Archive for Christchurch

We are moving!

The Christchurch Kids Blog content will be moving to our new Christchurch City Libraries website.  We won’t be using this blog any more but you will still be able to read our posts about children’s books, authors and writing on our new website.  You will also still be able to have your say and let us know what you think.

If there is anything that you would really like to see on our new website for kids please post a comment and let us know.

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The Best and Worst Children’s Books of 2014

Cover of the song of the kauriThe end of the year is approaching and that means it’s time to evaluate the best and worst of 2014’s crop of children’s books. Hosted by Christchurch City Libraries, in conjunction with the Canterbury Literacy Association, the Best and Worst Evening is a Christchurch literary tradition. 2013’s event was so popular the event has been moved to the larger venue of Upper Riccarton Library.

Speakers include Bob Docherty (children’s book guru and renowned promoter of reading and literacy for kids), Kirsten Smith (Kaitakawaenga – Ngā Ratonga Māori at Christchurch City Libraries) and a kids-eye-view from Briana.

Our annual Holiday Reading list will also be officially announced on the night. Holiday Reading is a recommended selection of new titles added to Christchurch City Libraries in 2014 and includes picture books, chapter books, young adult and non-fiction titles.

Come along this Wednesday night (19 November) to Upper Riccarton Library, 7pm. Bring a gold coin for refreshments and early Christmas raffles.

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Meet Derek Landy in Christchurch this October

We’re excited to announce that Derek Landy, the author of the brilliant Skulduggery Pleasant series, is coming to Christchurch on Thursday 2 October.  Derek is coming to promote the release of the final Skulduggery Pleasant book, The Dying of the Light, at the Riccarton Primary School hall at 5:30pm on Thursday 2 October.  Not only will you have the chance to get your books signed, you can also hear him talk about his books and ask him your burning questions.  There will also be the chance to win some awesome prizes for those who come dressed as their favourite Skulduggery character.

In the lead up to Derek’s visit we’ll be featuring some videos of Derek talking about the ending of the series. You’ll also have the chance to win a copy of Armageddon Outta Here, the new Skulduggery Pleasant short story collection.

For details about the event and to get tickets check out the poster below.

 Derek Landy poster

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Meet our September Star Author – Mary McCallum

Our super September Star Author is Mary McCallum.  As well as an author Mary has worked as a creative writing tutor, a bookseller, book reviewer, broadcast journalist and television presenter.  Mary’s first children’s book, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish was published earlier this year.

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

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Join the Festival to celebrate the NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Have you ever wanted to come to the library in your pyjamas?  Next week you’ll get the chance to do just that when Christchurch City Libraries celebrates the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Festival.  The Festival, which runs from 17-25 May, gives children, young adults and their families the chance to celebrate the finalist books, authors and illustrators at various events around the country.

Here in Christchurch we are running Books Before Bedtime Pyjama Parties at Papanui, Shirley and South Libraries, where children and their families can come to the library after dark and enjoy stories, craft activities and have fun with iPads.  For teens and adults we also have The Great NZ Children’s Book Quiz, a fun night where you and your friends can test your knowledge of the book awards and this year’s finalists.

One of my favourite events during Festival week is visiting local primary schools to read and promote the finalist books.  As well as encouraging children to read the wonderful finalist books, we also give away heaps of books and other goodies, including holographic bookmarks.  It’s tonnes of fun and the children always enjoy it.

We hope to see you at one of our events next week.  Check out the library events calendar for details of the Pyjama Parties and the Festival events calendar for details of the Book Quiz.

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Hello from Sue

Hello there! What a treat to be invited to have a virtual chat with all you Christchurch booklovers. I hope we’re going to have plenty of fun together over the next month. Fun and … spine tingles. Do you believe in ghosts? Oh yes, and rabbit chat.

By now you’re probably wondering, who is this slightly mad-sounding person who’s invaded our blog? Well, your lovely library is calling me a “star” author. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve written a few books, but I’m not exactly J.K. Rowling or Margaret Mahy. On the star scale they’d be red giants, whereas I’m more of a white dwarf, visible only through a powerful telescope.

Like most authors (apart from the red giants), I have another job as well as writing. Mine isn’t quite as exciting and cool as last month’s star author, Tania Hutley, who makes computer games. No, mine is, ahem, book editing. You know how your teacher goes through your wonderful stories and covers them with annoying red scribbles, correcting your spelling and telling you when you should have started a new paragraph? Something like that. Sound boring? Well it isn’t really, because think of it this way – my job is READING BOOKS!

But back to the writer bit of me. I’ve written a few educational books (no yawning please), and several (cue spooky music) ghost stories. Do you like ghost stories? I’ve always loved them, though I’m a complete chicken when it comes to things spooky. I’m the one who jumps the most in scary movies, and I need to hug at least two cushions to get me through the creepiest parts (you know, where someone goes into a haunted house and you’re shouting “Don’t go in there!” at the telly.)

My most recent spine chiller is called The Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head. If you know what/where Young Nick’s Head is, award yourself some chocolate for general knowledge smartipantsness. If you don’t … well, you’ll have to visit me again over the next week or two, when all will be revealed. If you fancy a read of the book in the meantime, you can of course request it from your library, or head on over to to be in to win a copy.


My other recent book you may have seen is Our Children Aotearoa. Writing this was a dream project, as I got to travel all over New Zealand interviewing and photographing children from all walks of life. It made me realise what a fantastic place New Zealand is for kids to grow up in – I hope you realise how lucky you are! (Actually, when I say “all over New Zealand”, there was a certain city I didn’t manage to visit. You can guess which one. I’m sorry, Christchurch, all right?! I’ll make it up to you I promise!)

What else can I tell you about myself? I live in Auckland, and have two teenage children. We also have a dwarf lop-eared rabbit called Tog, who likes to sit at my feet while I’m writing. I will tell you more about him in my next blog. Here’s a photo of Tog to be going on with.


I’ve lived in New Zealand for some years now. I came here from England, where my home town is Rugby. Yes folks, that’s where your favourite game began. There’s a big posh school, Rugby School, in the centre of town, and nearly 200 years ago a group of schoolboys were playing football when one of them, William Webb Ellis, caught the ball in his hands and ran towards the goal. Or so legend has it. (I always wonder why the other boys didn’t just yell “Foul!” and send him off!)

In between leaving Rugby and arriving in New Zealand, I worked at London Zoo (yes, it was as much fun as it sounds), travelled the world for a year, and then worked at Dorling Kindersley Children’s Books – you know, they produce those really cool non-fiction books, like Incredible Cross-Sections. Because of my background at the Zoo, and general obsession with animals, Dorling Kindersley gave me natural history books to work on. The first series involved photographing lots of creepy crawlies, and so it was that I found myself encouraging a tarantula out of its hidey-hole, and being asked to hold a giant prickly stick insect while the photographer sorted out his camera. See – “editing” can be exciting!

So there you are, a potted history of me. I will be back soon with more on ghosts, rabbits, books, and anything else that springs to mind in May. Catch you later!


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Enter our Autumn Reading Competition

Win books and Subway vouchers!

At Christchurch City Libraries we’re combining our Autumn Reading Competition with the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  The finalists in this year’s book awards are announced on Tuesday 8 April and this is also when our Autumn Reading Competition opens.

During the Autumn Reading Promotion you’ll have the chance to vote for your favourite finalist book in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and you’ll have the chance to win a trip to Orana Park for your class or your family.

Here on the Christchurch Kids Blog we have extra chances for you to win.  You could win a set of the Junior Fiction finalist books and Subway vouchers, just for sending us your response to one of the finalist books.  You could write a review, write a poem, create something and send us a photo, or you could write a story based on one of the books.  Email your response to or enter it as a comment on this post.

Competition closes Friday 21 May.  See below for terms and conditions

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