Before school soaking up a little reading time

Before classes began today I had a few visitors eager to find something to read. These boys had made a mountain out of the beanbags and were enjoying a shared session on the library iPad.

They were so engrossed in what they were doing they almost missed the bell and I had to remind them to go off to class.

Boys on beanbags




Dux medal from 1913 finds it way back to Fendalton Open-Air school

Fendalton Open-Air school was established in 1875 so we have had thousands and thousands of students and staff come through our doors. Generally when students move on, we never hear about them again so I was delighted when an email came out of the blue about one of our students from way, way back.


                     Irene Mafeking Powell was born on April 23 1900 in Christchurch. Note her middle name: she was born at the time of the Boer War in South Africa. Irene is on the left.
Irene  attended Fendalton Open-Air School and in 1913 she was awarded the prize for the Most Popular Girl in Standard Five and Six. Irene was also Dux of the school.  Irene’s granddaughters Helen Lamb and Janet Drake have very kindly donated both the book prize and the Dux medal from 1913. The book is a 1909 edition of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.  It is amazing to see these items in such good condition, considering they are over 100 years old.





Irene later attended Christchurch Girls’ Grammar. “lrene became a shorthand typist, a very modern career choice for women in those days. At 23 she married Maxwell Hugh Boyd. He was a Christchurch boy born in 1892, who served in Gallipoli and France in the First World War. Irene continued to work for five years after her marriage, a very unusual choice in those days. She and Max made the decision to delay having children until they had paid for their house and got Max’s business underway. She then had two children, Judith and Donald. Later in life the family moved to Auckland, where Irene became the secretary for Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, a distinguished New Zealand airman.”



Irene in her teens.
With such a fast-changing world today, it is lovely to take a glimpse of the past and remember a time long ago.
Thank you so much to Helen and Janet for sharing Irene’s history and gifting these wonderful treasures.

Reading – anytime, any place and now anyhow!

I am always amazed at our children here at school. You just never know what is going to happen next. A simple library lesson on parts of a book turned into conversations about what we can do that is special.

Toby you are amazing. I don’t know how you can do what you are doing but we all loved watching as you so quickly turned yourself into a little ball with your own feet as your reading pillow. You blew us all away.




Famous Five by Enid Blyton

We have a complete new set of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books.

All the fun and quirky characters are there for their next adventure.

Anne, Dick, George, Julian and of course Timmy the dog.

Often while riding their bikes on the way to a picnic something mysterious would catch their eyes. Not afraid to investigate they would all end up on a wonderful adventure. Sometimes while chasing thieves they would end up putting themselves in danger but they were always very brave  even if they were a little scared.

Their stories are still very popular and these new books replace our old tired copies. Do come and see which ones you want to read first. There are 21 titles, so plenty to go around and plenty of adventures and mysteries to read.

The books will be available Friday afternoon.



Can a skeleton have an x-ray? by Kyle Hughes-Odgers our book of the week.

Can a skeleton have an x-ray?

By Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Freemantle Press

“How does sound taste?
Do colours smell?
Why do onions make me cry?
Who builds the wings for birds to fly?”


These are just some of the big questions in this delightful picture book which is our book of the week. This is a wonderful book to sit with friends and ask each other questions. Whether you are reading this together with friends or by yourself do take the time to enjoy it and see where your answers take you?

There are certainly questions I would love to know the answer to.  “What happens under my bed?” I really hate to think what might be happening under there while I sleep. Maybe my cats are sleeping under there or maybe there is a trapdoor with stairs leading far below the earth and maybe even out the other side? What do you you think happens underneath your bed? Come and tell me. Come and read the book.

It is also a great one for teachers to use in class to get into some deep discussions about how the world works. Teachers please use this link to take you to some teaching notes which will make this book even more fun to read and use with students.



NASA shares images of every letter of the alphabet from space

Welcome back to everyone. I hope your holidays were filled with heaps of fun and sunshine. I also hope you had a chance to read a few books.

As we know, books are made up of words and the words are made up from letters in the alphabet. Well, take the time to watch this incredible video from NASA on images they found on letters of the alphabet. All the images are from far off in space.

What an extraordinary world we live in and what fantastic views. Later this year we will be looking at space so this is perfect for everyone.




Why Reading the Same Book Repeatedly Is Good for Kids (Even If It Drives You Nuts) @dcorneal Some great advice here

Often in the school library or in the bookshop I work in on Saturday’s parents ask me about moving children on from the books they love. The books they want to read over and over again. While I am always keen to help challenge and move children forward or in different directions it must be pointed out that there is still so much to be gained by allowing our children to read their books over and over. It is not just the picture books you read to your children but the books they read by themselves. I have always said that if they love reading Geronimo Stilton – let them read as many as they want. They will move on when they are ready – some may need prompting but  don’t discourage them from reading the whole series if they want. This article is a very short but wonderful insight in to reasons why it is okay to read the same books and just how much our children benefit from doing so. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Why Reading the Same Book Repeatedly Is Good for Kids (Even If It Drives You Nuts)   by Devon Corneal

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and find some time in the sun to sit back and read.


Year six leavers mosaic panel gifts to the library

Wow! Just wow! What more can I say.

A group of year six leavers decided to leave their special mark on our library walls. These wonderful mosaics have been created as a gift to the school after all their years here. And what a gift! The mosaic panels line the entrance to the library. One panel leads us to a world of stories and fantasy and the other is dedicated to non-fiction and highlights facts found in books. So much time and work has gone in to these panels and they truly are beautiful.

A huge thank you to the boys and girls who created these wonderful panels and making our library entrance so amazing. So proud of you all.

I wish you all the very best as you venture off to Intermediate.












FOS book club students on our annual trek to Trengrove Kindergarten to share stories

The year six book club has grown so much this year that it had to be split in to two groups. We still did heaps of reading and had some great discussions.

One of the special things we do at the end of the year is trek down to our local kindergarten and share Christmas stories with the young children. It is wonderful to see that all the boys and girls in book club get right in to the spirit of it all and enjoy reading picture books to the wee ones. I love the community feel between all the children and it is a highlight of the term when we all make our way down the road – wearing our Santa hats of course.

Unfortunately not everyone can be in book club as there is limited room and time but if you are moving into year six next year and are keen for a challenge, come and let me know.





Our year six Faultline Fiction Fanatics book club students after the event. A great way to end the year!


Dolls returned to Fendalton School after 90 years




I had a lovely chat with Mrs Bobbity Murfitt last week. Mrs Murfitt has very kindly gifted two amazing dolls to our school. The dolls are dressed in our school uniform of the 1920’s and were part of the 50th celebrations of our school in 1925.
Mrs Murfitt’s grandmother,  Mary Ambridge made the dresses when her children, Margaret, Patricia, Joan, Audrey and Barbara were students here in the 1920’s. The dolls are amazing and we are so lucky to have them as they represent our past.   I love the little cap and hat with FOS hand embroidered on them. Very authentic.
We have decided to name the dolls Mary and Robert, after the Ambridge parents. The dolls are being kept safe but we will be looking at getting a special case to showcase them. They are in wonderful condition and we want them to stay that way. We have our 150th birthday in 2025 and it will be just perfect to have them on show once again.
So a massive thank you to Mrs Murfitt for your wonderful gift to our school. A real taonga.

The opening of the new Te Hāpua Halswell Centre

What a wonderful day on Saturday. The sun was shining down as a large crowd gathered for the opening of the new Te Hāpua Halswell Centre. Well done to the Halswell School Kapa Haka team for their performance on this special occasion. Even a lonely monarch butterfly fluttered overhead giving us its blessing.

This is the new community facility with a swimming pool and so many rooms to have meetings and events but of course the best bit is the new library. It is stunning. The building is so light and fresh and seems to go on forever. It really is fantastic. We are so lucky to be living in this wonderful city where we have access to so many libraries.  Of course there are computers and free WiFi and pre-school programmes too and access to so much more. And yes! I did come away with a pile of books to read and a huge smile on my face.

It was lovely to see brothers, Sam and George  (past and current pupil ) flicking through many books and enjoying the atmosphere. Great choice of books there, boys! Their dad had a huge part to play in the design and building of this new centre and I have to say – it really is a wonderful place.


I love the little spaces where you can hide away and forget about the world while you slip between the pages of a book into other worlds. This little corner looks out on to the swimming pool. (sorry about the reflection).


We are very lucky to have our own wonderful school library but do take a visit to the new centre. I know you will all love it.  For more on our city libraries click here. If you are not yet a member I encourage you all to join.


Our library tree decked out in a Christmas Winter Wonderland

Our library tree looks amazing. Our lovely caretaker has been hard at work again and the tree is looking very much like a winter Christmas. There is a train whizzing round the tracks in and out behind the tree. The secret cave has elves sitting around a camp fire reading books. Just delightful. Do pop in and have a look. As the children say – “it is awesome”.




Maker Monday: Today’s challenge – spaghetti and marshmallows

Once again the library was buzzing with chatter and creative thoughts. Students had the challenge of creating any structure they wanted as long as it could stand up by itself. The only tools they had were dry spaghetti and marshmallows. Lots of thinking going on and I love how they shared their ideas. I especially love the Eiffel Tower from Phoebe and Lily.



Noah and Tabitha’s 3D cube.


Jasmine and her hanging structure.

Lots of fun. Look out for another challenge coming soon.


Still a chance to support our school library with Book Island

Thank you to everyone who went on to the Fendalton Open-Air School Facebook page and shared our fundraising poster. An email did go out to parents but this is just a reminder that the idea is  by sharing the page with family and friends, others too might share the page so that we could end up reaching hundreds of people. Anyone at all up and down New Zealand buying books from Book Island up until 10th November will have 35 percent of the profits donated to our school library for new books. That would be awesome. Anyone in the school community buying from Book Island themselves, can save postage and have the books delivered free to school and I will hold them until you can pick them up. If you have not been on to our Facebook Page it would be fantastic if you could do it soon. If you are not on Facebook it would be great if you could just let people know to check out the library blog and read the poster below.

Many thanks to all who have done so.



Piper is our special visitor in the library today

Today was a special mufti day where students dressed up with a Christmas theme and brought in a gold coin donation for charity.

Team 17 came into the library all dressed in bright Christmas colours but they didn’t come alone.

They brought a special visitor.  Piper came in with her teacher/owner to listen to stories.  Here she is listening to Nyah and obviously enjoying the pictures too by the look of things.



Piper is a Standard Poodle and as you can see very keen on reading! She even wanted her own book out. Great to see that she wore her reindeer ears getting right in to the spirit of our special day.




Our library OPAC has had an upgrade. Check it out!

Over the last two days I have been playing with the new upgrade from Access-it to our school library OPAC (Online public access catalogue).

You will see it has a whole new home page with lots of extra library news items for you to read and enjoy. You can still search for your books but there are a few tricks I will show you to make searching easier and more fun. You can always ask me to help if you are not sure but try having a look around here first. We will have sessions on this when you come to the library. You can find the link to the OPAC on the side bar of this blog under favourites. Or you can click on the image here to get started. This page will be moved along by other posts so it is always good to remember the side bar because that is going to always be there for you to find quickly.

There are some very cool book trailers you can click on too and watch. Enjoy and come and let me know what you think of the upgrade. There are still things I have to do and I am learning too but do just ask and maybe we can work things out together. Teamwork is always great!

book trolley


Juniors enjoying a lovely spring day under the blossoms

It is great to be back for term four. I hope you all had lovely holidays and read lots of good books.The grounds around our library are looking gorgeous. The trees lining the path are laden with blossoms and are simply stunning. The new library signpost looks as if it is in its own little wonderland with the over-hanging pink blossoms.

           One  of our junior teams decided it was just too nice to stay indoors today and spent time under the blossoms sharing ideas and enjoying the sunshine. Some of the children made up their own pretend games of how they would get to the places on the signpost. How cool would that be to travel to Hogwarts!






Percy Jackson and the lightning thief 10th birthday celebrations in the library

To celebrate Percy Jackson’s 10th year of publication we held a Percy party at lunch time today. It was crazy with heaps of senior children answering questions about Percy Jackson and his books. You could tell straight away who the real fans were with their hands up constantly. Some children created posters, and one even wrote poem about Percy. It was a hectic, noisy library with lots of bookmarks given out as prizes for answering questions. I hate to admit it but they knew more than I did. I had to look at the answers. I will have to read my books again.
I want to thank our wonderful caretaker for creating such wonderful props to add to our display.





Check out this awesome trailer for author Rick Riordan’s latest series, coming soon. Can’t wait!
Magnus Chase and the gods of Asgard


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