be published one day and sign copies of your book – start practicing a signature now! 

I can tell you that despite all the hard work coming up with ideas and then writing and editing a story or book, that it really is wonderful to be able to create something that people enjoy reading.

I’m not sure who the author of the month will be next month but I am looking forward to reading what they have to say.

And don’t forget to keep writing your ideas in a notebook.



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The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey

Are you looking for a really funny book that will make you laugh out loud?  Look no further than The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey.

We’ve all heard the fairytales about Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, where they’re all saved by ‘Prince Charming.’  However, each of these Prince Charmings actually has a name, and they want to be known for who they are, not just for being a Prince Charming.  The four Prince Charmings are in fact Liam, Frederick, Gustav and Duncan and they’re each quite different guys.  My favourite is Duncan, because he’s a little bit stupid and often tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The four princes set out to save their kingdoms, but encounter grumpy dwarves, dumb giants, a moody dragon and three amusing dwarves along the way.  You also discover that the princesses aren’t as sweet or nice as their fairytales make them out to be.  Their story will keep you entertained until the very last page and have you laughing out loud.  The good news is that this is only the start of their adventures – The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle and The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw are next in the series.

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Kids’ Books: picks from our February newsletter

Looking for something fun to read? Our Kids’ Books newsletter has some great suggestions.

I particularly want to borrow iDinosaur, which, with the magic of Augmented Reality, lets you bring dinosaurs roaring back to life from the book page, by using your smartphone or tablet.

Cover of Cool Optical IllusionsCover of Sophie Hartley and the Facts of LifeCover of Survive!Cover of iDinosaurCover of School Made EasierCover of ChickadeeCover of The Forbidden StoneCover of Escape from Ice Mountain

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight to your inbox.

For more great reads for kids, check out our Fun to Read page – it links you to reading lists, if you likes, interactive quizzes and lots more.

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Book launch last night for Canterbury Quake

cake(2)Wow! What can I say? Last night was such a wonderful night with friends, librarians and teachers all sharing in the launch of Canterbury Quake. There was plenty of food and a very special cake which was very yummy. I still feel full up from all that eating.

It felt very strange to be signing books for customers but in the best way.

This has inspired me to want to write even more and if you want to be pampered and spoiled then get out your pen and paper and start writing. You never know where it might lead you.

Writing is such a solitary business; you sit at your desk typing away or scrawling notes on paper. When your poem, story or book is published, suddenly you have to be out there meeting people and it is fantastic.

Being a librarian and a writer is having the best jobs in the world. Check out the cake – isn’t it superb?

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We Have Magazines!

Did you know the Library subscribes to heaps of cool kids magazines? And they are all free for you to take out? If you are organized, you can even reserve the newest copy every month and get them send to the Library closest to your house!

Here are some of the best:

(You can check out the full list on our catalogue.)


DMag is a mix of movies, science, gossip, puzzles, sports, jokes and competitions aimed at kids 7 – 12.

The Official Jacqueline Wilson MagazineJacqueline Wilson Book

A lot of kids LOVE Jacqueline Wilson and they will LOVE her magazine! It’s full of information about Jacqueline, stories about her characters, craft and writing tips and previews of her new books!

Total Girl

“No boys allowed!” is the slogan for this magazine aimed at tween girls. It’s packed full of competitions, quizzes, recipes, fashion and gossip.

WW Kids Magazine

The official World Wrestling Entertainment magazine for kids. Find out how to be a wrestler by reading about the stars of wrestling, their moves, how they stay fit and eat to stay strong.

DisneyPixar Book Catalogue Link

If you love Disney movies and TV, then you’ll love Disney magazine. Read more about everything Disney, including puzzles, quizzes and more.

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Author of the Week – Jonathan Stroud

Author of the Week is where we introduce you to some great authors whose books you’ll find in our libraries.  If you love the featured author and have read some of the books, we’d love to hear what you think.

Each of the author profiles comes from one of our really cool databases, called Novelist.  If you’re looking for some new books or authors you should really check it out.  This week’s author is Jonathan Stroud.

Jonathan Stroud is a master of intricate, inventive fantasies.  His lively, fast-paced stories burst with action, magic threads and fantasy characters from dragon to djinn. In his Bartimaeus trilogy, for example, the main character narrates with a sarcastic, flippant voice that adds a strand of humor.

The Amulet of Samarkand

The Djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by a young apprentice, Nathaniel, to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician, Simon Lovelace. Chaos and action ensue but the apprentice and the djinn save the day. First book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy.

Heroes of the Valley

Halli loves the old stories from when the valley was a wild and dangerous place – when the twelve legendary heroes, led by his ancestor Svein, stood together to defeat the ancient enemy, the bloodthirsty Trows. Halli longs for adventure but it seems these days the most dangerous thing in the valley is boredom. He tries to liven things up by taunting his siblings and playing practical jokes. But when one of his jokes goes too far reawakening an old blood feud, Halli finds himself on a hero’s quest after all. Along the way he meets a ruthless thief, a murderous rival, and a girl who may just be as fearless as he is. Halli may be about to make his own last stand and discover the truth about the legends, about his family, and about himself.

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in. For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

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Ideas are everywhere

I’m sitting here at lunch time in the library surrounded by thousands of books and wondering what they all have in common. And do you know what it is. It’s an idea!

They all had an author who started off with an idea and poked and prodded that idea until it became a story.  I suspect that some ideas took lots of pushing and shoving to get just right, while some ideas might have been a little easier to form. However,  I can almost guarantee that each and every author, when they finally sat down to write, wrote their story idea over and over until it was just the way it needed to be.  A story ripe and juicy just waiting for you to read.

That’s fine, I hear you say, but where do authors get their ideas? They get ideas anywhere and everywhere. Things people say and do, the night sky, a wintery cold night, the smell of popcorn cooking are just a few things to think about when you are wanting ideas. I know that I get ideas from silly things that happen at school. Once we had a teacher who was very embarrassed  when his wife popped in to class with his lunch after he had left it at home on the bench. I thought this was so funny I turned that idea into a play and it was published in the School Journal. I had to change things of course or I would get in to trouble but it just shows you that ideas really are everywhere.

What ideas will you have today? Just make sure you write them down in a notebook so you don’t forget and let a good story get away.

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Making school work an online breeze

All good things must come to an end and school holidays is one of them! Luckily the library likes to make your life as fun as possible! How? Well over the years we have learned that there are certain themes that schools like to concentrate on. So we have gathered lots of information in one place at Homework help.

If you can’t find what you are looking for there then are other places to go such as World Book Kids and also Britannica Junior which are easy to use online encyclopedias with articles, games, science projects and interactive tools to help you get your homework out of the way so you can get outside.

There are also online games and books to help you with your reading and maths if you want to improve these skills. Literacy Planet through numerous games can have you moving up groups in reading and maths at school. While TumbleBooks provide animated books which you can read or have read to you. Hours of free entertainment that help you learn! To use these online resources all you need is your library card and password/PIN.  

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Back again already

shopHi again

I wasn’t going to post anything until next week but just couldn’t wait until then.

I was out shopping after work on Monday and went in to a local bookshop and there under the W’s was a pile of my books.

What an amazing feeling to see you your own books sitting on a shelf just waiting for someone to buy.

It really is the most awesome feeling in the world. I only hope the staff and customers didn’t think I was a bit crazy taking a photo of the books.

Very exciting things happening and all so much fun.

See you next week.


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Getting started

It is so lovely to be invited as guest author for such a great blog. It is also very exciting to see my first novel in print, knowing that in just a few days perhaps, it will be in the shops ready for people to buy. It really is a very strange feeling but in the best possible way.

Over the next few weeks I’ll post a little bit about how and why I write. I will start today with one of the best bits of advice I can offer if you want to be a writer. It actually comes from the very famous Dr Seuss and his book I can read with my eyes shut.

“The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

the more places you’ll go”.

Reading, reading and even more reading really is the best way to improve your own writing. And who can argue with Dr Seuss?

Catch you soon.

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Skulduggery Pleasant

Over the Summer holidays the Library had a Summer Reading Film Competition. It was aimed at teenagers but one of the entries was a great book trailer for Skulduggery Pleasant.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a very popular series about a girl who discovers her dead Uncle, who she thought was a horror fiction writer, actually was telling true stories about his battle against evil. The eighth book in the series, Last stand of dead men, has just been released, but if you’d like to start from the start, you can check out the full series on our catalogue.

The author of Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landry, visited Christchurch in 2012 and we interviewed him on our blog. We’ve got a lot of other great articles and videos about the Skulduggery Pleasant series on our blog too.

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February Star Author – Desna Wallace

Desna WallaceOur Star Author programme is back for 2014 and we have some great authors for you this year.

Our first Star Author for the year is Christchurch author Desna Wallace. Desna is a school librarian from Christchurch who is passionate about children’s books. Desna has had a number of plays, poems and stories published in the School Journal.

Cover of Canterbury QuakeHer first novel is being published this month  My New Zealand Story: Canterbury Quake. It is the latest book in Scholastic’s My New Zealand Story series and focuses on the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

Thanks for joining us Desna!  We look forward to hearing all about your writing and your wonderful new book.

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