It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Our top Christmas items for Kids.

With Christmas right around the corner, we have created our list of must read (and watch) items from our collection, to get you and your family in the Christmas Spirit.

In this beautiful edition of the classic festive song, a happy couple make their way to a lavish Christmas party, discovering wonderful gifts as they go. Alison Jay's signature crackle-glaze technique makes this illustrated version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" luminous and magical: animals dart across the pages, ladies dance, lords leap, and wintery landscapes sparkle against warm, cozy scenes.

Location: Children's Picture Book

This book offers a moving new perspective on the nativity story-evoking the struggle of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus as refugees travelling in a strange land, seeking the protection and kindness of strangers. 

A poetic and refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that's never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.

Location: Children's Picture Book

Nikolas has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his  doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. 
 
Along the way, Nikolas discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit is at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things.

Location: Children's Fiction

Kate and Rachel both dream of being actors. The girls compete to get the lead role in a new holiday pageant. Written by their drama teacher, Mr. Piccolo, the show is called The 12 Screams of Christmas. It's about a family that spends Christmas Eve in a haunted house.

Mr. Piccolo decides to take the cast to a deserted old house where they can soak up the atmosphere and get better at their parts. Kate and Rachel soon realise the old house is actually haunted.

Location: Children's Fiction

Retells the story of the Annunciation, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, and the visit of the shepherds, from the Gospel of Luke, and the Three Wise Men, from the Gospel of Matthew.

Location: Children's Non-Fiction

With simple step-by-step instructions, helpful cooking tips, color photographs, and charming character art, this book is the perfect way for parents and children to make holiday magic in the kitchen! A rating system lets kids know how difficult the recipes are, and cooking tips are sprinkled throughout. Kids will enjoy making Rolly's Spotted Cranberry Pancakes, Sugar Rush Popcorn Gumdrop Garland and Anna's Frozen Ice Candy!

Location: Children's Non-Fiction

Using readily available, seasonally related materials, this series is packed full of fun crafts for special occasions. The projects are explained in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, and are perfect for teachers looking for original ideas as well as time-poor parents. In 10 Minute Crafts: Christmas, children can learn how to make felt stockings, a Christmas wreath, a Santa tree decoration, homemade Christmas decorations and candy cane Christmas cards, along with lots of other great Christmas crafts for kids.

Location: Children's Non-Fiction

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. 

The letters were from Father Christmas. This is the complete series of Father Christmas letters between 1920 and 1943.

Location: Children's Audiobooks

Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny have a new friend, William the Turkey. The trio is excited for Christmas until they realise that William is meant to be Mr. McGregor's Christmas supper! Just in time, Peter and Benjamin hide William, and the three enjoy a lovely Christmas dinner of pickled radishes and barley cake at the Rabbit family burrow.

This story is inspired by a real turkey named William that Emma Thompson met on Beatrix Potter's farm in the Lake District.

Location: Children's Audiobooks

A New Zealand adaptation of the traditional Christmas song, featuring such gifts as four huhu grubs, seven eels a swimming, and a pukeko in a ponga tree.
 

Location: Children's Audiobooks

 At Christmas, Grouchy Smurf behaves badly to everyone and it takes the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future to teach him to appreciate Christmas.
 

Location: Children's DVDS

Join the PAW Patrol for 7 snowy saves, including a special double-length Christmas episode! The pups gear up to fix Santa's sleigh and save Christmas, plus return penguins to their frozen home, help Everest on some snowy rescues, and more! When Santa's Sleigh crashes and the reindeer run off--Ryder and the Paw Patrol have to help Santa finish delivering presents and save Christmas!
 
Location: Children's DVDS
Ho Ho Ho! Thomas is full steam ahead as a Really Useful Reindeer, saving the day by guiding Santa's sleigh straight to the Sodor Christmas celebration! Percy makes everyone's Christmas wishes come true and Gordon discovers his friends' special skills are the gifts that keep on giving, all year long! Thomas delivers the true spirit of Christmas as Santa's Little Engine! Includes 7 episodes.
 
Location: Children's DVDS
When Sid accidentally destroys Manny's heirloom Christmas rock and ends up on Santa's "naughty list," he leads a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right - and ends up making things much worse. Now it's up to Manny and his prehistoric posse to band together and save Christmas for the entire world!
 
Location: Children's DVDS
Bitter and hateful, the Grinch is irritated at the thought of the nearby village having a happy time celebrating Christmas. So disguised as Santa Claus, with his dog made to look like a reindeer, he raids the village to steal all the Christmas things. The village is sure to have a sad Christmas this year.
 
Location: Children's DVDS

For more Christmas book ideas be sure to check out our Christmas Book Display in the Children's Library

Remember our Summer Reading Challenge is now on. If you are aged 0-18 and read 8 books between 1 December and 30 January we will give you a free book. Be sure to pop into our Help Desks to pick your entry up.

Spine-chilling reads. Our Librarians share the books that scared them senseless.

Halloween may be over, but for some of us, the spooky desires live on.

We asked our staff members what books have scared them the most. We used their answers to compile this list of books guaranteed to give you a scare.

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand is horror book set in a dystopian future. This post-apocalyptic world has been destroyed by a genetically engineered flu virus has killed most of the worlds population. The story focuses on those remaining in this plague stricken world.

Place a hold on The Stand

Who did it scare?

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Cris Crighton
Preschool Librarian

Christine by Stephen King

A young high school student named Arnie purchases a new car. A 1958 Plymouth Fury which he names Christine. One day, a bully defaces the car and strange things begin to happen. The car begins killing people and Arnie has to figure out how to make it all stop.

Place a hold on Christine

Who did it scare?

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Michelle Argyle
Serials Librarian

The Shining - Stephen King

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in,the hotel begins to feel more sinister... 

This book is on order. Email us if you would like to put a copy on hold when it arrives.

Who did it scare?

Angela Bain
H&C Team Leader
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Marianne Foster
Library Manager

October Skies by Alex Scarrow

Deep in the mountain forests of Wyoming, Julian Cooke stumbles across the rotting remains of a wooden wagon. It's clear that something horrific happened here all those years ago, but Cooke can only find a few tantalising clues. 

Place a hold on October Skies

Who did this scare?

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Michelle Cunningham
Teen Librarian

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

A man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you'll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life.

Place a hold on Penpal

Who did it scare?

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Bonnie Mager
D&C Manager

For more scary books, be sure to check out our Horror section in the library, or on our online catalogue.

Do you love these lists? You can email us at any time to request the theme for our next one!

Read with your ears: your favourite podcasts and the books based on them.

Podcasts are increasing in popularity, and even if you don't know what they are you have probably heard the word before.

Podcasts are an audio programme, similar to a radio show, that can be downloaded and listened to on your device, or streamed online. They are free and can be educational, fictional or a bit of both!

With the rising popularity of podcasts, we have seen an increase in requests for books based on podcasts, or for books that give a more in-depth look into popular podcast topics.

Below is our ultimate list of books in the Library, and the podcasts that inspired them.

New Zealand Stories

Hosted by New Zealand journalist Megan McChesney, The Lip aims to listen to people and tell their stories — be they heartwarming, cautionary or inspiring — capturing as much of the essence of the story teller as possible.

Episode 6: The Double-edged Sword
Double Edged Sword is the first-hand account of the survival of one of the most notorious and brutal maimings in New Zealand History. Simonne Butler experienced years of domestic violence, which culminated in her hands being chopped off with a samurai sword. Double Edged Sword covers those years, the attack and her subsequent hospitalisations, hand replantation surgeries and recovery, as well as the trials of her attacker, Antoine Dixon.

Read the Book | Listen to the Episode

Episode 5: Blurred Lines
When Leigh Hopkinson was a university student in Christchurch she worked at a succession of low-paying jobs that paid the rent and fit in around her degree. None of them fit so well, however, as stripping. She figured it couldn't be that difficult - she was just going to dance on stage in front of a bunch of strangers. She'd show them a bit of skin, but the gig wasn't going to last that long. Or so she imagined.

Read the Book | Listen to the Episode

Episode 4: Back From the Abyss
There is hope for the addicts, the rebels, and the broken-hearted. Sitting in prison on a raft of charges including kidnapping, guns, drugs and counterfeiting was very different to the scenario Janet had imagined.  How did a country girl from a decent family become a hardcore Meth-addict? ? Janet's quest to find her true identity and the meaning of life took her to the very brink of death and hell. It nearly killed her but Janet got her answers, insight into true spiritual power, treasures found in the darkness, and real answers about life.

Read the Book | Listen to the Episode

True Crime Podcasts

Probably the most popular true crime podcast to date, Serial follows the 1999 murder of high school senior Hae Min Lee. Her boyfriend, Adnan Syed was convicted of the murder, and to this day sits in prison for the crime. NPR Reporter Sarah Koening revisits the case and takes an in depth look into whether Adnan did in fact kill or Hae, or if a huge miscarriage of justice occurred.

Adnan's Story by Rabia Chaudry
Serial
 did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State's case. Adnan's Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

Read the Book | Listen to Serial

Every New Zealander has heard about David Bain. We all have our very strong opinions on his guilt or evidence. But how much do we actually know? Follow this RNZ podcast as it crawls through all the evidence and analyses one of New Zealand s most notorious mass murders.

 

Bain and Beyond by Joe Karam
This book looks at what the Bain case uncovered and goes on to look at other cases in New Zealand, casting strong doubts on the workings of the criminal justice system.

Read the Book | Listen to Black Hands

 

Trial by Ambush: The Prosecutions of David Bain by Joe Karam
A fresh look at the trials of David Bain, presenting a fair and objective appraisal of the facts that led to his release from prison in 2009.

Read the Book | Listen to Black Hands

Comedy

Greg Proops is an internationally renowned comedian, best known for starring on the hit improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? The Smartest Man in the World is his hit award winning podcast which Rolling Stone called "some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now."

The Smartest Book in the World is based on Proops's sensational, iTunes Top 10 podcast that has been downloaded more than nine million times, in which his "bold, never-boring voice takes center stage" (The New York Times). The book is a rollicking reference guide to the most essential areas of knowledge in Proops's universe, from the noteworthy names of the ancient world and baseball, to the movies you must see and the albums you must hear.

Read the Book | Listen to Podcast

Join the 2 Dope Queens, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. 

You Can't Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain)
A hilarious essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.
 
Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities. Robinson uses her trademark wit to examine our cultural climate and skewer our biases with humour and heart. 

Read the Book | Listen to Podcast

Imagine if your Dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it and pretend it had never happened - but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he's decided to read it to the world in this comedy podcast. With the help of his friends, James Cooper and BBC Radio 1's Alice Levine, Jamie will be reading a chapter a week and discovering more about his father than he ever bargained for.

Belinda blinked, it wasn’t a dream, the job interviewer had just asked her to remove her jacket and silk blouse…

Now, for the first time you can own the full text of Rocky Flintstone’s seminal masterpiece Belinda Blinked 1, along with James, Jamie, and Alice’s baffled, delighted, and disgusted commentary. My Dad Wrote a Porno is packed full of bonus material, from the official drinking game rules to Rocky’s exclusive insights into his erotic exposé of the pots and pans industry. You’ll never look at a pomegranate the same way again…

Read the Book | Listen to Podcast

Science

The Psych Files is aimed at anyone curious about human behaviour, although students taking a course in psychology, those majoring in psychology, and instructors of psychology will find the podcast particularly of interest.

Guided by Michael A. Britt, creator of popular podcast The Psych Files, you can conduct your own experiments when browsing your favourite websites, in restaurants, when presented with advertisements, and even right on your smartphone.
 
You'll even figure out how contagious yawning works! With this compulsively readable little book, you won't just read about the history of psychology--you'll live it!
 

Politics

The 9th Floor is a New Zealand political podcast. It hears from five former NZ Prime Ministers - Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Dame Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark.

Based on the acclaimed RNZ podcast series, and including new material, The 9th Floor by journalists Guyon Espiner and Tim Watkin presents in-depth interviews with five former Prime Ministers of New Zealand. Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark reflect on their time occupying the prime ministerial offices on the 9th floor of the Beehive. Their recollections amount to a fascinating record of the decisions that shaped modern New Zealand.

Read the Book | Listen to Podcast

Fiction

Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly fiction podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live. Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. 

Read the Book | Listen to Podcast

Did you love this blog? Then be sure to follow us on Facebook for more original book related content.

Is there a podcast themed book you would love to read but we don't have? Then fill out our buying suggestions form and we will try our best to get it in for you!

Literary Spin-offs: TV Shows that inspired novel retellings.

We’re all familiar with the concept of books being adapted into TV shows. However, there are also a number of TV shows that have been reverse-adapted into books.

Some of these retellings are strict retellings of the exact story seen on screen. Others go more in-depth into characters back stories and fill in gaps or look at the action from another point of view. While others make changes to the storyline, or take up where the screen left off.

Here are our favourites from our collections

Beauty and the Beast TV Promo Shot

Book: Vendetta by Nancy Holder
TV Series:  Beauty & The Beast

While searching for the truth surrounding her past, Detective Catherine Chandler gets involved with Dr. Vincent Keller. Dr Keller hides a dark secret of his own. They struggle to maintain their unorthodox relationship as they are both pursued by a mysterious organisation called Muirfield.

Doctor Who TV Promo Shot

Book: The Pirate Planet by James Goss  
TV Series: Dr Who

The Doctor and Ramana arrive on the planet Zanak. Looking for the second segment of the Key to Time. Priceless gems are scattered on the streets. The night sky changes with the dawn of each new prosperous age. But the townsfolk live in fear.

Other Doctor who Spin-Offs include: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter, Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds and City of Death by Douglas Adams.

The Blacklist TV Promo Shot

Book: The Beekeeper by Steven Piziks  
TV SeriesThe Blacklist

A former U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal voluntarily surrenders to the FBI. He will only work with a rookie profiler by the name of Elizabeth Keen to locate the most dangerous criminals in the world.

Revenge TV Promo Shot

Book: Schooled in Revenge by Jessy Lasky
TV Series: Revenge

Ava Winters is young, beautiful, and the heiress to Napa's prized Starling Vineyards. She is also in love with the perfect guy. At least that's what she thinks until he helps take everything that was once hers. With no place left to turn, Ava finds herself on Rebun Island, Japan, the site of Takeda's revenge school. Here she trains to be mentally and physically strong enough to take revenge.

Sons of Anarchy TV Promo Shot

Book: Bratva by Christopher Golden
TV Series: Sons of Anarchy

With half of the club recently released from Stockton State Penitentiary, and the Galindo drug cartel bringing down heat at every turn, the MC already has its hands full. Yet Jax Teller the V.P. of SAMCRO has another problem to deal with. He just learned that his Irish half-sister Trinity has abruptly gone missing. Jax heads to Nevada with Chibs and Opie to search for her and seek revenge.

Homeland TV Promo Shot

Book: Homeland: Carrie's Run by Andrew Kaplan
TV Series: Homeland

Filled with the suspense and plot twists that have made Homeland a must-watch series. This riveting tale reveals the compelling untold backstories of the series' main characters and takes fans deeper into the life and mind of one brilliant female spy.

Criminal Minds TV Promo Shot

Book: Jump Cut by Max Allan Collins
TV Series: Criminal Minds

The Behavioral Analysis Unit, an elite team of FBI profilers, are tasked with examining the nation's most twisted criminal minds-anticipating their next moves before they strike again...

Broadchurch TV Promo Shot

Book: Broadchurch by Erin Kelly
TV Series: Broadchurch

Inspired by the first season of the BAFTA award-winning ITV series, this is the official, unmissable Broadchurch novel. Incredibly moving and containing never-before-seen material, it takes you inside the minds and motivations of the unforgettable cast of characters.

Castle TV Promoshot

Book: Heat Wave by Richard Castle
TV Series:  Castle

The novel written by the charismatic bestselling author Richard Castle, co-star of the hit ABC show. NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat feels sparks from ride-along journalist Jameson Rook. A real estate tycoon plunges to his death. A trophy wife with a past survives a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with motives all have alibis. Dirty little secrets of the wealthy hide until Nikki shines a light.

Want to check out more books and TV shows in our collection? Then be sure to visit us in the Library, or click here to peruse the online catalogue.

Mangaficent! The Top 7 Manga voted by local teens.

Manga are popular Japanese comic books. Read "back to front" these books are growing in popularity. We decided to ask some local teenagers about their favourite Manga. Below are the top 7 from our collection they recommend.

7. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

Light Yagami discovers a supernatural notebook. It gives him the ability to kill anyone whose name and face he knows. Light is now attempting to create and rule the world using the notebook. A detective known only as L is the only thing that stands in his way.

Location: Adult's Graphic novel

6. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Set in a world where humanity lives in walled cities. Created to defend against large humanoids, known as the Titans. Strange creatures who eat humans for no obvious reason.  Ern Yeager and his friends join the military to fight the Titans after their home is invaded.

Location: Adult's Graphic novel

Saitama, the most powerful of all the superheroes. He has grown bored by the lack of challenging opponent in his fight against evil. He is now on a mission to find a worthy opponent.

Location: Adult's Graphic novel

4. Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto Uzmaki is a teen struggling to graduate from Ninja Academy. He dreams of becoming the next Hokage, the leader of his village.  His true destiny may be more complicated than he realised.

Location: Children's Graphic novel

3. One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

Monkey D Luffy is a young man whose body has gained the properties of rubber after accidentally eating a Devil Fruit. Along with his pirate crew called the “Straw Hat Pirates”, Luffy explores the Grand Line.  Searching for the world's ultimate treasure known as "One Piece" in order to become the next Pirate King.

Location: Children's Graphic novel

2. Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida

Kaneki ends up in hospital after his date is revealed to be a ghoul. During the surgery he is given his dates organs. This turns him into a half-ghoul. Now he needs human flesh to survive. A group of ghouls, who own a coffee shop, take Kaneki in and teach him how to be a half-ghoul.

Location: Adult's Graphic novel

1. Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima

Lucy runs away from home to join Fairy Tail, a wizard’s guild famous for its members' overly destructive antics. She is invited to join the guild by Natsu Dragneel, a wizard with dragon-like abilities who is search of his missing foster father, the dragon Igneel.

They form a team including an ice wizard named Gray, an armoured wizard Erza and Natsu’s cat-like companion Happy. They embark on numerous guild missions, which include subjugating criminals, illegal dark guilds, and ancient Etherious demons created by the dark wizard Zeref.

Want to check out this, and more Manga? Then be sure to visit our Graphic Novel collection in the Library, or click here to peruse the online catalogue.