Library Notes 12 June 2020

Published on 12 June 2020


Top 10 Fiction

Marley by Jon Clinch
Dignity by Alys Conran
Coconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Dead on Dartmoor by Stephanie Austin
Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis
One Moment by Linda Green
Arcamira by Hannah Sandoval
The Most Difficult Thing by Charlotte Philby
The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag

Best Books of the Year for Young New Zealand Readers

Pam Coleman Community Engagement Librarian 

If ever there was a time that children needed the escape of stories, 2020 is it. This week’s announcement of the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (NZBACY) reveals an abundance of incredible storytelling for Kiwi kids, and indeed adults, to immerse themselves in. The awards are a unique celebration of the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage.

Librarians try very hard to read all of the books on the list and choose our own favourites. We crow with smug glee if our nominees win. Perhaps we should run a sweepstake for 2020? If we did, I would put my money on Lani Wendt Young’s ‘Afakasi Woman.’ It’s a young adult book of short stories told with clarity, beauty and a hot, intelligent anger. ‘Afakasi’ is used to describe a person of mixed ethnicity. The collection is heavily infused with Samoan culture, and the themes explored in the book will inform and be enjoyed by readers all over the world. The issues tackled in the book are so universal that every single woman, young or old, will in some way relate. But, prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions. By far, it is one of the best books I have read all year!

Each year of the NZBACY our writers and illustrators seem to be thinking more and more about who we are, where we live, how we live and how we relate to others. We are seeing a range of ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and family make-ups.  It’s hugely important, because we know that children’s books can be both mirrors and windows on the world. Mirrors in that they can reflect on children’s own lives, and windows in that they can give children a chance to learn about someone else’s life.

Children’s author Katherine Rundell believes that there is something particular about children’s fiction that can open up new perspectives for adults. The best children’s fiction, “helps us refind things we may not even know we have lost”, taking us back to a time when “new discoveries came daily and when the world was colossal, before the imagination was trimmed and neatened…” 

There is also something instructive in reading books that, as Rundell points out, are “specifically written to be read by a section of society without political or economic power”. In an age where there is widespread frustration at the powerlessness of the many in the face of the few, this feels important. Given that the world in 2020 is not how the world is or should be, we owe it to young readers to show them reality in the books they’re reading. Books can be an introduction to an outside world, a chance to really escape our bubble. 

“There are good books which are only for adults, because their comprehension presupposes adult experiences, but there are no good books which are only for children.” WH Auden


What’s on?

Matariki – Deep Space: A View of the Stars and Beyond, by Dr Stephen Chadwick, Friday 5 June to Sunday 23 August, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom

Heritage room:
The Heritage rooms at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō are manned by volunteers 10am-12.30 pm Monday to Saturday and Wednesday and Thursday afternoons 1.00pm – 3.00pm. Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Heritage Room has the Research librarian available all day every Friday.

Friday 12 June
Friday Concert: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 12pm

Sunday 14 June
Family Time in the Youth Space: Giant board games, craft activities and family fun in the Youth Space every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. Come on in with the whānau!

Tuesday 16 June:
JP Service: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 11.30am-1.30pm

Wednesday 17 June:
Social crochet and coffee club: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 10.30am
Quiz Night: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 7pm $5 

Thursday 18 June:
Made to Sew: Learn some new skills and develop the confidence to use our sewing machines for your own, un-tutored projects. Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō Youth Space 10am – 12pm

Friday 19 June:
Friday Concert: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 12pm

Saturday 21 June:
Jazz Jam: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō 2pm


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