Youth picks – June / July 2019

Each month, librarians will bring you a choice selection of stuff for Christchurch youth -  books, events, exhibitions, tv, and more.


The 2019 Out on the Shelves Campaign Week | Wiki Tūturu is on this week from 17 to 23 June:

Out on the Shelves YouTube Live event Wednesday, 19 June; 4 to 5pm

Out on the shelves is also hosting a YouTube live event with two rainbow authors: NZ Trans comic artist Sam Orchard and rainbow author extraordinaire Sassafras Lowrey. Learn what it’s like to be a rainbow author, hear about their favourite books and ask questions. Find out more on their Events | hui page.

Book speed dating with QTopia Thursday 20 June at Tūranga, 6.30 to 8pm
Location: Taupuni Auaha / Creative Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1

Back by popular demand after Christchurch Pride, opens a new windowQtopia Christchurch, opens a new window and Tūranga bring you: Book Speed Dating! They tell you ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, we take it back! Come and take a deeper look at Christchurch City Libraries’ Young Adult rainbow reads. Judge books based on their covers. Who knows, you might even make a love connection with a truly amazing book! This event is in support of InsideOUT, opens a new window & their amazing resource Out on the Shelves

Alicia's Out on the Shelves reviews:

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried Shaun David Hutchinson

Dino’s fairly comfortable around the dead; his parents own a funeral home. What he isn’t comfortable with is his ex-best friend July dying suddenly and coming back to life. July is up and talking, but she’s also rotting. As Dino and July try to figure out how she came to be Not Quite Dead, and conceal her from their families, they must confront why their friendship ended.

I would call this book an ‘autopsy of a friendship’. Between all the hijinks of July’s zombie body and July meeting the boyfriend Dino always kept from her, there’s a lot of heartfelt conversations. This is a fast-paced and funny read about letting go of the past, people, and even ourselves.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

Heartstopper: Volume One Alice Oseman

Charlie is in Year 10 and things are going okay – he’s not being bullied anymore and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he only wants to meet up in secret. Then Charlie meets Nick, a boy on the school rugby team, and they quickly become friends. But could it become something more?

I must admit that I squealed while reading this graphic novel. It’s simply adorable and the sweetest depiction of a friendship that’s developing into a crush and then more. Amongst the romance, Alice Oseman touches a little on unhealthy relationships and questioning your sexuality. A really great fun and light read.


More rainbow reads

Want to discover some great rainbow reading? Try:


Ann's pick

I really enjoyed Winter's promise Book 1 of the Mirror visitor quartet by French author Christelle Dabos. After the rupture, which put an end to the old world, life is now concentrated on a few territories or Arks, each Ark is inhabited by families with special powers. Our heroine Ophelia has a strong talent as a “Reader” which means she can read an objects history just by touch, picking up traces of all who have touched it before her. Readers of Phillip Pullman and Harry Potter will enjoy this series, great character development, a feisty heroine and enough suspense to keep the pages turning Can’t wait to start reading Book 2 The missing of Clairdelune.

A Winter's Promise

Donna's pick

Here's one to look forward to. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. It is the second title in Philip Pullman's Book of Dust series (the first being La Belle Sauvage). It is set 20 years after the events of The Book of Dust volume one, and seven years after The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Read an extract on The Guardian website. 

Oh, and there's an upcoming tv series of His Dark Materials, a collaboration between HBO and the BBC.

Alicia's pick

Internment Samira Ahmed

Last month I said I was looking forward to Internment and it lived up to my expectations! Seventeen-year old Layla and her family are forced into an internment camp for Muslim Americans. With the help of her new friends (a cast of young Muslims from different backgrounds), her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected ally on the inside, Layla raises her voice and fights for her freedom. Samira Ahmed doesn’t pull her punches in this picture of Islamophobia in the United States. She draws heavily on the anti-Muslim rhetoric of a certain president. Ahmed draws upon history, basing the interment of Muslim Americans on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two.

Internment is a page-turner that gets the reader thinking about how unless we raise our voices in the face of racism, history might repeat itself.


Kowoon's pick

Dawn Raid Pauline Smith

Dawn Raid is the winner of the 2018 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults' Best First Book Award. The book brings to light significant events in our history as seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl and is a story about how the character Sofia, her family and friends stand up for their rights.

At the beginning, Sofia is just like any other 13-year-old girl who likes “shopping, chocolate and groovy go-go boots” and being embarrassed about giving a speech in front of many students at school. Sofia is a good public speaker even though she thinks she is not.

The school organised an international food day and parents prepared different types of own traditional and authentic food including a hangi. The explanation of hangi is written next to a diagram of how it works, which is a nice feature.

Sofia’s older brother Lenny is interested in protests and the injustices of the Polynesian Panthers. Sofia hears about the “Dawn Raid” from him and his friends. Lenny is not afraid of being arrested and he is prepared to stand up for the rights of other people. Moreover, when Sofia met the Polynesian Panthers through her brother, she realised that they are not a gang, they are fighting for their rights. This title shows younger reader there are many different facets to people.

The worst thing that happened from this book is when Sofia’s family went up to Auckland to see their relatives and grandparents who are from Samoa for the holidays. They had great days together but the uncle’s neighbour contacted the police and they experienced a dawn raid around 4am in the morning. Sofia and her family members were very confused, terrified and angry at what the police had done in terms of breaching their human rights and displaying racism.  I felt sad when I read the dawn raid happened to her family members, and younger readers will be equally moved by the story.

Sofia went to a speech competition and talked about overstayers, Polynesian Panthers and mentioned the dawn raid she experienced when she was in Auckland for the holidays. Her speech from the competition was great part from this book; she is very vocal and inspired people to think about dawn raids at the competition. This title is important as it will encourage younger readers, and minorities, to speak up when they suffer injustices.

Dawn Raid

Gail's pick

Life on the Refrigerator Door - A Novel in Notes Alice Kuipers

This debut novel was such a great read, and is excellent for those struggling to get back into recreational reading after study. The passages are short notes between a mother and her teenage daughter. The premise of the book is unique, and the story kept me hooked right until the last page. I am not ashamed to admit that a few tears were shed. Very relatable, and a timely reminder to cherish the ones you love before it is too late.

Life On The Refrigerator Door

Ky's pick

I listened to the audiobook of Code of Honor by Alan Gratz. Alan Gratz doesn’t stay away from covering issues in the world - I’ve read other books by him that have dealt with World War II (Projekt 1065 and Prisoner B-3087), and refugees (Refugee). In Code of Honor he tackles Islamic extremism in the 21st century. Kamran Smith and his older brother Darius are Persian-Americans, but see themselves as all-American boys, dealing friends, school, and sport. When Darius, an American soldier, is accused of a terrorist attack, Kamran finds himself in a position he never expected to be in. This story has lots of twists and turns, and kept me guessing right until the end.

I’m also looking forward to reading Gratz’s newest book Grenade) about the War in the Pacific in 1945.

Code of Honor

Dan's pick

Catching Teller Crow Ambelin Kwaymullina

A Young Adult novel that blurs the line between the contemporary world and Indigenous mythology. Beth Teller is dead and she doesn't know why she hasn't gone to the other-place. Her grieving policeman father is the only soul that can see and speak to her and together, as he slowly comes to terms with her circumstance, they seek to understand a series of suspicious deaths in a small outback community. There's sinister happenings in the town and when their trail leads to Catcher, who interprets the modern world with mythological gravity, they find the truth to all the answers. Outstanding Australian YA Fiction. Also available as an eBook or downloadable Audiobook.

Catching Teller Crow

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Young Adult Fiction Award

2019 shortlist

  • Ash Arising Mandy Hager, published by Penguin, Penguin Random House
  • Children of the Furnace Brin Murray, published by CP Books, The Copy Press
  • Invisibly Breathing Eileen Merriman, published by Penguin, Penguin Random House
  • Legacy Whiti Hereaka, published by Huia Publishers
  • The Rift Rachael Craw, published by Walker Books Australia


Whale Rider (Matariki Kiriata - Family Movie Afternoon) Sunday 23 June 1pm to 3pm at Tūranga

With the generous support of South Pacific Pictures, a special screening of Whale Rider is taking place at the TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1 at Tūranga. BYO snacks, Free, no bookings required.


Check out the new swing on Manchester Street, not far from Tūranga. There's a Solstice Swingathon this Sunday 23 June.

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Today we had the absolute joy of being the first to try the #chchswing before it opens to the public TOMORROW! 👏 . It passed the fun test by miles, so thank you so much to everyone involved in making this free public amenity a reality for Ōtautahi 🧡. It's been a long time in the making. . We also warmly invite you along to our official launch next Saturday at our #chchswing Solstice Swingathon! . Find the event here: . . . #chchswing #swingers #humpday #cityasplayground #freefun #christchurch #otautahi #placemakingatonecentral . @gapfillerchch @fletcher_living @otakaro_ltd @nzredcross @nz_f3design Calibre Engineering Ministry of Social Development Pegasus Steel Lyttelton Engineering Texco Engineering Marine Blast and Paint Play Matta Steel & Tube Plain and Simple OCEAN SPRAY Transport Limited, opens a new window

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Check out the lovely Rollickin Gelato lights in New Regent Streett, on until 14 July:

At Rollickin our two favourite things are Christmas & Gelato! And we just can't hold off until December so here's to a Mid-Winter sound & light show extravaganza - celebrating a magical, merry Canterbury winter! The show starts on dusk at 5pm & runs again every 30mins into the night & it's FREE

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (8 to 19 July)

Here are some of the events for teens in the school hols:

eSports Dance Off - Just Dance 2019

Dance for your chance to be the champion! Show everyone what you've got these winter school holidays and be in to win prizes from PB Tech. We have two divisions: 12 years and younger, and 13 and older. Winners from the first week's competitions will earn a spot at the finals, held in the following week at Tūranga.

First week competitions

  • Linwood Library Wednesday 10 July, 2pm to 4pm
  • Shirley Library Thursday 11 July, 2pm to 4pm
  • Tūranga Friday 12 July, 2pm to 3.30pm


  • Tūranga Thursday 18 July, 2pm to 4pm

Find out more in the events calendar.

Table Football (Foosball) Competition

Ignite your love of table football (Foosball) and play against others to win prizes and have fun.

Tūranga Hapori, Level 1

  • Sunday 7 July, 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday 14 July, 2pm to 4pm

Find out more in the events calendar.

Free activities, bookings required

The following events and activities are free, but you will need to book a spot. Phone (03) 9417923 or email

Collage Making

Enjoy an artistic afternoon focused on collage making, led by artist Rob Hood. Materials are provided but you’re welcome to bring anything you want to cut up and re-create. Ages: 12 years plus.
Tūranga Hapori | Community, Level 1, Thursday 11 July, 2pm to 4pm
Find out more in the events calendar.

Library Detectives

One of our librarians has been tracking a group of rare book thieves but she’s gotten too close and now she’s missing! Fortunately, she’s left clues around the library to the thieves’ headquarters. You have one hour to solve a series of escape room-style puzzles and find out where the thieves are holding her before it’s too late! Ages: 12 years plus. Bookings required (Conditions apply for size of groups).
Tūranga He Hononga | Connection, Ground Floor

  • Monday 8 July, 11am and 2pm
  • Tuesday 9 July, 11am and 2pm
  • Monday 15 July, 3pm and 6pm
  • Tuesday 16 July, 3pm and 6pm (6pm session is FULLY BOOKED)

Find out more in the events calendar.

Youth Knitting Workshop

Want to learn to knit but don’t know where to begin? Join us for a series of free workshops this winter. Our first session will cover the basics of knitting while the second session will get you started on your first project — a cosy hat. We’ve got the wool and needles, so just bring yourself along! All welcome. Ages: 12 to 18 years.
Tūranga Tūhuratanga | Discovery, Level 3
Wednesday 10 July and Wednesday 17 July, 2pm to 4pm
Find out more in the events calendar.


We can help your find your next great read.

  • Hot off the shelf: explore the latest titles for teens.
  • Email newsletters Sign up for our Teen Scene newsletter, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Popular Culture, or whatever topic you're into. We also have an email newsletter for Young Adult new titles.
  • Our blog: Teens News and reviews of young adult literature from library staff.
  • Teen booklists We've compiled lists of great books and resources on a bunch of different themes and topics including some aimed at NCEA reading.
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